A publication of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging
June 2012 VOL. 37 • NO. 6
ENOA 4223 Center Street Omaha, NE 68105-2431
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID OMAHA NE PERMIT NO. 389
New Horizons ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
Leo Adam Biga profiles Dr. William Cosby, the legendary comic, television star, activist, and author. Cosby performed recently at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater. See page 12. lon A. Wright
Photo by Mar
Hands on Dorothy and Ken Sciford hold hands as they make the two-mile round trip walk most mornings to Harold’s Koffee House in Florence. See page 8.
Sounds of summer Local baseball fans may not know his face, but they enjoy Jerry Pawlak’s music as the organist at the College World Series. See page 11.
Six decades Helen Kensinger was a nurse and a nurse educator for more than 60 years before a heart attack forced her to retire in 2009 at age 85. See page 21.
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“Voice for Older Nebraskans!”
b u l C s n o z i r New Ho
Membership includes a subscription to the New Horizons newspaper. New Horizons Club Send Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging 4223 Center Street to: Omaha, NE 68105-2431 I get the New Horizons regularly and don’t need to be put on the mailing list. I would like to start receiving the New Horizons at home. My address is below.
Participants from the Florence Senior Center, 2920 Bondesson St., have been attending the Camelot Friendship Center, 9270 Cady Ave., since April 1 while the Florence site is being remodeled. As a symbol of the many friendships that have grown from the “temporary merger,” the city of Omaha planted an elm tree at the Camelot facility on Arbor Day. The tree came from the city’s Walt Mertz Nursery located near 120th and Fort streets.
NAME ADDRESS CITY/STATE/ZIP
June 2012 events calendar 1 Rockbrook Village Concerts Fridays through Aug. 31 7 p.m. FREE 402-390-0890 Seussical – The Musical Through June 17 The Rose Theater Thursday & Friday @ 7 p.m. Saturday & Sunday @ 2 p.m. $20 & $25 402-345-4849 8 Omaha Symphony: Concerto for Orchestra Also June 9 Holland Performing Arts Center 8 p.m. $15 to $75 402-342-3560
14 NCAA Men’s College World Series Through June 26 TD Ameritrade Park Omaha 402-554-4404 16 Genealogy: Finding Family on the Internet And in the Courthouse Mormon Trail Visitors Center 9 a.m. to noon • FREE 402-706-1453 21 26 Annual Shakespeare on the Green The Comedy of Errors & Julius Caesar Through July 6 Elmwood Park 402-280-4396 th
24 Nebraska Wind Symphony Concert Stinson Park (67th & Center streets) 6 p.m. FREE 402-216-0325
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, 4223 Center Street, Omaha, NE 68105-2431. Phone 402-444-6654. FAX 402-444-3076. E-mail: email@example.com 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, Barc Wade, & Lois Friedman Fremont Delivery.........................Dick Longstein ENOA Board of Governors: Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, chairperson; Ron Nolte, Cass County, vice-chairperson; Bob Missel, Dodge County, secretary; Jim Warren, Sarpy County, & Jerry Kruse, Washington 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.
Nebraskans meeting age, income guidelines are eligible to receive $48 in produce coupons
lder Nebraskans that meet income and age guidelines (see below) are eligible to receive $48 in coupons that can be exchanged for fresh produce sold at Nebraska’s farmer’s market stands. The Nebraska Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program – administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ State Unit on Aging – provides fresh, nutritious, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Because the program’s appropriations are limited, not everyone meeting the age and income guidelines will receive the coupons.
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The program also helps increase consumption of the state’s locally grown produce. To be eligible to receive the coupons, applicants must show proof of age and income level. Coupon recipients must be age 60 or older and have an annual income of less than $20,146.50 for a single person or less than $27,213.50 annually for a couple. The produce coupons will be distributed the first part of June. Recipients will be given 16 coupons worth $3 each that can be exchanged through Oct. 31, 2012. Only one set of coupons will be issued per household. Because the program’s appropriations are limited, not everyone meeting the age and income guidelines will receive the coupons. More information is available at any of ENOA’s senior centers. A complete list of these facilities is available online at enoa.org. Click on the ENOA Programs and the ENOA Nutrition links.
Attention Senior Wartime Veterans and Surviving Spouses You may be eligible for a little-known Veterans Administration Benefit Saturday, June 9 10 a.m.
Saturday, June 23 10 a.m.
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7205 North 73rd Plaza Circle Omaha, NE 68114
Cliff Decker has built his life based on service
n examination of Cliff Decker’s life could be best summed up in three words: God, country, (and) family. Decker, 84, was ordained as a minister in the Community of Christ Church in 1952, served as pastor of the Bellevue Community of Christ Church, and today remains active with the Prairie Hills Community of Christ Church in Omaha. Nicknamed “Shorty” by his pals in the United States Coast Guard, Decker also served in the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps Reserves, and was a civilian employee with the United States Air Force.
“Since we started working with ENOA, I’ve had a lot less sleepless nights.” Decker is the proud father of three daughters – one who died recently – and a son. He also has nine grandchildren (one is deceased) and two great-grandchildren. Born in Hahira, Ga. in 1927, Decker was raised in Orlando, Fla. before embarking on his colorful civilian and military career. Eager to enter the battle in the Pacific during World War II, he joined the United States Navy in 1945. Assigned to the Seabees, Decker was a heavy equipment operator who served on several islands in the Eniwetok Atoll. After WWII ended, Decker received an early discharge from the Navy. “I couldn’t get a (civilian) job, so I tried to re-enlist, but there were too many men (in the Navy), so I joined the Coast Guard instead,” he said during a recent interview in his Omaha home. Decker performed iceberg patrol duty in the North Atlantic on the Coast Guard cutter Mohave. “The cold was terrible so I got reassigned to the engine room,” he recalled. In 1947, Seaman First Class Decker, then assigned to the Coast Guard cutter Tampa in Mobile, Ala. met his wife to be, Etha, who was touring the vessel during Mardi Gras. The couple was married for 52 years before Etha’s death in 2002. After receiving his Coast Guard discharge in 1950, Decker worked first for National Gypsum and then for Mobile Plastics in Alabama. In 1952, Cliff started accompanying his wife to the Community of
Omahan Cliff Decker, age 84, served in the United States Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps Reserves, and was a civilian employee with the Air Force. An ordained minister, he also received the Silver Beaver Award in 1962 for his work with the Boy Scouts of America. Christ Church in Mobile, and soon began working as a youth minister and Boy Scouts leader. That ministry led to Decker’s 50-plus years of dedicated and decorated service with the Boy Scouts of America. In 1962 he received the Scouts’ Silver Beaver Award presented to adults who implement the Scouting program and perform community service through hard work, selfsacrifice, and dedication. “That award still means a great deal to me,” said Decker, whose son A.B. and grandson Evan are both Eagle Scouts. He said the best part of working with Scouts is watching the “boys develop into men.”
n 1955, Decker went to work as a civil servant with the United States Air Force overhauling aircraft at Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, Ala. By then, the Deckers – who had four children – needed a little extra
income, so Cliff joined the United States Marine Corps Reserves as an amphibious landing craft operator. “They (Marines) were excited to get good people who had military experience,” Decker said. He worked at Brookley and served in the Marine Corps Reserves until his discharge in 1964. In 1965, because of the announced planned closure for Brookley Air Force Base, Cliff moved to Dallas where he became sales manager for Rezolin Plastics. His job entailed selling plastic to military aircraft manufacturers. In 1972, Rezolin Plastics was sold and the staff downsized, so the Deckers moved to Omaha so Cliff could take a job selling telephone and electrical cable for Preformed Line Products. His sales territory ranged from North Dakota to Oklahoma. Cliff’s son, A.B. – a recently retired Air Force colonel with 39 years of service – said his father,
who retired in 2006 at age 79, is also his role model. “Dad has no college degree. He learned ‘all this’ on his own.” “All this” includes being a pioneer in the fields of fiberglass and fiber optics.
hese days, Decker is battling Parkinson’s disease. That battle is being won in part because of the loving care Cliff receives from his son A.B., daughters Brenda and Becky, as well as his many neighbors and church friends. “Taking care of Dad is my number one job,” said A.B. who comes from Oklahoma City to Omaha several days each month to stay with his father. A.B. wanted to thank the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging who is providing a variety of in-home services for Cliff. “Since we started working with ENOA, I’ve had a lot less sleepless nights,” he said.
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With Lifeline by Immanuel, you can enjoy an independent lifestyle in your own home — knowing that you can call for help if you ever need it. One push of your Lifeline With Lifeline by Immanuel, you canwith enjoyaccess an independent button connects you to someone to your lifestyle in your own home — knowing that you can call medical history, someone who can evaluate your situation for help if you ever need it. One push of your Lifeline and immediately send help. To learn more about the button connects you someone withbyaccess to your security and peace ofto mind provided Lifeline, medical history, someone who can evaluate your situation call (402) 829-3277 or toll-free at (800) 676-9449. and immediately send help. To learn more about the Free activation this month. Free Activation for security and peace of mind provided by Lifeline, call (402) 829-3277 or toll-free at (800) 676-9449. Available June 1 - June 30 Free activation this month. To receive Free Activation you must mention this ad
Improve your chances of avoiding a fall By Jen Vogt Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in adults over age 65. One of every three people in this age group will fall each year, and more than half that number is made up of repeat fallers. Falls are an increasing problem for many people as they age. The physical consequences can be minor to severe, including bruises, fractures, head trauma, and even life-threatening injuries. The mental and emotional effects are equally notable; even if a person isn’t physically injured, they can easily lose confidence in their own abilities, which could lead to increased frailty, isolation, and a lower quality of life. Who is at risk for a fall? Though there are many reasons an individual could be at risk for a fall, a few common risks have been identified by the American Geriatric Society. Those include: • Muscle weakness. • Balance problems. • Changes or problems with gait. • Improper use of assisting device. • Visual deficits. • Arthritis. • Depression. • Impaired cognition. Other factors include acute illness, history of medical conditions (such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease), taking multiple medications, and environmental hazards. Even though the risk for falls increases as a person ages, it does not have to be a foregone consequence of aging. Some simple lifestyle changes and home modifications can dramatically decrease the risk for falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests you begin a regular exercise program that increases strength and improves balance. They also recommend asking your doctor or pharmacist to review your prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines to reduce side effects and interactions. You should have your eyes checked at least once a year, and improving the safety in your home should be a top priority for you and your family. Evaluate your home’s safety carefully. Make sure furniture is arranged in such a way that your path is clear. Remove rugs
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests you begin a regular exercise program that increases strength and improves balance. Make sure your most frequently used household goods are on the lower shelves of your cabinets, and never be tempted to use a chair as a stepstool. If you must have a boost, find a step stool with a bar to hold on to. In addition to these simple changes, remember to wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone. You may even want to put a phone near the floor, just in case you fall and aren’t able to get up. Aside from changing your environment, you might want to change your activities in an attempt to prevent falls. Walking, aerobics, water calisthenics, or Tai Chi can all improve strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. Most importantly, always remember to practice good judgment. As you become aware of the risk factors for falling, you can take the steps necessary to reduce your risk of becoming one of the many fall victims in the United States. By being proactive about your health, you can achieve peace of mind, reduce your fall risk, and feel safe and secure in your home. (Vogt is with Royale Oaks and the House of Hope Alzheimer’s Living in Omaha.)
Dora Bingel Senior Center
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from your floor or use non-slip backing to reduce the chances of slipping. Keep appliance cords and wires next to the wall so you can’t trip over them, and make sure your floor is clutter-free. Staircases should have adequate lighting at the top and bottom, handrails on both sides of the stairs, and should not be loose or uneven. Lighting is key in other places of the house, as well; some tips include placing a lamp near the bed where it’s easy to reach, and putting in a nightlight so you can see better at night.
You’re invited to visit the Dora Bingel Senior Center, 923 N. 38th St., this month for the following: • June 4, 11, 18, & 25: Al-Anon meeting @ 7 p.m. • June 6, 13, 20, & 27: Grief Support Group meeting 10 a.m. • June 20: Regeneration Lunch with singer Charlie Glasgow @ noon. The cost is $3. • June 21: Red Hat Club meeting @ noon. • June 27: Birthday Party Luncheon @ noon. Eat free if you have a June birthday! • June 29: Hard of Hearing Support Group @ 10:30 a.m. A nutritious lunch is served on Tuesdays and Fridays; a fancier lunch is offered on Wednesdays. A $1 donation is suggested for the meals, other than $3 for Regeneration. 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: Free matinee movie @ 12:30 p.m. • Wednesdays: Crochet class @ 9:30 a.m., Tai Chi class @ 11: 30 a.m., and a 1 p.m. Bible study. • Fridays: Bible study @ 1 p.m. For more information, please call 402-898-5854.
Quilt show display at Sarpy County Museum June 3 through Aug. 25
n exhibit featuring more than 75 quilts will be on display at the Sarpy County Museum June 3 through Aug. 25. The museum is located at 2402 Clay St. in Bellevue. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the first Sunday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. While donations are appreciated, admission is free. For more information, please call 402-292-1880 or log on the Internet to www.sarpycountymuseum.org.
Making Medicare make sense
he Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ competitive bidding program for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) is an important step towards getting the Medicare program to pay appropriately for the medical items and services it provides. The program has and will reduce out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare beneficiaries and has and will save the Medicare program money while ensuring beneficiaries con-tinue to receive quality products from accredited suppliers. Medicare generally pays 80 percent of the fee schedule payment amount for DMEPOS items used such as oxygen equipment, walkers, wheelchairs, devices used to treat sleep disorders, and hospital beds, under Original Medicare Part B. Beneficiaries pay the remaining 20 percent. For most of these items, the fee schedule payment amounts are based on historical charges, adjusted for inflation at times, and not on current market prices. The Office of the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office conducted numerous studies and found the prices paid by Medicare for certain DMEPOS items were excessive, sometimes three to four times retail prices and the amounts paid by commercial insurers.
In 2011, Medicare began the competitive bidding program for certain categories of medical equipment and supplies in nine markets. Suppliers seeking to provide these products must submit bids and be certified for their financial stability, ability to provide quality products, and capability to serve the areas where they want to operate. In 2013, the program will expand from nine to 100 markets or Metropolitan Statistical Areas. In addition, the program will in-
clude a mail order program for diabetic supplies like test strips that will be in effect everywhere in the country. If you live in or travel to an area where the program is in operation and you need equipment or supplies included in the program, you’ll have to get them from a Medicare contracted supplier. Otherwise, Medicare will not pay for them, and you will likely have to pay the full cost out of pocket. The list of suppliers will be available online at www. medicare.gov.
Millard Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Millard Senior Center at Montclair, 2304 S. 135th Ave., this month for the following: • June 5: Annual picnic at Chalco Hills from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. • June 6: Dressmaking for young girls in Africa. • June 20: Fun Under the Stars fundraiser from 5 to 9 p.m. Enjoy food, dancing, entertainment, and a chance to win door prizes. • June 26: Talk by Margaret Shaefer from Legal Aid. The Millard Senior Center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30. A $3 donation is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the lunch you wish to enjoy. Center activities include a walking club, Tai Chi, chair volleyball, card games, quilting class, and bingo. For meal reservations, please call Susan Sunderman at 402-546-1270.
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RSVP thanks sponsors, donors The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program would like to thank the following table sponsors and others who contributed to its annual volunteer luncheon. • CCA Inc. (d.b.a.) Care Consultants for the Aging
• CSL Miracle Hills • Hillcrest County Estate • Physicians Choice Nebraska LLC • Tricia Cottrell Merrymakers • Cheryl Morehouse
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2012 MOTORCOACH “Singin’ in the Rain” on a Sunday Afternoon. August 5. $89. Enjoy another great performance at the Lofte Community Theater in Manley, NE. This Sunday afternoon performance of the musical “Singin’ in the Rain” will be followed by a home cooked meal at the Main Street Café in Louisville, NE where you will have your choice of three great selections. Iowa State Fair. August 15. $89. Come along to one of the best state fairs in the country. Enjoy mouth-watering food, free entertainment, grandstand concerts, and plenty of blue-ribbon competition. We will also arrange for (we’ll pick it up, have it on the bus, and return it) rental of a scooter for the day. Nebraska State Fair & “Chances R.” August 24. $99. Check out the fair’s new location in Grand Island! Besides mouth-watering food, free entertainment, contests, competitions, parades, and just plain fun, enjoy dinner at “Chances R” in York on the way home. We will also arrange for (we’ll pick it up, have it on the bus, and return it) rental of a scooter for the day.
Ken and Dorothy Sciford, married for 63 years, have walked to Harold’s Koffee House in Florence most weekday mornings since 1987.
en Sciford got up from the booth at Harold’s Koffee House in Florence as Dorothy, his wife for 63 years, finished her final sip of morning coffee. After Ken paid the breakfast bill and left a generous tip on the table, he helped Dorothy put on her colorful, lightweight jacket. The couple exited the restaurant, located at 8327 N. 30th St., then headed north on foot on the east side of 30th Street. Just another typical day for the Scifords who have walked hand in hand to Harold’s most weekdays for breakfast since 1987. Ken, age 83, said holding his spouse’s hand as they walk is only part of the secret to their long and successful marriage. “I always say, ‘yes mam,’” he added, smiling. “He’s a great guy,” Dorothy, age 84, said.
Chicago and the Cubs. August 28–31. $699. Take a tour of Wrigley Field, see Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers afternoon game, Chicago highlights tour, Adler Planetarium, Food Tour, Willis Tower, Tommy Gun’s Garage dinner theater, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, Magnificent Mile, dinner cruise on Lake Michigan, and much more! Nebraska Junk Jaunt. September 28–29. $245. Come along on our fourth annual “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! New---Follow the Rails Art Trail. October 19–21. $439. Join us and a step-on guide for this annual event to discover local art and artists in 11 communities along Highway 2 beginning in Grand Island. Enjoy stops such as Nebraska National Forest, Carhenge, Stuhr Museum, and the Secret Garden. Visit art galleries, attend workshops and demonstrations, and learn about the railroad as we travel through the Sandhills. Purchase paintings, pottery, sculptures, and drawings along the way! Daniel O’Donnell in Branson. November 14-17. $689. “Daniel O’Donnell,” “SIX, The Knudsen Brothers,” “Joseph” at the Sight & Sound Theater, “Chubby Checker,” “Gatlin Brothers with Debby Boone,” and the “Brett Family.” A total of six great shows! Stone Castle Hotel with hot breakfast buffet each morning, comfortable Arrow Stage Lines Motor Coach, seven delicious meals and plenty of time for exploring the shops in Branson! (Call for availability!)
to move to Anderson, Ind. to set up distributorships in the central part of the Hoosier State. They stayed there for seven years before moving back to Omaha.
fter the Scifords retired in 1987, they began walking from their home to Harold’s for breakfast Monday through Friday. “She wanted a reward for walking,” Ken said, laughing. These days, the couple park their car between their home and the eatery – located on the southeast corner of 30th and State streets since 1945 – to shorten their walk a little. Weekday morning drivers along 30th Street can’t help but notice the Scifords walking hand in hand. “We’re trying to steady each other,” Dorothy said with a grin on her face. “It (walking while holding her hand) comes naturally,” Ken added. If the weather makes outdoor activities uncomfortable, the Scifords head for the Westroads Mall where they walk inside before breakfast. The couple enjoys breakfast together at home on the weekend. Although Ken had bypass heart surgery in 1999, the Scifords are in good shape physically and mentally. “We plan to keep walking as long as we can,” Dorothy said.
New---Kansas City Christmas. December 4-5. $289. Enjoy a special holiday luncheon at the Webster House, the American Heartland Theater’s performance of “Nuncrackers, The Nunsense Christmas Musical.” New Theater Restaurant buffet luncheon and “The Game’s `Afoot” performance starring Marion Ross from “Happy Days.” Lodging at the Drury, and more holiday surprises! IN PARTNERSHIP WITH COLLETTE VACATIONS (Let us help you find a Collette Vacation to your special destination when YOU want to go. Collette offers trips to numerous destinations both within the United States and throughout the world. Each trip is offered on many different dates throughout the year. Call us for further information.) Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park. July 17–24. Beginning in the Canadian province of Alberta, travel to Waterton Lakes National Park, then Glacier National Park and the “Going to the Sun Road.” Tour Banff, overnight at the “Castle in the Mountains,” travel to Jasper by way of the Icefields Parkway, see the Maligne Canyon, and visit the vibrant city of Calgary. San Francisco with Lake Tahoe. August 23-29. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of San Francisco with the Twin Peaks, Seal Rocks, and Golden Gate Bridge, visit Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, ride a cable car, visit the wineries of Sonoma Valley, Monterey, Pebble Beach, the California Railroad Museum in Sacramento, the old west town of Virginia City, and spend two nights at the Montbleu Resort & Spa in Lake Tahoe including a cruise on beautiful Lake Tahoe. Greece and its Islands. September 23–October 6. See the Acropolis, Royal Palace, and Olympic Stadium in Athens, visit Thermopylae, Kalambaka, remote monastaries in Meteora, the ski resort town of Arachova, Delphi, tour Olympia where the first Olympic games were held, visit the exca-vations at Mycenae, ferry across the Aegean Sea to Mykonos, sail to the island of Santorini, see vineyards, whitewashed chapels, volcanic cliffs, mountains and valleys in this beautiful country. Alpine Christmas. December 4-11. Explore the Christmas markets of Austria and southern Bavaria. Stay in the Austrian Alps in same hotel for the entire trip! Tour Innsbruck, visit Munich, Oberammergau, Salzburg, and much more. Watch our website at www.fontenelletours.com
Dorothy and Ken Sciford
he parents of five (two of their children have died), grandparents of nine, and great grandparents of nine, Ken and Dorothy Sciford met in 1947 while working at the Carpenter Paper Company. “She worked in the credit department and I was in the billing department,” Ken said. In 1955, Dorothy – an Omaha North High School graduate – began her 33-year career selling Tupperware. “She had so many parties she couldn’t keep up with them,” said Ken ��� an Omaha Tech High School grad – who eventually went to work for Tupperware. In 1960, Tupperware asked the Scifords
Ken said holding Dorothy’s hand while the couple walks together comes naturally.
Heartland Family Service Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Heartland Family Service Senior Center, 2101 S. 42nd St. for the following: • June 7, 14, & 21: Theater Arts program with Kim from WhyArts @ 10:30 a.m. • June 11, 12, & 13: Farmer’s Market coupon give-away (if any are remaining). • June 18: Father’s Day Brunch @ 10 a.m. Men are encouraged to bring their bring their family for pancakes, sausage, and other goodies. Women are also invited. • June 20: Birthday party featuring entertainment by Hillbilly Hal Cottrell from the Merrymakers. • June 26: Make a picture frame in our crafts room with Patty @ 10:30 a.m. • June 27: Trip to Fort Atkinson in Fort Calhoun. Cost is $5 with lunch on your own. The Heartland Family Service Senior Center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is normally served at noon. A $3 donation is suggested for the meal. Reservations are due by noon the business day prior to the lunch you wish to attend. A nurse visits Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Call 402-392-1818 to schedule an appointment. Regular activities include Tai Chi classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday @ 10:15 a.m. For meal reservations or more information, please call Karen Sides at 402-553-5300.
ENOA programs are recruiting volunteers The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Companion Program, Ombudsman Advocate Program, and Senior Medicare Patrol Program are recruiting older adults to become volunteers. Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions must be age 55 or older, meet income guidelines, have a government issued identification card or a driver’s license, able to volunteer at least 15 hours a week, and must complete several background and reference checks. Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions receive a $2.65 an hour stipend, transportation and meal reimbursement, paid vacation, sick, and holiday leave, and supplemental accident insurance. Foster Grandparents work with children who have special needs while Senior Companions work to keep older adults living independently. Ombudsman advocates work to ensure residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities enjoy the best possible quality of life. Ombudsman advocates, who must be age 18 or older, are enrolled through an application and screening process. These volunteers, who are not compensated monetarily for their time, must serve at least two hours a week. The Senior Medicare Patrol program helps Medicaid beneficiaries avoid, detect, and prevent health care fraud. These volunteers, who are enrolled through an application and screening process, are not compensated monetarily for their time, For more information, please call 402-444-6536.
AARP offering driving class AARP offers a four-hour refresher driver safety class that reviews the rules of the road and emphasizes driving strategies for persons age 50 and older. There are no exams or tests involved, and each participant receives a certificate of completion. Fees are $12 for AARP members and $14 for nonmembers. Insurance discounts may apply. Please call the numbers below to register for a class. Here’s the class schedule:
You can save thousands of wasted gallons of water by repairing those leaks in your home By Carol McNulty U. of Nebraska Cooperative Extension office
eaks waste water. According to agricultural engineer David Shelton from the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than one trillion gallons per year. That’s equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined. In the home, leaks can account for, on average, 11,000 gallons of water wasted each year. That’s enough to fill a backyard swimming pool. With 10 percent of homes having leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day, that’s 30,000 gallons per year. A leaky faucet that drips at a rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. A home with high efficiency toilets could use that water to flush for six months. A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That’s enough water to wash 60 loads of dishes in the dishwasher. If a toilet is running constantly, it could be wasting 200 gallons or more every day. Shelton says fixing easily corrected household water leaks often can save homeowners more than 10 percent on bills or water pumping costs. To help reduce these numbers, detect leaks and repair them. Shelton offers these tips: • Common types of leaks found in the home include leaking toilet flapper valves, dripping faucets, showerheads, and garden hose spigots. • Check the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there probably is a leak. • For homes with a well and no water meter, check the system pressure gauge before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. A leak is likely if the pressure shown by the gauge had dropped or if the pump has cycled. • Place a dish in a sink below the faucet to catch any drips from a leaky faucet to determine the leakage rate. • One way to find out if there is a toilet leak is to place a couple of drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl after two hours without flushing, there is a leak. Be sure to flush immediately after to avoid staining the tank. • Check lawn irrigation systems each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing that will cause
leaks. • Keep the home leak-free by repairing dripping faucets, toilet valves, and showerheads. In most cases, replacement parts are inexpensive and can be installed by do-ityourselfers. In addition, most repairs will pay for themselves in a short time. • The cause of a leaking toilet is most often an old, faulty toilet flapper valve. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It’s usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper. • Leaky faucets can be repaired by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary. • If a garden hose leaks at its connection to the spigot, replace the nylon rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot. • If a faucet or toilet needs to be replaced, look for a WaterSense labeled model. WaterSense is a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. WaterSense labeled products must achieve independent, third party testing and certification to prove they meet EPA’s rigorous criteria for efficiency and performance.
Letters to ENOA Esther Gunderson, the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s care manager in Washington County, received the following letter from family members of two of her clients. Esther’s office is located at 1327 Washington Street in Blair. Her telephone number is 402-426-9614.
Esther: My sister and I would like to thank you for all your help for Mom and Dad. It’s hard losing them both so close together but they are in a much better place. We miss them both so much. Thanks again. We appreciate all that you did. Emile C.
Saturday, June 2 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rolling Hills Ranch 4324 N. 132nd Street To register, call 402-391-1055 Saturday, June 9 1 to 5 p.m. AARP Information Center 1941 S. 42nd St. • Suite 220 To register, call 402-398-9568
ENOA menu for June 2012 Friday, June 1 Veal Italiano Monday, June 4 Beef Strip Patty Tuesday, June 5 Lasagna Casserole Wednesday, June 6 Sliced Ham Thursday, June 7 Chili Dog
Friday, June 22 Breaded Chicken Patty
Wednesday, June 13 Beef Cabbage Casserole Thursday, June 14 Chicken Supreme
Monday, June 25 Chicken Cacciatore
Friday, June 15 Roast Beef
Tuesday, June 26 Meatloaf
Monday, June 18 Meatball Sub
Wednesday, June 27 BBQ Rib Patty
Friday, June 8 Grilled Chicken Strips
Tuesday, June 19 Chicken Pasta Casserole
Monday, June 11 Turkey Fritter
Wednesday, June 20 Cheeseburger
Tuesday, June 12 Pork Dijon
Thursday, June 21 Italian Style Pork
Thursday, June 28 Country Fried Steak Friday, June 29 Sliced Turkey Breast
RSVP Retired and Senior Volunteer Program The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is recruiting persons age 55 and older for a variety of opportunities. For more information in Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass counties, please call 402-444-6558, ext. 224. In Dodge and Washington counties, please call 402721-7780. The following have volunteer opportunities in Douglas, Sarpy, and Cass counties: • The Omaha Visitors Center is looking for a volunteer Ambassador. • Together needs a volunteer intake assistant. • Mount View Elementary School wants a TeamMates mentor. • Alegent Health Bergan Mercy Hospital needs volunteers for its information desks and as patient and family escorts. • The Omaha Police Department wants volunteers for a variety of assignments. • Boys Town wants volunteer mentors and a volunteer office assistant. • The Disabled American Veterans need volunteer drivers. • The Douglas County Health Center wants
volunteers for a variety of assignments. • The Ronald McDonald House Charities needs a receptionist and an operations volunteer. • ENOA’s Grandparent Resource Center wants volunteers to help walk sheep associated with the Luv a Lamb Program. • The Omaha Home for Boys is looking for volunteer mentors. • Omaha Serves needs volunteers to help with disaster recovery. • Pathways to Compassion Hospice needs volunteers for a variety of duties. • The Omaha Children’s Museum wants a volunteer member check-in assistant. The following have volunteer opportunities in Dodge and Washington counties: • The Fremont Chamber of Commerce wants a volunteer for its visitors center. • The Blair and Fremont Car-Go Programs needs volunteer drivers. • The Building Blocks Boutique needs volunteers to help with young mothers and babies. • The American Red Cross needs a receptionist. • The May Museum is looking for volunteers to serve as tour guides and for its gift shop and garden. • The Washington County Recycling Center needs volunteers to handle quality control. • The Fremont Friendship Center needs help with its Tuesday Supper Club.
The New Horizons is brought to you each month by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging.
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Pawlak anticipating his second year as CWS’ organist
s members of the University of South Carolina baseball team and their fans celebrated winning the 2010 College World Series, two longstanding traditions at the annual summer event ended that night. The tournament – held in Omaha since 1950 – would no longer be played at Rosenblatt Stadium, and when the festivities moved downtown to TD Ameritrade Park in 2011, Lambert Bartak would not be playing the stadium’s 1947 Hammond organ. Auditions with five organists were held to replace the 91-yearold musical legend who have been entertaining CWS fans for 50 years. Jerry Pawlak, a retired administrator from Lincoln and the secretary/ treasurer of the River City Theater Organ Society got the gig. “Jerry’s audition blew us away,” said Dan Morrissey, vice president of marketing for CWS of Omaha, Inc. in a 2011 Omaha World-Herald article. “He was the consummate professional, and came in with a medley of baseball-themed songs he had specifically prepared for the audition,” Morrissey continued. “He just took control from the moment he sat down to play. We knew instantly he was our guy.” Pawlak, a 71-year-old Chicago native who moved to Lincoln in 1988 when his Burlington Northern Railroad job was relocated, said being the CWS’ organist is humbling. “(Since 1960) Only two people in the world have played the organ at the College World Series.”
nspired by the organist he heard and watched at a Chicago roller skating rink, Pawlak began playing the organ in 1962. He had already played the piano and accordion since age 6 and was a member of his father’s polka band. For 25 years, Jerry, a widower (his wife, Felicia, passed away in 1999) with three sons and three grandkids, played the organ and piano for appreciative audiences in Chicago bars, restaurants, and lounges before moving to Lincoln. Performing for the 320,000 baseball fans that attended the 2011 College World Series was a lot different than entertaining in noisy ‘Windy City” venues, Pawlak said during a recent interview. “For one thing, there’s not a Scotch and soda on the organ (at TD Ameritrade Park).” A bobble head doll of Nancy Faust, the former organist at U.S. Cellular Field and Comiskey Park in Chicago (the current and former homes of the White Sox) does rest on the 65-year-old reconditioned Hammond organ that was relocated from Rosenblatt. Faust, the Sox’s organist for four decades, retired after the 2010 season. As the CWS organist, Jerry sees his role as “keeping the party going.” Pawlak said the NCAA allows
him to play whatever music he selects from his huge repertoire as long as he remains neutral and not seemingly “rooting” for one team or the other. Of course, each game fea-
tures Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch. “I never get tired of playing that song,” he added. A lot of the “non-organ” mu-
sic heard at the CWS – including the schools’ fights songs – is prerecorded. Jerry said Everything’s Coming Up Roses is his signature song. Last year, Pawlak was surprised when someone placed a bouquet of a dozen roses near the stadium’s Hammond organ.
A Chicago native who moved to Lincoln in 1988, Jerry Pawlak will begin his second year as the organist at the College World Series at Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park on June 15.
typical day for Pawlak during the CWS begins two hours before the first game. He meets with the 20 to 25-person audio and video production crew to review the minute-by-minute script for the game. “There’s a lot more to it than people might think,” Jerry said. A typical script includes items like Pawlak playing approximately 20 and 40 minutes before game time and timed spots every other inning. In 2011, as the CWS and its fans made the transition from Lambert Bartak to Pawlak at the keyboard, Jerry tried to keep things simple and traditional. This year, he plans to play more songs from the 1950s, the ‘60s, and beyond. Pawlak said playing in a new 24,000-seat stadium with a huge state of the art sound system is almost intoxicating. “It’s like a high,” he added. Jerry said the thing he enjoys most in his role as the CWS organist is being an integral part of a large production. “Most of the time I’ve been a solo musician, but I like being part of a team. It’s invigorating.” He said the hardest part of his summer baseball gig, is the long hours. One day, Pawlak spent 15 hours at TD Ameritrade Park as the games were interrupted by a thunderstorm that emptied the stands. As the 2012 CWS – which begins June 15 – approaches Jerry is excited about another opportunity to perform for thousands of college baseball fans from across the country. “It was an honor to be part of the of the CWS in 2011 and I’m looking forward to it again this year.”
The secretary/treasurer of the River City Theatre Organ Society, Pawlak has recorded three CDs on Nebraska’s largest theatre pipe organ. The organ is located in a private Omaha residence.
n 2002, Pawlak purchased a keyboard from Keyboard Castle in Omaha. He asked the store’s owner about any local organizations that were involved with organ music. Jerry was told about and soon thereafter became a member of the River City Theatre Organ Society. The RCTOS is dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and presentation of theatre pipe organs and theatre pipe organ music. Pawlak has recorded three CDs on Nebraska’s largest theatre pipe organ – located in a private Omaha residence – and on Aug. 12, the RCTOS will offer its annual concert at Omaha’s Rose Theater. Jerry is a co-producer of the event. For more information on purchasing Pawlak’s CDs, about the RCTOS, or its August show, please log on the Internet to www.rctos.com.
Making the world laugh for more than a half century By Leo Adam Biga leoadambiga.wordpress.com
olding court in his Orpheum Theater dressing room before his May 6 Omaha show, comedy legend Bill Cosby was thoroughly, authentically, well, Bill Cosby. The living legend exuded the easy banter, sharp observations, and occasional bluster that define his comedic brand. He was variously a lovable curmudgeon, cantankerous sage, and mischievous child. He appeared a bit tired, having played Peoria, Ill. the night before, but his energy soared the more the dressing room filled up. With his concert start nearing and him blissfully unaware of the time, Cosby played host to visitors including old chum Omaha basketball legend Bob Boozer and the family teachers and youth residents of a Boys Town family home.
Bob Boozer: 1937 to 2012
Photo by Marlon A. Wright
Omaha basketball legend Bob Boozer, whose relationship with Bill Cosby plays a prominent part in this story, died of a brain aneurism on Saturday, May 19. Boozer and his family are in our thoughts and prayers. Leo Biga
Cosby with longtime friend, the late Bob Boozer. Boozer, who won a gold medal with the USA basketball team at the 1960 Olympics, befriended Cosby while the Omaha native was a member of the L.A. Lakers in 1965 and 1966. Boozer died on May 19.
tells stories, with occasional clips from his TV shows projected on an overhead screen. “Eubie wasn’t angry when he said it, he was just jealous. He’s from the days of vaudeville where guys had set ups and then the punch line,” said Cosby. “I think he was looking for the set Contributing Writer up and the punch line and all I was doing was the Jeff Reinhardt same thing when he’s at my house.” New Horizons Editor By that Cosby means talking. He talks about everything and nothing at all. His genius is that he makes none of it seem designed, though his By turns Cosby was entertainer, lecturer, fastories are based on material he writes himself. ther figure, and cut-up as he shook hands, autoWhat makes his riffs seem extemporaneous is his graphed items, and told stories. impromptu, conversational delivery, complete He’s made the world laugh for 50 years now with pauses, asides, and digressions, just like in as a standup comedian, though these days he real life. Then there are the hilarious faces, voicperforms sitting down. Cosby said colleagues of es, and sounds he makes to animate his stories. his, including jazz musician Eubie Blake, have What sets him apart from just anyone talking, he accused him of not having an act. Cosby simply said, “is the performance in the storytelling.” Cosby’s enduring appeal is his persona as friend or neighbor, and these days as an uncle or grandfather, regaling us with tales of familiar foibles. He invites us to laugh at ourselves through the prism of true-to-life missteps and adventures in growing up, courting, parenting, and endless other touchstone experiences. Making light of the universal human condition makes his humor accessible to audiences of any age or background. “That’s the whole idea of the writing – everybody identifying with it,” he said. That’s been his approach ever since he began taking writing seriously as a student at Temple University in his native Philadelphia. He found his voice as a humanist observer while penning creative writing compositions for class. “I was writing about the human experience. Who told me to do it? Nobody. I just wrote it. Was I trying to be funny? No. Was I reading any authors who inspired me? No.” Saying Cosby didn’t have influences isn’t exactly true. His mother read Mark Twain to him and his younger brothers when they were children. Just as his mother could spin a yarn or two, Cosby was himself a born storyteller amusing friends and teachers. He also admired such television comics as Sid Caesar and Jack Benny, among many others, whose style he drew on to Photo by Marlon A. Wright shape his comic alter ego. Cosby says what sets him apart is the Cosby may never have done anything with his gifts if not for a series of events that turned his performance in his storytelling.
life around. The high school dropout earned his GED, went to college, and then left school early to embark on his career. He famously returned to finish his bachelor’s degree at Temple and to earn a master’s and an Ed.D. in education from the University of Massachusetts. Cosby has received numerous honorary degrees and awards including the Kennedy Center Honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. There have been dark days too. His only son Ennis was murdered in 1997. Through it all, he’s made education his cause, both as an advocate and a critic. His unsparing views on education and parenting have drawn strong criticism from some but he hasn’t let the pushback silence him. Cosby said growing up in a Philadelphia public housing project he was a bright but indifferent student, devoting more time to sports and hanging out than studying. He recalls only two teachers showing real interest in him. “I wasn’t truant, I just didn’t care about doing anything. I was just there, man. I was still in the 11th grade at age 19.” He described what happened next as “divine intervention.” The high school dropout joined the U.S. Navy. He hated it at first. “That was a very rude epiphany.” He stuck it out though, working as a medical aide aboard several ships, and obtained his high school equivalency diploma. “I spent four years revamping myself.”
arveled that a GED could get him into college, and despite awful test scores, Temple University accepted Cosby on an athletic scholarship in
1960. “I was the happiest 23-year-old in the world. They put me in remedial everything. I knew I deserved it and I knew I was ready to work for it. I knew what I wanted to be and do. I wanted to become a school teacher. I wanted to jump (on) those 7th and 8th grade boys who had this same idea I had of just sitting there in class. “Being in remedial English – with the goal set – that’s the thing that began to make me who I am now.” Fully engaged in schoolwork for the first time, he threw himself into his creative writing assign--Please turn to page 13.
Cosby’s daydreaming became comic’s ticket to fame --Continued from page 12. ments. Cosby wrote about pulling his own tooth as a kid and the elusive perfect point he sought when sharpening a pencil. The daydreaming that once hampered his studies became Cosby’s ticket to fame. He said the idea for one of his popular early bits, The Toss of the Coin, came during Dr. Barnett’s American History class at Temple. “I began to drift as he was talking about the Revolutionary War.” Cosby imagined war as a sporting contest with referees, complete with captains from each team, the ragtag settlers, and the professional British army. A coin toss decided sides. In the bit the referee instructs the settlers, “You will wear fur hats and blend into the forest and hide behind rocks and trees.” To the Red Coats, the referee says, “You will wear red and march in a straight line and play drums.” The daydreams that used to land him in trouble were getting him noticed in the right way. He recalls the impact it made when the professor held up his papers as shining examples and read them aloud in class to appreciative laughter. “That was the kickoff. That’s when my mind started to go into another area of, yes you can do, and I began to think, gee whiz, I could write for comedians. And all my life from age 23 on, I was born again in terms of the value of education. To study, to do something, and be proud of an assignment.” Cosby is well aware his life could have been quite different. “Had it not been for the positive influence of this professor, without him reading that (paper) out loud and my hearing the class laugh, who knows. I may be at this age a retired gym teacher, well loved by some of his students.” While a Temple University student Cosby worked at a coffee house where he first performed his humorous stories. Then he began filling in for the house comic at a Philly nightclub and warming up the audience of a local live radio show. Those early gigs helped him arrive at his signature style. “When I was looking for that style I saw it in a Chinese restaurant. It was a party of eight white people and there was a fellow
talking and everybody was just laughing. Women were folding napkins up to cover their faces. This was not a professional performer. Upon analyzing it I noted three things. First of all, he’s a friend of the other seven. Secondly, he’s talking about something they all know that happened. Thirdly, it happened to him and they are enjoying listening to his experience from his viewpoint. “And so I decided that’s who I want to be, that’s the style, because my storytelling is the same thing, whether I’m talking about pulling my own tooth or sharpening a pencil until it’s nothing but metal and --Please turn to page 14.
Photo by Marlon A. Wright
Boys Town family teachers Tony and Simone Jones met with Cosby backstage before his May 6 Omaha performance at the Orpheum Theater.
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Unique style has translated to books, recordings --Continued from page 13. rubber.” Not everyone recognized Cosby’s talents. He talked about a bit he wrote and then shared with a comic about Clark Kent changing clothes in a phone booth. In the bit a cop shows up and asked Kent what he’s doing. When Clark said he was changing into his Superman outfit with the red “S” on the chest, the police officer was unimpressed. “You’re going to have a red “S” and a black eye,” the officer replied. “The comic read it and said, ‘This is not funny,’” Cosby recalled. “Within a couple of years it was on my first album.” Cosby ventured to New York City and followed the stand-up circuit. Then came his big break as he appeared on The Tonight Show. Grammy-winning recordings soon followed. Along with Dick Gregory, Nipsey Russell, and Godfrey Cambridge, Cosby was among a select group of black comics who crossed over to give white audiences permission to laugh at themselves. None reached the breakout success of Cosby. Without his opening the doors, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor, and Eddie Murphy would have found it more difficult to enjoy their mainstream acceptance. “I would imagine it was something brand new for an awful lot of people to see this black person
talking and making a connection and laughing because, yeah, that happened to me.” The iconic comic’s raconteur style has translated to bestselling albums and books where he mines his favorite themes of family, fatherhood, and children. His warm, witty approach has made him a television and film star. In his Orpheum Theater dressing room in Omaha, Cosby appeared fit and comfortable in the same simple, informal attire he wore on stage: a gray sweatshirt with the words Thank You printed on it and gray sweatpants with a drawstring. The only thing missing from his stage outfit was his flip-flops. He spoke to visitors wearing socks. Totally in his element, with light bulb-studded mirrors, a soft leather sofa, and bottles of Perrier water within easy reach, he captivated the audience of a two dozen inside the dressing room just as expertly as he did the 1,500 souls in the auditorium. Asked what it is that still drives him to continue performing at age 74, Cosby answered, “I am still in the business. I’m still thinking, I’m still writing, I’m still performing extraordinarily well, and in a master sense.” Those comments echoed something he said during an earlier phone interview about going on stage with a plan but being crafty enough to go
where his instincts take him. “Once I pass that threshold from those curtains to come out and sit down, I know what I would like to do but I keep it wide open. I don’t know which way it’s going to shift, and a part of it has to do with the audience and the other part has to do with me – where am I at that time and what’s the brain connecting with in terms of being excited about something. “I did a show in Tyler, Texas and I started out with enthusiasm talking about something and then I didn’t like what I was doing and I shifted the material to non-trends to trends until finally they began to click. In other words, some audiences are and (others) are not, and you have to go out there and find that, find what keeps and what works. It’s 50 years now. I know exactly where to mine and what to do.” Cosby knows he’ll eventually hit the sweet spots. As an American Institution he has the luxury too of having audiences in the palm of his hand. “Now, we already have a relationship that’s wonderful because people already know I’m funny, so there’s no guessing there. Are they trusting you? Do I feel that way? It’s very complex but because I’m a master at it I think you want me in that driver’s seat to turn you on.” Cosby said it takes confidence, even courage to go out on that stage. “Yes sir, and you need that, no matter what. I don’t care if you’re a driving instructor or what. If your confidence goes bad in comedy…” he said, his voice trailing off at the thought. “Whether you’re writing or getting ready to perform or sitting with friends and talking you have to have that confidence.” Cosby can’t conceive of slowing down when he still has the physical energy and mental edge to perform in peak fashion. Besides, he pointed out he’s not alone pursuing the comic craft at his age. Don Rickles, Bob Newhart, Mort Sahl, Bill Dana, Dick Gregory, Dick Cavett, and Joan Rivers are older yet and still performing at the top of their game. He said he fully intends returning to Omaha and selling out the venue next time. “So there I am talking about coming back – see?” Besides, comics never retire unless their mind goes or body fails. The way he looks, Cosby might be at this for decades more.
sked if he has any favorite routines or rituals backstage, he said aside from resting and signing memorabilia, he generally does what’s made him famous – talk. He bends the ears and tickles the funny bones of theater staffers, promoters, personal assistants, friends, acquaintances, and fans. Then, as if on cue, his aide Daniel popped in to say Bob Boozer was outside. Cosby immediately lit up, saying, “Ahhhh, all right, bring Bobby in and tell him he cannot come in without my you know what.” Boozer, the hoops legend, lumbered in bearing a sweet potato pie his wife Ella baked. “Here’s Ella’s contribution to 2012 Cosby,” Boozer said handing the prized dessert to Cosby, who accepted it with a covetous grin that would do Fat Albert (a Cosby character) proud. “I appreciate that you didn’t get in it,” Cosby teased Boozer, who for decades has made a tradition of bringing the entertainer Ella’s homemade sweet potato pie whenever he performs in Omaha. Boozer confided later, “He loves it. I never will forget one time at Aksarben he had the pie on-stage with him and somebody in the crowd asked if they could get a slice. He draped his Photo by Marlon A. Wright arms over it and said, ‘Heavens no, this pie is goCosby says it takes confidence, even courage to perform before a live audience on stage. --Please turn to page 15.
High school dropout became TV’s first black leading man --Continued from page 14. ing back on the plane with me.’” The two men go way back, to when Boozer played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cosby was shooting the TV show I Spy. A teammate of Boozer’s, Walt Hazzard, was a Philly native like Cosby. Hazzard introduced Cos to Boozer and they hit it off. In those days, a coterie of black athletes and entertainers would gather at Cosby’s west coast pad for marathon rounds of the card game Bid Whist and free-flowing discussions. “We usually would have a hilarious time,” Boozer recalled. When the Lakers were on the road and Cosby was performing in the same town, Boozer said he and Hazzard “would always show up at his (Cosby’s) gigs and visit with him about old times and that kind of thing.” Together again at the Orpheum in Omaha, Boozer and Cosby reminisced. They share much in common as black men of the same age who helped integrate different spheres of American culture. They were both athletes, though at vastly different levels. Cosby was a fair track and field competitor in high school, the U.S. Navy, and at Temple University. Boozer was an all-state basketball player at Omaha Tech High School, an All-American at Kansas State University, a member of the 1960 gold medal-winning U.S, Olympic team, and the sixth man for the 1971 NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. When Boozer entered the then-fledgling National Basketball Association in 1960 blacks were still a rarity in the league. When he retired in ‘71 he became one of the first black corporate executives in his hometown of Omaha at Northwestern Bell. Boozer and Cosby have known each other through ups and downs. So when these two old warhorses reunite there’s an unspoken rapport that transcends time. Like any ex-athletes of a certain age they live with aches and pains. At one point Cosby placed his hands on Boozer’s knees and intoned, “Heal, heal.” When asked later if it did any good, Boozer said, “No, I wish it would though.”
osby’s such a staple today it’s easy to forget he helped usher in a soft revolution. At the same time his good friend Sidney Poitier was opening doors for blacks on the big screen, Cosby did the same on the small screen. He became the first black leading man on network TV when he teamed with Robert Culp in the groundbreaking episodic series I Spy from 1965 to 1968. Cosby broke more ground with his TV specials, talk-variety show appearances, and his innovative educational children’s program, The Electric Company from 1971 to 1973. He was the first black man to headline his own series, The Cosby Show from 1969 to 1971. But it was his second sit-com, also called The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992 that became a national sensation for its popular, positive portrayals of black family life. The series made Cosby a fortune and a beloved national figure. Pie wasn’t the only thing Boozer brought that day. The Nebraska Board of Parole member volunteers with youth at Boys Town. A family home there he’s become particularly “attached to” is headed by family teachers Tony and Simone Jones, who at Boozer’s invitation arrived with nine boys in tow, including their two sons. Cosby went down the half-circle line of boys one by one to meet them – clasping hands, getting their names, asking questions, and horsing around. When told Tony and Simone are in charge of them all Cosby saw a teachable moment and asked, “You live with them? Why? You were not
Photo by Marlon A. Wright
Cosby with Carver Jones, son of Boys Town family teachers Simone and Tony Jones. drafted to look after these boys. OK, then tell me, why are you living there with them?” “Because we feel it’s our responsibility to take care of the kids, not only our own youth but youth in society,” said Simone. “But what made that a responsibility for you? They’re not your children,” probed Cosby. Tony next gave it a try, saying, “Mr. Cosby, I’ll answer just very simply. My mom passed when I was 12 years old, and I went to Boys Town to live.” Cosby’s conversation continued as he asked the boys about what Boys Town had done for Jones. Giving Tony a second chance was a popular reply. “Well, more than a second chance,” Cosby replied. “It took care of him and made him take care of himself, because you can see he’s eating well,” Cosby teased the stout Jones. “And that’s why he’s living with you now – he’s trying to build you,” Cosby told the kids.
The conversation then turned to what Cosby called “the hard knock life” these kids come from. He noted youth today confront different challenges than what he or Boozer faced growing up and that Boys Town provides healthy mediation. “We lived with our biological parents. Now my father drank too much and said he didn’t want any responsibility, which left the whole job on my mother, so we lived in a housing project. Yet we didn’t have the pressures these guys have, the insanity that exists today, and by insanity I mean not normal. “When I was coming up we didn’t have Omaha, Neb. ranked high in teenage boys murdering each other. Am I making sense? We didn’t have the guns being placed in our neighborhoods. We had guys who made guns but you had better than a 70-30 chance that gun would blow up in his hands. But now we have real guns and good -Please turn to page 17.
Read it & eat By Lois Friedman firstname.lastname@example.org
Try one of these meaty recipes Grab your favorite cut of meat, stoke up the fire, heat up the oven for some tasty treats from these incredible cookbooks. Sunday Roasts By Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle, $24.95) A year of roasting recipes for meat, poultry, and seafood. Try something new and delicious every Sunday of the year. All that with 25 sides and sauces, too. Let’s Braai By Carmen Niehaus (NBP) For beginners and old hands. Invite friends and family to share South African favorites to cook over coals. Master the art of braaiing for succulent steaks, mouthwatering venison and, roasted fruits and veggies. Lovely color photographs. Weber’s Time to Grill By Jamie Purviance (Sunset, $24.95) Get in, get out, get grilling! Check out more than 200 recipes for appetizers through desserts.”Easy” recipes listed on the left, “adventurous” on the right from this chef. Fun graphics and illustrations cooked on the Illinois grill created by George Stephen in 1952.
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$30 = 7 meals or 1.75 hours of in-home homemaker services or 1 bath aide service for frail older adults. $75 = 17 meals or 4.75 hours of in-home homemaker services or 4 bath aide services for frail older adults. $150 = 35 meals or 9.5 hours of in-home homemaker services or 8 bath aide services for frail older adults. $300 = 70 meals or 19.25 hours of in-home homemaker services or 16 bath aide services for frail older adults. Other amount (please designate)__________________________ Please contact me. I would like to learn more about how to include the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging in my estate planning. Name:_____________________________________
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I Love Meatballs! By Rick Rodgers (Andrews McMeel, $19.99) Fifty recipes for a variety of ethnicities in six chapters with tips and tricks. Around the world recipes for Albondigas to Ziti, meatballs rule to start, in your soup, between bread, with pasta and more. A freezer full of meatballs is a dream come true. Use this sauce with a bag of frozen storebought or refrigerated meatballs. For your next gathering, this easy recipe is sure to please. You can even use frozen or refrigerated store-bought meatballs with this sauce for a super quick crowd pleaser.
Chafing Dish Meatballs (Serves 12) Meatballs 2 pounds ground round (85% lean) 3/4 cup dried plain bread crumbs 2 large eggs, beaten 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 12 teaspoon granulated garlic 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Easy Sweet-and-Sour Sauce 1 (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce 1 cup grape jelly Wooden toothpicks, for serving To make the meatballs, combine the ground round, bread crumbs, eggs, salt, granulated garlic, and pepper, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to four hours. Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Lightly oil two rimmed baking sheets. Using your wet hands rinsed under cold water, shape the meat mixture into 48 equal small meatballs. Arrange on the baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. To make the sauce, bring the chili sauce and jelly to a boil in a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole over medium heat, stirring often. Add the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly (about five minutes.) Transfer to a chafing dish or slow cooker to keep warm. Serve hot, with toothpicks for spearing.
Retired fed employees meet monthly
he National Association of 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 402-333-6460. The National Association of 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 402-392-0624.
Dr. William Cosby...
SeniorHelp volunteer opportunities
he Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s SeniorHelp Program has a variety of volunteer opportunities available for persons of all ages that provide services to help older adults in ways that support dignity and independence in their
Photo by Marlon A. Wright
Cosby embraces the opportunity to challenge parents and educators as they support young people working to achieve their goals. --Continued from page 15. ones, too. It’s in the home.” Cosby said it comes down to caring and making good choices. He used the example of Earl Lloyd, the first black to score a point in the NBA. Lloyd wrote a book in which he tells the story of being 14 or 15 years old when he was quizzed by his mother about his whereabouts. She warned him about the importance of staying away from trouble. “But the idea is where are these boys coming from and what places they may have to get to. There’s a place called Girard College in my hometown. You need to look it up. Forty-three acres. I call it the 10th Wonder of the World,” Cosby said. The college – where Cosby gave the commencement speech last year – has a largely African-American student enrollment and graduates a high percentage of its students, most of who come from at-risk circumstances. He said it’s a shining example of what can be.
“What’s missing in this society for black people and people of color is to own something, a small business to build upon,” he told the Boys Town youth. “Many of you because of your color you will get the feeling, yeah I can study but once I step away from college and go outside of that there are too many people that look at my color and listen to my language and they won’t really welcome me. And all of you here know exactly what that feels like.” Then, turning to Tony and Simone and referring to the boys, Cosby said, “We’ve got to do more with fellows like these for them to do shadowing, to find business people willing to allow the boys to not go get coffee or to tie their shoes but to shadow (them). It can happen in hospitals, it can happen in factories, businesses, so that these young males begin to understand what they can do.” Cosby clearly admires the difference that adults like Tony and Simone make,
Photo by Marlon A. Wright
Cosby and the late Bob Boozer listened during a conversation with some Boys Town residents.
telling them he can see “the joy of these boys knowing that you guys care.” “It’s about showing them the possibilities,” said Simone. The entertainer knows full well what encouragement from a teacher can mean. Before showing his guests out, Simone and Tony got a moment alone with Cosby. “He pulled us aside and told us, ‘You really need to push children hard to get them to do what they should do. You can’t let them slide. Sometimes you have to make a choice for them,’ Simone said. “We appreciated his words of advice and wisdom.” Meeting the legend, she says, “was a remarkable experience. He was really concerned with our kids and what we do. I know every kid that was there took away something that’s magical that they’ll hold with them for the rest of their lives.” Amidst departing smiles, handshakes, and breaka-leg well wishes this reporter was reminded of what Cosby said about the possibilities he began to see for himself once his college English professor took notice. “I knew I was on track with what I wanted to do.” Things have come full circle now and Cosby embraces the “each-one-toteach-one” role of challenging parents and educators to support, guide, and prod young people to achieve. As his own story illustrates, realizing one’s potential starts with a nudge. Once you believe in yourself, anything’s possible.
daily lives. For more information, please call Karen Kelly at 402561-2238 or send an e-mail to email@example.com. • Companionship: Volunteers are needed to visit clients in Omaha zip codes 68102, 68104, 68105, and 68112 as well as in Fremont. • Transportation: Drivers are being asked to take older adults grocery shopping every other week in the Omaha area, to medical appointments as needed in the Omaha area, and to transport an older adult in Bellevue to the food bank twice a month. • Handyman/Home Maintenance: Volunteers are needed to provide home repairs in the Omaha area. Other projects include installing a hand railing in a garage for an 82-year-old in Fremont, building a ramp for a 78-year-old in Fremont, and caulking windows and repairing the floors in a trailer home in Murray. • Household Assistance: Volunteers are being recruited to provide housekeeping, sorting, and organizing in the Omaha area, and to grocery shop by a list for 65-year-old in Bellevue. • Meals Delivery: Drivers are needed to deliver midday meals in Omaha zip codes 68114, 68134, and 68144 • Lawn Mowing: Volunteers are needed to mow lawns in the Omaha area. • Painting: Volunteers are being asked to paint the inside and outside of homes in the Omaha area and to paint and seal a basement wall and railing in Bellevue. • Yard Work: Volunteers are being recruited to clean gutters, rake, trim bushes, haul debris, and wash windows in the Omaha area. Other projects include cleaning windows for a Springfield resident and cleaning a yard in Fremont.
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Vols needed for AARP’s information Center
ARP is recruiting older men and women to serve as volunteers at its Nebraska Information Center, 1941 S. 42nd St. (Center Mall). Volunteers can choose the days and hours they wish to volunteer at the center which is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 402-398-9568 or 402393-2066.
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Phone line gives older adults access to legal information Legal 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.
Call 402-827-5656 in Omaha and 1-800-527-7249 statewide. 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.
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New Horizons Club gains new members $25 Kathy Mathews Dorothy Moudy Jackie Loth $10 Nancy Caruso $5 Patricia Cody M. J. Safranek Judy Buono Leonard Tylski Kathleen Kersting Reflects donations received through May 25, 2012.
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Connie Stilwell’s art career has continued despite battles with sight, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease
Omaha Performing Arts announces its 2012-13 season of productions
onnie (Platt) Stilwell began painting at age 6 while a student at Omaha’s Rose Hill Elementary School. “It was like breathing for me. I didn’t have to think about what I was doing, it just emerged,” she said during a recent interview at her southwest Omaha home. Goldie McCaubbre – a traveling Omaha Public Schools’ art instructor – was a major influence on Connie’s early artwork. “She’d jump up and down, clap her hands, and really encourage me,” Stilwell recalled. Shortly after her colorful career began, Stilwell won a contest for young artists at Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum in 1941. “The painting was a winter scene of children pulling a sled,” she said. An Omaha Central High School graduate, Connie married Irvin Singer when she was 19 years old. The couple had a son and two daughters. She and Singer divorced after a 22-year marriage during which Connie took oil painting classes from Augustus Dunbar for six years. Her growing passion for art made Stilwell “feel worthwhile,” she said. Omaha artists Marie Christian and Isabella Threlkeld were also mentors to Stilwell and influences on her style and artistic flair. “Working with Isabella was a breath of fresh air,” Stilwell said. “It was strictly abstract (art). It was so much fun.”
Blockbuster Broadway hits, critically-acclaimed dance companies, family-friendly entertainment, comedians, and world-class musicians are among Omaha Performing Arts’ 2012-2013 season lineup. With five great series – Broadway, Dance, Family, Jazz, and the newly named Showcase series, formerly Popular – as well as a broad selection of season extras, Omaha Performing Arts offers a diverse lineup of artists and ensembles with more than 100 performance dates.
n 1985, Connie married animal scientist Dr. Daniel Stilwell. The couple was married for 15 years before Dr. Stilwell’s death.
For more information on season tickets, please call 402-345-0606 or 866-434-8587. Omaha Performing Arts’ 2012-2013 season is packed with well-known arts and entertainment names including premier dance company The Joffrey Ballet performing The Rite of Spring in honor of the work’s 100th anniversary, and world-renowned jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis. Iconic comedienne and actress Joan Rivers will appear, and Broadway enthusiasts will enjoy productions such as Shrek The Musical and Billy Elliott the Musical. Season ticket packages, each containing three to five performances, start as low as $55 and are as low as $152 for the Broadway Season Ticket packages. Patrons may add Season Extras and the Broadway special to their Season Ticket order at a savings of at least 15 percent over the single ticket price. For more information about Omaha Performing Arts’ Season Tickets, visit omahaperformingarts.org/seasontickets or call 402-345-0606 or toll-free at 866-434-8587. Single tickets for the 2012-2013 Omaha Performing Arts season will go on sale Friday, Sept. 7.
Stilwell has sold hundreds of paintings during an art career which began when she was age 6. In addition to being a wife, mother, and artist, Connie – who has her R.N. degree from Nebraska Methodist College and a bachelor of nursing science from Northern Virginia Community College – worked as a nurse at Methodist Hospital, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and at two hospitals in Virginia. She shared her artistic talents as an instructor with students at Omaha’s Duchesne, Paul VI, and Cathedral high schools.
Connie works on a project in an art studio in the basement of her southwest Omaha home.
Paint-a-Thon applications available through Wells Fargo, 211 network
Over the years, Stilwell, age 76, has sold hundreds pplications are available at area Wells Fargo of her paintings. One oil Bank locations and through the United Way’s painting sold for more than 211 phone network for the annual Brush up Ne$1,000. “It makes me happy braska Paint-a-Thon. when people buy my work,” Applicants must live in Douglas or Sarpy counties, she said. be age 60 and older or permanently disabled, live in a In April 2010, Connie’s single-family dwelling they own or are buying, and meet career nearly ended as she income guidelines. lost her sight following a The applications must be returned by Friday, June 8. cortisone shot taken to fight If selected, the older adult or the person with a disher allergies. “I could see ability will have their home painted by a team of volunfigures, but I couldn’t read teers at no cost to the homeowner on Saturday, Aug. 18. and I couldn’t paint.” For more information, please call 211 or 402-965After treatment by physi9169. cians in Omaha and Iowa City, Iowa, Stilwell regained her vision five months later. Letters to ENOA “It was scary, I was very depressed,” she recalled. Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging care manager Sandy “When I regained my sight, Freeberg recently received this letter from the family of one I realized God had another of her late clients. plan for me.” Stilwell said her paintings have actually improved Sandy: since her vision returned. “I’m not painting what is there. I’m painting what We wanted to let you know that our mom, Chris M. should be there,” she exrecently passed away. It was much to our surprise. plained. We wanted to thank you for being her caseworker For the last seven years, Connie has battled Parkinand being attentive to her needs. Also, we don’t son’s disease. She’s also a know what we would have done without all the diabetic who has no plans to stop creating beautiful subsidy assistance from ENOA to help maintain a landscapes and portraits on healthy family respite balance (Franciscan). Bless canvas. you and take care. “I paint because I have to. It’s what I am. It’s what I was born to do. It’s what I’ll Kathy M. and family always do.”
Lewy Body support group meets June 19 The Metro Omaha Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) Support Group will meet on Tuesday, June 19 at 1 p.m. at the Millard branch of the Omaha Public Library, 13214 Westwood Ln. LBD is a group of progressive brain diseases that are the second leading cause of degenerative dementia among older adults, affecting more than 1.3 million American families. More information about Lewy Body Dementia is available online at www.lbda.org/go/awareness. For more information about the support group, please log on to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Ann Taylor at 402-4523952.
New resource handbook available Copies of the 2012 to 2014 ElderCare Resource Handbook are available online or as a hard copy from Care Consultants for the Aging. The 10th edition of the publication provides information about programs and services for older adults in eastern Nebraska. Divided into five sections, the ElderCare Resource Handbook lists options for medical support, home health care and support services, living options, senior services, and government, financial, and legal services. The ElderCare Resource Handbook is available three ways: • For $7 at the Care Consultants for the Aging office, 7701 Pacific St., Suite 100. • By sending your name, address, and a check or money order for $10 to Care Consultants for the Aging, 7701 Pacific St., Suite 100, Omaha, Neb. 68114. The book will be mailed to you. You can also order the handbook using your credit card, by calling 402-398-1848. • By logging on the Internet to www.careconsultants. com. Click on the Resource Handbook tab. For more information, please call 402-398-1848. Law Offices of Charles E. Dorwart 26 years of legal experience • Wills • Living Trusts • Probate • Healthcare and Financial Powers of Attorney • In Home Consultations • Free Initial Consultation
Is your home universally designed? By Kelsey Poloncic
hen purchasing a home, many buyers fantasize about spending many years in a home, making memories, and growing old. Their home “must have” lists often include kitchens with granite countertops, master bathrooms, and walk-in closets. All are great home features. However, homebuyers often overlook one important home feature, universal design and accessibility. According to a 2011 AARP home fit guide report, universal design means the home is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Universal design and home accessibility are important because they allow you to access and use all parts of your home. As you age it can become more difficult to use certain areas in your home such as a bathroom, because the layout of the home may not be universally designed to accommodate different needs. Because of this, a home that does not have a universal layout may prevent you from living independently. Before purchasing, determining the universal design and accessibility of the home will help you decide if the home is appropriate. To determine the home’s accessibility, AARP has developed the following checklist: • Is there at least one step-free entrance into the home? • Are there a bedroom, full bath, and kitchen facilities on one level? • Are the doorways and hallways wide enough to let a wheelchair pass through? • Do doorknobs and faucets have level handles, which are easier to use than rounded knobs? • Are kitchen countertops mounted at varying heights so they can be used while
standing or seated? • Can kitchen and bathroom cabinets and shelves be easily reached? • Do the bathtub and/or shower have a non-slip surface? • Are there grab bars in the bathroom or has the wall been reinforced so you can add them? • Are hallways and staircases well lit? • Are there secure handrails on both sides of stairways? • Can light switches, electrical outlets, and thermostats be easily reached even when seated? • Can the windows be opened with minimum effort.
nce you have completed the checklist and looked at design and accessibility it is important to decide if the home matches your needs. If the home is accessible and matches your needs, then the home is probably a good fit. If you are having trouble deciding if the home is right for you, an occupational therapist can come into the home and make home modification and recommendations. Occupational therapists are health care professionals that specialize in home accessibility by performing home assessments. Occupational therapists’ responsibilities include determining how safe a home is and if it allows homeowners to live at home independently. Their expertise will assist you in deciding if the home matches your personal needs. With help from the universal design checklist and an occupational therapist, selecting a home that matches your needs will help you live comfortably and independently in your home. (Poloncic is am occupational therapy student at Omaha’s College of Saint Mary.)
Held May 1 at the D.C. Centre
Annual event honors ENOA’s Foster Grandparents
11414 West Center Road • Suite 344 Omaha, NE 68144 Office: (402) 558-1404 • Fax: (402) 779-7498 Cdorwartjd@aol.com
For a limited time only Are you age 62 or better and want to live independently, but in a catered environment?
Skyline Retirement Community is offering a studio apartment with: • Full kitchen ALL THIS FOR • All utilities included ONLY $600 • FREE satellite TV PER MONTH!!!!! Limited number of • Library apartments available. • Chapel • Fitness center with age appropriate classes and a personal fitness trainer on site. Call Angie or Carol at
402-572-1870 7300 Graceland Drive • Omaha 68134 • www.skylinerc.com
Foster Grandparent Program volunteers (from left): Mary Mires, Pat Stowers, Helen Pinkard, Cece Workman, and Joe Mattox were among the men and women honored recently at the FGP’s annual recognition luncheon at the D.C. Centre. The theme of this year’s festivities was Foster Grandparents Rock! The program featured a meal, entertainment by the Omaha Burke High School Rock Stars, and a hilarious presentation by humorist Mary Maxwell. The event also saluted FGP’s volunteer stations, the FGP Advisory Council, and businesses and the individuals that purchased more than $100 in poinsettias during the program’s annual fundraiser.
Helen Kensinger reviews her 60-year career in nursing
elen (Halker) Kensinger took an aptitude test while attending high school. The results suggested she pursue a career in law, medicine, or nursing. After graduating from Omaha Benson High School in 1942 and earning a scholarship to Omaha University, Kensinger dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Her aunt and uncle, Ora and Bob Halker, who had adopted Helen from a Kansas orphanage when she was 8 years old, ended those dreams. “They didn’t understand what a scholarship would pay for, and not wanting me to get into debt, wouldn’t allow me to go to college,” Kensinger, age 88, said during a recent interview in her southwest Omaha home. The disappointed teenager took a position as a stenographer in a physician’s office, but an encounter with a drunken patient scared Kensinger away from her first job. She quickly landed on her feet and was hired as a clerk by the Lied Motor Car Company. She met a machinist who worked at the auto dealer – Bob Kensinger – who became her husband for 29 years and the father of their two sons. In 1944, Helen heard about a United States Army Nurse Cadet Corps program that would pay for her tuition, books, room, board, and uniform at Nebraska Methodist College. “They also provided a $15 per month stipend,” she recalled. In exchange for having her three years of nursing school paid for, Kensinger would have to serve six months in the Army which desperately needed nurses during WWII. “I thought it was a good idea, but my parents were horrified. They didn’t think nursing was ethically or morally correct,” Kensinger said. “I joined anyway,” she said, smiling at the memory.
n June 1945, Helen and Bob Kensinger – then stationed near Amarillo, Texas training to become a bombardier – got married. Shortly thereafter, WWII ended. Helen’s arrangement with the Army
Helen Kensinger graduated from Nebraska Methodist College in 1949.
Nurses Cadet Corps also ended forcing her to leave school. She joined Bob in Amarillo where the couple lived for two years before moving to Omaha in 1947. In February of that year, their son, Howard, was born. The Kensingers’ second son, Chuck, was born in 1950. Helen’s personal physician Dr. Charles Marsh encouraged Kensinger, who was unhappy and dissatisfied with her life, to re-enroll in nursing school. “In those days, nursing schools didn’t (normally) accept married students,” Kensinger said. Helen met with Edna Fagan, Nebraska Methodist College’s director of nursing, who had created the school’s new policy for dealing with married students. “She told me I could come back but that I’d have to live in the dorms (apart from her husband and son) and I had to keep hours,” Kensinger said. Nursing school meant classes from 8:30 a.m. to noon and clinical work from 3 to 11 p.m. “I got up at 4 a.m. each morning to pick up my baby and bring him back to the dorm,” she said. Kensinger and her classmates took care of Howard between classes until 2 p.m. each day when Helen would return the baby to a neighbor who watched the child until Bob came home at 5. That went on for 18 months until Kensinger graduated from Nebraska Methodist College in 1949. The next day, Helen was hired to work in Methodist Hospital’s obstetric department for $75 a month. To this day, Kensinger doesn’t know who paid for her final 18 months of college. She believes it may have been Dr. Marsh, Edna Fagan, or Rev. Bo Lyle, an Omaha minister who was a friend of Helen’s parents. “Edna Fagan told me the best way to pay it back was for me to give back to my patients. I carried that thought my whole career,” Kensinger said.
hen Methodist Hospital opened its new facility in 1968 at 84th and Dodge streets, Kensinger – who had earned a Master’s degree in adult education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha – became the facility’s assistant director of nursing. Sitting behind a desk wasn’t comfortable for Helen who took a second job working the night shift at a nursing home in Elkhorn. “I wanted to work next to the patients, not as a pencil pusher,” she said. “I eventually grew to appreciate my role as an administrator.” In 1980, Kensinger, then a divorced mother of two grown sons, was ready for a career change and took a position with Lafayette General Hospital in Louisiana. Eighteen months later, the Hospital Corps of America in Nashville hired her as a nurse consultant.
Kensinger doesn’t know who paid for her final 18 months at Nebraska Methodist College. Helen’s Hospital Corps job took her to places like the King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “You wouldn’t believe the opulence in that hospital,” Kensinger said.
“At first I wanted to be a lawyer, but I ended up choosing nursing. It turned out to be a good choice.” Living and working in Saudi Arabia for eight weeks was a culture shock for Helen. “The only place I could go was the market.” Kensinger bristled as she recalled how the chauvinistic Saudi male hospital administrators left the room to have tea each time she tried to meet with them. In 1992, Hospital Corps eliminated Kensinger’s job; two weeks before she would become vested in the company’s retirement plan. She moved back to Omaha and took a refresher course in nursing at Clarkson Hospital before landing a six-month teaching job at Jennie Edmondson Hospital in Council Bluffs. The next 10 years, Helen taught nursing at Metropolitan Community College. “I enjoyed that very much,” she said. Tired of making the long drive from her home in southwest Omaha
to MCC’s Fort Omaha campus, Kensinger retired from teaching in 2002. The next seven-year phase of Helen’s career was spent as a private duty nurse for a series of Omaha-area families. Then in 2009, Kensigner, age 85, suffered a heart attack and had to retire after spending 60 years and two months in nursing.
hese days, Kensinger, the grandmother of two, and great-grandmother of two, is able to stay in her home with some help from her son, Chuck, friend Jan Villotta, and the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. “I couldn’t exist without ENOA,” she said. She enjoys reminiscing about and sharing photos with visitors of her days as a competitive ballroom dancer in places like New York City, San Francisco, New Orleans, Jamaica, and England. “I usually finished in the top group.” Nothing brings Kensinger more joy, however, than thinking about her long career as a nurse. “At first I wanted to be a lawyer, but I ended up choosing nursing,” Helen said. “It turned out to be a good choice.” In a booklet published for the 1999 reunion of the Nebraska Methodist College classes of 1949 and 1950, Kensinger wrote the following: “Nursing has fulfilled my life and I hope my epitaph will be ‘she cared enough to make a difference in the lives she touched.”
Letters to ENOA
RSVP volunteers continue to work wonders Ana Ochoa, age 92, was honored recently at the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program’s annual recognition luncheon. The event titled RSVP Volunteers…Work Wonders With Experience, was held at the German American Society. During the last year, Ochoa served 1,010 hours at the Heartland Family Service Senior Center. Among the other volunteers honored that day were Janice Newman (1,945 hours), Charles Karrick (1,015 hours), Craig Johansen (870 hours), and Donald Sather (828 hours.)
Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging Medicaid Waiver services coordinator David Pursel recently received this letter from a family member of one of his clients.
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SCP thanks Essie Finley Chuck Udstuen, field supervisor with the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging’s Senior Companion Program, presented a bouquet of roses to Essie Finley for her 20 years of service to the program at the SCP’s annual recognition luncheon. Titled Senior Companions Rock, the event was held May 18 at the D.C. Centre.
Attorneys at Law William E. Seidler Jr.
www.seidler-seidler-law.com 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 525 Omaha, NE 68114-5705
Delivering quality legal services since 1957.
Bellevue Housing Authority accepting LeadingAge Nebraska honors Immanuel exec Steve Hess teve Hess, Vice President of apps for handicapped-accessible units Home and Community Based The Bellevue Housing Authority is accepting applications for its public housing handicapped-accessible units. Applications are available at the Bellevue Housing Authority administration office located at 8214 Armstrong Circle in Bellevue. Completed applications must be returned in person to the Bellevue Housing Authority office with all required documentation. All completed applications will be processed in the order they are received. This is not an opening of the general waiting list. Only those persons requiring a unit accessible for physical mobility are eligible to apply. The Bellevue Housing Authority is an equal opportunity housing provider committed to providing quality housing opportunities and services to all eligible applicants and participants regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap/disability.
BBB’s Senior Line can help protect against scams, provide information The Better Business Bureau Foundation has established the BBB Senior Line; a dedicated toll-free telephone line where older adults, their caregivers, and family members can receive reliable information on businesses, scams, and frauds. Through the BBB Senior Line (877-637-3334), Nebraskans may also get pre-purchase information or file a complaint about a business. “Seniors often feel hesitant about raising issues since they are fearful of being perceived as feeble or incompetent,” said BBB Operations Director Susan Howell. “Therefore, this phone line will be staffed by someone who understands the challenges and issues associated with aging.” Thousands of older men and women are scammed everyday through a variety of schemes and approaches. Because of their age and living conditions, older adults are often vulnerable against offers claiming to assist them with the cost of prescription drugs, insurance, or maintaining a home. “Therefore this safe, dedicated phone line will increase the BBB’s relevancy in the marketplace for a segment of the population that is rapidly growing,” said Jim Hegarty, the BBB’s president and CEO in Omaha. (The BBB provided this information.)
Services at Immanuel has been selected by LeadingAge Nebraska as its “Innovator of the Year.” The Innovator of the Year Award is given to the LeadingAge Nebraska member who has shown innovation through an idea, action, or personality that has positively impacted the aging services profession. LeadingAge Nebraska is the only state association representing the full continuum of mission-driven, not-for-profit providers of health care, housing, and services for older adults in Nebraska. Members of LeadingAge Nebraska provide housing and services to more than 5,000 older persons each year. “Steve embodies the very definition of innovation and is so deserving of this award,” said Julie Kaminski, LeadingAge Nebraska’s executive director.
CLASSIFIEDS A+ Heartland Concrete Const.
Driveways, garage floors, sidewalks, retaining walls. patio specialists. Insured/references. 13 year BBB Member
Please support NH advertisers! OLD STUFF WANTED (before 1975) Postcards, photos, drapes, lamps, 1950s and before fabrics, clothes, lady’s hats, & men’s ties, pictures, pottery, glass, jewelry, toys, fountain pens, furniture, etc. Call anytime 402-397-0254 or 402-250-9389
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Independent apartment living for persons age 55+ • Spacious 1 & 2 bedroom apartment homes • Elevator • Washer/dryer in every apartment • Garage included in rent • Beautifully landscaped grounds • Within walking distance of Ralston Park
• Emergency alarm system • 24-hour emergency maintenance • Controlled access entry • Community areas on every floor • Microwave • Icemaker • Window blinds furnished
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Best & honest prices paid for: Old jewelry, furniture, glassware, Hummels, knick-knacks, old hats & purses, dolls, old toys, quilts, linens, buttons, pottery, etc. Also buying estates & partial estates. Call Bev at 402-339-2856
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Some of the nicest, newer 1 bedroom apartments. Elevator, w & d, heated parking garage. Small complex. By bus & shopping. No pets or smoking. 93rd & Maple • 402-397-6921
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PAID THROUGH APRIL 2012
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Enoa Aging March 2012
Family caregivers honored at May 16 dinner The Respite Resource Center Coalition’s eighth annual recognition dinner, Food For the Soul, was held May 16 at the DC Centre. The event recognized and honored the hours of care provided by family members and friends for their loved ones of all ages. This year, 180 guests attended the dinner at no cost to them thanks to support from the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, the Respite Resource Center, the Enrichment Foundation, and the Children’s Respite Care Center. Entertainment was provided by the SNJ Singers and the Jazz Quartet.
Photo by Tim Parker
Gwen Elsasser was recognized for her caregiving.
“I Can’t Live with Excruciating Foot And Leg Pain” Announcing A New High Tech Method For The Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy and Type II Diabetes Symptoms... type of technology and because of the almost immediate type of pain relief, I had to have one of these deep tissue treatments in my facility no matter what the cost. I invested and implemented this new treatment that utilizes neuromuscular electronic stimulation for healing and pain relieving therapies.
“I drove 120 miles to get this treatment because I had not been able to feel my feet for 15 years. I work on a farm and I would stumble and fall because I could not feel the ground under my feet. I’m getting older and I can’t afford to fall and break something. After the treatments, I was able to feel my feet and toes again. Now for the first time in over a decade I have feelings in my feet. “ Patient M.H., Age 85
I traveled to another state and enrolled in extensive training. My staff and I witnessed some amazing reductions and eliminations of some of the worst pain syndromes I had ever seen… And it was FAST! After just a few min“Doc, I can’t live with this excruci- utes of treatment on patients with exating foot and leg pain!” treme and chronic pain of the worst kind, including neuropathy of the feet When you hear this from a patient it and legs, we had patients telling us gets your attention. Typically, I get the how their pain levels had decreased worst of the worst pain patients but when I recently heard this exclamation, and they were shocked. Some of So just how can you see if them had their pain even allevimy attention was particularly peaked. Dr. Goodman’s ated after only one treatment. Let’s call this patient Bob. Bob is 62 Neuropathy Pain Relief years old with neuropathy in his hands and feet. He had poorly controlled Type treatment will help you to II Diabetes and his life was literally as reduce or eliminate your he described it “a living hell.” Clearly foot or leg pain? he was coming to the end of his rope. The nerves in his legs and feet were For a limited number of callers (we damaged and he was in HORRIBLE are limiting this to the first 27 callers CONSTANT PAIN due to the response to this type of offer), we are now offering our unique “I Can’t Sleep at Night!” 7-Point FREE Evaluation… We were able to reduce or He complained to me, “I can’t sleep at night because my legs feel like they even eliminate neuropathy are being eaten by little bugs or pain of the worst kind. chewed on by small animals.” Using the latest and most recent techDuring the day, he could hardly walk nologies, I now offer a non-invasive, and every step sent shooting pain like non surgical and painless neuropathy lightning from his toes and up his legs pain treatment. I help patients reduce up almost to his knees. He had or even eliminate their neuropathy pain numbness in his feet and couldn’t using nutritional therapies, combined feel his feet very well and had terri- with specific non-surgical, non-invasive, During your free evaluation, you will ble balance problems. He was worried relaxing re-integration, and stimulation be checked for: he might fall and injure himself. treatments of peripheral nerves using -Foot and Leg Circulation He told me that he could not go on liv- Neuromuscular electronic stimulation to -Nerve Sensitivity increase circulation and lymphatic flow ing with this constant, debilitating pain -Pain Fiber Receptors to increase their function quickly. that had made every day a tragedy. -Thermal Receptors -Pressure Receptor I had to help this man! -Light Touch Sensitivity -Nutritional Sensitivities I recently was fortunate enough to accidentally discover a new noninvasive and non-drug treatment Once you’ve been evaluated fully and for severe and constant foot and completely with our very thorough leg pain caused by neuropathy. Neuropathy Treatment Evaluation, we I learned about a new type of nonwill know if you are a candidate for this surgical and painless neuromuscular new painless and effective Neuropathy stimulation treatment that was working Pain Relief Program. wonders with severe, constant chronic Here’s what some patients have pain, including pain caused by Call our office right away to qualify for
FREE 7-Point Leg and Foot Neuropathy Evaluation!
said about the treatments:
It had the ability to quickly increase circulation to an area (much needed in a neuropathy patient). It could reduce and/or eliminate pain in as little as a few treatments and was changing the lives of patients with severe debilitating pain in offices across the nation.
“I was on 14 medications and my doctors Evaluation Appointments! had told me I may need to have my foot amputated. I hadn't been able to wear shoes other than sandals for years because of my swollen and painful feet. After going through this program I’ve lost weight and my foot pain is gone. I can now wear normal shoes.” Dr. Chad Goodman, Chiropractic Physician Patient, N.S., Age 58 Omaha Total Health and Body,
Based on the research about his new
one of the 27 Free Neuropathy
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(402) 493-4333 5660 N 103rd Street, Omaha, NE 68134
Corrigan Senior Center You’re invited to visit the Corrigan Senior Center, 3819 X St. this month for: • Monday, June 4: Play South Omaha Trivia with Don Priester. Stay for a delicious lunch and bingo. • Monday, June 11: Father’s Day Week Kick-off with entertainment by Yesterday’s Kids @ 11:15 a.m. A noon lunch and bingo follow. • Friday, June 15: Father’s Day Lunch. Join us for a special roast beef lunch, woodcarving demos, and pinochle. • Monday, June 18: Enjoy a video of the Jimmy Sturr Polka Band on the big screen TV @ 11 a.m. Stay for noon lunch and bingo. • Thursday, June 21: Welcome Summer Dinner and Mega Bingo. The noon lunch features BBQ chicken. Stay for bingo and win part of the $100 in cash prizes! The reservations deadline is noon on Tuesday, June 19. • Monday, June 25: Birthday Party and Bingo @ 11 a.m. Music by Joe Taylor sponsored by the Merrymakers and Medibadge. • Wednesday, June 27: Trip to Ameristar Casino. The shuttle leaves Corrigan at 11:30 a.m. and returns about 4:15 p.m. Join our fitness programs: T’ai Chi class Tuesday @ 10 a.m. Chair volleyball Tuesday and Thursday @ 11 a.m. Daily walking club. A free exercise equipment room is also available. We offer card games, bingo, ceramics, exercise, woodcarving, and loads of fun! Play chair volleyball Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. The Corrigan Senior Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served at noon. A $3 donation 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 Lynnette at 402-731-7210.
Care Team Calendar designed to help caregivers for persons with Alzheimer’s Lotsa Helping Hands and the Alzheimer’s Association recently launched the Alzheimer’s Care Team Calendar to support Alzheimer’s caregivers through their online communities. Powered by Lotsa Helping Hands, the Alzheimer’s Care Team Calendar enables a family member, friend, colleague, or neighbor to create an online community to help Alzheimer’s caregivers manage and carry out their daily responsibilities. Becoming a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is often unexpected. Few are prepared for the responsibility. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures report, the nation will spend $200 billion in 2012 caring for persons with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Care Team Calendar, an enhanced no-cost resource, will provide caregivers the gift of much needed help, emotional support, peace of mind, and the tools to better provide care. “We admire the work of the Alzheimer’s Association and its commitment to providing help and support to those who live with Alzheimer’s disease as well as their caregivers,” said Hal Chapel, CEO and co-founder of Lotsa Helping Hands. Lotsa Helping Hands is a free service that provides caregivers, their families, and their friends with an interactive online community that includes a comprehensive calendar feature to organize volunteer tasks for the recipient family, a vital information section to store health and legal data, community sections for members to post photos and well wishes and to participate in message boards. Each Alzheimer’s Care Team Calendar is completely customizable based on the needs of each specific caregiver. Once approved, family, friends, and neighbors can sign-up and be responsible for specific tasks. “One of the most important things an Alzheimer’s caregiver can do is to build a care team of family and friends to provide help and support throughout the journey,” said Beth Kallmyer, MSW, vice president of Constituent Services at the Alzheimer’s Association. For more information, view the Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease webinar, and visit the Alzheimer’s Association website at www.alz.organd Lotsa Helping Hands at www.lotsahelpinghands.com.