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Fall 2021

Solevo Wellness Transitions to Trulieve Also in this Issue...

Step Back into 2001 | Senior Living Spotlights Senior Profile: Howard Pfeifer Pages 8-9  |  Fall 2021





PO Box 425 Mars, PA 16046

Phone: 724-940-2444 Email:

Editorial 4 Senior Profile: Howard Pfeifer Janice Lane Palko 5 Advertorial: Tri-State Neuropathy Centers 6 Cover Story: Solevo Wellness Transistions to Trulieve Janice Lane Palko 8 13th Annual Celebrating Senior Champions 10 Exercise at Any Age Pays Dividends Dr. Joseph Maroon 12 Advertorial: Dos and Don’ts for Stopping Phone Scams Deb Walton, SRES® 14 Senior Living Spotlights 15 Keeping In Touch with Our Mental Livelihoods UPMC Senior Services 17 Medicare Choices Can Be Confusing Timothy P. Powers 18 The Long-Term Benefit of Professionally Fit, Advanced Medical Class Hearing Devices Debra Swift and Megan Myers-Auria 20 The Interesting Pros and Cons of Medicare Crystal A. Manning

In Every Issue...

President & Publisher Marion Swanson Piotrowski Executive Editor Janice Lane Palko Managing Editor/Public Relations Coordinator Paula M. Green Marketing & Account Executive and Office Coordinator Laura Arnold Marketing & Account Executive Mary L. Simpson Design & Production Kostilnik & Assoc. Graphics, Inc.

16 Remember When: Saturday Morning Cartoons Janice Lane Palko 22 The Good Old Days: Step Back Into 2001 Paula Green 24 The Battling Buccos – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Pirates’ 1971 World Series Championship Paula Green

Welcome to the Fall 2021 issue of Pittsburgh Fifty-Five Plus magazine! As events and activities are starting to open in and around the Pittsburgh area, I hope you will be able to enjoy this fall with your family and friends. Enjoy reading this issue’s featured articles and our regular columns. Thank you for your continued support. Together we continue to make our community a great place to live, work and retire!


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Pittsburgh Fifty Five Plus Magazine is published four times a year by Swanson Publishing Co., Inc. (P.O. Box 425, Mars, PA 16046, 724-940-2444) and is distributed free of charge throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region. Subscription can be purchased from the publisher at $25 for one year. The mission of the Swanson Publishing Co., Inc. is to connect the people of Pittsburgh by publishing the area’s finest senior publication, Pittsburgh Fifty Five Plus Magazine. The publication is dedicated to the people, communities, educational, religious, travel, health, and recreational needs of seniors in our area. The contents of Pittsburgh Fifty Five Plus Magazine may not be reproduced or copied in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Pittsburgh Fifty Five Plus Magazine reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertisements that do not meet the standards of this publication.


724-940-2444  |  Fall 2021



Senior Profile – Howard Pfeifer By Janice Lane Palko

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who said, “An army marches on its stomach,” meaning that if an army isn’t well-provisioned, it has no chance in battle. Howard Pfeifer, who turned 98 in September, knows that all too well as he served during World War II supplying the United States’ war effort.


feifer, of Franklin Park, grew up in Mt. Oliver and attended St. George High School in Allentown and Connelley Vocational High School. He enlisted with the Merchant Marines at the age of 19 in 1943. “My cousin was in the Navy, and he came home and suggested that I join the Merchant Marines as they needed people,” said Pfeifer, who served for 3 years until the war’s end. He was trained at Sheepshead Bay Maritime Training Center in New York and traveled all over the world delivering everything from bombs to trucks to tanks to the military. He made numerous trips with the Merchant Marines including sailing the Pacific to Australia through the Indian Ocean and then to Iran to deliver supplies to the Russians. “Each trip you made was a separate commission, and you signed a contract. Most commissions lasted between 2-5 months,” said Pfeifer.


He also participated in several Murmansk Runs/Arctic convoys. “Germany had invaded Norway, and we had to supply the northern ports of Murmansk and Archangel. We were under frequent fire from German fighter planes, surface raiders and German U-boats as we sailed past German occupied Norway, up through the North Atlantic Ocean. I remember sitting in the crow’s nest one time on lookout and a German plane came so close, I could see the pilot’s face,” said Pfeifer. The ships sailed in convoys sometime with as many as 40 ships on these dangerous missions with the troop ships protected in the center of the convoy. The ships required large crews, and when one was torpedoed, there was little chance of rescue or survival. Consequently, the Merchant Marines suffered more casualties than any other branch of the service, with a 1 in 26 ratio. During the Murmansk Runs, ice cutters were often needed to plow through the 4-6 feet of ice so that the merchant ships could get through to complete their mission. Pfeifer also did his part during The Normandy Invasion in 1944. “We left America on a ship built for WWI with a cargo of one-ton bombs that we transported to England for The Invasion. We were then sent to Omaha Beach where that old ship was scuttled to be used for a dock for incoming ships,” said Pfeifer, who said they were under constant fire from German planes and also from the machine guns in the German pillboxes on the hills just above the beach. “I don’t believe that anyone can understand what it was like unless

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you were there.” After the war, Pfeifer returned home to Pittsburgh and to his job with U.S. Steel – Homestead, and then he became a carpenter, eventually rising to become a vice-president in the contracting end of the construction industry. In December 2020, Pfeifer was awarded the Russian Ushakov medal from the Russian government in appreciation for those dangerous Murmansk Runs the American Merchant Marines made to deliver the supplies the Russians needed to fight off Hitler. “I’m just happy that I was able to serve my country during an extreme time when it needed everyone,” said Pfeifer. n



Frank S.

Peripheral Neuropathy Sufferers Have

Ten years ago I hurt my foot and it continued to get worse over the years. It got to the point that my feet were so sore and cold all the time. Outdoor activities are very important to me and I was losing the ability to do them. I felt there was no hope. A friend of mine learned of Tri-State Neuropathy Centers and I made an appointment. The results have been unbelievable. I have no more pain and my feet are no longer cold. My range of motion is so much better, and my balance is back. I am now enjoying all the outdoor activities I use to and am nearly 100% better.

Don’t Give Up!

Janie C. It seems like it became noticeable about 20 years ago. At first my feet would ache from time-to-time, then my feet would ache so bad that I had to limit my time standing or walking. In the last two years I have had to change the way I have lived my life. I could no longer go hiking with my husband or just take a walk. I knew it was just a matter of time before I would need a wheelchair. I heard about Tri-State Neuropathy Centers and went for my free consultation to see if I was a candidate. To date, I see a significant improvement. I can take short walks, cook and I have even been gardening. It feels like a miracle. I plan to get back into volunteer work.

Paula C. It all began with major surgery in October 2020 with an ankle break on two major bones from a fall. I was getting very depressed as my foot was numb on the side of the incision and it was affecting my life. I decided to meet with Tri-State Neuropathy Centers for a free consultation. I have completed the program I am pain free and 90 percent better. I highly recommend anyone needing help to go see a Tri-State Neuropathy Center. I am 68 and a Grammy of six grandchildren. The treatment has helped me walk without a cane and be more active with my active family as my balance has improved tremendously. The staff is truly compassionate and kind. Thank you Tri-State Neuropathy and your staff for your kindness and helping me walk again!

Peripheral Neuropathy occurs when nerves are damaged or destroyed and can’t send messages to the muscles, skin and other parts of the body. Peripheral nerves go from the brain and spinal cord to the arms, hands, legs and feet. When damage to the nerves takes place, numbness and pain in these areas may occur. A specialized treatment protocol utilizing brand new technologies is available at the TRI-STATE NEUROPATHY CENTERS. It includes the combination of very specific, noninvasive, FDA approved and painless treatments that are designed to get rid of symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. With over 90 percent satisfaction rate and the experience of seeing over 8000 patients, they are able to tailor a specific and successful treatment plan for each individual to provide maximum results. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, don’t wait until they get worse.

Peripheral Neuropathy symptoms can include: • Sharp Pains or Cramps in the Feet or Legs Take o • Burning Pain in the Legs, Feet or Hands PREQUA ur LIFYING • Extreme Sensitivity to Touch SU www.M RVEY at aryDan • Loss of Balance or Coordination cedIn.c om • Feelings of Walking on Pins and Needles • Weakness in the Arms and Legs • Numbness and Tingling or Pain in the Toes, Feet, Hands, Arms and Fingers • Dependency on Medications If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t wait till they get worse. Call today to schedule your FREE consultation.

Call for your FREE consultation to begin your path to recovery. Call Dr. Shawn Richey at 724-940-9000 to schedule your time.

Five Locations: Sewickley

2591 Wexford-Bayne Rd., Suite 207


4314 Old William Penn Hwy, Suite 105

Washington, PA

1385 Washington Rd., #100

Poland, OH

70 W McKinley Way, Poland, OH 44514

Weirton, WV

3350 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite A, Weirton, WV 26062 • (724) 940 -9000  |  Fall 2021



Solevo Wellness Transitions to Trulieve By Janice Lane Palko

Rocco Levine

This fall, Solevo Wellness, Pittsburgh’s first medical marijuana dispensary, will transition to become part of Trulieve, one of the largest multi-state operators (MSO) in the cannabis industry. “Visually, we begin transitioning to the Trulieve brand in the Fall of 2021,” said Rocco Levine, Operations Director at Solevo Wellness. “The full transition is expected to be completed by early 2022, and Solevo Wellness will officially become Trulieve.”


Valda Coryat


olevo opened their first location on February 15, 2018, at 5600 Forward Avenue, Squirrel Hill and since then, subsequently opened two other dispensaries in Zelienople and Washington, Pennsylvania, to serve medical marijuana patients in Allegheny, Butler and Washington Counties. Solevo has always been looking to the future, and with this was the potential to become a larger company in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “Trulieve is a very successful MSO and approached Solevo to become part of the growing Trulieve family. Becoming part of the Trulieve family opens a tremendous opportunity for everyone at Solevo,” said Mr.Levine. “Trulieve was founded in 2015 and is based in Tallahassee, Florida,” said Valda Coryat, Chief Marketing Officer for Trulieve. “Beyond Florida, we hold licenses to operate in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, West

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Virginia and of course, Pennsylvania. We are one of the largest MSOs in the cannabis industry, and I’m proud to say we’re known for our incredible and loyal patient and consumer community. We’re also very proud of our diverse team of 7000+ employees, 50% of whom identify as minority. Founded by leading physicians, pharmacists, and medical professionals, Solevo has always strived to offer personal, professional care, and quality medical marijuana products, and Mr. Levine asserts that mission will continue during the transition and after Trulieve takes the helm. “The biggest change will be the visual presentation of our dispensaries. There will be some operational changes as well, but those will be geared to continue to address the needs and wants of the Solevo patients. Trulieve shares our philosophy that the patient comes first, and this will continue to be the case after transitioning to Trulieve.” Ms. Coryat echoes that sentiment. “Patients should expect a great experience from Trulieve. I’m proud to say that everywhere we operate, we’re known for our incredible and loyal patient and consumer community. For everyone from the canna-curious to the canna-connoisseur, we strive to provide a comfortable environment where everyone can access the products they need. Trulieve is a customer-centric company, and we focus on consumer insights and feedback loops in order to cater to all patient and consumer need-states.” Like Solevo Wellness, Trulieve is hyper-focused on providing a wide assortment of the highestquality products in each market it serves, and it continues to expand its offerings both through Trulieve’s branded products and the partner brands they offer in their dispensaries. What will change with the transition to Trulieve will be the flow of patients through the dispensary. “There will be a more streamlined check-in process, coupled with additional checkout lanes (regular and express), will better address patients who want to get in and out quickly as well as patients who want to spend more time with a Patient Care Consultant,” said Mr. Levine. Because treatment with medical marijuana has been an innovation in patient care, Solevo Wellness has characteristically been at the forefront of educating the community, patients and medical professionals about the benefits of treatment with medical marijuana, and Mr. Levine says that will continue under Trulieve. “We will always strive to

educate patients, caregivers, medical professionals and anyone else who wants to learn about cannabis as medicine. This will never change from Solevo to Trulieve.” So, while some things will change with the switch to Trulieve, what will not change is the commitment to providing quality products and care. “Trulieve aims to provide the highest-quality cannabis products and an unparalleled experience through authentic and reciprocal relationships, but that is not limited to the products we sell. We continue to apply our mission and vision with the larger communities we serve, the people we employ, the policies we implement and the diverse company we continue to build from the ground up. We’ve always made purposeful investments in the communities we serve and where we create jobs, and we will continue to do so everywhere we grow,” said Ms. Coryat. For more information about Trulieve, visit: n  |  Fall 2021



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Exercise at Any Age Pays Dividends By Joseph C. Maroon, MD, FACS


’ve been a competitive athlete for over 50 years, and one of the most common questions I am asked is: Why do I continue to train and compete in triathlons at my age? For me it’s not only the excitement, competitiveness and fun of the sport, it’s the fact that despite some overuse injuries over the years, exercise plus my diet enables me to function at a high level physically and intellectually. It contributes to my fitness and my ability to maintain a busy schedule well into the fourth quarter of my life. I learned early on that daily training pays off big on race day.

I have often likened training to retirement savings. Both regular training and the ability to set aside a certain amount of your paycheck each month for retirement takes hard work and discipline. You have to make a few sacrifices, but in the end, we know saving even small amounts pays big dividends once we retire. Financial experts tell us the earlier we can start saving the more benefits we will have. The same is true with exercise. Regular exercise in our 30s and 40s can prevent many of the common chronic diseases from occurring as we get older. Diabetes,


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heart disease, obesity and many others can be kept in check and ultimately increase our longevity. But what if you are in your 50s and 60s or even older, can exercise also help prevent disease and improve longevity? The answer is YES. A recent Swedish study, that included sites in the US, found that physical activity was the number one contributor to longevity, adding extra years to your life—even if you don’t start exercising until your senior years. They reported life expectancy was directly linked to specific levels of physical activity. Brisk walking for up to 75 minutes per week (or about 10 minutes per day) resulted a gain of 1.8 years in life expectancy. Brisk walking 150 minutes week (or about 20 minutes per day) was associated life expectancy gain of 3.4 to 4.5 years. As expected, they found less physical activity was linked with a shorter life expectancy. We are designed to be active. It is not necessary to be an endurance athlete, but simply regular walking can add years to your life. The benefits of regular exercise, at any age, like saving for retirement, can pay off BIG. Start today and enjoy the dividends immediately! n

Joseph C. Maroon, MD is a Board-Certified Neurosurgeon, Nutritional and Sports Medicine Expert. Dr. Maroon has written and lectured extensively on brain health and healthy life choices. As a competitive Ironman triathlete, Dr. Maroon practices what he preaches and is committed to the promoting healthy choices to his patients and readers.


Dos and Don’ts for Stopping Phone Scams Today’s fraudsters have many tricks up their sleeve. Their methods rely on deception and frequently entail manipulating strong human emotions, like fear and love. Scammers make extensive use of all types of technology tools, including false email messages, fake pop-up windows, malicious website links, and fraudulent phone calls on both landlines and mobile devices. Whether they’re hoping to score a little quick cash or are engaged in a bigger scheme, like stealing your medical identity, it’s essential to realize that most scams involve a sense of urgency. Urgent situations that require financial solutions should raise suspicion. If a phone call (or an email message) requires you to act now to collect a prize, avoid a fine or jail, or save someone from a dire situation—always step back before taking action. If a pressing need involves money, chances are it’s a scam. On your phone, how can you fight back? DO register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry at or 888-382-1222. This service will not block scammers, but legitimate telemarketers will stop calling within a month. DON’T answer unrecognized calls unless you’re expecting a call from an unknown number. Let the call go to voicemail, then review the message. Most con artists will hang up before leaving a message. DO independently verify facts from any callers asking for money or sensitive personal information. DON’T share private information in social media posts that may be useful for imposter scams, including phone numbers, home addresses, and names of relatives. (Also, don’t accept unknown friend requests and keep your account settings private.)

DO be wary of government imposters. Officials from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, Medicare, and other government agencies will never call you unless you contact them first or they’ve sent mail correspondence explaining a situation that requires your attention. DON’T say “yes” to an unknown caller. Scammers may be trying to obtain a recording of your voice, which can be used to verify approval of charges to your phone, cable, or internet bill or a credit card. If you sense something sketchy, hang up quickly.

gh u throu uide yo e, making g o t S m an SRE lling your ho ccessful. e unt on su s o r c e r o n o g a m buyin and You c l f o u f s s s s e e c tr the pro action less s ns a r t e h t

Count on an SRES® to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home, making the transaction less stressful and more successful. The Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) designation is awarded by the SRES® Council, a subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). To learn more about SRES® and access various consumer resources, please visit


Deb Walton, SRES®  |  Fall 2021


Senior Living Spotlights Envisage What does your future look like as you age? Do you have a long-term care plan in place? Envisage is a members-only program that works in tandem with your financial plan so that if or when you need any kind of personal assistance, you’ll be able to easily access high quality caregiving within the privacy of your own home. Envisage offers an array of services for those who do not want to use an assisted living or a nursing home community to receive the care they might need – those who want these things to be handled and managed for them, so that they can have the highest possible level of control over their own lives. To learn more about Envisage, sign up for an in-person seminar at https://www.envisage. org/upcoming-events-webinars/ or call us at 866.435.6777.

St. Barnabas Communities It’s always the perfect time to enjoy retirement living at St. Barnabas. The beautifully landscaped campuses provide a peaceful space to relax and enjoy Mother Nature. Our residents stroll walking trails with their dog, play bocce with friends, fish at our private pond, golf on one of our two 18-hole golf courses or join neighbors for happy hour on the Crystal Conservatory pool deck. Our indoor mall at The Village includes a bank, gift shop, library, general store, chapel, salon, wine room and three restaurants where residents gather daily for events, entertainment, happy hour and chef-prepared meals. We offer a diverse array of amenities to match your lifestyle and these are just a sampling of the St. Barnabas retirement experience exclusive to our residents. Call 724-443-0700 to find out how you can start enjoying your retirement!

Presbyterian SeniorCare Network Help Individuals Living with Dementia THRIVE! As a Dementia Care Center of Excellence, we’re committed to Making Aging Easier® for older adults, and caregiver education is a vital part of that commitment. This year, we’re taking that education virtual by offering a series of complimentary, online events featuring experts in dementia care, which can be viewed on-demand, right from the comfort of your home. Changing lives—one meaningful moment at a time. Learn with us – register now!

UPMC Senior Communities Make the most of what life has to offer by making one of UPMC Senior Communities your new home. Choose from a variety of locations around greater Pittsburgh that keep you close to your family, friends, church and shopping preferences. Feel safe and secure in an environment that surrounds you with all the support you need to continue living your senior years to the fullest. Let go of snow shoveling, grass mowing, home maintenance, cleaning and even transportation and cooking if you prefer. Choose from a complete schedule of engaging social and spiritual activities with many new friends. At UPMC Senior Communities, we offer all this and more at reasonable pricing options that enable you to take full advantage of this lifestyle. By offering a variety of facility styles, levels of care and payment options, UPMC Senior Communities can accommodate your preferences. Knowing what is right for you is based on knowing what you need to live life well, regardless of the level of support you require. Perhaps you are looking to enrich your life with more social activities and interactions, or to move to an environment that enables you to be free of daily obligations, such as home maintenance. You may need some assistance with managing your health and wellness, or you may require more medical help due to more significant health issues. Offering options in independent living, personal care and assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation, this spectrum of living styles is designed to accommodate your needs and provide you with the fullest lifestyle possible. UPMC Senior Communities is proud to be part of UPMC – one of the most innovative and patient-centered health systems in the country. That affiliation brings valuable benefits to our residents and staff. As members of the larger UPMC family, our residents benefit from the opportunities and resources that can only be found in a world-class health system. For more information and to schedule a tour, visit or call 1-800-324-5523.


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Keeping In Touch with Our Mental Livelihoods UPMC Senior Services


e know the tips to good physical health: eating well, exercising, restful sleep, etc. The same emphasis is not always applied to good mental health. What does ‘good mental health’ even mean, and why does it matter?

Good mental health is an important component of one’s well-being. While it may mean something different to each of us, consider these suggestions to help maintain a strong sense of mental health: • Social interaction: Do you belong to any social clubs or groups? Are you close to family or friends? Having social interactions is important because this represents who you can rely upon or contact when help is needed. It does not have to be someone who you have known for decades or who you speak to on a regular basis. This could be family members or close friends. It could also be a neighbor, someone from a religious community, a medical professional, or a community organization. • Physical health: How we protect our bodies by eating well, staying physically active, and getting enough sleep will help protect our mental and emotional health as well. • Being adaptable or flexible: How do you respond when something does not happen as expected? Maybe it is a trip or event that you could not take due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Being adaptive to the changes that happen in life is vital. This does not mean that we can anticipate what will happen next, but it is how we make the best that we can out of the situation. • Being open about how you are doing: Bottling up how we are feeling does not help anyone. Talking about your good and bad days is essential because you are expelling that energy. Sometimes talking about something out loud can help us make sense of how we are feeling. Also, it could allow others to understand how we are doing and to be aware when support is needed. These tips are simply protective factors. It does not mean that they will make us invincible. Life can be and feel unpredictable. We need to build up reserves

so we can re-balance ourselves when life hits a bump or curves in an unexpected way. During the times that we are rebuilding our strength, think about what works for you. Is it a hobby that you have not focused on in a while? Is it treating yourself to a favorite meal or dessert, going on a trip, or giving yourself some leniency to chores or errands? We need to remember to give back to and forgive ourselves. Similar to how getting 10,000 steps a day can represent a physical health goal, a strategy to aid one’s mental health can vary. To your neighbor, having a party to socialize may be important. To your friend, going to a book club or exercise class meets the need. To you, these may feel like stressors and do not aid your mental health. Consider what brings you happiness and do not compare it to what works for another person. And remember, changing up a routine can be a benefit. For years, mental health has had a stigma attached to it. Fortunately, we have progressed to the point that people talk more openly about their own mental health, but there can still be discomfort when it is brought up. Ask yourself this question: Is sadness or anxiety a normal part of aging? The truth is that neither are normal, regardless of age. However, when thinking suggests that mental health concerns are inevitable as one ages, we may be less likely to seek out help. If you are feeling alone, sad, or another emotion and would like to talk with someone, the Lifeline may be the place to call. Individuals can contact the Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It is free, confidential, and available 24/7 in the United States. If you have questions about community resources, please reach out to Education and Consultative Services of UPMC Senior Services. Please note that we are not a crisis or emergency line. Our phone number is 866-430-8742, our e-mail is UPMCSeniorServices@, and our website is SeniorServices.UPMC. com. Join us on Facebook for posts on topics like this at n  |  Fall 2021



Saturday Morning Cartoons By Janice Lane Palko


hen I was a kid, the fall not only represented back to school, football games, pumpkins and Halloween, but also a new cartoon season on television. Cartoons have been around for a long time but the first animated one with sound was Steamboat Willy, and it featured Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend, Minnie. Most cartoons were shown on the big screen in movie theaters until the late 1950s when more homes could afford televisions, and then they came to the small screen. The Flintstones debuted in 1960 and aired in prime time, but most cartoons were broadcast on Saturday mornings and were a staple for kids growing up in America. Back then there was no Disney Channel or Cartoon Network. Kids got up on Saturday morning, ate a bowl of cereal, and parked themselves in front of their televisions to watch their favorite cartoons while toy manufacturers, like Mattel, peddled their newest toys during commercials. There were several major cartoon studios. Among them was Warner Brothers, which created Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies. They introduced us to animated characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester, Tweety, Elmer Fudd, Pepe Le Pew, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, the Roadrunner, Speedy Gonzales, Marvin the Martian and the Tasmanian Devil. For many American kids, their first introduction to classical music came from watching these cartoons. Hanna-Barbera Productions had their most successful shows during the late 1950s and running through the 1970s. In addition to creating The Flintstones, Hanna-Barbera brought us Tom and Jerry, The Ruff and Reddy Show, The Huckleberry Hound Show, The


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Quick Draw McGraw Show, The Yogi Bear Show, Top Cat, The Magilla Gorilla Show, The Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? Popeye, the spinach eating sailorman, goes back to the 1930s when it began as a comic strip. He and his lanky girlfriend, Olive Oyl, came to television in 1956 and was used by many a parent to entice their children to eat spinach so they could be “strong like Popeye.” Other cartoon favorites were Beanie and Cecil, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Little Audrey, Mr. Magoo, Mighty Mouse, Underdog, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Woody Woodpecker, Tennessee Tuxedo, The Hector Heathcote Show, Atom Ant, and Roger Ramjet. For those kids who liked a more serious show, there was Jonny Quest, Speed Racer, The Mighty Hercules and Kimba the White Lion. The influence cartoons had on American kids is incalculable. For instance, I bet you can complete the following cartoon taglines. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a _______? (hamburger today – Wimpy from Popeye.) How about “I’m smarter than the average _____? (bear – Yogi Bear) Or “Jane, stop this crazy ______?” (thing – George – The Jetsons.) Why I was once known for exclaiming when I was about four and I had done something wrong, and my dad was coming to get me, “Help, save me, Popeye!” If you are ever at a party and want to have some fun, just starting singing cartoon themes songs and see how many of them you can remember from your childhood. I bet you will be shocked at how many you know. Many of them can be found on YouTube. That’s all folks, and as Snagglepuss used to say when he departed, “Exit, stage left!” n


Medicare Choices Can Be Confusing When reviewing a Medicare plan or aging into Medicare, there are several important factors to keep in mind. By Timothy P. Powers


ou will need to make sure the plan you choose will protect your health needs when you use it. What will the financial risk be when you use your plan? What is the plan’s coverage area and what doctors do the plan accept? What are my prescription copays? Which is the right plan for me? A Medicare agent can clarify these questions. Agents will have the ability to access plan information and assist you in making an informed decision in a fraction of the time it could possibly take on your own. Choosing the right agent is as important as choosing the right plan. An independent agent should be appointed with all or most of the Medicare carriers in your area. A captive agent represents a single carrier. Therefore, in order to review a full spectrum of available plans, an independent agent will provide the greater choice.

Being comfortable and understanding the information the agent is providing is as vital as knowing the agent understands your needs and budget. Whether an independent or captive agent, choose an agent that you feel will be there with you when those unexpected events happen. As in the case with most things in life, every senior will not mesh with every agent. It will give you a secure feeling knowing that your agent is just a phone call away. An agent should be a valuable resource to you for your Medicare insurance needs. Find an agent that you feel will be a partner with you. They should provide year-long service, not just during the annual enrollment. Finally, the best part of using an agent is there is not cost to you for their services. n  |  Fall 2021



The Long-Term Benefit of Professionally Fit, Advanced Medical Class Hearing Devices By Debra Swift, B.C.-H.I.S., Founder and President, Swift Audiology Megan Myers-Auria, Au.D., CCC-A Doctor of Audiology


ging is inevitable, growing up is optional, and staying cognitively sharp is mandatory to maintain one’s independence. At a certain age, people begin to become bombarded with mail and fliers for hearing exams and hearing devices. Why is it so important for a person to keep our ears healthy? It is not so much keeping the ears healthy, as it is keeping the brain functioning. Many people do not realize the true link between our hearing and cognitive function. Our ability to hear comes from our ears, our ability to understand and process speech and sounds comes from our brain. Brain atrophy can occur when hearing loss remains untreated. This has been associated with cognitive decline and early onset dementia. The Better Hearing Institute states that research has shown that the use of appropriately fit hearing aids has helped reduce the symptoms of depression, paranoia, disorientation, anxiety, loss of self-confidence, and social isolation.


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Not all hearing devices are created the same and often patients are lulled into a false sense of security with less effective over-the-counter (OTC) products, versus professionally fit medical class hearing instruments. Medical hearing devices offer patients the ability to receive medically substantiated ongoing hearing benefit with annual retesting, reprogramming as an individual’s hearing loss may change. These services enable the patient to receive all of the valuable speech cues to support and maintain sharp cognition, as well as the ongoing peak performance. Verification and calibrations need to be done with the aids in the patient’s ear. No or little professional maintenance, usually leads to aids in the drawer, as benefit diminishes due to wax and debris from our ears, perspiration, dead skin and hair follicles, and dirt from handling. The aids need to be vacuumed out, receiver and microphone filters, ear hooks, tubings, and domes need to be replaced.


Ongoing care leads to years of better hearing from one pair of aids. Professionally fit, advanced technology, medical class hearing instruments help us to remain connected and acclimated, as close as possible to the brain hearing we were born with. Many of the newer medical class hearing instruments have motion sensors that boost our localization and sense of direction. Since falling is a major cause for loss of independence in seniors, this stability is especially helpful when moving or walking. It also enables the wearer to understand conversation better while moving around. Today’s hearing aids can be rechargeable and can connect, via Bluetooth, directly to cell phones and apps, TVs, iPad devices and tablets, computers, cars, and remote telehealth programming. The advanced technology instruments can also provide fully automatic functions to hear all of these devices without pairing or fussing. Many options and your choice. Our Professionals will guide you to choose your best options based on your personal hearing and lifestyle needs. Over the counter, one size fits all, non-customized, you’re just a number, no or very little service, is not a long-term solution and yields less than satisfactory results. Schedule an appointment today with Swift Audiology for a comprehensive hearing evaluation to check for hearing loss; the outcome helps more than just your hearing. n About Swift Audiology - The practice provides hearing loss services, hearing protection, and medical hearing aid devices to patients at 4 convenient offices throughout the Pittsburgh region. For more information visit or call 412-274-7285

(All Multi-day and Air tours are priced per person, double occupancy)

WV Rail Adventure

Sep 28-30*....................................................................... $644

Jekyll Island, Savannah, & Hilton Head

Oct 10-16*......................................................................$1,299

Queen Esther & Mamma Mia in Lancaster

Oct 15-16*; Oct 22-23*.....................................................$486

Ark Encounter & Creation Museum

Oct 19-20*.........................................................................$399

Boston is Fun

Oct 28-Nov 1..................................................................$1,099

Savannah & Tybee Island

Nov 1-6...........................................................................$1,224

Christmas at the Biltmore

Nov 8-11.........................................................................$1,062

Smoky Mt Christmas

Nov 9-12............................................................................$851

Newport’s Gilded Age Christmas

Nov 29-Dec 3....................................................................$943

New York on a Dime

Dec 3-5..............................................................................$592

Williamsburg at Christmas

Dec 3-6..............................................................................$739

Tara – A Country Inn Christmas

Dec 5-6.............................................................................$225

A Country Christmas at the Opryland Hotel

Dec 8-11.........................................................................$1,435

Daytona Beach 15 Day

Feb 20-Mar 6.................................................................$1,645

CASINO TOURS Tropicana Casino Atlantic City

Sep 19-23*........................................................................$518

Resorts Casino Atlantic City

Nov 14-17..........................................................................$336

ONE-DAY TOURS Queen Esther in Lancaster

Oct 9*................................................................................$299

Fall Fun in the Laurel Highlands

Oct 14................................................................................ $123

Capture the Fall

Oct 19................................................................................ $152

Goblin’ Up the Music

Oct 27................................................................................ $151

Castle Noel Christmas

Nov 6.................................................................................$168

Oglebay Dinner Show

Nov 10; Dec 7.................................................................... $132

Christmas Treats in Amish Country

Nov 13............................................................................... $155

OH Star Theater-The Christmas Tree Ship

Dec 1................................................................................. $139

Deck the Halls

Dec 3................................................................................. $107

Have a Merry Ligonier Christmas

Dec 9*................................................................................ $113

Amish Christmas

Dec 11............................................................................... $142


Apr 30-May 5............................................. Starting from $983

9 Night Bermuda & Bahamas Cruise

Jun 2-11.................................................. Starting from $1,230

*Guaranteed departures Motorcoach Drivers Wanted! Current CDL Class B required with Passenger Endorsement. Contact Michelle Conner at 412-749-4188 or email your resume to  |  Fall 2021



The Interesting Pros and Cons of Medicare By Crystal Manning


ike many things, Medicare has its advantages and disadvantages. Below is a discussion of some of the pros and cons of Medicare, including the federally administered Medicare program and private Medicare plans.

The Pros of Medicare: Is Medicare a Good Thing? Medicare is the single largest health insurance program in the U.S., providing hospital insurance (Medicare Part A) and medical insurance (Medicare Part B) coverage to more than 60 million Americans.

Wide-Ranging Coverage Medicare coverage includes a wide variety of benefits, from inpatient hospital stays to outpatient surgeries to medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers. Important preventive care, health screenings and so much more are also covered by Medicare.

Low Monthly Premiums Most people do not pay a premium for Medicare Part A benefits. These were assessed when employed. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B is $148.50 per month in 2021.

Eligibility Requirements


Medicare is confusing – call for a one-to-one, no charge consultation with a Medicare expert! Remove the FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, AND COSTLY MISTAKES from the Medicare enrollment process. Crystal A. Manning

Medicare Advisor

In most cases, if you’re a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who has lived in the country for 5 years, and if you are at least 65 years old, you will likely qualify for Medicare. If you qualify for disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you may also qualify. People who have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) may also qualify for Medicare benefits.

Nationwide Acceptance Original Medicare is accepted in all 50 U.S. states and even the U.S. territories, if you visit a doctor, hospital or other provider who accepts Medicare patients. And because Original Medicare does not tie you to a specific network, you can take your Medicare coverage with you when you travel to another state.

What Are the Cons with Medicare? Call 412-716-4942 or email 10008 Pine Ridge Drive Wexford, Pa. 15090


Limited Coverage of Some Key Needs Original Medicare doesn’t typically cover prescription drugs or routine dental, vision or hearing care, all of which

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are important to the health of many older adults. Beneficiaries who are only enrolled in the public portion of Medicare must find other means of coverage for these services, or they must pay out of pocket.

Potentially High Hospital Costs When a Medicare beneficiary receives inpatient hospital care, they can face out-of-pocket Medicare costs that can potentially be very high. Beneficiaries need to satisfy a $1,484 deductible in 2021 before their Medicare Part A benefits kick in.

No Out-of-Pocket Limit Original Medicare also does not include an annual out-of-pocket spending limit.

Some Providers Don’t Accept Medicare While Medicare is widely accepted across the U.S., it’s not necessarily accepted by every health care provider.

What are Alternative to Assist with costs More and more Americans enroll in Medicare Advantage (MA)plans each year, and enrollment is expected to keep growing in the future. MA plans offer beneficiaries an alternative way to get Medicare benefits through plans sold by private insurance companies that contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). These plans change each year with open enrollment options to change from October 15 to December 7 each year. Some beneficiaries may choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan because these plans are required to include an annual out-of-pocket spending limit. (HMO or PPO options). Most privately sold Medicare Advantage plans cover prescription drugs, and many plans also cover things like dental care, hearing care, hearing aids,



vision care, glasses, memberships to fitness programs, non-emergency transportation and more. Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) is a form of private health insurance that helps cover certain Medicare out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. These pay after Original Medicare and allow coverage anywhere in the United States. These are paired with a separate prescription drug plan. When enrolling in a Medicare plan, your best bet is to do plenty of research. Find out what’s available and what benefits are offered. You may be able to get a better, equally affordable plan through a private insurance company. Contact Crystal Manning, Licensed Medicare Advisor (licensed in eight states) at: 412-716-4942 or for a free consult. n

Available!  |  Fall 2021



Step Back Into...2001 Four terrorist’s attacks occur on 9/11 Wikipedia goes online By Paula Green


n Sept. 11, hijackers rammed jetliners into the twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania (80 miles outside of Pittsburgh). The death toll on that horrific day reached 2,977. Within days, Islamic militant Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network were identified as the parties behind the attacks.

Average The average income was $42,350. Cost of a new home $136,150. The average cost of a new car is $25,850. Gasoline was $1.46 per gallon. A loaf of bread sold for $1.82. A pound of bacon sold for $3.06. A pound of ground beef was $1.49. Eggs sold for 90 cents per dozen. Movie ticket was $5.65. The price of a first-class stamp was .34 cents.

Firsts In January 2001,Wikipedia, the free user-generated online encyclopedia, came online and quickly became the reference site of choice for Internet users. The Segway PT was introduced. The iPod was released in October and the X-Box came out in November. The Apple Computer Company released the iTunes program in January. Microsoft released Windows XP.

U.S. events A series of Anthrax attacks spreads fear amongst the American public and several people are infected by handling infected letters.


California suffers more rolling blackouts and electricity rate hikes of up to 46 percent. On June 11, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was executed. On July 3, an artificial heart is implanted in a man in Louisville, Kentucky.

World News The United States invades Afghanistan, with some participation from the UK, marking the beginning of the US “War on Terrorism” campaign. The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy re-opened to the public in December; it was closed 11 years for repairs. Remains of what may be the oldest ancient human were found in Ethiopia and were estimated to be 5.5 million years old. On October 7, the War in Afghanistan began.

Entertainment The big movies included: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Monsters Inc. , Shrek, Ocean’s

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Eleven, Jurassic Park III, The Mummy Returns, Planet of the Apes, Moulin Rouge, Hannibal, A Beautiful Mind, Planet of the Apes, Pearl Harbor and The Fast & Furious.

Television Popular TV shows – Alias, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Crossing Jordan, ER, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Law & Order, The Office, Scrubs, Leap of Faith, NYPD Blue, Smallville, The Sopranos, Survivor, The West Wing, and Will & Grace.

Songs Billboard hits – Again, All For You, Drops of Jupiter, Fallin,’ Hanging By a Moment, Hit ‘Em Up Style, If You’re Gone, I’m Real, Independent Women, It Wasn’t Me, Let Me Blow Ya Mind, Thank You, and Until the End of Time.

Publishing Time Magazine names New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani “Person of the Year,” for his leadership after 9/11 attacks. Popular books: The Bonesetter’s Daughter, The Corrections, Death

in Holy Orders, Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission, and John Adams.

Sports Superbowl Champs: Baltimore Ravens; World Series Champions: Arizona Diamondbacks; Stanley Cup Champs: Colorado Avalanche; NBA Champions: Los Angeles Lakers. On February 18, NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt was killed in a final-lap collision in the Daytona 500.

Politics President: George W. Bush, Vice President: Dick Cheney (Bill Clinton was president and Al Gore was vice president until January 20).

Quotes: “One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in America’s history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” – George W. Bush “Look, I’m not the one with the problem, okay? It’s the world that seems to have a problem with me!” – Shrek “I live my life a quarter mile at a time.” – Dom from The Fast & Furious Sources: year/2001, https://www.thepeoplehistory. com/2001.html, Annual/2001.html, https://www.onthisday. com/events/date/2001  |  Fall 2021



The Battling Buccos – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 1971 World Series Championship By Paula Green


he year 1971 was exciting. Moviegoers were entertained by Fiddler on the Roof. The United States lowered the voting age to 18 years old. In Orlando, Florida, Disney World opened its doors. In another exciting event, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the odds and were named World Series Champions. It was the first World Series appearance for the Pirates since Bill Mazeroski’s dramatic walkoff home run against the New York Yankees in 1960. This was no ordinary baseball team; they were one of the most diverse teams in the major league. What made the ’71 battling Buccos so unique was is it featured 13 players of Latin or African-American descent on their roster. They also had two of the best players in the majors: Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell. Other powerhouse minority players included


Rennie Stennett, Gene Cline, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Cash, Al Oliver, Jackie Hernandez and Dock Ellis. The team was under the leadership of manager Danny Murtaugh. Heading to the World Series, the Pirates were the underdog. Their opponent was the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s were the defending World Champions and winners of 318 games over their previous three seasons. Their 1971 season record was an impressive 101-57. The O’s won the American League East Division by 12 games over their nearest rivals, the Detroit Tigers. The teams also sported anchor players such as Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell. Things looked pretty bleak for the Pirates after they fell to the Orioles in Games 1 and 2 in Baltimore by the scores of 5-3 and 11-3. Buccos were looking for a

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successful comeback story when the series switched back to Three Rivers Stadium for games 3, 4 and 5. Instead, the team gained muchneeded support from their first baseman Bob Robertson, third baseman Richie Hebner, catcher Milt May and pitchers Bruce Kison, Nellie Briles and Steve Blass. Blass dominated the mound at Three Rivers Stadium in Game 3, tossing a three-hitter while Bob Robertson matched his teammate’s numbers with a three-run homer of his own. The final was a 5-1 victory for the Buccos, which put them back in the race. In game 4, the Pirates were victorious once again with a 4-3 victory. Fortunately, the series was now dead even. Game 5 saw our Buccos pull ahead when they shut-out the Orioles with a 4-0 finish. In Game 6, the Orioles won by edging the Pirates 3-2 in ten innings. Game 7, the Pirates won 2-1, and they dethroned the defending World Champions. Clemente was voted the “Buccos” MVP and totaled twelve hits in twenty-nine at-bats to finish with a .414 average. Teammate Manny Sanguillen

hit .379, and infielder Bob Robertson added two homers and five runs batted in. On July 17 this past year, the Pirates organization paid tribute to the 1971 Pirates team. Eleven championship team members were honored in an on-field ceremony before the game against the New York Mets. Thanks for the beautiful memories ’71 Buccos! n Sources: history/features-videos/1971-pirates-worldseries-champions, history, gamesproj/game/october-17-1971-blassclemente-lead-pirates-to-victory-in-world-series-game-7/, features/on-this-day-in-1971-the-pittsburghpirates-fielded-the-first-all-black-lineup/, yr1971ws.shtml

Celebrating Pittsburgh's

Family & Small Businesses The November issue of Northern Connection magazine will highlight the amazing family-owned & small businesses in our area that make our community special! Features Include • Discounted Ad Rates • Social Media Advertising • Family Spotlights

Reserve your space by October 22!

724-940-2444  |  Fall 2021