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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015



Jackson Hospital is the first and only hospital in Alabama to be certified by The Joint Commission for its care of heart attack patients. When seconds count, you want the best people on your side. Our experts are committed to providing the highest quality of care in the River Region. Choose the one team that already scored a big victory—Jackson Hospital.

Gold seal of approval in heart attack care


June 2015

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015




June 2015

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

BOOM!, The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


June 2015

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

Volume 5 Issue 12

Carl Bard

Thought Relationships Taste Inspiration

Humor Advice Health Community

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

3 Jackson Hospital’s Health News 6 Publisher’s Letter 8 Preventing Falls Among Older Adults Leigh Anne Richards 10 The Weathermen of Financial Markets with Brandt McDonald

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32 Dr. Seuss

29 Centenary Birthdays

One fish. Two fish. Fun Ship. Cruise Ship.

becoming more common in U.S.

Now You’re “In the Know”

16 BOOM! Cover Profile 22 Beauty Buzz


Departments 12 This and That

12 Friends for Life Pet Photo Contest

44 {12} Things

Solutions for Bored Boomers

38 I Am Big Bird

Caroll Spinney, 81 has been the man in the Big Bird suit for nearly 46 years.

24 What will the Medicare doc fix mean for seniors? 26 Are you eligible to receive this valuable VA benefit? Ask an Elder Law Attorney 28 Montgomery Bridge Club’s Heart of Dixie Tournament

46 Greg Budell “CLOSET CASE”

30 Celebrate the Men and Women in Your Life 35 La Belle Epoque, A Grand Adventure in France


39 Ask Nancy: Understanding a parent’s dementia test results


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40 Eating Smart with Tracy Bhalla: Healthy Oils 41 I Am A Caregiver

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BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine is published monthly by River Region Publications, 6398 Eastwood Glen Pl., Montgomery, AL 36117. The phone number for voice and fax is 334.523.9510. Copyright 2015 by River Region Publications. No part of this publication can be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed in BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the owners, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products and services herein.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015



Publisher’s Letter

Happy Father’s Day The mission of BOOM! is to serve the folks of the River Region age 50 plus with information and ideas to inspire new experiences, better quality of life and new beginnings.

Publisher/Editor Jim Watson, 334.523.9510 Jim Watson, Publisher

Associate Editor Kelly Watson

Contributing Writers Sandi Aplin Tracy Bhalla Greg Budell

Elaine Carroll Erica Curless William Hageman Brandt McDonald Mark Miller Leigh Anne Richards Katie Slade Gary Soriano Brittany Spahr Nancy Stein Raley L. Wiggins Kathy Witt

Cover Photography Kim Bethea The Studio @ EastChase 334.239.3196

A couple of years ago I decided to feature a man on our June cover to honor fathers in the River Region, except these would be the more seasoned fathers, the 50+ father. At this age many of us are empty nesters. We have faced the trials and joys of raising our children. We have acquired wisdom by default and we’re glad we made it this far but we know being a father is forever. I haven’t always liked being a father but as I’ve aged, I like it even more. I don’t have the responsibilities for my sons I once had and that makes things easier all around. What I do have is mature love, patience and understanding for their unique roles as fathers. I watch my sons and wonder if they are happy, truly happy. My experience tells me nothing else matters, what matters is where your happiness comes from. Happy Father’s Day, James and Jason.

This month’s BOOM! profile is Gary Soriano, a 50+ father. Some of you know Gary from his involvement in our community and many more of you have probably eaten some of the delicious food he serves at Chick-Fil-A, East Chase or the RSA Tower downtown Montgomery. A few months ago Gary helped organize an event at Frazer Church presenting the Chick-Fil-A Business Principles and it was a standing room only audience! Chick-Fil-A is a popular restaurant and when you begin to understand why, you appreciate more how important it is to have values and principles in which to build the foundation of your business and for that matter, life itself. Gary has been part of Chick-Fil-A for more than 40 years and when we asked him to share some of his life’s journey, he reluctantly said yes, and I’m glad he did. I think you’ll enjoy reading about Gary and his life’s journey, especially if you like Chick-Fil-A! There is plenty more to love about this month’s issue of BOOM! From Big Bird to Dr. Seuss, we’ve got something for everyone! Of course Greg Budell shares a closet story that made me laugh...again, I know you’ll enjoy his column. Brandt McDonald shares more of his financial thoughts with us as he keeps us well informed about the financial markets. If you are concerned about falling as you age Leigh Anne Richards has some very solid solutions to help prevent falls. If you’re a veteran, Raley Wiggins discusses some VA benefits you may be entitled too, check it out. As you have come to expect, we have many more good reads inside this month’s issue, I hope you’ll enjoy the River Region’s best reading experience for the 50+ community! Please continue sharing, I love to listen. And if you’re going to spend some money please consider our advertisers, they value each of you and will work very hard to serve your needs. Finally, if you sign up for our Free Digital Subscriptions in June you could win a $100 gift card from Central! Thanks again for being part of our BOOM! Community and allowing us to share stories with you.


Jim Watson, 334.523.9510

Jim 334.324.3472 cell/text 334.523.9510 office

Design & Layout Lake House Graphics

Distribution Network Delivery

Printing Publications Press, Montgomery, AL 334.244.0436

Please Recycle This Magazine, Share with a Friend!


June 2015

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015



The Role of Exercise In Preventing Falls Among Older Adults As I contemplate what topic to write for the month, I go back and think about my exercise classes and my clients that I personal train. What is one of the number one things I incorporate into every class and or every training session? Whether I come right out and describe it as balance training or not it is a component in every class. Bottom line, different forms, modes, and types of exercise require balance and hence the prevention of falling. I, as a fitness professional, ascribe to the positions of the American College of Sports Medicine. I read and keep up with the research and findings based upon what this group presents. In my latest ACSM Health and Fitness Journal, there is a great article on this topic. Debra J. Rose, Ph.D., is a professor in the Kinesiology Department and director of the Institute of Gerontology and Center for Successful Aging at California State University, Fullerton. She also serves as one of the two coordinators of the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence. Her primary research is in the areas of successful aging, postural control, mobility enhancement and the prevention of falls in later years. The following is a summary of some of the things she reports in regards to the benefits of exercise in reducing falls. Falls are very common among the aging population and are costly not only to the individual but to their families and society as well. Falls can lead to injuries that can have both physical and psychological consequences for the older adult. The loss of mobility is a result of sustaining a physical injury, but many older adults often lose their confidence in their ability to prevent falls so they reduce their physical activity levels in an effort to prevent future falls. Sadly, this strategy only leads to decondtioning, a further loss of confidence, and a great incidence of falling again. The direct medical cost of falls within the United States exceeds


June 2015

$19 billion. The good news is that up to 42% of those falls can be prevented by well designed exercise programs that are tailored for the level of fall risk. Several “fall experts� have concluded that exercise, as a stand alone intervention strategy, is effective in reducing the risk of falling and/or the rate of falling in older adults who are

the most successful programs include those that include components of gait and balance training alone or in combination with resistance training, Stand alone resistance training programs were found not to be as effective in resulting in fewer falls. Interventions that involved general physical activity such as walking program only did not result in fewer incidences of falls.

Fitness over Fifty

A group of researches from the University of Sydney found reviewed 54 different studies that described different types of exercise programs aimed at reducing falls. It was found that the most successful fall prevention programs were the ones that included progressively more challenging standing balance exercise performed with minimal upper body support, a higher dose of exercise, and no supplementary walking program.

by Leigh Anne Richards

living independently in the community or retirement communities. To arrive at their conclusions, the results of 43 carefully controlled exercise studies were analyzed. A group of six exercise classifications were identified. They include the following with examples below: 1. Gait, balance/functional trainingBalance platforms, agility training 2. Strength/resistance trainingEquipment based, stand up step up activities 3. Flexibility- Stretching and yoga 4. Three dimensional- Tai Chi; dancing, square stepping 5. General Physical Activity- Walking 6. Aerobic Endurance- cycling, treadmill walking. Other would be physical therapy or self care activities What type of exercise is the most effective in reducing falls? The most effective exercise interventions identified were group based programs that include 2 or more exercise components, individually tailored programs in the home, and community based Tai- Chi programs. In the case of group programs,

How much exercise is needed before fall rates are significantly reduced? According to the colleges of University of Sydney, a minimum of 50 exercise (i.e. twice weekly, one hour program, over 6 months). Although shorter programs of 8-12 weeks show significant improvement in balance and mobility, the higher dose is needed if improving balance AND reducing falls are the desired outcome. Two additional exercises- Yoga and Pilates are also beneficial in fall prevention. Yoga improves balance, strength and flexibility along with greater relaxation and enhanced emotional and mental well being. Unfortunately, little documented evidence exists in support of yoga as effective interventions for REDUCING falls. Pilates also emphasizes strength, flexibility and coordination training with an emphasis on strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen, back, and hips. Similar to yoga research findings, the majority of study outcomes have again been mixed because of poor study designs and /or small sample sizes. However, these modes of exercise do help with static and dynamic balance which in turn can lead to less falls.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

A small number of studies have looked at the role forms of dancing such as the Argentine tango, traditional and social dances, and dance based aerobics on reducing falls. Studies have shown that older adults who dance have a superior balance and gait characteristics compared with their peers, suggesting that this type of programming has strong potential as a fall prevention intervention. There is a current study going on by researchers in Australia that is investigating whether a community based social dancing intervention can reduce fall incidence rates aw well as improve cognitive function in a large group of older adults residing in self care retirement facilities. Another plus- it is FUN.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

program if the time spent in a supervised exercise environment remains high 4. Learn the risk factors for fall ( vision, use of medications) 5. Develop different types of exercise programs that are ongoing so that the benefits are not lost across time. 6. Seek out an exercise professional skilled in strategies that will include the things listed above.

Best Practice Recommendations

(Based on the finding of Dr. C. Sherrington and her colleagues at the University of Sydney)

1. Provide group based or in home programs that include moderate to high challenge balance exercises and are of significant duration and intensity to lower fall incidence rates significantly. 2. Add a resistance exercise component

Based on my own readings and research, combined with the clients I train, it is my professional opinion that carefully designed exercise programs can substantially reduce falls among older adults. Source: Rose, Debra J, Ph.D. “The Role of Exercise in Preventing Falls Among Older Adults,� ACSM Health and Fitness Journal, May/June 2015, pp 23-29. Leigh Anne Richards, MEd, Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, General ManagerMetroFitness. For any questions or comments, contact Leigh Anne at

3. Include a supplementary walking

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015



The Weathermen of Financial Markets Summer has arrived!! And, with it comes hot, muggy temperatures. The kids are out of school and the summer vacations are already in high gear. At least gasoline prices are cheaper this summer than they were last year, right? In fact, I’ve noticed that quite a few commodities have dropped considerably since last year. Thank you Janet Yellen, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve. When Mrs. Yellen finally ended “quantitative easing” last October, we saw the value of the U.S. dollar bottom and begin a long recovery against most major developed nations. A stronger dollar wreaks havoc on dollar denominated commodities. In addition, it provides a substantial headwind for major U.S. multi-national companies who derive the majority of their profits from overseas markets. Hence, the first quarter of this year produced a meager 0.2% growth in U.S. GDP. As of this writing that number has now been revised down to -0.7%. Yes, negative growth. And, now most economists are bringing down their growth estimates for the second quarter. In the meantime, the European Central Bank has embarked on a brand new “QE” program of their own, essentially printing $1 Trillion Euros per year in an effort to reflate the European economy. So, here we are with very poor economic fundamentals in the Americas, the Pacific Rim, and Europe while stock prices march higher in those areas of the globe. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? The 21st century can so far be highlighted by enormous leverage, central bankers run amok, extreme stock market volatility, and historically low interest rates. Never before has the global economy been more intricately bound together than it is today. When one country gets the flu, others catch a cold and hope that it isn’t anything worse. Recently, I was in New York for six days attending business meetings. Most of the economists and portfolio managers I met with all agreed that this grand “central bank experiment” of money

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printing is creating massive bubbles and unintended consequences that, if not stopped soon, could possibly lead to a huge air pocket sometime in the near future. This is the primary reason I travel like I do. I prefer to have my feet on the ground, at the epicenter of the world’s financial market in hopes that I can bring back valuable insights that may be used for the clients of our firm.

meantime, I am reminded of a recent trip to the beach.

Several days ago, I was in Orange Beach on business. And, as I usually do when I am down there I always “try” to get up at 5:00 and walk down to the beach to catch the sunrise. That particular morning a massive thunderstorm had just rolled in and the waves were roaring. But, you know what? At Grand Central During my walk Station in New York I realized that there is an area with storms come located right by the Brandt McDonald and go, the skies food courts called may light up and “The Whispering send a bolt of Gallery”. Two lightning your way, but in the end, the people stand in opposite corners, sun always comes up, the waves always diagonally across from each other. And, calm down, and the skies eventually part miraculously, a whisper can be heard to produce a glorious new day full of from one corner to the next. It’s truly a promise, hope and the life to come. No mystifying architectural phenomenon. matter what is happening in the world, If you step one foot away, you can’t its always temporary and better days are hear a thing that the other person is right around the corner. saying. If your “friend” is trying to send you a special message, you have to be As I’ve said in the past, we bring every positioned just right or you will miss resource to bear to try and be the it. In similar ways, we try very hard to weathermen of financial markets. We place ourselves in the exact right spot to don’t always get it right but we will never hear the whispers of the global financial stop trying to help our clients navigate markets so that we can advise our this thing we call life. clients with the best, most timely advice possible. Until next time, never run with the herd, always be thankful, and look to the At the end of last year, it was my strongly future with anticipation of what’s yet to held position that 2015 would bring come. about flat growth, market volatility, and a substantial capital shift to international markets. So far, we have been dead on. Brandt McDonald, Managing Partner The problem is that we now feel that McDonald, Barranco & Hagen Wealth it is more important to pay attention Management to central bankers and global money LPL Branch Manager supply than it is to watch raw economic fundamentals. This is a dangerous Direct comments and questions to situation in my view. Eventually, the or 334.387.0094 fundamentals MUST catch up with valuation. Or, valuation, WILL catch up with fundamentals. Either way, it means tough sledding over the remaining Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. The course of this year. Rest assured that opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations we will keep you posted as we monitor for any individual. The opinions expressed in this material do not the global economic climate. In the necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.

Financial Thoughts

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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June 2015




This & tHAT

Michael McDonald Performing at Iron City June 14th A prominent part in the soundtrack to our times, Michael McDonald, as an artist and songwriter, has been awarded an impressive five Grammys®. However, by maintaining a low-key profile, the contrast of Michael McDonald as a person and as a musician is astounding. Though comfortable onstage, he has never been a flashy entertainer, nor has he been distracted by passing trends. Instead, McDonald has triumphed through music alone, with a remarkable voice and a body of well-crafted songs. Few have made such an impact with so much substance and so little hoopla. Michael is performing Sunday June 14th, 8 pm, at Iron City located in Birmingham at 513 22nd Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233 For more information visit or call 205.202.5483

Friends for Life Pet Photo Contest Our 17th Annual Pet Photo Contest kicks off on June 1st, 2015 when we will begin accepting photo submissions of your pet. This year we have made it easier for you to enter and submit your pet’s pictures(s). You can enter online at and submit your picture (the file should be 3300 pixels by 2550 pixels or 11″ X 8.5″ at 300 dpi). When taking the picture make sure it is at the highest resolution. All entries will be placed on our website and you may vote for your favorite entries online. Each vote costs just $1, with the top 83 animals earning a place in our 2016 “Friends for Life” calendar. Get your friends, family co-workers to vote for your pet!

Military Appreciation Day at the Zoo is June 18 The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Military Appreciation Day at the Montgomery Zoo Thursday, June 18. All active-duty and retired military personnel and their families will be admitted free with a valid military ID. “Military Appreciation Day at the Zoo is just one small way to express our gratitude to the military families who sacrifice so much for our country and who also contribute greatly to making the River Region a better place to live,” said Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board of Directors W. Russell Tyner. Military families will enjoy free admission to the Montgomery Zoo and the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum as well as free train rides. Lunch, beverages and refreshments will also be provided. The event will take place from 9 am to 5 pm at the Montgomery Zoo, 2301 Coliseum Parkway. Lunch will be served from 11:45 a.m. until 2 p.m. At noon, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Air University Commander and President Lt. Gen. Steven L. Kwast will address those in attendance. The presenting sponsor of Military Appreciation Day at the Zoo is Guardian Credit Union. For more information call 334.230.8361 or visit the zoo at The Montgomery Ostomy Support Group is for people who have had or will have urinary or intestinal diversion surgeries such as colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy. Family members are welcome to attend. Meetings are held at Frazer Memorial Methodist Church every other month generally on a Sunday afternoon. For more information, call Paul at 271-3563 or visit

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June 2015

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

BOOMERS, share your stuff with BOOM! We Love to Bring BOOMERS Together, send info and pics to

Alabama Garden Trail Make your way through the Alabama Garden Trail and enjoy the natural wonder and beauty these gorgeous landscapes have to offer. Because of the range of climates and soil conditions in Alabama, visitors can experience a variety of garden foliage and settings throughout the state. Explore the Alabama Garden Trail from the top of the state all the way down to the Gulf. No matter the season, you’re sure to find a stunning scene at any one of these featured destinations: Huntsville Botanical Garden, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Aldridge Gardens, Jasmine Hill Gardens, Dothan Area Botanical Gardens, Mobile Botanical Gardens, Bellingrath Gardens. For more info visit

The Cloverdale Playhouse Presents Dinner with Friends Directed by Mike Winkelman. Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Written by Donald Margulies. Meet Gabe and Karen and Tom and Beth. Two married couples who have been inseparable friends for all of their married lives, they’ve vowed to ‘grow old and fat’ together, vacationed with their kids together, and had many, many dinners together. They thought they would always be friends, but that’s not the case.... “...a modern masterpiece about the path you choose, the millions you don’t and the detours that make it worth the ride.” Recommended for ages 14+ , Sponsored by SUPER SUPPERS and AUM For tickets visit or call 334.262.1530

FREE Estate Planning and Asset Protection Workshop Wednesday, June 10: Hosted by Red Oak Legal, PC: 1:30 - 3:30 pm at the Archibald Senior Center (MACOA) in Montgomery. This educational workshop presented by local attorney Raley L. Wiggins covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required. Call 334.625.6774 today to reserve your seat or register online at

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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June 2015



This & tHAT



Hospice of Montgomery’s Kentucky Derby Annual Benefit More than 300 guests and donors recently gathered in their “Derby” best for Hospice of Montgomery’s Kentucky Derby Annual Benefit fundraiser at Alley Station Ballroom and Rooftop. The event, chaired by Julia Wilson, was a fun-filled afternoon affair with a VIP preparty, post-position horse draw, exclusive silent auction, hat contest, hors d’ oeuvres, music, fabulous prizes and, of course, viewing of the Kentucky Derby! Funds raised at the annual benefit help provide counseling and bereavement services to families, community education seminars, and care for terminally ill patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Hospice of Montgomery is Alabama’s first hospice and the only independent, nonprofit hospice care provider in the River Region. They have been providing services for patients and their families in our community for over 30 years. For more information contact Hospice of Montgomery at 334.279.6677 or visit

Prattville’s Way Off Broadway Theatre Presents 100 Lunches, A Gourmet Comedy Prattville’s Way Off Broadway Theatre will present 100 Lunches, A Gourmet Comedy by Jack Sharkey and Leo W. Sears and directed by Sam Wallace from June 4 – 21 at the Prattville Cultural Arts Center at 203 West 4th Street, Prattville. The play is a romantic comedy of gastronomic proportions! What does playwright Chuck Reynolds do when the one critic who hates his shows asks for help writing her own play? He gets revenge! He agrees to help Charity Starr in exchange for her footing the bill at some of the most expensive restaurants in town until the play is finished. Non-stop fun, romance, and hilarious mayhem make this an ideal show for the entire family! Opening night is Thursday, June 4 @ 7:30 p.m. and the show will be performed on Fridays and Saturdays @ 7:30 p.m. and Sundays @ 2:00 p.m. from June 5 – 21, 2015. Tickets are available for purchase in advance for $10 or at the door for $12. For tickets and more information please contact the Cultural Arts and Special Events Office for the City of Prattville at 334.595.0854 or by e-mail at Check us out on the web @ or like us on Facebook at

Aging Admirably Summer Book Drive Aging Admirably’s 2015 Book Drive geared toward school-aged children for books that promote a positive view of older adults and intergenerational relationships. The goals of the book drive are to: Collect approved (ALSC) books that promote a positive view of older adults and intergenerational relationships, Raise funds to purchase books that are needed in addition to the book drive, Donate collected books to Schools in the River Region, Youth Organizations, and Public/ Private Libraries, Encourage the development of a focus area for books on Aging within recipient locations. “If we can impress a positive view of the Aging on our younger generation, we believe that they will grow up with a willingness to care for our Aging population.” – Selena Hardy, Executive Director. Please drop off books at Faith Church, 1931 Highland Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36107. For more info contact Selena Hardy or visit

River Bend Brew Fest Winners they each won a set of 4 tickets, thanks for playing!

Ed Nichols + Michael Briddell + Carl Viars + Rachel Harris 14 BOOM!

June 2015

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CaraVita Village is hosting a Men’s Health Event Cara Vita Village is hosting a Men’s Health Event on June 18th @1 pm. This is a Men’s Health- Wear Blue event. The purpose of Men’s Health Day is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and promote early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This is an opportunity to encourage men to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. Please join us for our guest speaker and blood sugar and blood pressure testing. For more information contact Lisa Dabbs at or visit

The Lattice Inn is now a member of the TripAdvisor® “Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame” The Lattice Inn today announced that it has received its fifth in a row TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. Having received the Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years also qualified The Lattice Inn for induction into Tripadvisor’s “Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame”. Jim Yeaman, owner/innkeeper at The Lattice Inn notes: “Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years is a true source of pride and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review of their stay at The Lattice Inn on TripAdvisor. And to be inducted into the Tripadvisor “Hall of Fame” is an even greater honor and recognition. There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is Jim Yeaman, owner/innkeeper a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.” The Lattice Inn is an award-winning and unique bed and breakfast nestled in the heart of Montgomery’s historic Garden District. Since 1993, The Lattice Inn has provided an exceptional lodging experience in a tastefully updated 1906-era cottage. For more info visit

HOM Grief Support Group

Hospice of Montgomery (HOM) will be hosting a Grief Support Group each Wednesday in July from 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. The support group will meet at Hospice of Montgomery’s office located at 1111 Holloway Park, Montgomery, 36117 throughout the month. This Grief Support Group is open to the community. Grief education programs are also available to individuals living within Hospice of Montgomery’s service area. For more information contact Hospice of Montgomery at 334.279.6677 or

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June 2015




Gary Soriano, “Eat Mor Chikin” This month’s BOOM! profile is Gary Soriano. Some of you know Gary from his involvement in our community and many more of you have probably eaten some of the delicious food he serves at Chick-Fil-A, East Chase or the RSA Tower downtown Montgomery. A few months ago Gary helped organize an event at Frazer Church presenting the ChickFil-A Business Principles and it was a standing room only audience! Chick-Fil-A is a popular restaurant and when you begin to understand why, you appreciate more how important it is to have values and principles in which to build the foundation of your business and for that matter, life itself. Gary has been part of Chick-Fil-A for more than 40 years and when we asked him to share some of his life’s journey, he reluctantly said yes, and we’re glad he did. We hope you enjoy getting to know Gary as much as we have... Eat Mor Chikin!

BOOM!: Please give us a brief biography, i.e. where you’re from, education, what brought you to the Montgomery area, did you raise your family here, schools, married, family, etc? Gary: Born, Asbury Park, NJ. Moved to Hollywood, FL in the 6th grade and lived there through high School. I met Susan Vines, my wife, the summer before my senior year. We courted that year and fell in love. She really helped me get focused on school and my future. We used to like to go to the beach at night and sit on a lifeguard stand and talk. One night, she was upset. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but she finally told me that she was moving to Montgomery,

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helping me along life’s path. Her Dad was gracious enough to give me a job and Susan and her Mom found an apartment on Cary Drive behind Lee High School that was perfect for me at $57.50/month. Right in my price range!

Alabama that June. Her Dad was going to open the Chick-fil-A restaurant at Eastdale Mall. First of all, I didn’t know where Montgomery, Alabama was (although I had a general idea). Second, I had never heard of Chick-fil-A. She explained that it was a restaurant in malls that sold a chicken sandwich. Finally, I had never even heard of a chicken sandwich. She assured me it was delicious. In my attempt to console her, I suggested that I could go to college in Montgomery. Maybe her Dad could give me a job, I could get an apartment, and we could find a college up here for me to go to. So, on a lifeguard stand on a February night in 1977, we planned out our future. I owe so much of my personal and professional development to Susan’s parents, Jeff and Evelyn Vines. They treated me like family since the day I arrived,

Susan and I were married in 1980. She had graduated from Prince Institute and was working as a Certified Court Reporter. I graduated AUM in 1982 and we also had our first child, Ashley that year. We opened our first Chick-fil-A in Auburn in November 1983. Our son, Jason was born in 1987. We moved back to Montgomery in 1992 to open Chick-fil-A Montgomery Promenade on the Eastern Blvd. In June 2003, we turned the Promenade franchise in to open a new franchise at EastChase. My brother-law, Jace Vines, joined us in this venture. He helped us get the restaurant off the ground and has been with us every step on the way as we’ve watched it grow. His leadership has been so instrumental in the success that we’ve had. In 2012, we added Chick-fil-A at RSA Tower to serve the Tower and surrounding community. This restaurant has already been remodeled twice to help us keep up with the growth there. When we moved back to Montgomery in 1992, our daughter Ashley began school at St James School and attended from the 5th grade through 8th grade. She attended BTW Magnet High School from

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9th grade through graduation. She was heavily involved in the Drama program and had a wonderful high school experience at BTW.

share your experience with Chick-Fil-A…we understand you started as a teenager? How does it feel to have your daughter follow in your footsteps, operating a Chick-Fil-A restaurant?

he made have impacted those of us within Chick-fil-A as well as so many other people who have come to love Chick-fil-A over the years.

I fell in love with Chick-fil-A about two Jason went to St James weeks after we opened at Chick-fil-A School from Kindergarten Eastdale Mall. The Grand Opening of through High School. Eastdale Mall was incredibly busy. Many Gary: From the very He played baseball and of your readers may remember that. We beginning, I could tell basketball throughout were working many hours and I was living Chick-fil-A was different. his school years and in that apartment with no furniture other Truett Cathy said that played on the St James than a table and two chairs in the kitchen there was no conflict 4A State Championship and a bed in my bedroom. That Sunday, between Biblical principles Susan’s Parents, Jeff and Evelyn Vines and good business baseball team his senior about two weeks after we opened, Susan year. Both of our children and I went to the movies and when we practices. He talked had numerous teachers and coaches that returned to my apartment, I opened the about working hard, doing your best, impacted them in so many positive ways door and inside and serving others. He during their school years. Susan and I there were a made it clear that results have always appreciated how well these dozen or so of were important, but so dedicated men and women prepared our the Chick-fil-A were relationships. He children for their college years. team members closed his restaurants on cheering and Sunday, and that spoke Both Ashley and Jason earned their college clapping. As I to the fact that his talk degrees, are married now, and raising their looked around, matched his walk. own families. We are so fortunate that they I realized both found wonderful marriage partners that they had I learned the Chickthat we love like our own children. Ashley furnished fil-A Core values: married her college sweetheart, Blake Gill my entire Customers First, Working of Montgomery. They have two children; apartment, right Together, Continuous Gracie (6) and Levi (2). Ashley and Blake down to the Improvement, Personal own and operate their own Chick-fil-A pictures on the Excellence, and franchise in Northport, Alabama. walls. What an Stewardship. Each act of kindness of these Core Values Jason married his High School sweetheart, they showed me encourages us to be at Gary, Susan, Gracie, daughter Ashley holding Levi and husband Blake Ashley Huett, also from Montgomery. that day. Susan our best at all times. Jason and Ashley have three children; had arranged it with several of the high Sydney (7), school and college young men and women Truett talked many Pearson (2), and they had gotten these furnishings times about his and Ford together. To think that they cared enough life verse, Proverbs (8 weeks). for me to do such a thing astonished me. 22:1, “A good Jason and Our Chick-fil-A team taught me a big lesson name is rather to Ashley are about serving others that I will never be had than great traveling forget. riches”. When to different Truett Cathy was assignments It has been nearly 40 years since that young, his mother around the day, and Chick-fil-A has grown from 75 wrote it down for country with restaurants back then to nearly 2,000 him to bring to Chick-fil-A as restaurants today. We have been very school and it was they prepare blessed. We’ve been successful because selected as “Verse for their we’ve surrounded ourselves with great of the Day” by Jason with family, Pearson, wife Ashley, sydney, baby Ford his teacher that opportunity people who have made us successful. as franchisees People on our leadership team like day. This had a big in the coming year. Jace Vines, Fannie Richardson, Michael impact on him and I am convinced today Simpson, Lauren Davis, Rachel McGough, that nothing has influenced our company BOOM!: You are the owner/operator of and Marissa Sanchez at EastChase and more than this verse of scripture. It gave one of the busiest Chick-Fil-A restaurants in Tyler Whittington and Kayla Burroughs Truett a foundation for decision making for Alabama, located at East Chase. Would you at RSA Regions Tower. And long term his business. Many of these decisions that

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team leaders like Tiffany Guantt, Ed Sharpe, Elaine Harris, Josh Vines, Katlyn Brophy, Angela Gipson, and many more too numerous to mention have all made us better.

Jewish citizen to carry a Roman soldier’s He valued a “good name over great riches” pack for a mile when ordered to. The Jews and modeled that for us every day. despised the Roman occupation and I’m sure had a sour attitude as they BOOM!: Many people over 50 are were carrying out their one experiencing a renewed sense of purpose, mile duty. Jesus is also very new goals, new careers, especially if concerned about the condition they’ve experienced the empty nest When my daughter of our hearts as we go through syndrome of their kids moving on. How and my son each our daily walk. So what was would you describe this sense of renewal indicated that his answer? Go the extra mile. in your life? Any advice for the rest of us they’d like to He knew that the first mile is seeking renewal? operate a Chickall about duty, but the second fil-A franchise one mile is about impact. When Gary: We are so fortunate to have a close day, I supported we go above and beyond what family. I talk with our children most every them 100%. I is expected of us, we are living day; sometimes multiple times a day. We knew they’d in the second mile and having have so much to talk about personally and have incredible a positive impact on those professionally. We also stay busy with the opportunities to around us. But, what is so grandchildren. They are so much fun to be make a positive important is what the second around. I always thought that if we did a impact on others. mile does for us. Jesus knew good job as parents, we could pat ourselves Ford Soriano I also knew that that if we would learn to serve on the back and relax. Then someone leadership and entrepreneurship were right others in this way, it would change the told me that the true measure of the type in their wheelhouse and that the people condition of our heart. My parent you were of Chick-fil-A would never stop developing desire is for our guests at is how your them as people and as businesspeople. Chick-fil-A to experience grandchildren some element of second come out. So, the Ashley has been a Chick-fil-A Operator mile service on every visit. pressure is still for ten years now. She was the first third It will impact them in a on! generation Operator in the chain. Jason positive way, but it also will be an Operator soon. We are so shows me that we are This was also proud of both of them for what they have becoming better people a time for accomplished, but more so for who they along the way. Susan and I to are. reconnect. When As I reflect back on what you have children BOOM!: Chick-Fil-A operates their business attracted me to Chick-at home and with Christian Values such as the “second fil-A as a career, I think busy lives, it is Levi Gill and Pearson Soriano Mile” and “servant leadership”, they are it comes down to values very easy to build also proactive about sharing them with and influence. I really connected with the your lives around them and then, when others, could you share with our readers values of this organization. I felt energized they are gone, you have to hit the reset the essence of how at work and button to a certain degree. It has been fun Chick-Fil-A operates its enjoyed serving slowing down a bit and spending some business using Christian others. I liked time together, just the two of us over the Values? the Chick-fil-A past few years. culture. I also Gary: Jesus challenged saw the influence I’ve also found real purpose helping people us in so many ways to and impact that in Southeast Asia for the past 7 years. I love one another. He Truett Cathy was think it’s important to continue stretching taught us to put others having, and just yourself and this work has certainly done first, to value and love as impactful was that for me. It has stretched my faith all people, and to do the influence in God spending time with like-minded to others as we would that Jeff Vines brothers and sisters there. It has also given have others do to us. was having in me expanded purpose and fulfillment, These are good life the Montgomery helping others. I don’t think you have to L-R, Pearson, Sydney, Ford Soriano principles, but also good community that travel around the world to find this either. I and Gracie, Levi Gill business practices for us drew me in. He just had doors open and felt the call to help to follow. was providing opportunity for us to work in there. Many over 50s are finding renewed a clean cut environment. He was teaching purpose by helping others in our own In Matthew 5:41, Jesus says, “and us good work habits and encouraging us to community. whosoever shall compel you to go one work together as we served others. He was mile, go with him two.” You see, there also using his business as a way to serve BOOM!: We understand you have a real was a law in that day that required a the community. That really appealed to me. passion for work in Asia, could you explain

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how you got involved and the impact it’s had on your life?

Gary: Susan and I enjoy going out to eat, relaxing at home together, and catching up with family.

I am a Gideon. Montgomery is fortunate to have this group of dedicated men who distribute bibles throughout our community and the world. Mike and Lisa Conn have a ministry in town called Family Teams for Christ that I have spent time working with. They are doing amazing work with military families in our community.

Gary: About 7 years ago, I BOOM!: had a ChickFavorite fil-A Inc. vacation spot? friend ask me Any travel plans to join him on for the future? a trip to Asia to speak on Gary: We have BOOM!: Because Chick-Fil-A is a “values Chick-fil-A’s a condo down centered” workplace, what impact does Leadership on Fort Morgan that have on your role as a parent? model. Susan Island. As a encouraged matter of fact, Gary: I think it really helped us to teach Gary with the 2015 China SERVE Team me to go, I am answering good values to our children. We were much so with her many of these more purposeful and equipped to do this blessing, I agreed. Over ten days, we spoke questions as I sit under an umbrella on the than we would have been had we not had in four different cities and I was floored by beach here. We decided to take a the influence of the need there. I was also so impressed by couple of days down here to give Chick-fil-A. Ashley the desire the men and women we met me a chance to concentrate as I likes to tell the had to learn a better way to do business. write. story of how she Many had a new came to work found faith but We love the beach and have for me at age didn’t know how so many great memories of 15. She told me to incorporate it vacations as children with that she’d like into the workplace. our families, then as adults to start working Others were with our children, and at Chick-fil-A. I seeking to find a now with our children and told her I’d set deeper truth to grandchildren at the beach. up an interview the meaning of Gary with Asian elementary school students with Ms Yvette, their lives. It was We will be doing a road our GM at the a very powerful trip out to Utah in a few days to help time. She was surprised that she would experience and Jason and his family as they settle into need to be interviewed. I wanted her to I came back their assignment out there. What a feel the pressure of the interview. That is fundamentally wonderful opportunity to spend time a life experience she needed to have and Young Asian boy with his changed and with them! We’ll have an opportunity I certainly didn’t want her to feel like she new hygiene kit determined to do more. to stop in New Mexico to visit my sister, was entitled to the job. The best thing for Lisa and her family on the way. her was to know she had to earn her job at Over the past several years, it has been Chick-fil-A. my honor to work with and help mentor BOOM!: As a successful Chick-Fil-A some friends who have a pizza restaurant Operator, do A couple of years ago, she there. They are doing incredible work you have time reminded me that one of and have opened the door for us to visit to be involved the first jobs I gave her with teams of Chick-fil-A operators and in community, when she started working staff to help teach them the restaurant civic or other was to clean out the business. This has led to compassion work activities? floor drains. I told her to in schools and villages, such as clean water put a plastic sleeve over projects and hygiene programs and other Gary: I volunteer her arm and reach down projects that help them in their work. It at our church, into the floor drains and is such a privilege to partner with people Frazer UMC, scrub them out. I don’t of excellence like Daniel Grier (ChickWednesday remember the incident as fil-A Prattville), Steve Elyea (Chick-fil-A nights to clearly as she does, but Tallahassee), and Matthew Kyle (Chick-fil-A work with our I’m sure that I was trying Gary with Asian villagers Athens, AL) among many others in this youth. It is so to impart on her that work. encouraging to see the sharp young people everyone’s job is to do whatever needs to that are coming up. I see them at church be done. In life, the ones who are willing BOOM!: How do you like to relax and wind and also have the opportunity to work with to do whatever needs to be done earn the down from a hard day’s work? them at our restaurants. Our future is very respect of their peers. I’m sure that she bright. earned a lot of respect that day.

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June 2015



BOOM!: What is it about living in the Montgomery/River Region area that you like? Gary: It is home for us now. We’ve raised our family here. Our church family is here. We love the people we work with and serve daily. We are so fortunate that the people of the River Region love us back by continuing to dine with us and tell us daily how much they love Chick-fil-A. I really enjoy the relationships I have with the other Chick-fil-A Operators in our River Region market. Robert Eike (Montgomery Promenade), Jeromy Gwin (Eastdale Mall), Stuart Rogers (Midtown), and Daniel Grier (Prattville) are great to work with and learn from. They challenge me and make me better at what I do. We partner together on so many projects that none of us could do alone. I consider myself to be fortunate to be located in a market with so many talented Operators around me. There is also so much to do in the River Region. The Shakespeare Festival is as good as it gets. We have the Montgomery Biscuits, the Riverfront Park, and great shopping. We have such strong churches in Montgomery and wonderful people here. We can’t imagine living anywhere else. BOOM!: As you’ve aged, how have your ambitions changed? Gary: I think I have learned over time that our organization naturally grows as we get better at what we do. I think too many organizations focus on getting bigger without the proper focus in getting better. This leaves them with a weak foundation. We have made a concerted effort to get bigger by getting better. BOOM!: Give us three words that describe you? Gary: Learning every day. BOOM!: Do you have any hobbies or other activities that grab your attention? Gary: When Jason was growing up, he showed a real interest in baseball. I wanted to help him, but knew next to nothing about the sport. I bought several books and read everything I could find on the subjects of hitting and pitching. I helped out on all of his youth teams and even coached a few of them. We had

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such a great time watching him play all the way through high school ball. Susan and I (and his sister Ashley) traveled all over the country cheering him on in travel ball. It was fun to watch him grow into a leader on and off the field. To this day, I am still a huge baseball fan and take in a game any chance I get.

data. We also use iPads to take face-to-face orders in our drive-thru, which speeds up the ordering process. There was a time when we would max out at 70 guests through the drive-thru during the peak hour. With the help of technology, we can now serve over 150 guests in an hour and this number continues to grow.

Susan and I also enjoy college sports. We fell in love with the Auburn community during the ten years we lived there and have continued to follow Auburn ever since.

Our guests can order on-line when they have a catering order or if they want to alert us to their party tray needs. They can use mobile pay to pay for their order with their phone (Apple pay coming soon) and they will soon be able to order their lunch on their phone and pick it up without having to order at the register. Gift cards are another convenience made possible by technology.

BOOM!: Since you’ve been part of ChickFil-A a long time, what was your first impression of the “Eat Mor Chikin” cows? I’m sure you get a lot of positive feedback from customers…? Gary: I thought they were very clever, but never imagined they would become the face of our brand for as long as they have. When we opened at Montgomery Promenade in 1992, Chick-fil-A was mostly in malls. We were the 38th Chick-fil-A built outside the mall and it took years to build up the business there. When the cows came out in 1995, I was intrigued by the billboard and talked one of our marketing guys into sending me a set of those cows (no way I could have afforded the $7000 to buy them). We put the billboard up in front of the current Lowe’s location and sales skyrocketed. We had three straight years of 20% sales increases. Talk about the power of advertising! Our Operator market went to Dallas a few months ago to visit our Advertising Agency, The Richards Group. They have a whole team of creative people who come up with new and clever ways for the cows to “save their hides”. The Cows have won numerous Advertising awards and are even in the Outdoor Advertising Hall of Fame, an achievement they are particularly proud of. I’d say the future is bright for our Chick-fil-A Cows. BOOM!: How does technology improve the customer experience at Chick-Fil-A? Gary: We’ve been able to use technology advances to improve almost every facet of our business. One great example is our use of iPads in the restaurant. We use iPads to train team members off an on-line training system. iPads in our kitchen tell us how much to cook and when based on historical

BOOM!: Every spouse makes a contribution to our success. How has your wife Susan contributed to yours? Gary: It is impossible to separate any success I’ve had from Susan’s influence on me and our family. In the early days, when I was working 12-15 hours a day to get our business on track, she was the rock of our family. She did EVERYTHING else. Without her superhuman efforts at home, I couldn’t have poured so much of my energy into my work. The restaurant business is a tough business. I think anyone in this business will tell you that. A restaurant takes a lot of care, effort, energy, and time. Without Susan’s support, there is no success. Another way Susan has been so great for me is she has really helped to keep me centered. She never lets me get too high or too low. The great days are celebrated, but not camped out on. The hard days are talked over and then forgotten. It helps me to keep looking forward. I am most thankful though, for her thousands of prayers over the years on my behalf. Her love for me, faith in me, and prayers for me have been more instrumental in who I am today than anything else. Thank you, Susan. I love you. We want to thank Gary for sharing his story with us this month. Please share your comments with Gary at We also want to thank Marissa Sanchez for helping set up the cover shot at the RSA Tower. As always, thanks to Kim Bethea from The Studio @ Eastchase for her professional cover photos. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please send them to The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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Beauty Buzz From our blog at

Can Injectables Get You a Date? I know this seems like a pretty crazy question! For those of you who are content with things just the way they are…this may not be for you. But before you decide that right off the bat, check this out! Whether you are trying to look younger for yourself or someone else or just trying to age gracefully, there is a chance that a little tweak here and there might just do the trick! A study was done in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology that showed how 150 people judged images of 10 women, who were treated with different facial fillers, on their age, health and attractiveness. The results showed that the women who were treated with fillers were perceived by opposite sex to be younger than they really were and more attractive too. It’s already understood that the way we look, our age and our health play a major role in how others perceive us, and thanks to cosmetic treatments, we are able to fix what we don’t like about our appearances. With that said, you need to find a board certified facial plastic surgeon or board certified plastic surgeon to administer these treatments safe and effectively! Do a little research, ask some serious questions, look at before and after photos before you decide to make any dramatic changes. First and foremost, do it for you! Let this just be a reminder that you don’t have to do anything drastic to make a big change. Love your face…because we do!

Chemical Peels The chemical peel is one of the best anti-aging tools out there. Professional peels not only enhance the texture and tone of the skin, but they also help keep the skin looking and acting younger over time. SkinMedica ™ Chemical Peels produce noticeable results after just 1 peel. “Why choose a SkinMedica™ Peel over another type of chemical peel?” Here are just a few reasons why: 1. Proven Results – clinical research trials have been done and published in medical journals. 2. Predictable Results – when you apply the peel you don’t have to guess what is going to happen, penetration continues up to 6 hours. 3. Very Comfortable – this is an extremely tolerable peel because it does not contain glycolic acid, which can be irritating to the skin. 4. Treats multiple skin care concerns – acne, pigment, and aging all in one shot! 5. A series of 3 Vitalize peels applied 3-4 weeks apart have been clinically proven to increase collagen production up to 50% and increase epidermal thickness 20%. I think some women shy away from peels because they feel like they’re already too dry and their skin is thin, when in reality peels will HELP both of those conditions. Jump-start your healthy skin with these perfect peels today. Call me at Radiant Skin Medical Spa today!!

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Sunscreen Secrets Applying sunscreen once a day? Sunscreen will protect your skin for two hours — that’s it. If you want coverage until sundown, you have to reapply. Use sunscreen powders (like Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sun Protection SPF 50) to stay protected all day without disrupting your makeup. Sunscreen can protect your skin against skin cancer and premature aging. However, it is not as effective unless it’s applied correctly. Follow these tips from dermatologists when applying: • Choose a product that has an SPF of 30 or higher, like SkinMedica Daily Physical Defense SPF 30 or Environmental Defense SPF 50. This is also water resistant and provides broad-spectrum coverage, which means it protects you from UVA and UVB rays. • Apply product generously before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn. • Use enough product. Most adults need at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount you can hold in your palm, to fully cover all exposed areas of your body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin. • Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. For hard-toreach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray sunscreen. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide-brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with a SPF of at least 15. • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours to remain protected, or immediately after swimming or excessively sweating.

Sunburn cell formation usually happens because they didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product. Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. So whether you are on vacation or taking a brisk fall walk in your neighborhood, remember to use sunscreen. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


What will the Medicare doc fix mean for seniors? Just when you thought bipartisan legislation was a thing of the past, Congress pulled a surprise this spring by passing the most significant reform to Medicare in years. The socalled “doc fix” law achieves several important improvements to Medicare, but it also comes with some costs to seniors. The law fixes a federal formula for paying physicians called the

Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). When the SGR became law in 1997, the intent was to keep growth in physician payments in line with the economy’s overall growth. But it’s been a thorn in the side of doctors, who often have faced the prospect of draconian cuts. For example, absent the reform legislation, payment rates would have been slashed 21 percent. Congress often has passed temporary one-year repair reimbursements, which came to

be known in Washington as the “doc fix.” The new reforms are set to be phased in over a period of years, so it’s worth understanding the reforms if you’re already signed up for Medicare, or will be enrolling during the next decade. The new legislation improves Medicare in several ways, including: ▪ Replacement of the SGR with a new formula that rewards physicians who meet certain government standards for providing high quality, cost-effective care. The new formula aims to move Medicare away from rewarding doctors for the quantity of services they provide. ▪ Addressing concerns about Medicare beneficiaries’ access to physicians. The fear has been that doctors would simply get tired of the ongoing threat of reduced payments and stop accepting Medicare patients. ▪ Making permanent a 100 percent subsidy of Part B premiums for certain low-income Medicare beneficiaries (The “Qualifying Individual” program). This program covers the Part B premium for beneficiaries with incomes ranging from 120 percent and 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. But Medicare beneficiaries will be exposed to higher costs in three ways. First-dollar Medigap coverage phased out. Most Medicare enrollees have some type of coverage that limits the program’s cost-sharing requirements. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 23 percent of all Medicare enrollees buy private Medigap policies; 35 percent have employer or unionsponsored supplemental coverage (35 percent); and Medicaid augments Medicare coverage for low-income seniors (19 percent of all enrollees). Under the doc fix law, Medigap plans will no longer cover the annual Part

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

B deductible for new enrollees ($147 this year). That will mean changes for Medigap “C” and “F” plans, the two most popular plan choices and the only ones that cover Part B deductibles. Starting in 2020, seniors would have to pay it themselves. Current Medigap policyholders and new enrollees up to 2020 would be protected. Firstdollar coverage from employers and Medicaid are unaffected. The goal is to give seniors more “skin in the game,” which conservatives have long argued would lower costs by making patients think twice about using medical services if they know they must pay something for all services they use. High-income premium surcharges rise. Affluent Medicare enrollees already pay more for the program; individuals with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) starting at $85,000 ($170,000 for joint filers) pay a higher share of the government’s full cost of coverage in Medicare Part B and Part D for

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

incomes between $160,000 and $214,000 would pay 80 percent, rather than today’s 65 percent.

prescription drug coverage. This year, for example, seniors with incomes at or below $85,0000 pay $104.90 per month in Part B premiums, but higherincome seniors pay between $146.90 and $335.70. Starting in 2018, the new plan will shift a higher percentage of costs to Medicare beneficiaries with MAGI between $133,500 and $214,000 (twice that for couples). Those with incomes of $133,000 to $160,000 would pay 65 percent of total premium costs, rather than 50 percent today and those with

Higher Part B premiums for all. Under current law, enrollee premiums must cover 25 percent of Medicare Part B costs. Since the doc fix will increase overall program costs, there will be an impact spread across the entire base of Part B enrollees. Notably, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had already forecast that the Part B premium would soar from $104.09 this year to $171 in 2025 without the impact of the doc fix. The CBO says the legislation will add another $10 onto Part B premiums in 2025, for a total of $181. Mark Miller is a journalist and author who focuses on retirement and aging. He is the author of “The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work and Living.” Mark also edits and publishes (c)2015 50+ Digital LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Ask an Elder Law Attorney By: Raley L. Wiggins | Attorney at Law | Red Oak Legal, PC

Are you eligible to receive this valuable VA benefit? One of the privileges of serving our country during a time of war is the potential eligibility for VA Pension benefits. These benefits are particularly valuable for veterans over age 65 who have large medical expenses, including prescription drugs, treatments, and even assisted living or in-home care. Recently, the VA has quietly taken action to attempt to reduce the number of Veterans who can qualify for these benefits by changing the rules.

While there is no specific formula to calculate what is excessive, the older the applicant is, the fewer assets they can have before they will be considered excessive. Many veterans are incorrectly informed that they cannot ever qualify for these benefits, but often that information is not entirely correct. Sometimes a veteran or surviving spouse may qualify after undertaking some estate planning with an attorney. While attorneys cannot charge veterans to prepare or submit a pension application, a VA Accredited attorney can assist veterans by evaluating their case and making recommendations regarding future qualification.

to be so under the proposed regulations. However, the proposed rules cap the “reasonable lot area” that the home sits on at 2 acres, a limit that does not exist under current law. Rural veterans will of course be treated unfairly under this rule. The VA also hopes to impose a Medicaidstyle penalty against veterans who have transferred property within 3 years before applying. Currently, no such penalty exists.

These VA Pension benefits are generally To illustrate: A married Veteran applies available to wartime Veterans (and their for VA Pension with an aid and attendance surviving spouses) who meet certain criteria. allowance. The monthly benefit he is trying Before 1980 the Veteran must have served to qualify for is $2,120. During the past 3 at least ninety (90) days of active duty, with years, the Veteran contributed $10,000 to at least one day being during a “wartime The Wounded Warriors Project, a nonprofit But as mentioned above, these rules may be period” (as set by Congress). After 1980, organization. He also gave his only child about to change. the Veteran must have generally served at $1,000 on each birthday the past 3 years. least twenty-four (24) months of active duty, with at least one day As a result of the being during a wartime period. In charitable contribution addition, the Veteran must not have the cash gifts to Estate Planning and Asset Protection Workshop and been dishonorably discharged. her child ($13,000 total Wednesday, June 10: Hosted by Red Oak Legal, PC: 1:30-3:30 pm in 3 years), this Veteran A Veteran must also be “disabled” would be penalized for at the Archibald Senior Center (MACOA) in Montgomery. This in order to receive this benefit, but 6.13 months when he educational workshop presented by local attorney Raley L. Wiggins anyone over age 65 is automatically applies for VA Pension covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living deemed “disabled” for purposes of under the new rules. wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, determining eligibility. Of course, If this same Veteran bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care permanent and total disability at any was not married, the age also meets this requirement. penalty would be even and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required. If the Veteran or surviving spouse longer—11.3 months. Call 334-625-6774 today to reserve your seat or register online at has additional medical needs, then During the penalty additional monetary allowances the Veteran would not may be awarded, like an “aid and receive his benefits. attendance” allowance. This penalty would apply to all transfers, The proposed VA rules changes include unless the Veteran could present evidence creating a one-size-fits-all number for The Veteran must also meet certain financial that a transfer was the result of fraud, determining the maximum amount of net requirements. The Veteran must not have misrepresentation or other bad act in the worth a veteran can have in order to qualify, income in excess of the current maximum marketing or sale of a financial product. currently $117,000 (adjusted annually for benefit amount. However, “income” for inflation). In addition, the proposed rules VA purposes is determined after deducting If you know a veteran or the surviving would include income in the applicant’s any unreimbursed out-of-pocket medical spouse of a veteran with substantial net worth calculation. In other words, if expenses. So, for example a veteran seeking unreimbursed healthcare costs, now is the a Veteran has assets worth $117,000 and a $1,700 monthly benefit, who receives time to investigate whether they may qualify receives an income of $2,000 per month, $2,500 in monthly income, but has $3,000 in for this valuable benefit. After all, it may the Veteran’s “net worth” is calculated at assisted living and prescription medication about to become much more difficult. $117,000 + $24,000, which is well over the expenses, would have an income for VA “net worth” limit allowed. Raley L. Wiggins purposes of zero. Attorney at Law, Red Oak Legal, PC 334-239-3625 | A primary residence, whether or not the In addition to the income cap, the current 445 Dexter Avenue, ste 9000, Mont, AL 36104 claimant resides there, is an excluded asset law provides that a veteran or surviving for calculating “net worth” and will continue spouse cannot have “excessive” assets.

Attend Free Workshop

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Only 5% of potentially eligible Americans over 65 are receiving a valuable VA pension benefit . . . are you one of them? FREE EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOP

Estate Planning, Asset Protection & Medicaid Eligibility


Join local attorney Raley L. Wiggins to discuss wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living wills, probate administration, protecting your assets, bankruptcy, divorce & remarriage, nursing homes, long term care and medicaid qualification.

Seats fill up quickly! Reserve your seat today:

(334) 625-6774

“No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.�


The Montgomery Bridge Club’s Heart of Dixie Tournament Photos by: Jessie Barksdale Photography

People from all across the South traveled to Montgomery on April 30 through May 3 for the 2015 Heart of Dixie Tournament hosted by The Montgomery Bridge Club. Held at a new location and with a new enthusiasm, this year’s event was the largest and most financially successful tournament in the history of the club.

Clay Hall from Birmingham was called in to assist with the Friday and Saturday games. The success is due, in large part, to all the remarkable sponsors who supported the tournament. The club is so honored and grateful to the astounding group of sponsors who aided in this year’s event: Jackson Hospital, The James W. Wilson and Wynona W. Wilson Family Foundation, Jennie Weller Catering, ServisFirst Bank, Pickwick

Sellers and Melanie Beasley, representing The Sunshine Center; and Steve Bricken, representing The Friends of the Mansion. First Lady Mrs. Bentley welcomed The Montgomery Bridge Club to the neighborhood and called for the start of the first game.

Quadrupling last year’s count, a total of 245 tables were in play over the course of the tournament. Players from four different states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi) were in attendance. From Mayor Todd Strange and Dianne Bentley, First Lady Huntsville to Fairhope Antiques, Sterling Founded in 1965, The Montgomery Bridge and everywhere in Bank, Zoe’s Kitchen, Club is a nonprofit sanctioned duplicate between, Alabama Buffalo Rock Pepsi, bridge club governed by the American players represented Thompson Insurance, Contract Bridge League ( After 21 different cities Liger’s Bakery and selling their building on Mulberry Street, in our great state. Kwik KopyShop. which had been their home since 1972, the Many out-of-town club relocated to 1103 South Perry Street in players planned to Thursday morning, January of this year. only stay for part Mayor Todd Strange of the tournament welcomed guests Now located across the street from the but were having too MBC members and guest receive instruction from ACBL to Montgomery, governor’s mansion, it was only fitting that much fun to leave so Director Priscilla Smith as they prepare the boards for acknowledged Alabama’s First Lady Dianne Bentley serve they stayed the entire the opening session of the tournament as the honoree of duration! the sponsors and the first game of introduced the first lady. the tournament, Each day, guests had many delectable eats Accompanying Mayor aptly dubbed “The at their disposal, all organized by members Strange were other local First Lady’s Charity of The Montgomery Bridge Club, and were dignitaries: Joe Riley, Game.” In the name donated by local establishments such as president and CEO of of good fun and a Liger’s Bakery, Gigi’s Fabulous Foods, Zoe’s Jackson Hospital; Janet great cause, two Kitchen, Jennie Weller Catering, Publix and McQueen, vice president worthy charities Buffalo Rock Pepsi. of marketing and that are near and development at Jackson dear to her heart The Montgomery Bridge Club is thrilled to Georgia Carroll and her partner Jo Young play the first game of the opening session Hospital; the Honorable were selected as the have had such a successful tournament and and Mrs. beneficiaries of the charity game. to have been able to play for Eugene Reese, two charities while having so representing the The two charities were The Sunshine Center, much fun! Wilson Family a center for victims of domestic violence, and Foundation; The Friends of the Mansion, which works If you’re interested in Carl Barker, to maintain and preserve the beauty of the learning to play bridge, there president of historic governor’s mansion. will be beginner’s lessons in ServisFirst Bank; June. For more information, Michelle Baker, The night before the tournament, ServisFirst contact Bob Lake at vice president, Bank hosted a fantastic cocktail reception in or commercial their beautiful downtown lobby for all club call The Montgomery Bridge Guests ( clock wise) play in the First Ladies “party” banking officer members and their spouses, out-of-town Club at 334.416.8014. Those bridge game which along with the duplicate game of ServisFirst players and the sponsors. interested in sponsoring supports the charities, Ruth Davis, Bonnie Maddox, Bank; Alan Martha DeCaro ( facing camera) and Diane Williams next year’s tournament may Worrell, Planning for the four-day tournament started contact Chairman Linda president of Sterling Bank, Forrest Neely, in June 2014. Priscilla Smith from Atlanta Hendrix at former vice president of Sterling Bank; Peyton served as the director assigned by the ACBL, Flowers, editor of RSVP Montgomery; Karen and the tournament was such a success that

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Centenary Birthdays Just live. Perhaps that’s the secret to living to age 100, 20 years longer than the average life expectancy.

becoming more common in U.S.

“Margaret, do you have any words of wisdom to tell us young gals and guys?” asked Elise Biviano, executive director of Brookdale Place at Northpointe in Spokane, Wash., during a recent 100th birthday celebration for Margaret Kunkel and Dorothy Kuhta. “No,” Kunkel said, looking around blankly. She returned to licking frosting off her fingers. The facility threw a party for the ladies, born in 1915 during World War I when Babe Ruth made his pitching debut and the inauguration of transcontinental telephone service when Alexander Graham Bell called San Francisco from New York. The women married in their early 20s, during the Depression years of the mid1930s Family and friends gathered, drank Champagne, and ate cupcakes and fruit spears and sang “Happy Birthday.” Mary Kunkel said later that she didn’t think her mother-in-law grasped that it was her birthday party. Although healthy and vibrant looking, Kunkel hasn’t had many “good days” lately as far as her memory. That’s part of aging, especially when you live to 100. About 50 percent of U.S. centenarians have dementia and only 20 to 25 percent are cognitively intact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Kuhta knew it was her birthday and enjoyed the party. Swaying to the live music and The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

▪ Have social networks ▪ Do cognitive activities It’s the same advice given for years. Yet longevity also requires resilience, which the article said in short means the ability to withstand stress. Self-reliance is a key factor of resilience, according to a Swedish study cited in the CDC article.

The idea was to have local centenarians give advice to baby boomers, the generation just younger than most of their children, on how to age well and hit the 100 mark. Centenarians are still considered rare, but are becoming more common with advancements in medicine and health care. Yet by age 100, that sage advice is largely lost.

By Erica Curless

enjoying the attention from television and newspaper reporters. “I have no secret,” Kuhta said with a big smile and shake of the head. “I’m just shocked.” She said she never gave birthdays, or aging, a thought. Then she added that she has a great family that “grew up together and vacationed together.” Yet Kuhta’s family was surprised she was so aware and engaged. They hadn’t seen her that vibrant in months. Mia Walden, Northpointe’s sales and marketing manager, said the facility has had more than a “handful” of centenarians over the years and is seeing more all the time. Currently Northpointe has a high population of 97- and 98-year-olds, largely because the facility offers one of the highest levels of care in Spokane, Walden said. Between 1980 and 2010, there was a 65.8 percent increase in the number of American centenarians, according to the Census Bureau. Currently, people older than 85 make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Thanks to the baby boomers (1946-1964), from 2000 to 2030, the number of people 80 and older in the United States will double to 19.5 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2008 CDC article, lists “survival instructions” for the oldest of the old: ▪ Stay active ▪ Eat right ▪ Avoid tobacco

Both Kunkel and Kuhta have lived by these principles. They were both active and social. Kunkel always worked and eventually became a real estate broker. Kuhta raised three boys, always ate healthy and started walking daily in her 50s. “Mom’s healthier than I’ll ever be,” said Kuhta’s son Bob, 75, who has bad knees, two bouts with cancer and other health issues. Dick Kunkel said his mom never thought she would live to her 90s, much less 100. “I’d like to hope I have some of her genes,” said Kunkel, who recently retired as Spokane Public Radio general manager. Researchers are studying centenarians more as people live longer, attempting to pinpoint the biological, psychological and sociological traits that allow some people to live decades longer than the general population. The National Institute on Aging has reported that exceptional longevity tends to run in families. It is also supporting more studies to learn more about the secret to a long, healthy life. Earlier this year, 115-year-old Jeralean Talley of Michigan became the world’s oldest living person, according to the Gerontology Research Group. Talley, who was born May 23, 1899, attributes her longevity to God. “It’s coming from above,” Talley told the Detroit Free Press. “That’s the best advice I can give you. It’s not in my hands or yours.” Bob Kuhta has some other advice, perhaps learned from his mother. “One day at a time,” he said. “It’s just a good way to be.” (c)2015 The Spokesman-Review Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015



Celebrate the Men and Women in Your Life In May, we celebrated all the moms out there and in June, we celebrate our dads. As we celebrate these men and women in our lives, it’s time to remind ourselves how important prevention and early detection are to the overall health of our loved ones. The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) and Doctors Hearing Clinic (DHC) are raising awareness of the importance of hearing health to the overall wellness of the individual. Research shows an association between hearing loss, quality of life, and some common chronic health conditions. As many as one-third of women in the United States in their 50s and two-thirds in their 60s have some degree of hearing loss. More than half of the 38 million people in the United States with hearing impairment are male. A recent study in 2008 found that the prevalence of hearing loss in younger adults is increasing, specifically with adults in their 20s and 30s. The most important reason to not put off having a hearing test and receiving treatment is because we “hear” with our brain, not with our ears. We actually receive sound with our ears, but process sound and understand with our brain. When hearing loss is present, the connections in the brain that respond to sound become reorganized. Fortunately, for most people, hearing aids can give the sound stimulation or access to sounds the brain has been missing to help the brain restore normal organization of its connections. This allows a chance for the brain to identify sounds it has been missing and cognitively process them. The majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from the use of hearing aids. Advances in technology have improved hearing aids by making them more effective and comfortable. The sooner you have hearing loss identified and start using hearing aids fit by an audiologist, the sooner you will receive the sound stimulation needed and reap the rewards of better hearing. As audiologists, we have known for some time how addressing hearing loss can have a positive impact on a person’s quality of life. Research has shown how those with hearing loss that utilize hearing aids have seen and improvement in their ability to hear in more situations; and many see improvements

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in their relationships at both home and work, and in their social lives. This research shows that many people feel better about themselves after utilizing hearing aids. Newer research has found associations between hearing loss and other health issues, such as risk of falling, depression, dementia, cognition, and overall mental health.

are more likely to suffer hearing loss. And a third found that regular fish consumption and higher intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women.“

Healthy Hearing By Dr. Katie Slade and Dr. Brittany Spahr

Depression: Link between depression and hearing loss. A study at Johns Hopkins found that older adults who have hearing loss were more likely to have deep episodes of stress, depression or bad mood as compared to their peers who have normal hearing. Research shows that hearing loss is associated with depression among U.S. adults, but especially among women. Cardiovascular health: Cardiovascular and hearing health may be linked. ‘The ear may be the window to the heart.’ The inner ear is sensitive to adequate blood flow and some abnormalities within the cardiovascular system could be seen here before other parts of the body that are less sensitive. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that men and women who used hearing aids had significantly lower mortality risk when compared with those who were hearing impaired that did not use hearing aids. Diabetes: Those with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss. Having diabetes may even cause someone to experience a greater hearing loss as they age, especially if their diabetes is not well managed with medication. Modifiable behaviors: Another study found that certain lifestyle behaviors that affect our hearts may have an impact on hearing. Three modifiable behaviors that were seen to have an association with the heart and hearing health: “One found that a higher level of physical activity is associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women. Another revealed that smokers and passive smokers

Risk of dementia: Recent research has shown a link between dementia and hearing loss. “A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging found that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. Another study, by hearing experts at Johns Hopkins, found that older adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than older adults whose hearing is normal.” While research is ongoing in this respect, experts believe that interventions, like hearing aids, could potentially delay or prevent dementia. With this information about the importance of early detection of hearing loss and the overall health of ourselves and our loved ones, why wait to get started on the path to better health! Encourage your loved ones and encourage yourself to be proactive! At Doctors Hearing Clinic we believe that it is important to be proactive and have your hearing screened annually to allow for early identification and treatment of hearing loss. While we celebrated Better Hearing Month in May, we are celebrating better hearing all year long. To schedule a Wellness program appointment or a comprehensive hearing evaluation at DHC, please call (334) 3961635 and get on the path to better hearing today! Content adapted from the Better Hearing Institute: treating-hearing-loss-helps-other-aspectswomen%E2%80%99s-wellness Dr. Katie Slade is a Board Certified audiologist and fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. Dr. Brittany Spahr is a Doctor of Audiology and fellow of the American Academy of Audiology.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015



Bucket List Adventure by Kathy Witt

Cruising with

Dr. Seuss

characters and one very special meal: The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast is by reservation only (call early!) and is a fullon Seuss-abration with waiters garbed in fluffy blue-haired wigs and red Thing 1, 2 , even 27 and 28, t-shirts; tables dressed with upside-down red and white striped “cat” hats filled with Truffula trees (the tree species featured in “The Lorax”) and visits by The Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am and Thing 1 and Thing 2, who prank all the diners. And, yes, the star of the menu is green eggs and ham, and it is delicious. This being a Fun Ship, the merriment is sometimes loud, generally boisterous and often accompanied by music, specially on the Lido Deck where activities, including big-screen concerts and dive-in movies, a Caribbean beach party, ice carving demo and hairy chest contests, take place in and around the pool, while hungry diners munch down “Guy” burgers from Guy Fieri’s joint and stuffed burritos from the BlueIguana Cantina.

One fish. Two fish. Fun Ship. Cruise Ship. The Cat in the Hat,

Sam I Am, Thing 1 and Thing 2, characters immortalized in the Dr. Seuss canon, have leapt from the pages of their respective books to the decks of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Fun Ships. On a recent sailing aboard the Carnival Freedom, the characters came out for photo ops, story time, a parade, even a breakfast of...what else? Green Eggs and Ham. Sailing from Galveston, Texas, and paying calls at Key West, Fla., and Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas (an ideal itinerary for multigenerational good times), the nearly 3,000-passenger ocean liner had fun, activities and spaces designed for every member of the family for spending time together and pursuing individual interests apart. In 2014, the Freedom was given a

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multimillion dollar spit-shine that included the addition of Bookville, a feature of the line’s fleet-wide Seuss at Sea program. This funky gathering place for families looks like it spilled out of a Dr. Seuss book, with big, bold colors, squashy, splotchy seating and shelves full of the beloved writer’s books. Other Seuss at Sea fun includes Seuss-apalooza Story Time, which brings The Cat in the Hat to life on stage before a circus tent backdrop. Kids are invited to crowd around as audience members step into the roles of the various characters, including disapproving curmudgeon, Fish. Story Time is preceded by the Seuss-a-palooza Character Parade led by that maker of mischief and mayhem himself, The Cat in the Hat, a veritable rock star among the under-10 set, not to mention their parents and grandparents. There are also arts and crafts activities relating to the books, photo ops with the

There are quiet spaces, too, tucked away here and there all over the ship. Send the kids to their respective clubs (Camp Carnival, Circle C, Club O2) and take your book or Kindle to the Monticello Library or the seating opposite the aromatic Viennese Cafe. In late afternoon, head to Deck 9 aft for some quiet time and a slice or two of crispy-crust pizza at the Pizza Pirate. (Everybody raved about the Quattro Formaggi: roasted garlic with gorgonzola, provolone, parmesan and fresh buffalo mozzarella.) Always a calming oasis amidst the nonstop action of the Fun Ship is cushy, quiet hammock-strewn Serenity, the adults-only retreat. What kids? When you’re ready to join the crowd again, there will be bingo, live music, art auctions, trivia, spa specials, sales and giveaways at the onboard shops, movies, arcade games, casino action, live comedy, mini golf, ping pong and other games, splashing down the Twister slide, swimming, sunning and more, all waiting for you. As Dr. Seuss wrote in “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” ‘If you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.’ ADVENTURE GUIDE TO DON’T-MISS MOMENTS ● Join Sam I Am for Green Eggs and Ham. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

It is wonderful mealtime mayhem with photos with the characters _ autographs, too. The featured eggs Benedict-type dish is yummy. You can order other breakfast goodies, of course, but when you’re in the wacky world of Seuss, just go with it and go green. ● Stroll the streets of Key West. Browse the stacks of new, used and rare books at the very last bookstore in town, Key West Island Bookstore. Join the locals at one of the many cafes with outdoor seating, like Caroline’s on Duval Street great for people watching from the elevated decks. Be a tourist and plant yourself on the southern most point in the continental U.S.; it’s a fun snap to Instagram. ● Book a linen-draped table-for-two in the Sun King Steakhouse: It’s food fit for the gourmand, exquisitely plated and served in quiet elegance. Relax with a glass of wine and choose your cut _ filet mignon, New York strip, lobster tail, and finish it off with Death by Chocolate. ● Zip along at up to seven miles an hour on a Segway over smooth, rolling terrain and alongside the ocean with its sweeping views encompassing Nassau Harbor Lighthouse. The tour guides at Segway Nassau are patient instructors and

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

quickly train teens to seventysomethings to manage their Segway. They even set up a race course and turn you loose in an open field to ride like the wind. ● Ladies, schedule “me time” at Spa Carnival and book a pedi on the first sea day (Day 2 on Galveston departures). It’s wonderfully indulgent and your toes will look fab the entire cruise. ADVENTURE GEAR TO TAKE ALONG Lots of cruise passengers begin their vacation at sea with a long flight to get to their port. Pack the OBEDO Neck & Back Cradle (, $24.95), a cuddly-soft and pliable travel pillow that supports your neck and keeps your head from dropping onto the shoulder of your seatmate. For forward-facing sleepers, place the cradle on the seatback tray in front of you where it makes a cozy nook for your head. It also gives sigh-worthy lower back support and can be adjusted for comfort. The OBEDO Neck & Back Cradle folds flat by tucking one end into the flap on the

other end, taking up very little room in your bag or purse. Once onboard, you can use the cradle in your cabin while watching TV or tuck in the crook of your back while reading in a lounge chair on deck. It comes in black, royal blue and hot pink and can be tossed into both washing machine and dryer. INFORMATION Visit for more information about Carnival Freedom, its Seuss at Sea program or any of the cruise line’s 24 ships, as well as itineraries, destinations and onboard activities.

Author, travel and lifestyle writer, and travel goods expert Kathy Witt feels you should never get to the end of your bucket list; there’s just too much to see and do in the world. She can be reached at or (c)2015 Kathy Witt Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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June 2015



MAY EXHIBITION: Gallery One Featured Artists

Pansies, 16x20 oil on canvas Anita Westerberg

Ebbtide, 24x36 acrylic on canvas Shirley Esco

Idle Wild Grove, 36x36 mixed media, Carol Barksdale

Hope for Tomorrow, 16x40 oil on canvas, Pamela Wesley Copeland

Evolving, 36x24 acrylic on canvas, Jane Segrest

Pilgrim to Tibet, 20x16 oil on board John Wagnon

Low Country Coastline, 16x20 oil on canvas, Anne Hugghins

Eternity, 24 x 20 oil on canvas John Mazaheri

Interlude I, 10x8 mixed medium, Cecily Hulett

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Twisted Love, 8” x 4”, wood sculpture, Ken Lever

Visit Gallery One Fine Art- 423 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery Gallery Director Sandi Aplin,

Yack-A-D Yack, 24x30 acrylic on canvas Judith Ivy Hayden

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

By Sandi Aplin

Art & Soul

La Belle Epoque, A Grand Adventure in France Walt McGriff with his wife, Carol Barksdale and a group of eight couple friends recently traveled through the Burgundy region of southern France aboard the beautiful hotel barge, La Belle Epoque.

mouth-watering delight of escargot, fresh perch and fine cheeses of that region.”

PHD in Viniculture and is responsible for all the phases of the winemaking process. She and Gilles are known world-wide for the wines they produce, including the Chablis Cru and Grande Chablis Cru.”

Walt adds, “The next winery was the Domaine Fevre, owned by husband and wife, Gilles and Nathalie Fevre. This vineyard is in the heart of the Chablis region Carol says,“ Words “At the end of of France. Gilles’ great fail to describe this the week, after grandfather Marcel picturesque home visiting chateaus, (1876-1976) began of some of the best castles and the estate with the Pinot Noir, Chablis charming villages, belief that the Chablis and Champagne our group was would be a great wine vineyards in the invited to taste at Walt and Carol aboard Le Belle Époque Lunch at the Restaurant Caveau-des-Arches in the future. His son, world. In France, the jean-jaques Bernard agreed and continued to add people are born into the wine business. LaMoureaux vineyard. Jean-Jaques’ wife All the work in the vineyard is done by graciously poured several of their best the family that owns the vineyard. It champagnes. The LaMoureaux family is literally a hands-on production with are experts in reserve champagnes great pride and the care that is taken to winning awards for their vintages. As produce the wines which bear the family our group toasted each other with these name.” delightful champagnes, we realized there is no better way to draw to a close this Back in the late 1980’s, I enjoyed a trip memorable week in France. Magnifique!” to this part of France. The look of the says Carol. vineyards was not what I expected. The vines are grown on the side of the hills, la Belle Époque,moored in Villaneuve on the Yonne River up into the steep hillside in very rocky, Sandi Aplin, plots to the estate. The vineyard today rough soil. Watering of the vineyard is Director of Gallery One Fine Art is the product of many generations of forbidden by law, as is fertilizing. The A freelance writer living in Montgomery, AL or hard work and planning. Nathalie is the roots must grow deep into this clay and wine-master of their vineyard, with her limestone soil, 15 feet into the Cambrian era soil to find nutrients. It is the unique mix of soil and terroir that produces the mineralized complexity of these wines. “The first vineyard our group was invited to visit was a small family wine producer, Domaine Jaffin, in the town of Nuits St. George. At the wine cellar, we tasted some of their world renowned Pinot Noir, including Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosnee-Romanee.” She continues, “Lunch was in Beaune at Caveau-desArches, a restaurant in the wine cellar from the 1500’s and built around the Roman archway dating back to the 1st Century. Lunch was a five-course,

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015



I Am Big Bird

Caroll Spinney, 81 has been the man in the Big Bird suit for nearly 46 years By William Hageman

Never the conformist, Big Bird flew west for the winter. Or at least a chunk of it. “The snow back home was 3 feet deep when we left,” Caroll Spinney was saying by phone from Hawaii, where he and his wife, Debra, were soaking up the sun, thousands of miles from their Connecticut home. For nearly 46 years, Spinney has been Big Bird on “Sesame Street.” And Oscar the Grouch. Enclosed in an 8-foot feathered costume or crouched in a trash can doesn’t translate into a lot of TV face time. So Spinney has worked in relative anonymity. His face and his story, though, will be much more familiar, now that the documentary “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story” has been released. Spinney, 81, took a break from his vacation to talk about life, family, parenting, the early days of “Sesame Street” and more.

Q: How often do you suit up these days? A: We only tape a certain part of the year and we don’t make as many shows as we used to. We often do it in the fall; this year we’re doing it in the spring.

Bird, making a good living. So I think it worked out very well. Now I realize that’s going to change. Twice in airports people have come up to me, “You’re Caroll Spinney!” Q: Going back to the early days, Jim Henson came up with the idea of Oscar and Big Bird, but you brought them to life. How much of the final character was you, how much was Jim? There was a change in the first couple of years. A: Oscar (whom he voices and operates as a puppeteer) is pretty much the way Jim pictured him. In the film, there’s a (director) who didn’t think I was nasty enough. I did. I never agreed with him. Big Bird changed greatly. Jim’s initial thing, (Big Bird) was a big, goofy guy. As we were doing the show (early on), I thought it’d be better if Big Bird was not a goofy guy but a kid, learning the alphabet and so on. That’s why I changed his character.

Q: In that first year, you were literally steps away from Caroll Spinney and Debra Spinney in “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney quitting. Story,” a Tribeca Film release. (Photo courtesy Tribeca Film/TNS) A: Yeah. There was a two-story Q: Is it true the body suit for Big flight of stairs Jim had in his Q: How do you think the film turned out? Bird is only 10 pounds? And the legs, you’re place . . . You opened the front door, there A: Deb and I watched it together; we first shown in the film wearing them around was no foyer, just stairs. And I was headed saw it on our own screen at home. It’s very like most people would wear a pair of up those stairs. At the first flight was the well done. The next time we saw it was in a comfortable jeans. workshop where Kermit Love, the puppet good-sized theater in Toronto, on a 60-footA: (The body) sits on suspenders on my builder, saw me going up, looking grave. wide screen. We were sitting with people, shoulders so I don’t notice the weight. “Where are you going?” I’m up to quit. ... and there were times when we heard some ... The head is another story. It weighs 4 “Why?” The pay was terrible. I lived many whimpering. People needed Kleenex. It’s pounds and I have to hold it up with my miles from New York and couldn’t leave it. really wonderful. hand. That can get tiring. The legs, they’re So it was not easy to stay. I was sleeping on not bad. I used to have a pair of shoes people’s couches and such. Q: When they approached you about doing that’d kill me in there. Then I got some SAS the film, were you on board right away? shoes, and they’re very comfortable. . . . Q: But you were talked out of it. And things A: The young men who created Copper Also, the (feet) make me 4 inches taller so I turned around. Pot Pictures had done one documentary. feel important on the set. A: It seems strange ... Big Bird got Someone said, “Why not do something on internationally known in a year ... I had Caroll Spinney?” ... “Who’s he?” Which is Q: How many costumes are there? an offer from a TV station in Boston to typical. Big Bird is famous; I’m not. I get A: We still use the same head we used in do my own show. I’m glad I didn’t. That asked that a lot, “Does that bother you?” I the ‘70s, even probably back to ‘69. It just show wouldn’t have lasted. Also what say no, that’s one of the good things about gets refeathered. I wish I held up as well. helped was Big Bird on the cover of Time him. I have the satisfaction of being Big

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

magazine. I saw that (and thought), Wow, I think I’ve arrived. Q: In creating Big Bird’s personality, did you draw on anything from your childhood? A: I think so. I was a kid who just wanted to be liked. I was pushed around and teased. Having the name Caroll and being a small guy, I didn’t have a good time at school. Bullies do exist. And hearing things like, “Caroll, still playing with your dolls?” (a reference to his puppets). It wasn’t fun. But I guess I had the last laugh. Q: In the film, (“Sesame Street” co-star) Bob McGrath says you learned to speak directly to the hearts of kids from 2 or 3 on up to adults. Do you ever just sit and think about the people you’ve influenced? A: When you think we’ve been on 45 years. . . I never realized that within the first year between 9 and 12 million children were watching each day. Now we’re in so many countries. I’ve talked to people from other lands who’ve told me how much Big Bird meant in their lives. So 10 million a day over 45 years, hundreds of millions of children, and we’ve been part of their lives. I couldn’t have made a better move and not quit.

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Q: You have three children and four grandkids. If anyone can qualify as a parenting expert, it’s you. A: There’s a lot of drama when you have children. Our oldest (grandchild) is 26, the youngest is 8. Or 9 or 10. He keeps growing so quickly. Q: Where do most parents make mistakes? A: I think it’s really good for parents to aid and abet (their children) when they show some talent in some direction, even if it’s not in the direction you thought they should go. Q: Any other advice? A: Make sure there is some discipline in their life. Not corporal punishment. But support them and be merciful. It’s not easy being a kid. Q: Is there one quality above others that parents should instill in their kids? A: Some things come naturally, like loyalty. Perseverance. Young people say, I want to make it as a puppeteer, how do I do that? I say don’t be discouraged. . . . Whatever a child wants to do, stick to it and don’t forget your goals. I guess that’s more for the kids. Q: What about TV viewing? A: I don’t think all television is good (for kids). Some of the stuff is so adult. I’m not sure you want your 9-year-old girls to see those values. I just hate to see childhood rushed.

Q: A silly question. Do you make faces at kids in the store? You know, to try to make them laugh? A: Yeah, I do that. I have a little bunny rabbit puppet. It’s just so perfect. I found it in Austria, in a little shop, it’s just the sweetest little thing. Fits in my pocket. It works perfectly. It’s the biggest icebreaker. You don’t have to be a puppeteer. Just experiment in front of a mirror, see how it looks. That’s what Jim Henson used to do. He told me the first day, let’s go look in a mirror. There’s nothing better than watching a puppet. I enjoy breaking the ice with children. There’s no better way to do it than with your arm, and with joy. Q: The film shows how much you and Debra like to travel. Is there someplace you really want to visit but haven’t? A: Norway. She has never seen the northern lights. Q: What else do you like to do? A: River cruises in Europe. . . . They’re fantastic. Almost every city along the river has a castle. The homes are so charming. And the food on these boats. I’m allergic to wheat, but they make me bread and gravy. So good. For more on “I Am Big Bird,” go to To view the trailer, check out this YouTube video. (c)2015 Chicago Tribune Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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June 2015



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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Ask Nancy: Caring for Aging Relatives Understanding a parent’s dementia test results

Q: My mother is showing signs of forgetfulness and confusion. She constantly repeats questions and is often very confused. It’s easy for my sisters and me to see that her short-term memory is declining and we’re worried that she lives alone without any assistance.

family history, a medical evaluation, appropriate laboratory tests and careful mental status work up.”

When we took her to her physician, a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) test was performed and we were very surprised to learn that she scored a 28/30, indicating no impairment. Now my mother insists that she doesn’t need any help. How is this possible? Do doctors really rely on this test? _Wendy D., Richmond, VA.

A: You’re not the first one to be surprised about the results of a loved one’s MMSE and perhaps you should delve more deeply into your concerns. I contacted Dr. Bonnie Levin, the Director of the Division of Neuropsychology, at the University of Miami and relayed your questions and concerns. She told me that “The MMSE is most useful as a screening measure, and not as a stand-alone test for dementia. A complete work-up for dementia should include a comprehensive medical and

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She elaborated further: “Like most screening tests the MMSE has strengths and weaknesses. It’s been shown to be relatively unable or insensitive to detect mild cognitive problems, when the earliest stage of dementia is beginning and interventions are the most effective. Also, the MMSE is biased toward picking up problems that involve memory and orientation, and less likely to pick up

problems involving reasoning, judgment, planning, or organizing one’s thoughts.” Keeping all this in mind, perhaps you and your sisters could talk to your mother about your concerns and suggest a more complete evaluation. Should you do this, I’d suggest that one of you accompany her to corroborate information that she provides in the event that she may lack insight into her own potential cognitive difficulties. Nancy Stein, Ph.D., is the founder of Seniority Matters (senioritymatters. com), a caregiver advisory and referral service in South Florida for seniors and their families. You can contact her at (c)2015, Seniority Matters Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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June 2015



Eating Smart with Tracy Bhalla

Healthy Oils So, the ongoing debate over “fat” continues….which fats are good to eat (our body needs some to function, after all) and which should we avoid. There are so many choices today that, quite frankly, it can be overwhelming. As ever, the key word should be MODERATION. We need to consume a certain amount of fat in our diet, for the following reasons: • A source of energy – Our body uses the fat we eat, and fats we make from other nutrients in our bodies, to provide the energy for most of our life-functions • Energy store – The extra calories that we consume, but do not need to use immediately, are stored for future use in special fat cells (adipose tissue) • Essential fatty acids – Dietary fats that are essential for growth development and cell functions, but cannot be made by our body’s processes • Proper functioning of nerves and brainfats are part of myelin- a fatty material which wraps around our nerve cells so that they can send electrical messages. Our brains contain large amounts of essential fats • Maintaining healthy skin and other tissues. All our body cells need to contain some fats as essential parts of cell membranes, controlling what goes in and out of our cells • Transporting fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K through the bloodstream to where they are needed • Forming steroid hormones needed to regulate many bodily processes Problems occur when we consume far greater quantities of fat than our body actually needs to function. It is important also to understand that it is the type of fat, as well as the amount of fat that we eat which determines our health. Fats fall into three categories- saturated, unsaturated and Trans fats. 1. Saturated Fats are found mostly in animal products such as meat, cheese, milk, butter, cream and eggs. All natural and consumed in moderation are perfectly fine. Previously claimed links to heart

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disease are in recent studies shown to be false. Some oils from tropical plants such as palm oil and coconut oil also contain some saturated fats. 2. The main unsaturated fats are monounsaturated, found particularly in foods such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, peanuts and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are mostly found in plant foods such as nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, and in cold-blooded sea-foods. In natural foods, they come protected with antioxidant vitamins. There are two main classes’ polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. These include the essential fatty acids. Oily fish (e.g. herring, salmon and mackerel) is a good source of omega-3, while omega-6 is mainly found in plant foods such as sunflower oil and rapeseed oil. 3. Trans Fats can be natural or artificial. They are mostly artificially created through a process known as hydrogenation (which involves heating and chemical structure change). Artificial trans fats are mostly found in fast foods, fried foods and commercial baked products such as cookies and are the most unhealthy fats (even worse than saturated fats!). Natural Trans fats can be found in small amounts in milk and beef, and in quite large concentration in cheese. So how much of each should we eat? Clearly we should be aiming to consume moderate amounts of saturated fats. (One of my favorite mottos – “everything in moderation!”) The average man should have no more than 30g of saturated fat a day, and the average woman no more than 20g. Yet again – check those labels! Unsaturated fats are the best type of fats to eat the most of. They are generally liquid at room temperature and often come from plants.
Good sources of

unsaturated fats include: sunflower, rapeseed, olive and vegetable oils, and spreads made from these oils (so long as they have not been hydrogenated), avocados, nuts and seeds, oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon or trout – these are a particularly good source of omega-3. Trans-fats are the ones you really want to keep away from as they are the really unhealthy and (mainly) unnatural category of fats. Highly treated with both intense heat and chemicals, these are definitely ones to avoid. Unfortunately many people consume far too much of this type of fat in fast or processed foods, which leads to heart issues, obesity and other health issues down the line. I should like to note here that Canola oil, unless it is labelled cold-pressed or USDA organic, is not the healthy oil it is portrayed to be. It is made from genetically modified (GMO) rapeseed and is treated with industrial toxic chemicals and excessive high heat treatment. I know this has been made a popular choice by lots of clever marketing, but there are SO many much healthier alternatives out there. Please try something else on your next trip to Publix. For example, in my kitchen cupboard I have olive oil, hemp oil, toasted sesame oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, pumpkin seed oil and roasted almond oil. What a selection! But they are all healthy, all natural and all taste great! Try one and see….you may be surprised at how much you like it. Tracy Bhalla, Owner/ Manager of Cool Beans Restaurant, 115 Montgomery Street, P: 334.416.8447, or Trained as an architect! Worked as a teacher of product design and graphic design for 9 years in England and Bermuda. Always had a love of healthy, good-for-you food. Always cooking for friends and family. Married a cardiologist in 2007. We have a shared passion about eating healthily (and wine) and both love to cook, so when Cool Beans became available we jumped at it.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

As defined by Webster’s Dictionary, a caregiver is a person who provides direct care (as for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill). In general, a caregiver helps another individual with an impairment with his or her activities of daily living. Any person with a health impairment might use caregiving services to address their difficulties. Typical duties of a caregiver might include taking care of someone who has a chronic illness or disease; managing medications or talk to doctors and nurses on someone’s behalf; helping to bathe or dress someone who is frail or disabled; or taking care of household chores, meals, or bills for someone who cannot do these things alone. When someone close to us begins to face the realities of an advancing illness, many of us will begin to define ourselves as caregivers. In a very real sense it is a heroic role and a truly demanding role. We all have the best intentions when taking on the role of caregiver for a loved one facing advanced illness. In many ways it is a gift we can give them, one that demonstrates our compassion, love, concern and connections. It also lets us as caregivers feel that we have some sense of control, that we took an active role and did our part. In reality, caring for someone facing a life-limited illness is not easy. Caring for yourself is just as important as the care the patient receives. Remember, the care that you give your loved one suffers if you are not in the best possible place, both physically and mentally. It is vital that you remain healthy and able to provide your loved one with the best care you can and that begins with taking care of you. At Hospice of Montgomery we have found that many caregivers become so absorbed with meeting the patient’s needs that they neglect their own. Whether you realize it or not, when you become a caregiver you are living someone’s illness. Without an occasional break from the routine of caring for the patient, you may become very stressed and/or susceptible to other problems. Many experts in caregiving advise

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provides educational, emotional, and spiritual support are:

that if you’ve been caring for a loved one more than a month or two that it is time to consider respite care. If friends or family are telling you that you need to take a break they most likely see the toll your role as caregiver has taken. When people ask family caregivers, “What can I do to help?” many caregivers don’t know how to answer. You may admittedly be feeling overwhelmed with juggling work, children, and the responsibilities of your own home while caring for a loved one with an advanced illness. But moving from feeling overwhelmed to actually accepting help is often something many of us never do. With the end goal of ensuring the best possible care for your loved one, support from others is important. The hospice team can provide this support. Hospice of Montgomery has trained volunteers who are able to come in and assist the caregiver with errands, chores, cooking, etc. Caring for a loved one who is seriously ill can be very hard work. You can only do this work if you take time to care for yourself and letting someone run errands for you is a good way to begin accepting help. When a loved one is dying, you can find yourself pushed into the role of being a caregiver. Many times you don’t know what is expected of you and you find that you have little or no preparation for the challenges you are confronting. Hospice provides professionals such as a chaplain, social workers, and bereavement specialists who have experience addressing the needs of patients and families. The caregiver and family are taught about the patients care, but are also provided emotional and spiritual support, addressing the needs of the patient and family. Some of the ways Hospice of Montgomery

• Educational materials and manual for families and caregivers • Home Health Aids- allowing the caregiver a break • Volunteer companions • Chaplain services • Bereavement Programindividual and group grief counseling Hospice of Montgomery does not limit their grief counseling to families and patients. One-on-one or support group counseling is available to anyone within the community grieving a loss. You may have had a conversation about hospice with your loved one’s physician, or heard about hospice from a friend. As you consider hospice, it will help to understand how hospice can support the many needs of your loved one and what support can be offered to you and the rest of your family. Imagine a team of individuals dedicated to providing the best care possible while ensuring no one in the family feels completely overwhelmed or like they are facing this struggle alone. Hospice of Montgomery will be with you every step of the way. Just as the hospice team is there to help care for your loved one, they will be there for you, and your entire family. For more information designed specifically to help individuals facing a serious illness and their loved ones gain resources and information, visit hospiceofmontgomery. org or simply call us at 334-279-6677. Hospice of Montgomery would love to talk to you about why we are the River Region’s most family-referred hospice. Make a Difference Today, Make it Hospice of Montgomery!

Alabama’s First Hospice. Still Local. Still Non-Profit. R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015



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Montessori@Mulberry advertorial

The River Region’s Preferred Montessori Preschool M@M’s New Expanded Campus

Montessori @ Mulberry has added a new building to its Mulberry Campus. The building is a charming house, newly renovated, next to the current location and includes a classroom, a Montessori Resource Center and an additional playground. We have also expanded our classroom to the outdoors with “The Children’s Garden.” Our students now participate in all the phases of gardening: from germination, planting, caring for and harvesting an organic crop. According to Jackie Maloy, Executive Director, “The response to our unique educational approach has been very positive and we are excited to offer more opportunities for parents who appreciate the Montessori Education we specialize in.”

M@M Location

Elena Olson-Shimp and Milan Crittenden

Montessori@Mulberry is centrally located in Midtown Montgomery a few blocks from Jackson Hospital and Huntingdon College. Conveniently located just blocks from Interstate I-85.

The M@M Classroom

In the Montessori classroom, each child is encouraged to reach his or her full potential in all areas of life. The specific needs of individual children are met at each developmental level. The classroom contains many multisensory, sequential and self-correcting materials that facilitate learning. Concepts are presented concretely and students work with materials until Neah James they are ready to move to more abstract materials. Children are free to work at their own pace with materials they have chosen. All classrooms have multi-age groupings, which encourages a family-like atmosphere where learning can take place naturally. Our curriculum, which is challenging, interdisciplinary and real world related, provides a strong academic bridge to elementary school. Annalise Applegate

Why Choose Montessori @ Mulberry

Is it a coincidence that many of the mavericks on the leading edge of innovation and creativity in our culture are Montessori graduates? The founders of Google and along with T. Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician, to Peter Drucker, the well known management guru, were all educated in the Montessori Classroom. As you research and think about how you want your child to begin his or her education, Montessori @ Mulberry should be at the top of your list. We offer certified Montessori teachers in each classroom and a quality environment designed for fostering the love of learning. As a parent, you want the “peace of mind” knowing your child will have the opportunity to learn and grow according to his or her ability. We invite you to call Jackie MaloySriram Madadi Watson at 265.7733 to schedule a tour and discover why Montessori @ Mulberry is the River Region’s preferred Montessori Preschool. Begin your child’s education for life with the skilled staff at Montessori @ Mulberry.

Offering Exceptional Educational Experiences for children 12 months through Kindergarten. Limited space available beginning January 5th, 2015

Call Jackie Maloy-Watson Today to Schedule Your Tour @ 334-265-7733 or Cell 334-462-0548 The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

_ _ 2034 Clubview St.gioin Mulberry District R ive r Re n Bothe o m . co m June 2015 BOOM!


June 2015

{12 Things} for active boomers and beyond

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA Capital Cool Cruiser Ride Montgomery Area Visitor Center Monday - Saturday, 8:30-5 pm

Navigate your way through downtown to any of the historical attractions, various restaurants and cool spots on a Regions Bike. You can rent a bike from the Montgomery Area Visitor Center and be well on your way to exploring what makes Montgomery unique. No helmet, no problem! All the bike essentials are provided in the rental. Bikes are available Monday-Saturday from 8:30am-5:00pm. Please call 334-262-0013 to reserve your Capital

COOL Cruiser today! Rental Prices: 2 hours $14.00, 4 hours $20.00, 8 hours $30.00. Riders will be required to watch a short 2.33 minute bike safety video before they can sign the rental waiver.


Blackberry and Blueberry Picking Barber berry Farm June 1st - July 15th

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA Beyond Glory Alabama Shakespeare Festival - ASF June 5-6th 10th, various times

Join us in honoring military heroes as award-winning stage and screen actor Stephen Lang (Avatar, Gods & Generals, Terra Nova) June 2015


American Idol finalist, Jessica Meuse Wetumpka Depot Theatre Saturday, June 6th, 7pm,

American Idol finalist, Jessica Meuse will perform on the Wetumpka Depot stage, June 6 at 7pm Local residents have enjoyed watching her transform from a budding young artist to a truly gifted singer, writer and musician. Her work is nationally recognized due to a strong following from her phenomenal success after placing fourth out of thousands who auditioned for American Idol. “We are thrilled to have Jessica with us for this one night only special event”, said Kristy Meanor, Depot Players executive director. Part of the proceeds from the event will serve as scholarships for many children’s programs Wetumpka Depot Players perform each year. Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 334.868.1440 or visiting Jessica will be available after the concert in the Depot lobby for a “Meet and Greet.”


Barber Berry Farm has over two acres of blueberries and thornless blackberries to pick from. They also have produce from an outdoor hydroponic vegetable garden for sale. The farm is located at 2362 Alabama River Parkway, Millbrook, AL. Admission: Pay by the bucket. For more information visit:

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portrays eight men of incredible valor from WWII, Korea and Vietnam whose acts of bravery earned the Medal of Honor. “Mr. Lang’s one-man play is no simple-minded piece of flag-waving. It is an unsparingly direct portrait of men at war, pushed into narrow corners and faced with hard choices. It is also one of the richest, most complex pieces of acting I’ve seen in my theatergoing life.” Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal. For more information call 334.271.5353 or visit

The 35th Annual Blueberry Festival Jennings Park, Brewton, AL Saturday, June 20th, 8 am - 3pm The 35th Alabama Blueberry Festival will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in historic downtown Brewton. The festival features arts and crafts, cookbooks, blueberry bushes, crates of fresh blueberries, blueberry ice cream, a food court, festival T-shirts, a children’s section, live entertainment all day and an antique car show. For more information, including directions to the festival, call the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce at 251.867.3224, or visit or

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


Summernight Downtown Art Walk Gay Street Parking Lot, Auburn Friday June 12th, 5 - 9 pm A Pop-Up SummerNight, hosted by the City of Auburn / Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center, Auburn Arts Association and Auburn Downtown Merchants, will be held Friday June 12 from 5 - 9 pm in the Gay Street parking lot. This pop-up block party with artistic flair is a self-guided art walk, featuring an artist market and live entertainment by The Joe Bagley Band. Artists will have an opportunity to exhibit and sell their work while merchants offer late night shopping and dining along with specials to keep you exploring downtown Auburn! In addition, the event has been designated as an Entertainment District Event so attendees can purchase drinks while enjoying art and music. For more info visit

ALEX CITY, ALABAMA Alex City Jazz Fest The Amp on Lake Martin Strand Park, Alexander City June 12 & 13, 6 pm

Join us for Lake Martin ‘s biggest musical event of the year! The 25th Annual Alexander City Jazz Festival is scheduled for June 12-13, 2015. The free two-day event will be held at Strand Park downtown Alexander City on Friday night and Lake Martin Amphitheater on Saturday. For more info on the performers and time visit

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA MAG Featured Artist: Clark Walker MMFA, Blount Cultural Park June 12 - August 9th

Walker was born in Selma and grew up in Montgomery. In the 1960s, he studied art here with Charles Shannon and he attended the Art Students’ League in New York City and the Skowhegan School of Art in Maine, where he studied with Ben Shahn and Jack Levine. In 1966, Walker exhibited in the Skowhegan Faculty and Alumni Show in New York City and won the Bocour Award. A long-time member of the Montgomery Art Guild, his work has been shown at the MMFA, Stonehenge Gallery, Gallery One, and other venues in the area. His paintings and drawings are in many collections in and around Montgomery. He was selected to design the awards for the Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Arts in 2006. Walker’s life and work are subjects of a monograph by Foster Dickson, I Just Make People Up, published by NewSouth Books in 2006. For more info visit

cooking demo by Chef Miguel Figueroa of The A&P Social. This free event for all ages features kids’ lawn games (including soccer, corn hole, football, tic tac toe, ring toss, & bowling) and fishing, food, drinks, music, and more. Kick off Summer beside Montgomery’s largest lake! Stick around for the GMHBA tour of homes at Hampstead! For more info visit

MONTGOMERY DOWNTOWN Second Saturdays Riverfront Festivals Riverfront Amphitheater Saturday, June 13th, 5-8 pm

Join us for our next Second Saturday Riverfront Festival on June 13th as Montgomery’s Riverfront comes alive. There will be a special Russell Marine and Capitol Chevrolet Truck and Boat Show at 10 am. Live entertainment by Groove Merchants at 6 pm. Plenty of Interactive Activities for Kids, various food and drink vendors, fireworks at 9 pm, fireworks Cruise aboard the Harriott II, just $1 Admission, 12 and Under Free! All Proceeds go to The Sunshine Center. NO OUTSIDE FOOD, BEVERAGES OR COOLERS! For more info visit


Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood The Legacy Arena, BJCC, Birmingham Friday & Saturday, June 12 & 13, 8 pm Nineteen years after his last concert in Birmingham, Garth Brooks will return to the Legacy Arena at the BJCC. The country superstar, who played three shows here in May 1996, has announced two dates on June 12 and 13 at the arena. Brooks’ equally famous wife -- singer, author and cooking-show host Trisha Yearwood -- also is on the bill. For more info and tickets visit


Heart of Waverly Bluegrass Festival On The Grounds of Standard Deluxe, Waverly, AL Saturday, July 4th, 11-8 pm Come Spend Independence Day on the Lawn for the 2nd Annual Heart of Waverly Bluegrass Festival, Saturday July 4th, at Standard Deluxe Inc. featuring performances by: Larry Keel Experience, Town Mountain, Rollin’ in the Hay, Woody Pines, Blackbird Pickers, Cedar Rock Bluegrass, also BBQ & Food Vendors / Art Vendors, Standard Deluxe T-Shirt & Poster SaLe. Tickets $25, online and at the gate. Get more info at

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA Taste of the Summer Hampstead Lake Saturday June 13th, Noon - 3 pm

Have big fun Saturday June 13th beside the Hampstead Lake for the Taste of the Summer event! Prizes and giveaways! Enjoy a big pig roast and The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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June 2015



By Greg Budell

The Mayor of BOOMTOWN

“CLOSET CASE” A long ago girlfriend recently sent me a blast from my Ft. Lauderdale past.

“Medium” said the label. “XXL” said reality.

It was my official WAXY 106 station jacket, a lightweight nylon wind breaker with the logo beautifully emblazoned on the back, my name on the front and something I was proud to wear back in the day, The jacket made a kind of “I’m on the Varsity” statement. I have no recollection of how it ended up in her custody. She came across it while looking for something else, contacted me through Facebook and asked if I’d like it back. I warned Debbie, now married with children, that if she returned it to me, we wouldn’t be going steady anymore. Ha- Ha (I think that’s how she got it in the first place). A few days later a package arrived at the radio station and it like opening a personal time capsule. I was about to “unearth” something I hadn’t seen in 30 years! I carefully sliced the box’s edge, peeled back the flaps, and there it was in all its black nylon glory! Wow! It sure seemed awfully small! My morning show comrades urged me to try it on.

The old WAXY jacket fit like a skin graft. I recalled the scene in “Gone With The Wind”, when Scarlett was told her waist “was never gonna be 17 inches again” This radio relic was obviously something I’d never wear again (unless the mortician slices it open down the back to put me in it for my viewing). Even then, it would be so tight it could induce perspiration after passing. So, what to do with this wonderful keepsake? Susan Woody mentioned there are places that frame clothing. That idea made me think of Naked Gun 33 1/3- the scene when Frank Drebbin’s pals at POLICE SQUAD pay tribute to his retirement by unveiling his homely green suit in a frame. They hung it right next to a box displaying J. Edgar Hoover’s favorite lingerie. Funny!

A frame would make sense if I was in the Radio Hall of Fame and they wanted an old uniform to display. I am not in the Radio Hall of Fame and probably won’t be so...that’s out. I don’t have a logical place in the house for such a creation, so for now, it’s in my closet. Closet! That’s a laugh. I have a walk in- no, make that a stumblein-over-the- jumble -of -boxes and find a spot for your foot on the floor closet. It’s an alleged walk in. Boxes of VHS (yes) tapes, books I’ll never read, rubber tubs filled with computer wires, gift bags containing gift bags and all of it shoved to the side walls to create a small levee in the middle. The entire left side rack holds shirts, but it is so hard to get in I keep re-wearing those within arm’s reach. I have actually paid someone to help me organize this space but the crap keeps growing back! It’s malignant! Giant lawn

Greg Budell's column is proudly sponsored by McDonald, Barranco & Hagen Wealth Management

46 BOOM!

June 2015

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

arrive sometime around the September issue of BOOM!.

bags of stuff have been removed - I know because I have seen them go - yet it’s no easier to maneuver in there than it was 7 years ago when this project began! How does this happen? 90 percent of the clothes in there no longer fit. I have an Armani suit from 1989 that hangs on the back wall rack, in the hope I will lose 75 pounds and it will fit again. Even if I DID lose the 75 pounds, the suit’s been hanging there so long it would look ridiculous because the jacket has clothes hanger dimples in the shoulders and those don’t go away. So here’s the plan. I am going to get the “Frozen” soundtrack and play “Let It Go” over and over and over while I toss anything that has no function or fit. I am girding my mental loins for this moment of inspirational cleaning, which might

Meanwhile, I’m including a photo of the trouble-making jacket from an 80’s publicity pic as proof I actually could fit into it long ago and far away. Debbie modeled it before returning it and you can see why I surrendered it to her on request in the first place.

make it to the closet) but I think I can wedge it in. Join me next month when I explain how I broke my roll-top desk trying to slide the top over the stuff I couldn’t fit under the bed.

I let it go once. I can do it again. Now, to find my copy of the “Frozen” DVD. I had one. I think we packed it in a box with other once-watched and never again DVDs and stuck it…somewhere…oh ##!!#!! the closet! Screw it. I’ll take it to the place that frames clothing. I don’t have any wall space but I can toss it under the bed. There are 6 of those long plastic tubs under there (filled with stuff that didn’t

Greg Budell lives in Montgomery with his wife, children and dogs. He’s a 25 year veteran of radio who hosts the Greg & Susan morning show 6-9 am and Happy Hour 3-6 pm on NEWSTALK 93.1, Greg can be reached at

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

June 2015



48 BOOM!

June 2015

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

BOOM! June 2015  
BOOM! June 2015  

The River Region's 50+ Lifestage Magazine