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10 Signs You Need to Dump Your Financial Adviser

55 Issue 50 • March / April 2018

Inside: Meet Sergeant Darlene Rogers. The oldest woman in the Rochester Police Department shares her journey

PLUS

Power Couple Lauren Dixon and Mike Schwabl celebrating 30 years in business, 28 years of marriage. They share their story

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Jim Terwilliger: Lots of Changes in the New Tax Reform Law

Buffalo Soldiers: All About African-American Military History


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CONTENTS

55

55 PLUS

10 Signs You Need to Dump Your Financial Adviser

Power Couple

Issue 50 • March / April 2018

Inside: Meet Sergeant Darlene Rogers. The oldest woman in the Rochester Police Department shares her journey

55 PLUS

March/April 2018

PLUS

Lauren Dixon and Mike Schwabl celebrating 30 years in business, 28 years of marriage. They share their story

free please share

Jim Terwilliger: Lots of Changes in the New Tax Reform Law

Buffalo Soldiers: All About African-American Military History

14 Savvy Senior 6 Financial Health 8 Dining Out 10 Guest Columnist 24 Addyman’s Corner 45 Long-term Care 49

22 12 DIVORCE • Coping with divorce after 55

14 VETERANS

• Buffalo Soldiers group hihglights African-American military history

17 POLICE

• Despite odds, veteran Rochester female police officer keeps the beat

20 DOWNSIZING Last Page Q&A Janet Yoshie Ashida Johnson of Spencerport is a world renowned judo instructor, referee. She shares the lessons and values she’s learned 4

55 PLUS - March / April 2018

• Selling or donating items you have accumulated for years not easy

22 HOCKEY

• Ric Seiling on top of life after the NHL

28 WRITING

• Poet expresses her feelings about tumultuous time in U.S. history

roc55.com

30 30

42

COVER • Lauren Dixon and Mike Schwabl: A romantic story of success

35

MONEY • 10 signs you need to dump your financial adviser

36

CAREER • Professor Elvera Berry leaving indelible footprint on education scene

38 CAREER

• Should you consider having a housemate?

40 LEGAL

• Don’t let your will get outdated

42 TEACHING

• Joe and Maree Klingensmith define what ministry is all about


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Call 1-800-324-3899 Monday–Friday 8 am–8 pm Eastern Time TTY: 1-800-662-1220 Visit joinMVPmedicare.com MVP Health Plan, Inc. is an HMO-POS/PPO/MSA organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in MVP Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, co-payments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premiums and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. Y0051_3345 Accepted (11/2017) MVPad1801046_201801 MVP Medicare Ad Publication: CNY 55 Plus Rochester Edition Trim Size: 7.25” x 10” no bleeds Production Date: 01.31.2018

March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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savvy senior Financial Tips for Retiring Abroad By Jim Miller

R

etiring abroad has become a growing trend for millions of U.S. retirees who are looking to stretch their retirement savings. Here are some tips: Researching Tools — For starters, you can find lots of information and articles on the countries and cities you’re interested in retiring to at websites like InternationalLiving.com and EscapeArtist.com. Another good tip is to talk or network with some expatriates who have already made the move you’re thinking about making. They can give you tips and suggestions on many issues, as well as the advantages and disadvantages and day-to-day reality of living in a particular country. Some popular sites for finding expat resources are ExpatExchange.com and ExpatForum.com. But before committing to location, most experts recommend that you visit multiple times during different seasons to see whether you can envision yourself living there and not just exploring the place as a tourist. Also, consider these factors: Cost of living — Retiring abroad used to be seen as a surefire way to live beyond your means, and for some countries it still is. But the U.S. dollar isn’t what it used to be, so your money may not stretch as far as you think. See Numbeo.com for a country-by-country cost of living comparison. Taxes — No matter what foreign country you decide to retire in, as long as you’re a U.S. citizen you must file an annual tax return reporting all income above certain minimums, no matter where it’s earned. For details see the IRS publication 54, “Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad” at IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/ p54.pdf. Health care — Most U.S. health insurance companies do not provide coverage outside the U.S., nor does

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Medicare. Check with the embassy (see USembassy.state.gov) of your destination country to see how you can be covered as a foreign resident. Many countries provide government-sponsored health care that’s inexpensive, accessible and just as good as what you get in the states, or you may want to buy a policy through Medibroker (Medibroker.com) or Bupa Global (BupaGlobal.com). Also know that most people who retire abroad eventually return to the U.S., so you should consider paying your Medicare Part B premiums. If you drop and resume Part B, or delay initial enrollment, you’ll pay a 10 percent premium penalty for every 12-month period in which you could have been enrolled. Banking: Opening or maintaining a bank account abroad has become more difficult because of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a U.S. law designed to prevent Americans from hiding assets abroad. So, you may have to establish a savings and checking account with an institution that has international reach like Citibank. Or consider maintaining your U.S. bank account that you can access online. Rent vs. buy: Buying a home in a foreign country can be complicated, so it’s usually cheaper and simpler to rent, unless you know you’re going to live there for a long time. Social Security: You can receive your monthly Social Security benefits almost anywhere you live around the world (see SSA.gov/international/ payments.html). Your benefits can be deposited into your bank account either in the U.S. or in your new home country, but there are some exceptions. The U.S. State Department offers a handy checklist that can help you think through all the issues on retiring abroad. Visit Travel.state.gov and search for “retirement abroad.”

55PLUS roc55.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo

Writers & Contributing Writers Deborah J. Sergeant Ernst Lamothe Jr., Jacob Pucci Christine Green, John Addyman Todd Etshman, Janet Olexy Mike Costanza

Columnists

Jim Terwilliger, Susan Suben Jim Miller, Bruce Frassinelli Ilchi Lee, Lori Parker

Advertising

Anne Westcott, Denise Ruf H. Mat Adams

Office Assistant Kimberley Tyler

Layout and Design Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in the Rochester Area is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–Rochester—Genesee Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper.

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How to Reach Us P.O. Box 525 Victor, NY 14564 Voice: 585-421-8109 Fax: 585-421-8129 Editor@roc55.com


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March / April 2018 - 551/31/18 PLUS 7 4:27 PM


financial health By Jim Terwilliger

Lots of Changes in the New Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

I

t will be some time before the dust finally settles on the new federal tax legislation. While the provisions are clearly known, what is not clear to many is how this change will affect them. According to the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan organization, over 80 percent of Americans will see a tax cut in 2018, while just 5 percent of taxpayers are expected to pay more. For individuals, not businesses, the biggest news is that most of the new provisions are temporary. Most are scheduled to sunset after December 31, 2025. Depending on how elections go between now and then, this could change. Tax brackets. Two changes were made: 1) the tax rate defining five of the seven brackets was reduced (15 percent to 12 percent, 25 percent to 22 percent, 28 percent to 24 percent, 33 percent to 32 percent, and 39.6 percent to 37 percent). The 10 percent and 35 percent brackets were retained; and 2) each of the five top brackets saw a change, mostly favorable to married taxpayers, in the taxable income range that defines the bracket. Standard Deduction and Personal Exemptions. The standard deduction was nearly doubled (from $13,000 to $24,000 married and from $6,500 to $12,000 single). Seniors or the blind get an extra $1,300/person or $1,600 unmarried. The personal exemption of $4,150 was eliminated. This combination will help some and hurt others. The standard deduction increase will substantially reduce the number of taxpayers who itemize. Itemized Deductions. Medical: Retained with the added benefit that for 2017 (retroactive) and 2018 only, the threshold for deducting medical expenses was lowered back to 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) before reverting to 10 percent in 2019 and beyond.

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Charitable: Retained with a modest enhancement by allowing up to 60 percent of AGI to be deducted in a given year for gifts of “ordinary income property” (including cash) to public charities. State and Local Taxes: This is the so-called SALT deduction. The new rules limit the deductibility of combined state/local income, sales, and property taxes to $10,000/year. For higher-income folks, the change will reduce this deduction category substantially, driving many into standard deduction territory. Property taxes remain fully deductible for property used for business purposes. Mortgage Interest: Retained for mortgages on first and second homes but reduced to cover up to $750,000 of new mortgage debt incurred Dec. 16, 2017 or later (vs. the previous $1 million married and $500,000 single). Existing mortgage debt is grandfathered. Also, interest for existing or new home equity debt is no longer deductible. Miscellaneous Deductions: Covering a wide range of popular deductions subject to a threshold of 2 percent of AGI, these deductions were all eliminated. “Pease” Limitation: The phase-out of itemized deductions at higher incomes was eliminated. Long-Term Capital Gains and Qualified Dividends. No change. The rate is still 0 percent for taxpayers having taxable income in the bottom two brackets and 20 percent if taxable income is in the top bracket. Otherwise, the rate is 15 percent. Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Retained and exemption levels are raised to $109,400 married and $70,300 single. Additionally, the exemption phase-out starts at much higher income levels above $1 million married and $500,000 single. These changes are expected to substantially reduce the number of taxpayers sub-

ject to AMT. Child Tax Credit. The credit is doubled to $2,000 for each dependent under age 17. Up to $1,400/child is now “refundable” (i.e., the refundable portion is paid to the taxpayer even if he/she owes no taxes). A further plus is that income phase-out thresholds are much higher (over $400,000 AGI for married and $200,000 for single), benefitting a greater number of taxpayers. 529 College Savings Plans. The scope of these very popular plans was widened such that up to $10,000 per year in distributions per child can be used to fund qualified expenses for elementary and secondary education. This enhancement will not sunset in 2026. Alimony. For post-2018 divorces, alimony will no longer be deductible to the payer or taxable to the payee. Estate and Gift Tax. The lifetime exclusion was doubled from $5.6 million to $11.2 million in 2018. Coupled with “portability” (ability of a surviving spouse to use the deceased spouse’s unused exclusion), this allows a married couple to shield up to $22.4 million from gift and estate taxes. Very few estates will now be subject to federal estate taxes. The step-up in basis for non-tax-deferred estate assets has been retained. There are many additional provisions that we do not have room to list. Check in with your tax preparer to learn how this new legislation will impact you. Most important, engaging with a trusted financial planner to map out tax strategies best aligned with meeting your life goals is a must. James Terwilliger, CFP®, is senior vice president, financial planning officer at Wealth Strategies Group, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. He can be reached at 585-419-0670 ext. 50630 or by email at jterwilliger@cnbank.com.


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March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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DiningOut By Jacob Pucci

Restaurant

Guide

Sherwood Inn: Not Resting on its Laurels Skaneateles restaurant blends elegance, rustic colonial comfort and great food

T

he Sherwood Inn has been serving diners and travelers in Skaneateles since 1807, earning a fair bit of Central New York prominence along the way. But make no mistake, this is not a restaurant content on resting on its laurels. The restaurant housed in the big blue inn along the shore of the equally blue Skaneateles Lake looks the part of an establishment more than two centuries old. The dining room’s low, coffered ceilings and framed paintings, each lit from an overhead light, give the restaurant an elegant touch authentic to its colonial style. The first thing we encountered upon arriving for dinner on a blustery winter night was the welcoming scent of burning firewood from the fireplace in the main lobby, one of four wood-

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burning fireplaces in the inn. After warming our hands by the fire for a minute or two, we were seated in the dining room, close to a second fireplace. The dining room was only about one quarter full on this Sunday evening — which I attribute to the cold, snowy weather — but we could hear a bit more rambunctiousness coming from the inn’s tavern, where live music was entertaining the crowds. The Sherwood Inn is not the kind of place where the dinner menu changes daily or weekly. A few menu items change seasonally, but this is a menu built on consistency and tradition. As for the inn’s famous dishes, like Yankee pot roast and scrod Christopher, don’t expect those to ever leave the menu. Dinner started with a dish of clams

casino ($14). Served a half-dozen to an order, the Sherwood Inn’s version manages to avoid all the pitfalls all too often found in this New England classic. The stuffing is not too bready, while punctuating flavors of bacon, red pepper and garlic complemented the briny clam. The broth left in the shell after eating the clam was a small sip of perfection and well worth soaking up with a small piece of bread. For our entrees, we went for the duck breast ($28) and that evening’s special, surf and turf ($34). The duck, cooked to the desired mediumrare, was tender and capped with unctuously fatty skin. It was served over a bed of shaved Brussels sprouts, carrots, red onion, butternut squash and duck confit. The vegetables in this


hot slaw retained a bite of their natural crispness, while the duck confit, with a similar texture to that of the vegetables, proved that if one kind of duck is good, then two kinds are even better. The chunky apple chutney that topped the duck was a comforting and classic accompaniment. Put together, this dish perfectly encapsulates the transition from fall to winter, a welcome thought in sub-zero temperatures. Surf and turf — in this case, a grilled filet mignon topped with poached lobster in a lemon butter sauce — is a dish that always works on paper, because if steak and lobster are great on their own — and they are — then why wouldn’t they be good together? A grilled steak with a lobster tail on the side tastes good because steak and lobster, but the Sherwood Inn was bold enough to incorporate both elements into a single, wellcrafted dish. An ample portion of lobster claw meat, which is generally sweeter and more tender than the more-popular tail meat, topped the grilled filet, which was cooked on the rare side of medium-rare — my ideal doneness. Filets are revered for their tenderness and this beef did not require the steak knife it was served with. It was as tender as the butter served alongside my baked potato. The steak was mild enough in flavor as to not overwhelm the lobster, which too was nicely cooked and not the faintest bit rubbery. At first, lemon butter sauce doesn’t seem to be a natural pairing with a steak, but when the sauce, lobster and steak are combined in a single bite, it all made sense. The bright lemon and parsley sauce also played well with the grilled asparagus served alongside. Dinner ended with a shared slice of homemade white chocolate cherry cheesecake (all desserts $7). With its golden-brown top and pieces of white chocolate and cherries inside the cake, this cheesecake was clearly housemade and certainly delicious. The Sherwood Inn provided attentive service and a great meal in a white table cloth restaurant that expertly blends elegance and rustic colonial comfort. Even in the winter, when the blowing snow makes the picturesque view of the lake across the road a bit harder to see, the Sherwood Inn is worth a trip.

Seared duck breast topped with apple chutney, served atop shaved Brussels sprouts, tender duck confit, red onion and butternut squash.

Six tender clams topped with a bread stuffing loaded with bacon, garlic and red pepper, served atop rock salt with a wedge of lemon.

This nightly special of grilled filet mignon topped with lobster in a lemon butter sauce is the Sherwood Inn’s take on the classic surf and turf.

The Sherwood Inn Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Website: http://sherwoodinns.com/ White chocolate and cherry cheesecake, finished with shipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Phone: 315-685-3405 March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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55+

divorce

Coping with Divorce After 55 Loss of a partner can be more painful when it happens later in life By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

A

n acquaintance in his 50s once shared with me that he had been divorced — three times. I responded, “Ouch.” He threw back his head and laughed, saying, “That’s the best response I’ve ever heard.” But it’s true. Divorce hurts, regardless of why it happens. The older one is, the more painful the loss can feel. After so many years of building a life together, making mutual friends and planning for forever, it’s done. Over. Each person likely faces challenges previously unknown. There’s also social and familial awkwardness, and possibly financial struggles. Plus, they need to work through the difficult reasons that caused the divorce, too. Many factors can influence divorce, according to Grace Harlow Klein, PhD, psychiatric nurse and owner of Center for Human Encouragement in Rochester. She said that at this age, reasons for divorce may include growing apart, infidelity, mid-life re-evaluation and divergent goals. Some people finally gain the ability to leave their abusive spouse after years of delay because of fear, lack of resources or feeling obligated to parent together. “If a person has a therapist to talk with and work through feelings of grief and loss, that helps,” Klein said.

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She encourages people to discuss what worked and what didn’t in their relationship as well as discover tools for rebuilding their lives. “Social connections is a key of living longer and healthier,” Klein said. She added that some people have no idea what to do next; however, “gradually, if they work on their own feelings and come up with more real interpretation of those, they can find their own voice and find out what they want to do now.” She thinks that identifying and understanding one’s own emotions begins the journey to healing. “Use the correct words,” she said“ ’I am sad, happy, lonely, angry, disappointed.’ Then you have to put the connection with

the situation, ‘I am angry because I was left: Or, ‘My spouse left me, so I am sad.’ Then the person is centered in themselves. It’s a very empowered place to work from.” She said that once the individual’s feelings are in context, the person more easily realizes what to do next. “Find someone to talk to, to sort it out,” Friends and family may mean well, but most of the time, they’re too eager to dole out advice and take sides than to truly listen and honor the feelings present. Klein believes that a professional can help in sorting out the feelings so the person feels more ready for the next chapter. After a time of mourning and healing, it’s time to rebuild. Anne Marie Farage-Smith, licensed mental health counselor and owner of Counseling Connection, a private practice in Greece, encourages people who have experienced divorce to rediscover who they truly are now. “Go back to activities or interests you had before you were a couple or raising children. Farage-Smith Embrace your new role.” That could mean joining a club or gym, getting a makeover, signing up for a class or attending events. Redecorating, moving, finding a new career or furthering the education all represent larger-scale changes. “It can be difficult to reinvent yourself in new role,” Farage-Smith said. “You can’t be afraid to try out new things.” Volunteering can also help direct the attention outward, to others less fortunate. This strategy can also help develop a spirit of gratitude and reduce bitterness. As for figuring out the nuts and bolts of life — tasks the former spouse always did — FarageSmith encourages divorced people to take the initiative to learn. Plenty of classes, books, and videos offer terrific how-to tips. “It’s a matter of just reaching out for help, asking friends and taking a course or two,” she said. “It goes back to not isolating yourself.”


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55+

veterans

Some of the members of the Rochester Buffalo Soldiers who travel talking about African American military history. From left are Charles Price, a Tuskegee airman in World War II and the first black Rochester police officer, Danny Wyatt and Bing Reaves. Photo by Christine Green

Buffalo Soldiers With its roots in 19th Century lore, African-American military history finally comes to light

D

anny Wyatt, a retired Kodak engineer living in Rochester, felt there was something important missing from his childhood education. “There were maybe two paragraphs about African American history in our textbook,” he said. That’s one of the reasons why he and his colleagues at the Pennington-Moye VFW Post 9251 in Rochester work so hard to share the little-known history of America’s Buffalo Soldiers with the public. In 1866, after the Civil War, Con-

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By Christine Green gress passed legislation that allowed African-Americans to join the regular peacetime military, thus forming the 9th and 10th cavalry regiments. These African-American regiments served on the Western frontier protecting settlers and fighting in the Indian Wars. Legend has it that the Comanche gave these soldiers the nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” because their dark skin, curly hair and bravery in battle reminded them of the iconic buffalo that roamed the western plains. After the end of the Indian Wars in the 1890s, the Buffalo Soldiers

fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. They were deployed to Mexico in 1916-1917 to help General John J. Pershing in his hunt for the revolutionary Pancho Villa. The Buffalo Soldiers’ then went on to be America’s first park rangers at Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon national parks.

Rochester’s Buffalo Soldiers Bing Reaves, a retired Rochester police officer and an army veteran, helped form the Buffalo Soldier VFW


post in the 1980s. It began when the VFW asked that he and fellow veterans Lou Bracey and David Greene form a local color guard. Since the members of the post were African-American, the founders felt that their color guard should portray Buffalo Soldiers. Today, there are about a dozen members of the Rochester Buffalo Soldiers VFW post. Reaves and Wyatt — along with Henrietta resident and Army Air Corps veteran Charlie Price — comprise the educational presentation team of VFW Post 9251. They travel to local schools, nonprofit groups, and libraries to present the history of the Buffalo Soldiers. They recently gave one of their presentations to a team of FBI agents. Audiences who attend a Buffalo Soldiers educational presentation won’t just learn about the 9th and 10th cavalries in the 19th century though. The team discusses the history of African-American men and women in the military from the Civil War up to today. Price’s portion of the presentation includes the story of his grandfather, who was by U.S. Army General Ulysses S. Grant’s side as Lee surrendered at Appomattox in Virginia. His grandfather was not only present at this historic event, but he was also the soldier who raised the American flag over the courthouse that day. Price also tells audiences of his time in the Army Air Corps during World War II, when there were two different armies — one black and one white. He felt the sting of segregation even as he served as one the famous Tuskegee airmen. In 1947, Price became the first African-American police officer in Rochester. It wasn’t until 1948 that an executive order from President Truman officially ended segregation in the military. “This is the history that was never told,” said Reaves, who had never heard of the Buffalo Soldiers at all until fellow African-American soldiers stationed with him in Korea in the 1970s told him about their contribution to American military history. Another Buffalo Soldier member, Shirley Boone, portrays Cathay Williams, who joined the Army in 1866 disguised as a man by the name of William Cathay. Williams was the first African-American woman to en-

Buffalo Soldier color guard Robert Burgess, Shirley Boone and Bing Reaves, a retired police officer who helps run the group. Photo by Christine Green

How to Contact Buffalo Soliders To inquire about a Buffalo Soldiers presentation, contact Bing Reaves at pete0657@aol.com. list in the American military. Boone said that Williams’ story is vital to truly understanding American history. “It is important to not only honor African-American men that served this great country, but African-American women as well as they blazed a trail for women to follow. It is imperative that we tell her story so that we learn from the past and keep moving forward,” Boone said. Reaves, Wyatt, Price and Boone and the other members of VFW Post 9251 don’t want anyone else to miss out on these important facts about America’s past.

Community outreach The Buffalo Soldiers have touched many people and organizations in the local community. School 16 in Rochester was so impressed with the Buffalo Soldiers that it raised enough money to purchase a real buffalo hide to present to VFW Post 9251.The Buffalo Soldiers were also the color guard for

the mayor’s inauguration, and they marched in the Brighton Centennial Parade. Many organizations and officials ask them to participate in parades and events all around Rochester. The Buffalo Soldiers also have proclamations from Monroe County, the town of Brighton, and the city of Rochester. The Rochester Police Department and a VFW post in Dundee also donated historic McClellan saddles to the group to use in its material culture presentations. A recent Buffalo Soldier presentation to Sage Rochester, a program of the Out Alliance, spurred the group to take up a collection supporting the Buffalo Soldiers community work. Sage Rochester is a voice for Rochester’s older gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex adults. Anne Tischer is the Out Alliance outreach coordinator who arranged the Buffalo Soldier appearance at a recent SAGE meeting. “This history was not in the textbooks that we grew up with,” she said. “With authentic props and welltold stories, Bing and Charles made the past come alive for our seniors and I was repeatedly told by attendees that their presentation was the best ever.” March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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55+ police In Step with Law Enforcement

Despite odds, veteran Rochester female police officer keeps the beat By Christine Green

I

f you crank up the tunes — preferably some good old-fashioned 1970s dance music — Darlene Rogers will be the first on the dance floor. “If you put on some ‘70s music on right now I’ll start dancing. And I dance in heels. I can’t dance in flats,” she said. Rogers has about 100 pairs of shoes and loves a nice pair of high heels. But when she isn’t grooving to some dance classics at a party, club, or wedding she is wearing the sensible shoes of a professional cop. At 58, Sergeant Darlene Rogers is the oldest female police officer in the Rochester Police Department and the only female officer over 55. Rogers joined the force in 1988 and is approaching her 30-year anniversary in December. Originally from Manhattan, Rogers came to Rochester to attend The College at Brockport. As a student, she envisioned a future as a social worker working with child protective services. But a police-recruiting poster caught her eye one day, and she decided to take the civil service exam. She passed and went on to the police academy despite disliking guns and never even having handled one before. Over the years, she has gone undercover as a sex worker on Lyell Avenue and was first on the scene at one of Rochester’s most infamous crimes. She was a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) instructor in area classrooms and has overseen school resource officers assigned to the Rochester City School District.

At 58, Sergeant Darlene Rogers is the oldest female police officer in the Rochester Police Department and the only female officer over 55. She is approaching her 30-year anniversary on the job in December. March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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Today, she oversees the meticulous process of background checks for the police department. Her office conducts 68 percent of the backgrounds for the city including background research for police, fire, animal control and several other civilian jobs tied to the police department.

Changing world Quite a bit has changed since Rogers started her career 30 years ago. One of the biggest changes Rogers has witnessed is the rise of technology, including the use of body cameras. Paperwork filled out on clipboards has given way to computers in each police car. A cop used to have to know the geography of city streets inside and out so as not to get lost on a call, but now Rogers and other officers are glad for GPS directions that can not only get them to a scene quickly but keep dispatch aware of their location. Rogers also sees much younger recruits than in years past. She started when she was 28, but now she routinely sees officers as young as 20 join the force. Some of these new recruits come in with preconceived and romantic ideas of what police work is really all about, leading to premature burnout in just a couple of years — sooner than she ever saw before. “This job is not for everyone. When the rubber meets the road it is totally different. They get stressed out a lot quicker than we did,” she said. Rogers misses knowing the community in the intimate way she used to. There are less foot patrols, so officers don’t always develop the relationships with people in the neighborhoods they are policing like when she first started. Officers are also busier than ever these days, so developing strong community ties is harder. But she and her fellow officers are dedicated to the beats they work, and they are continually working hard to create and maintain those important connections. “Community policing is what we do; it is what we’ve always done. Without the community, we can’t solve these crimes. You have to have a relationship with them,” she said. An important change that Rogers has been a part of is the greater acceptance of women in the police department. When she first started, her field-training officer told her that he

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didn’t believe that women should be cops. He was concerned because he felt that women “just want to go inside the building” rather than work the streets. Other officers used to tease her and call her “Susie social worker” and tell her she didn’t belong. But she didn’t let it get her down. She knew she could do her job and do it well, and her social work background has been an asset to her as a police officer.

Hard day’s work Rogers may be empathetic and caring but she’s also one tough cop who is no stranger to hard work as well as danger. Rogers worked in both the Goodman and Clinton sections of Rochester and experienced every emotion on the job from exhilaration and excitement to downright fear. Once, early in her career, she attended a call for a hostage situation. A man with an uzi was holding a woman hostage. As she took cover behind her car door, she thought to herself, “I could be shot, this is the real deal.” Not too long after that she learned to quickly get into “cop mode” that is all about safety: the safety of the public, other officers, and herself. A couple of times, though, that mode couldn’t protect her, emotionally, from some difficult situations. When she was called to a house party where shots had been fired she was in complete “cop mode” since she was the supervisor at the scene. But when she heard that fellow officers had a teenager with the same name as her son and matching his description in their car, she stopped examining the building for bullet holes and ran outside to check on the young man. It wasn’t him, but for a brief minute she had to turn “cop mode” into “mom mode.” Perhaps the most difficult call Rogers ever attended was the scene of Rochester’s well-known Red Devil Murders in 1999. When she first heard dispatch say that someone had murdered two innocent children, she couldn’t believe it was true. But she was one of the first at the crime scene and saw first-hand the carnage Jose Santiago had left in his wake. But for every brutal or frightening crime scene she encountered, there were also many exciting and happy

moments, and she has touched many lives. Rogers has always enjoyed working with children and teens and one of her favorite duties was working with kids through the D.A.R.E. program, teaching them about the dangers of drugs and violence. “I still have people coming up to me saying, ‘Hey, you were my D.A.R.E. officer!’ I took over a classroom for a few weeks and made a connection,” Rogers said. Former students aren’t the only ones happy to know Rogers. Her colleagues genuinely like having her in the department and look forward to their time with her. Recruitment officer Christine Wilson particularly enjoys working with Rogers. “Sgt. Rogers is awesome! She has your best interest at all times. She’s very supportive in helping you achieve your career goals and personal goals as well. She’s a great asset to the department and I’m grateful to have her as a friend and supervisor,” Wilson said. Deputy chief La’Ron D. Singletary said Rogers “has a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone that she comes into contact with. Darlene is fair, thoughtful, and extremely personable, where people take an automatic liking toward her.  Darlene is well respected by her colleagues within the Rochester Police Department.”

Looking ahead Rogers doesn’t regret leaving social work behind in favor of police work. She’s enjoyed the last 30 years as a Rochester police officer and strongly believes that “sometimes you don’t choose a career; a career chooses you.” Asked when she might retire, she said her goal is to hit that 30-year mark in December, then “play it by ear.” When she does retire, she plans to keep busy volunteering and helping the community in any way she can. “My passion is helping people,” she said. She has hope for the future of the Rochester Police Department, too, and said “that some of the changes we’re making now will put us where we need to be as far as making sure officers don’t forget about community policing.”


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55+

downsizing

Downsizing? Demand for Your Items May be Low Selling or donating items you have accumulated for years not as easy By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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f you’re downsizing your household or that of your parents, you may be unpleasantly surprised at the low demand for antiques. Those treasured pieces of furniture are likely worth much more emotionally than literally. “It’s extremely common for our clients, who are primarily seniors or family members working with seniors, to believe that their items have value beyond their market value,” said Karen Menachof, owner of Caring Transitions in Rochester. The company provides downsizing assistance to older adults who are moving. “They hope that they’ll be able to sell them with ease,” Menachof said. “There’s not the value they had hoped for in the open market. There are exceptions, but there are lot of antiques and less interest in them.” The antiques market has dropped off as more younger people have more modern tastes and lean toward furniture that’s smaller and lighter. That fits better with a generation more prone to moving and living in an apartment. Many antiques don’t fit well into modern life, such as huge china cabinets. Young people aren’t as interested in accumulating expansive sets of fine china as previous generations, so a china cabinet isn’t necessary. A secretary desk doesn’t work as well with a laptop (and the whole point of a laptop is to use it in places other than a desk). Younger people are more interested in experiences — such as travel, dining out and adventuresome activ20

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ities — than accumulating things to express themselves and enjoy life. Passing items on to family members isn’t a snap, either. The families of downsizers aren’t as interested in antiques as in previous generations. Part of the reason is that their adult children already have established their household and any adult grandchildren are still too mobile to want to face the possibility of hauling a dining room table and 10 chairs across the country. As Menachof helps people downsize, she guides them through a number of steps for disposing of good items they can no longer keep. If a family member doesn’t want it, consider selling. A person with many things could find an auction an easy way to sell items since people seeking antiques often visit auctions. Menachof said that selling online may help, but interest in eBay has fallen off in recent years. Craigslist and Facebook also offer sales opportunities, but sellers should be careful about advertising goods since strangers will come to their homes. Menachof offers an online auction platform where her company facilitates the pick-up. An estate sale on site may lighten the load. If the items aren’t salable, donating to a family who could use them fills a need. Sites such as Freecycle.org offer an easy way to offer items people no longer want. It’s free to post items that are free to anyone who wants them. Ask before dropping off items at a charity or thrift store. Some cannot take large items

or may be overstocked with a particular type of item. “Donation is harder than imaginable,” Menachoff cautioned. “It’s not fast and without effort. It’s got to be coordinated and scheduled. There are lots of restrictions. Some want things boxed; others don’t. Things have to be sorted. You can’t just call Goodwill and have them come over. They’re not an on-demand provider.” Karen Jones, professional organizer in the Rochester area, encourages clients to keep one piece of their china, for example, to repurpose after they move, such as a platter as a serving tray. They sometimes take photos so they can preserve the memory of special items before they’re gone. “Sometimes, even though it’s hard for them to get rid of their items, it helps if it goes to someone who needs it,” Jones said. She said that items from the ‘50s and ‘60s are starting to become more popular, but older items just don’t seem to hold much value anymore. Debra Kostiw, owner of Home Helpers, recommends a professional estate sale company for a serious downsize operation. “Often when a parent has to move unexpectedly or passes away, the family is overwhelmed with the pressure,” Kostiw said. “Many families live far away and cannot take time off from work to devote time to these tasks. There is nothing wrong with reaching out for help.” If none of the above channels work, recycling at least spares space at the landfill.


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55+

hockey

Ric Seiling on Top of Life After the NHL Retired hockey pro now living in Gates, still contributes to the game By Todd Etshman

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ike many retired players in the Buffalo Sabres organization, Ric Seiling made his way back to the area when his playing days were over. The 60-year-old Gates resident played on some of the best Sabres’ teams as a forward from 1977 to 1986 before finishing his career in Detroit. He and his wife, Leslie, raised four children. None followed their father into pro hockey, but brother Rod played 15 years in the National Hockey League. The brothers grew up in the agricultural town of Elmira, Ontario, Canada, where their father owned winning racehorses. “I never grew up wanting to be a hockey player,” Seiling says. “I grew up wanting to train and ride racehorses.” Seiling returned to his first love of racing horses “on the Buffalo and

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Batavia circuit” after retiring from hockey in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s before giving it up due to it being “too many hours and not enough return on the investment,” he explains. Seiling was coaching in Tulsa in 2000 before moving to Rochester to pursue a career in banking and finance. Today, he’s a vice president in finance for M&T Bank. He also coached men’s minor pro in San Antonio, Glens Falls and Utica. Why is a former major league player still working? It’s because they didn’t make the kind of money players do today. “We’re the ones who got them to where they are today,” he says. The 14th pick in the 1977 NHL draft, Seiling played over 800 games in the NHL and is still very much involved in the game today. He’s been the color commenta-

tor on Rochester Americans home game broadcasts with play-by-play announcer Don Stevens since 2005 and coaches a women’s professional team, the Buffalo Beauts, of the National Women’s Hockey League. “The play-by-play man tells you what happened while the color commentator tells you why it happened,” says Seiling, who also has some playby-play experience with the Buffalo Junior Sabres in his versatile hockey background. The color commentator job is a nice contrast from the world of banking and finance that isn’t far from Blue Cross Arena and a way for him to watch a game in peace and put his two cents in, he says. Stevens “makes me sound more knowledgeable than I really am,” Seiling says. But Stevens has all the figures and statistics to cross-examine


the analysis when he sees fit. “I just try to make it as entertaining as possible,” Seiling says. “He’s been an outstanding partner for the last dozen years,” says Stevens. “Ric is like the Energizer Bunny — he just never stops. I don’t know how he squeezes it all in.” Seiling’s many activities include still playing recreationally, coaching and participating in charity and alumni events, along with his normal work schedule. Fortunately this season, area fans can see the most entertaining Amerks team in years as they try to keep pace with the Toronto Marlies for first place in the Northern Division of the American Hockey League. Seiling says this year’s team led by head coach Chris Taylor has speedier defensemen and a more aggressive offense than they’ve had in recent years.

High hopes in Rochester It’s not his job to get involved in stadium renovation and expansion, but the success of the new Harbor Center in revitalizing downtown Buffalo can’t be ignored as the Sabres and the city of Rochester look at the possibility of renovating Blue Cross Arena. The Sabres are the Amerks’ parent club. Getting back to the playoffs would help, an achievement they haven’t made since 2014. Seiling caught a stick in the eye that affected his sight but continued playing for years even though the injury left him sightless in his left eye. He was the first player in the game to wear a protective face shield full time, something opponents initially ridiculed him for, he says. Surgeries in recent years have proven successful in restoring sight in the eye. Seiling tried coaching minor pro teams in Adirondack, Tulsa and Utica when his playing days ended at the tender age of 30. Coaching both pro and younger men’s hockey players left him with bittersweet memories of the experience. “Why do coaches get fired? They’re the cheapest and easiest person to get rid of. I’m a teacher of the game not a motivator or a thinkologist,” he says. But he finds teaching and coaching female players to be nothing but rewarding. Teaching is something fe-

Ric Seiling with assistant coach, Craig Muni and the Buffalo Beauts. male players seemed to embrace. He started coaching girls at Ontario province hockey camps and found the experience more beneficial. “They had a different learning curve (than boys). It felt like they wanted to know everything. They always listened and whatever you asked them to do, they tried to do it,” he says. He feels the same way about the Buffalo Beauts professional women’s team he coaches today. He and the Beauts won the league’s second-year championship in 2017. The league has had some growing pains, but Seiling expects it to survive. “If you haven’t seen the game at

this level, you really need to,” he says of the female pros, some of who are from the Rochester area. “We’ve got players that can shoot the puck 88 miles per hour, harder than half of the guys in the NHL,” he said. Women’s hockey was the second-most watched Olympic sporting event at the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, proving there is a taste for it with sports fans. “I think the league will make it. The Pegulas wouldn’t have bought into it otherwise,” he says. For road games, the Beauts’ bus stops on the Thruway near Rochester for their coach and area players to join them on trips to play in Boston, New York and Connecticut.

Seiling scores a goal against the Soviet Red Army team in 1980. March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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guest columnist By Ilchi Lee

I’ve Decided to Live 120 years

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Start planning your long, happy life – now!

’ve decided to live 120 years. This is the title of the book I recently published. You may think that it sounds audacious or even crazy, but the title reflects a shift in perspective that I believe most people in their 50s and beyond need to make. Too often, we view life over 55 or 60 as though there is little to live for after that. This way of thinking is an unfortunate waste of potential since — now that people are living longer lives — there is so much that can be done with these years. Biological research has shown that human cells hold the potential to function and replicate for 120 years — and maybe even longer if assisted by technologies now on the horizon. For many people, living to that age does not sound particularly attractive though, especially if they imagine living in a frail, weakened state with little motivation or passion for life. Our later years needn’t be this way at all. We can live happily and healthily, right up to our maximum lifespan. Here are several tips that you can use to start planning your long, happy life, now.

Move Your Body Aging of the body is inevitable, but we can do much to mitigate the process. Since the practices I teach are rooted in ancient Asian medical models, I always approach physical health from an energetic viewpoint: to keep the body healthy, keep the energy flowing. Miles of jogging and long, sweaty workouts are not necessary. The easiest way is through simple stretching combined with breathing, which helps to keep energy pathways open and flowing. Another habit I recommend is called “One Minute Exercise.” The idea here is to exercise for just one minute, whenever possible. You can do exercises that make your muscles burn and your heart beat fast like 24

55 PLUS - March / April 2018

push-ups and jumping jacks or you can do exercises that help you relax and re-center like breathing and yoga. Because it’s only one minute, it’s doable for anyone, even a life-long couch potato, since the one-minute workout can be adjusted to any fitness level. And studies have confirmed that short bursts of exercise are as effective as much longer sessions. Approaching exercise one minute at a time allows people to integrate exercise into their lives so that it becomes a natural part of their daily routine.

Challenge Your Brain A good attitude is another important part of living a long, healthy life. Change your attitude about getting older, if you have any negative assumptions. Claim you proper identity as elder, and be proud of all the wisdom and experience you have accumulated. Really, living to 120 is not so important, but living with hope and dignity is. Realize your value, and plan for how best to share that with others. Don’t hesitate to set challenging goals and visions for yourself because you are never too old to be of service and value to this world. The world needs you, and your brain needs challenges to keep active and to keep learning. Meditation is a good practice that I would recommend to people at any age. Many studies have confirmed that it is excellent for relieving stress, and it can offset some of the cognitive decline that comes with aging, improving focus, memory and creativity. Best of all, people who meditate are happier since meditation promotes a calm state of mind and has been shown to increase serotonin, the hormone associated with happiness and contentment.

Seek Peace and Fulfillment When we are young, we must think about making our way in the

world establishing our reputation, starting a family, and making a living. In our later years, we can switch that outer focus to an inner focus. With children out of the house and fewer job responsibilities, we are free to look inside and complete our spiritual selves. Our true selves, our souls, are now of primary importance. As you look inside, ask yourself, “Who am I and why am I here?” You’re now old enough to know that lasting answers to these questions can never come through job titles and reputation. By asking yourself this question through quiet, inwardly focused contemplation and meditation, you can come closer and closer to true peace and fulfillment. The later chapters of your life are just like a novel; it is time to wrap things up and let go of anything that has hurt us. In our elderhood, we are healers of others, but we cannot do that if we have not yet healed ourselves. To accomplish this, I recommend using meditation as a way of quieting and soothing the mind.

Be Determined for Self-Care The later years of the human lifespan are critically important, whether you live to 60 or 120. By making a conscious choice to live to 120, however, you can develop a self-reliant determination to live well and live long. There is no way that can happen, though, unless you commit yourself take good care of your body, mind and spirit. If you make that mental shift, you’ll realize that 60, 70, and even 80 years of age is not that old after all. Editor’s Note: Concepts in this article are taken from New York Times bestselling author Ilchi Lee’s newest book, “I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation.” To learn more, visit Live120YearsBook.com.


Social Security

Q&A

Q: What is the average Social Security retirement payment that a person receives each month? A: The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2018 is $1,404 (up from $1,360 in 2017). The average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2018 is $1,197 (up from $1,171 in 2017). As a reminder, eligibility for retirement benefits still requires 40 credits (usually about 10 years of work). The Social Security Act details how the COLA is calculated. You can read more about the COLA at www. socialsecurity.gov/cola. Q: I’m 65, not ready to retire, but I want to apply for my Medicare coverage. How can I do that? A: The easiest and most convenient way is to apply online! Use our online application to sign up for Medicare. It takes less than 10 minutes. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if we need more information. You’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail. It’s convenient, quick, and easy. There’s no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative. Get started today at www. socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly. Q: Are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments paid only to disabled or blind people? A: No. In addition to people with disabilities or blindness, SSI payments can be made to people who are age 65 or older and have limited income and financial resources. For more information, read our publication, Supplemental Security Income, at www.socialsecurity.gov/ pubs/11000.html.

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Elder Law Meets the F Word By Lori Parker

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awyers have been known to inspire even the mildest clients to invoke the F word — and many lawyers likewise incorporate many Fs into their vocabularies. An occasional expletive can be a stress-reliever — and ridding ourselves of stress can benefit our overall health. When it comes to elder law, however, some very particular F-words come into play. Those three F-words — family, finances and freedom — reflect the core values underlying elder law practice. When we put those three F-words to positive use, we can relieve our clients’ stresses about the law and its impact on their lives — thus enhancing their overall well-being. F word No. 1 — Family. It recognizes that issues affecting elders reverberate through

their children, grandchildren and generations to come. Elder law tailors solutions to specific needs and individual preferences to serve elders and their families, whether those families are of a traditional or a “chosen” nature. When members of a family disagree about issues pertinent to an elder, many lawyers only “stir the pot,” creating even more conflict. Our goal, on the other hand, is to harmonize conflicting positions to serve the elder’s best interests. F word No. 2 — Finances. It acknowledges that most elders want to pass along their assets to their loved ones. Likewise under the rubric of finances is planning for long-term care, if needed. Techniques to protect and preserve assets are among the finance-related subjects that elder law addresses. The peace of mind that we can offer about financial issues allows elders and

their families to enjoy time together rather than worrying about money. F word No. 3 — Freedom. It speaks to the almost universal wish to maintain independence as we age. Under that overarching desire for autonomy, however, older people are vastly diverse. Elder law honors that diversity. Lori Parker of Parker Law Office has been a practicing attorney in the Rochester area for more than 20 years. She actively participates in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly (GRAPE), and the Greece Chamber of Commerce. Contact her at lori@ parker-law-office.com.

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8 Things Women Should Know About Heart Disease

You don’t have to face hearing loss alone. The Rochester Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) unites people with all degrees of hearing loss.

Nearly every minute, a woman dies from heart disease in the United States — it is the No. 1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Here is what you need to know about it.

HearingLossRochester.org

1. Women are more likely to die from heart disease than men, according to AHA. 2. Despite outreach efforts, a Women’s Heart Alliance survey of more than 1,000 women between 25 and 60 years of age found that 45 percent of women still don’t know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. 3. Women are less inclined to call 911 when they believe they may be experiencing heart attack symptoms. 4. Women’s heart attack symptoms are often different from men’s. They may experience shortness of breath, nausea, palpitations, jaw discomfort or overwhelming fatigue, according to the AHA.

Classes for Age 50+ Learners

The arts, history, literature, music, sciences, writing, and more!

5. Women are less likely to be referred for cardiac rehab after a heart attack. 6. Women’s heart disease is under-researched: only 35 percent of participants in clinical trials of cardiovascular disease are women, and just 31 percent of the studies report outcomes by gender. 7. Women are less likely to receive bystander CPR in public than men (45 percent in men versus 39 percent in women). Learning Hands-Only CPR can help save a life. Visit handsonly.nyc to learn more. 8. Recent blood pressure guidelines from the American College of Cardiology recommend all people to have a blood pressure target of 120/80 or lower. Additionally, after the age of 65, hypertension (high blood pressure) is more common in women. Stay up-to-date on your annual physical and have your doctor check your blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Spring Term classes take place Monday through Friday, April 2 – June 11.

Attend our Spring Course Preview on March 19 at 10 am!

Registration opens March 20 Associate Membership: $30 (one term, at Penfield location only) Trial Membership: $160 (one term only) Full Membership: $320 (four terms)

A full membership includes a year of courses, lectures, and special events during Spring 2018, plus Summer, Fall, and Winter terms. Additionally, you’ll enjoy special RIT benefits both on and off campus! Visit our website

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Here are a few of the many, varied courses being offered in the Spring Term: • • • •

The Barbary Pirates A Guide to the 2018 Rochester Jazz Fest The History of American Immigration Investment Concepts and Ideas

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TA NU KE AN M Y CLA BER O SSE F S!

JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit The Korean War Mt. Hope Cemetery Spanish for Travel and Leisure

Request a free course catalog! Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at RIT The Athenaeum Building • 50 Fairwood Drive Suite 100 • Rochester, NY • 14623 585-292-8989 • osher@rit.edu

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Capturing the ‘60s Through writing, poet expresses her feelings about tumultuous time in U.S. history By Christine Green

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hat does a writer’s house look like? Well, it just might boast a cozy fireplace, a friendly dog and a sleepy cat, a bookshelf that opens onto a secret room, and a dining table piled high with books ready to be gifted to friends. This is the Brighton home of author Denise Thompson-Slaughter. Thompson-Slaughter recently released her latest book, “Sixty-ish: Full Circle” (2017 Spirited Muse Press), a collection of poems about her youth in the 1960s and about how her life — and the world — has changed over the years. Before the release of “Sixty-ish,” Thompson-Slaughter served as assistant editor of World Politics at Princeton University and more recently as managing editor of Reviews in American History at the University of Rochester. Thompson-Slaughter retired from Reviews in American History in July of 2017. She is widely published in literary journals, and she released her first book of poems, “Elemental” (Plain View Press) eight years ago. She first found poetry when she was in high school and knew she’d become a writer when she spent math class quietly writing sonnets instead of focusing on calculations and formulas. After that, writing became a special pleasure in her life, and she has “always been someone who is very introspective, and I’ve always liked to write and found joy in it.” When she became a mother, 28

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Denise Thompson-Slaughter of Brighton. She recently launched her new book, “Sixty-ish: Full Circle.”

Wild, whacky ‘60s

particularly after reading some of the historical papers and books young historians were writing about the ‘60s during her time at Reviews in American History. “They don’t have a clue of what it was really like,” she said. “Why don’t they ask us what it was like?” So she put pen to paper and wrote 25 poems about her young life in 1960s America. Poems about feminism, first jobs, and Bob Dylan don’t just bring a bygone era to life for the reader, but present an intimate portrait of a young woman navigating a changing world. An excerpt from her poem, “Summer, 1969”

Thompson-Slaughter’s life in the 1960s and the changing socio-political landscape of America at that time heavily influenced the poems in part one of “Sixty-ish.” Several of these poems stemmed directly from the need to share her own personal experience of this pivotal time in history,

At nineteen, after a day of work as a Post Office Department secretary — struggling with my conscience about being a cog of government during a war I abhorred — I’d ride the warm, overcrowded bus home, nod off, or have seatmates nod off

though, children needed her attention and time and long quiet writing sessions became a thing of the past. She soon discovered that keeping a pen and notebook tucked away in the bathroom allowed her to sneak off now and then to write a verse or two of poetry. “The hardest thing about being a mother was not being able to finish a thought. Writing poetry forced me to boil down my thoughts and express them. That expression was the only thing that was really mine as opposed to my family. It was like keeping in touch with my own soul,” she said.


and land on my shoulder in that tin can of tired but compassionate sardines. The second section of the collection offers beautiful and witty rhythmic poems, while part three touches on what Thompson-Slaughter refers to as “the difficulties and indignities of getting older and the indignities of these times.” She touches on everything from retirement to knee surgery and takes a nostalgic and sometimes sad look at the past like in her poem, “Woodstock Revisited” “We were right: Love is all you need. But we thought it was easy, Never knowing That on Earth, Love itself Is near impossible.” Sueann Wells is editor at Spirited Muse Press and had this to say about “Sixty-ish”: “Denise’s collection was such an exciting read for me, even though I am a 30-something and her pieces speak to the 1960s and free love and

drugs and politics and whatnot. Her collection seems absolutely applicable to the modern America. We seem to have come full-circle as a nation, and unfortunately are not learning from past mistakes.”

Retirement life Now that Thompson-Slaughter is retired from her editing position, she is excited to tackle several writing projects as well as simply enjoy more personal freedom. When she is not writing poetry or fiction, she enjoys crafting, meditation, Sudoku and watching movies. All writers, of course, are also readers and retirement has given her more time to enjoy some of her favorite authors like J.K. Rowling and Janet Evanovich. Well-loved poets include Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Her next book, “Mystery Gift,” is a mystery novella set in a small Nova Scotia lobstering community. The book examines how people of different faiths can work together to solve problems, and how individu-

Cover of Thompson-Slaughter’s new book.

als sometimes have unique gifts that they don’t often appreciate. Spirited Muse Press has scheduled “Mystery Gift” for a summer 2018 release.

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Power Couple

Lauren Dixon and Mike Schwabl: A Romantic Story of Success

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By Ernst Lamothe Jr.

hile great ideas may sprout overnight, successful execution of those ideas takes time, diligence, determination, luck, creativity and will. It’s the ingredients that many businesses have tried to establish, but failed to correctly achieve the recipe. Then there’s Dixon Schwabl, a Victor-based full-service advertising, public relations and digital media agency that continues to be ranked among the best small and medium workplaces for 12 consecutive years. This past year marked the company’s 30th anniversary along with the 28th year wedding anniversary of co-owners Lauren Dixon and Mike Schwabl. Forget about the phrase “don’t mix business with family” — the couple thrives because of it. “When we look back on everything we have accomplished and where we started from, the journey has really been incredible. And we are not even close to being done,” said Schwabl, 57, of Canandaigua, president of the company. They have brought the company from a small two-person firm to an integrated agency with more than 120 30

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employees and more than 100 clients nationally. Last year, the agency generated nearly $76 million in revenue.

Humble beginnings When Dixon started Lauren Dixon Advertising in 1987, she put out an ad in The Buffalo News for a writer

and photographer. She filled the spot with Schwabl. With Dixon having a background in front of the camera as part of a real estate showcase, Schwabl was behind the camera shooting and developing slides for the show. The business relationship soon turned into a fast friendship. They got to know each other very well, but it was nothing


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Dixon Schwabl employees dress up for Hawaiian Day at the office. but professional even though friends on both sides were in their ears saying otherwise. “We would have long drives while we were working and we were so busy working we didn’t have time to see anyone else other than each other,” said Schwabl. “Everyone kept telling me that I should ask her out, but my first thought is that, ‘I could never ask my boss to go out on a date.’” They continued to keep everything friendly, even going to a comedy club one night. “That was a big mistake for a few reasons. Number one, we sat in the front row which you should never do,” added Schwabl. “Secondly, the comedian thought we were a couple and started making jokes about us, so that was a little awkward.” For Dixon, she has the same feelings when people automatically assumed the pair should be an item. “I just kept thinking that I would not break my golden rule which is dating someone at work,” she said. “I thought the rule made sense and it just wouldn’t work out. Plus, I had been divorced for a year and hadn’t dated anyone in that time.” Then about six months into working together, they figured they would blow off some steam from working hard and see a movie. While they were driving toward Canandaigua, suddenly, a strong snowy blizzard met them strongly in their path. A few unfortunate series of 32

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When Lauren Dixon started Lauren Dixon Advertising in 1987, she put out an ad in The Buffalo News for a writer and photographer. She filled the spot with Mike Schwabl. They would later marry and grow the business from a two-person team to a staff of 120 people. events followed. They decided that day to drive Dixon’s sports car, which wasn’t handling the weather well. It made them stop for wine on Main Street in Canandaigua to hopefully wait out the storm. “First, it hit me that, ‘Wait, am I on a date?’,” she said. “Then as I am getting out of my car, I immediately realized that I locked my keys in my car and that it was likely an official first date.” Bumpy beginnings turned into lasting love. Two years later, they were married. And then there is the question they get asked all the time: How is it working with your spouse? Schwabl said forget the idea that distance makes the heart grow fonder. “I love that I get to work with my wife every day. It is amazing,” he added. “In the early days, running a company takes a lot of effort and hours. We worked as a team. We both had to travel but we were both working toward the same goals.” It is not surprising they have succeeded in their almost three-decade relationship. They are both extroverts, but they have slight differences

in their personality. Schwabl leads the organization more from a feeling perspective, while Dixon does it from a pragmatic approach. “My gift is that I am a thinker and logical. Mike does a good job not only having a great sense of humor, but in caring about everyone’s feelings. When we make a decision, we look at it from both sides, and it helps us make good decisions,” she said.

Family affair In the beginning of the business, their schedules rarely overlapped. She would leave for work at 4 a.m., while he got the kids ready for school, even sketching out drawings on their paper bag lunches. Then she would be home and make dinner for their four children while Schwabl worked at night. “We were always a team and that is why the marriage and business worked so well together,” said Dixon. “Mike would put the girls’ hair in a ponytail and get them ready for the day. I remember my dad saying four kids is not going to be easy, so just al-


ways have a Plan B with any of your plans just in case things don’t work out. And he was right because when anything ever went sideways, we didn’t freak out.” Their kids grew up around the business, so it is not surprising that three out of four work there and the fourth is also in marketing. Their eldest daughter, Courtney, 34, is director of marketing and communications at Allendale Columbia School in Rochester. Next up is Jordan, 32, who works as director of strategic workflow at Dixon Schwabl. Then there is Connor, 28, who works as a studio manager, and Madison, 23, who is an executive assistant. Schwabl said he remembers taking Connor to work with him while he was doing audio-visual work, so it warms his heart to see his son taking over that part of the business. They said Jordan — with his great organizational skills — is well suited to make sure everything runs smoothly with projects and Madison running their schedules. “It’s so funny that Madison, the person we used to be in charge of, is now in charge of scheduling us,” said Schwabl. “And our daughter, Courtney, has an incredible driven spirit.”

Building a brand After previous workplace experiences, they sought to create a different atmosphere at the firm that would create productivity while empowering employees to thrive. Their approach is multi-faceted. The culture starts inside their Victor headquarters, which combines a high level of fun, creativity and productivity. Executives believe those who enjoy where they work, who they work with and what they do help create the best environment to succeed. They believe great ideas come from everywhere, not simply from the top down, along with the philosophy that any strategy must be integrated at all levels. They’re not exclusively a public relations, advertising or social media firm; they are all of those and more. In an age when reaction time and speed are critical, having everything under one roof is essential. “We knew the importance of bringing in different departments un-

Lauren Dixon and Mike Schwabl discuss a marketing campaign with the staff. der one operation, so we could keep an eye on our clients’ needs while also looking for innovative trends and ideas to make their businesses better,” said Dixon, the company’s chief executive officer. “We are calculated risk takers, so we can give people what they want in the most cost-effective ways.” It became part of their core value pillars: respect, integrity, teamwork, community, innovation, and fun. Fortune magazine ranked Dixon Schwabl the No. 1 marketing firm to work for in America in 2016, and PR News named it one of the “Top Places to Work” in public relations in 2010 and from 2012-2016. “It’s great to be on the list but what really makes us happy is the consistency of being on the list year after year,” said Dixon. “Our culture is that everyone takes it upon themselves to be the ultimate brand ambassadors and to make sure we advance that culture every day. We empower people to come up with big ideas and implement them because that is how you have more job satisfaction.” They said the ideal company embraces teamwork, creativity, passion and fun so when they interview people, they ask them questions like; “What do you like to do at night or during the weekend?” “People might think those are strange questions, but whether the answer is playing video games, hanging out at the mall for hours or vol-

unteering, if you have our six core values, then it is going to show up in your work,” said Schwabl. “We are anything but stereotypical.” The company even highlights its employees’ interests on their website page. It shows employees fishing, playing hockey, sitting by the pool, playing with their kids, taking photographs, golfing, biking, eating, shopping, playing music, running, kayaking, baking, gardening, exercising, working on cars, and playing chess. Each year, the company conducts a two-day all-staff team-building exercise led by an outside facilitator. They are also committed to preparing young people to enter the workforce. In 30 years, they’ve had more than 800 interns. On Thursdays from May to Labor Day, employees go outdoors to enjoy ice cream and to socialize with co-workers. The company also offers employees profit sharing. The company reported that in 2008 and 2010, its job application rate grew by more than 242 percent. They currently receive 300 applicants for every job posted. “I was speaking in California at a conference about our success and people couldn’t believe it,” said Dixon. “They saw all the initiatives we did and thought we were spending too much money. They just don’t understand that you can be very profitable if your business is productive and your staff values the work they March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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are doing.” You can’t be a high-functioning organization without high-functioning people. Dixon Schwabl officials say they combine remarkable, talented brains with big hearts to produce outstanding results. To the power couple, culture truly matters. “Our success without a doubt comes from the people who work here,” said Schwabl. “We have a good track record of finding the best people in our field who truly want to be creative and put together something amazing. We walk down the halls and we can talk directly to our staff and make real connections instead of just a conference call. If you attract and retain great candidates, then you will have a successful company.” Having sustained success starts with being adaptable. They started looking at the way they did business differently around 2010. Focusing more on research, data metrics and result-focused information, they created a necessary infrastructure for the future. It might have sounded insane at the time, but they did their due diligence. Almost eight years ago, it was revolutionary for the company to shift into this new mindset. Today, it’s now commonplace to have analytics in everything. “I tell people that this is the most exciting time in marketing history,” said Schwabl. “You look at how things were back then in the age of ‘Mad Men’ and see where things are going now; it is just incredible. Things are moving at such a fast pace and advanced analytics are here to stay.” But in the end, storytelling remains king. “We can make all the changes in the world to technology, but at the start we have to be able to craft an interesting story for our clients to take with them to their clients,” added Dixon.

Successful partnerships Dixon Schwabl has been involved in some of the biggest campaigns in the Rochester area during the past decade. The PGA of America asked the company to manage public relations and social media efforts for the 95th PGA Championship at Rochester’s 34

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Lauren Dixon  poses for “DS all-star playing cards” shots as part of a promotional campaign. Oak Hill Country Club in August 2013. The PGA wanted to sell out tickets and corporate hospitality, fill its 3,800 volunteer positions, raise general awareness and secure media coverage within a 300-mile radius of the club. The firm created a steady stream of PGA Championship news through press releases, media alerts, photos, PR stunts, and a strong social media presence that listened to and engaged with fans daily. The first included a regional media tour of New York state and Ontario, Canada, and “Golf Balls on Parade, which features fiberglass golf balls that are painted by local artists and sold to area businesses. They also put on media and tourism receptions in Toronto, a PGA history exhibit featuring rare artifacts at the Rochester Museum & Science Center, and media day with defending champion Rory McIlroy. “There were some doubters of our social media plan and our tactics, but we were confident in ourselves and we had great success because we pushed the boundaries and created something memorable,” said Schwabl. United Way of Greater Rochester

needed a new powerful message to help with its fundraising. They wanted a brand refresh and a powerful marketing campaign that would be simple yet still generate an emotional appeal. Dixon Schwabl came up with a strong two-word message: “Changing Lives.” Through video, public relations and marketing efforts, the campaign helped reinvigorate the community’s connection with the long-time organization. United Way President and CEO Fran Weisberg has known Dixon for years in many different capacities and has a deep respect for her and her organization. “Every step of the way, she has been here to help and support me,” said Weisberg. “What I admire about Lauren is that she is so involved in the community. She really cares and that makes her a dynamic person, a dynamic leader and someone who is truly special.” Weisberg also said Schwabl inspires women in the community as a shining example leading a nationally recognized company. “It is not an accident that Dixon-Schwabl is known as a great place to work because Lauren and Mike are incredible people who are dedicated to their clients and the people who work with them,” added Weisberg. “They have built something from the ground up.” About two years ago, Roberts Wesleyan College asked Dixon Schwabl for a brand campaign to establish a consistent brand position in the marketplace and with internal audiences. The campaign needed to be good to go in four weeks. The company embarked on a strategy that undertook an in-depth market analysis and key consideration factors such as academics, religious affiliations, tuition, size, and athletic standing among other competitive universities. Through a campaign called “Higher Learning,” they captured Roberts’ essential mission, which was higher education serving a higher purpose. The campaign included public relations, marketing, direct mail and other methods to increase the college’s brand identity. The college and Dixon Schwabl have had a relationship since the start with Roberts being their second-ever client.


“Their team does extremely excellent work and we have nothing but complete faith in everything they do for us. They helped us find a stronger voice in the community for people to truly understand the mission and work of our college,” said Donna McLaren, associate vice president of brand and marketing communications. It has been an incredible shift to see the ways the company can help its clients from 30 years ago to now. “I jokingly look at our jobs 15 years ago and I think, ‘Man, it was so darn easy compared to now,” joked Dixon. “It was mostly billboards, direct mail, radio and television. Now the opportunity to tell stories is so varied.”

Helping community Along with working with each other, three of their children are on the Dixon Schwabl team and the fourth is a client. The company is extremely philanthropic and always encourages its team to give back to the community. Just this year, Dixon Schwabl served as event coordinators for the American Heart Association’s Rochester Heart Walk & Run, helping lead the event to a $780,000 fundraising total. They also continue to do work with United Way. “It’s no wonder that when she leads the United Way campaign as co-chair, we raised more than $25 million,” Weisberg said. “That is the great thing about Lauren and Mike is that this is more than just a partnership. It has turned into a friendship,” added McLaren. “Almost every day in my job, I talk to someone from their team. And I consider Lauren a great friend and mentor that I have learned so much from. They are both leaders in the community and examples of the kind of businesses we want in our community.” Even with success comes learning from obstacles. Schwabl said he learned to make tough decisions quicker, which wasn’t always the case in the early going. Dixon said she learned that all the big ideas don’t always have to come from the top. But in the end, their three decades of hard work has turned out to be more incredible than they could have ever imaged.

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money

10 Signs You Need to Dump Your Financial Adviser By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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erhaps you’ve used the same financial adviser for many years, maybe even your parent’s favorite firm. Why should you consider changing firms? Here are a few reasons, according to four financial advisers interviewed for this story: Tips from Carla Morris, financial adviser, Edward Jones, Rochester: “One of the signs you need a new adviser would be if your account has always closely followed the S&P 500. Maybe you should ask some questions. You don’t want to be 100 percent invested in that market. If that takes a hit, so will your account. You should have a little in every bucket, according to your risk tolerance and life stage. If the market crashes, I say, ‘Which market?’ You should have many markets represented in a portfolio. “How long has it been since you’ve spoken to them? Do they only call when the market is going well? You should have at least an annual discussion, not just when the market goes well. “If you can’t get a response back in 24 to 48 hours, that’s a concern. That’s your hard-earned money. If you have a life or job change, that’s something that would be a concern. You should have some sort of proactive contact. It shouldn’t always be you calling to ask questions. They should talk with you about the market outlook or the quarter in review.”

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Tips from Diana Apostolova, financial consultant and retirement planning specialist with AXA Advisors, Rochester “There could be several reasons, from personality to performance and anywhere in between. No trust, no commitment to you and your goals, no proper handling of your investments and financial affairs, lack of or very limited financial education.

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“The bottom line is if you’re not happy and you don’t see anything changing in the near future, you may want to explore your options based on what’s best for you. Tips from Bryce Carey, partner and certified financial planner, NorthLanding Financial Partners, Rochester “We hear a few common things when clients contact us, like service, performance and the most common we run into is the death of a spouse or loved one. It’s often a reflection point where people reassess their financial situation and find it useful to start fresh with a new financial adviser. Most of our clients are shifting from accumulating savings to using savings and they need a financial adviser that can help them develop a financial strategy. “If a person is questioning the different services the adviser is recommending, the financial adviser may not be doing a good job in explaining the services. “Lack of service is often a reason someone should consider leaving their adviser. If they don’t have a set service schedule in place, there could be questions about the next review meeting or financial plan analysis should happen. If a person is questioning the different services the adviser is recommending, the financial adviser may not be doing a good job in explaining the services.”

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Tips from Scott Klatt, senior partner, certified financial planner, NorthLanding Financial Partners, LLC, Rochester “Sometimes, people question the value of the relationship in paying for the financial adviser that they’re working with. You need to be able to communicate with the adviser. “Performance. If accounts are under-performing, you need to be able to judge what that means.”

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Berry speaks with students at Roberts Wesleyan College. She has taught at the college for more than 50 years.

Pride of Roberts Wesleyan Professor Elvera Berry leaving indelible footprint on education scene after teaching for more than 50 years and counting

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oberts Wesleyan College in Rochester has just passed its 150th anniversary, and Elvera Berry has been teaching for more than a third of its history. In her 53rd year in the classrooms, she has founded many programs that still exist today. Since the 1970s, Berry has been deeply involved in program development at Roberts, working with colleagues to establish freshman and senior seminar programs, leading the honors program for many years, and developing the communication major, which now boasts over 250 graduates. “Students remain endlessly fascinating, complicated, delight36

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By Ernst Lamothe Jr. ful, and at times frustrating,” said Berry, 75, of Chili. “People have asked over the years, ‘How can you stand to continue doing my kind of work, especially with today’s social media generations of students?’ I don’t tend to think about what divides the generations. I simply enjoy working with students and inviting them to join me on an educational “‘voyage of discovery.’” A native of Brooklyn and born to German immigrants who owned a dry-cleaning business, Berry’s father impressed the importance of education on her and her brothers from the beginning. The fact that he and his wife didn’t have the opportunity for such an education made

it more than an opportunity — it was an obligation. So, while Berry had the dreams and talent to be an actress or musician, it was clear her path would be one of academics. When she graduated from Narrowsburg Central High School in Sullivan County, she knew she would be going to college. “My immigrant parents had made that clear, but options for my generation included teaching or nursing, which I was not interested in,” said Berry. “I might have entered law or theater, but those were not options. The question was ‘teaching what?’” She narrowed it down to two of her interests — music or Span-


ish. Eventually, she majored in German and minored in Spanish, music, and education — beginning as a German teacher in the Greece Central School District. Then, she began teaching German at Roberts in 1964, but has spent most of her time teaching in the field of communication and rhetorical studies, as well as in liberal arts, the college’s honors program, and degree-completion programs. She has since followed up her education with a master’s degree in linguistics and German from the University of Rochester, a master’s in rhetoric from the SUNY Brockport and a Ph.D in higher education from SUNY Buffalo. “Over the past five decades, Dr. Elvera Berry has been a substantive presence in the Roberts Wesleyan College community,” said Deana L. Porterfield, Roberts Wesleyan College president. “She has taught more than 12,000 students, more than 30 different courses, and is best known as a dedicated and exacting teacher.”

Pursuing a passion Berry developed a unique reputation in her time as a tough educator. Certainly influenced by her father, she expects students to treat education as an obligation more so than an opportunity. Particularly when she first got started as a young professor, she wouldn’t laugh in class. No laughing until October, or else she’d lose them. “I tell my students that teaching is a naked profession. It’s impossible to hide, especially if you seek to build a community of learners in a classroom,” said Berry. “All bets are off if your goal is to ask and encourage honest questions because genuine questions do not typically yield simple answers. Real questions are often unanticipated and, like life, they get messy.” An underlying source of guidance which Berry has embraced is the school’s founder, B.T. Roberts. The more she learned about the man, the more inspired and proud she became to further his legacy. The college was founded in 1866 by Benjamin Titus Roberts — a contemporary of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, who all shared the vision about the importance of higher education.

“Students remain endlessly fascinating, complicated, delightful, and at times frustrating.” Elvera Berry, who has taught at Wesleyan College for more than 50 years. He gave up his intent to practice law and became a minister and writer. The college was founded to educate women and men and has remained a place for traditional and non-traditional innovative programs of higher education — including the first Rochester-area degree-completion programs. “I prefer to think in terms of our common humanity and what will best serve us as individuals who are also called to be citizens of a much larger community and the world,” said Berry. She has experienced her entire life’s work in Rochester: college-level teaching, participation in institutional work and program development. Berry thrives on Rochester’s rich history of innovation and hope for people living on the margins, and on the variety in churches, education, ethnicity and arts. A continuous learner, she often takes in life lessons. “Wherever you are, learn from those around you — even if it sometimes means learning what not to do,” said Berry. “Care for others; see them as partners in life’s very short journey; listen with the goal of understanding rather than to winning the ensuing argument; be able to laugh at yourself and to offer grace and forgiveness.” When you have taught so long, something inside must continue to fuel your passion. She typically finds that out on day one. “I always said if I walk into a classroom and just feel like I am going through the motions, then I would retire. But so far I haven’t felt that way,” added Berry. “Most fulfilling have been the literally countless students whose lives I hope have been affected positively

by someone who tried to help them discover the joy of learning and breadth of possibilities for them. Some have become personal friends, from as far back as the 1960s and well into the 21st century. Hundreds have gone to grad school, have been playing their part in making this world a better place, and have their own stories I would love to hear.”

Lifetime of commitment While teaching will always be one of her first loves, she also enjoys the Rochester music scene with her husband, Paul, who also teaches at Roberts. In the past, they were heavily involved in local music and church groups such as Opera Under the Stars, The Rochester Chorale, and The Bach Festival Chorus. She also delights in seeing her son, daughter-in-law and her two grandsons, aged 5 and 9. She is so dedicated, her collegues wonder where she even finds free time. “Her commitment to generations of students includes life-long mentoring and the invitation to full participation in professional academic conferences,” said Porterfield. “We are indebted to her for her lifetime commitment to the mission of the institution and her personal investment in the lives of our students.” As Berry reflects back on her five decades of educating young minds, she can’t help but think about her parents and influential others. She knows her success will always be tied to her upbringing and understands that each of her environments played a key role in her life. “I would credit very bright but uneducated immigrant parents who pushed me, knowing I’d have to somehow figure it out on my own,” said Berry. “And I would add a couple of teachers who cared about a hesitant and sometimes frightened kid, and an intellectual mentor. He invited me to join scholarly conversations, yet I never really knew the difference his ideas made in how I think and question and try to teach.” She also credits her husband and son “who granted me the right to be wife, mother, professor, and would-be ‘mentor’ to a much larger family of students,” she noted. March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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career

Should You Consider Having a Housemate? Having someone to share a home with has some great advantages, some disadvantages By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

P

erhaps your large home feels even larger now that the children are grown. Or maybe you would like a means to earn passive income to enhance your retirement. Could your widowed mom enjoy some companionship? Or maybe you would feel more at peace if your in-laws weren’t by themselves so far from your home. Any of these scenarios could be a good reason to consider renting a room to a housemate. Whether through word-of-mouth or roommate matching websites, renting a room to a stranger when you’re a 55-plusser isn’t so strange anymore. Numerous people watched their retirement savings evaporate during the recession. Most older adults want to age in place. Renting a room provides companionship, savings on household expenses and assistance with chores. Others rent space to save on their household expenses or to make commuting to a distant job easier. For Paul Smith, a 55-year-old Rochester man who manages residential properties, renting two rooms in his three-bedroom home makes per38

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fect sense. His children have grown, and for the past 10 years, Smith has rented his extra two rooms to roommates. They share most of the house and have their bedrooms to themselves. “You can feel good about helping someone else out so they’re not paying full price for an apartment or a house,” Smith said. He said that some people have asked him why he wants strangers living in his house. The father of three said that he’s always had people living in his house. “They’d eat up all my food and never pay a cent,” he quipped about his children. “Now that they’ve moved out, people live here who pay and don’t eat my food.” Most of his roommates last about six months to a year. One he’s had for three years. Some hardly hang around the house; others seem more homebodies and spend more time at Smith’s house. Smith is so enthusiastic about the merits of home sharing that he said that he “forced” his mother to acquire a roommate for her own safety. He solicited roommates and narrowed down the list through interview-

ing them and checking their backgrounds. His mother selected from a group of three and felt pleased with the arrangement once her first roommate moved in. “She loved having a roommate,” Smith said. “They ate together, hung out together and would go out shopping together. She started eating right because at least one of them would be cooking.” Smith encourages other older relatives and friends to rent out a room. Instead of paying someone to serve as a companion, a roommate brings revenue into the household and can help keep an eye on the elderly homeowner. Of course, if the roommate provides housekeeping beyond helping in the common areas or rides and other help, the homeowner can reduce the rate to compensate. He believes that his mother’s roommates — she’s had three total — helped increase his mother’s lifespan and enjoyment of life during her final years. “Mom had someone to talk with,” Smith said. “She felt more secure having someone in the house. It gave her great peace of mind and companionship.”


Smith said that selecting his room-Celebrating 15 Years of Full Service Celebrating Years of Full… Service mates is similar to selecting a spouse, Senior Move15Management as far as checking for compatibility. Senior It’s Move Because SoManagement Much More … He requires potential roommates to Because It’s So Much More provide at least three references from Than Just Moving! Than Just Moving! previous landlords or roommates. He asks about issues they have. He Your FREE Consultation Today! scopes them out on Facebook, a tacticSchedule Schedule Your FREE Consultation Today! which he finds “very revealing.” 585-334-3544 He lets potential roomies know www.grandmashelpers.com www.grandmashelpers.com upfront that he doesn’t allow numerous vehicles, loud music after 9 p.m., Goodridge, CRTS, cSMM, SMM-C Bobbie Goodridge, CRTS, cSMM, SMM-C drugs, smoking, children or pets. He’s Bobbie 2014-2016 Board of Directors, 2014-2016 Board of Directors, dealt with chewing dogs and leaky National Association of Senior Move Managers aquariums before, so pets aren’t evenNational Association of Senior Move Managers negotiable anymore. Smith wants roommates who work and can prove their income. They should clean up after themselves and leave common areas cleaner than when they found them. Pitching in with vacuuming and dusting is also helpful “I insist upon a written lease,” Smith said. “Do not let anyone stay at your house without a lease.” He said that he provides his own lease agreement, such as one downloaded from www.landlord.com and doesn’t use lease agreements that roommates provide, since they are often one-sided. Despite a few unpleasant experiences, Smith said that it’s “a ball” to share his home. “I enjoy it. I’ll have more roommates. If I had a bigger house, I’d fill it up with more people.” People renting part of their home with someone else must count that money as taxable income. Shirley Malone, tax preparer and co-owner of Quincy Tax Service in Rochester, said that since it’s not earned income, homeowners won’t need to report it for quarterly taxes, but will have to report it April. “You can also factor in part of the expenses of the home for that person,” Malone said. “Sometimes, the expenses end up being more than the A Hurlbut hug delivers the income, which is kind of a subjective thing.” comfort of knowing that your For an elderly person who simloved one will receive the ply needs a companion, offsetting the income by hiring workers to perhighest level of long-term care. form home repairs and upgrades may A hug that will help to alleviate prove a means to maintain the home and keep a companion. your fears. An expression of It’s important to discuss tax imtrust and confidence that plications with a qualified tax preparer.

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legacy

Don’t Let Your Will Get Outdated Experts: To make sure your wishes are carried, make sure to have an update will By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

G

ood job on including a will in your final planning (you do have a will, don’t you?). While writing a legal will is important, it’s nearly as important to periodically review them. Wills need occasional updating to ensure your wishes are carried out and your beneficiaries receive fair treatment. Here’s what two local experts recommend. Tips form Jason Livingston, attorney and partner, Law Office of Pullano & Farrow, PLLC, Rochester: • “Oftentimes, if people have a change, like retirement for example, that’s a good reason to revisit their will. 40

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• “If your children are now responsible adults who can be appointed to key positions. Oftentimes, we see clients come to us who are 55-plus and their wills are from children when their were minors 20 to 30 years ago. They named their parents or siblings as key positions. Now their children are of an age where they can be appointed to those Livingston key positions and the parents could be gone. • “If their portfolio or net

worth has increased, they may want to look at the will and what they would allocated to their intended beneficiaries. Are they leaving it to children, their charitable interests, do they now have grandchildren they want t provide for? If so, how? More often, clients are vague, like ‘All of my assets divided three ways.’ Estate tax may affect them if it exceed the state levels. • “If they’re starting to look at asset protection from longterm care costs, that’s a reason to meet with an attorney and look at your will structure. • “If any beneficiaries have proven they’re irresponsible with money or have drug or al-


cohol problems, trusts can protect them from themselves. • “I advise you look at it every five years. Pull it out. There may be no reason to change, but at least you refresh your memory.” Tips from Anthony Fama, attorney and owner, Law Offices of Anthony Fama, Rochester: • “Most of the time, they’re looking at changes in their personal affairs, such as marriage, divorce, childbirth or adoption, or if a family member who’s already in the will passes away. • “It might be such as when a person changes jobs and moves to a new city or retires. • “We can go over and look at the will and see if it’s doing what you want it. It’s going to take some time because you need to consider your situation, discuss your financial circumstances with the attorney. State laws deal with the Fama way the person’s assets are distributed. state laws have a set of determinations if the will isn’t adequate. Under those changes in circumstances, it may be cheaper to sit down with an attorney and spend some time and a few hundred dollars than to let state laws dictate what will happen with the property. It may go to someone whom they have no intention having any part of their estate. It’s best to talk it over with an attorney. “Any time there’s a major life change, like issues of sickness, moving from one community to another, these are things that should trigger a second look at your estate plans.”

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55+

teaching

Breaking Down Barriers Joe and Maree Klingensmith define what ministry is all about By Janet Olexy

Y

ou could say that biology brought them together. They met as graduate students at the University of Michigan in the fall of 1958 at a party sponsored by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. She was a farm girl from Oregon; he had grown up on the Ponca Reservation in Oklahoma and in Wisconsin where his father was a pastor. The following spring, Joe Klingensmith had earned his doctorate in botany and Maree McGauhey her Master of Arts degree in biology. They were married on Aug. 29, 1959, and moved to Ohio where Joe had landed a job teaching biology at Ohio Wesleyan University. In 1960, he became an assistant professor of biology at Colgate University in Hamilton. Tragically, the couple’s first-born son Wesley was stricken with spinal meningitis at 13 months; the child survived but lost his hearing. When Wes turned 3, Joe learned of an opening in the biology department at the Rochester Institute of Technology and applied so Wes would be able to attend Rochester’s highly regarded School for the Deaf rather than a boarding school. Maree worked part-time as their boys Wes and Pete were growing up — teaching biology at Wheatland-Chili and at the Eastman School of Music as an adjunct professor. Over the years, she and Joe restored their historic home in Scottsville. Joe refinished furniture, planted

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vegetable and flower gardens and raised chickens. Maree researched local history and period decorating. She enjoyed reading, created scrapbooks to record her family’s past and carried on traditional homemaking arts such as cooking and canning that she had learned as a girl in Oregon. In the fall of 1987, Joe took advantage of an opportunity to teach botany in China for a semester through a joint program between RIT and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. Maree tagged along and ended up tutoring young faculty members in English. Friendships with Chinese professors visiting RIT subsequently led to an invitation to teach English at Shanghai University through the Sydney Institute of Language and Commerce. Between September 1994 and December 1998, Joe and Maree traveled to Shanghai three times to teach at the SILC. Joe had retired from full-time teaching by that time. He was 62 and Maree was 58. They enjoyed traveling and various hobbies and were active in their community, and they were about to embark on an adventure that would have a worldwide impact.

Spark of philanthropy It began at their small church in Henrietta with a Lenten program that challenged participants to find ways to serve their local community. The couple’s initial efforts were inspired by their experiences in China; by Linda Gamlen, founder of Interna-

Joe and Maree Klingensmith in Carmel, Calif. tional Student Network, an outreach to international students enrolled at area colleges; and by Literacy Volunteers of Rochester (LVR), with whom they’d trained. In collaboration with these organizations and with the support of Ridgeland Community Church (RCC), Joe and Maree sponsored an English as a Second Language tutor-training program that concluded with a fiveweek practice session. Encouraged by the positive response, the couple and other volunteers continued to offer weekly tutoring sessions at the church. Groups were divided according to fluency and need. There were many Chinese and Taiwanese students from the University of Rochester and RIT in those early years. Soon students were bringing their visiting, non-English speaking parents with them on Thursday nights. Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants from two local factories learned about the group and began attending. Although they had continued to partner with LVR, Maree and Joe soon realized that they needed to


diverge from LVR programs in order to meet their participants’ changing needs. RCC’s tutoring sessions focused on listening and speaking skills in order to improve communication with coworkers and aid in navigating American culture. Tutors worked to prepare students for Department of Motor Vehicle tests; helped decipher forms, applications and legal documents; organized study sessions for citizenship exams; and edited professional papers for grammatical errors. Groups with advanced English speakers discussed American culture, customs and current events, prompted by a variety of articles. Weekly meetings included refreshments and time for mixed interaction. For some, it afforded their only opportunity to socialize with Americans.

Former cross-cultural ministry members and participants.

All about the people “My most precious [memory] of ESL class is related with friends that I met there. We are from all of different countries but the racial barrier does not bother us,” recalled Oug Soon Suh, who is Korean. “Joe and Maree know that it is very challenging for other ethnicities to speak in English at the class so they organized several activities. Once we get close to each other, it becomes great joy and excitement that we share our understanding and thought with one language.” Organized activities included special events and holiday celebrations, held in conjunction with RCC’s newly formed cross-cultural ministry team, on which Oug Soon and her husband KC served. There were winter fun days and fall harvest parties at Mendon Ponds Park, as well as Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas programs and Easter presentations. For several years, a joint Fourth of July celebration with Linda Gamlen and the International Student Network (ISN) was held at Klingensmith’s home, located adjacent to Gravel Ponds Recreation Park. The annual picnic drew 70 to 100 internationals who played lawn games, swam at the park and enjoyed its spectacular firework display. ISN’s Mom’s ‘n’ Tots program began as an opportunity for non-working international ladies to get out of the house, meet American women

For the past 20 years, Joe Klingensmith and his wife Maree McGauhey of Scottsville have befriended international students from 25 different nations. They have celebrated weddings and the arrival of children, attended local naturalization ceremonies and welcomed them for visits to Rochester. and share fun activities during the day. Eventually it was renamed Ladies Exchange, in order to be more inclusive. The popular group continues to meet twice a month at RCC for cooking demonstrations, crafting projects and an annual Christmas “Greens Party.” Klingensmith purchased a 15-passenger van in 1999 in order to provide transportation to weekly classes and special events from the campuses and apartment complexes where students, visiting scholars and immigrants lived. “One of my greatest joys,” said Maree, “was driving the route each week, having that personal contact with the participants and their families. It was great fun and important in building relationships with so many.” In 2000, a Bible study was initiated at the request of ESL participants. Interest has remained steady and Joe and Maree continue to meet with individuals on Sundays after church services.

Touching testimonial Sheena Li met Klingensmith at RCC in 2007 while completing her residency in oral surgery at U of R. Since 2015, she has been living in a remote part of Papua New Guinea, serving through Samaritan’s Purse in medical ministry, community development and empowerment. She is also pursuing a doctorate in ministry at Tyndale Seminary. Li, who participated in CCM and has remained very close to Klingensmith, explained why they have had such an impact. “There is something distinctly attractive about their friendliness and hospitality that draws people to them. They are genuine in getting to know newcomers or international students, caring for their practical needs and sharing their lives with them without pretense or ulterior motives,” she said. “They were joyful and loving whenever they talked with students from a different country or culture and made them feel at home in America. They were gentle March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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55 PLUS - March / April 2018

and patient with everyone; even in their human moments of weakness and tiredness, they would always put the needs of others above their own.” For the past 20 years, Klingensmith have befriended internationals from 25 different nations. They have celebrated weddings and the arrival of children, attended local naturalization ceremonies, and welcomed former participants back for visits to Rochester. They are quick to credit their what they call “dedicated, giving, faithful, all-volunteer tutoring staff and cross-cultural ministry team,” but the consensus is, the program would not have thrived for so long without their leadership and example. When asked what have been some of the most rewarding aspects of their outreach, Joe responded: “Observing growth and positive changes in the lives of individuals and their families; celebrating their accomplishments as they reach their unique goals; experiencing the world, peoples, and cultures without leaving home; and finding purpose and meaning in our own lives by making a difference in someone else’s.” Bhavik Gandhi was an RIT computer science major in 2007 when Maree invited him to attend ESL classes on Thursday nights. He moved to California after graduating and today works for Apple, but he still has fond memories of his years in Rochester and considers it home, mainly because of his experiences with the people he met through the program. “I am grateful for the teaching about American culture; it really opened me up to feel more comfortable with people. Joe and Maree and the different tutors I met expanded my thought processes and helped me to become less introverted,” he noted. Gandhi has visited the couple several times since moving away, most recently at Thanksgiving. Klingensmith are both in their 80s now. Their eyesight has diminished and their steps slowed a bit, but they are still going strong, welcoming and embracing new international friends, and demonstrating by their quiet service how to live lives of purpose and meaning that can truly impact the world.


addyman’s corner By John Addyman

Stick-to-itiveness

DIYer: There are times when it is OK to become unglued

W

ith spring coming up soon, some of us are thinking about attending to some fix-up items around the house. I envy people who are organized do-it-yourselfers, who keep their tools in tip-top shape, with every item in a special place, ready to be grasped and applied in seconds. Things are a little different in our house. I have tools in the attic, tools in the basement, tools in the garage, and tools in the kitchen. Looking for a hammer — I must have five of them — can take 20 minutes. I have a nasty habit of using a tool and leaving it right in that vicinity. And if I decide to fix something, my wife always wants to know what I’m going to be working on and what kind of tool I’m going to use. One afternoon, for instance, when our kids were little, I told my wife I’d be spending the afternoon gluing down some stair treads and a runner. “Good, dear,” she said, patting me on the back. “Don’t hurt yourself.” Some of you might ask yourselves, “Why would she tell him not to hurt himself? He’s just gluing stair treads, for crying out loud!” My wife and I, even way back when our kids were small, had been married a long time. She was holding the ladder the day I got stuck on the roof. She applied the tourniquet the night I sliced my fingers in the saw. She drove me home from the hospital the afternoon I fell out of the garage rafters trying to put away snow tires. She is also the person who said to our children early that spring, “Quiet now, kids — I want to be able to hear if your father falls off the ladder while he’s painting.” I had started that particular Saturday by announcing to all that work

would soon commence on the stairs and porch treads. I went to the hardware store with my daughter Elisabeth and the man behind the counter assured me, “This should do the trick,” handing me tubes of something known as “liquid nails.” He provided me with all the proper cautions and directions, and finally asked me if I had a caulking gun. “Sure do,” I told him confidently. And I strode boldly out of the hardware store into the sunlight. There are few manly-man pleasures in this world like walking out of the hardware store with a package in your hand, appearing to the world like you know what you’re doing. Once outside, Elisabeth was observing things as per usual. “Daddy?” she asked. “Why does the man in the hardware store always shake his head when you leave?” “Because he’s been talking to your mother,” I said. I got right to work when we returned home. I had taken the runner

and stair treads off to paint the front porch. My friend Kevin, who was the neighborhood handyman, had originally put the treads down to stay forever, so getting them off in the first place was tricky. The treads didn’t come off easily, and some of the gooey stuff stayed on the porch surface. It was hard to remove, and I had scraped off as much as I could before painting over it. The runner itself had been draped over stuff in the back yard. It had been in the sun; it had been in the rain. And the double-sided tape Kevin used to glue the runner to the porch was still stuck all over it. I had to get that tape off to start the job. “How sticky can it be?” I asked myself. Right then and there I should have driven back to the hardware store for advice. But no, I figured I could handle getting the tape off pretty quickly. Not in my lifetime. March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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Tale of the tape Yes, I got the first piece of tape off, then a second. The fabric was falling apart in my hands and the glue was getting all over me. Up to this point, I had been doing something intelligent — I was removing the tape with one hand — my right hand. I decided to rest for a minute and get a drink, because removing the gooey tape from a 12-foot rubber runner was as much work as skinning an alligator. Sitting down on the porch, I put down my right hand for balance. And my hand stuck solid to the porch. I pulled. I twisted. I tried doing it slowly. I tried jerking my hand up. I tried to slide my hand with the glue. Nothing. I was stuck — literally, virtually and incredibly. My brain was working overtime. “If I call my wife for help,” I said to myself, “I am never going to hear the end of this. If I just think about this for a couple of minutes, I’ll come up with something.” Overhead, satellites passed

through the sky. In the distance, children were singing. I could hear my neighbor’s wife clanging pots and pans in her kitchen. But there was no joy on my front porch. I was stuck to it. I had a brain flash, thinking that perhaps the glue would harden and the EMS guys would have to saw away some skin to let me loose. I finally decided that the problem was that I’d created a vacuum somehow, between my hand and the porch, with the glue forming the seal. I needed to get some air under the palm of my hand, and then I could probably pull my hand up. My paint scraper was a few feet away, and I gyrated until I could kick it over to my left side. Just as I started to pry into the glue to get my hand free, our neighbor drove by and stopped, window down, asking me how the job was going. “Great! Great!” I said. “I’m sticking to it.” I was waving to him with one hand, the other still steadfastly fastened to the porch floor. And I

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thought, “I must look like a gymnast at the end of a floor exercise, taking a rest and waving to the crowd.” My friend drove off, and I could swear he was shaking his head. After I managed to get the paint scraper under my hand, I was able to leverage it and get my hand off the porch with a sound of air getting sucked into the vacuum under my hand. Seconds later, my wife wanted to know why I was scrubbing my hands so vigorously in her kitchen sink. “I’ve got to get this glue off my hand before I get stuck to something,” I told her. She was very helpful. We tried hot and cold water. Dishwashing detergent. Rubbing alcohol. Cleanser. Dirt. Peanut butter. Taco sauce. Finally, we found an old can of mineral spirits and ZAP! The glue came off. “That’s some glue,” my wife said. “Sure is,” I agreed. “You’re lucky you didn’t get stuck to the porch,” she said, turning to walk into the dining room. I could swear she was shaking her head.

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55+

theater

When the Curtain Rises, the Years Don’t Count Age is only a number at Off-Monroe Players By Mike Costanza

I

’ll probably continue doing theater as long as I’m physically and mentally up for it,” says Albert Young, the 58-year-old president of the board of directors of the Off-Monroe Players. Young is just one of the many people who have helped make the Off-Monroe Players (OMP) a mainstay of Rochester’s theater scene. The troupe exclusively presents the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. This May, Young will appear in the title role of “Thespis,” which depicts what can happen when humans try to take over for Roman gods. OMP was founded in 1977 in

a church on Rochester’s Rosedale Street, at the corner of Monroe Avenue — hence its name. The troupe outgrew that location by about 1996, and moved to its current home at the Salem United Church of Christ on Bittner Street. Nowadays, OMP performs two Gilbert and Sullivan shows each year, complete with live music, for free. The troupe consists almost completely of volunteers — only its music director is paid. OMP supports itself with the donations it receives at the door and from a group of loyal patrons. Shows often fill every seat in the hall — and then some.

Age is only a number at OMP, where about 35 percent of the troupe’s 134 active members are at least 50 years old. Many in the troupe have come in year after year to do everything from painting sets to directing productions — and most in the troupe perform multiple tasks. Kathleen Moore first mounted the stage for OMP almost 21 years ago, as a member of the chorus of “Iolanthe.” “I got to dress up as a fairy and be silly,” the 63-year-old says. “It was just totally fun right from the start.” Not that every Off-Monroe Players production has gone off without a hitch. While Moore was working on one set, a couple of other workers came a bit too close with a pipe. “It clocked me right in the head and knocked me right out,” she says, laughing. Though she was only out for a second, the incident hasn’t been forgotten. “Now it’s a running joke,” she says. “Remember when we hit Kathy on the head with that iron pipe?” Down through the years, Moore has continued to be active in OMP while holding full-time jobs, including that of associate provost of the University of Rochester. Upon leaving that position, she founded CastleView 3D, a one-person firm that creates 3-D architectural renderings of structures. While serving her clients, she’ll mount the stage again in “Thespis.” “I’m in the gods’ chorus,” she says. Wayne Vander Byl and his wife, Anne, got their first taste of community theater many years ago, when they joined The Gatesinger Company Ltd., a theatrical troupe that’s based near their Williamson home. Anne once played The Wall in the troupe’s production of the musical “The Fantastiks.” The character is mute. “The wall was a good role for me,” the 66-year-old retired bookkeeper says. “I’m not a soloist.” The pair have acted and worked behind the scenes on many other works, including the Gatesingers’ annual Gilbert and Sullivan productions. Wayne assumed a new role when the director of “The Gondolier” dropped out two weeks before auditions were to begin. His work as a lawyer, the years he spent directing a church’s choir and his experiences on March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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the boards all came into play when he began directing. “I had experience with directors, so I knew what they did that I liked as an actor, and didn’t like as an actor,” Wayne says. “I thought, well, ‘I can do this.’” The show had one problem: the only performers able to play the two gondoliers in the title roles were women. “We costumed them as men, painted on mustaches, had them play it as men, and they did a remarkable job,” says the 68-year-old retired attorney. Even their two kids got involved in the troupe — at least, until marriage or graduate school drew them away. The couple brought all those skills with them when they joined OMP back in 2005. Anne, who worked on costumes for the Gatesingers, often helps create those needed for OMP’s shows. She put her needle and thread to work for “H.M.S. Pinafore.” “We had to have bathing suits

— the old-fashioned, bloomer type,” Anne explains. “I enjoyed doing that.” Nowadays, Anne spends most of her time for OMP working behind the scenes — she’s the costume coordinator for “Thespis.” While Anne directs the sewing of togas and other clothing for the production, her husband will learn the role of the Roman god Jupiter. “It’s the king of the gods,” Wayne says, laughing. “It’s good to be king.” Young is looking forward to playing the title role in the production “Thespis,” the head of the theatrical troupe. He and his group offer to take over for all the gods on Mt. Olympus, who have grown old and tired. “We’ll take over for a year — you guys go on vacation,” Young says, describing the humans’ offer. “And, they proceed to screw everything up.” About 11 years ago, Young was casting about for something to do after his youngest daughter left for college. He decided to try amateur

acting. “One thing that’s really great about the Rochester community in general is there’s a lot of opportunities for people who are interested in being involved in community theater,” he says. Since he joined OMP in 2007, Young has enjoyed his time before the footlights. “I particularly like the stage because it has immediate feedback,” he says “I can express myself in ways that I can’t do publicly, and I enjoy that.” In addition to acting in OMP productions, Young has spent five years as president of the organization’s board, and holds down a full-time job. Though Moore, the Vander Byls and Young all admit that they enjoy being part of OMP’s productions, the principal attraction of the group extends beyond the stage. “It’s become like a family,” Moore says. “I stayed probably just as much, if not more, for the people as for the shows that we do.”

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Simpler Life

Bike Ride

Alone & Content Gwenn Voelckers, founder of ‘Live Alone and Thrive’ workshops, talks about her new book and reveals her secrets to happiness

Rochester-area Adventurers Take on Route 66

Dr. Bill Valenti Rochester physician, a pioneer in the battle against HIV/AIDS, shares in a new book his fight to treat AIDS patients in the early days

Couple leaves everything behind to live a in a tiny home in rural Yates County

Friends bike around Lake Huron: 960 miles in 23 days

Second Act Brockport mayor enjoying politics — after teaching more than 30 years

Traveling Solo Solo Senior Travelers makes journeys a group effort

Homegrown Humanitarian

How Gary Mervis, an underpriviledged kid who grew up in Rochester, turned personal tragedy into a nonprofit that has benefited more 50,000 people from 22 states and 35 countries

Helping Refugees Pittsford resident making a difference in the lives of refugees

Retirement Joe Flaherty, founder of Rochester’s Writers & Books group, adjusting to a new life as retiree

You Just Inherited $1 Million. Now What? Financial planner Jim Terwilliger offers 10 steps on what to do if you are the beneficiary of a financial windfall

Susan Suben: 20 Questions to Ask Your Parents

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long-term care By Susan Suben

Those Darn New Year’s Resolutions…

H

ow many of you made New Year’s resolutions in 2017 that you did not follow through on? How many of you are making New Year’s resolutions for 2018? I’m hoping you had longterm care planning on your to-do list for 2017, but if you didn’t get to it, you have another chance this year and I’d like to encourage you to fulfill this goal. Below are questions that need honest answers regarding LTC planning. Some of them you might easily answer. Others are meant to get you thinking. Do you know someone who needed LTC and, if so, how did they manage and pay for their care? The majority of us in our 50s and 60s have witnessed or assisted a family member or friend deal with a chronic illness. We might have helped coordinate home care services, given advice on placement in an assisted living facility or nursing home, managed finances, spent the night, gone food shopping or managed medication. These tasks can be costly, arduous and frustrating not only for you but for the individual you are caring for. When answering this question, think about the strain you would be placing on your family and friends if you were to become ill without a LTC plan in place. Do you want to have control over where you receive care? According to LTC insurance data, most claims begin and end in the home which is where many individuals prefer to be if they are ill. The average cost of a home health aide is $25/hour for approximately four hours/day. Assisted living in CNY costs approximately $150 to $200/day. Nursing homes can exceed $12,000/month or $400/day.

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If you were able to receive funds from a LTC plan that would allow you to stay at home and make care easier for your family, wouldn’t that be something to strive for? Are you healthy now? All LTC planning policies require medical underwriting. Unfortunately, the older we are, the more ailments we seem to get! If you are relatively healthy, now is the time to put a plan in place. Talk to a LTC planning specialist about your medical conditions and medication. Don’t risk the chance of becoming uninsurable. Do you want to preserve your assets? Most individuals want to preserve their assets for a purpose — to feel secure in case of an emergency, travel, maintain their status of living or leave a legacy. If you were to become ill, could you or would you want to tap into your assets to pay for your care? Having outlined the cost of care above, how long would your assets last? It takes the average person 13 months to spend-down their asset base to qualify for Medicaid. Another question: Would you want to be reliant on Medicaid for your care, which more often than not means being in a nursing home? Are you concerned about the standard of living/ well-being of your spouse/partner should you become ill? If you do have to invade your asset base to pay for your care, will that action compromise the standard of living of your spouse/partner? Will they be able to take care of themselves should they become ill? What type of plan best fits your needs? There are many available LTC planning strategies that makes it plausible to say there is a plan for

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everyone, in any circumstance. The old stand-by is LTC insurance but you can also consider a life insurance policy with LTC rider. There are even life insurance policies with chronic illness riders for individuals with multiple medical conditions. Often times, some legal planning is also necessary, such as placing your home in an irrevocable trust to protect it from a Medicaid spend-down. Do you love your family? I think we all love our family even with their crazy quirks. If you become ill, they will hopefully pitch in and do their best to care for you. Why not make it easier for them? Allow them to supervise your care instead of being the hands-on providers. Having a LTC plan will provide a support system and funding so your care remains consistent with your wishes and places less stress on your loved ones. There are even some plans that would allow you to reimburse your family for the care they provide to you! How did you do answering these questions? New Year’s resolutions usually include exercising, eating better, volunteering, enjoying more time with your family, etc., but don’t forget to add LTC planning (again) to your goals. It may not be the easiest resolution to fulfill but it is one of the most important ones. Don’t let 2018 go by without planning for your future.

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Susan Suben is a senior certified adviser and president of Long Term Care Associates, Inc. and Elder Care Planning. She is a consultant for Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. She can be reached at 800-422-2655 or by email at susansuben@31greenbush.com. March / April 2018 - 55 PLUS

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By Christine Green

Janet Yoshie Ashida Johnson, 59 Spencerport resident is a world-renowned judo instructor, Olympic level coach and international judo competition referee. She shares the lessons and values she’s learned Q:How long have you been practicing, coaching and refereeing judo? A:We moved to Brockport in the summer of 1970. Although I had been taking classes regularly since 1968, my dad did not let me start classes again until the spring semester of 1971. I started teaching the judo for children’s program at The College of Brockport in 1975 after earning my first-degree black belt. I am also a certified IBSA [International Blind Sports Association] referee and serve on the referee commission for USA Judo. Q:What are some of the most interesting places you have traveled as a judo referee? A: Last year I traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan, to attend an International Judo Federation referee and coach seminar. In São Paulo, Brazil, I refereed at the Parapan American Games. In Fort Lauderdale, I was able to attend a fabulous clinic by the Pan American refereeing director and serve as a referee evaluator for the US Junior and Senior Open Championships. I also attended the Quebec Open, not only to referee, but to support some of our referee examination candidates for international and continental level certification. Every candidate the USA Judo Commission put forth to take an examination in 2017, for international, continental, and Pan American certification passed. Most of my travel is domestic. Q:You seem to truly enjoy working with children. How did your work as a teacher inform your coaching and visa versa? A : I’ve taught for 33 years in 50

55 PLUS - March / April 2018

kindergarten, first grade, looping K to first, and ending in universal prekindergarten, with the vast majority of the time teaching in an inclusive classroom. Teaching provided me with a large and continually developing tool bag for delivering new information, motivating children, developing self-awareness and self-discipline skills, individualizing instruction as needed, and accommodating kids with challenges. Most importantly, I have developed a deep and driving awareness that learning, improving, and honing one’s own skills and personal development is just as important as sharing what you know with others.

adoption of my son from Japan. Q: If you had to give one piece of life advice to one of your judo students what would it be and why? A: Striving to exhibit honesty, integrity, perseverance, knowledge, foresight, mutual welfare and purity of spirit, which are embedded in the sport of judo. All that will help you become the best person you are capable of being. Practicing being the best person you can be every day is the way to become the best person you can be. Q: When you aren’t doing judo what kind of hobbies to you have? A: We have three dogs and keeping t h e m e x e rc i s e d , g ro o m e d a n d socialized keeps me busy. I also recently purchased a horse after 28 years of not having one. He keeps me busy as well. I substitute for a very limited core of friends, and volunteer in universal pre-kindergarten singing with them, doing special events for them, and getting my still needed “kid time.” Not exactly a hobby but most importantly, I am a wife and a mom.

Q: What is it about judo that you love? A: Not only do I highly value all the things that make judo unique, I have met some amazing people and made some incredible friendships and connections all over the world. I was fortunate to grow up with my father as my sensei. He was the U.S. Olympic judo coach in 1976, and was an Olympic referee in 1984. I believe he is the only American to have been both Olympic coach and Olympic referee in judo. I have been blessed to meet and get to know many Olympians and world champions, international coaches, and referees who are incredible people in their own right as well as notably talented in the sport. Judo also brought Retired Spencerport judo teacher and my husband and international judo referee talks about her I together, and helped with the travels, experience as judo coach and referee.


It’s like being on a cruise, but without those tiny cabins.

When you think about a cruise you think about great dining, entertainment, the pool, having all your needs met. Well that’s what it’s like living at Chapel Oaks. You have a beautiful apartment but it’s up to you how much or how little time you spend there. There are community areas where you can gather with friends, watch a movie, read a book or do nothing at all. Actually, the only thing you need to do is enjoy life.

Caring for the Most Important People on Earth To schedule a tour of St. Ann’s Community at Chapel Oaks and enjoy a complimentary lunch for two, call Al Brumagin at (585) 697-6606.


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55 Plus #50 Rochester March April 2018  
55 Plus #50 Rochester March April 2018  
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