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Aging: What it Means to Age Gracefully Trail blazers: 60-somethings take on challenge of Appalachian Trail

55 PLUS Issue 51 • May / June 2018 For Active Adults in the Rochester Area


free please share

How Ted Barnett, a medical doctor in Rochester, has become one of the strongest advocates for a plant-based diet. PS: He shares some of his favorite recipes

INSIDE: Book honors the ‘Holley Boys’ who lost their lives in Vietnam War. It also helps a community recover from the loss

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May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS



Aging: What it Means to Age Gracefully


Trail blazers: 60-somethings take on challenge of Appalachian Trail


May/June 2018

PLUS Issue 51 • May / June 2018 For Active Adults in the Rochester Area


free please share

How Ted Barnett, a medical doctor in Rochester, has become one of the strongest advocates for a plant-based diet.


PS: He shares some of his favorite recipes

INSIDE: Book honors the ‘Holley Boys’ who lost their lives in Vietnam War. It also helps a community recover from the loss

12 Savvy Senior 6 Financial Health 8 Dining Out 10 My Turn 28 Guest Columnists 44

22 • Book honors the memory of the Holley Boys who lost their lives in Vietnam

• Dr. Veggie: Spreading the word about plant-based diet



• Meet the “Five Girls” who have been

• The ups and downs in the downsizing

• For these retirees, the Seneca Park Zoo never lost its fun


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Addyman’s Corner 46 Long-term Care 49 20 VOLUNTEERING

Katherine Weston, 63: Artist discusses decision to open art gallery and studio in Brockport instead of Rochester.



working out together for 12 years

Last Page Q&A




SAVINGS • Kids’ college or own retirement? That’s the question for some parents



• 60-somethings take on challenge of Appalachian Trail

• Former teachers enjoy running their business




• Ten offbeat museums to visit this season

• Rochester-area artists display their veteran expertise


Ask questions. Get answers. MVP is your trusted Medicare resource.

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Call 1-800-324-3899 Monday–Friday 8 am–8 pm Eastern Time TTY: 1-800-662-1220 Visit 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) May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS MVPad1801046_201801 MVP Medicare Ad Publication: CNY 55 Plus Rochester Edition


savvy senior By Jim Miller


Get Cash For Your Life Insurance Policy

elling a life insurance policy, even a term life policy that you don’t want or need any longer — a transaction known as a “life settlement” — has become a popular option among retirees in recent years who could use some extra cash. Here’s how it works. A life settlement is the sale of an existing life insurance policy to a third-party company for cash. Life settlements are typically best suited for people over age 65 who own a policy with a face value of $100,000 or more or someone younger who has experienced a significant change in health. Historically, if an owner of a life insurance policy decided they no longer needed it, they would either let the policy lapse or turn it in for a meager cash surrender value. But now, with the life settlement option, you can actually sell your policy for more than the cash surrender value would be, but less than its net death benefit. Once you sell it, the life settlement company then becomes the new owner of the policy, pays the future premiums and collects the death benefit. How much money you can expect to get with a life settlement will depend on your age, health and life expectancy, the type of insurance policy, the premium costs and the cash value of your policy. You may be able to receive four to eight times more than the policy cash surrender value. If you’re interested in a life settlement here are some things you should know: Shop around: Because payout can vary, to ensure you get the best price for your policy get quotes from several companies. Also, find out what broker and transaction fees you’ll be required to pay. Coventry, the nation’s first and largest provider of life settlements, offers some of the highest cash


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payouts for life insurance policies. To get started, visit or call 888-858-9344. To search for other providers or brokers, the Life Insurance Settlement Association provides a directory at Be prudent: Life settlements are regulated in most states. Find out from the state insurance commissioner (see for contact information) if the life settlement company you’re interested in is properly licensed. Protect your privacy: When you sell your life insurance policy, you will have to sign a waiver authorizing the release of medical and other personal information so that the buyer can determine how much to offer for your policy. Before accepting any offer, make sure that the company has procedures in place to protect the confidentiality of your information. Understand the tax implications: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act recently updated the tax treatment of a life settlement to be treated the same as the surrender of a policy back to the insurance company. This can be complicated, so be sure to consult a tax adviser.

55PLUS Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo

Writers & Contributing Writers Deborah J. Sergeant Christine Green, John Addyman Mike Costanza, Mary Beth Roach, Anne Palumbo


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


Anne Westcott, H. Mat Adams Linda Covington

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.

Other Options If you want to keep your life insurance policy but could use some extra cash, you may have some other options. For example, some life settlement companies may allow you to keep part of the policy’s death benefit while eliminating your premium obligations. You can also ask your life insurer if you can borrow against your policy, or if you’re in poor health, see if you’re eligible for accelerated death benefits. You should also find out if you’re able to convert the cash value of your policy into an immediate annuity (through a 1035 Exchange), which would make regular payments to you for a set number of years or for the rest of your life.

Mailing Address PO Box 525 Victor, NY 14564 © 2018 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in the Rochester Area. No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. Third class postage paid at Syracuse, NY. Permit Number: 3071

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

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May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS


financial health By Jim Terwilliger

How Charitable Giving Is Impacted by the Tax Reform


ast issue, we reviewed many of the provisions in the new federal legislation relating to personal income taxes. This time around, we focus on how long-standing tax advantages associated with charitable giving are impacted by the new rules. First and foremost, charitable gifts were fully retained as an allowable itemized deduction. Further, the upper deductibility limit of gifts of cash and other “ordinary-income” property was increased from 50 percent to 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Gifts exceeding that limit can continue to be carried forward and deducted for up to an additional five years. Also unchanged is the qualified charitable distribution (QCD) method for transferring gifts directly from an IRA to charity for taxpayers age 70-1/2 and older. Most of the other itemized deductions were negatively impacted. Limitations were placed on the deductibility of mortgage interest, so-called SALT (state and local income, sales, and property taxes) deductions are now capped at $10,000 total. Miscellaneous itemized deductions are now history. The only other deduction treated favorably was the medical deduction. Its threshold was temporarily reduced to 7.5 percent of AGI for 2017 and 2018, rising back to 10 percent in 2019. Because charitable deductibility was treated so well, one might conclude that all is good on the charitable giving front. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The huge game changer here is the approximate doubling of the standard deduction and its


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some workarounds to be had.

impact on the choice between the taking the standard deduction or total of itemized deductions. For singles, the new standard deduction is $12,000 (vs. $6,350 in 2017). For married filing jointly, it is $24,000 (vs. $12,700 in 2017). For those 65 and older, the new single standard deduction is $13,600 and for married, $26,600. Given the combination of a much-higher standard deduction and much-more limited itemized deductions, it is expected that some 90 percent to 95 percent of taxpayers will now elect the standard deduction, saying good-bye to the dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal taxable income previously afforded by charitable donations. Fortunately, even with this strong headwind, there are still

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) from IRAs. This is a tax-advantaged method for charitable giving that can override the standard vs. itemized deduction dilemma. Tax-wise, it is the preferred method for giving when the taxpayer: – Does not need some or all of the IRA required minimum distribution (RMD). In this case, one should direct some/all of the RMD directly to charity regardless of whether the standard or itemized deduction is taken, or – Directs distributions to charities over and above the RMD but only when taking the standard deduction. If itemizing, gifts of cash or appreciated securities are preferred. QCD distributions are not taxable. Using QCDs partially or fully to satisfy RMDs reduces AGI, which can be favorable for reducing Medicare premiums and taxability of Social Security, among other tax-related benefits. The annual maximum is $100,000 per taxpayer, not limited by AGI. You cannot be under age 70-1/2. Employer 401(k) plans are not eligible distribution sources, and donor-advised funds cannot receive QCDs. QCDs cannot be deducted. Bunching/Aggregating Charitable Gifts. This involves alternating the years in which the standard deduction and itemized deductions are taken for gifts of stock or cash. Charitable donations are made in the itemized-deduction years. To smooth out gifting to the receiving charities, one can use a donor-advised fund as the intermediary charity, then arrange for a more-even year-to-year flow of donations to the ultimate charities.

‘Because charitable deductibility was treated so well, one might conclude that all is good on the charitable giving front. Unfortunately, that is not the case.’ Gifting Appreciated Property/Securities. This option was retained by the new tax legislation and is a favored tax-advantaged method for giving regardless of whether or not a deduction is taken. This is because neither the taxpayer nor the charity pays tax on the unrealized capital gain. The higher the unrealized gain the better! Timing is important. If a donor is nearing end-of-life, the advantage of making this type of gift diminishes since the cost basis will step up anyway at death. This gift remains limited to 30 percent of AGI in any given year with the ability to carry over to up to five subsequent years. Non-QCDs from IRAs. Taking non-QCD distributions from IRAs to fund charitable gifts is generally never a good idea, even when deductible. Doing so increases AGI which can have a number of negative consequences. Because of the expected significant decline in taxpayers choosing to itemize, the jury is still out on whether charitable giving will be negatively impacted. We believe any impact will be small. Consult with your tax professional and financial planner to determine how best to adjust your charitable giving strategy to achieve a win-win for your favorite causes and for yourself. James Terwilliger, CFP®, is senior vice president, senior planning adviser at CNB Wealth Management, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. He can be reached at 585-419-0670 ext. 50630 or by email at May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS





Morton’s The Steakhouse is located in the ground floor of the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Rochester.

Morton’s The Steakhouse


It’s expensive here but you’ll always remember the meal

ou wouldn’t know it from the upscale décor or the sophisticated black, white and silver color scheme that extends to the walls, furniture and table linens, or the hulking clear wine cases that house individual bottles that go for more than $400 a pop, but the same company that owns Morton’s The Steakhouse also owns Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Morton’s downtown Rochester outpost, which opened in the fall of 2017 inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel, feels every bit the clubby meat-and-potatoes steakhouse that made Morton’s an international hit with more than 76 locations worldwide. Valet parking is available and, per Morton’s’ website, business attire is recommended, though a jacket and tie are not necessary. For the most part, dining at Morton’s — dinner only — is a la carte. Expect to pay $13 to $20 for appetizers and salads, $40 to $60 for steaks and entrees and $14 for shared side


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dishes. With a drink, dinner for two can easily eclipse $200. For many, the price of Morton’s relegates it to a special event or a very flexible business expense account. But the restaurant seems to know this. Mention you’re visiting for a birthday when booking your reservation — which are recommended — and you’ll be greeted with personalized menus at the start of dinner and a complimentary dessert to finish the meal. Dinner started with onion bread and butter and escargot ($15), served six to an order in the classic round cast iron dish. Soaked with garlic butter and topped with crispy puff pastry, the snails were tender with just a bit of briny flavor, like a mild oyster. The bread is served as a whole loaf that the diners cut with a steak knife — or rip apart with their hands. The bread was deliciously warm and slightly sweet but cutting the bread at the table inevitably leads to a scattering of crumbs, which feels out of place

at this white table cloth restaurant. Of course, I had no problem ripping off a piece of warm bread and dabbing it in the leftover garlic butter from the escargot, so maybe it wasn’t as out of place as I thought. Entrée offerings include chicken, seafood, pork and pasta, but if you’re at Morton’s, you’re probably there for the steak. The steaks range in size from the 6-ounce filet mignon to the 48-ounce porterhouse for two. We settled somewhere in the middle with the 16-ounce center-cut rib-eye ($55) and the 22-ounce bone-in ribeye ($64). The smaller of the two steaks was served Oscar style, a $16 surcharge for a generous helping of crab, asparagus tips and béarnaise sauce. The crab, tender and flavorful, was so plentiful that it spilled off both sides of the steak. The asparagus were properly cooked with just a bit of snap and the bite of the vinegar in the creamy béarnaise sauce helped cut through the richness of the steak.

Morton’s uses aged USDA prime beef and, in both cases, the steaks were extensively marbled with fat, a testament to their top-tier ranking. The result was a steak with an exceptionally well-developed beef flavor, yet far more tender than any regular supermarket steak. Grilled to the desired rare, both steaks had crispy-yetmelt-in-your-mouth bits of fat on the outside that ranked among the finest single bites of food I’ve eaten. Dinner was paired with an order of twice-baked au gratin potatoes ($14). The large dish was easily enough for two, with some leftovers. If you like the cheese melted to the side of a crock of French onion soup — and who doesn’t — you’ll love these potatoes. Toasted cheese ran down both sides of the dish, prime for the picking. The potatoes are cubed, which is a departure from the usual sliced preparation found in potatoes au gratin, but the larger size likely helped the potatoes better stand up with the dish’s indulgent cheese sauce, mixed with bacon and leeks. Among Morton’s dessert offerings are four different soufflés, which must be ordered about a half-hour ahead of time. We chose the chocolate soufflé ($19.50). Like the side dishes, this is a dessert built for sharing. There were a few pockets of beaten egg white that went unmixed, but the dessert, paired with a side of crème anglaise, was a hit and despite

Morton’s The Steakhouse Address: 125 E. Main St., Rochester. Hours: Bar Monday-Thursday 4-10p.m. Friday-Saturday 4-11p.m. Sunday 4-10p.m. Dining Room Monday-Thursday 5-10p.m. Friday-Saturday 5-11p.m. Sunday 5-10p.m. Phone: 585-232-3694 Website/Reservations:

its size, there were no leftovers. Dinner at Morton’s isn’t cheap, though it is worth noting that happy hour food and drink specials, such as $5.50 beers and $8 to $10 small plates,

are served in the bar from Sunday to Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. But make no mistake, it’s a meal you’ll remember, even if it only comes around once or twice a year.

The restaurant has crisp, elegant decor, an open kitchen and large displays of wine.

Bone-in rib-eye: The 22-ounce steak is grilled to order and served with au jus.

Rib-eye Oscar: Any steak can be made Oscar style, which adds a generous portion of crab, asparagus and béarnaise sauce. May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS




The Holley Boys Pittsford author inks book on eight soldiers from same town that lost their lives in Vietnam By Mary Beth Roach


olley, a small rural community 35 miles west of Rochester, was like thousands of small rural towns across America during the 1960s and early 1970s. With a population of about 1,800 at that time, it was a place where everyone knew each other. Patriotic to their core, the town’s families sent their sons to serve their country in Vietnam. But eight of those young men never returned home, making the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It was not only a devastating loss for their families, but for their small hometown and for their school, Holley High School, which at the time, had an average graduating class of 30. It is believed that Holley and the high school suffered one of the largest per-capita casualty rates in the Vietnam War. Author Michael T. Keene, a Pittsford resident and Vietnam veteran himself, tells the story of these eight young men and the town of Holley during this era in “Vietnam Reflections: The Untold Story of the Holley


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Boys,” through recollections of their friends and family members and even letters from the boys themselves. The book, published in 2017, is Keene’s seventh. It is also available in audio version, with the letters being read by actors about the same ages of the soldiers, adding even more poignancy to the story. The eight — John Davis; David D. Case; Ronnie P. Sisson, Howard L. Bowen, Gary E. Bullock, George W. Fischer, Gary L. Stymus, and Paul W. Mandracchia — died between 1965 and 1970. They received a total of 40 medals, including seven Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, Silver Star and the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry. The creation of the book began appropriately enough, one Memorial Day several years ago, when Keene visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester, located in

Highland Park, which is dedicated to those service personnel from the area who died in Vietnam. The plaques depict the soldiers’ names, branches of service, birth and death dates, and the high schools they attended. Keene was taken aback with that such a high number of casualties had been from Holley High School. “Simply, this town had suffered an inordinate tragedy, and I thought there was a story to tell there,” he said. “I thought it was a remarkable story, just on the level of what happened to these eight boys. I found something equally remarkable, which was the town itself.” Fast-forward four years. Keene was on the road to a speaking engagement to promote one of his earlier books when he saw a sign that reignited the idea that these boys’ story should be told.

“I’m on my way to do a talk on this Erie Canal book, which took me through Orleans County,” Keene recalled, “and I saw a sign that said, ‘Holley — 3 Miles.’ In that instant, I realized what I was going to do. It was that quick, that I would attempt to track the surviving family members, neighbors, military buddies of these eight boys, and I would interview them and I would write a book about it.”

Research project He began the research with a great deal of help from town historian, Marsha DeFillips, who had known all eight boys. From the boys’ obituaries, Keene had their siblings’ names. He composed a letter and sent it out to 12 people who had the same first and last name and lived in the general area of Holley. A few days later, he got a phone call from one of Howard Bowen’s sisters, and that was his first break-

through. “What was fascinating to me was how I found these people,” he said. “I found 35 of their surviving brothers, sisters, neighbors and military buddies. Once I found the first one, that led me to the second, to the third, and to the fourth.” Keene gathered their stories and memories, combined with photos, letters, and after-combat reports, and dedicated a chapter in the book to each boy. Keene also shared some of the boys’ family histories, to offer a more complete picture of the boys and of the town in which they grew up. Some of the friends’ and family members’ remembrances are especially moving. For example, of the death of his buddy, Ronnie Sisson, Duane Good said that it ended his life of innocence. To add more perspective to the boys’ stories, Keene has included chapters on various battles of the Vietnam War. “My sense is that the Vietnam war has faded in memory for a lot of

Cover of “Vietnam Reflections: The Untold Story of the Holley Boys,” which was published last year by Michael T. Keene, a Pittsford resident.

David Case

John Davis

Howard Bowen

Ronnie Sisson

Gary Bullock

George Fischer

Gary Stymus

Paul Mandracchia May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS


Former Holley High School in Holley. Eight of its 30 students never returned home from the Vietnam War. people, and for many people they really don’t know what it was, how it got started, or how it ended,” he said. “I took what I thought were the key turning points of the war and wanted to intermingle them with the stories of the boys.” Even after the book came out last year, Keene has still been hearing from friends and family members. He recalled that several people contacted him, claiming to be George Fischer’s best friend, and he didn’t doubt that each one of these guys believed he was Fischer’s best buddy. “When you come to learn about him, he just had an incredible impact on the lives of other people,” Keene said. One of the more interesting contacts, Keene said, was the email he received from Kim Stymus, a daughter of Gary Stymus, who was killed in 1967, when Kim was 2 years old. She had asked if Keene had known her dad; he hadn’t. “But I told her, she could have some consolation knowing that her father would now be remembered and honored,” he said. Keene felt a great responsibility in telling these boys’ stories. “I was being contacted by people and family members,” he said. “The experience I had was tremendous. Not only did people want to talk, they had to talk. I can’t tell you how many people told me that they had never talked about their feelings about their 14

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brother dying.” But Keene had come to learn that it was not just the families and friends who mourned these boys’ deaths — it was the entire town. “They had suffered through this tragedy. It’s not like there was an accident and eight people died in the

Author Michael T. Keene, a Pittsford resident, is the author “Vietnam Reflections: The Untold Story of the Holley Boys.” He was able to speak to many friends and relatives of the eight Holley young men who died during the Vietnam War.

Entrance of the village of about 1,800 people. accident, and time marches on, and the incident becomes more and more remote,” he said. “But here was a slow-motion tragedy that occurred over about a six-year period. And everybody in town knew everybody else. So everybody went to every funeral. “The town had never really grieved collectively. In fact, with returning veterans, no matter what war, the issue of post-traumatic stress syndrome is often brought up. I believe I found a town that was suffering from it, if you will.” Holley residents may have found some peace from this book. Marsha DeFillips, the town historian, said the town’s response to the book has been fantastic, and turnouts to the book signings were well-attended. There were tears, she said, suggesting though, that the tears were of joy. Perhaps, she said, “because the boys were being remembered.” Today — some 50 years later — Holley’s patriotism still flies high, and it still holds in its heart the sons and daughters who serve in the armed forces. Hanging from lamp posts along Route 31 through the downtown area are banners, sponsored by the Holley Rotary, which honor local men and women in the military, with their photos, names, and the title, “Hometown Hero.”

i’m staying active.

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Five girls: They met by chance more than 12 years ago at Rochester Athletic Club in Pittsford — not many people were exercising at the gym at 5:30 in the morning. Their relationship and their love for working out have remained to this date. From left: Anne Parker, Jane Dieck, Patricia Denham, Joan Blair and Elaine Horesh.

‘The Five Girls’ They met at the gym in Pittsford by chance about 12 years ago. They developed a friendship — and a workout regimen — that remains to this date By Christine Green


laine Horesh, 65, of Fairport loves working out at the gym and is devoted to her exercise program. “I go about three times a week,” she said while discussing gym attendance with several of her friends. Suddenly, friend Joan Blair, 87, of Brighton cut Horesh off before she could continue with her remark. “No, you don’t,” said Blair. “I’d say you only go about two times a week these days.” The table exploded into laughter at Blair’s tell-it-like-it-is comment. A quick and hilarious back-and-forth discussion of how many times a week everyone works out ensued. Anne Parker, 78, and Jane Dieck, 88, both of Pittsford, and Patricia 16

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Denham, 56, of Penfield met Horesh and Blair more than 12 years ago at the Rochester Athletic Club in Pittsford. Each went for her own reasons and each came at the very early hour of 5:30 a.m. For a while they quietly did their own exercises, but over time they began to gravitate to each other. Blair noted Parker really brought the group together. “Anne was very, very friendly and always introduced herself to everyone. We were the older ones at the gym. We still are!” she said. Denham was the last to join the gang and said she was drawn to the commitment to health and wellness she saw in the other ladies. “I just started hanging around. I sort of nosed my way in,” Denham said.

From then on they met regularly to get their morning workouts done together before they went about their days.

Different lives, common goals Each of the “Five Girls” has a very different life, but their shared goal of maintaining their health and fitness through exercise as they age has helped them develop a special connection. Parker worked at Talbots for 25 years before retiring. Now she works in the kitchen at Barker Road Middle School in the Pittsford Central School District. She exercises almost every day and takes classes, lifts weights and does balance exercises. When she can’t make it to the gym, she uses her NordicTrack at home. “I just love it,” she said. When she isn’t working out, she loves taking photos and socializing with her many friends. Horesh enjoys her early morning workouts, too, but admitted that lots of people “think you’re crazy to get up at 5 o’clock to go to the gym. But it is so much easier to go and get it over with. You get an hour in and you’re done for the day. I wish I could do more.” After working out, she goes to

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work as a sales coordinator at Hawn Heating. She also does shipping for her son’s Buffalo business, Oxford Pennants. When Rochester Athletic Club first opened, a friend persuaded Blair to join her on a visit. The friend never signed up but Blair has hardly missed a day since. Before retirement, Blair spent many years as a secretary while also raising six children and one of her nephews. Today, she makes sure to spend some time on the stationary bike or the treadmill before heading to daily mass. She said working out and keeping in shape helps ease her arthritis and keeps her limber for bowling. She has been on the same bowling league for over 50 years. Dieck raised four children and worked in designer fabrics for over 20 years before her retirement. She is an avid community volunteer and has been delivering Meals on Wheels for 47 years. When she broke her hip last December, her doctors were impressed with her overall fitness level and strength of her bones. She credits her workout routine for making this difficult time just a little bit easier. Doctors assure her that she is well on the way to a full recovery. She is eagerly waiting for the day she can get back to the gym. Denham is an art therapist and credentialed substance abuse therapist. Her job can be stressful as well as emotionally taxing, and her workouts help keep her energy and mood elevated. She said exercise makes her “feel like my body is not aging as fast.”

Anne Parker now works in the kitchen at Barker Road Middle School in the Pittsford Central School District. She is credited with putting the group together.

Best of friends Denham doesn’t make it to the Rochester Athletic Club anymore since she moved from Rochester to Penfield, but she does make time to get together with her longtime friends. Even though differing schedules sometimes makes it difficult these days for all members of the “Five Girls” to go to the gym together every day, they are deeply committed to the friendship they’ve developed. When they don’t exercise together, they make time to meet for coffee and chatting. Horesh pointed out that they “do a lot of kibitizing!” 18

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Patricia Denham was the last to join the gang and said she was drawn to the commitment to health and wellness she saw in the other ladies. “I just started hanging around. I sort of nosed my way in,” Denham said. The emotional bond they’ve developed was evident when Parker told her friends that her husband had died suddenly just a few weeks before. Horesh, Denham and Blair gathered around Parker and offered hugs, support, and genuine love to their longtime friend. Through the sadness, though, there was lots of laughter and gentle ribbing. All four said how they missed Dieck, who was home recuperating from her fall. Denham then

pointed out that it was the date of the second annual Women’s March in Washington and all around the country. The year before, Dieck made the trek to Washington to attend the march and lend her voice to the many others rallying for gender equality. Horesh, Denham, Blair and Parker beamed as they told the story of Dieck’s trip and said how excited and proud they were of their strong friend.

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Jan Barney and Susan Herzberg are volunteer docents at Seneca Park Zoo. They help the public learn more about the zoo and the 389 animals that live there.

It’s a Wild Life For these retirees, the zoo never lost its fun By Mike Costanza


fter about 12 years as a Seneca Park Zoo docent, Jan Barney is ready for more. “I’ve always been interested in learning,” says the 70-yearold retired teacher. “This is a great way to constantly expand my own knowledge, but also convey it to other people, and I like that.” Located in Monroe County’s Seneca Park in the northeast quadrant of Rochester, the Seneca Park Zoo is home to 389 animals from 101 species. Folks come from near and far to visit with and learn about tigers, bald eagles, elephants, frogs and even insects. While opening its doors to visitors, who are called “guests,” the zoo also engages in extensive conservation efforts, helping to protect animals from extinction and preserve their habitats. Though it has full- and part-time paid employees, the zoo couldn’t function without the 483 members of the Seneca Park Zoo Society who volunteer for it. The society partners with Monroe County to run the place. Of that number, 86 are docents. “The docents are a really special


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group of people who really enjoy speaking to the public, and helping people learn while they’re here,” says Pamela Reed Sanchez, president and CEO of the Seneca Park Zoo Society. Docents are extensively trained — this year, new volunteers will have to train for one day a week for five weeks. They also have to take four additional credit hours of continuing education courses annually. The training is designed to give docents the knowledge and skills they need to help the zoo’s guests learn about its animals and the challenges they face in the wild. The volunteers also present the ways in which the zoo and the many nonprofits it supports try to reduce those challenges, and the steps that guests might take to help the animals. Docents have to volunteer for at least five hours a month. “They take their training and their love of animals and their love for the public, and they turn it into creating a fantastic guest experience,” Reed Sanchez explains. Susan Herzberg spent 22 years with the Rochester Institute of Tech-

nology before retiring as an academic adviser in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Since 2013, the married mother of two grown children has regularly volunteered for the zoo, where she put in about 200 hours there last year alone as a docent.

Fun, interactive experience “It’s a place where I feel like I just smile all the time,” says the Webster resident, who turned 67 on April 11. Guests can especially bring out that feeling. “It’s fun to interact with them,” Herzberg explains. “Seeing that little spark, that something you might have said that will give a person that sort of new nugget of knowledge, whether they’re young or an adult.” Docents sometimes become particularly interested in specific animals for a time. Hertzberg recently began focusing upon Abe and Maverick, the zoo’s bald eagles. “We really had lost that population in this area, but then through conservation efforts and pollution control, the population is on the increase,” she explains. “They are now facing a new threat — lead poisoning from bullets and fishing tackle.” Birds of prey can ingest lead bullets or shot when they feed upon the

bodies of prey that were hit by hunters, whether the animals survived or perished, Lead fishing sinkers are another source of the metal. In addition to working with guests, Herzberg chairs the biofacts committee, which is in charge of the close to 1,000 items that the zoo’s docents and interpretative staff use to help guests learn about animals. She is leading the reorganization of the collection, which includes part of a tiger’s pelt. “Guests can have an experience of seeing what a tiger’s fur feels like,” she explains. Though she worked full-time at Hope Hall School, a private nonprofit that serves children with special needs, Jan Barney used to come to the zoo many Saturdays with her two kids. They grew out of it, but she didn’t. Barney became a docent back in 2006 while still on the job. “This is a relaxing place after a week of teaching and dealing with discipline,” the Greece resident explains. Now that she’s retired, the mother of two, grandmother of another two and great-grandmother of one typically spends 300 hours a year volunteering for the zoo. Barney particularly enjoys learning, and helping others learn, about the newest animals to call the place home. Back in 2016, she spent quite a bit of time observing two new arrivals, the gray wolves Timber and Willow. “I came almost every day to watch as they became acclimated,” Barney says. Barney is also a past chair and vice chair of the zoo’s education committee, which creates and runs the docent training program. She’s looking forward to welcoming the Seneca Park Zoo’s next additions. “I’ll be real excited when the red pandas come,” she said. The pandas’ exhibit is projected to open in late spring. Top photo: A crowd during Seneca Park Zoo’s Elephant Day, which happens in August. Courtesy of Austin Quinlan. Bottom photo shows Bill, the rhino. He was born at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee in 2004 and came to Seneca Park Zoo in 2007. Courtesy of Ron Kalasinskas. May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS




Sandy Wallace and Jewel Burr spent time hiking on the Appalachian Trail last year. In previous years, they biked in Canada and from Buffalo to Gloucester, Mass., and ran three marathons.

Trail Blazers 60-somethings take on challenge of Appalachian Trail By John Addyman


sn’t one of the great things about a best friend that he or she will talk you into doing something you’d never think of doing yourself? Sandy Wallace, 63, and Jewel Burr, 61, have been best friends for more than 30 years, finding each other when they were nurses at Corning Community Hospital. “That’s when all the adventures started,” Burr said. “Sandy talked me into running marathons. I’d never jogged in my life. She said I looked like a better specimen compared to the other nurses who smoked and had no interest in exercise. That was her first harebrained idea. “She’s like Lucy Ricardo [from “I Love Lucy”] — she comes up with these things.” Take for instance a bike trip 22

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from Buffalo to Gloucester, Mass., that made the women famous in the Crow’s Nest bar in Gloucester; or three marathons, one of which they finished together; or biking halfway around Lake Ontario and in Canada. It was Burr’s turn for a nut-ball idea: a summer hike on the Appalachian Trail. “We may have taken a few extended biking trips over the years, but we didn’t need to pack camping gear and food,” wrote Wallace in a book she hopes to publish. “We did the motel-restaurant thing. We had all the creature comforts we wanted, without having to strap them on our backs.” Nope, Wallace decided. She was about to retire from her last career as a BOCES counselor and spend days

on the trail with Burr — that wasn’t going to happen. She was sure Burr would come to her senses. That’s what didn’t happen. Burr pressed. “She shamed me,” said Wallace. “My knees, hips, shoulders and back complained every day. Loudly. No, I wasn’t going to hike on the Appalachian Trail with a full backpack strapped to my bony frame. Ever,” Wallace wrote. “I had sailed on by my prime. I was looking at a life of lunching with the ladies, crafts, playing my bagpipes and daily workouts at the YMCA, where I rarely broke a sweat. I’d given up biking. I fretted about my sun-drenched skin. I was a hot mess with regard to the aging process — I felt old. Maybe 60 was the new 40, but I missed that memo.” But Burr drew her in. “I asked Sandy to come as many days as she could,” she said. With her job as a school nurse, Burr had a whole summer off for the first time in her work life, and hiking was on her mind. She had walked part of the Appalachian Trail with her brother Bruce for three days, and had her eyes opened.

“It’s a whole different world in the woods,” she said. The hiker community is caring and kind, and people watch out for one another. Along the trail, supporters and hiking aficionados occasionally put out “trail magic” — free snacks for hikers. When Burr started out on the Appalachian Trail in Harpers Ferry, W. Va., she hiked for 10 days before meeting up with Wallace. “I had never camped, never backpacked,” Wallace said, and she found out that serious trail hiking was arduous. “It was way harder than running a marathon or biking — physically and mentally harder.” For Wallace, the mental portion was difficult because she got bored easily and after a little bit of chitchat with Burr, things were quiet for miles. Burr, on the other hand, found peace in being on the trail and solace when alone. She could think clearly, and many of the final details for divorcing her second husband were decided on her 38-day trek from West Virginia to the New York-New Jersey line. “I loved being alone,” she said. “I was more focused, being away from the real world. It was very healing for me. I was going through a divorce from the guy I thought would be my forever man. The hike healed me emotionally. I didn’t want to come off the trail.”

Big ‘stinkers’ On the trail, they would stop at one of the 250-plus shelters along the trail for the night. If a shelter was full, they’d set up their tent nearby. The lean-to shelters accommodated all kinds of hikers on a first come-first served basis. There were some rules of the trail to follow, of course. For instance, if you snore, don’t sleep there — go out to your tent. And after a few days on the trail with its extreme physical exertion and no showers available, folks can get a little gamey. Wallace had a head-snapping revelation the first time she entered a hiker-populated shelter. “It stank,” she said. The big stinkers – and they know it – are the ‘through’ hikers who are on their way to cover all 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail. But once she was one of those folks, she didn’t care about the

Jewel Burr at the end of her Appalachian Trail trip. “A lot of women go alone. You’ll be fine, safer than downtown Elmira at night,” Burr says. odor anymore, Wallace said. Mornings on the trail for Burr and Wallace started at 7:30 with breakfast. “You eat horribly,” Burr said. “You have to carry your house with you — your kitchen and clothes and personal items and medicines and a pack tent and stove and water filter. We’d leave at 9. You have to eat a lot because you burn so many calories.” The two stopped for a mid-morning snack and lunch, and paused for a break in the afternoons. They covered 8-10 miles a day. “We didn’t bring enough food,” Wallace added. Burr had planned the trip

through the help of a veteran hiker she met online, someone who saved them grief with sage, pertinent advice. Once in motion, the women might not see another human for hours. They did decide to spend one night in a motel in Clarion, Pa. “All those days on the trail, we never got a tick bite; one night in the motel in Clarion and we both had spider bites that became infected,” Burr said. In their travels, they ran into an elderly couple who offered them dinner and a place to stay for the night, whom Wallace and her husband, John, went back to visit the following year. May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS


Words from the wise Burr and Wallace have some advice for anyone of a certain age thinking about the Appalachian Trail. First, Burr said, “Plan a lot.” She also underlined this kind of hiking as safe. “A lot of women go alone. You’ll be fine, safer than downtown Elmira at night,” she noted. “I didn’t plan at all,” admitted Wallace. Second, don’t worry about being in shape. “You end up getting in shape on the trail,” Burr said. “You’ll build up your endurance on the trail.” “For older people, definitely walk, walk, walk and walk, and be sure to walk up some hills,” said Wallace. “It’s a bonus if you can walk with your pack on.” Third, “Do it while you can, while you’re able,” said Burr. “My goal is to do the whole trail, from West Virginia to Maine.” And Wallace said not to hesitate because things other than your health and well-being, like family issues and responsibilities, can intervene. Wallace said the trip meant something deeper for both women. “Jewel told me at the end of the trip that she felt she had lost her soul, and hoped that the solace and peace of the woods would help her find it again. “For me, there was a parallel search, but it started before the trip, and it was that my spirit that had disappeared. It started when she told me that she didn’t recognize me anymore. She wondered where I had gone, and when this ‘old’ woman had appeared. I had wondered that as well. “It seems Jewel found her soul on the trail; I found my spirit.”

Sandy Wallace and her friend spent time hiking on the Appalachian Trail last year. In previous years, they biked in Canada and from Buffalo to Gloucester, Mass., and ran three marathons. 24

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Sandy Wallace and Jewel Burr at The Doyle in Duncannon in Pennsylvania during their eight days on the Appalachian.

Sandy Wallace rests at a trail entrance.



The Hoffman Clock Museum in Newark displays dozens of timepieces. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant learn all about the wiggly treat, such as retired Jello-O flavors that include celery, mixed vegetable, cola an coffee. A large display of vintage Jell-O molds covers and entire wall. “Rush” seems an appropriate location for the New York Museum of Transportation (www.nymtmuseum. org). But take your time to peruse the antique trolley cars, steam locomotive, fire truck, ambulance, operating model railroad and other vehicles. Don’t forget to ride the electric trolley. From telegram to text, learn about the progression of communication at the Antique Wireless Association in Bloomfield ( Displays include vintage telegraphs, radios and more. Rochester Auto Museum houses just a handful of vehicles from the ‘60s and ‘70s, but any gear head would enjoy its lineup of privately owned muscle cars. Donations for admission benefit Rochester chapter

3. 4.

10 Offbeat Museums to Visit This Season


By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


useums don’t have to display fine paintings or sculpture. Pop culture, specific interests and the downright quirky comprise the collections at the following 10 offbeat museums. In Western New York, check out the Museum of Neuroanatomy — aka, the Brain Museum — at the University of Buffalo South Campus. You guessed it: the place displays actual human brains. The “brainchild” of Harold Brody, the museum showcases 80 specimens including cross-sections, complete brains and educational displays. To arrange a guided tour, contact Christopher Cohan, at 716829-3081 or Western New York is also home to the Jell-O Gallery Museum (www. in LeRoy, where Jell-O was invented. Once you follow the Jell-O Brick Road inside, you’ll



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of the Vietnam Veterans of America. ( Alling Coverlet Museum ( htm) in Palmyra displays a surprising number of coverlets but holds many more in storage, awaiting their turn. In fact, it takes six years to cycle through each of its coverlets. Visitors can also tour the Quilt Room and see looms, spinning wheels, and other tools used for weaving. In Newark, check out the Hoffman Clock Museum ( Housed in a wing of the public library, the museum displays more than 300 timepieces and tools of the clock repair trade. Plus, the museum features a mural-sized stained glass window. Call ahead to meet with the curator for a more informative tour of the museum. In nearby Lyons, the H.G. Hotchkiss Prize Medal Essential Oil Museum (https://lyonsheritagesociety. org), locally known as the “Peppermint Museum,” pays homage to the town’s biggest industry of yesteryear with displays of original equipment from the H.G. Hotchkiss factory, along with Lyons area artifacts. It’s open only by appointment, so call ahead at 315-946-4596. You know and love the movie. Now visit the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum ( in Seneca Falls, thought to be director Frank Capra’s inspiration for the fictitious Bedford Falls. Check out memorabilia and photos from the classic Christmas movie. Geneva’s Mike Weaver Drain Tile Museum ( at the Johnston House highlights one of the most important innovations in agriculture: drain tiles. By using drain tiles, farmers can better manage moisture on fields. Smaller museums may not keep regular hours, so contact the museum before making plans to visit.






The Jell-O Gallery in Leroy features a wall covered in Jell-O molds. Photo courtesy the Jell-O Gallery Museum 26

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New York Museum of Transportation

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my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email:

What it Means to Age Gracefully


was startled recently when a friend I had not seen in about 10 years told me that I was “aging gracefully.” What does that mean? I find “aging gracefully” and phrases like it can have any number of meanings. Of course, I could have demanded to know what my longabsent friend meant, but I felt that this might put him on the spot, so I remained silent. I asked about a dozen of my senior friends how they would react if someone they hadn’t seen in a decade told them that they were “aging gracefully.” About half said they would take it as a compliment, but the other half thought it was a secret code for “you got a lot older-looking from the last time I saw you.” I started quizzing myself about this phrase, one that I have heard dozens of times but never before pondered its implications. I thought my mother aged gracefully until age 90 when she became ill. When it comes to well-known Hollywood actresses, I would label Helen Mirren, who at 72 is about six years my junior, as one who is “aging gracefully.” She does not seem to use extreme means to fight off Father Time, while exuding an elegant, natural appearance. S o m e m e n a n d w o m e n a re


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obsessed about their looks, and they fret constantly about wrinkles or other manifestations of age. They spend enormous amounts of money trying to find products to slow down the aging process. No wonder 16th century Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon and countless others after him were fixated about finding the “Fountain of Youth” or some elusive magic potion that would fend off the aging process. Some friends in their mid- to late50s are in this category. I envision them perched on a big clock in the town square, struggling with all of their might to hold back the hands of time, but, try as they might, it is futile. Best-selling author Nora Ephron waded into the conversation in her book, “I Feel Bad about My Neck.” She observed that “our faces are lies, and our necks are the truth.” She joked that although you have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, if the tree had a neck, it would readily give away its age. Last November, one of my alleged friends cautioned me to be careful. “Someone might mistake you for a turkey and have you for Thanksgiving dinner,” he said, pointing to the flabby skin under my chin. Very funny! G ro w i n g o l d i s a s t u d y i n contradictions. Several of my contemporary Oswego friends rejoiced

in all of the trips they took during 2017. In their annual Christmas letter, they described these far-away places with the strange-sounding names that they had visited. On the other hand, a 75-year-old friend from Fulton said he has thrown in the towel on travel. “It’s too much of a hassle,” he announced. “Besides, I just love to stay home and watch the world go by on TV.” I find I am cramming in as much travel as I can, sometimes leaving myself exhausted. I rationalize that I have an unknown number of “good years” left, so I want to visit some bucket-list locations while I am still mobile. Last year ’s Alaskan cruise with my youngest son was challenging because of some of the wilderness hiking during off-ship excursions, but I did them without regret. An old high school buddy with whom I have lunch about once a month and I were discussing how much driving adds to our mobility and independence. During our conversation, I wondered whether we would recognize when it was time to hang up the keys, or whether one of our children would feel compelled to give us “the talk” to convince us that our driving was putting ourselves or others at risk. Then, if we protested and refused to

turn in our keys voluntarily,would they threaten to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles to force us off the road? My deceased wife, who was afflicted with stage four ovarian cancer, would lament periodically that “getting old sucks.” There is no question that getting older contains physical and emotional landmines. While aging gracefully isn’t easy, a person’s attitude matters considerably. In talking to Web MD, Susan Whitbourne, professor of psychology at the University of MassachusettsAmherst, said our society is obsessed with the negative aspects of aging. She cautions seniors not to fall into a trap with all the “bad press” about aging. “Once you start thinking about it, it can drive you mad,” she said. “There’s nothing you can do; the clock is going to tick away.” Not only are wisdom and mature understanding some of the prizes of a longer life, but growing old itself earns a gold star. “If you get to be older, you have survived a lot of the threats to your physical and psychological integrity that have affected other

‘To age gracefully, you need to have the proper mindset to recognize the changes that are inevitably coming. Rigid thinkers tend to get overwhelmed by aging, can’t manage the changes, then wind up depressed.’ people who are no longer around,” Whitbourne said. She said we should not be lamenting, rather congratulating ourselves that through good luck or good genes, or both, we have dodged fatal accidents, premature disease and other afflictions that kill young people. “You are stronger, and you get to live longer,” she said. Whitbourne also said, “The people who do the best with aging aren’t thinking that much about getting older.

If you sit around mulling over how time is running out, you’re not going to age as successfully.” The sooner we realize that aging changes everyone, the better we will be able to cope with this reality. At, let’s say, 85, most of us are not going to be able to do the things we did when we were 65, or, if we can do them, we won’t do them as well. You may not be living on your own any more in a beautiful home or apartment or driving to the supermarket or walking a mile or two in the park. To age gracefully, you need to have the proper mindset to recognize the changes that are inevitably coming. Rigid thinkers tend to get overwhelmed by aging, can’t manage the changes, then wind up depressed. Those who deal with aging more successfully are those who can anticipate what is happening and who are determined to work their way through the maze of challenges confronting them. I want to be in the latter category; how about you? May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS




Dr. Veggie

Spreading the word about the benefits of a plant-based diet By Mike Costanza


or physician Ted Barnett, medical treatment begins at the kitchen table. “If you look at any recommendations for treatment of diabetes or heart disease or most of the other common illnesses, it always starts off with ‘make sure they’re eating right,’” says the medical doctor nicknamed “Dr. Veggie.”

The statement belies the passion that Barnett, the 63-year-old founder and executive medical director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, PLLC, brings to his practice. Lifestyle medicine involves the evidence-based use of non-drug modalities — a predominantly wholefood, plant-based diet (WFBP), stress management, the establishment of healthy sleep and exercise regimens and the avoidance of unhealthy substances — to prevent or treat 30

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diseases. “We refer to it as a new specialty, but Hippocrates was talking about it 2,500 years ago,” Barnett explains. “Basically, he was saying, ‘Eat right and get some exercise.’” Multiple studies have shown that our lifestyles strongly influence our overall health. Researchers have estimated that nearly 82 percent of cardiac deaths and 40 percent of deaths due to cancer in the United States could be prevented if Americans lived in

more healthy ways. By switching to simpler, more nutritious diets, consistently engaging in physical activity and avoiding tobacco usage, Americans could also reduce the incidence of diabetes, colon cancer and strokes in this country by 91, 71 and 71 percent, respectively. At Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, Barnett and his cohorts use a variety of means to help those who come through their doors avoid or combat illness. The Complete Health Improvement

May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS


Program (CHIP) is a major part of their effort. Developed at Loma Linda University in California, the educational program primarily focuses upon reducing or eliminating the consumption of animal products — meats, eggs, fish and dairy products — and processed foods. “Diabetes, most heart disease and obesity are really the same disease, in the sense that it’s all basically a function of the modern industrial diet,” Barnett says. “We’re taking away all this bad food that’s causing all those things.” Instead, patients are encouraged to adopt a strictly WFPB diet. Whole foods, in simple terms, have had nothing added to them, and have retained all of their essential, healthy elements. When consumed, they are as close to the state in which they were grown as possible — so some foods a vegan might find acceptable are out. “We would avoid white flour, we would avoid any kind of sugar, and oils,” Barnett says. “You can chew on all the sugar cane you want, but we don’t want you eating the white sugar.” Leafy greens, zucchini, 100 percent whole wheat, beans and a huge number of other whole foods are also in. All can be eaten raw or cooked, depending upon the food and dish involved.

Comprehensive course Facilitators certified by the Lifestyle Medicine Institute — Barnett is one — run the CHIP classes, which include instructional videos, recipes and tips on cooking. The 18 two-hour sessions also feature presentations about healthy sleeping habits and exercise regimens, and small and large group discussions of the subjects covered. “When I teach my course, there is a phrase that comes up again and again, to the point where my students can chant it with me, which is ‘Eat more fruits and vegetables, and go outside and run around,” Barnett says, with a smile. Those who don’t want to attend CHIP classes can come to Barnett, the 12 part-time physicians and the four part-time nurse practitioners on his staff for individual instruction and guidance. Thus far, about 150 have graduated from the CHIP. 32

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A staunch advocate for lifestyle medicine, physician Ted Barnett travels around the region lecturing on the value of a whole-food, plant-based diet. A 2014 study of 225 people in Athens County, Ohio found that completing CHIP training offers significant benefits for the prevention, control and reversal of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression, and the reduction of unhealthy weight. Closer to home, Barnett is awaiting the results of a survey of school teachers and school district staff from around the Rochester region who switched to a whole-food, plant-based diet for 10 days back in January. “The question there is, ‘How do we get people to do what we recommend?’” Barnett asked. As a staunch advocate for lifestyle medicine, Barnett travels around the region lecturing on the value of WFPB eating, and of healthy living in general. He has been a repeated guest on WXXI-AM 1370’s “Connections” with Evan Dawson, and was featured in an article in the Democrat and Chronicle. While putting in 30 hours a week at the Brighton offices of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, Barnett is also a partner and full-time interventional and diagnostic radiologist at Borg & Ide Imaging, P.C.

“I call myself a high-tech doctor with low-tech solutions,” he says. Lifestyle medicine has gained some acceptance as a treatment modality, both around the country and locally. Barnett’s practice offers a course on the health benefits of a plant-based diet that is accredited by the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Almost 700 people, including over 100 health care personnel —physicians, dentists, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants — have taken it. While such gains might look promising, Barnett said it might take some time for the medical community and health care insurers to accept and make greater use of lifestyle medicine as a treatment approach. As it is right now, insurance providers reimburse those who come to Rochester Lifestyle Medicine for only a small portion of the services they receive. Barnett hasn’t received a paycheck from the place since it opened its doors. “I started this because I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Father’s Illness Prompts Son to Launch New Approach to Treatment


s a child growing up in Westport, Conn., physician Ted Barnett enjoyed hiking in the woods, fishing, digging for clams and sailing on Long Island Sound. “Some of my best memories as a kid are solo sailing on a catamaran,” the 63-year-old says. The young sailor, his parents and his two siblings ate what he calls “the standard American diet,” including steak. When the season allowed, Barnett’s mother, Margaret, would harvest vegetables from the family’s big organic garden or drive out to local farm stands to buy them. “We would have fresh corn and fresh tomatoes,” Barnett says, remembering those meals. Medicine runs in the family. Barnett’s grandfather was a general practitioner on Long Island — one of the few physicians there. His son Roy Barnett was a well-known pathologist, a clinical professor at Yale and an author, avid runner and birder. Roy’s youngest son, Ted, became a physician, and completed a residency in diagnostic radiology. Ted Barnett began to re-examine his eating habits, and take on a new calling, after illness struck his father. In 1990, when Ted Barnett was the chief of radiology at Canandaigua’s F.F. Thompson Hospital, 76-year-old Roy Barnett began showing symptoms of vascular disease in one leg. W h i l e b ro w s i n g t h ro u g h a

bookstore, Ted Barnett came across a book by Dean Ornish, the developer of the program for reversing heart disease. Physician Ornish’s approach, which is called “lifestyle medicine,” stresses the adoption of a quasi-wholefood, plant-based, very low-fat diet for the treatment of heart disease. As part of that approach, patients should also avoid tobacco usage, engage in moderate exercise and take measures to reduce their stress. Barnett saw the potential of Ornish’s approach for treating his father. Lifestyle factors can drive the development of vascular disease as well as heart disease. “I was fascinated by the idea that his vascular disease could be arrested or reversed with diet,” he explains. Barnett’s parents weren’t receptive to changing their diets — Roy Barnett needed to see more scientific evidence of the approach’s benefits than existed at the time. He died at the age of 79. “I think there is a good chance he would have lived quite a bit longer if he had been able to make the dietary change,” Ted Barnett says.

Going vegan Ornish’s ideas did catch on with Barnett and his wife, Carol, and the family went vegan. Since 1995, he and his wife have actively sought to spread the news of the health benefits of that diet.

“We spend a lot of time working together, running the Rochester Area Vegan Society,” Barnett says. “I run the website for that.” Eventually, Barnett and his wife went beyond vegan, adopting a wholefood, plant-based diet. In 2015, Barnett decided to practice what he preaches —medically — and founded Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, PLLC. He then went on to found Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute, Inc., the practice’s nonprofit research, educational and charitable arm. In addition to leading these organizations, Barnett works fulltime as a partner and an interventional and diagnostic radiologist at Borg & Ide Imaging. On his off time, Barnett enjoys bicycling and walking, and runs as much as five miles a day. Whenever he’s in the outdoors, the avid birder uses a voice recorder to note the species he sights. He particularly likes engaging in this hobby while burning as little of fossil fuels as possible — it’s called “green birding.” “One of my goals is to see how many species I can see in 24 hours without burning any fuel,” Barnett explains. “My record is 75 species in 24 hours.” Those sightings don’t just sit in his recorder. “I consider myself to be a citizen scientist, and submit my lists on a regular basis to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.” (MC)

Scoffer to Convert


ne Canandaigua family physician can’t say enough about Ted Barnett, and his approach to medicine. “Despite being resisted by the medical system at nearly every turn, he has persisted to advocate for what he knows to be true — that we are, indeed, what we eat,” says physician Kerry Graff. She didn’t always feel this way.

About 20 years ago, Graff came to Barnett at Canandiagua’s F.F. Thompson Hospital to discuss a patient’s X-rays. He sang the praises of a vegan diet, but she was not taken with the idea of changing her eating habits. “I walked away from that saying ‘look, if it was all that amazing…they would have taught me about this in med school or residency,” Graff

recalls. “I kind of chalked him up to be this kind of animal rights veg-head nut person, and I didn’t take him too seriously.” The two became friends, though Graff still didn’t take Barnett’s approach to medicine to heart. Over the next 15 years, she came to suffer from prediabetes, hypothyroidism, chronic depression and other illnesses. One night, she found her blood sugar May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS


to be 198 — very close to the diabetic range. The shock prompted Graff to spend the next three months researching the whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet. By the end of that time, she’d decided that there was a lot of data to support the use of the diet for treatment purposes. In 2014, Graff switched to what was for her a new way of eating. “My prediabetes went immediately away,” she says. “Basically, I got off my thyroid medicine; I wasn’t depressed anymore; I felt amazingly better.” Graff has helped some of her patients switch to eating the WFPB way, and seen the same kinds of results.

“People get off their medications, they feel wonderful, they have a lot of energy and their medical problems get amazingly better,” she says. As she works to advance lifestyle medicine in the Canandaigua area, where she lives, Graff praises Barnett and his work. “Ted is standing on the bridge, only partially built, that connects the past to the future of medicine.” (MC)

Physician Keery Graff of Canandaigua: “My prediabetes went immediately away,” she says as she explains why she follows a plant-based diet.

Heart Attack to Heart Healthy Doug Schmidt needed to make a change.


he Victor Central School District elementary school teacher had had a major heart attack at 49 and a “scare” a year later. In addition, Schmidt was unable to take the heart medication, a statin, normally prescribed for his condition. “The doctor said ‘we can try you on another statin, which we know you don’t do well, or we could do it all by diet,’” the 59-year-old says. Schmidt and his wife, Shari, decided to gradually go on the diet espoused by physician Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Esselstyn is a wellknown advocate for treating heart disease by helping patients switch to a diet primarily of whole, plant-based foods, one that excludes all oils. Since then, the Brighton resident has lost about 60 pounds — he now weighs 165. The father and stepfather of grown children has dropped all heart medications, and gained a great deal of energy. “I feel better than I did in my 30s,” Schmidt says. “I ran my first marathon last year.” About three years ago, Schmidt, who is also his district’s health and wellness coordinator, began trying to encourage more of his colleagues to adopt a whole-foods, plant-based diet.


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Thirty-one district employees signed up for the Jumpstart Your Health Challenge that first year. “It’s 10 days of eating nothing but plant-based foods,” Schmidt explains. The idea caught on, and spread around the region. In January, over 1,300 teachers and staff in more than 30 school districts participated in the challenge. “People found lower blood pressure, better cholesterol numbers,” Schmidt explains. “They had more energy; they felt better.” Schmidt, who knows physician Ted Barnett of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine through membership in the Rochester Area Vegan Society, agreed to survey those who participated in the latest Jumpstart for the physician, who intends to use the data for research purposes. About 60 people have voluntarily completed the survey so far. Schmidt’s efforts to bring better health to those in the area have brought him national attention. He was interviewed on ABC’s “Good Morning America” back in January, and the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals picked him as the male winner of its Sexiest Vegan Over 50 contest in 2017. (MC)

The Victor Central School District elementary school teacher Doug Schmidt: “I feel better than I did in my 30s,” Schmidt says. “I ran my first marathon last year.”

Popular Plant-based Recipes Plant-Powered Pad Thai 4 servings

Ingredients 1 block - Extra firm tofu 2 - Carrot 4 cloves - Garlic 1/2 cup - Water 8 ounces - Brown rice noodles 4 cups - Frozen broccoli 1/4 cup - Peanut butter 2.5 tbsps - Apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup - Low-sodium soy sauce 2 - Lime

tofu, cut into small cubes, and place them in the warm pan in a single layer. Regularly flip until evenly golden brown cook on each side. (about 10-15 minutes.)

n While tofu is cooking, peel the carrot lengthwise into long ribbons. Not a lot of time? Just chop up the carrots into bitesized pieces. Peel and mince the garlic. n Cook the brown rice noodles according to the directions on the box. n  Add frozen broccoli to the tofu pan. Cook for another 5 minutes until broccoli is warm throughout. Add the carrots and lightly cook. n In a bowl, whisk the peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and water together. n  Mix the sauce with the drained and cooked noodles while they›re still hot. n To plate, top the noodles with tofu and vegetables. Top with a squeeze of lime and sriracha.

Banana Bread Overnight Oats

Just Peachy Smoothie


n Heat a non-stick pan over medium. Drain

Yamadillas 4 servings

Ingredients 2 cups - No-salt canned black beans 2 - Sweet potato 1 - Lime 1 tbsp + 1 tsp - Salt-free chili powder 1/4 cup - Nutritional yeast 1/2 cup - Low-sodium salsa 8 - Whole grain tortilla Directions n Drain and rinse black beans. Wash the sweet potato and cut into small cubes (no need to peel). n  Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until fork-tender. n Transfer the cooked potatoes to a bowl and add the chili powder, lime juice, nutritional yeast, and half of the salsa. Mash with a fork, then fold in black beans and season with salt and pepper. n  Heat a non-stick pan over medium. Spread sweet potato mixture onto a tortilla. Top with a second tortilla and gently press it down. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Slice into triangles and serve with extra salsa.

1 serving

1 serving

Ingredients 1/2 cup - Rolled oats 3/4 cup - Unsweetened plant-based milk 1 - Banana 1/4 tsp - Cinnamon 2 tbsps - Walnuts

Ingredients 1 (fresh or frozen) - Peach 1/2 - Banana 1 tbsp - Chia seeds or ground flaxseeds 1 cup - Spinach 1 cup - Unsweetened plant-based milk


Directions n Produce Prep: You can use frozen peach slices or fresh peaches. If using fresh peaches, rinse them and cut them into slices, removing the pit. Put the slices in a bag and place them in the freezer overnight. n Peel the banana. Combine the peach, chia/flax seeds, banana, spinach and unsweetened plant-based milk in a standing blender and blend until smooth. Add a little water or additional milk to thin it out, as desired. You may prefer this with additional sweetener. Reach for extra banana or dates for the best smoothie sweeteners.

Maple syrup, to taste

Directions nSubmerge the rolled oats in unsweetened plant-based milk, using roughly 1.5 times as much liquid to oats. n Cover the oatmeal and put it in the fridge overnight. The next morning you will find soft, fresh tasting rolled oats that won’t stick to the bottom of the pan or boil over like cooked rolled oats. That’s right, NO cooking involved! n In the morning, mash the banana and mix in the banana, cinnamon and walnuts with the rolled oats. Note: No walnuts? Any other nut or seed will do!

Recipes and photos from Lighter ( Provided by Dr. Ted Barnett.

May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS




The Ups and Downs of Downsizing: My Own Experience The ups and downs in the downsizing process By Anne Palumbo


always thought downsizing was going to be a breeze. I don’t know why I thought that, because my parents never made the leap, but the word itself suggested “ease” to me, a pared down way of living. I imagined the process would take but a few months. My husband and I would easily find a ranch that needed a bit of updating; we’d put our own house on the market and it would quickly sell; we’d reduce all our stuff; pack; and then make the actual move. One, two, three; a walk in the park. Well, it has not been the breezy walk in the park I imagined. Indeed, our downsizing journey has been a highly unusual one; but, uniqueness aside, I believe there are aspects to downsizing that are universal. For starters, we could not agree on a house, other than we wanted it smaller. While I was good with many ranches in older neighborhoods, my husband preferred a more unique setting. And so we searched for nearly five years, all the while readying our own house for sale. Though trying at times, I don’t think we’re alone here in our prolonged search. Since the 36

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downsized house most likely will be your “final” house, it’s important that you both really like it. Here’s where our journey takes an unusual turn: We found a foreclosed house that met many criteria — smaller, nice layout, great location — except one: it was a disaster inside. We discovered this unfortunate fact by walking around the perimeter and peering in any window we could. Naturally, we asked ourselves: Did we have the energy to take on this monster project? I mean, we’re no longer spring chickens, if you catch my grizzled drift. If one of us isn’t releasing the sigh heard ‘round the world, the other is complaining about an aching back. Plus, we’ve come to like our quiet time and routines. “Look, a chickadee at the feeder!” “Oh, lovely, my day is now complete.” Back and forth, back and forth— could we? should we?—until, finally, one day we decided to go for it and bought the house.  That was a year ago and we are finally ready to move in.  What took so long?  Well, we encountered a variety of obstacles and challenges — from warped wooden floors to clogged drains to a

lawn that could float a boat.   Plus, renovating and decorating a house when you’re both older is more complicated — and that’s something to consider when you decide to downsize. For example, we built a house when we were in our 30s and had two young children. At that time, I don’t recall laboring over every decision. The builder suggested the majority of design details and we just went with it, from cabinets to doorknobs to trim. Thirty years later, we each have honed what we like in a home; and while we agree on many details, we don’t agree on all. Translation? Expect some ups and downs in the event that you have many design decisions; expect to compromise; understand that you may not get your man-cave with the 65” TV or your she-shed with the deep soaker tub. We’ve also spent the year making sense of the contents of our current home, all the while acknowledging that our downsized home has much less storage space. Let me tell you, it’s not easy dealing with stuff, especially if you’re a sentimentalist (like me) and particularly if your kids don’t have homes of

their own yet (ours don’t). Throughout the culling process, I have continually asked myself: “Will the kids want this someday?” On top of the kids’ stuff, I’ve also had to deal with my own stuff: clothes, shoes, framed photos, decades of greeting cards, hordes of hair products, and more. Honestly, it’s kept me up at night: What to do with stuff? And, mysteriously, despite my donations and tossing and giving stuff away, it kept (and keeps!) accumulating. Two books helped: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.” The guiding question of the first is, “Does this item spark joy?” while the guiding question of the second is, “Will anyone be happier if I save this?” I confess to struggling at times with both guiding questions, hemming and hawing over beloved items I’d saved since forever. For example, “Yes” my beat-up Frye boots sparked joy. But, “No,” no one would be happier if I saved them. So, out they went. Purging is a good thing; and downsizing demands it. Since moving, I’ve purged again, letting go of all the things I was on the fence about but now, clearly, have no room for. What has helped me with both purges was recalling how difficult and time-consuming it was to clear out my parent’s loaded house, and that I did not want to pass along that task to my kids. The smaller house turned out well, and we are slowly finding our way. It’s a big adjustment though — living in more confined quarters and not having the privacy we each once had. But that’s to be expected with downsizing. On the up side, tighter living space means closer contact. Who knew that flossing, side-by-side, while watching chickadees at the feeder could ever be so entertaining?

Anne Palumbo writes the column SmartBites that is published monthly in In Good Health Rochester Healthcare Newspaper. To contact her, email

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May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS




Kids’ College or Own Retirement? That’s the Question By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


ome parents may think that funding their children’s college education is the most important step to take in their finances after paying off debt; however, if that means sacrificing saving for retirement, the plan can dramatically backfire. Bryce Carey, partner and certified financial planner for NorthLanding Financial Partner, LLC in Rochester, compares this conundrum to directions flight attendants give passengers before takeoff. If the plane’s oxygen masks descend during flight, “put on your oxygen mask before helping others,” Carey said. “We always help our clients plan for their retirement first and foremost because there’s often the opportunity to apply for loans for college. If a person cannot work any longer, there’s often no safety net other than Social Security.” Parents who help their children by depositing in accounts in the child’s Carey name can hinder their ability to obtain low-interest loans and grants. One alternative is the 529 plan, which earmarks funds for higher education and allows contributions to accumulate tax-free. If the child doesn’t end up going to college, owners of these accounts can change its beneficiary to another child or family member, even themselves — to pay for higher education without suffering the 10 percent penalty and taxes on gains. Parents should work with their college-aged children to lower the 38

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cost of their educational needs. Attending a renowned college doesn’t guarantee a fulfilling career, but it does guarantee a hefty tab. Scott Klatt, certified financial planner practitioner, certified college planning specialist and partner at NorthLanding Financial Partner, said that his oldest son felt uncertain about his career path, so he attended Monroe Community College for two years. Opting for a less expensive, nearby school like MCC can help families save money while the student decides the next step. Commuting from home also spares them room and board expenses. Many high school students feel pressured to attend a prestigious college; however, Klatt said that a community college costs nearly 50 percent

less than many large, well-known colleges. Klatt’s son also backpacked through Europe one summer for personal growth and to discover what he wanted to do with his life. He is now studying resort management at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt. Klatt added that a “gap year” between high school and college may also help students explore the work world and help them decide their next step. Klatt wants more young people to consider whether they want to attend trade school or learn through mentoring. Apprenticeship programs pay apprentices varying rates that usually increase as they gain experience. They also require classroom time. The New York Department of Labor lists registered apprentice opportunities at general/occupations.shtm. Students should also take the right major. Changing midstream adds additional time to the college career. Klatt said that only 45 percent of students earning bachelor’s degrees graduate within four years and many of these are five-year students because they changed their major. “If you add an additional semes-

ter, it could be another $15,000 to $20,000,” Klatt said. He encourages parents to tell their children to earn good grades, which can help them obtain scholarships, and to talk about budgeting, not only for college but after their education is complete. “Tell them, ‘If Klatt you graduate with $50,000 on debt, here’s what that looks like,” he said. Klatt knows a young man who has close to half a million in educational debt through several loans. He is starting his first job at $50,000 annually. “I don’t think he understood the financial ramifications of obtaining those loans,” Klatt said. “That’s one of my most extreme scenarios.” Diana Apostolova, financial consultant with AXA Advisors in Rochester, said that setting aside money for retirement in a tax-free retirement account shouldn’t affect the child’s financial aid and student loan calculations. Apostolova said that the ability to save 25 percent of income for retirement can indicate readiness to set additional money aside for college. In addition to the 529 plan, she advises looking at permanent life insurance. “The money grows tax-deferred and may be taken out tax-free,” Apostolova said. “The cons of using a life insurance is possibly paying higher costs for keeping the insurance in place but you can use the money for any purpose and avoid the 10 percent penalty that you’d pay in a 529 plan” for using funds outside the account’s permitted use. This strategy gives families flexibility in case the child decides to start a business after an apprenticeship, for example.

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May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS



second act

Judith Andrew and Karen Benson own Lightways.

Former Teachers Enjoy Running Their Business They found a new calling after they started Lightways, a metaphysical shop in Brockport By Christine Green


hen a customer walks into Lightways metaphysical shop in Brockport, they should be prepared to stay a while. In addition to the wide selection of dried herbs, crystals, gifts and incense, owners Judith Andrew and Karen Benson of Brockport have a wealth of knowledge that they enjoy sharing with their customers. “A lot of what we do is talk to people,” said Andrew. “Someone might just spend $1 or $2 but maybe stay one or two hours.” At almost any given time one can find Andrew or Benson chatting with customers and consulting with them about everything from the spiritual qualities of various stones to the benefits of different healing modalities such as reiki or integrated energy therapy. It’s clear that they enjoy their job and helping the people who come

into their shop for products, classes or guidance. “I like to connect with people on a personal level. I’m here and always willing to help,” said Benson. Andrew added with a wide smile, “It is just love when you come in here!”

A Unique Westside Shop Andrew and Benson met 35 years ago when they both worked for the Rochester City School District as vocational special education teachers at Edison Career and Technology High School. After they retired from education and before they opened Lightways three years ago they would regularly gather with friends and acquaintances to discuss spiritual growth and development, practice meditation and do spiritual energy work. After several years they realized that opening a brick and mortar shop and offering structured classes

and workshops in downtown Brockport would bring their knowledge and expertise to more people, especially those on the westside of Rochester. Lightways offers a large inventory of products, including books, tarot cards, crystals, candles and meditation tools. Benson is in charge of procuring items for the store and spends quite a lot of time at gem shows and working with different wholesalers to bring top quality yet reasonably priced products to their customers. Benson has extensive knowledge about the different scientific and spir-

Lightways carries a wide selection of dried herbs, crystals, gifts, incense and other related products. 40

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itual qualities of the stones and crystals they carry. They also offer a variety of classes including meditation, mindful recovery and radical forgiveness, among many others. Andrew has trained in a variety of spiritual healing techniques and offers sessions in reiki, chakra balancing, and earth energy balancing in her upstairs healing room. But all of this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of her expertise and what she offers to clients. She also does angel card readings and integrated energy therapy. Andrew and Benson also bring in instructors from around the area to teach classes and offer services. Tarot readers, psychic mediums, and astrologers are just a few of the many teachers and healers in their circle who come to Lightways. They also host an overnight spiritual retreat on the shores of Lake Ontario every June.

A Peaceful Community Chris Collier of Brockport is a re-

tired teacher who also works at the shop part time. She always looks forward to coming to work as she finds it, “very peaceful.” She said, “I love coming here. It’s a joy to come in. We laugh a lot. It’s happy and calm.” This joyful and serene environment attracts people from all areas. Loyal customers regularly travel from Rochester, Victor, Oswego, Rush, Albion and Elba. The clientele is diverse but most are women in their retirement years. Benson believes that after many years of looking after families and children while also working hard at their careers, women over 50 are ready to start caring for themselves and their spiritual health. “The wisdom you grow through your lifetime comes to a peak in your 50s and 60s and you realize that there is more to life than making money or shuffling kids. Now they are moving toward something more spiritual and looking into the future and what the next life might be.” A strong community has indeed blossomed at the shop, and business is doing well. But when asked

if Lightways might expand their services or store in the future, Andrew pointed out that being bigger than they currently are isn’t necessarily the direction they want to go in. Running Lightways as an intimate shop with a carefully curated selection of classes and events allows Andrew and Benson to experience not only a fulfilling and fun second career but to enjoy the benefits of semi-retirement like travel and personal development. “I want to walk the beach in the morning, and I want to walk in the woods,” said Andrew. Benson added that life in their 60s is about “what do I want to see or experience’ not ‘what do I have.’” Building owner Katherine Weston told 55 Plus Magazine that the duo brings, “a positive energy to the space that makes it a happy and productive place to be.” To learn more about Judith Andrew and Karen Benson visit the Lightways website at or call 585-281-8670.

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May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS



the arts


wo years ago, Rochester artist Jane Notides-Benzing decided she wanted to put together an art show with fellow artists Lee Hoag, Constance Mauro, Al Pardi, and Dan Scally. Notides-Benzing knew these artists worked from a place deep inside their imagination to create stunning pieces that play with more traditional aesthetic art qualities: line, space, colors, shapes, and form. Thus was born the Artifaks of the Artist’s Imagination show at the Patricia O’Keefe Ross Gallery in the Skalny Welcome Center at St. John Fisher College, Rochester. Notides-Benzing said that she and the other artists in the show are like archaeologists of the imagination — thus the name “artifaks.” “I used Artifaks rather than ‘artifacts’ to keep attention focused on the unreal ideas, imaginary parts and pieces of memories and thoughts that aren’t yet visible; stressing that these can’t be held in the hand or put on a wall, a shelf, a pedestal until they become processed by the artist into material objects, visible art such as sculpture, painting, etc.,” she said. “Unlike archaeologists searching for artifacts of past civilizations, we artists are digging up our thoughts, memories, color ideas, past experiences, and accumulated arts knowledge all of which do not yet have a physical presence,” Notides-Benzing added. Here are the artists who bring their work to St. John Fisher College:

Dan Scally

Archaeologists of the Imagination Rochester-area artists display their veteran expertise By Christine Green 42

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Dan Scally of Chili has been an active member of the Rochester art scene for over a decade and is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology fine arts program. Several galleries and restaurants in and around Rochester have displayed his mixed media work. He recently retired from Kodak where he worked as a digital print

specialist. He now devotes himself to his creative endeavors full time. Scally was excited to join the Artifaks show and decided it was a good opportunity to embark on a new series of paintings. He created his abstract landscapes completely from memory without using visual references such as photographs. This approach forced him to “draw from totally within to paint how I felt about the scene versus painting the scene,” he said.

Al Pardi Al Pardi lives in Ontario on the Lake and attended a school of architecture (Syracuse University) that placed an important emphasis on the study of the arts. Painting, sculpture, and freehand drawing became as much a part of his life as his architectural career. Pardi’s firm, Pardi Partnership Architects, PC, is a design-oriented architectural firm and award-winning architects who designed Tower 280 at Midtown Plaza. He incorporates his architectural and artistic training into his sculptures. “The series of sculptures in the show reflect my training in architecture. They are creations of interesting relationships of forms, materials, and colors reflecting the training of my professors many years ago,” he said.

Jane Notides-Benzing Notides-Benzing has always been an artist even as a child making paper clothes for her dolls. A graduate of Hunter College and New York University, Notides-Benzing did technical writing at Xerox and Kodak for many years all while keeping up with the contemporary art world by visiting exhibits and galleries as often as possible. Notides-Benzing’s paintings and layered mixed-media compositions use themes of space and light, past and present to feature some-

thing wholly new and interesting to the viewer. For example, her piece “Selket: Past Becomes Present” is an image of an ancient Egyptian goddess lighted from behind by modern LED lights — an electrified constellation of the 21st century.

Lee Hoag Award-winning sculptor Lee Hoag attended San Francisco Art Institute and RIT. In San Francisco, he studied with a variety of accomplished artists who helped shape the unique approach he takes with his sculptural work. His subconscious and memory draws him to the objects he uses and by being open to those things, he brings new meaning to the household and found objects he uses, he said. Hoag is a National Technical Institute for the Deaf-trained sign language interpreter and recently retired from a 30-year career as a local educational interpreter. Like Scally, he also focuses on his art full time now.

Constance Mauro Constance Mauro is a native of Rochester who studied studio art and psychology at Nazareth College in Rochester. She later returned to Nazareth for a certificate in art education then worked as the executive director of MCA of Roches-

ter Inc., a labor management group, for 25 years before retiring. She begins her paintings with no preconception of what she intends to create. “Pigment is applied to the surface and I let the painting speak for itself. The piece will begin to develop and will evoke an image. I am then able to create the finished work,” she said. Mauro employs a variety of media in her art, including oil paint and collage. Most of her works are encaustic, a painting technique that uses both wax and pigments. Scully said this show will help demonstrate to the Rochester community that older artists are still relevant in today’s art scene. He said because the Artifaks’ artists are all over 55, they have a “wealth of experience to draw on, emotionally. We have a lot of memories versus someone who is 20 or 30 years old.” Scully, Notides-Benzing, Mauro, Hoag, and Pardi are excited to share space with other like-mind artists in the Patricia O’Keefe Ross Gallery and are grateful to Notides-Benzing for creating this opportunity. “I was very pleased to be asked; privileged,” said Mauro. “For some magical reason once you hang these pieces you notice that there is some reason you all came together. There is some cohesiveness about it.” When asked what needs to be done in order to create an engaging and cohesive exhibit, Notides-Benzing said their biggest job now is to do what they do best — make art. “We all have the responsibility to make great art,” said Notides-Benzing. “We owe it to the viewer to have something really nice on the walls.”

Artifaks of the Artist’s Imagination show The Artifaks of the Artist’s Imagination show will be on display at the Patricia O’Keefe Ross Gallery at the St. John Fisher Skalny Welcome Center, 3690 East Ave., Rochester. — Exhibit Dates: May 7 to June 1. — Gallery hours: 9 a.m. to 4

p.m. weekdays — Reception for the public and artist talks: 5-8 p.m. May 17 — Admission: This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Notides-Benzing at 585-546-6243 or email jnotidesbenzing@frontier. com. May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS


Protecting Your Assets by Dining with the Early Birds By Lori Parker


hen you think about “fun” activities, visiting an elder law attorney is probably not No.1 on your list. As a result, most people don’t meet an elder law practitioner until they’re confronted with a crisis: A family member’s death or a health emergency. Elder law attorneys can offer help in crisis situations — but the facts of the individual case, as well as the applicable law, may limit the amount that can be preserved. Going out for a nice dinner might be more fun than talking with a lawyer — so we’ll use a buffet table to illustrate the point that planning in advance is the key to maximum asset protection. If you arrive at the buffet early, you’ll have the widest range of foods available to you. Everything will be fresh and visually appealing. You’ll be able to take as much as you want.

On the other hand, if you delay until almost closing time, other diners will probably have eaten the tastiest dishes — and what remains will have been picked over. There’s probably some mushy lima beans and near-dehydrated ziti left — so you won’t leave with a completely empty stomach. The point is, as a latecomer, you have fewer and less desirable choices than were available to the early birds. The same thing is true for asset planning and preservation. Many people know that there is a five-year “lookback” associated with Medicaid benefits to defray the cost of skilled nursing care. Here’s how it works: Let’s say that in May 2018, you and your lawyer set up an asset protection plan. Assets covered by the plan will be 100 percent protected by May 2023 — five years from the plan’s start date. This illustrates why planning ear-

Tax Tips: Bunching Deductions Using Trusts By Jason P. Livingston, Esq.


hen President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 in December, that stroke of the pen ushered in the most sweeping changes to the federal tax code since the Reagan presidency. Two of the most talked about changes have been the huge increase in the standard deduction and the cap on the state and local tax deduction, known as the “SALT” deduction. The new law almost doubles the standard deduction to $24,000 for married people filing jointly, and to $12,000 for anyone filing individually. According to the Tax Policy Center, nearly a third of all taxpayers currently itemize deductions. However, its


55 PLUS - May / June 2018

data shows that under the new rules, a staggering 84 percent of those that previously itemized will switch to the standard deduction. The SALT deduction, once unlimited, will now be capped at $10,000 per year. Many of that 84 percent are now planning to forego payments of certain deductible expenses for a few years in order to double or triple up on that expense in a future year — a technique called “bunching.” When bunching, you take the standard deduction in “off-years.” Then, in “onyears,” your combined expenses will be high enough to itemize your deductions. The use of tools like charitable trusts and endowment funds allow for the benefits of “bunching”

ly is so important. If you get a plan started while you are healthy, you increase the chance that five years will pass without the need for long-term care. Once the five years has passed, the assets involved in your protection plan are 100 percent protected. No one can force you to use those assets to pay for nursing home care. This has been a very brief and general discussion. To learn more about how to protect your assets, based on your individual situation, consult an elder law attorney. Remember: the earlier you take action, the more you can protect!

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 deductions while still making contributions on a schedule that works for you. This makes bunching great for deductions that you control, such as charitable contributions. But what about those you don’t control, like SALT payments? The right trust can help here, too. By creating non-grantor trusts, each trust is considered a separate taxpaying entity eligible for the $10,000 deduction. Using multiple trusts and funding each one with assets that generate state and local taxes in amounts sufficient to use the full deduction, you can effectively relive the days of the unlimited SALT deduction. Jason P. Livingston is an attorney serving as the head of Pullano & Farrow’s Trusts & Estates Department in Rochester. Contact him at jlivingston@


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Swing & Blues

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The Magazine For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

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Anytime, Anywhere

Social Security Options for Divorced Spouses Financial Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren



Where to Downsize in Rochester? We Spoke with Experts

Savvy Senior: ‘Can I Inherit My Parent’s Debt?’

Savvy Senior: Social Security Advice for Soon-To-Be Retirees

The Best New Restaurant in the Country? It’s Right Here in Geneva






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Issue 48 November / December 2017

For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

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For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

Simpler Life

Bike Ride

Listen to classic to new blues all week — and swing, big bands, and great singers all weekend long. There’s nothing like Jazz 90.1 Swing & Blues online. Go to, click the Swing & Blues button, and get in the swing or deep into the blues.

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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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addyman’s corner By John Addyman

Are you age 60 or older? UR researchers need your help understanding how to promote healthy aging! Do you feel like you lack companionship or that you are left out or isolated from others? You may be eligible for a research study comparing volunteering and life review to improve well-being.

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55 PLUS - May / June 2018

Packing for Heaven


What will you take with you to the afterlife?

don’t often go to bed thinking about the afterlife, but one night I got tossing and turning with pharaohs dancing in my head. We all get to the stage in life — maybe you’re there — when you start looking around the house asking, “What the heck am I going to do with all this stuff I’ve collected over the years?” My kids don’t want my records or my cassettes, the Pyrex bowls I’ve got in the attic, or the quirky flour sifters I love. My grandsons might snap up my model cars, but I’m unsure they’ll ever drive a car at that point. Who knows what’s going to be on the road in 10 years? It’s a funny thing, but all these objects I love and have taken care of through the years now make me feel older than I am. That’s when I got to thinking about pharaohs, because they knew they were going to have an afterlife, so they prepared for it and were careful to choose neat things for those high times in the tomb. They set aside games (honest), spears and bows, lots of food, clothing, jewelry, and all kinds of jars full of creams and spices and unguents. Sounds like the pharaohs were the first survivalists and doomsday preppers. I got to thinking about the folks who worked for the pharaohs. When the King died, he went to the embalmers, and so did you. Talk about a severance package. You got to take the deep sleep and greet the afterlife right where you left off — as a slave in bondage. Oh happy day. And if you said, “No, thank you,” you got tossed off a parapet — no afterlife. So what would I want to take with me to the afterlife, if I could? Maybe God would secretly reac-

quire all the stuff that’s going to go to flea markets, auction and garage sales from our house, and have it ready for me wherever I end up. What would I want to be there to keep me busy for the first part of eternity? First, I’d like to have all the Star Trek magazines and books I’ve never had time to read but are in the attic. That would take me a decade. I’d also want all my posters, audio books, DVDs and collector glasses. Second, if I ended up in purgatory, my ticket out would be to finish all the homework I never quite got completed in junior high school, senior high school and college; all the stories I started to write and never finished; or the book I wrote that needs extensive editing. There’s another decade. Third, I’d like to have DVDs of all the Philadelphia Eagles’, Phillies’ and Flyers’ games for every season, and all my books about those teams, magazines and bubblegum cards. That might be two decades worth of material.

Darkroom please And I’d like a darkroom. When my kids were growing up, I took tens of thousands of black-and-white photos and printed a tiny fraction of them in an upstairs closet. In my version of the afterlife, you could leave me in that darkroom for years, because that’s how long it would take to get all those negatives printed. I could relive my kids’ childhoods one photo at a time. Fifth, maybe God would find a spot where he could set the five houses we’ve owned over the years, with a paint supply nearby, so I could finish all the projects I got started and never quite got to the end of. We had a base-

ment to finish in one house; a barn to renovate in another; windows to fix in the house we’re in now, and floors to replace in another house. Because I have an eternity to finish the projects, I could do them all right. I think if I sat down I could come up with a list of 150 cars, motorcycles and earth-movers that I’d love to have a chance to drive. You think heaven might have a few Euclid quarry trucks, Ferrari Testa Rossas, MV Augusta Brutales or Shelby Cobra 427s available? I could drive them hard enough to peel back my eyeballs — you can’t die in heaven. I’d also like to be able to relive all the moments I was with a child — one of my kids or someone else’s — and broke off our conversation to do something I thought was more important. Instead of listening for another minute or two, I got busy with something related to work. I’d like a chance to go back to every one of those minutes and stretch them out, hear everything the child was saying, and give them the sincerity of my time listening to them. Maybe there would be time in heaven for me to take my wife’s hand and go back to every moment in our 50 years of marriage when I forgot to tell me how much I appreciate that she did the laundry, planted flowers in the yard or picked up my socks after me. This time, I’d be sure she heard my thanks. Every time in my life that I forgot to tell her I love her would play back, and I would be able to insert those words into the dialogue and see her smile. They say you can’t take it with you when your life’s time clock gets the final punch. But maybe the pharaoh’s faith in the afterlife was a picture of what it’s really like, except God is preparing a place for us, rather than us taking it all with us. God has things all figured out. That’s a comforting thought. Folks who have had near-death experiences often report that friends are waiting for us. I hope that’s true. I hope my dad will tell me what he did with my Lincoln Logs and my mom will tell me what happened to all my baseball cards and 45s.

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May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS


long-term care By Susan Suben

Mom & Dad Can No Longer Live At Home…


his is a common scenario. You last saw your mom and dad over a year ago. They were in good spirits, eating well, socializing and maintaining their household. During your most recent visit, they both looked like they had lost weight, the blinds were drawn, dirty dishes were in the sink, molding food was in the refrigerator and that aura of cheerfulness was replaced by a sense of gloom. Trying to get them to open up and have “the conversation” was difficult. But after expressing your concerns about their health and safety, you managed to find out that the house was too big for them to manage, dad had fallen several times, some of their closest friends were ill, and the aging process was finally getting to them. As Bette Davis once said, “Getting old is not for sissies.” What do you do? While ideally you would like to try to keep them at home for as long as possible with support services, moving them into a senior living community that can help with their daily needs, keep them engaged and provide supervision may be the healthier choice. The process of placing your parents in a senior housing community is not as difficult as you may think. The key is to keep your parents involved and allay their fears. Set up appointments to tour places together, discuss their finances and what they can afford and, most importantly, fortify the notion that they will still be in charge of their lives and remain independent only it will be easier and hopefully more fun. There are many different communities to investigate depending upon the level of care needed and affordability. In NYS, there are adult homes, family-type homes, assisted living facilities, 48

55 PLUS - May / June 2018

enhanced assisted living facilities and memory care communities. Most of these settings will only accept private pay or reimbursement from a long-term care insurance policy. Very few will accept Medicaid so it is important to discuss with the facility what happens when private funds run out. It could be worthwhile to look into veteran’s benefits as a supplement to their payment source. Each year, the Onondaga County Office for Aging in Syracuse publishes a resource guide that simply defines each type of setting. Below are excerpts from their guidebook that may help you determine the best housing option for your loved one. • Adult home. It offers longterm, supportive care in a private or semi-private room. All meals, housekeeping, laundry, medication administration, personal care, case management and activity programs are included. • A family type home for adults. It is usually provided in a private home with a maximum of four residents. The home must be certified by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. It may provide a cozier atmosphere but certain services can be limited. • Assisted living facilities. They are generally for individuals who historically would have been placed in a nursing home even though their needs are more social than medical. The atmosphere can be quite elaborate with communal rooms, libraries, activity rooms, outdoor gardens, etc. Residents can select a studio, one or two bedroom apartment. Couples can live together and pets are sometimes allowed. Usually, there is a small kitchenette but the facility provides all meals, supervision, personal care, case manage-

ment and home health services. An individual must be able to transfer on their own or in a wheelchair. • Enhanced assisted living facilities. They offer the same services as an assisted living facility but are allowed to do “oxygen therapy, blood pressure checks, catheter care, nebulizer treatment, fall management, one and/or two person transfers, insulin administration, blood glucose monitoring, and insulin administration”. • Memory care communities. They provide care to individuals who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Staff is specifically trained to work with this type of population so that residents remain engaged with their surroundings. The community is especially designed to “cue its residents in their daily lives and reduce problematic patterns.” Personal care, laundry, mealtime assistance and medication monitoring are included. An alarm system is active throughout the facility. Again, the key to making the proper placement is to know your parents needs and financial capabilities. Consider working with a care coordinator or geriatric case manager who can help you select the best residential communities to visit with your parents. Your goal is to offer guidance to your parents so that they can make wise choices about their future just as they guided you when you were growing up.

Susan Suben, a certified senior adviser, is president of Long Term Care Associates, Inc. and Elder Care Planning. She is a consultant for Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company and can be reached at 800-422-2655 or by email at

Social Security



Q: I am receiving Social Security retirement benefits and I recently went back to work. Do I have to pay Social Security (FICA) taxes on my income? A: Yes. By law, your employer must withhold FICA taxes from your paycheck. Although you are retired, you do receive credit for those new earnings. Each year Social Security automatically credits the new earnings and, if your new earnings are higher than in any earlier year used to calculate your current benefit, your monthly benefit could increase. For more information, visit www. or call us at 1-800772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Q: Will my son be eligible to receive benefits on his retired father’s record while going to college? A: No. At one time, Social Security did pay benefits to eligible college students. But the law changed in 1981. We now pay benefits only to students taking courses at grade 12 or below. Normally, benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. However, if children are still full-time students at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, benefits generally can continue until they graduate or until two months after they reach age 19, whichever is first. . Q: Often, I need assistance with day-to-day tasks. My daughter offered to help me with my Social Security claim and wants to represent me. Is that OK? A: You can choose to have a representative help you when you do business with Social Security. We’ll work with your representative in the same way we would work with you. Select a qualified person, because this person will act for you in most Social Security matters. First, you will need to fill out the Appoint a Representative form at


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May / June 2018 - 55 PLUS




By Christine Green

Katherine Weston, 63 Artist discusses decision to open art gallery and studio in Brockport instead of Rochester Q. Why did you choose to open a gallery and studio in Brockport rather than Rochester? A. I opened A Different Path Gallery in 2010. I had an art studio in Rochester but was finding it hard to get there on a regular basis. It was at a time when gas prices were rising and I was figuring the cost to get there and back along with rent and time and it just didn’t make financial sense to be there. So, I decided I needed to find a studio space closer to home...but not at home. I wanted a place that had other artists working in the building to share ideas and energy; that was and is important to me. As I looked for this new space I realized that very few existed close to home. It seemed there was a need for not only studio spaces, but a place for artists to show their work on the west side of the Greater Rochester area. That’s when I decided to take on the challenge and hoped the community would embrace my effort.

notices on the door because I know people will stop and read them. It’s important to me as an artist and as a business owner to add to [not detract from] wherever I call home. I’d much rather be known as one who supports and positively effects the community rather than [be known] as a “gallery owner.”

Q. Do you find yourself drawn to any one particular artistic medium more than any others? A. Each medium has its own magic. As an artist, I never want to stop learning. There are so many interesting materials out there. I enjoy painting, but don’t pick up the brushes all that often anymore. I get myself involved in projects that require years of dedication to one medium and once that project is finished, I usually go back to painting for a break. I love the texture of paint, the feel of the canvas and even the smell. It’s welcoming somehow and nostalgic of my college days.

Q. Is there a particular artist that has had an influence on your work? A. Every single artist I meet has some sort of influence on me. I can’t narrow

Q. Why is community outreach and engagement important to you as an artist and a business owner? A. The Brockport community is very much a part of the gallery. People in this village walk a lot. They interact everyday with each other and take an interest in their neighbors. I post 50

55 PLUS - May / June 2018

Q. When you aren’t coordinating shows and events at the gallery what do you like to do to relax? A. Right now, I’m working on balancing my life a little more. I really don’t have much time between shows, events and my own art projects to think about much else. Once I pare down some of my responsibilities I’ll be doing some traveling to places where my ancestors resided. I really want to become more familiar with the forgotten parts of my family from Canada and Scotland. Also, I might clean my house once in a while.

it down to just one. I’ve heard it said that artists “steal” from one another, I prefer to think of it as gleaning knowledge and technique. Most artists need to try on different styles and techniques before they settle into their own. In school I loved the work of Egon Schiele. He, like a lot of people in his time, was a little crazy and suffered from syphilis so I wasn’t prepared to take any life lessons from him, but his bold brush strokes and ability to catch raw emotion were amazing. Q. Why are the arts important in our community and how can the public help to support the efforts of artists? A. Over and over again studies have shown that children involved in the arts have better scholastic records, are more socially adept and are more likely to contribute to society as a whole. With the decline of respect for the arts as viable and important to our humanness, I feel an obligation to promote and protect our artistic spirit. Supporting the arts is relatively easy.... just show up and bring a friend. Maybe drop a quarter in the donation jar.  At our small gallery there are numerous opportunities. Come to openings, come to literary readings, play some music or sing along at a music jam, take a class or watch a dance performance. Artists basically want their art to be seen or heard or experienced by others. That’s why we do it.


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55Plus 51# May June 18