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Learn From the Pros How to Make Your Own Wine

55 PLUS Issue 64 • July-August 2020 For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

ESSENTIAL VOLUNTEERS A army of volunteers at Foodlink — including Noreen Bischoping Crouse of Penfield (left) and Matt Smith of Victor — has worked nonstop to provide food to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic

Money: Financial Lessons from COVID-19

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home is where the help is. Living Well Companion Care provides nonmedical services to make living in your own home feel manageable again. We can support you with daily routines, transportation, housekeeping and more. Companions undergo comprehensive background screenings and we only hire those we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Now hiring in and serving eastern Monroe and Ontario counties.

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Had a Stroke. Back on Stage.


Central New York music legend Todd Hobin knew nothing about stroke — but he does now. That’s why he’s raising awareness about stroke risk factors and its signs and symptoms.



A. S.





Fact: Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. Important to know: Stroke can happen to both men and women — at any age. Good news: Stroke is preventable by managing medical risk factors and healthy lifestyle choices. What to do: Time lost is brain lost. So it’s vital to know the signs of a stroke — F.A.S.T. Four words to live by: Call 911 and say, “Take me to Crouse.“ When it comes to stroke, every moment matters. As one of just 10 hospitals in New York State tohave earned Comprehensive Stroke Center status, and with the region’s newest ER and hybrid ORs, Crouse offers the most advanced technology for rapid stroke diagnosis and treatment

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July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS




Learn From the Pros How to Make Your Own Wine

55 PLUS Issue 64 • July-August 2020 For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

July / August 2020 Don’t miss a single issue of 55 PLUS — Rochester’s Magazine for Active Adults. To subscribe, please see coupon on page 8.

ESSENTIAL VOLUNTEERS A army of volunteers at Foodlink — including Noreen Bischoping Crouse of Penfield (left) and Matt Smith of Victor — has worked nonstop to provide food to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic

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Money: Financial Lessons from COVID-19


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Visits 44 13 MY TURN Addyman’s Corner 46 • From becoming infected to dealing with all that is coronavirus, this Long-term Care 48 journalist has had it! 21 SHIPWRECKS Randy Sickler, a Fairport architect who fought for the Raise the Age legislation in NYS, owns more than 3,000 vinyl records 4

55 PLUS - July July // August August 2019 2020


Savvy Senior 6 10 MONEY • Financial lessons from COVID-19 Financial Health 8 12 WINEMAKING Dining Out 10 • Learning to make wine from the pros



• Shipwreck hunter reflects on his many underwater adventures

24 GARDENING • Garden of Fragrance seen as a haven right in the middle of Rochester

27 LEGACY • Gary the Happy Pirate: Children’s entertainer, humanitarian retires



30 RETIREMENT • Barbara-Ann Mattle, CEO of Child Care Council, retires after 37 years on the job

32 COVID-19

• Ms. Manners just launched a new book — etiquette in coronavirus era

34 COVER • Foodlink: Volunteers Making a difference for more people than ever

39 BOOKS • Geriatric social worker helps those who want to write a book about their lives

42 VISITS • The 518-mile Great Lakes Seaway Trail offers outstanding views

45 ART • Artist William Page draws from societal ills to create his unique artwork

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July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS




savvy senior By Jim Miller

Advance Care Planning in the Age of Coronavirus


reating a living will (also known as an advance directive) is one of those things most people plan to do, but rarely get around to actually doing. Only about one-third of Americans currently have one. But the cold hard reality of the novel coronavirus may be changing that. Here’s what you should know along with some resources to help you create an advance directive.

Advance Directives To adequately spell out your wishes regarding your end-of-life medical treatment are two key documents: A “living will” which tells your doctor what kind of care you want to receive if you become incapacitated, and a “health care power of attorney” (or health care proxy), which names a person you authorize to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to. These two documents are known as an “advance directive,” and will only be utilized if you are too ill to make medical decisions yourself. You can also change or update it whenever you please. It isn’t necessary to hire a lawyer to prepare an advance directive. There are free or low-cost resources available today to help you create one, and it takes only a few minutes from start to finish. One that I highly recommend that’s completely free to use is My Directives ( This is an online tool and mobile app that will help you create, store and share a detailed, customized digital advance directive. Their easy-to-use platform combines eight thoughtful questions to guide you through the process. If you’re not computer savvy, ask a 6

55 PLUS - July July // August August 2019 2020


Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor

family member or trusted friend to help you. The advantage of having a digital advance directive versus a paper document is being able to access it quickly and easily via smartphone, which is crucial in emergency situations when they’re most often needed. If, however, you’d rather have a paper document, one of the best do-it-yourself options is the Five Wishes advance directive (they offer online forms too). Created by Aging with Dignity, a nonprofit advocacy organization, Five Wishes costs $5, and is available in many languages. To learn more or to receive a copy, visit or call 850-681-2010. Another tool you should know about that will compliment your advance directive is the physician orders for life-sustaining treatment, or POLST (sometimes called medical orders for life-sustaining treatment, or MOLST). A POLST form translates your end-of-life wishes into medical orders to be honored by your doctors. To learn more about your state’s program or set one up, see Readers should also know that if you’ve already prepared an advanced directive paper document, a POLST form or the VA advance directive form 10-0137, you can upload, store and share these documents too at And finally, to ensure your final wishes are followed, make sure to tell your family members, health care proxy and doctors. If you make a digital advance directive or have uploaded your existing forms, you can easily share them electronically to everyone involved. Or, if you make a paper advance directive that isn’t uploaded, you should provide everyone copies to help prevent stress and arguments later.

Lou Sorendo

Writers & Contributing Writers Deborah J. Sergeant, Christine Green, Mike Costanza Mary Beth Roach, Rebecca Leclair Melody Burri, Payne Horning Todd Etshman


Jim Terwilliger, Susan Suben Jim Miller, John Addyman Sandra Scott, Jason Livingston, Esq.


Anne Westcott, Linda Covington

Office Assistant Nancy Nitz

Layout and Design Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

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

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financial health By Jim Terwilliger

The CARES Act: What You Need to Know


n May 27, President Trump signed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act of 2020, providing unprecedented emergency relief to individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19. Included in the legislation are several provisions impacting individual retirement accounts (IRA) and employer retirement plans. This article is intended to provide a highlevel overview of just a few of these provisions.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) Waived for 2020 This year’s RMDs are waived for all folks expecting to take RMDs from IRAs and most defined-contribution employer retirement plans in 2020. This waiver also applies to beneficiaries of inherited IRAs, Roth IRAs, and employer plans. Also waived are any remaining 2019 first-year RMDs having an ultimate due date of April 1, 2020 and not withdrawn by Jan. 1, 2020. Fortunately, the CARES Act provides for a reversal of any Jan. 1 to April 1, 2020 distribution depending on circumstances as described below. Not waived are distributions from defined-benefit employer plans, annuitized pension plans or non-governmental 457(b) deferredcompensation plans.

Unwanted Distributions Can Be Reversed This helps those who already took what they thought were required distributions and now find they wish they had not. Such distributions can be reversed through an indirect rollover. Normally, non-RMD distributions taken from an IRA can be returned to the same IRA or another IRA if 1) the


55 PLUS - July July // August August 2019 2020

‘What is important is knowing how to adjust your retirement planning strategy to exploit [the CARES ACT] provisions in a way that is most beneficial to you.’ money is returned within 60 days and 2) there must not have been an IRAto-IRA transfer within the previous 12 months. Accordingly, a reversal can accommodate only one unwanted 2020 IRA distribution. IRS notice 2020-23 relaxed the 60day limitation for an IRA distribution taken during the Feb. 1 to May 15 timeframe. For such a distribution, the deadline for returning the distribution is July 15. Absent a future notice, a January 2020 distribution is not reversible. A reversed distribution is not taxable. Any tax withholding associated with the distribution, however, is not reversible. This withholding will be returned when filing a 2020 income tax return next year. Alternatively, one can reduce other 2020 withholding or estimated tax payments to compensate. Rather than reverse a distribution, another option is to do a taxable Roth conversion, which is not

subject to the once-per-year rule. The attractiveness of this option depends on one’s marginal federal tax bracket. A conversion normally must take place within 60 days, although IRS notice 2020-23 temporarily relaxed that constraint. A reversal of employer plan distributions follows the same rules, although there is no limitation on the number of distributions that can be reversed. Also note that non-spouse beneficiaries are not able to reverse an RMD from an inherited IRA or employer retirement plan.

Additional Options for Those Directly Impacted by COVID-19 Coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) up to $100,000 from IRAs or employer retirement plans are available to those who are diagnosed with COVID-19, whose spouses or dependents are so diagnosed, or who suffer adverse financial consequences as a result of the virus (as defined by CARES). Those under age 59-1/2 are exempt from a 10% early withdrawal penalty. CRDs are taxable to the account owner. Paying the tax over a threeyear period is the default option. To avoid taxation, CRDs can be repaid to the same/another IRA or eligible retirement plan with the repayment treated as having satisfied the 60-day rollover requirement if repaid during the three-year period following the date when the CRD was received.

Charitable Giving Enhancements The CARES Act includes two provisions related to charitable giving. One allows for up to a $300 above-

to July 15, the date for making 2019 IRA and Roth IRA contributions is extended to the same date. Normally, contributions for a prior year must be made by April 15. We’ve summarized some key CARES Act provisions. What is important is knowing how to adjust your retirement planning strategy to exploit these provisions in a way that is most beneficial to you. Partnering with a trusted financial planner is a great way to do just that.

the-line charitable federal income tax deduction for folks who take the standard deduction. The other allows for up to 100% of adjusted gross income (vs. 60% standard) to be treated as a charitable deduction for taxpayers who itemize. For either, the contribution must be made in cash and does not include contributions to donor-advised funds or private foundations. Additionally, it continues to be a sound tax-efficient strategy for those age 70-1/2 or older to make qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from their IRAs directly to charity, even if not used to offset the taxability of RMDs.

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April 2020 • ISSUE

Getting on lives in this new age

Issue 61 •

Special Issue

January-Febru ary 2020 For Active in the RochesAdults ter Area

Beware of Coronavirus Scams P. 13

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Henrietta resident Bill is a world Valavanis -renowned expert and grower of bonsai trees. travels the He globe to share often passion his


Wiefling talks about how Rochester Regional Health is helping patients who think they may have the coronavirus get medical consultation without leaving their homes

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Autismn: Why Are Incidence Rates So High? the Local experts discuss in cases dramatic increase of autism in the U.S.


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Savvy Sen ior: How to Get Free Legal Ass istance

Pot Use Among Seniors Nearly Doubled in 3 Years P. 2

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DiningOut By Christopher Malone



The War Field on COVID-19 Warfield’s in Clifton Springs limits menu during quarantine, not flavor


ajor applause goes to the emergency services, various medical staff and other essential community services and people keeping us informed and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic time. Kudos also goes out to restaurants keeping these workers fed — including Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery at 7 W. Main St. in Clifton Springs, which was closed the day after this meal was enjoyed. It reopened June 9 to serve patrons on its outside dining area. On the beautiful late afternoon Tuesday, I made the easy hour-long trek from Syracuse out to Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery with thermal


55 PLUS - July July // August August 2019 2020

bags in tow. The weather was pleasant enough for a picnic but time always proves to be an issue in itself. By the time I got back home, my fiancé had set the table, lit a candle and threw some Glenn Miller on the record player. It was my first time in Clifton Springs, which is about 15 minutes from Canandaigua. It’s a classy little village in Ontario County with so much character. Warfield’s exterior aesthetic fits in so well and there was a mental debate on waiting to experience the restaurant in all its glory. However, the limited menu (with rotating specials) looked appetizing. Aside from soup and salads, there weren’t small plate options on the

“quarantine menu.” We went for the jugular with sandwiches and entrees. The fried chicken sandwich ($12) isn’t the typical fried poultry. The generously sized and lightly breaded breast is lightly pan-fried. It’s placed between the halves of a brioche roll and topped with Canadian bacon, sundried tomato aioli, and melted Swiss cheese. Lettuce and tomato are included, plus a dill pickle spear and large mound of house-cut fries. If the chicken were deep-fried, this entrée would not have fared well. The chicken was very tender and not dried out, and the choice of Swiss cheese is a great call. The soft fries were very good, and what was left over will

resurrect themselves as “crispy home fries” for the next day’s breakfast. The beef short rib ravioli ($15) was definitely the most unique of the choices. The homemade raviolis were filled with tender beef shreds and truffles, whose distinct flavor, for some reason, took us more than a minute to identify. Credit goes to my fiancé for that “aha!” moment. The raviolis were served in a beef consommé, a beef stock soup that wasn’t boxed or canned. Unless Warfield’s somehow fooled me, I’m determining the soup to be homemade because it wasn’t overly salty. It was a very pristine, clean soup. However, we felt something was missing. Yes, there was flavor to this dish — not as much as we expected — but something was missing. Unlike our taste buds and brains’ stubborn communication regarding the truffles, identifying this missing element was futile. This might be the place to throw in a “Crocodile Dundee II” quote about needing garlic but I’m thinking along the lines of needing more scallions. The Hawaiian blackened tuna ($15) may have edged out the top slot for our favorite part of the meal. Similar to the chicken, this tuna sandwich came between a brioche roll and served with sides of a pickle spear and sweet potato fries, which had the same consistency as the regular fries. However, these fries did not survive to participate in another meal. The cut of ahi tuna steak came blackened and beautifully pink on the inside. It was topped with avocado and caramelized pineapple salsa along with the tomato and lettuce standards. The seasoning wasn’t a flavor killer, because the tuna still could be tasted in all its glory.

Great dessert at Warfields: éclair ($2.85). This large, fat dessert was nothing short of a delight.

Lastly, we opted for an éclair ($2.85) for dessert. This large, fat dessert was nothing short of a delight. Surprisingly light, the pastry’s chocolate topping and custard filling were nice and rich. It’s easily shareable between two people — but keep it to only halving it as there is much to miss out on. Before 20% gratuity, the bill came to $48. My fiancé also charged me a $10 corking fee for some reason — but that’s a whole other story. When everything passes, I’ll be glad to experience Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery firsthand. For now, take comfort that the restaurant’s doors are open and offerings are available for take-away and outside dining. Even for an hour-long drive home, the food held up well and, if needed, a quick warm up won’t compromise the food.

Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery Address 7 W Main St Clifton Springs, NY 14432 Phone 315-462-7184 Website/Social CURRENT TEMPORARY HOURS Tues. – Fri.: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sat.: 4 – 7 p.m.

Beef short rib ravioli ($15). The homemade raviolis were filled with tender beef shreds and truffles with a distinct flavor.

The Hawaiian blackened tuna ($15): Similar to the chicken, this tuna sandwich came between a brioche roll and served with sides of a pickle spear and sweet potato fries. July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS



Still Have Any Stimulus Money Left? Here’s what experts recommend you to do with it By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


f you haven’t received it already, you’ll likely receive up to $2,400 per couple of stimulus money, thanks to President Trump’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Whether directly deposited or mailed as a check or debit card, the windfall could be used in a variety of ways. Local financial experts offered a few ideas. Tips from Scott Klatt, certified financial planner and partner at NorthLanding Financial Partners, LLC in Rochester: • Reduce debt. “Look at high interest credit card debt. I’m not a big believer in paying off the mortgage. Most aren’t at a high rate of interest. It becomes a dead asset — it doesn’t do anything for you. Go after credit cards or high interest debt first.”


55 PLUS - July July // August August 2019 2020

• Help the grandchildren. “If you don’t need the money, possibly open a 529 account for your grandchild. You can write it off on your New York state taxes for about $600. You put in a dollar amount and any time you ‘find’ money you should deposit it.” • Support charities. “You have to be a little careful with that. We have strategies about bunching contributions. When they changed the tax rule, most people aren’t able to itemize anymore. Their charitable contributions don’t count from a financial standpoint.” Tips from George Conboy, chairman at Brighton Securities in Rochester: • Catch up on bills. “If you’re behind on monthly bills, rather than paying bills 1 and 2 but ignoring 3, pay a

little to each. Let all the creditors know you’re in a jam. Pay more when you’re back to work. No creditor will like to get paid less than full but they’d rather receive a partial payment than receiving nothing and hearing nothing.” • Treat yourself. “Maybe take $200 or $400 and splurge on a décor item or a bucket list thing. That leaves you with $1,000 to $2,000 to get serious and do the prudent thing. But you don’t have to be all prudent. Treat yourself modestly.” Tips from Ken Burke, CPA and personal financial specialist and president and CFO of High Falls Advisors in Rochester: • Set aside some cash. “If someone is running paycheck to paycheck, this is a good starting point for building a rainy-day fund so when the water heater goes, they don’t have to put that on a charge card. Look at the debt profile and pay down consumer debt if you have cash reserves. Why not take some debt off the personal balance sheet and reduce that obligation?” • Invest. “As odd as it may sound, we feel like now is a good time to be investing in the stock market, even though there will be volatility. Now is a good time to begin investing in that. Maybe not put it all in Apple stock but find a diversified trade exchange traded fund, or EFT. We’re all familiar with mutual funds. These are an alternative to mutual funds. We use them extensively. Many ETFs are index-based. You’re able to buy a broad market index with exchange traded funds as with mutual funds. The one advantage as ETFs are traded intraday like a stock. You can get an update throughout the day. Mutual funds are traded at the end of the day. They’re more tax efficient than mutual funds.”

No Stimulus Check Yet Anyone who filed their taxes requesting a paper check (not automatic deposit) may not get the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus check until the end of August. Some older adults who are uncomfortable with handing out their banking information may be more inclined to go with a physical tax refund.

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Financial Lessons from COVID-19 This may be a good time to include a little more risk in investment, financial planner says By Deborah Jeanne Sergean


rom unusual circumstances can come unusual life lessons. The COVID-19 crisis brought a few examples of financial lessons to learn. “This pandemic has been something we’ve never experienced before,” said Scott Klatt, certified financial planner and partner at NorthLanding Financial Partners, LLC in R o c h e s t e r. “From a market standpoint, it was the fastest decline in the stock market and one of the fastest increases we’ve seen.” Klatt Klatt has been in the financial business 35 years.


55 PLUS - July July // August August 2019 2020

He said that while stock prices were down, it would have been a good time to invest, although many of his retiree clients tend to be more risk averse with their investments. But this may be a good time to include a little more risk, Klatt said. The bank CD is one of the safest investments around, but currently offers extremely low interest, according to him. “ We ’ re s h i f t i n g f ro m s a f e r investments like CDs and bonds to high quality blue-chip stocks like Home Depot and AT&T with a lien to use the dividends to replace that income they may not have received from their CDs,” Klatt said. “You can get a 3.5% dividend, which is equivalent to a CD. Some may say it’s risky because I’m buying a stock, but that’s true if Home Depot is going out of business. You rarely see a company that size and that solid go out of

business.” That’s especially important if a client relies upon the interest from their CDs to pay bills. Klatt said that COVID-19 also underscored the importance of reassessing the budget. Since travel and entertainment budgets have likely gone down, consumers can move that money to other areas, like paying down debt or investing it. G e o r g e C o n b o y , c h a i r m a n at Brighton Securities in Rochester, also recommended Conboy that a home equity line of credit or a line of credit

against one’s investment portfolio may provide a quick way to access cash to prevent liquidating investments. “If you have that home equity line of credit in place, most banks won’t charge you unless you use it,” Conboy said. “You get the money today and you don’t pay any interest until you borrow it. You can use the line of credit today to replace something unexpectedly lost, like your car is totaled and the insurance won’t give you enough to replace it with a new one.” Even if the loan isn’t paid off right away, the home equity line of credit is likely much lower interest than a typical car loan. Conboy said that it’s also handy for people who know they’ll receive a bonus in the first quarter of the year, but don’t want to book a gain in December by cashing in an investment. Conboy also said that COVID-19’s effects on investments should help people realize that they should take the “long view” with their “long dollars.” “It doesn’t mean take the long view with every asset,” he added. “If we expect changes that are a shortterm thing, don’t have a short-term view with your long-term money. Many of those investments that tanked six weeks ago have recovered.” Ken Burke, CPA and personal financial specialist is president and CFO of High Falls Advisors in Rochester. He said that planning ahead should be the biggest take-away lesson from COVID-19, including the need to have enough cash in savings to cover several months’ expenses. People should also realize that changes in the financial world can happen quickly. “You want to be able to ride out the market declines and volatility,” Burke said. “Who would have thought we’d have a global pandemic and world governments would shut down their economies? Just as there’s uncertainty with these events, the market response is equally uncertain. Who would have thought that at this point in the year, the recovery would be almost as quick?” Although investment still bears risks, Burke said that a surge of new jobs in May — 2.5 million nonfarm jobs, to be exact — indicates the economy is headed in the right direction.



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55+ winemaking

Wine produced at Wineworx in Rochester has been recognized at the New York State Fair wine competition in Syracuse.

Learning to Make Wine From the Pros Tony Toscano and Tom Raco learned the art of winemaking from their Italian parents — now their share their knowledge with others at Wineworx in Rochester By Christine Green


he ancient Greeks referred to the Italian region of Calabria as Enotria or the “Land of the Vines” because of the abundance of grapevines winding through the “toe” of the Italian Peninsula. The grapes of the region became an integral part of the area’s rich and ancient art of winemaking.


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But winemaking in Calabria wasn’t just for professional vintners. Families made wine in their homes and passed on the recipes and techniques through the generations. Those family traditions traveled to the United State and today Rochester wine lovers can make their own wine with Tony Toscano and Tom Raco of Wineworx.

An Italian Tradition

“Italian immigrants have a rich cultural tie to winemaking,” said Toscano. “Winemaking has been going on since prohibition, even before that. But the Italian Americans have always made wine either in the basement or in the garage for many, many years and that was both for economic reasons and because of prohibition. My fatherin-law was one of those who made wine in his basement, and I learned the basics from him.” Toscano, 72, of Rochester, is originally from Calabria. As a teenager, he came to the United States with his mother and siblings after his father died. He returned to Italy for college and that’s where he met his wife, Rose Marie Toscano. Together they moved to Oregon and he finished his Bachelor of-arts degree in photography and graphics. Their next stop was Rochester where he attended Rochester Institute of Technology for his Master of Fine Arts in fine art photography. He spent the next 37 years teaching in the art department of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at RIT before retiring in 2012. For a while he and his wife ran a community-supported agriculture program from his small farm in Prattsburgh, Steuben County. Toscano also led small workshops on cheese and sausage making and taught classes at the culinary center at Canandaigua’s New York Kitchen.  Raco, 78, lives in Webster but is a born and bred Rochestarian who received his undergraduate degree from The State University of New York at Buffalo in occupational and curriculum development and a Master of Fine Arts in art education from RIT. After getting his doctorate in occupational education from the University at Buffalo he returned to Rochester to work at RIT/ NTID, where he remained for 47 years. His time at RIT included helping to establish the RIT campus at Dubai.

Raco is of Italian heritage and making wine is a special part of his family. He remembers making wine with his father as a child. “I recall even as a little boy, helping him out making his wine down in the basement. And as I got a little bit older, I learned where he got his skill from which was his grandfather who brought it over from Italy.” After some research, Raco learned that his family, like Toscano’s, also hailed from Calabria. Both loved making wine with their families and their curious natures led them to learn more about wine and winemaking. Since they had been making wine in their own homes for many years, they felt that their combined knowledge was worth sharing with the public. That’s when they formed Wineworx in 2013. “Since we are both educators,” said Raco, “it came quite natural for us to look at it as a way to help other people learn what we already know and pass it on. So, we decided to formalize it instead of just doing it in our garage or basement.”  

The Language of Winemaking

A t Wi n e w o r x c l i e n t s c a n participate in every aspect of winemaking — from grape picking at a Finger Lakes vineyard to crushing and pressing grapes to bottling wine at their Mushroom Boulevard facility in Rochester. Approximately 50 to 55 people a year make wine with Raco and Toscano at Wineworx. After the approximately year-long process, customers take home several bottles of their very own wine. Cost for a share of wine (about 24 bottles) ranges from $225 to $350.  “In addition to going to the vineyard, we also offer winemaking from fresh juices that come from all over the world. These are not the kits that you usually buy where the juices have been concentrated. These are freshly pressed juices that are maintained at a certain temperature,” said Toscano. Wineworx clientele is varied and Raco and Toscano have seen young people bring their parents, grandparents bring grandchildren and friends come in groups to learn all about wine. Many of their patrons come back year after year.  “It’s great to see some of the ones

Pressing grapes’ process: The bundled, crushed grapes are stacked in a hydraulic wine press that squeezes out all the juice.

Tom Raco of Webster examining a new batch of wine produced by Wineworx. Raco and his friend Tony Toscano of Rochester created Wineworx in 2013.

A client of Wineworx, Rick Cusker, adding yeast and related chemistry to fresh grape juice. This is the first step in the winemaking process after crushing and pressing the grapes. July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


Antonio Toscano calculating adjustments to be made to the juice before start of fermentation.

that come back every year being the ones that answer the questions of the new recruits that come in. It gets to the point where we don’t even answer the questions anymore if they happen to be there when people come in to make wine for the first time. They just take over the business,” said Raco with a hearty laugh. Tate DeCaro of Rochester has made white wine with Wineworx. Her favorite part was the warm days at the vineyard. “I definitely enjoy the picking. It’s sunny out, usually nice, and you get to meet different people that are also interested in it. I still have them [the bottles of wine] and it’s nice to have, because if I have people over, I can put some out, or I can bring it to someone else’s house. It is nice to have that, and eventually I will run out and probably want to do it again.” Frank Kruppenbacher and Jacqueline Schertz of Rochester have also made wine with Wineworx, and they both enjoy the sense of community Raco and Toscano foster among their clients. Schertz is deaf and noted how Raco and Toscano both used sign language to make her experience more accessible.  “For me, as a deaf person, I don’t have to bring in an interpreter. We have direct communication amongst each other, and that in itself is key,” she said.  “There’s no boundaries, no boundaries at all,” added 18

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K r u p p e n b a c h e r. “ T h e r e ’ s f u l l communication and culture and language, all of it right there. Even if you don’t know how to sign you find a way to communicate. And maybe wine making is a language.”   

“We Don’t Make it for Them”

Raco and Toscano want people to know that Wineworx is about education and skill building. They want clients to go home with the confidence to continue to learn about wine and other culinary arts. “I want to emphasize that we tell people what to do. We don’t make it

Make Your Own Wine About 50 to 55 people a year learn the technique involved in making their own wine at Wineworx in Rochester. The process is hands on. Participants have to pick their own grapes at one of the Finger Lakes vineyards. Then they crush, press and do everything in between to see the final product. After the approximately year-long process, customers take home several bottles of their very own wine. Cost for a share of wine (about 24 bottles) ranges from $225 to $350. To learn more visit wineworx. net

for them,” said Toscano. “So, it’s more like a continuation of our teaching experiences that we have had. We tell them what to do, and we sample the wines with them. If we find something that needs to be adjusted, we’ll suggest something that meets the personal needs of the individual. Some people like white wines and some people like sweet wine. Some people like high alcohol and some people like low alcohol. Some people may say, ‘oh, I don’t want to use sulfates,’ or whatever. Each person can decide how to make their own wine and feel comfortable that the wine is not going to turn into vinegar — which has never happened by the way!” Kruppenbacher credits Raco and Toscano’s success with Wineworx to their educational background as professors.  “Both of them are really educators themselves and that is key. They have a passion for making wine. And they want to teach people how to make wine.”  Schertz went on to add that Raco and Toscano, “gave us our passion, and they have led us to investigate and learn more and research more.”  That sense of curiosity and passion is exactly what Wineworx is all about. “For the people who are making wine for the first time every step of the process is another aha moment for them,” said Raco. “And those are the joys that I get from working with customers.”

Social Security

Q&A Q: I’ve decided I want to retire. Now what do I do?

A: The fastest and easiest way to apply for retirement benefits is to go to www.socialsecurity. gov/retireonline. Use our online application to apply for Social Security retirement or spouses benefits. To do so, you must: • Be at least 61 years and 9 months old; • Want to start your benefits in the next four months; and • Live in the United States or one of its commonwealths or territories.

Q: Although I stopped working a few years ago, I had additional seasonal

earnings after my retirement. Will my monthly Social Security retirement benefit increase?

A: Each year, we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to see if additional earnings may increase their monthly benefit amounts. If an increase is due, we calculate a new benefit amount and pay the increase retroactive to January following the year of earnings. You can learn more about how work affects your benefits by reading our publication, “How Work Affects Your Benefits,” at www.

Q: I went back to work after retiring, but now the company I work for is downsizing. I’ll be receiving unemployment benefits in a few weeks. Will this affect my retirement benefits? A: When it comes to retirement

benefits, Social Security does not count unemployment as earnings, so your retirement benefits will not be affected. However, any income you receive from Social Security may reduce your unemployment benefits. Contact your state unemployment office for information on how your state applies the reduction to your unemployment compensation.

Q: I have been getting Social Security disability benefits for many years. I’m about to hit my full retirement age. What will happen to my disability benefits? A: When you reach “full retirement age,” we will switch you from disability to retirement benefits. But you won’t even notice the change because your benefit amount will stay the same. It’s just that when you reach retirement age, we consider you to be a “retiree” and not a disability beneficiary. To learn more, visit July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ my turn

Enough is Enough! From becoming infected to dealing with all that is coronavirus, this journalist has had it! By Mike Costanza


K, it’s time to say it: I’m going nuts. Now, this is not the kind of crazy that might lead me to run through my Rochester neighborhood in nothing but a facemask. If you see a bearded man standing on the corner of Goodman and East Avenue carrying a “THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH” sign, it won’t be me. I don’t have a beard. Ditto if he’s howling from the top of the South Avenue Garage. Court Street’s onramp has better acoustics. You should try it before the traffic returns. Not that I don’t feel like driving downtown for a yell or two. You see, this freelance reporter hasn’t had real, in-person contact with anyone since March. Early March.

When normalcy returns My self-isolation began with a bout of pneumonia. Next came COVID-19, which is particularly dangerous for those like me, who have preexisting health conditions. Then, New York state’s PAUSE order forced every one of my favorite Rochester hangouts to close. At least they aren’t shuttered. They don’t have shutters. As a result, I’ve spent months talking to tinny voices on the phone or two-dimensional faces on my computer screen. That, and I’ve been counting the walls of my living room, dining room and office. No matter what time of day or night, there are still just four of them. You’d think they would multiply, or something. I’d give anything to walk in from my bedroom and television room some morning and say “Hey,

The author at his apartment on North Goodman Street. “My self-isolation began with a bout of pneumonia. Next came COVID-19, which is particularly dangerous for those like me, who have preexisting health conditions.” 20

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there are six now!” The dust bunnies under my desk go at it, well, like bunnies, so why can’t my walls? What, are they lazy or just too old for that sort of thing? Tired of waiting on the walls, I decided to count the blessings that will come — and they will come — as COVID-19 retreats.

I look forward to a time when: — My grocery store no longer looks as if it’s hosting a bank robbers’ convention. — I can take in a double feature at the Cinema Theater again. I don’t care what’s playing, as long as my seat is, uh, there. — No one gives me a look when I traipse down University Avenue without a mask. — Maria Gillard once more breaks into song in the Little Café. Sing out, Maria! — Three cars no longer constitute heavy traffic. — I can pet the dogs taking their owners out for a walk. Big, small, brown, white, black, smelly — I don’t care. All I need is a wagging tail and a “pet me” look. From the dog, I mean. — Children again fill my neighborhood’s vest-pocket park with their laughter. — I no longer begin my conversations with “I hope you and all around you are healthy. — The tables at Dogtown are packed once more. I love the “German Shepherd,” but hold the onions. — I can shake my friends’ hands again. Many others in the Rochester area have suffered much more than I have from COVID-19, or its economic and social effects. I’ve covered the story, and feel for them. Whatever our current burdens, I hope we can keep in mind that every virus eventually runs its course. Until then, I hope all of us will practice sensible safety measures, try to keep our heads above water, and remain as optimistic as we can. Oh, and that guy on Main Street with the shaved head and purple face paint? That’s not me, either. Yet.

55+ shipwrecks

Depths of Knowledge Shipwreck hunter reflects on his many underwater adventures By Mary Beth Roach


he word “shipwreck” conjures up images of sunken treasures hidden in the nooks and crannies of old hulking vessels sitting at the bottom of the lake or sea. But for Jim Kennard, who started diving about 50 years ago, the treasure is in the exploration. The 76-year-old Fairport resident explained, with a chuckle, that if he had found any treasure, he would have retired when he was in his 30s instead of just a few years ago. It’s all about the hunt and history for Kennard, who has estimated that he’s been the original discoverer on nearly 200 wrecks since starting in 1970. “I think it’s the quest for exploration that drives you,” he said. “It’s like being a shipwreck detective.” When one hikes mountains, more than likely, somebody has been there before. There isn’t the thrill of being the first one on a mountain, he said. “But you can be the first one who has found a shipwreck, and the first one to be there to see what it is. It’s uncovering history. It’s writing the final chapter of what happened to that shipwreck,” he said.

He’s done more than write a final chapter or two. He has authored a book, “Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery,” published in 2019, in which he chronicles his adventures and shares the history of more than 20 shipwrecks that have been discovered in Lake Ontario. In the book, Kennard also shows a map of Lake Ontario that is broken up into sections. According to this diagram, there are 22 wrecks in the area that spans from Rochester, past Oswego and further north toward the St. Lawrence Seaway. Throughout the book are photos by Roger Pawlowski and artwork by Roland Stevens, two members on Kennard’s discovery team. In the decades that he has been involved in shipwreck exploration, Kennard has pored over studies, newspaper stories, and insurance and government records, and has concluded that more than 600 ships sank, wrecked, burned or were scuttled in the lake, and furthermore, he estimates that 200 still remain in the lake today. Kennard began diving after hearing of the adventures that Ralph

The sloop, Washington, was discovered in Lake Ontario off the shores of Oswego. In 1803 it was traveling between Kingston and Niagara in Canada, when it encountered a gale on Ontario. The crew redirected the sloop to seek refuge at the port in Oswego. It never made it to the port. Photo by Roger Pawlowski. Sylvester, co-worker at the former General Motors plant in Rochester, had while diving in Lake Michigan during the 1960s. “Boy, this really sounds interesting. Gosh, I’d like to do that,” Kennard recalled. He took a scuba diving class at the YMCA in Rochester to get the feel of being underwater. It wasn’t long before Kennard was diving throughout the Finger Lakes and other area waterways. At the suggestion of a friend, they traveled to St. Lawrence and Alexandria Bay, where he was able to make his first shipwreck dive — on The Islander. It was a tour boat that had burned at the dock in 1909 in about 40 feet of water, so it was easily accessible. In his early days, when admittedly, he was still dreaming of finding real treasure aboard one of these shipwrecks, he had learned of a book titled the “Directory of Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes.”

In search of history One of the wrecks highlighted in the book is the H.M.S. Ontario, a July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


British warship. At well over 200 years old, the ship had been thought to be the oldest yet-to-be-discovered shipwreck on the Great Lakes. It went down in 1780, and there was speculation that it had $500,000 in gold and silver aboard. Kennard was still new to diving and intent on finding this ship and the supposed loot. This was well before laws were enacted prohibiting anything from being taken from a sunken ship. But after two years, he gave up the hunt. Yet, he remained so captivated by the ship and its history, he was able to get an admiralty drawing of it, which hung on his office wall for years. And while Kennard might have given up searching for the Ontario — for the time being that is — he did not give up his passion for shipwreck diving. Although he lives in the Rochester area near Lake Ontario, diving there was somewhat challenging. As a recreational diver, Kennard is limited to safely dive down to depths of about 135 feet, but most of the shipwrecks in Lake Ontario would be several miles offshore in water that is more than 200 feet deep. So, Kennard and his diving buddies continued searching the Finger Lakes, where they located about 30 canal boats, and Lake Champlain, which became as he terms in his book, their shipwreck playground. On one such trip in 1983, he and Scott Hill, another diver, came upon what Kennard refers to as “our pinnacle of success” — a very early horse-powered ferryboat, off the shore of Burlington, Vermont. A few years later, they were invited on a National Geographic expedition to Lake Champlain to locate a Revolutionary War ship. While in the area, they were able to take the magazine team to the site of the horse-powered ferryboat. A remote-operated vehicle was sent down to video the shipwreck, and it became a nine-page feature article in the October 1989 issue of National Geographic. The way people found shipwrecks in the 1960s and ‘70s was by using a fish finder, Kennard said. This would require the divers to go over a wreck in their boats and let the fish finder locate something protruding from the bottom, Kennard explained. Maybe it was a shipwreck, but it could be


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Tug Cormorant: It was built in 1941 and renamed in 1949 as the Russell 4. It was sunk in 1958 by a large wave about three miles north of Oswego. photo by Roger Pawlowski. something else entirely. He soon learned about side scan sonar that, he said, paints a sonar image of the bottom, much like an aerial photograph of the bottom. He also found out this technology was mostly utilized by geophysical survey companies in helping oil companies map out the bottom of a sea floor before laying down piping. Kennard figured he’d just buy one of these pieces of equipment. “In 1970, they were $35,000 and up, which was about three times the cost of my first house, so I knew that wasn’t going to work,” he said, laughing. He had a contact or two in the industry who provided him with some tips on building these units. By using his electrical engineering background, he was able to build one that served his purposes for at least the next 30 years. The equipment also allowed him to create a sideline business for himself, working for river transportation companies to discover lost barges along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. These need to be located, Kennard said, since they can cause obstruction on the waterways and damage to other river transportation. Kennard took a break from diving for several years to spend time with his family. But in early 2002, a trip to an area dive shop proved fortuitous. He had been looking for others interested in shipwreck diving, and the shop owner had suggested a technical diver who had more specialized equipment and training and could go well beyond the maximum 130-foot-depth allowed

for recreational divers.

Enter the ROV Minutes later, Dan Scoville, one such technical diver, entered the store. The two got chatting and within a few months, they were a diving team. Because of Scoville’s ability to dive in depths down to 250 feet, Kennard was able to realize his dream of finding shipwrecks in Lake Ontario. Although Scoville could dive deeper than Kennard and get images or video of these wrecks, he couldn’t stay down there long enough to get good video, and several dives can become time-consuming since safely ascending and decompressing can take over an hour. However, Scoville would soon help to build a remotely operated underwater vehicle, or an ROV, that is operated from the searchers’ vessel. It can search at greater depths and capture images with greater detail than a diver could. Kennard and Scoville were both working for Kodak at the time, and Scoville, who was in the company’s instant camera division, was attending a class at the Rochester Institute of Technology. With his work experience, Scoville was able to sponsor a senior class project, and so he and his team of mechanical, electrical and software engineering students decided to build an ROV, equipped with lights and a camera. It worked on its first trial run, Kennard said, and they used that for several years to come.

“That really helped us, because now we could search much further out in much deeper water,” he said. In 2008, Kennard, armed with this new equipment and research gathered over the years, along with Scoville and Roland “Chip” Stevens returned to the search for the H.M.S. Ontario, which had eluded him decades earlier. Eventually success would be his “fulfillment of a life’s dream,” as he and his team were able to actually find the shipwreck and capture images of it with the aid of the ROV. In his book, Kennard provides a great deal of detail about not only the search but the history of this legendary ship. Scoville would transfer out of state several years later, but Kennard found another diving partner, Roger Pawlowski, who had an ROV and larger boat than Kennard did, so it is better able to accommodate divers along with equipment. To d a y, t h e i r t e a m i n c l u d e s Kennard; Pawlowski, an electrical engineer and retired Air Force reserve pilot who flew missions in Desert Storm; Stevens, and Teddy Garlock. A nationally renowned artist, Stevens is the team artist and is an “integral part of our success,” according to Kennard.

Jim Kennard, middle, with two of his current members of his dive team: Roland “Chip” Stevens, left, and Roger Pawlowski. “We realized early on that because of the limited visibility that existed back then, that you can’t take a picture of the whole ship. You get pieces of it. It’s hard for people to put the pieces together in their mind. We felt that we really need to illustrate the ship in the presentations that we were doing, to really show them what the whole thing looked like,” he added. Friends and colleagues over the years had been encouraging Kennard to write a book, he said, but he brushed those suggestions aside until 2017. He had been hiking in 2016 when he suffered an ankle injury and torn tendons. He was going to be out of commission, sitting in a chair with his leg elevated, he said. “Well, I can sit here and watch TV for the next three months, or maybe I should write the book that people have been telling me I should write,” he said. So, he started and got most of the chapters done, but once he had recovered, he was eager to get up and out, so the writing was put on hold. It wasn’t until November of 2017 that he decided he needed to finish those chapters. His wife, Marilyn, was instrumental

in editing the manuscript, and their son, Jamie, a graphic designer, did the book cover, incorporating one of Stevens’ watercolors. Stevens’ artwork is also featured throughout the book as well as many of Pawlowski’s photos. The book was published by the National Museum of Great Lakes, located in the Toledo Maritime Center in Toledo, Ohio. While his book is done, Kennard is certainly not. As the book’s subtitle, “A Journey of Discovery” suggests, Kennard’s own journey continues. He’s now searching for a B24 Liberator bomber aircraft, named “Getaway Gertie,” that was lost in snowstorm in February 1944. According to Kennard, it was last heard flying over Oswego about 2 a.m. on or about Feb. 18. “I am tenacious and persevere to achieve the goals that I have set forth to accomplish,” he noted. With that determined spirit, Kennard may soon be writing the final chapters of “Getaway Gertie.” Those interested in learning more about shipwreck diving and Kennard adventures can visit www. July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ gardening Main entrance of the Garden of Fragrance on the grounds of Rochester Museum and Science Center, 657 East Ave, Rochester.

A Passion for Herbs Garden of Fragrance seen as a haven right in the middle of Rochester. By Mike Costanza


emperatures in the 90’s couldn’t keep Joanne Barry away from the Rochester Museum and Science Center ’s Garden of Fragrance. “I love doing this, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” the 85-yearold said, before getting back to her weeding. The Hilton resident is just one of the members of the Rochester Herb Society who tend the Garden of Fragrance. About every two weeks from April to October, four or five herb lovers gather together to care for its plants, put in new ones, and in general prepare the gem to shine for the public. Sandra Happ, who leads the team that cares for the Garden of Fragrance, was there on May 26. “I’m going to do some weeding, and I’m going to plant some annuals today,” she said, as she prepared to plant dill and rosemary. Created in 1958 by the late Harriet Hollister Spencer, a local rose expert and civic leader, the Rochester Museum


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and Science Center ’s 1,200-sq.-ft. Garden of Fragrance has eight separate bed for herbs. The Monks Herbs garden features such plants as Joseph’s coat and Bible leaf. Next to it, the Bitter and Repellent Herbs garden offers Roman wormwood, horehound and other plants that repel insects. Across the way, the Culinary Herbs garden contains such delights as thyme, mint and basil. The herb beds surround the site’s Rose Garden. All of the Garden of Fragrance’s herbs serve a purpose — and some more than one. Horehound repels pesky insects, lavender is aromatic and edible, and fever few has medicinal qualities. “It helps to relieve a fever,” said Rochester Herb Society treasurer and past president Jean Bolster, who helps tend the Garden of Fragrance. The Rochester Herb Society has long been a haven for those who love raising their own herbs. “The club is very involved in growing and using herbs in

numerous ways, such as cooking and aromatherapy,” said co-president Jean Heaney. To those ends, the society holds monthly meetings at which its members can learn how to grow herbs and use what they grow, and can share recipes and other information. “Each month, there is a presentation of the ‘herb of the month,’” Heaney said. Most of the Herb Society’s members are at least 55 years of age — Heaney is 79 — and some have long belonged to the organization. Barry joined about 27 years ago, and has been the society’s president and vice president in the past. Bolster became a member back in 1996. “I had recently moved back to the area, and my neighbor was a member,” Bolster said. “I frankly thought it was a good social opportunity.” While bringing her together with new people, the Herb Society also gave the 75-year-old Livonia resident the chance to share something she loved with them.

“I enjoy working in all gardens,” Bolster said. “Gardening is good therapy. You can really connect with the garden, and everything else kind of melts away.” Bolster and other Herb Society members use what they’ve grown in tasty meals at home, at the organization’s monthly meetings, and at special events. “Once a year, in March, we have a ‘soup meeting,’” Heaney explained. “We have soup and cheese and crackers and breads that are made using herbs.” The society also creates and sells “therapy packs” that contain rice, along with chamomile, lemongrass peppermint, rosemary and other herbs. “They’re to relieve aches and pains,” Bolster explained. “There’s one that goes around your neck. You can put in the microwave and heat it or in a freezer, as a cold pack.” Hillary Olson enjoys visiting the Garden of Fragrance, even when she’s at work. The president and CEO of the Rochester Museum and Science Center can stroll through the site on her way from her home on the RMSC’s grounds to her office. “It’s a haven right in the middle of Rochester that anyone can walk to,” Olson said. “People are able to sit and meditate and relax in that space.” Olson sometimes picks a few leaves from an herb while visiting the Garden of Fragrance and crushes them, just to enjoy their feel and scent. “If I end up with a little bit of rosemary or lavender, or something like that, it just changes the smell and the sensory experience for me,” she explained. Olson praised the Herb Society for taking care of the Garden of Fragrance, but when members of the organization showed up at RMSC on May 26, the garden’s paths needed mowing and weeds had multiplied. “With the rain, and now the nice weather, the weeds are really growing rampant,” Barry said. Olson said that when COVID-19 hit the area, RMSC was forced to close its doors, lay off some of its staff and cut the hours of those who remained. Those still on the job have been too busy to mow the Garden of Fragrance. “All of our facility staff is working on how to make sure that we have all of our pieces in place for social distancing and signage and everything, and rearranging everything, for when we

Rochester Herb Society treasurer and past president Jean Bolster. “I enjoy working in all gardens,” she said. “Gardening is good therapy.”

The 1,200-sq.-ft. Garden of Fragrance has eight separate beds for herbs. July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


Sandra Happ, a member of the Rochester Herb Society. “I’m going to do some weeding, and I’m going to plant some annuals today,” she said, as she prepared to plant dill and rosemary.

reopen, which will be at the beginning of Phase 4 for the Finger Lakes area,” she said. “We will mow at some point in, probably, the next week, as we get to it.” On May 29, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Finger Lakes region could enter the second phase of his administration’s plan for reopening the state for business and recreation. If all goes well, the region could move to phase four within a few months. In the meantime, Barry and other Herb Society members will continue tending the Garden of Fragrance. “We’re just mainly taking care of the beds, and trying to make them look nice,” the grandmother said. The Rochester Herb Society currently has over 50 members. Those who want to learn more about or join the organization can go to https://

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55+ legacy Gary the Happy Pirate: Children’s Entertainer, Humanitarian Founder of Pirate Toy Fund retires, leaving a legacy through children’s music, donated toys By Rebecca Leclair


ome might find it unusual that a man who entertained thousands of children as a singing pirate and won multiple awards for his music videos never took a piano lesson or sang in his school chorus. But, then again, Gary the Happy Pirate has never led a typical life. “There were a lot of times I was living meal to meal —but I never remember being scared that I wouldn’t make it,” said the 60-year-old father of six and grandfather to 13. Gary Smith said he grew up as “just a regular kid” in Hilton. At age 18, he graduated from high school but had no plans to go to college. He was working in a floral shop with his mother. Then, he asked a friend to teach him how to play the guitar and his life took a complete turn. Besides guitar, he picked up playing the keyboard by ear and ended up the lead singer of a Christian rock band called “Stronghold.” “As long as we had money to eat and get to the next gig, we were doing OK,” reminisced Smith. Over the next three years, he toured the country in a Chevy van, married his youth group sweetheart

and future songwriter, and put out an album. Smith is proud of his singing on “Fortress Rock”, which is still ranked #382 of the 500 Best Christian Rock Albums. CCM Magazine’s review stated, “Stronghold was Christian music’s answer to Black Sabbath without the Ozzyfied vocals.” “That was a great time. Music took over my life and I got to marry my best friend,“ said Smith. He also felt a calling to the Christian ministry. When the band broke up, Smith moved away from the heavy metal sound, settled down, and took a job with his church. As worship leader, he quickly learned that playing his guitar helped engage kids in the congregation. He started writing songs for them and establishing skills that eventually translated to his future career as a children’s entertainer. “He was realizing what a terrific reaction he could get from kids just through a song,” said Bob Marini, a church member and album producer.

“When he came to me for help arranging his first album, I was blown away by his material. We had so much fun with it. I signed on for the long haul.” Smith’s first secular gig came on “Dad’s Day” at his daughter ’s pre-school. He asked a fellow church member, Doug Ladd, to join him. The two were friends and worked together at Colorgraphics in Greece. “Since Doug played guitar too, I asked him to come,” said Smith. “Dads were supposed to tell the class about their jobs, but I knew little kids would get bored hearing about photo production. So, Doug and I made up a few songs and we were a big hit.” Word spread quickly to other teachers about the amazing duo, “Doug and Gary.” No marketing was necessary. Within a year, the pair had performed 367 shows at churches, schools and birthday parties for free or for free-will offerings. In 1989, Ladd and Smith continued to work full-time at Colorgraphics July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


Gary the Happy Pirate with Marissa Andris and Jessica Roth dropping off toys collected at a holiday toy drive at their company, ConServe in 2016.

Kathryn and Gary Smith surrounded by their 13 grandchildren. 28

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during the day and collaborate on new children’s songs at night. Kathryn, Gary’s wife, would often supply the lyrics based on real-life experiences from her role as an at-home mom. When the kids did not eat their vegetables or want to brush their teeth, she would write a song. Ladd remembers coming over to the Smith household for a song-writing session in 1990. The kids were being a bit rambunctious, so Kathryn got up to make them some popcorn. According to Ladd, as soon as the kernels started exploding, so did the duo’s most requested song, “Popcorn!” “It just came together. ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop-corn … Eat it hot or eat it cold’ … the words were simple, and the melody was so catchy,” said Ladd. “Then, we told the kids to pretend they were a kernel and jump up to pop — that’s when the dance moves came to be.” Many of their songs were from collaboration, but Kathryn gets credit for writing lyrics for 75 original songs. On one of her first songs, “I’m a Happy Pirate”, she gets credit for the music as well. “I had one of those small, toy pianos in front of me. There’s only one octave of notes. Gary wanted a song about a pirate, so I started banging it out. The entire song is just one octave,“ said Kathryn.

Enjoying the bounty The pirate theme stuck. In 1991, Doug and Gary taped a live concert at Nazareth College called “The Adventures of Doug & Gary: The Happy Pirates.” Video clips began airing regularly on Nickelodeon. They started selling cassettes and VHS tapes that helped both men support their families through entertainment. This all led to an invitation by the Bush Administration to perform in the Rose Garden during the Easter Egg Roll event in the spring of 1992. The next year, a second invitation came but the venue had changed. The Clinton administration wanted Doug and Gary to perform on the Washington Mall to an even larger crowd. Other highlights included performing at the opening of the Mall of America and Billboard Magazine listing Doug & Gary among the country’s top children’s entertainers.

“Gary and I just clicked. He will always be a part of my life forever,” said Ladd. “We both had the same spiritual goals and wanted to elevate children’s lives through song. We worked hard and accomplished a lot in a short period of time.” The pair produced four albums and won two Parent’s Choice Awards. Yet, by 1993, Ladd was ready to move in a different direction. He wanted to go into teaching. Smith wanted to continue, solo, as “Gary the Happy Pirate.” Smith developed a weekly television show for WUHF and added a puppet sidekick named YoHo, which was first voiced by Kathryn. The show was recognized with two New York State Broadcasters Awards for “Best Children’s Series”. “What really impressed me was how immensely talented Gary was to come up with the musical support for what Kathryn had written. Those two really had a ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’ thing going and it worked so well,” commented Marini. Even with all the success and national accolades coming in, Smith never stopped focusing on ways to reach out to children in Rochester. He would often perform at the Golisano Children’s Hospital and was concerned because many of the sick children had no toys. He remembered how the late Rochester TV broadcaster Eddie Meath created a penny fund to raise money to help the community. Smith used the same concept to develop the Pirate Toy Fund. At first, he personally collected toys and handed them out to children admitted to Rochester hospitals. As more friends and volunteers joined the crusade, Smith decided to incorporate the Pirate Toy Fund as a 501(c)(3) charity. A board of directors was established and the organization expanded so that agencies that provide services to children in need could apply to receive toys. “It’s amazing what Gary has been able to do for the community — first as an entertainer and then as the founder of the Pirate Toy Fund,” said Otto Harnishfeger, PTF board president. “Everywhere he goes, people of all ages come up to him and either sing one of his songs or thank him for the toy they received when they were in a hospital. He’s touched so many lives

Rebecca Leclair and Gary the Happy Pirate reveal the total number of toys collected during 2019 Toy Drive-- 21,980.

Gary Smith donating 500 toys to Mariano Rivera after the Yankee Hall of Famer established a church in New Rochelle in 2014. along the way,” Harnishfeger said. In 2017, Smith stopped performing regularly and handed the rights to his songs over to “The Happy Pirates” who continue to offer community concerts. During the Pirate Toy Fund’s 25-year existence, the charity has distributed 250,000 toys through more than 75 community agencies. In March, Smith announced plans to retire at the end of May, but that turned into mid-June because of the coronavirus situation. He remains on the PTF board and is helping with the transition to the new executive director.

Harnishfeger started in that role on June 15. “It makes total sense to have Otto continue the mission,” remarked Smith. He is one of the hardest working volunteers we have. I’m sure he’s the best person to bring smiles to the faces of children — one toy at a time.” — Rebecca Leclair is a long-time PTF board member. Since 2000, she has served as Gary the Happy Pirate’s sidekick during the annual weeklong toy drive held in December. This year’s goal is 25,000 toys in honor of the organization’s 25th anniversary. July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ retirement A nationally recognized expert in the childcare field, Barbara-Ann Mattle was inducted into the Notable Women in Human Services Hall of Fame and was named 2017 Rochester Institute of Technology’s Alumnus of the Year. She received many other accolades during her 37-year tenure at Child Care Council Inc.

Child Care Council CEO Retires Barbara-Ann Mattle —after 37 years on the job: ‘It’s been a fun ride from beginning to end’ By Melody Burri


fter nearly 40 years of leadership at Child Care Council Inc., CEO BarbaraAnn Mattle will pass the baton to her successor, Jeffrey Pier, former executive director of The Healing Connection. “I’ve enjoyed it from beginning to end,” said Mattle from the dining room table-turned-temporary office in her Webster home. “All those new things were always out there to do. We just took a look and said ‘we could do that.’” During her 37-year tenure at the council helm, Mattle earned regional and national recognition as a go-to resource for childcare development and quality child care training. Under her leadership, CCC grew from an agency with a $20,000 budget and a staff of 1.5 people into the largest child care resource and referral agency in the state, boasting a $7 million budget, 60 employees and offices in Monroe, Livingston and Wayne counties.


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“At my first board meeting after being hired,” recalled Mattle, “I was told we only had one contract from the city of Rochester — a $20,000 grant — and it was set to expire in November. I was told to figure out if we should stay in business, and if so, what should we do.” The challenge was sobering, even more so when she learned there were no standardized training programs or materials for child care workers on file. So Mattle and her half-time assistant set about writing and developing training programs and manuals for area child caregivers. Fast forward 37 years and the council is now contracted by New York state to provide oversight, inspection, training and fingerprinting for all registered family child care providers and registered school child care programs. U n d e r M a t t l e ’ s leadership, programs and services flourished, including New York state

family and school-age child care program registration and inspection services, New York state legally exempt child care enrollment and inspection, an early childhood professional library, a print shop that serves area nonprofits and a Repurpose & More Store. Mattle also facilitated the Region II New York State Regional InfantToddler Resource Center in nine counties; the New York State Pyramid Model program; the USDA Child and Adult Food Program sponsorship, and the Eat Well-Play Hard nutrition program in eight counties. Other program accomplishments included launching a special needs service, multilingual interpretation and support services (Spanish, Swahili, Arabic and Urdu), and a nine-county infant-toddler childhood mental health consultation service. Child Care Council also became one of only 10 sites across the country selected to participate in the Vroom project, a partnership with the Bezos

Family Foundation and Child Care Aware of America designed to strengthen the relationship between child care providers and families by focusing on brain-building language and tools.

Obligation to staff Mattle’s 37-year journey has had its rewards, with two in particular topping the list. “There was always a chance to grow, something new to do, and I never had a chance to become bored,” said the life-long pioneer and creative problem-solver. The joy of that invigorating and always-morphing work environment was evenly balanced by Mattle’s passion for helping advance the careers of her colleagues and staff members. “I’ve always felt responsible for the people who worked for me,” said Mattle. “We were building the company, but I was also responsible for their continued personal and professional growth and development.” Whether they were long- or shortterm employees, Mattle’s aim was to help them grow in their careers while growing the business and keeping it going. She hopes that’s a core value that will carry into the future. “We have a lot of long-term staff — some who’ve been working for us for more than 30 years,” she said. “We consider ourselves a work family. Our managers talk about the reasons they’ve stayed as long as they have, and it’s because of the family support. We always put family first.” According to her successor and other nonprofit champions, Mattle urges tenacity. “Don’t give up. Keep presenting your vision. It can work,” she said. A case in point is the CCC’s Repurpose & More Store, a craft supply resource center for child care facilities that Mattle said took “literally 10 years” to launch after its initial conception. After visiting Boston Children’s Museum and seeing its shop that sold surplus art supplies, Mattle’s team wanted to offer a similar resource for area daycares. A decade later, after multiple pitches and iterations, the 300-square-foot Repurpose & More

The Child Care Council staff gathered for a group photo. Store opened its doors to provide craft supplies for child care agencies. The store offers fabrics, paper, wood, foam, poster prints, scrap materials and over-run goods — items that otherwise would end up in a landfill — to use in art projects and as teaching tools. “When we wrote to Boston Children’s Museum to let them know they were our inspiration, they offered to sponsor us and sent us a truckload of stuff from their shop to help us start up,” said Mattle. Another piece of advice for Pier and other nonprofit champions: “Be open to opportunities,” she said. “And not just the ones you find, but the ones presented to you by your staff. Keep an open mind. Keep growing. Keep innovating, because there’s got to be more ahead to do.”

Laden with awards A nationally recognized expert in the childcare field, Mattle was inducted into the Notable Women in Human Services Hall of Fame and was named 2017 Rochester Institute of Technology’s Alumnus of the Year. She received The Human Services Council of New York’s 2020 Strong Nonprofits Leader Award, the Rochester Business Journal’s 2019 Icon Honors award, the Family Child Care Association of New York State’s 2018 Friend of Family Child Care Award, and was recognized for the 2018 National Family Child Care Organization Family Child Care Accreditation Project of the Year.

She has also made national presentations on topics, from how to operate a child care center, to career options and child care center financial management. She is a certified accredited facilitator and an accredited observer trainer from the National Family Child Care Association, a certified trainer in eco-friendly child care, and a SUNY-certified New York state health and safety trainer. Mattle earned her bachelor ’s degree in business administration and finance from RIT, her child care certificate from St. John Fisher College, and her certificate in child care center facility design from Harvard and Tufts University. “I am extremely proud of my more than three decades of work to improve and support the development of high-quality child care programs in New York state,” said Mattle. “We accomplished a great deal on behalf of area children and families, child care providers and early educators, working with the council board of directors, leadership team and staff. “I want to thank each of them for their amazing work and support over the years to improve access to child care and to connect families with quality child care,” she said. “I’m going to miss the people on staff and the whole child care community. It’s been a fun ride from beginning to end.” What’s next for the retiring CEO?  “I’ll worry about that after the 30th of June,” she said. “It’ll fall in place. It always does. I’ll just be open to what could happen.” July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ covid-19

Etiquette in the Age of COVID ‘Miss Manners’ talks good contagion behavior in new book

By Payne Horning


ven as quarantine orders in all parts of the country are being eased, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remains steadfast in its recommendation that people wear face coverings when in public. But that message clearly is not getting through to everyone. On a recent trip to the store, I noticed several individuals cavalierly shopping without any kind of face mask. Even some of those who were wearing coverings had them on below their nose and mouth. I suppressed the urge to say something to them after having seen several outrageous videos on social media where people who were confronted for not wearing masks lashed out at those around them. How to address these and other awkward situations that arise in a contagion is the subject of a new book “Miss Manners’ Guide to Contagious Etiquette.” Judith Martin, author of the famous Miss Manners advice column on etiquette that is published in more than 200 newspapers around the world, said she decided to write the book after being flooded with letters from readers. “People seem to be thrown, understandably, by a world that we’re totally unfamiliar with,” Martin said. In the book, Martin offers readers creative and refined ways to navigate social interactions in a time of social distancing. For example, how does one confront those who are being careless about safety guidelines? Rather than telling someone to back off when they are standing closer than six feet from you, express your concern about ‘our’ ability to follow the CDC guidelines on social distancing. Rather than telling someone to sneeze into their elbow,


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Judith Martin, author of the famous “Miss Manners” advice column. offer them a tissue. The key, Martin says, is to avoid shaming people publicly. “Basic law of diplomacy: if you want to persuade someone to do something, you give them a facesaving way to do it,” She said. “You don’t just vilify them.”

Martin’s contagion dos and don’ts guide also addresses how to properly inform guests about a postponed wedding, whether handwritten thank-you notes are still acceptable, how to politely get out of social interactions in a time when you cannot use the excuse that you’re not at home, even how much toilet paper one can display in their bathroom before it becomes gauche due to the product’s limited supply. Martin, who has been writing about etiquette for nearly 40 years, said this isn’t the first time she’s had to adapt her advice to fit new terrains. There have been other significant cultural changes, like the advent of technology, that put her skills to the test. Regardless of the circumstances, though, the principles Miss Manners espouses remain the same. “It comes down to how you treat other people and how you wish to be treated,” Martin said. “Decency, good manners, consideration.” Although good manners may not be something people think they have much time to pay attention to nowadays, Martin said minding one’s manners may actually be more important now than ever. The past few months of quarantine have forced families and roommates to spend more time with each other than ever before. And perhaps more importantly, Martin said kindness and consideration are all the more important in times of stress. Miss Manner ’s Guide to Contagious Etiquette is available as an ebook. And for those hungry for more, “Minding Miss Manners in an Era of Fake Etiquette” is also now available in audio, ebook, and hardcover.

Miss Manner’s Quick Tips n Don’t shame someone who isn’t following public health safety guidelines. “Reforming strangers only works when it assumes mistaken goodwill and allows them to comply without enduring public embarrassment, even if they deserve to be ashamed of themselves.” nLead by example. For example, when others are walking toward you on a narrow sidewalk and you hope to keep six feet apart, “First, move as far as you safely can. Then smile and perform the gesture that

a theatrical headwaiter would have to accompany his saying, ‘This way, please, Madam/Sir.’” n Make the most with the many tools we have at our disposal. For example, if you want to thank neighbors and friends who dropped off food and supplies when you were ill, get creative. “Miss Manners is no more suggesting that you scare people by popping up at their doors than she is that you thank them in French. But you can propose to arrange a virtual visit.”

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55+ cover

Vital Link Foodlink: volunteers making a difference for more people than ever By John Addyman

“People going hungry in this country is kind of ridiculous. I worked on a backpack program, packing a bag of food for youngsters to take home on Friday so they have something to eat over the weekend,” said Matt Smith of Victor. “Because, actually, there are a lot of kids who go hungry over the weekends because of poverty, lack of care and for a variety of reasons. That’s amazing to me.” Smith, 59, is a retired sales and marketing services director for a scientific equipment company. He’s done business around the world. And he knows what it’s like to be hungry. “I am sensitive to that,” he said. “I grew up in a rural area, where there were rural poor. It doesn’t matter if you live in the country or the city: When you’re hungry, you’re hungry.” He volunteers at Foodlink and finds the experience has recharged a part of him. “I didn’t want to be unhappy anymore chasing the world to make a buck,” he said. He was able to retire


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early but didn’t want to sit on some board; he wanted to feel like his contribution was much more direct. “I think the effort I put in has immediate and tangible actions that people need. As a senior manager for

many years, I got distanced from the people who really count — you lose track of them,” he said. He spends about two days a week at Foodlink, sorting and packaging emergency food boxes for families

Foodlink’s warehouse facility in Kodak Park in Rochester. Photo by John Addyman July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


and bags for kids’ backpacks. When he’s not at Foodlink, he helps out at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Canandaigua. Smith said Foodlink is encouraging more people like him to step up. “They’re starting to get their arms around the idea that there are a lot of other folks who retired early and have the time to do volunteer work and like the mission of Foodlink,” he said. Just what is that mission? “To leverage the power of food to end hunger and build healthier communities,” Smith said. Foodlink supports 250-plus emergency food suppliers in 10 counties. It takes its mobile pantry program throughout the area. Its Curbside Market brings fresh produce to people in need. It is one of the first established — and certainly one of the longest running — food banks in the country. Tom Ferraro set it up 41 years ago and shepherded its expansion into a dependable component of the community heart. The agency was proactively smart and blissfully able to wrench into a higher gear when the pandemic hit. Noreen Bischoping Crouse, 60, of Penfield, knew she had to be a Foodlink volunteer when she turned on her TV. “I watched the videos of what was going on in other parts of the country, where people were lined up for miles, waiting for food, she said. Skip Leonhard, 55, of Webster, was there as Foodlink geared up in March as businesses and plants closed in New York state. “We were packing emergency food boxes to be distributed to various sites — like the Rochester Public Market — for people who had not been seeking assistance before this, but because of losing their jobs or being furloughed, they now needed additional assistance,” he said. “I was dumbfounded that there was such an incredible need. It had grown exponentially with the explosion of this pandemic.” Foodlink Communications Manager Mark Dwyer said his agency processes 18 to 20 million pounds of food each year, equating to 5060 million meals. The 10 counties Foodlink serves have about 150,000 people living in food insecurity situations. Because of the pandemic, “our


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Laura Reitter is a Foodlink volunteer, working to put food boxes together on the floor of the warehouse facility in Kodak Park in Rochester. numbers are expected to rise about 45%,” Dwyer said. “A lot of those people are families we’re seeing for the first time,” he said, “people who are relying on an emergency food service for the first time. It’s startling for them; not the most pleasant experience. We want people to be comfortable asking for food. We’re here to serve everybody. There’s no shame in being hungry.” Dwyer also amplified Smith’s remark about a new kind of volunteer at Foodlink. Before the pandemic, many of the volunteer shifts were taken by corporate or community groups, where a good number of people were available for a short period of time. Once COVID-19 hit, Foodlink had to shift to a new plan because of Centers for Disease Control & Prevention regulations. “The United Way stepped up for the nonprofit community,” Dwyer said. Anyone who wanted to volunteer at Foodlink now had to go through a screening process via phone. Foodlink itself

decided no one over 60 years of age could volunteer during the pandemic. Other volunteers couldn’t show up for their three-hour work shifts with a fever or viral symptoms, something that was screened for before they left for their shift. Volunteer Laura Reitter, 57, of Greece was a volunteer when the pandemic occurred. A business leader with a certified public accountant background, she has experience in operations and customer service, and is impressed with how Foodlink operates. “The staff responded so quickly and in such a broad way with the community at the forefront. They were concerned about volunteer safety and were up and running with volunteer opportunities by mid-March, gathering people to start making a difference,” Reitter said. With some of the older volunteers unable to come in, new groups formed quickly. “People decided what they wanted to do, what their talents were,” she said. “We changed locations from

the downtown convention center to a warehouse on Manitou Road in Kodak Park, and it’s become a much more efficient process.”

Stepping up Volunteers unpack pallets of food, check expiration dates, place similar items on tables, and “packers” or “carters” circle the tables, picking up food items to pack a box with items that include pasta sauce, pasta, cereal, vegetables, pancake mix, and peanut butter. “Everybody shows up to work,” she said. “People get embedded in the process because they want to work and they like the team. There’s nothing more rewarding at the end of the day. People care so much about helping others.” Reitter spoke about how appreciative a volunteer was to be there, helping. “She said, ‘I said a prayer over the food I was packing in the box, and for the families who were going to receive it.’” “We work,” said Noreen Crouse. “You don’t hear a whole lot of chitterchatter. They know what needs to be done; I really want to get something accomplished. Supervisors are incredibly caring and very positive. They’re very careful in making sure everyone feels wanted and useful. I enjoy the whole environment, the whole concept of what Foodlink does. We are just so fortunate to have something like it here; how streamlined and efficiently we can get food to people.” A special education teaching assistant at West Irondequoit High School, Crouse started bringing 12 of her students to Foodlink each month in 2014. “They got a great sense of accomplishment in providing something to the community, and we were able to incorporate social skills in a work setting such as communications, attention to detail, problem-solving, and teamwork,” she said. “We got to practice skills learned in the classroom to real life.” When schools closed in March, Crouse kept volunteering solo. “I have encouraged others to do this,” she said. “It feels good when we’re in a time where we’re told to stay home, but this is something we can do to feel part of the solution and

Debbie Leipold has been a volunteer for six years — and 848 shifts — at Foodlink. She works in a break room, preparing thank-you letters for people who donate money to the organization.

Volunteers Noreen Bischoping Crouse, a Penfield resident (front) and Matt Smith, of Victor. July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


Are We Consuming Too Many Drugs? Research: One in six medications prescribed to older people causing more harm than


illions of people around the world over the age of 70 are taking at least one medication every day that is causing them more harm than good, leading to falls, confusion, hospitalization and even death. Polypharmacy is on the rise, globally, and causing the World Health Organisation so much angst that it has named it one of the most serious health challenges facing society, calling for urgent action. University of South Australia researcher Emily Reeve is answering that call, using a $1.5 million federal government grant to investigate how to safely reduce inappropriate medications prescribed to older Australians. Reeve says despite widespread evidence showing the harm that inappropriate medications are causing to older Australians, current guidelines provide few, if any, recommendations for clinicians about when, or how, to stop medications. “A typical older Australian has four chronic health conditions and is taking six regular medications, one of which is inappropriate, with the potential harm outweighing any benefits,” Reeve says. “ Wi t h d r a w i n g i n a p p r o p r i a t e medication may seem straightforward, but it’s not. It’s complex due to a lack of evidence-based guidelines based on robust and internationally recognised methodology.” Reeve says apart from the health risks, polypharmacy is a huge financial burden for global health systems. In Australia, hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted annually through inappropriate medications and worldwide the WHO estimates that $18 billion alone could be saved by correctly managing medication use. The economic benefits of deprescribing also means that governments can direct those savings towards other quality use of medicines and non-drug treatments, Dr Reeve says.


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right now it doesn’t feel like there are a lot of solutions. “What’s nice is there’s a big teamwork component at Foodlink. You get to know people you wouldn’t know, people who are fun to get to know. Everyone has a good sense of humor, they enjoy one another and are willing to help one another.” Dwyer said that’s right on. “We want people to show up for the right reasons,” he said. “They’re hard working, they come here to do the job and volunteer and to meet new people. Admittedly, it’s a little harder with all the social distancing and facemasks now — it’s not the social experience it usually is. But people still do have camaraderie in the mission. We’re building healthier neighborhoods.” “I feel like I worked all day and did a good job,” said Leonhard. He struggled to find something meaningful to help out in the pandemic. “I’m not an EMT, a medical professional or in retail on the front lines helping people to get the things they need to live their lives,” he noted. “But in some small way, this was an opportunity for me to help other people. “All I’m doing is putting food in a box and I’m sure I could be replaced with the next person coming in, but to know that you’re helping with this is so very fulfilling,” Leonhard said. “I also have been talking to the Foodlink people — I was amazed at the need. Packing and distributing boxes was only a small part of all we were doing; we were helping people, and there were so many food banks and other agencies throughout the area.” “This pandemic has, if nothing else, shown us that circumstances for anybody can change on a dime. You might have thought you were set for life yesterday and this virus thing came around and now there’s a need. If you can help someone now and show that somebody else could help you later in your life, this is your opportunity to pay if forward. Understand that hunger is a real need.” “We can play a vital role and help with that. You can visit the United Way website right now and see a list of dozens of places looking for assistance from volunteers,” Leonhard said. “The need is tremendous; if we’re not going to be at work, we might as well be there helping people so they can survive

this situation, especially if we’re lucky enough to survive it ourselves.” Debbie Leipold, 64, of Rochester, envies those who are helping because due to COVID-19 restrictions at Foodlink, she can’t volunteer. She’s past that 60-year mark. She had completed 848 shifts in the last six years after, as she puts it, “Kodak dumped me after 34.5 years.” She works in the Foodlink offices and has a special task: If you’ve donated to Foodlink and receive a thank you letter in the mail, Leipold folded it, put it in the envelope and sent it to you. “Foodlink is family,” she said. “They do more for me than I do for them. During this COVID mess, people from Foodlink keep calling me to make sure I’m OK. They are watching over me.” After Kodak broke her heart in 2012, “I needed to get dressed and do something, to get out of the house,” she said. “And I needed to do something that had purpose; everyone needs purpose.” A longtime member of Eastern Star, she was part of a volunteer group that came to Foodlink and got hooked. “People at Foodlink are so appreciative: you never get to feel like you’re being used. And I’ve had that in my life,” she said. She sees another aspect of the agency. “One of the things I like best is they don’t just hand out food; they do a lot of education,” Leipold said. “A lot of young people don’t realize it’s cheaper to make food at home. The Foodlink Curbside Market (a special roving produce truck), with all that beautiful produce — young people don’t know what to do with vegetables, but the people with Curbside Market will show them and teach them. In these COVID-19 times, with prices so high, the Curbside Market will be even more of a Godsend.” Reitter underlined the importance of what she does as a volunteer for an agency that helps feed people. “Without food stability, we won’t ever get to fully recover. There’s so much unemployment, so much chaos in the world, with people in poverty or on the cusp of economic instability — they’re the ones who hurt. Food stability is critical,” she said. “I’m giving back,” she added. “I’m helping to create something.”

55+ books Leave a Legacy Geriatric social worker helps those who want to write a book about their lives By Christine Green “Respect your elders” — most people use this phrase to remind younger generations to be kind and considerate of older community members. But for Nicholas Salvatore Gatto, founder of Legacies of Life, LLC, “respect your elders” is not just about how we should behave. It’s about understanding that seniors are a valuable source of wisdom and preserving their stories is an important pursuit. Gatto, 52, of Gates is a native of Rochester. Gatto graduated from Nazareth College in 1989 as a trained geriatric social worker. He is currently a case manager at Seabury Woods of The Episcopal Senior Life Communities. He founded Legacies of Life in 1994 after completing a 500-page book about his own life for his daughters. “It was a good literary workout,” he said.  After this “workout” he knew that he wanted to help others preserve their own stories, too. Ann Marie Cook is president and CEO of Lifespan and has known Gatto for 20 years. She believes that his skills as a social worker really helps him relate well to people as he interviews them for their own legacy books.  “I think his background and training lends perfectly to this type of work. We have a lot of social workers here, and what I noticed is they all have sort of the same qualities. They’re great

Nicholas Salvatore Gatto founded Legacies of Life, LLC. in 1994 after completing a 500-page book about his own life for his daughters. He now helps others write their stories. He is shown with his wife Linda Gatto. listeners, they really try to listen to the client and what their client wants and needs. Nick possesses that skill of just being a great listener.” Gatto uses his listening skills to assist clients who want a book about their life. After a series of interviews that can take a few weeks to a few months depending on the situation,

he writes a first-person narrative of the client’s life. It includes stories about themselves and their ancestors as well as bits of wisdom and advice for the people they love. “The main thing with Legacies of Life is sharing the story behind the story; why they’re doing the things they’re doing, their philosophies, what July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


Samples of books written by Nicholas Salvatore Gatto of Legacies of Life, LLC. Since he started his Legacies of Life, he has written about 60 books. He charges from $300 to $3,350 to write a book.

“The main thing with Legacies of Life is sharing the story behind the story; why people are doing the things they’re doing, their philosophies, what keeps them going, what they learned from their parents and grandparents.” Nicholas Salvatore Gatto, founder of Legacies of Life keeps them going, what they learned from their parents and grandparents,” Gatto said about these legacy books. “I guide them on their journey,” he continued. “Usually beginning from their formative years, growing up years, education, young adulthood, marriage, military and different life events.”  He can also include family photos and even poetry or other creative writing the client may have written themselves. The final product is beautifully bound by Thomas Pinzon of New Ridge Bookbindery in Penfield. Finally, he gives the client a digital copy of the book so they can add to it in the coming years if they choose. He offers eight different book packages. The smallest packages start at $300. Bigger packages or books that require more interview time are more expensive, up to $3,350 for the “platinum legacy” package. Gatto has now done over 60 books. 40

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Anyone can employ Gatto to create a legacy book, but his primary clientele are older people and those at the end of life in hospice or palliative care. “Life is much too short and, especially for those who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, the ability to share their life experiences is especially important,” he said. Gatto’s wife, Linda Gatto, said that legacy books are touching keepsakes for family members. “You know, unfortunately, some people that he wrote books for passed away before they could actually get the finished product. I remember one in particular. I went with him to a funeral and he handed the family the book at the funeral home, and the family was just so excited and thanked him over and over because they have something to remember their loved one by.” Cook agreed that his work has impacted so many of his clients whether they were at the end of life

or not. “I have to say his work has really changed not only the client, but their families. You know, from what I have seen, so many families didn’t know the background of their older loved one. They didn’t know the stories, all of the things that they have gone through, and it’s made such a difference at the end of their life in so many ways. Sharing those stories, reminiscing and the positive impact it makes not only to the older adult, but to the family, is incredible. Nick has provided that gift.” Gatto enjoys meeting people and learning from them. He once interviewed a holocaust survivor who shared her story of her life in a concentration camp. He is also fluent in Spanish and Italian, so he is able to speak with clients in those languages if they prefer. Family members, like adult children and grandchildren, are invited to be a part

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of the interview process. He recalled interviewing a gentleman whose wife of 70 years had tales of her own to add to her husband’s interview. “One life is like the other person’s life — they’re integrated. You can’t separate them out and their life story is the same but each with different parts.” Gatto noted that the success of his business is due in large part to his supportive and loving family. In 1995, after a year of creating legacy books, he was considering stopping as he hadn’t had the success he had hoped. But Linda gently pushed him to keep at it. “She said, ‘No way, you got to keep on going.’ So, I’ve been using her as a sounding board for the past 20 years. And that’s how it is a family company because she provides insights and guidance. She is my partner, side by side, providing insight and counsel.” Linda appreciates Nick’s dedication to his work and is happy to help him in any way she can. Their daughters, Julianna and Danielle, are always ready to assist as well. “I think it’s just something that Nick is very passionate about and when he’s passionate about it we want

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him to be passionate about it,” said Linda. “So we’ve always been there by his side. Our daughters, eventually, will take over the business.” In addition to his own legacy book Gatto has also written books for others in his family including Linda’s mother who turned 93 earlier this summer. One of the most rewarding aspects of the job is helping older clients understand that while they feel like they have lost so much — eyesight, physical health, hearing, and so on — that they really have gained quite a bit of love and history over the years. “They don’t know how much that

they actually gained or how much they have actually done. By talking to them, they’re able to verbalize what they’ve done.” Gatto donates a portion of his income from Legacies of Life to assist families who live in poverty as well as to organizations who help homeless animals. He is also working toward creating a legacies program for those with low or fixed incomes. To learn more about Legacies of Life, LLC contact Nicholas Gatto at 585-247-6802 or legaciesoflife1@ July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS




Fort Niagara

Exploring the Seaway Trail The 518-mile Great Lakes Seaway Trail offers unique historical places and diverse cultural heritage sites in addition to outstanding views and scenic vistas By Sandra Scott


he Great Lakes Seaway Trail was one of the first roads designated as one of America’s National Scenic Byways. The 518-mile trail follows along the shores of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River. Along the way are there are unique historical places and diverse cultural heritage sites in addition to outstanding views and scenic vistas. Explore and pause in the evening to watch a stunning sunset touted by many to be one of the best sunsets in the world. Forts: The shore of Lake Ontario was the first line of defense protecting the area from attacking forces during several wars hence the



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need for forts and other fortification. Fort Niagara was built by the French in 1726 and later taken by the British and turned over to the United States. It protected the mouth of the Niagara River. Fort Ontario was built in 1839 in Oswego protected the Oswego River. Lighthouses: There are 25 lighthouses along the Seaway Trail to satisfy the desires of pharologists (lighthouse enthusiasts). The Braddock Point Lighthouse is one of the few privately owned, fully functioning lighthouses in the country. It is now a B&B. The Tibbetts Point Lighthouse in Cape Vincent is a hostel. The H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego offers tours of the West Pierhead Lighthouse (also known as


Oswego Lighthouse) and the Sodus Lighthouse is now a museum. Architecture: There are several Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the Buffalo area, two of which are open to the public. The Darwin D. Martin House is one of most extensive of Wright’s Prairie Houses in the Eastern United States. South of Buffalo in Derby is Graycliff overlooking Lake Erie and designed by Wright as a summer home for the Darwin Martin family. Cobblestone houses are a unique architecture style along the trail that owes its existence to the stones along the lake shore. Check out the Cobblestone Museum in Albion to learn how the lake stones are fashioned into homes.


Seaway Trail Center, Sackets Harbor.

Road sign for the Great Lakes Seway Trail.

Sodus Lighthouse, Sodus Bay.

Chimney Bluffs State Park, Wolcott.

Battle Field, Sackets Harbor.

The Safe Haven Museum and Education Center, Oswego. July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


Lakes is perfect for growing produce. There are apple and peach orchards along with dairy and vegetable farms. In addition to u-pick fruits and vegetables there are many seasonal farm stands. Many of the farms offer family activities such as mazes and haunted hayrides during harvest time. Old McDonald’s Farm near Sackets Harbor is a family-friendly place with a variety of animals and activities including a dairy barn tour and pony rides. Parks: There are many state, county, and local parks along the Seaway Trail. Some have campsites and rental cabins, while others have marinas. Some are mainly for day use. Several of the parks allow swimming. One of the day-use parks, Chimney Bluffs State Park, has unique clay formations designed by nature. Many have great hiking trails. The Seaway Trail is a flyway for raptors and other migrating birds drawing bird watchers to it shores. Unique: Adjacent to Fort Ontario is The Safe Haven Museum and Education Center, a site that details one of the most interesting government actions during WW II when nearly 1000 Jewish refugees were brought the United States. Casey’s Cottage at Mexico Point Park is a carriage house that nearly 50 years ago was turned into an 11th century English manor house. The park also has life size statues of people germane to the park. The Underground Railroad was active also the shore of Lake Ontario. Visit the newly opened Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center and in Lewiston there is a statue, Freedom Crossing, honoring those who endangered themselves helping slaves to freedom in Canada. . Explore: Along the way stop and visit the museums of Rochester: George Eastman Museum, the National Susan B. Anthony Museum, and the Strong Museum. Long before the settlers arrived the area was home to Native Americans. Visitors can learn more about the Iroquois at the Seneca Museum in Salamanca, the Ganondagan State Historic Site near Victor, and the Akwesasne Cultural Center in Hogansburg. Another do not miss is the Frederic Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg.


Boldt Castle, Alexandria Bay.


Sample of Frank Lloyd Wright house in the Buffalo area.

Cobblestone Museum in Albion.


Castles: The 1000 Islands was the summer getaway for the wealthy. Among the magnificent homes is one that was inspired by the castles in Europe, namely the unfinished Boldt Castle. George Boldt, owner of the Waldorf Astoria in NYC, commissioned the building but it was never completed. It is now being restored. Nearby is the Scottish-inspired Singer Castle on Dark Island. It is completely furnished and complete with secret passages. It was built at the behest of the president of the Singer Sewing Company. 44

55 PLUS - July July // August August 2019 2020

Fort Ontario, Oswego.


Festivals and more: Harborfest in Oswego draws thousands to it four-day event to enjoy the food, crafts, music, and other entertainment. Learn about the War of 1812 at the annual reenactment in Sackets Harbor. Niagara Falls is one of the Wonders of the World where visitors flock nightly to see the lights on the falls. Nearly every area has its own unique festival or event from fishing derbies, to parades, to weekend events yearround including the Fire and Ice Celebration in Clayton. On the Water: Water, water everywhere and plenty to do. Fishing in the lakes and rivers is one of the biggest attractions along the Seaway Trail. There are many marinas serving boaters. The St. Lawrence Seaway is a system of locks, canals, and waterways that allow travel between the ocean and the Great Lakes. Visitors can see ships from around the world from the observation deck at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Visitors’ Center and learn about the Seaway. Farms/orchards: The soil and climate around the Great




55+ art

Art Reflects Society Artist William Page draws from societal ills, challenges to create his unique artwork By Todd Etshman


oneoye Falls is an idyllic inspirational place for artists like William Page. “It gives me a relaxing environment. It’s a very comforting visual place to be,” he says. His art, however, isn’t about an idyllic setting by the downtown waterfall. It’s not fun art. It’s art about emotion and the human condition. It’s art about “the great war for civilization,” which was, of course, a description given to World War I. It was on his grandfather’s WWI service medal and it’s a description that still applies to the world today, Page says. “In my humble opinion, we’re still an angry society all over the world today. We are our own biggest problem,” he says. “People are still in conflict, still determined to destroy each other.”

To depict that tragic aspect of life in art, he paints bones, frequently dinosaur bones, as a symbolic representation of the conflicts of life. His work is bigger than a typical wall or gallery hanging. An 8-by-10 foot painting could take up most of a wall. There’s a distinction between communicable art and decorative art, Page says. His art is firmly in the former category. To describe what he does, Page uses the analogy of a prehistoric cave man depicting what he sees happening in the Page world through large cave wall paintings.

“A lot of art isn’t understood. I use dinosaur bones and human beings to signify the psychosis humanity goes through,” he says. “What’s happening in society and trouble in society is what generates my paintings.” It sets Page apart since it’s not a common theme among American artists. It’s art that may be more suited to European tastes than ours, he says, noting that art exhibits in Europe are based on how society feels. That’s not necessarily true of exhibits and galleries in the United States. Page said museums are better suited to his kind of artistic expression and typically have more display room. Acrylic painting is his medium. “I use it because it dries fast,” he explains. “I paint from emotion. I need to keep a flow,” the artist says. Acrylic is good for that and for quickly correcting mistakes, too.

‘Part of a big swirl’ Dinosaur bones aren’t the only things you’ll see in Page’s paintings, however. There are people, galaxies and horses. There’s even a piece called the “Star Mane Healing Horse.” “I’m a big galaxy freak,” Page says. “We’re part of a big swirl together.” Page, 69, says it was a third grade grammar school teacher in Buffalo July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


who first got him interested in art and encouraged him to develop his talent. He’s been using symbolic representations to depict the conflicts of human beings ever since. He grew up and went to school in Buffalo before moving to New York, where he managed an art gallery in Soho, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan. He managed there for 10 years in addition to pursuing a career in advertising and public relations. A major piece in his portfolio of work is a portrait of the World Trade Towers as seen from his studio window in Jersey City before the 9-11 attack. Like many area baby boomers, he returned to Upstate New York to care for an elderly parent and cherished the time he got to spend with her in her last years. Today’s turbulent times — with nationwide “Black Lives Matter” protests happening in Rochester and across the country in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic — are ripe for an artist’s interpretation and concern. It’s likely to show up on the artist’s canvas. A finished painting of a crucified dresser is symbolic of elderly nursing home residents’ plight in the pandemic. Primal therapy is an impetus for his work. “Primal therapy takes deep troubling emotions and exhumes them. You become aware of where hurt comes from. It takes these feelings out of your system so it doesn’t impact your life,” he says A part of the value of art isn’t presenting it to others as much as using it to understand yourself, he explains. Page has done that through challenging times that included service time in the Marine Corps, which opened his eyes to world conflicts then and now. But, artists do have a need to share their work with people and talk about their work with other artists. Honeoye Falls and the Mill Art Center and Gallery is a good place for that, Page notes. To expand on that, Page says he wants the town hall to utilize some of its free space to display the work of area artists. Samples of Page’s work can be found on his Facebook page at


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addyman’s corner By John Addyman

‘Grumpy Old Man’ Clashes with the wife prove it to be true


e’re having a “Grumpy Old Man” discussion in our house. Because we’re still adhering to coronavirus social distancing protocol, that means the discussion involves only two people — my wife and me. So when we’re talking about any grumpy old men hanging around, my wife is referring to me. Problem is, I don’t believe I am a grumpy old man. Yes, I am a man. Yes, I am old. And, on occasion I may, however briefly and momentary, have a strong opinion about something. When this occurs, I approach the ensuing debate with an even hand, a loving demeanor, and a patently friendly and monumentally welcoming embrace of different points of view, however wrong they may be. Take today. My sweet wife of many years and I went to the store to get a sponge mop to clean the kitchen floor. I do the floors and windows in the house (is this a great marriage or what?) and when I recently used our old mop, the results were not spectacular. We live in an old house with old floors. So there we were in the store in the middle of the week, looking at a mop. On the way in, I started coughing. It’s allergy season, and my allergies had kicked up. I had my mask on, but I was still coughing. “You’re going to empty the store,” my wife told me. “Maybe you should be wearing a sign that says, ‘It’s only allergies — honest!’” I looked around: No one was in our aisle. In fact, even though we walked through a crowd of shoppers

to get into the store, no one was within sight now. “Humbug!” I said. We had to look at a couple of mops before I found one I liked. “Can we use this on the floor without taking off its protective glossy coating?” I asked my wife, holding the mop in front of her so she could read the label. “Why are you asking me?” she said, taking hold of the mop. “Because I don’t have my glasses with me,” I told her. “Read the label and see if this is the mop we need.” The mop was fine. My wife also read the directions on the cleaner we got, and on the glossy floor stuff we bought. As we headed to the cashier, I had the mop, a big bottle of cleaner, and a new floor brush in my hands. I asked my wife to hold the glossy floor stuff. “Why do I have to hold this?” she said. “Because my hands are full.” “You can’t hold one more thing?” she asked, incredulous. “If I do, I’m going to drop something and make a mess. Then the cashier will get on the PA system and say to everybody in the store, ‘Spill in Aisle Three! Watch out for the grumpy old man with the mop in his hand. That’s the same guy who came in here with a cough. Tell his wife you’re sorry she has to put up with him.’” “And she’d be right,” my wife agreed but she carried the glossy floor stuff to the counter anyway. When we got home, we ran into another little debate.

Word crafters Before I tell you the story, I have

to explain that my wife taught English in high school for 11 years; I taught writing to adults for 17 years. The two subjects are not anywhere near the same. She had done some work at our church right before we went shopping for the mop, and I asked her who was working with her. “It was just Katie and Joanne and I,” she said. “It was just Katie and Joanne and me,” I responded while correcting her. “’Katie and I’ is correct,” she pushed. “Direct object is objective case,” I said. “and ME.” Then I disagreed with myself: “Actually, you’re using a predicate nominative, so I is also correct.” She stood there in the kitchen, glaring at me. Usually when my wife glares at me, she backs up to get a better view with her glare. This time she was standing her ground. Then she told me she would never argue grammar with me because I have a bookcase full of grammar books (it’s true) and it was pointless, and oh yes, “You are a grumpy old man.” “That’s settled,” I said brightly. “What’s for dinner?” Actually, my grumpiness started a long time ago, and it has made a positive change in my wife. I’m referring, of course, to garage sales. Once upon a time, my wife would accompany me to garage sales where I was hunting for records, and buy next to nothing. I would come home with armloads of stuff; she didn’t. I tried to imbue in her the “First Rule of Garage Sale”: If you like something, don’t walk away from it — it won’t be there when you come back.” One day, it happened — she loved something, but couldn’t make up her mind, and walked away from it with her grumpy not-quite-so-old husband reminding her of the first rule. Not 10 minutes later, she wanted to go back and buy the thing which, you knew it, was gone. From that day on, my wife wades into garage sales — she calls it “junking” — with zeal. Her car is a hatchback with a cavernous space in back and on many a Saturday, she has filled it. She scoops up her treasures in bags, puts them in the car, and sometimes I don’t see what she’s bought for years, when I suddenly look at something sitting on

a shelf or table and ask, “Where did that thing come from?” So I say to all the folks that think we men of a certain age are grumpy — we’re not. We’re lovable. Ask my wife. I did. She didn’t hesitate: “Actually, you’re both.”

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Chateau Senior living 100 Isla Way, Brockport, NY 14420

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You don’t have to face hearing loss alone. The Rochester Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) unites people with all degrees of hearing loss. July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


long-term care By Susan Suben

Spending Too Much on Prescription Drugs? There’s Always Help When You Need It Programs designed to help with the cost of medications


e’re living through a crisis that probably none of us have ever seen in our lifetime. It is testing our strength financially, socially and emotionally. Yet we need to remain positive and look for things that we can celebrate, that inspire us and that can ease some of our hardships and concerns. As we try to return to a “new normal,” we may be seeking financial assistance information that will help us move from this phase to the next as easily as possible. With that in mind, I would like to tell you about two prescription drug programs that could help with the cost of your medications — EPIC and Good Rx. EPIC stands for Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage. It is administered by the NYS Department of Health. It provides secondary coverage for Medicare Part D, which is the Medicare prescription drug program after the Part D deductible, if any, is met. It can help enrollees pay for their Medicare Part D premium, deductibles, co-pays and coverage gap depending upon earned income. It also covers many Part D excluded drugs. To be eligible to join, you must be a NYS resident, age 65 or older, have an annual income below $75,000 (single) or $100,000 (married) and be enrolled or eligible to be enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan. You can sign up for EPIC anytime during the year through what is called a special enrollment period (SEP). Covered drugs must be in your Part D formulary. After you satisfy any Medicare Part D deductible, EPIC will cover new prescriptions and refills; insulin, insulin syringes and needles; brand name and generic prescription


55 PLUS - July July // August August 2019 2020

drugs; and quantities up to your Part D plan’s limits. You must use a participating pharmacy in NYS to receive EPIC benefits. That means your pharmacy must participate in both EPIC and your Medicare Part D drug plan to maximize your benefits. There are some mail order pharmacies that also participate. EPIC has two plans based on your prior year’s income. The plan is for members with income up to $20,000 (single) or $26,000 (married). The deductible plan is for members with incomes ranging from $20,001 to $75,000 (single) or $26,001 to $100,000 (married). The fee plan has an annual fee that ranges from $8 to $300 per person. If you have a Part D deductible, you must satisfy it. After your Part D deductible is met, fee plan members will only have to pay the EPIC co-payment for drugs. Co-payments range from $3 to $20. There is automatic coverage in your Part D coverage gap. You will also receive Part D premium assistance up to the amount of $36.55 per month, which is the average cost for Part D premiums. The deductible plan has no fee to join but there is an annual EPIC deductible that must be met based upon your last year’s income. It ranges from $530 to $3,215. You must pay the full price for your Part D drugs until you meet your Part D plan’s annual deductible. EPIC will track how much you spend. Drug costs in the Medicare Part D deductible phase cannot be applied to the EPIC deductible. There is a deductible schedule online. Once you satisfy both deductibles, you will only pay the EPIC co-pays ranging from $3 to $20 based on the cost of

your drug. Many of my clients join the deductible plan even if they do not currently need assistance. There is no out-of-pocket cost to do so and it’s a way to plan for future drug expenses. Good RX is a discount program. Prescription drugs are not regulated and can vary substantially in cost. Good RX checks more than 75,000 pharmacies in the US to monitor prescription drug prices and provides free drug coupons for discounts on medications. It finds the lowest drug prices at pharmacies in your area. The company has a free to use website and mobile app. You can sign up for a card online. There are no fees or expiration dates and every member of your family is entitled to the discount. Once you receive your card, type your prescription on the home page. You will be able to see the pharmacy near you that can fill your prescription at the lowest cost. Print out the coupon or post it to your phone and take the coupon to your pharmacist to take advantage of the discount. It’s a simple process and the coupon will work with your insurance and Medicare. Know that there is always help available when you need it. Let’s remain positive. Let’s praise the dedication of our first responders, stay connected with friends and family, and help those who are vulnerable in our community. Susan Suben, MS, CSA, is president of Long Term Care Associates, Inc. and Elder Care Planning. She is a consultant for Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. She can be reached at 800-422-2655 or by email at

estate planning By Jason Livingston, Esq.

Probate Assets vs. Non-Probate Assets: What is the Difference?


robate is the legal process that takes place after a person’s death. The process may include collecting assets, identifying which property is to be distributed by the will, obtaining appraisals of estate property and paying off debts, taxes or other liabilities of the deceased individual. The final phase is to distribute the remaining property according to the terms of the will or in accordance with New York state intestacy law, if there is no will. Typically, probate involves filing a petition with the surrogate’s xourt within the county where the decedent was domiciled (where the decedent resided). This petition is called a probate petition (if there is a will) or an administration petition (if there is no will). If the decedent has a will, the original must be offered to the surrogate’s court when the petition is filed. Costs associated with the probate process, such as court filing fees and legal fees, are typically paid from the

estate of the deceased. Additionally, any funeral expenses may be paid out of the decedent’s estate. In many cases, the probate process is routine and straightforward. However, if the will is contested or parties do not cooperate, then the process can become lengthy and more complicated. While it is important to have a will to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, it is vital to note that wills and the probate process generally only apply to probate assets. Which leads to answer your next question … what are probate assets? Probate assets are assets owned in an individual’s name that do not pass via beneficiary designation or by operation of law. Examples include individually-held bank accounts and other financial assets. Furthermore, other probate assets include personal property like jewelry, artwork, furniture, cars, antiques as well as property only in the decedent’s name

such as real property (i.e. residence or cottage), business interests and/ or certain types of property interests. Jointly-held assets — such as a residence or joint financial account — are generally not subject to probate when the first joint owner passes away. However, there are many instances when these types of assets are held only by one individual and then become a probate asset. Typically, non-probate assets include those involving joint ownership (with right of survivorship) or those that are governed by a contract, which includes assets payable by designating a beneficiary. These include assets like jointly-owned real estate, life insurance policies and retirement accounts. For instance, when you obtain an insurance policy you designate a beneficiary and, in some cases, a secondary beneficiary. Since beneficiary designations are part of the contractual relationship established with the company, these designations will pass outside of distributions made within your will. Therefore, it is important to have a will so you can ensure your probate assets are distributed to the individuals of your choosing. Furthermore, if a nonprobate asset designates (or defaults to) “The Estate” as the beneficiary, those assets will also be distributed according to the terms of the will.

Jason Livingston is a trusts and estates attorney at the Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow. He concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, estate administration, trust administration, and guardianship petitions. He can be reached at 585730-4773. For more information, visit July / August 2019 2020 - 55 PLUS


55+ last


By Ernst Lamothe Jr.

Randy Sickler, 56 Fairport architect, who fought for the Raise the Age legislation in NYS, owns more than 3,000 vinyl records Q: What made you pick a career in architecture? I started in college majoring in mechanical engineering and I always had a passion for math and physics. There was something about putting together calculations that made me excited, but I also have an artistic bent. Because of this, I shifted and settled on architecture to start my career. I just viewed an architect as a jack of all trades who can see the big picture and help make everything work all

together. I specialize in K-12 and municipal buildings. When it comes to public safety buildings, functionality is just as important as aesthetics. It is all a methodical process and sometimes things need to be addressed quickly depending on the pace. I started working at SWBR in 1985. Q: What do you enjoy about the company? A: I really like that SWBR is the kind of company that encourages and incorporates younger people in the office. It is a great mix and we have an incredible amount of talent. When you have a big staff it is important that everyone feels like they are a part of the plan. I love the energy and fresh ideas that some of our younger employees bring. It really invigorates you and makes it a joy to come to work every day. Q: What is your connection to the Raise the Age initiative? A: Raise the Age legislation was to catch New York with other states that do not view 16 or 17-year olds as adults in criminal cases. Previously New York was one of the two states that prosecuted those juveniles as adults but now 16 and 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors are considered j u v e n i l e delinquents and their cases are decided in the family court. When you put those younger kids in a jail


55 PLUS - July July // August August 2019 2020

environment with older adults you tend to see the recitive rate increase. There can be many physiological effects and physical damage that comes when you put these young kids in with adult criminals who have been in the system for years. The Monroe County Juvenile Detention Center is going through phases that could create large spaces for these kids who are not fully formed adults and need attention and focus. This will allow them to be housed closer to their families as well. Q: What are some other areas that you are passionate about? A: I care about my community. We sometimes offer free design review services just to help businesses and organizations that may be coming into the town or village. We help them put their best foot forward on how their design could be a better fit. I really want to promote the town I live in and improve the quality of life in any way I can. We have a great active community here and we work well together which is the foundation of a good village or town. Q: What do you like to do in your spare time? A: There are two things I greatly enjoy outside of my family and that is traveling and music. There is so much to see in the United States and internationally. I make a regular pilgrimage to Cape Cod as one of my favorite places. When it comes to music I am someone who enjoys a variety of musical genres. There are people who say they love different genres but my musical collection shows it. I make sure to go to a lot of concerts and I have collected more than 3,000 albums. My album collections span from classical, rock and blues to hip hop and bluegrass, and I am often listening to radio and music around the house. Q: What is the best concert you ever went to? A: A couple of years ago I saw Paul McCartney at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Here is a guy in his 70s and he played for three hours with no break. He has an incredible personality and it was a phenomenal show. It teaches you that age has nothing to do with talent and being able to still be successful and incredible as you age.

I’m ready to live. That’s why I’m making the move to Chapel Oaks—while I’m still young enough to enjoy the pool, the fitness center, the excursions, dining, entertainment and all the friendly people. Lots of people my age want to slow down. Not me, I’m just getting started.

Caring for the Most Important People on Earth Come see what first-class senior living is all about! Schedule a tour of St. Ann's Community at Chapel Oaks in Irondequoit today: (585) 697-6606.


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Profile for 55 Plus: For Active Adults in Rochester

ROCH 55 #64 - July/August 20  


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