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The Howard County



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More than 30,000 readers throughout Howard County

Muslim community reaches out

Building bridges From the council’s foundation to the present, Muslims in Howard County have worked in many ways “to change people’s perspective” about what their community believes in and stands for, Hasan said.

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By Robert Friedman Raghid Shourbaji, who was born in Egypt, moved to Howard County 29 years ago. “After we lived in several other states, the example [of racial and religious tolerance] in the county definitely attracted us. We started a family and wanted our four kids to be raised in such a community.” Anwer Hasan, 56, born in Pakistan, also tried communities in other states before settling in Howard County in 1998 with his wife and three children. Like most of the growing Muslim community, Hasan started his stay in Howard County “focused on the American dream, on making a good livelihood.” Then came 9/11. Despite the fact that the crime was committed by ultra-radicals from halfway across the world, American Muslims felt they were under siege, especially from the national media and its reports of the “Muslim menace.” The terrorist attacks “changed our perspective,” Hasan said. “We realized that we had to reach out to the [larger] community. We had to show that Muslim-Americans are as American as other hyphenated Americans. We had to act for the sake of our children who were born and raised in America.” So, some months after the terrorists struck, he and about a dozen other Muslims from the community, including Shourbaji, met in the basement of Hasan’s Clarksville home, where they formed the Howard County Muslim Council. “When 9/11 occurred, I was so shocked, I didn’t know what to think,” said Shourbaji, also a Clarksville resident. “This was a heinous crime that has nothing to do with religion, committed by misguided individuals who were out of their minds,” said the 60-year-old owner of a home and office cleaning company. “Everyone felt the pain of what happened at New York’s Twin Towers,” Hasan said. “Muslims also died there.”


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Reveling in New Orleans’ eclectic charms; plus, cruising down the Rhine River page 23

ARTS & STYLE Anwer Hasan, pictured at the Dar Al-Taqwa mosque in Ellicott City, helped found the Howard County Muslim Council, which works to build bridges between area Muslims and non-Muslims, holding food drives, health fairs and forums for political candidates.

The council has initiated local food drives, health fairs, blood drives, dinners to show appreciation for teachers, and forums for political candidates. The food drive brings in four to five tons of food annually for the county food bank. The council, meanwhile, has pledged to raise $50,000 for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. “We wanted to make sure that Muslims have become an integral part of the society, not retreating or retrenching, but engaging in the community for the interest of the county,” said Hasan, the senior vice president of the Louis Berger Group, an international engineering, construction and

infrastructure management company. A sign of their success: In November, some 400 people, including several top Howard County officials, turned out at the Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville for a banquet to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the council. While trying to change the views of nonMuslims, the council also aims to modify the way the community perceives itself, Hasan said. “Instead of us being on the defensive, we want to make it a more interactive and See MUSLIM COUNCIL, page 27

An artist-owned cooperative gallery showcases local painting and sculpture page 26

FITNESS & HEALTH 3 k Robotics may assist the blind k Foods that fight prostate cancer THE SENIOR CONNECTION 14 k Howard County Office on Aging Newsletter LAW & MONEY k Estate tax hike looms k Fewer dividends in 2013?




J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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To be or not to be… As we approach the New Year, our ences in this world (such as my visits!). thoughts are generally forward-looking: But no, he said, that’s not what he meant. He was referring to all the We think about New Year’s medical conditions, pills, docresolutions, wonder what tor visits, hospital stays, losschanges the coming year will es of mobility and independbring, and think about what ence and the like that afflict we have to look forward to. those blessed with long life. On the other hand, we also I guess it was his way of are likely to see the popular image of Old Father Time saying what Bette Davis once passing on the baton to the said and Art Linkletter popunewborn New Year. The larized: “old age is not for image suggests, as does sissies.” much of our culture, that FROM THE For those who have missed those who are aged are “on PUBLISHER my earlier columns about my the way out,” while the future By Stuart P. Rosenthal parents, I should mention belongs to the young. that each of them has faced Many of you have read about my father some of the common health issues that afon these pages over the years, and though fect those of us on the other side of 50. he’s now 92, I hope to have the opportuniNo matter how well we take care of ourty to continue to write about my visits to selves, setbacks will occur — from acute see him and my mother for years to come. episodes like infections, falls and broken But my last couple of trips to Texas to see bones, to chronic conditions like arthritis, them have featured some significantly more to debilitating or even terminal illnesses. What was most interesting to me about sober conversations than usual with my Dad, and I’m wondering how widespread my father’s line of thought was that he his feelings are. A few months ago, he seemed to be viewing his recoveries from began talking about “how hard it is to die.” various setbacks as a “failure to die” rather At first, I thought he was saying how than “success at surviving.” Isn’t avoiding death the whole point of much he loved life and would find it difficult to let go of all the beautiful experi- modern medicine? Don’t we want our doc-

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The Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to inform, serve, and entertain the citizens of Howard County, Md. and is privately owned. Other editions serve Greater Baltimore, Md., Greater Washington DC, and Greater Palm Springs, Ca. Subscriptions are available via third-class mail ($12), prepaid with order. Maryland residents add 6 percent for sales tax. Send subscription order to the office listed below. Publication of advertising contained herein does not necessarily constitute endorsement. Signed columns represent the opinions of the writers, and not necessarily the opinion of the publisher. • Publisher/Editor ....................Stuart P. Rosenthal • Associate Publisher..............Judith K. Rosenthal • Vice President, Operations........Gordon Hasenei • Director of Sales ................................Alan Spiegel • Assistant Operations Manager ..........Roger King • Managing Editor............................Barbara Ruben • Graphic Designer ..............................Kyle Gregory • Advertising Representatives ........Doug Hallock, ................................................ Steve Levin, Jill Joseph

The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915 (410) 248-9101 • Email: Submissions: The Beacon welcomes reader contributions. Deadline for editorial and advertising is the 1st of the month preceding the month of publication. See page 31 for classified advertising details. Please mail or email all submissions.

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tors to fight every infection with antibiotics and every illness with hospitalizations and IVs and multiple medications and surgeries? And when these actions succeed and return us to our homes — perhaps somewhat drained, and sometimes even jaded by the many indignities imposed on us in the process — don’t we nonetheless feel relieved and happy to be back? My father has been suggesting recently that, well, maybe not entirely. Surviving to fight another day means having to face that next fight. And, at least in his recent experience, each fight is a bit harder fought than the last. So I told him I thought what he was finding so difficult was not dying, but rather choosing to live by fighting death. It takes energy, sometimes an indomitable spirit, to bounce back and take another crack at life. I reminded him how hard he worked at painful physical therapy to regain the strength to walk unaided; the effort he made to learn how to crush his medica-

tions and feed himself through a stomach tube. These things bespeak his very strong will to live, and they are an inspiration to me and to others, I said. It’s been a few months since that original conversation, and I think he has gradually been regaining his long-time optimistic outlook. I was visiting my folks again recently, and this time, though Dad made a passing reference to dying, he spent much more time complaining about some of his doctors. “You come in with an aide or family member, and they talk about you to the other person as if you’re not there,” he said. He wanted to grab the doctor by the collar and say, “I’m the patient. Talk to me!” My dad’s no sissy. Seems to me he’s ready for another bout.

Letters to the editor Readers are encouraged to share their opinion on any matter addressed in the Beacon as well as on political and social issues of the day. Mail your Letter to the Editor to The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915, or e-mail to Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification. Dear Editor: Your Social Security piece (“The time is ripe,” From the Publisher, December) is the clearest explanation I’ve read on the program. The “save the Social Security” crowd is not being helpful. Richmond Davis Columbia Dear Editor: Mr. Rosenthal’s December 2012 editorial on Social Security contained a very misleading statement. He said that because the Social Security trust fund is invested in U.S. government debt obligations, “it is wrong to say that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit.” First, this confuses the current deficit with the national debt. In no way does Social Security contribute to the current deficit. Second, while trust funds securities are a form in which the national debt is held, Social Security has not contributed to the debt. To say so is like saying that if you borrow from your IRA to buy a car, saving for retirement contributes to your personal indebtedness. In fact, the contrary is true. From the adoption of the Unified Budget in 1969 until 1990, the Social Security surplus directly hid at least some current deficit spending. It is most probable that the 1983 Social Security overhaul he referenced was designed as much to balloon the Social Security surplus to hide part of the deficits created by Reagan’s tax cuts and defense

build-up as it was to ‘save’ Social Security. It is likely that the current concern to solve projected, far out-year Social Security shortfalls has as much to do with restoring a Social Security current surplus to hide the current deficit as it does ‘saving’ Social Security. James Kelly Ellicott City The publisher responds: In response, I simply would like to quote the following from Dr. Charles Blahous, Trustee of Social Security, recently printed in the Washington Post: “Statements that Social Security does not add to the federal deficit are unequivocally incorrect. In 2012, Social Security adds roughly $165 billion to the deficit as its benefit expenditures exceed its tax income by that amount. This gap is filled entirely by revenue that the federal government borrows. Social Security is indeed financed from separate trust funds, but these receive revenue from several sources, including borrowed money. There is understandable confusion about the interest payments the trust funds receive from the general fund, which add to the federal deficit. But there ought to be no confusion about the roughly $220 billion in additional debt purposefully issued to Social Security from general revenues in 2011 and 2012. See LETTERS TO EDITOR, page 29

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3

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FEED YOUR PROSTATE Tomatoes, broccoli, garlic and soy may help reduce prostate cancer risk DO YOU GET DIZZY? Those who feel dizzy upon standing are sought to test a new drug A PAIN IN THE NECK Neck and shoulder pain has many causes; varied treatments provide relief HERBS TO KEEP ON HAND Stock your medicine cabinet with essential oils, echinacea and usnea

Robotics can help the blind to navigate By Helen Knight Technologies that help machines navigate are being adapted to help blind people find their way around. Robots need help navigating their surroundings and use sophisticated location systems to keep track of their position. Now the same technologies are being adapted to help blind people navigate indoor and outdoor spaces independently. One such system, being developed by Edwige Pissaloux and colleagues at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France, consists of a pair of glasses equipped with cameras and sensors like those used in robot exploration. The system, unveiled at a talk at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this spring, produces a 3D map of the wearer’s environment and their position within it that is constantly updated and displayed in a

simplified form on a handheld electronic Braille device. It could eventually allow blind people to make their way, unaided, wherever they want to go, said Pissaloux. “Navigation for me means not only being able to move around by avoiding nearby obstacles, but also to understand how the space is socially organized — for example, where you are in relation to the pharmacy, library or intersection,” she said.

3D tactile maps Two cameras on either side of the glasses generate a 3D image of the scene. A processor analyses the image, picking out the edges of walls or objects, which it uses to create a 3D map. The system’s collection of accelerometers and gyroscopes — like those used in robots to monitor their position — keeps track of the user’s location and speed. This information is combined with the 3D

image to determine the user’s position in relation to other objects. The system generates almost 10 maps per second, which are transmitted to the handheld Braille device to be displayed as a dynamic tactile map. The Braille pad consists of an 8-centimeter-square grid of 64 taxels — pins with a shape memory alloy spring in the middle. When heat is applied to the springs, they expand, raising the pins to represent boundaries. The Braille version of the map is updated fast enough for a visually-impaired wearer to pass through an area at walking speed, said Pissaloux. Seth Teller, who develops assistive technologies at MIT, called the work exciting and ambitious. This is not the only robotics project to be re-purposed. Software that predicts how far a robot has traveled based on information from its on-board sensors is being modified to track a person’s move-

ments based on their stride length. The low-cost system, being developed by Eelke Folmer and Kostas Bekris at the University of Nevada in Reno would help blind people navigate around buildings using just a smartphone. The new system uses freely available 2D digital indoor maps and the smartphone’s built-in accelerometer and compass. Directions are provided using synthetic speech. To help the smartphone calibrate and adjust to a user’s individual stride length, the user must initially use touch to detect the landmarks in their environment, such as corridor intersections, doors and elevators.

Virtual assistants A virtual assistant can help blind people explore their surroundings. Developed by Suranga Nanayakkara at the MIT Media See ROBOTICS, page 4

Aspirin improves colon cancer survival By Marilynn Marchione Aspirin, one of the world’s oldest and cheapest drugs, has shown remarkable promise in treating colon cancer in people with mutations in a gene that’s thought to play a role in the disease. Among patients with the mutations, those who regularly took aspirin lived longer than those who didn’t, a major study found. Five years after their cancers were diagnosed, 97 percent of the aspirin users were still alive versus 74 percent of those not taking the drug. Aspirin seemed to make no difference in patients who did not have the mutations. This sort of study can’t prove that aspirin caused the better survival, and doctors say more research must confirm the findings before aspirin can be recommended more widely. The study wasn’t designed to test aspirin; people were taking it on their own for various reasons.

Inexpensive treatment Still, the results suggest that this simple medicine might be the cheapest gene-targeting therapy ever found for cancer. About one-sixth of all colon cancer patients have the mutated gene and might be helped by aspirin. And aspirin costs just pennies a day.

“It’s exciting to think that something that’s already in the medicine cabinet may really have an important effect” beyond relieving pain and helping to prevent heart attacks, said Dr. Andrew Chan of Massachusetts General Hospital. He and others from Harvard Medical School led the study, which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. Cancers of the colon or rectum are a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. More than 140,000 new cases and 51,000 deaths from them are expected this year in the United States. Several studies suggest that aspirin may help fight cancer, especially colorectal tumors. It is often recommended for people who have colon cancer and others at high risk of developing it. But it’s not advised for wider use, or for cancer prevention, because it can cause serious bleeding in the stomach and gut. What has been lacking, doctors say, is a good way to tell which people might benefit the most, so aspirin’s risks would be justified. Chan’s study suggests a way to do that. It involved 964 people diagnosed with various stages of colon cancer who were among nearly 175,000 participants in two health studies based at Harvard that began in the 1980s.

Every two years, they filled out surveys on their health habits, including aspirin use. Most had surgery for their cancer, and many also had chemotherapy. They gave tumor tissue samples that could be tested for gene activity. Researchers focused on one gene, PIK3CA, which is involved in a key pathway that fuels cancer’s growth and spread. Aspirin seems to blunt that pathway, so the scientists looked at its use in relation to the gene. In those whose tumors had a mutation in that gene, regular aspirin use cut the risk of dying of colon cancer by 82 percent and of dying of any cause by 46 percent during the study period of about 13 years. Only two of the 62 regular aspirin users whose tumors had the mutated gene died within five years of their cancer diagnosis versus 23 of 90 non-aspirin users with such a mutation. The results are “quite exciting,” said Dr. Boris Pasche, a cancer specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who wrote an editorial that appears with the study in the medical journal. Half a dozen drugs are used to treat colon cancer, but only one of them meaningfully extends survival in people whose

cancers have not widely spread, he said. “Now we may have aspirin. That’s why it’s a big deal,” Pasche said.

Regular use, not dose, key In the study, the dose of aspirin — baby or regular — didn’t seem to matter, just whether any aspirin was regularly used. The test for the gene is not expensive and is simple enough that most cancer centers should be able to do it, Chan and Pasche said. The National Institutes of Health and several foundations paid for the study. One of the 17 authors consults for Bayer, a leading aspirin maker. Pasche has been a paid speaker for two companies that make cancer treatments and has two patent applications under review related to cancer treatment. Researchers warn that aspirin may not be responsible for the improved survival seen in this study. Differences in how the patients’ cancer was treated could have played a role. For that reason, they say the next step should be a study where some people with the mutated gene are given aspirin and others are not, so their cancer outcomes can be compared more directly. — AP


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How your diet affects prostate cancer risk By Sharon Palmer “It seems nearly all men will develop prostate cancer if they live long enough,” said Karen Collins, a registered dietician and nutrition advisor for the American Institute for Cancer Research. Thus, scientists have been searching for lifestyle measures that can help stack the odds in your favor. Promising research reveals three important diet strategies that can help you mount a defense: A plant-based diet, mod-

erate dairy consumption, and maintaining a healthy weight. Focusing on a predominantly plantbased diet, which includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, is key to prostate cancer protection, according to Collins. This style of eating means that you fill up at least three-fourths of your plate with whole plant foods, such as beans, lentils, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Plant foods are rich in thousands of nutrients and compounds.

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“A variety of vegetable and fruit choices is especially encouraged, because some choices may provide unique protective effects,” said Collins.

Foods to eat more of Here are a few plant foods recently being researched for their role in prostate cancer prevention: 1. Tomatoes. Tomatoes and tomato products, such as canned tomatoes and pasta sauce, are rich in carotenoids that impart red, yellow and orange colors. The most abundant carotenoid is lycopene, which studies have linked with cancer protection. The lycopene from processed or cooked tomatoes is more bioavailable than that of fresh tomatoes. While lycopene is found in other fruits such as watermelon and guava, tomatoes account for 80 percent of our consumption. There’s a body of evidence to show that tomatoes are associated with lower incidence of prostate cancer. Britt BurtonFreeman, Ph.D., director of the Center for Nutrition Research at Illinois Institute of Technology, reviewed 86 studies related to tomato and lycopene intake and prostate cancer, and concluded that there is a protective relationship between tomato and tomato-based foods and prostate cancer. “An important distinction is that research provides greater support for con-

Robotics From page 3 Lab, EyeRing consists of a ring equipped with a camera, and a set of headphones. The user points the ring at an object they are holding and uses voice commands to say what they need to know — the color of an item of clothing, say, or the denomination of paper money.

suming tomatoes as part of a healthy diet, but does not support the use of lycopene supplements to reduce risk of prostate cancer,” said Collins. 2. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy, are good choices to include regularly, although we need more research to confirm how much impact their glucosinolate compounds — naturally occurring compounds that appear to have anti-cancer effects — have on prostate cancer, Collins said. 3. Garlic. Some preliminary laboratory and animal studies suggest that the compounds in garlic, such as the organosulfur compounds, may help slow the development, and reduce the risk, of prostate cancer. 4. Soy. While there is only limited scientific support for soy in prostate cancer prevention — laboratory studies suggest protection, but human studies have shown mixed results — soy clearly offers other health benefits, such as reduced heart disease risk and enhanced bone health. So, it may be a good idea to include more whole soyfoods, such as soymilk, tofu, soybeans, and edamame, in your diet. 5. Green tea. Polyphenols found in green tea arrest the growth of prostate cancer cells in laboratory studies, but See PROSTATE CANCER, page 5

The ring takes a picture of the object, which is transmitted wirelessly to a cellphone, where software analyses the image. The required information is then read out by a synthesized voice. It was presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Austin, Texas, in May. — © 2012 New Scientist Magazine. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Some research indicates that excess consumption of dairy products may increase prostate cancer risk. The EPIC Study, published in the European Journal of Cancer in 2010, found that dairy consumption above 27 grams of dairy protein and 880 milligrams of dairy calcium per day (the amount found in more than three cups of milk) was linked to increased risk. However, those who consumed moderate amounts — equal to about 1-½ to 2-½ cups of milk— showed a non-significant increase in risk. Collins said, “The bottom line at this point is that men who want to consume dairy products need not be afraid that moderate consumption puts them at risk of prostate cancer. However, excess consumption should be avoided. Two or perhaps three standard servings per day appear safe. “Men who consume dairy products should be cautious about foods that are highly fortified with calcium. Also, adding calcium supplements is not recommended, especially if it brings total calcium intake beyond the 1,200 mg./day that is the highest RDA for men, unless they are personally advised to consume more by their

Research has shown that supplements may not have a protective impact on prostate cancer — in fact, they may even have a negative impact. “At one time, there was big hope for vitamin E and selenium,” said Collins. And then came the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, a large study of vitamin E (400 International Units) and selenium (200 micrograms). The results, which were first published in 2008, showed an increased risk of prostate cancer with vitamin E alone, which continued even after supplements were discontinued, and the trial was halted early. Selenium supplements showed no decrease in prostate cancer risk, and a nonsignificant trend for increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “It’s not just that these supplements are no longer recommended, it’s that men [now] are discouraged from using them,” stressed Collins. It appears there are more benefits from eating nutrients found in real food, in which countless compounds and nutrients interact, than nutrients isolated in supplements. Some studies link prostate cancer with

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said Collins. However, an established link does exist for red meat and colon cancer, so it might be wise to avoid large amounts. Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384. © 2012 Belvoir Media Group. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.


Don’t overdo dairy

From page 4

high amounts of red meat — in particular grilled or fried meats cooked at high temperatures till “well-done,” since carcinogenic compounds may form in meat under these conditions. “The evidence is not nearly enough to make recommendations about red meat consumption or meat preparation in regard to reducing prostate cancer risk,”


more research is needed before recommendations can be made to drink green tea for prostate cancer protection. However, many other benefits, such as heart health and immune system support, are linked to this plant-based beverage. 6. Pomegranate. One clinical trial showed that drinking pomegranate juice may slow the progression of prostate cancer, but “other human studies are seriously lacking,” said Collins. “We just don’t have enough data on which to base any recommendations about pomegranate juice.”

physician.” A standard dairy serving is one cup (8 ounces) of milk or yogurt, two cups cottage cheese, or 1 ½ ounces of hard cheese. One of the key strategies to lower cancer risk is to reach and maintain a healthy weight. “Obesity is only weakly linked to prostate cancer incidence, but obesity is linked to increased risk of dying from prostate cancer,” said Collins. The most effective way to achieve a healthy weight is to increase physical activity — which on its own is linked with a 10 percent lower risk of prostate cancer — and increase the nutrient quality of your food choices.


Prostate cancer



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being, even though our bodies change considerably more than our personalities,” said Andrew Scharlach, a professor of aging at the University of California-Berkeley. “It’s important to focus on individual differences,” agreed University of Zurich psychologist David Weiss, “not to view oneself as just part of this elderly group.” For many seniors, the illusion of youth is not harmful or misguided — it’s protective. “They think: ‘I’m not old — old people are old!’” said Weiss. “‘I’m the exception.’” — Psychology Today


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University of Zurich researchers found that older adults who psychologically distance themselves from their own age group feel younger and perceive their future as more open-ended. Diane Rodriguez, 58, said she and her husband surround themselves with friends in their early 40s, which helps them act — and feel — “younger than some people [who are] younger than we are.” No one wants to be lumped into an unappealing stereotype. “There’s a lack of a sense of the older person as a full human

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Stuart Burney, 72, teaches and practices karate. “I feel 25,” he said. “Sometimes I feel 13.” Aside from hearing more “sirs” and noticing his thinning hair, Burney never really




Think younger to feel younger


Figuring out who’s taking their pills is about to get easier. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a “smart pill” that can tell whether a medication has been taken as prescribed. Made by Proteus Digital Health, the small pill is made primarily of silicon and embedded with a microchip sensor no bigger than a grain of sand. When activated by stomach acid, the sensor transmits a signal to a skin patch that indicates that a medication has been swallowed. The patch sends the information to a smartphone app, along with the wearer’s heart rate, temperature and activity level. The battery-operated patch must be changed weekly. With about 50 percent of people not taking their medications properly, U.S. doctors are excited about the potential of this technology, particularly in diseases where medications are vitally important to survival or the prevention of serious side effects. It is also expected to help doctors refine dosages and measure benefits. Another smartphone technology helps identify if the right pill is being taken. There are thousands of prescriptions in pill form, but few colors and shapes to choose from, which can lead to dangerous mix-ups, especially in hospitals. To help prevent such errors, Jesus Caban at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and colleagues have developed software that can identify a pill from a phone camera image. Websites such as and WebMD also have tools to help distinguish between pills, but you have to type in a description, making these services time-consuming to use. Caban’s software extracts the shape, color and imprint of a pill from its image and identifies the drug with 91 percent accuracy in less than a second. Future accuracy will be improved when the system learns to recognize a pill from a wider range of angles. The technique is also simple enough to work as a smartphone app so could be used at home. The team tested the system on images of 568 of the most commonly prescribed pills, taken from different angles and in a range of lighting conditions. — Harvard Health Letter and New Scientist


Technology can tell if you’ve taken a pill

thought of himself as 70 — until he went to an audition and was paired with a woman who reminded him of his 90-year-old mother. “I didn’t realize that’s my age group,” he said. Burney’s feelings are hardly unique. A trio of studies in Psychology and Aging suggests that we often resist seeing ourselves as old for good reason. Common ideas about old age — weakened bodies, loss of mental faculties — become ingrained in our psyches when we’re still young and spry. When we (ineluctably) age, we risk conforming to our own low expectations and using stereotypes as excuses. “I skipped the gym today because I’m tired” becomes “I skipped the gym today because I’m old.” But while aging is unavoidable, succumbing to long-held stereotypes about what that means is not. People who have the most pessimistic views about old age are, in fact, the most likely to resist seeing themselves as elderly — an attitude that can help stave off the very things they fear.

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A list of herbal remedies for every house Dear Pharmacist: Help me make an herbal medicine cabinet since you have such a good understanding of plants that act like drugs. — B.L. Dear B.L.: Sure. This will be great because herbal remedies are usually very inexpensive, and they come with fewer side effects than most prescribed medicines. Here are the musthaves: Eucalyptus essential oil: Purifies the air, and may relieve sinus and lung congestion. I keep a tiny bottle (similar to the sort that department stores keep for perfume samples) filled with pure eucalyptus oil. I sniff it before boarding an airplane, especially if people are

sick around me, and I’ve never gotten sick during or after a flight. You inhale it; do not ingest it. You can also dilute with a little oil and rub on sore muscles. Lavender essential oil: Another musthave, that you apply to your skin for minor burns, bites, stings, rashes, abrasions, pimples and so forth. You can take a few deep inhalations of this oil for instant relaxation or to help you sleep. Rub on pulse points. Tea tree essential oil: A powerful antifungal and antiseptic. Clean cuts/scrapes with it and apply to discolored fingernails and toenails twice daily. Can dab lightly on pimples. Do not ingest. Neutralizing cordial: Take this tincture by mouth. It’s great for stomach aches, gas, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn or acid

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reflux. I like Gaia’s brand for this. essences, and affects the emotional and spirEchinacea: Boosts immunity and en- itual layer of our body. People use it to help hances the production of white manage trauma or shock, conblood cells. Also great to ward vulsions, fainting, and even seoff colds, minimize allergies, vere stress like a car crash, anprevent infections, and protect imal attack, or witnessing from toxins from spider, scorpideath. Interesting, huh? I suson or jellyfish bites. Don’t take pect you want more informaif you’re allergic to ragweed. tion, so visit www.nelsonsnatuUsnea: Never heard of this, I bet! Usnea tincture is an antiWhite willow bark or Calbacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal ifornia poppy: These are and anti-amoebic. It kills used in the same way that you everything, so I’d suggest this DEAR might use ibuprofen, aspirin or for people with serious lung, PHARMACIST Tylenol. I recommend them as By Suzy Cohen staph, strep or bladder infecherbal tinctures. tions. Of course, do not delay There’s a whole world out medical treatment if you really need it. there on herbal medicine (the way it used Bentonite clay: Always in my house. to be!), and if you’d like more information, When taken internally, it binds toxins, but too just visit the American Botanical Council’s much can cause constipation. I suggest 1/8 website at or 1/4 teaspoon mixed in water daily, but do This information is opinion only. It is not not take within four hours of important med- intended to treat, cure or diagnose your conications because it will inactivate them. Clay dition. Consult with your doctor before using can be applied to the skin to draw out poison any new drug or supplement. from stings and bites, and to dry up pimples. Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist Bach Rescue Remedy: An energetic and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist remedy — you take a few drops by mouth. and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To It’s a brilliant combination of flower contact her, visit

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Many causes of neck and shoulder pain Do your neck and shoulders feel stiff when you awaken in the morning? Do the muscles seize painfully with no warning? Does neck and shoulder pain limit your physical activity and become your constant companion? If you suffer from pain in your neck and shoulders, you have plenty of company. Doctors estimate that seven out of 10 people will be troubled by such pain at some point in their lives. One in 10 adults is hurting right now. And between 50 percent and 85 percent of people with such pain will be bothered by it again within the next five years. Clearly, neck and shoulder pain is a common, and troubling, problem. But the solution is no quick-fix. Managing and relieving neck and shoulder pain can involve a combination of therapies including medication, physical therapy, self-help techniques and, less commonly, surgery. Neck pain isn’t all the same. There’s no shortage of ways to describe it, in part because people have different perceptions of how they experience pain. The type of pain will also vary based on what’s causing it. How would you describe your neck pain? Are your neck and shoulders stiff? Do they ache? Do you feel a sharp pain or hear a grinding noise when you turn your head? Pain can be mild or severe, achy or sharp, stationary or shooting. It may stand alone or be accompanied by other troublesome complaints. By clearly describing your specific neck symptom — or combination of symptoms, because they often overlap — you can help your doctor determine what’s wrong and how to help.

the head and upper neck, where muscles extending along the skull are contiguous with neck muscles that may become tense or go into spasm. Neck-related headache pain is typically dull or aching, rather than sharp. It is aggravated by neck movement and often accompanied by stiffness and tenderness of neck muscles. • Facet joint pain. Often described as deep, sharp or aching, facet joint pain typically worsens if you lean your head toward the affected side, and may radiate to your shoulder or upper back. Arthritis in the facet joints, as in other locations, may feel worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity. • Nerve pain. Irritation or pinching of the roots of the spinal nerves causes pain that may be sharp, fleeting, severe or acSee TREATING PAIN, page 10


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Types of symptoms The following descriptions will help you clearly explain your symptoms to your doctor: • Muscle pain. Aching or sore neck and shoulder muscles may occur in response to overexertion, prolonged physical stress (usually from poor neck positioning during everyday activities), or emotional tension. Muscles may also develop hard knots that are sore to the touch, sometimes called trigger points. • Muscle spasm. This is a sudden, powerful contraction of neck muscles. When you wake up with a painful stiff neck, that’s likely a muscle spasm — what is sometimes called a “crick” in your neck. The muscle usually feels painful, tight or knotted, and may be impossible to move. Muscle spasm can result from a muscle injury, but it may also occur if there is a deeper problem (say, in a disk or nerve) and the muscle tenses in order to stabilize the neck and prevent you from moving in a way to cause pain or further damage. Neck muscle spasms sometimes accompany emotional stress, but often there is no identifiable reason for muscle spasm. • Headache. Neck-related headache, called cervicogenic headache or cervical headache, is most often felt in the back of

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Study explores medication for dizziness By Carol Sorgen If you’ve ever stood up suddenly and felt the world spinning around you, you were probably experiencing an episode of symptomatic orthostatic hypotension (SOH). Also known as postural hypotension, this condition is a form of low blood pressure that can

make you feel dizzy or lightheaded after standing from a sitting or lying position. SOH is often mild, and usually lasts just a few seconds to a few minutes after standing. Long-lasting or frequent episodes, however, might indicate more serious problems, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you

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often feel lightheaded when standing up, especially if you lose consciousness. Other symptoms of SOH include blurry vision, weakness, fainting, confusion and nausea. Occasional dizziness or lightheadedness may simply be caused by mild dehydration (the older you are, the more prone you are to becoming dehydrated), low blood sugar, sitting or lying in one position for too long, or heat rather than SOH. Though mild SOH doesn’t usually require treatment, more severe cases may do so, depending on the cause. Among the causes of the condition are heart disease, diabetes, and nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

More common in older adults Your risk factor for developing SOH also increases with age and the use of medications for other conditions. Thus the condition is more common in those 65 and older. As your body ages, the functioning of special cells that regulate blood pressure can diminish. Aging also makes it more difficult for your heart to beat faster and to compensate for changes in blood pressure.

Treating pain From page 9 companied by pins and needles. Depending on the nerve involved, the pain may shoot down the arm or even into the hand. • Referred pain. When you feel pain at a site removed from the area where the problem lies, it is said to be “referred.” A variety of conditions may cause referred neck pain. For example, neck pain that worsens with exertion may indicate a heart problem, while pain when you eat may stem from a problem in the esophagus. You may feel pain in your neck from shoulder damage; conversely, what you feel as pain in your shoulder, head, arms, hands or chest may actually be referred pain from your neck. • Bone pain. Pain and tenderness in the cervical vertebrae are far less common than neck pain from the soft tissues. Bone pain needs medical evaluation because it can stem from serious conditions such as cancer or infection.

When to call the doctor Most neck pain doesn’t stem from anything medically serious, making it safe to try self-care strategies before seeking medical help. However, if your neck pain is so severe you can’t sit still, or if it is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, contact a medical professional right away: 1. Fever, headache and neck stiffness. This triad of symptoms might indi-

Individuals taking certain medications — including drugs for high blood pressure, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and depression — are also at higher risk of experiencing SOH. Combining prescription and nonprescription drugs, as well as using alcohol, can also increase your risk.

Study investigates drug The PAREXEL Early Phase Unit at Baltimore’s Harbor Hospital is currently seeking volunteers to participate in a clinical research study to evaluate the effects of the medication Midodrine versus a placebo on patients with SOH. Midodrine (marketed under the brand names Amatine, ProAmatine, or Gutron) is a vasopressor/antihypotensive agent. It was approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 for the treatment of dysautonomia (malfunction of the autonomic nervous system) and orthostatic hypotension. Midodrine is taken orally. Side effects may include headache, feeling of pressure/fullSee HEALTH STUDY, page 11

cate bacterial meningitis, an infection of the spinal cord and brain covering that requires prompt treatment with antibiotics. 2. Pain traveling down one arm, especially if the arm or hand is weak, numb or tingling. Your symptoms might indicate that a herniated cervical disk is pressing on a nerve. 3. Loss of bowel or bladder control. This might indicate pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots, needing immediate attention. 4. Extreme instability. If you can suddenly flex or extend your neck much farther than usual, it might indicate a fracture or torn ligaments. This usually occurs only after significant impact or injury, and is more likely to be detected by your doctor or on an x-ray than by your own perception. 5. Persistent swollen glands in the neck. Infection or tumor can result in swollen glands and neck pain. 6. Chest pain or pressure. A heart attack or inflamed heart muscle can cause neck pain, along with more classic heart symptoms. Excerpted from Harvard Health Special Report, “Neck and Shoulder Pain,” prepared in collaboration with the editors at Harvard Health Publications and Robert H. Shmerling, M.D., associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School and associate physician, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass. © 2012 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Health claims often call for skepticism Q: Is it true that coral calcium is economical calcium supplements that have better for me than regular calcium been shown effective. supplements? Q: Is it true that beef is A: Promotional material now considered heartsuggests that coral calcium healthy? — calcium supplements supA: Most research shows that posedly made from remnants frequently eating red meat, of Asian coral — is responsiwhich includes beef, lamb and ble for the longevity and pork, is linked to increased risk good health of people on Okiof heart disease. This is espenawa. cially true for processed red Okinawans do have low inmeat, such as hot dogs and cidence of cancer and heart sausage. disease, and overall good NUTRITION You may have heard that health, but many things about WISE beef can be heart healthy from their lifestyle are far more By Karen Collins, recent news stories. One study MS, RD, CDM likely to be responsible. of 36 adults with elevated choFor example, the Okinawan lesterol, for example, comdiet features an abundance of vegetables pared a diet high in beef and low in fiber to a and frequent seafood, is low in fat, and em- diet low in beef and filled with high-fiber phasizes portion control. Furthermore, vegetables and fruits. Both diets reduced people on this island are physically active and maintain healthy weights. Promoters of coral calcium say that it is better absorbed than standard calcium carbonate supplements, but I cannot find any scientifically sound studies published in journals to support such a statement. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, a recognized source of solid, research-based information on supplements of all types, “There’s no evidence that calcium from a coral source has any advantages over calcium from other sources.” Furthermore, the safety of ingesting coral calcium may be an issue, since some earlier laboratory analyses reported lead contamination. Finally, some question the potential ecological disruption if coral reefs are disturbed to get this substance. For now, there appears no reason to switch from dairy products and calciumfortified foods to get calcium, or if needed,

Health study From page 10 ness in the head, vasodilation/flushing face, confusion/thinking abnormality, dry mouth, nervousness/anxiety and rash. The study involves one screening visit, a hospital stay of up to 20 days/19 nights, and one follow-up telephone call. PAREXEL is recruiting males and females between the ages of 18 and 85 who have a documented history of symptomatic orthostatic hypotension and have been on a stable dose of Midodrine for at least three months. Compensation for a screening visit (which may include blood pressure monitoring, blood testing, an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and additional tests) is $20. If you qualify and complete the study, you may receive up to $2,475 in compensation. PAREXEL at Harbor Hospital is located at 3001 South Hanover Street. For more information, visit or call toll-free at 1-800-797-2448.

LDL (“bad”) cholesterol equally well whether high or low in beef. The low-beef diet in this study provided lean beef in amounts equivalent to about two decks of cards (about 6 ounces) per week. The higher beef diet provided lean beef equal to about one to one-and-a-half decks of cards (about 4 ounces) daily. The study lasted five weeks and was funded by the beef industry. It is not enough to support a change in diet recommendations. And although the drops in lipids like LDL were similar, that may not be the whole answer for heart health, as factors like inflammation play an important role. Beef is high in a form of iron called heme iron. One large population study recently linked higher consumption of heme iron from red meat with a 65 percent increase in heart disease.

Higher heme iron content is also thought to be one of the reasons that high red meat consumption (over 18 ounces per week) is linked to increased risk of colon cancer. For now, the best move for most of us for heart and overall health, if you want to include beef, is to choose lean cuts of fresh meat and to limit amounts to no more than 18 ounces per week. The American Institute for Cancer Research offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will return your call, usually within three business days. Courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research. Questions for this column may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., NW, Washington, DC 20009. Collins cannot respond to questions personally.

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Why hospitals don’t want you back soon By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar If you or an elderly relative have been hospitalized recently and noticed extra attention when the time came to be discharged, there’s more to it than good customer service. On Oct. 1, Medicare started fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications. The penalties are part of a broader push under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law to improve quality while also trying to save taxpayers money. About two-thirds of the hospitals serving Medicare patients, or some 2,200 facilities, will be hit with penalties averaging around $125,000 per facility this coming year, according to government estimates.

How to check your hospital Data to assess the penalties have been

collected and crunched, and Medicare has shared the results with individual hospitals. Medicare plans to post details online, and people can look up how their community hospitals performed by using the agency’s “Hospital Compare” website ( It adds up to a new way of doing business for hospitals, and they have scrambled to prepare for well over a year. They are working on ways to improve communication with rehabilitation centers and doctors who follow patients after they’re released, as well as connecting personally with patients. “There is a lot of activity at the hospital level to straighten out our internal processes,” said Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and safety at the American Hospital Association. “We are also spreading our wings a little and reaching outside the hospital, to the extent that we can, to

make sure patients are getting the ongoing treatment they need.” Still, industry officials say they have misgivings about being held liable for circumstances beyond their control. They also complain that facilities serving low-income people, including many major teaching hospitals, are much more likely to be fined, raising questions of fairness. “Readmissions are partially within the control of the hospital and partially within the control of others,” Foster said.

Modest penalties Consumer advocates say Medicare’s nudge to hospitals is long overdue and not nearly stiff enough. “It’s modest, but it’s a start,” said Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. “Should we be surprised that industry is objecting?

You would expect them to object to anything that changes the status quo.” For the first year, the penalty is capped at 1 percent of a hospital’s Medicare payments. The overwhelming majority of penalized facilities will pay less. Also, for now, hospitals are only being measured on three medical conditions: heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia. Under the healthcare law, the penalties gradually will rise until 3 percent of Medicare payments to hospitals are at risk. Medicare is considering holding hospitals accountable on four more measures: joint replacements, stents, heart bypass and stroke treatment. If General Motors and Toyota issue warranties for their vehicles, hospitals should have some similar obligation when a patient gets a new knee or a stent to relieve a blocked artery, Santa contends. “People go to the hospital to get their problem solved, not to have to come back,” he said.

12 percent readmitted

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Excessive rates of readmission are only part of the problem of high costs and uneven quality in the U.S. healthcare system. While some estimates put readmission rates as high as 20 percent, a congressional agency said the level of preventable readmissions is much lower. About 12 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who are hospitalized are later readmitted for a potentially preventable problem, said the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, known as MedPAC. Foster, the hospital association official, said medication mix-ups account for a big share of problems. Many Medicare beneficiaries are coping with multiple chronic conditions, and it’s not unusual for their medication lists to be changed in the hospital. But their doctors outside sometimes don’t get the word; other times, the patients themselves don’t understand there’s been a change.

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How to increase communication, respect Dear Solutions: people? What do you think? I love to have my grandchildren come The Grandpa visit, or at least I used to. I Dear Grandpa: like to talk to young people Ah, yes. There used to be and get their ideas. Now, something called conversation. though, when they come Unfortunately, conversation is they’re busy looking down now the slowest form of comall the time and typing into a munication. hand-held phone, machine, However, there is much for tablet or something. them to learn from the “art of They never look up, and conversation,” and it is an art. they’re busy the whole time Not only do you learn the use tweeting, searching or whatof language instead of shortever it is they’re doing, and SOLUTIONS cuts, but there is also much to they do it so fast and so much By Helen Oxenberg, be learned from looking at MSW, ACSW that I get dizzy watching. someone and watching their They say, “Grandpa, we’ll facial expressions, listening to teach you how to tweet and then you their tone of voice, seeing their gestures, can do it with us.” etc. These skills help to improve underI don’t want to do that. They think they standing and maintain relationships. have something to teach me. Shouldn’t Make their visits a learning experience for they learn something from me, like how them. Set rules. Machines must be turned to look up and have a conversation with off at mealtimes. While you are driving they

Hospitals From page 12 Another issue is making sure patients go to their required follow-up appointments. Medicare deputy administrator Jonathan Blum said he thinks hospitals have gotten the message. “Clearly it’s captured their attention,” said Blum. “It’s galvanized the hospital industry on ways to reduce unnecessary readmissions. It’s forced more parts of the healthcare system to work together to ensure that patients have much smoother transitions.” MedPAC, the congressional advisory group, has produced research findings that back up the industry’s assertion that hospitals serving the poor, including major teaching facilities, are more likely to face

penalties. But for now, Blum said Medicare is not inclined to grade on the curve. “We have really tried to address and study this issue,” said Blum. “If you look at the data, there are hospitals that serve a low-income patient mix and do very well on these measures. It seems to us that hospitals that serve low-income people can control readmissions very well.” Under Obama’s healthcare overhaul, Medicare is pursuing efforts to try to improve quality and lower costs. They include rewarding hospitals for quality results, and encouraging hospitals, nursing homes and medical practice groups to join in “accountable care organizations.” Dozens of pilot programs are under way. The jury is still out on the results. — AP

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(202) 333-0509 (DC) (301) 890-7575 (MD)

can tweet all they want, but as soon as you get to your destination, all machines must be turned off or, even better, left in the car. Tweeting is off. Talking is on. In case they have forgotten how to talk, have some interesting topics to help start them off. All this will not only be good for their brain, it will also be good for their hands, so they

don’t get carpal tunnel syndrome from all that typing! © Helen Oxenberg, 2012. Questions to be considered for this column may be sent to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915. You may also email the author at To inquire about reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.


Jan. 10


A workshop for those concerned with pre-diabetes and the prevention and delay of actual diabetes will be held on Thursday, Jan. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Howard County General Hospital Center Medical Pavilion, Suite 100, 10710 Charter Dr., Columbia. Fee is $15. For more information, call (410) 740-7601.


J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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VOLUME 3, NO. 1â&#x20AC;˘ JANUARY   2013


A Message from the Administrator By Dayna Brown, Office on Aging Administrator

As 2012 comes to a close, I am excited just thinking about the challenges and opportunities that the New Year will bring. And while everyone loves a fresh start, I am also looking forward to continuing the work begun this past year at the Office on Aging to address three top priorities: Aging in the Community (helping residents age in place), Caregiver Education and Assistance, and Healthy Aging Initiatives. I hope you had a chance to attend the recent â&#x20AC;&#x153;Aging in Focusâ&#x20AC;? event co-sponsored by the Commission on Aging, Office on Aging and the County Council â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it was a great opportunity to share information as we begin to move these priorities into the spotlight. You may still be able to catch it on Government TV. Watch for more events like this as we strive to inform and involve older adults in the planning process for the future of Howard County. I also want to thank Office on Aging staff, whose efforts made our first-ever Caregiver Conference a huge success. Based on the positive feedback from participants who found the day to be both enlightening and empowering, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve already begun planning for next year. If you are caring for a loved one and need information or assistance now, remember that help is just a phone call away. Contact a Maryland Access Point Information Specialist Monday through Friday at 410-313-5980 or email If you need help keeping your New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resolutions, chances are your local senior center has a class to meet your needs. In 2013, we plan to continue to seek out and implement new opportunities to promote healthy aging throughout the county. Plans are already well underway for the fifth annual WomenFest on Saturday, April 27 at the Glenwood 50+ Center. Visit to find out more, and mark your calendars to join us! I am looking forward to all of us working together to make Howard County the best community in Maryland and in the country to age in place. Happy New Year!


Adding Calories Can Boost Health

By Rona Martiyan, MS, RD, LDN, Office on Aging Nutritionist While most of us are concerned with cutting calories from our diets as the New Year begins, caregivers often need to find creative ways to increase the caloric consumption of those in their care. Meeting the nutritional needs of an older adult â&#x20AC;&#x201D; whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s yourself or someone in your care â&#x20AC;&#x201D; can be challenging, and the traditional three square meals a day approach may not be an option. With advancing age, appetite often diminishes, and health conditions can affect what we eat. Inadequate nutrition can cause fatigue, irritability and lack of concentration. Being undernourished makes you more susceptible to colds, viruses and other illnesses. So whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a caregiver to do? Make every food count! Try adding higher nutrient/calorie rich foods to increase the overall nutrient value while reducing the volume of food. (Eating six to eight smaller meals a day is often better tolerated than bigger traditional meals.) Total food intake over 24 hours is what counts. Eating with others has been shown to increase nutritional intake. Try lunch at your local senior center. To start each day off right, spread peanut butter on cut up fruit, celery, bread and crackers; sprinkle

dried fruits on cereal; and add instant breakfast to milk. Boost nutrient levels at every meal by using whole milk instead of water when making soups, hot cereals, cocoa and pudding. Add diced or ground meats and grated cheese to soups and casseroles, and add cheese to sauces and vegetables, too. Protein powder is a great addition as well, and is widely available. Though it is important to stay hydrated, try to drink fluids 30 minutes before and after meals instead of with meals, leaving more room for food! Avoid low calorie or no-calorie drinks like diet soda. Try milkshakes made from fortified milk instead. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a recipe to try: Fortified Milk: Mix 1 quart whole milk with 1 cup non-fat dry milk powder. Beat mixture until dry milk dissolves, and refrigerate for several hours to improve flavor. High Protein Milk Shakes: Blend 1 cup fortified milk, 1 scoop of ice cream, ½ tsp. vanilla and 2 Tbsp. of syrup (butterscotch, chocolate or strawberry) at low speed for 10 seconds. One serving provides 485 calories and 22 grams of protein! Always check with your healthcare provider before changing an eating plan. If necessary, ask about medications to help increase appetite which may be beneficial as well. Have a healthy New Year!

Chase the winter blues away by visiting nursing home residents with your pet. Arrange to have your pet evaluated and become a volunteer with Howard County Pets on Wheels. Our next regularly scheduled evaluation will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at the Bain Center. To register or learn how to get started, call Ingrid Gleysteen at 410-313-7461 or e-mail

Save the Date!

Join us for an interactive day designed to inspire you to enjoy a more balanced, healthy and fulfilled life! Vendors and Exhibitors â&#x20AC;˘ Dynamic Vendors â&#x20AC;˘ Engaging Seminars â&#x20AC;˘ Important Health Screenings

Saturday, April 27, 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ 10 am - 3 pm Garyy J. Arthur Community Center at Glenwood Gar 2400 Route 97, Cooksville, MD 21723

Corporate Corporate sponsorship sponsorship oopportunities pportunities aavailable! vailable! Contact Courtney Cour tney B arkley aatt 4410.313.5957 10.313.5957 Contact Barkley or or email email cbarkley@ho

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N â&#x20AC;&#x201D; J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3

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The Senior Connection

Mondays, 11 a.m. to noon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Gentle Yoga, Level 1, North Laurel 50+ Center Yoga reduces stress, tones muscles, and increases strength & energy; poses are modified for those with health challenges. Cost: $52 for 8 classes. Call 410-313-0380 to register. Thursdays, 10 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; New Year Zumba, East Columbia 50+ Center Step it up with exercise â&#x20AC;&#x201D; try Zumba! First class is free; cost for the 8-week session: $43. Call 410-313-7680 to register.

Mondays & Fridays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Acupuncture, Glenwood 50+Center Acupuncture is an amazing way to deal with stress, worry, aches, pains and illness. Call 410-313-5440 to schedule an appointment with licensed acupuncturist Maria Vanson. Cost: $65 per treatment. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Try Yoga, Glenwood 50+Center Choose from 3 different programs to gain flexibility, strength and centering: Hatha Yoga, Gentle Yoga or Yoga ½. Call 410-313-5440 to sign up for a class or to demo one. Cost varies. Friday, Jan. 4, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Celebration, Elkridge Senior Center Listen to Anthony Brown sing, enjoy a delicious lunch, and help Elkridge ring in the New Year with style! Cost: $4/person; call 410-313-6192 to register. Tuesday, Jan. 8, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Die Fledermaus, The Bain Center Tom Glenn, DPA, presents Johann Straussâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat). Cost: $13; call 410-313-7213 by Friday, Jan. 4 to register.




The Senior Connection is published monthly by the Howard County Department of Citizen Servicesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Office on Aging. We welcome your comments and suggestions. To contact us, or to join our email subscriber list, email with â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;subscribeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the subject box. Howard County Office on Aging 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046

410-313-6410 Dayna Brown, Administrator Advertising contained in the Beacon is not endorsed by the Howard County Office on Aging or by the publisher.

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 10 to 11 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Robotics as Assistive Devices, Ellicott City Senior Center Mount View Middle School students present their robotics research projects as part of a program sponsored by the Lego Foundation to find solutions for the challenges older adults face as they age. Call 410-313-1400 for information. Wednesdays, begins Jan. 9, 11 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Qi Gong, Glenwood 50+Center Try Qi Gong, an energy exercise, combining meditation and beautiful movements to calm the mind and relax the body. Cost: $53 for 10 weeks with instructor Jessica Koch. Call 410-313-5440 to register. Wednesdays, Jan. 9 - Feb. 27 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Zumba Gold, North Laurel 50+ Center A fun, Latin-inspired Zumba workout designed for the active older adult, and performed at a lower intensity. Cost: $43 for 8 classes. Call 410-313-0380 to register. Thursday, Jan. 12, 7 to 8:30 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Around the World in 80 Minutes, East Columbia 50+ Center Explore seven continents, four oceans and 37 ports as Mimi Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Donnell shares her photographic travelogue. Free; call 410-313-7680 to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;bookâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; your ticket. Mondays & Wednesdays, Jan. 14 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; March 13, 5:30 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Zumba Gold, Ellicott City Senior Center Zumba Gold is a fun, safe and effective format for active older adults, or beginners of all ages. Cost: $85 for 16 classes; no class 1/21 or 2/18. Call 410-313-1400 to register. Mondays & Wednesdays, Jan. 14 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; March 13, 6:30 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Gentle Beginning Yoga, Ellicott City Senior Center Yoga will help you build strength through gentle stretches and strengthening exercises (standing or seated on the floor). Cost: $85 for 16 classes. No class 1/21 or 2/18. Call 410-313-1400 to register. Mondays, Jan. 14 - March 4, 2 to 3 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Zumba Gold, Elkridge Senior Center Zumba Gold is fun and easy to follow, set to great music. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to stick to an exercise plan if you are having fun! Cost: $43 for 8 weeks; call 410-3136192 to register. Tuesdays & Thursdays, Jan. 15 - March 14, 5:30 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Zumba Gold, Ellicott City Senior Center Our new Zumba Gold class fuses Latin dance rhythms with easy-to-follow dance moves. Cost: $95 for 18 classes. Call 410-313-1400 to register. Wednesday, Jan. 16, 11 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Clutter Club, East Columbia 50+ Center Join us as we tackle monthly projects to clear clutter from our lives. Free; call 410-313-7680 to register.


Friday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Day of Service to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr., North Laurel 50+ Center Services of our neighbor, the North Laurel-Savage Multi-Service Center, will be highlighted. Light refreshments provided; call 410-313-0380 for more information. Mondays, Jan. 21 - Feb. 25, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; American Wars Series, Elkridge Senior Center Listen as local historians revisit the wars of our past. Come share your stories with the group! Cost: $20 for 6 weeks; call 410-313-6192 to register. Thursdays, Jan. 24 - March 7, 10 to 11 a.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; SPRING Bereavement Group, The Bain Center This group is for adults mourning the loss of a loved one to learn coping strategies, and how to reconnect with life after loss. Cost: $15 for 7 weeks. Pre-registration required; contact Karen Hull, 410-313-7466 or Monday, Jan. 28, 7 to 8 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; SPRING Caregiver Support Group, East Columbia 50+ Center A monthly group for caregivers of older adults to focus on practical/resource needs, emotional support, social networking and leisure. Respite care is not provided. Free; for more information, contact Karen Hull, 410-313-7466 or Wednesday, Jan. 30, 9 a.m. to noon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Cognitive-Communication Screenings, The Bain Center Loyola University Maryland will offer free cognitive-communication function screenings (memory, problem solving and attention). Call 410-313-7213 for an appointment. Fridays, Feb. 8 - March 15, 1 to 3:30 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Living Well, Medical Pavilion at Howard County, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, Columbia, MD 21044 Learn to manage your chronic health conditions, deal with pain and fatigue, communicate better with family and health professionals, and develop healthy eating habits and a fitness program. Cost: $28; call 410-313-5980 for more information or to register. Wednesdays, Feb. 27 - April 3, 1 to 3:30 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Living Well with Diabetes, North Laurel Community Center Learn to manage your diabetes. Discussions include: monitoring blood sugar; healthy eating & nutrition; preventing low blood sugar; fitness & exercise; stress management; and skin & foot care. Cost: $28; call 410-313-5980 for more information or to register.

Important Notices

â&#x20AC;˘ Thank you to everyone who supported Project Holiday. Your generous donations brought cheer to many Howard County nursing home residents!

â&#x20AC;˘ The Office on Agingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 60+ Legal Assistance Program is no longer operational. Individuals who are age 60+ and low income may call the 60+ Legal Program of the Legal Aid Bureau for assistance at 410-951-7760 or 1-800-999-8904, ext. 7760, or Relay 711.



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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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DOWN ON DIVIDENDS Dividend investors face steeply higher tax rates in 2013 unless Congress acts. The value of dividend-paying stocks may decline A HEALTHY TAX HIKE A new investment tax will be imposed in 2013 to help pay for healthcare reform; those with incomes over $200,000 will be affected

How to deal with 2013 cap gains tax hike By Dave Carpenter The impending jump in capital gains taxes has prompted a flood of nervous calls to financial advisers in recent months. On January 1, the maximum rate of 15 percent on long-term gains rises to 20 percent unless Congress extends the Bushera tax cuts. On top of that, the healthcare reform package imposes a new 3.8 percent Medicare tax on the investment income of high-income earners. That means their capital gains tax bill will increase by more than half to 23.8 percent for single filers with incomes of more than $200,000 and couples who make over $250,000. [See “New healthcare investment tax this year,” on page 21.] The looming increase poses a tempting reason to sell by December 31, 2012 for anyone who’s sitting on large unrealized gains in stocks, property or other assets. But pulling the trigger on a sale hastily could be a mistake. A couple of Joe Heider’s clients were in “almost a Chicken Little mode” over the much steeper tax bills they could face, said the regional managing principal of Rehmann Financial Group in Cleveland. One, a corporate executive with stock holdings worth several million dollars, wanted to sell all his shares

until Heider talked him out of it. It’s not just millionaires with money at stake. Plenty of retirees who regularly sell off some of their portfolio for living expenses could face heftier bills on stocks, mutual funds or bonds that have grown appreciably in value over the years. Those inclined to overreact by selling now without analyzing their situation would be wise to heed the old Wall Street adage: “Don’t let the tax tail wag the investment dog.” In other words, don’t become preoccupied with taxes at the expense of the ultimate objective. “Keep in mind that first and foremost it’s about making a gain,” said Heider. “The key is making money.” With that caveat in mind, here are five tips for approaching the possible capital gains tax hike: 1. Don’t hold a fire sale. Do some basic math, or have a financial adviser do it for you. “If you’re selling just because rates are going up, think twice,” said Rande Spiegelman, vice president of financial planning in the Schwab Center for Financial Research. “I don’t see selling just to lock in a lower capital gains rate.” Start by reviewing your portfolio to deter-

mine which investments have risen significantly in value since you purchased them. Think about when you are likely to sell. Then crunch the numbers on how much tax you’d pay by selling now or later. Refer as needed to an online capital gains calculator such as Selling now means you’d be left with a smaller sum of money or other assets to grow. So factor in lost opportunities for the assets to appreciate in years ahead. Plus there’s the out-of-pocket cost. 2. Keep it in perspective. Remember that the past decade has been an era of very low taxation by historical standards. A long-term capital gains rate of 20 percent starting in 2013 would still be relatively modest. Even the likely worst-case scenario of 23.8 percent for high earners would hardly be dire in comparison with many recent years. The maximum long-term capital gains rate was as high as 39.9 percent in the 1970s and 28 percent for a good chunk of the ‘80s and ‘90s. 3. Accelerate a sale you already were planning. Assuming the price is right, go ahead and sell in 2012 if you were going to do so

soon anyway. That’s particularly the case with property or real estate, where the rate increase for capital gains is slightly different but the same principle applies. A South Dakota man who had been planning to sell the family ranch he inherited from his parents is pushing the transaction through this fall. Rick Kahler, a certified financial planner in Rapid City, advised him he would likely pay at least $90,000 less in taxes by doing so than by waiting until next year. Kahler is telling clients they should consider moving up to 2012 any sale that they were expecting to make in the next 12 to 24 months. PwC, the U.S. arm of professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers, goes even further, recommending selling any asset now that you might otherwise sell in the next 10 years. Be wary of waiting until the last few days of the year, or you could get stuck selling at a market low. Investment guru Jeremy Siegel, finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, said stock prices could fall as much as 20 percent by year-end if Congress does nothing to keep the economy from falling over the fiscal cliff. 4. Watch your bracket. See CAPITAL GAINS, page 19

Changes coming in estate and gift taxes By Dave Carpenter Taxes that are largely a concern of the very rich will soon affect far more people unless Congress steps in. The impending drastic changes in the estate and gift tax laws are prompting a flurry of activity as 2013 draws near. Family members are making financial gifts, creating trusts and considering other tax-minded moves. Financial advisers, and trust and estate attorneys have been flooded with requests for assistance in the final months before the record-high exemption for both taxes is scheduled to plunge from $5.12 million to $1 million on Jan 1. If unaltered, the value of any estate in excess of $1 million will be subject to the estate tax, at a top rate of 55 percent next year, before passing to family or other heirs. Currently the top rate is 35 percent, starting at a level more than five times higher.

“There’s been a little bit of a frenzy all of a sudden,” said Janis Cowhey McDonagh, a principal with New York accounting firm Marcum LLP. “People are saying ‘Wait a minute, this is really going away. I need to do something before the end of the year.”’ The concern may not stir sympathy among most middle-class Americans, but it’s a pressing issue for many in costly locations, such as Howard County, where it’s not unusual for household assets to surpass the million-dollar mark. The new federal rates would affect roughly 55,000 estates next year, according to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, compared with fewer than 4,000 under current rates. An example cited by Fidelity Investments underscores the impact of the potential change. A single person or married couple with an estate of $3 million could

face a $945,000 federal estate tax bill next year. Under current law, that bill is zero.

Gift taxes may follow suit Heightening the 11th-hour tax commotion are the near-identical drops in the lifetime gift tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer tax. The latter is imposed on grandchildren or others who are 37 1/2 years younger than you. Wealthy families who are set up to pass along millions to their children and grandchildren have scrambled to give away or otherwise set aside huge chunks of their assets by the end of 2012. The aim is to lessen their future estate tax liability and spare their heirs much larger bills. President Barack Obama prefers an estatetax exemption of $3.5 million and a top rate of 45 percent. While running for president, Republican Mitt Romney wanted to eliminate

the estate tax but retain the gift tax as is. But congressional action would still be needed to enact any changes, which is why taxpayers with million-dollar estates have been scurrying to make changes in 2012.

Plan your strategy Here are some of the key strategic moves that can be made until December 31, 2012, with the assistance of attorneys and advisers, to gain a tax advantage before the laws change: Give away cash. Until Jan., 1, taxpayers can gift as much as $5.12 million during their lifetimes without paying taxes. That total is above and beyond the $13,000 annual gift-tax exemption that many taxpayers are aware of. That exclusion allows you to make an unlimited number of gifts See ESTATE TAXES, page 19

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3

Estate taxes From page 18 of up to $13,000 each year without incurring any taxes. But gifts much larger than that will be needed by Dec. 31, 2012 to make a difference in estate and tax planning. At the extreme wealthy end, McDonagh said one couple she advised wrote separate checks for $5 million to their adult children recently. It’s money the children would have inherited anyway, and now will be tax-free. People who aren’t quite so affluent can benefit from smaller but still substantial gifts. Many parents make large loans to their children to buy a home or for some other purpose. Calling it a simple cash gift, or forgiving a previous loan, can shrink the estate tax bill. Put it in a trust. A fear of giving away

Capital gains From page 18 Carefully consider the consequences of any sale on your adjusted gross income. Selling a substantial amount of assets could drive you into a higher tax bracket than you would have been otherwise, and this would skew your math on tax savings. And you don’t want to trigger the additional 3.8 percent surplus tax on a big chunk of investment income. 5. Preserve your capital losses. Don’t rush to sell if you have capital tax losses carried over from earlier sales. The technique known as tax-loss harvesting is generally a savvy way to reduce your

too much and ending up short-handed later in future years has caused “gifting paralysis” among many well-off people who could benefit, said estate planning attorney Todd Angkatavanich, a partner at Withers Bergman LLP in New Haven, Conn. That procrastination has turned into a late-year rush to action. Those who are still reluctant to make outright gifts to beneficiaries may wish to consider transferring assets into trusts, which can give the donor more of a say in how they are distributed. A trust is an arrangement in which an individual turns over property or assets to a trustee to hold for beneficiaries, generally with tax savings in mind. Among the many, often-complex options: An irrevocable trust can benefit children and grandchildren. One type, a grantor retained annuity trust or GRAT, tax burden. If you have sold shares of a stock or mutual fund for less than you paid, that created a capital loss for tax purposes. It can be used to offset a capital gain that you incurred by selling another stock or fund. Taxpayers who have more losses than gains can carry them over to subsequent years indefinitely and apply as much as $3,000 per year against their regular income. But using the tax losses in 2012 wouldn’t go as far as they would in 2013 and beyond when you’d likely have more capital gains taxes to offset. So, no need to sell shares just to have a gain to offset in 2012. Better to hang onto those losses and use them in later years, advises Jeff Saccacio, partner in PwC’s private company services practice. — AP




Howard County Police are offering a free home security analysis that includes a list of recommendations for improving overall security and your personal safety in your home or yard. For more information, call (410) 313-3758.


Elder Law and Life Care Planning

• Estate Planning and Administration • Veteran and Survivor Pension • VA Disability Claims and Appeals • Asset Protection • Medicaid Planning • Home Visits Available

Larry A. Blosser, P.A. 5457 Twin Knolls Rd • Suite 101 • Columbia, MD 21045


provides for annual payments to the donor for a fixed period of time before the assets go to the beneficiary as a tax-free gift. A spousal lifetime access trust sets assets aside for a surviving spouse that can still be accessed if needed, with limitations. And a self-settled trust makes the person who created it the beneficiary, but the money is controlled by an independent trustee. Give away a home. Giving a primary residence or vacation home to a child often is done through a qualified personal residence trust, or QPERT. The trust is irrevocable but specifies that you can maintain use of the property for a certain number of years. The property is then valued at a discount because heirs don’t get immediate use. Retaining the right to live in the house


makes it a “have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too” scenario for those who have expensive homes but are concerned about leaving themselves with too few resources, said Jim Cody, director of estate and trust services for investment advisory firm Harris myCFO in Palo Alto, Calif.

State taxes, too A wild card to consider in the year-end tax scramble: State laws on estate taxes differ from federal ones. Twenty-two states have either an estate tax, an inheritance tax, or both. It’s another reason why anyone trying to take advantage of current federal laws should seek help from an expert. Maryland levies its own estate taxes of up to 16 percent on estates over $1 million, but does not have a separate gift tax. — AP




Are you a low-income senior or disabled homeowner who is having trouble affording home repairs? Rebuilding Together of Howard County is accepting applications for free repairs and modifications to keep you safe and healthy in your home. Applications must be received by Dec. 31, 2012. To apply, visit or call (410) 381-3338.



The Howard County Office on Aging maintains a comprehensive listing of senior housing options, including independent apartment communities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes, through the Maryland Access Point program. For more information, contact Maryland Access Point at (410) 313-5980 or email


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Dividend investors face higher tax in 2013 By Mark Jewell What if one of your key sources of income were taxed at three times the rate you pay now? That’s a realistic possibility in 2013 for high-income investors who own dividendpaying stocks or mutual funds. Dividend investors earning modest income and retirees who count on quarterly payouts could face a higher rate as well. Investors have enjoyed historically low rates on investment income since 2003. But those will expire in January unless Congress and President Barack Obama reach a compromise first on taxes and government spending. Failure to reach a deal would trigger higher rates on other income as well, plus

automatic federal spending cuts. The combination could send the economy back into recession. The prospect of higher rates on dividend payouts starting in January has left dividend investors, as well as dividend-paying companies, with plenty of news to track and what-ifs to consider. Here’s a look at the key moving parts:

New rate reality? Until December 31, 2012, investors pay 15 percent tax on most dividends and on capital gains, the profits from selling investments that have appreciated in value. Unless Congress and Obama say otherwise, dividends will be taxed as ordinary income in 2013, the same as wages. So


Jan. 17


Pessin Katz Law attorney Helen M. Smith, an experienced estate planning attorney, will discuss trusts vs. wills, who needs a will, estate tax issues and other estate planning topics on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 10 a.m. at the Pessin Katz office, Suite 650,10500 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. The seminar will include an interactive “Question and Answer” period and participants are encouraged to bring with them any current estate planning documents. Although the seminar is free, registration is required. To register or for more information, call Rhonda King at (410) 938-8800 or email her at

Jan. 23


The Department of Recreation & Parks is coordinating an outing to Toby’s Dinner Theatre for a matinee performance of the musical Hot Nostalgia, featuring music from ragtime to swingtime to rock ‘n roll, on Wednesday, Jan. 23 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $49, including a buffet lunch. Transportation is on your own. Toby’s is located at 5900 Symphony Woods Rd., Columbia. Pre-registration is required. Email or call (410) 313-7279.

rates will go up depending on which income bracket a taxpayer is in. For the highest earners, the dividend rate could jump to 43.4 percent. The president wants to restore a 39.6 percent ordinary income rate for top earners, up from the current 35. High-income taxpayers will also face a 3.8 percent tax on investment income to help pay for Obama’s health care overhaul. For those in middle tax brackets, dividend rates in the 20 to 30 percent range are likely. The result is that middle-income earners could pay a dime or so more on each dollar of dividend income flowing into a taxable account. For high earners, it would be a quarter or so more. Dividend rate increases could be smaller if congressional leaders and Obama agree on a compromise to raise the level to something less than what the president wants. A tax bill can be delayed by holding investments in a tax-sheltered account. But many investors, especially those in higher tax brackets, don’t rely exclusively on an individual retirement account or 401(k), in which earnings can grow tax-free.

Beating the deadline Dividend-paying companies want investors to be taxed minimally because it makes their stocks more attractive to hold. And many companies are reviewing their dividend policies, now that it appears investors could soon pay higher taxes. Those companies faced a decision: Keep dividend payouts at current levels and see how the budget talks go, or distribute special payouts in December, before taxes go up. A few companies approved such unusual “fifth quarter” dividends, the term that Howard Silverblatt of S&P Dow Jones Indices uses for these payouts.

“If I’m in the top tax bracket, a company better have a great reason for paying me after Jan. 1 when my rate will be 43 percent, rather than the 15 percent I could have paid back in December,” Silverblatt said. Telecommunications company IDT Corp. made a special payment in mid-November, then suspended its quarterly dividend. “Our stockholders are best served by paying this dividend now,” IDT CEO Howard Jonas said. Manufacturer Leggett & Platt and industrial products maker Johnson Controls moved their payouts to December to beat a potential rate increase. In both instances, the payouts will be made less than a week before year-end.

Further into the future In the long term, higher dividend tax rates should lead companies to consider whether to buy back some of their stock rather than approve further dividend increases. It could be a better use of a company’s cash holdings. By repurchasing stock, companies reward investors by increasing the value of remaining shares. Per-share earnings get a lift as results are divided among fewer shares. Other companies could continue increasing dividends, but at a more modest pace than when the payouts were taxed at a lower rate. “If you’ve increased a dividend five years in a row, you’re probably going to continue to do so, if you can,” Silverblatt said. “But rather than increasing it 10 percent, it may be just 8 or 6 percent.” Higher rates would make dividend stocks less attractive because investors would keep less of their earnings. But dividends would See DIVIDENDS, page 21

Older adults throughout the region are reading the Beacon every month Shouldn’t your ad be here? For advertising rates, call Alan at (410) 248-9101 or email

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3


New healthcare investment tax this year By Kimberly Lankford Q. I understand that the healthcare reform law imposes a new tax on investments. To whom does the tax apply, and when does it take effect? A. Starting in 2013, taxpayers who have a modified adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more ($250,000 for joint filers) will pay a 3.8-percent surtax on certain kinds of investment income, such as interest, dividends, capital gains, rent and royalties. (Interest on tax-exempt municipal bonds doesn’t count.) The calculation is tricky: The surtax applies either to the investment income or to the amount of modified AGI exceeding the threshold, whichever is less. For example, if your joint income is $300,000 and you have $5,000 of investment income, you’ll pay the tax on the $5,000. But if your investment income is $50,000 and your joint modified AGI is $260,000, you’ll pay the tax on the $10,000 that exceeds the AGI limit. There is also a 0.9-percent Medicare surtax on any salary or self-employment income that exceeds the modified AGI threshold.

Q. Does this new tax apply to home sales? A. It does apply to home-sale profits, but it might not hit very many people. When you sell your home, up to $250,000 of the profit is tax-free if you’re single and have owned and lived in the home for at least two of the five years leading up to the sale. The exclusion rises to $500,000 for married couples filing a joint return. That part of the profit is not subject to capital gains taxes, and it also avoids the new surtax. However, if your profit on the home sale is more than the tax-free amount, or if you lived in the house for fewer than two out of the past five years, your investment profit will be subject to this extra tax if your modified AGI is more than $200,000 (if you’re single) or $250,000 (if you’re married filing jointly). Furthermore, the tax exclusion does not apply to second homes or vacation homes, so the entire profit on the sale of a second home or vacation home could be subject to the surtax. Q. What can I do to minimize the new tax? A. Any steps you can take to keep your


averaged 43 percent of Treasury yields, Silverblatt said. And Treasurys don’t offer the growth potential that stocks do from price appreciation. Even considering higher rates, dividends offer higher after-tax returns than Treasurys, albeit with greater risk. Dividends’ after-tax yield advantage is even wider compared with interest earned from bank accounts. “Even with a higher tax rate,” Silverblatt said, “there’s plenty to like about dividends.” — AP

From page 20 still offer attractive after-tax yields relative to many investment alternatives. For example, 10-year Treasurys yield about 1.6 percent. That’s substantially below the average 2.64 percent yield of the 404 dividend-paying companies in the S&P 500 stock index. That’s upside-down from the normal relationship between those investments. Since 1962, yields of S&P 500 stocks have

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income below the $200,000/$250,000 modified AGI threshold in 2013 — such as contributing to a 401(k) or flexible spending account — can help you avoid the tax. Also consider buying investments that aren’t subject to the surtax, such as tax-exempt

municipal bonds. Kimberly Lankford is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and the author of Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, $18.95). © 2012 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance




The Laurel Historical Society is looking for retired people and others interested in volunteering as docents with the Laurel Museum. Docents work two- to three-hour shifts usually several times a month, but schedules are flexible. Training is provided. To learn more, contact Monica at the Laurel Museum by email at or call (301) 725-7975.



The Volunteer Center, a community-based organization that matches individuals and groups with volunteer opportunities throughout Howard County, lists current possibilities at The information is also available by calling (410) 715-3172.



The Office on Aging invites enthusiastic volunteers interested in sharing some of their time with older adults to contact Celene Steckel at (410) 313-5951 or by email at

All Pet Crematory, Inc. (410) 552-0703 or 1(888) 552-0703 (toll free) • open directly to the public for private cremations only • caring & professional staff • memorial urns and merchandise available “Pet Lovers Serving Pet Lovers” |


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You’re on top of your medications. But we make a good back up. You know it’s important to stay on your medications exactly as prescribed. However, if you miss a dose, want a lower-cost alternative, or experience any side effects, we can answer any questions. Speak to your local CVS Pharmacist to learn more. Find a store near you at

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N


H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3

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Take a river boat cruise down the Rhine. See story on page 24.

Reveling in New Orleans’ eclectic charms

French Quarter and Garden District The best way to plan your sightseeing is to take advantage of the fact that the city is divided into distinct neighborhoods, each


with its own unique appeals. For many people, New Orleans means the French Quarter. The original district of cobblestone streets — lined by hotels and restaurants, music venues, boutiques and art galleries — is centered on Royal Street. A short block away on Bourbon Street, the scene is very different. T-shirt shops vie for attention with posters touting adult entertainment. Music spills out of lounges, along with patrons sipping from plastic “take-out cups.” As my wife Fyllis remarked, the scene is like New Year’s Eve, Halloween and the Fourth of July combined. French Quarter architecture harkens back to its European roots. Graceful townhouses are adorned with cast iron balconies set off by intricate ironwork. Courtyards are filled with lush greenery and flowers surrounding splashing fountains. A focus of the neighborhood is the French Market, a collection of shops, restaurants and farmers’ stalls that has existed at the same spot for more than two centuries. The longest line usually is outside the famous Café du Monde, waiting to order café au lait and beignets — artery-clogging fried dough slathered in powdered sugar. Very different is the quiet elegance of the Garden District. Established in the early 19th century, it became a haven for the newly rich, who built stately mansions shaded by towering oak trees. The area’s name refers to magnificent gardens that surround many houses. The neighborhood is a favored hideaway of Sandra Bullock, John Goodman and other Hollywood and sports celebrities.

Touring Treme

A horse-drawn carriage travels down a street in New Orleans’ French Quarter, lined with graceful townhouses with wrought-iron railings and home to the country’s largest Mardi Gras celebration, which will next take place on Feb. 12.

Another enclave was little known to out-of-towners until it became the setting for a popular HBO television series. Treme (pronounced treh-MAY) is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in the country. It was an early haven for


By Victor Block How can you not love a city where rogues and scoundrels are among local “dignitaries” who have streets and bridges named after them? A place that celebrates its oddball residents on a website called A destination where elegance and decadence go hand in hand? Welcome to New Orleans, where no matter what your interests, you’re likely to satisfy them and more. If you enjoy outstanding cuisine — and who doesn’t? — this is the place to be. No matter what your musical preference, it’s here in abundance. The city’s history is as colorful as its varied architecture. New Orleans’ strong links with its past greet the eye and ear around every turn. The chief challenge facing visitors is avoiding too much of a good thing.

A paddlewheel steamboat docks along the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Boat cruises offer visitors views of the city, food and entertainment.

free persons of color and African slaves who bought their freedom. Some of them gathered on Sundays to socialize and dance, and the music they played was a forerunner of African influence on American jazz. The St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, in Treme, is the best known of a number of New Orleans graveyards where the deceased are buried above ground in elaborately decorated stone crypts and mausoleums. One tomb is believed to be that of Marie Laveau, a legendary “Voodoo Priestess” who was said to possess magical powers. Some present-day visitors scrawl X marks on the grave in the hope that even after death her spirit will grant them a wish. It’s fitting that near the resting place of the Voodoo Priestess is the Voodoo Spiritual Temple, one of several venues in New Orleans related to that mysterious combination of religion and superstition. Voodoo originated in Africa, was carried to the Western Hemisphere by slaves, and continues to maintain a foothold in New Orleans. At the Temple, Priestess Miriam Chamani reigns over what is said to be the only “formally established” spiritual temple in New Orleans that adheres to “traditional West African spiritual and healing practices.” Among services that Priestess Miriam offers are blessings, bone readings and removal of curses. The lavishly decorated altar room and a cultural center attract both voodoo believers and visitors curious about the religion.

The complex also includes a small apothecary and a gift shop, which offers items ranging from voodoo dolls and talismans to self-help kits and “candles specially blessed and dressed for many occasions.”

Mardi Gras all year long In a city with a wealth of museums, the Voodoo Spiritual Temple is certainly one of the more intriguing. Fyllis and I found two others worth a visit. One coveys much of the wonder of Mardi Gras without the wildness. While the annual Mardi Gras festivities attract hundreds of thousands of celebrants, and celebrate they do, we preferred to skip the crowds and craziness. At the same time, we wanted to savor the flavor of that famous, almost anything goes revelry. We found the perfect solution at Mardi Gras World where, as its promotional material claims, “Every day is Mardi Gras.” There, in a warehouse so huge I remarked that it should have its own Zip code, artists spend a full year creating floats for the Mardi Gras parade and other events. We became Lilliputians in a world of giants. Visitors are dwarfed by larger-thanlife papier-mâché characters, including gladiators, movie personalities, cartoon figures and fantasy creatures. Flowers are the size of trees, and the “Old woman who See NEW ORLEANS, page 25


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River cruises: smaller and more intimate By Anne D’Innocezio I’ve been a land-based traveler for most of my life. Motor coaches and cars have helped me explore everything from Italy’s Tuscany region to Ireland’s Ring of Kerry. But recently I discovered a love for river cruising. After returning from a cruise on the legendary Rhine, I’m happily considering trips to other iconic waterways such as the Danube for next year.

had always raved about it. So for $3,100 (per person, double occupancy, excluding airfare), my mother, my sister, a friend and I booked an eight-day trip with Avalon Waterways on the Rhine. We started in Basel, Switzerland and ended in Amsterdam, with stops that included Strasbourg, France, and Heidelberg and Cologne, Germany. Typical of most river cruises, the price covered meals, wine with dinner, and most shore excursions.

Some of the benefits The small scale of river ships — which typically carry no more than a couple hundred passengers — is a large part of their appeal, in contrast to ocean-going megaships that carry thousands. On a river ship, you don’t need a GPS device to figure out where the lobby or the dining room is. And there’s a sense of intimacy, with plenty of cozy moments. On my trip, some passengers partook in movie night, with popcorn shared in paper bags while watching Eat Pray Love on a flat-screen TV in a lounge. I participated in an impromptu mini-Mass with five others in a corner of the ship, officiated by a passenger priest. He improvised with that night’s dinner bread. The idea for the trip started with my globe-trotting mother, who’d taken a trip on a barge on the Seine in the 1990s and

Some downsides, too The vessels must be narrow enough to fit through locks, and low enough to pass under bridges that predate large cruise ships. So their cabins are traditionally smaller than on ocean-going ships, with less room for large recreational areas. But new river boats also have more amenities than in the past. River cruise operators are finding ways to add features such as small pools, and they’re upgrading in other ways, too, improving menus and decor. Still, ahead of my trip, I worried I would get a narrow sense of the region — after all, the itinerary is limited to destinations with river ports and what you can see during a few hours on a port call. I also thought I might get bored on a vessel that lacked the comforts of a big ship. In fact, the fitness room turned out to

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be the size of a large closet, and there was no swimming pool, just a whirlpool. Still, I was pleased with the trip and the at-your-service staff of 40 — a better than 3:1 ratio of crew to passengers. Food was top-notch, with buffets for breakfast and lunch, and more formal sit-down dinners. The only downside about the food was that we had all of our meals on board, with few opportunities to interact with locals. So whenever I got the chance, I had coffee or dessert in the towns. My cabin, which I shared with my mother, was small but comfortable, with twin beds inches apart. Luggage had to be stored under the beds, but there was enough cabinet space to unload belongings. The highlight was sitting on the deck with other passengers as we passed by the romantic middle of the Rhine — the 40 or so miles between Bingen and Koblenz, Germany, that define our dreamy notion of the legendary waterway. There, our cruise director, Romanian-born Hans Beckert, offered a narrative about the string of medieval castles, quaint villages and fortresses we passed. Not to mention the towering Lorelei rock named after the siren whose beauty distracted sailors. It’s where the river is the narrowest and deepest.

Many ports of call We visited a different port every day, sometimes even two. Sightseeing included walking tours, canal rides, and tours of museums and churches. Occasionally the schedule felt stressful, with some departures just a few hours after arrivals. On the day we visited the German town of Mainz, after checking out an original printed bible in the Guttenberg Museum, we ran up the cobbled streets to look at Marc Chagall’s stained glass windows in St. Stephen’s

Church, then sprinted back to the vessel for lunch before we set sail in the afternoon for Rudesheim, known for its wine. One of my favorite outings was wine-tasting in Obernai, France. And I fell in love with Rudesheim, where we visited the enchanting Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum, which featured self-playing instruments dating back to the 18th century. Activities in Amsterdam included a tour of the Van Gogh museum and a canal boat ride. But we also took an optional, 26-euro two-hour chaperoned tour of the city’s famous Red Light district. Imagine three dozen tourists — many of them gray-haired retirees — gawking at the bikini-clad young women in the windows. A couple of times we were heckled by rowdy revelers. Amsterdam was the cruise’s final port. We decided to stay a few days in the Dutch capital for more sightseeing, so we checked into a hotel near the port. I could see the ship from my hotel room’s window. Later the next day, I noticed the ship was gone, off with a new group of passengers on another adventure. I felt a twinge of sadness, but knew I would come back to the river again. Prices vary by time of year, itinerary and level of luxury, with fares typically per person, double occupancy, covering meals and most shore excursions. European river cruise season generally runs from March to October, but there are also Christmas market cruises in Austria and Germany in late November and December. This is a good time of year to plan for and book a cruise for next season. Companies that offer European river cruises include Avalon Waterways, AmaWaterways, American Cruise Line, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Vantage, Viking, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea. — AP

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New Orleans From page 23 lived in a shoe” could move right into oversized footwear. Fyllis and I also enjoyed the less well known but more mouth-watering displays at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Exhibits celebrate the food, drink and related culture of New Orleans, Louisiana and the South. We weren’t surprised to find sections titled “Tout de Sweet: All About Sugar,” “Eating from the Gulf” and “Barbeque Nation.” Less expected were collections in the “Southern Likker” area and another that pays homage to a “true American cultural icon” — the cocktail.

The mighty Mississippi In recent years, many visitors to New Orleans have toured the Ninth Ward to view remnants of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, as well as ongoing recovery and revitalization efforts. Among stark reminders of that disaster are numerous vacant lots where houses once stood, and homes whose doors still bear the chalk marks made by rescuers to indicate if any bodies were found inside. Recently, the city has started enforcing a ban on tour buses in the Ninth Ward, though tours by bicycle, car and van are still permitted. The destruction left by Katrina served as a reminder that no matter where you are in New Orleans, you’re never far from the mighty Mississippi River. Because Old Man River rolls along its path several feet higher than the city, held back by those now infamous levees, it is often hidden from view. Yet its importance cannot be overstated. Without the Mississippi, there would be no New Orleans. On its 2,400 mile journey from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, it carries millions of tons of sediment every day, and it is that soil which created the land that is Louisiana. Benches along the levee in the French Quarter provide good views of the river as well as the barge and other traffic that make it an important waterway. There also are opportunities to mingle with the vessels’ operators as they chug along. Since 1827, the free Canal Street Ferry has transported passengers on the short ride to Algiers Point on the opposite shore. There, they may admire the New Orleans skyline and stroll through a charming 19th-century village before hopping aboard for the return trip. A steamboat river cruise combines views of the city with an authentic taste of the past. The Creole Queen and Steamboat Natchez offer enchanting paddlewheel cruises, including sightseeing and dinner trips. During our mini-voyage on the Natchez, Fyllis and I alternated listening to the sightseeing narration, bellying up to the buffet, and dancing off a few calories to the foot-tapping music of the Dukes of Dixieland. As we passed long barges being pushed by tug boats and massive cargo ships coming and going, we understood the com-

ment of Michelle, an on-board food and beverage server. Even after years working on the vessel, she told us, “I still like being out on the river.” To which I replied, “And I like visiting New Orleans.” The list of things to see and do in New Orleans turned out to be too long for Fyllis and me to complete. Here are some that came recommended to us: • See locations where a number of wellknown stars and movies were filmed, such as Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire), Elvis Presley (King Creole), and Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). • Enjoy music that blankets the city, from the iconic Preservation Hall to the modest clubs grouped along Frenchmen Street, to many a corner, where informal ensembles gather to entertain passers-by. • Take a ride (fare: $1.25) on the world’s oldest continuously operating streetcars.

Where to eat and stay When it comes to both dining and accom-

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modations, New Orleans has something for everyone, and is one of those cities where it’s unlikely you’ll have a bad meal. A restaurant that has been operated by the same family since 1840 must be doing something right. Antoine Alciatore immigrated from France and helped to introduce haute cuisine to New Orleans. Among less costly dishes that were “invented” there are oysters Rockefeller ($13.75) and shrimp remoulade ($11.75). Antoine’s is at 713 Rue Saint Louis. For more information, call (504) 581-4422 or log onto Less costly and more casual is the Acme Oyster House at 724 Iberville St., a New Orleans institution since 1910. In addition to oysters on the half-shell (six for $8.75, a dozen for $13.50), the menu includes local favorites like seafood gumbo ($5.49 and $7.49) and a New Orleans Medley of jumbalaya (rice, sausage and chicken), red beans and rice, and grilled smoked sausage ($12.99). For more information, call (504) 522-5973 or


log onto Choosing to stay just outside the French Quarter, we stayed at the Frenchmen Hotel at 417 Frenchmen St., an intimate, all-suite property in a quiet courtyard setting. A full kitchen provided an opportunity to save money on meals. Rates begin at $89. For more information, call 1-800-831-1781 or log onto For those who prefer the bustle of the French Quarter, the Ursuline Guest House at 708 Ursuline Ave. combines an inviting atmosphere with history. Six rooms behind the main house once served as slave quarters. Rates start at $129, but can be less expensive if rooms are paid for in advance. For more information, call 1-800654-2351 or log onto For more information about visiting New Orleans, call 1-800-672-6124 or log onto The lowest current roundtrip airfare from BWI is $240 on US Airways.


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An impressionist work called “Autumn at the Farm,” by a local artist. See story below.

Artist-owned gallery showcases local art

(410) 465-8777



By Anne Ball gallery concept that is still going strong. Columbia’s founder James A. Rouse was a Three other original members — Carl daily visitor when the Artists’ Gallery first Segal, Jing-Jy-Chen and Debbie Hoeper — opened in the lobby of continue to be active in the American City Buildthe gallery today. ing on Wincopin Circle Although the gallery in the heart of town. encompasses a smaller That was 1994. The area than it enjoyed in New Arts Alliance, a earlier times when all fledgling Howard Counthe lobby space had not ty arts organization, nebeen rented out, its gotiated a temporar y walls are filled with lease with the building to paintings, and shelves hold monthly invitational hold packets of note exhibits showcasing the cards with photos of best work of area artists. paintings and sculpture One of the founding from the gallery. members, Bonita Glaser, The floor-to-ceiling 63, remembers Rouse windows offer passerswalking through the by tantalizing glimpses lobby gallery. “The corof a collection full of waporate offices were uptercolors, pottery, phostairs, and whenever he tography and textiles, and his wife Patricia This series of mini paintings by all produced by the 20 were in the building, Diane Dunn is part of the “The members of the only coGift of Art” show at the gallery, they always paused at operative gallery in on exhibit through Jan. 31. the gallery,” she reHoward County. called. “I believe it served as a retreat from their busy lives.” Current and upcoming exhibits As the building filled and more of the On a recent morning, several of the artists space was needed for commercial enterpris- gathered around the sales desk, where es, Rouse was reluctant to lose the fine arts everyone volunteers several hours a month presence in the new downtown area, Glaser as part of the membership requirement. said. He offered to design a smaller, more afThey updated each other about recent fordable space in the lobby, and the Alliance sales, some out-of-town galleries where they began to put together an artist-run co-op were showing, a recently discovered com-

The Artists’ Gallery operates as a co-op. Among its members are (left to right) Diane Dunn, Nancy Davis, John Stier and Bonita Glaser, who both display their art and work at the gallery.

puter program that could be used in their work, and the current holiday show, “The Gift of Art,” on exhibit through Jan. 31. The latter is an all-member show highlighting a variety of media (including oils, watercolor, collage, acrylic, pastels and charcoal) as well as traditional, hand-colored and digital photography, stained glass and clay. But the hottest topic of discussion was the upcoming “Poets and Painters” show running Feb. 4 through March 29. It’s a collaboration of works by area poets displayed alongside similarly themed art-

work. The opening reception and poetry reading will be held on Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. Local poets are invited to obtain more information at or by calling the gallery at (410) 740-8249. Poems will be accepted for possible inclusion through Jan. 11. While they were talking, a customer walked in. Unlike most visitors, she didn’t look around, but went straight to a painting by Debbie Hafer that she had decided to buy. “I have one of hers hanging in my home See GALLERY, page 29

Saturday, January 19, 2013, 8:00 PM

Richard Goode, pianist Dedicated to the memory of Candlelight Concert Society founders Norman & Nancy Winkler !""#$%&'()*+,-.',&'/01,)),-.'21"3'41&/'/"')*&/56' – Gramophone Magazine

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Saturday, February 2, 2013 7:30 .. • Jim Rouse Theatre Samuel Barber: Violin Concerto with Madeline Adkins Benjamin Britten: “Four Sea Interludes” from Peter Grimes

Madeline Adkins

Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5

Baltimore Symphony Associate Concertmaster

$30 Adult, $28 Senior, $12 Student (18-24)

Program: “Beethoven - The Late Works” Sonata No. 30, Op. 109; Sonata No. 31, Op. 110; Bagatelles, Op. 119; and Sonata No. 32, Op. 111

Saturday, February 2, 2013, 8:00 PM, Pre-Concert Talk 7:15 PM

Harlem Quartet Demonstrating magnificent ensemble playing, the Harlem Quartet brings skill and wit to their performances. Turina: La Oracion del Torero; Haydn: Quartet in d, Op. 76 No. 2, “Fifths”; Chick Corea: Adventures of Hippocrates; Mozart: Quartet No. 15 in d, K. 421; Piston: Quartet No. 1

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Saturday, March 16, 2013 • Rouse Theatre • 7:30 .. Sunday, March 17, 2013 • Rouse Theatre • 3:00 .. Funded in part by grants from: Maryland State Arts Council, Howard County Arts Council through a grant from Howard County, Columbia Foundation, Rouse Company Foundation, and Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3

Muslim Council From page 1 respectful environment for everyone,” he said. “We are all in this together, engaged at different levels, fighting for American interests.” The group has spurred the formation of eight more Muslim county-wide councils in Maryland, as well as a council on the state level, Hasan noted. Muslims also have started moving into official government positions. Hasan is chair of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Janet Siddiqui sits on the Howard County Board of Education. Hassan Ali El-Amin is a circuit court judge in Prince Georges County. Sam Abed from Jordan is the governor’s Secretary of Juvenile Services. Altogether, Muslims sit on some 50 county and state boards, Hasan said. The Howard County Muslim community has grown to about 10,000, and about 200,000 Muslims live in the state, according to Rizwan Siddiqi, the current president of the Howard County Muslim Council. Many of its members are professionals — doctors, lawyers, engineers and educators.

New plans spark controversy But not all is quiet on the Howard County front for area Muslims. A controversy has arisen over plans by a conservative Muslim community in College Park to buy land in Cooksville to locate a school, an Islamic center and a mosque there. The school would be situated on the 66acre property where the Woodmont Academy, a Catholic school, had been located before it closed in June 2011 due to low enrollment. Area residents insist that the development of the property could cause serious traffic and environmental problems, and that the size and scope of the plans could change the rural face and character of the area on the western end of Howard County. Dar-us-Salaam wants to relocate its prekindergarten through 12th grade Al-Huda school and other activities to the Cooksville site. About 600 students are currently enrolled in Al-Huda. The Muslim Link newspaper said the proposed move could “change the Islamic de-

mographics of the greater Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region.” The Muslim families in College Park with school-age children most likely would move into the area if the school relocates to Cooksville. The Dar-us-Salaam community in College Park has agreed to purchase the property for some $8 million but, as of this writing, neither the sale nor the plans have been finalized. A 10- to 15-year development drawing that appeared on the Dar-us-Salaam website called for three seven-story buildings, a large five-sided mosque, walking and bike paths, a 10-acre farm, a stream, a lake and underground parking. But that concept has been scaled down, said Dar-usSalaam board member. Minhaj Hasan. “That was just a concept drawing before we had any engineering or traffic study.” he said. “Since we’ve gotten further into the project with zoning engineers, it became obvious that the [Cooksville] community couldn’t support that type of project. He indicated that the extensions to the school and the construction of the mosque will now be the project’s principal goals. “There will be no seven-story buildings, no lake, no underground parking. The mosque will serve as a center for community functions,” Minhaj Hasan said. “We would like to share the walking and bike paths with our neighbors,” he added.

Looking for a compromise Those opposing the plan have formed Residents for Responsible Development of Woodmont, which is described as a coalition of communities and property owners in the area. David Yungmann, a local realtor and resident of the nearby Carriage Mills Farms, said he opposed the Muslim development because of his concern that one more rural conservation site in the county would disappear. If the project were scaled down, “people might be all right with that,” Yungmann said. But, he said, the tendency is for such proposals to keep growing once they are given the go-ahead. A 39-year resident of the area, Yungmann noted there also had been “significant opposition” to the Woodmont Academy project before it got approval in 2003.

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“This is a zoning battle where we have to put our foot down and say ‘no,’ that we want this part of the county to stay rural,” said Yungmann. “We’re just not equipped to deal with the amount of people” that the project would bring into the area, if it is approved, he said. Yungmann said that while the group intends “to hire counsel” to get its points across, it also plans “to seek a meeting” with the Dar-us-Salaam members. Such a meeting “of people and their families from both sides could be very positive,” said Mark Haney, a federal employee who has lived in the area since 1977. He also opposes the Dar-us-Salaam development because of its seemingly large scale and the traffic problems it could cause. Haney said he would feel “the exact same way” if the Woodmont Academy had wanted to expand to the size of the early Dar-us-Salaam plans. He, and other opponents of the project, seemed to go out of their way to assure that they attached no religious significance to their opposition. “It’s very important for children to experience all cultures,” he said. “All people should be allowed to express themselves. But this is a matter of environmental impact. Too much density is planned for the 66 acres.”


County awaits application County Planning Director Marsha McLaughlin told the Beacon on Nov. 30 that the Dar-us-Salaam group has made no official application for the purchase and development of the property yet, though she has met with members twice to discuss the approval process. She said there was no deadline for filing an application. If and when it is filed, her department would make a recommendation on the project to a hearing examiner, she said. The examiner considers effects to the neighborhood and compliance with the Howard County General Plan before a decision is made. A public hearing will be held as part of the process. Minhaj Hasan, meanwhile, said Dar-usSalaam would begin the official application process for the project within the next three months, and hopes to be able to open the Al-Huda school there by the summer of 2013. He hopes Howard’s tradition of tolerance will prevail. He would like to see all parties come to the table. “We definitely would like to meet” with the project’s opponents, he said, adding: “We want to preserve the rural area. That is what appealed to us.”

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3

Gallery From page 26 already, and I wanted another to go with it,” she tells the group. “I really appreciate her work, I find it so soothing.” Nancy Davis, 73, who was manning the sales desk, was not surprised at the selection. “People who come by frequently do develop an appreciation for our different styles,” she observed. Davis, a resident of Clarksville, paints in oils, favoring landscapes and “children in action.” Her work, along with that of fellow member Rana Geralis, will be featured in the gallery during the month of May.

A gathering place for artists Gallery members drop by often, too, even when they’re not on desk duty. Diane Dunn, 65, visits frequently as the public relations contact for the group. Her favored media are watercolor and acrylics for painting, building on a continuing interest in photography honed during a career in publications. Now she is experimenting with infrared film, hand-coloring the black and white

Letters to editor From page 2 These transfers accompanied a payroll tax cut and were deficit-financed by design. They represent a deliberate policy decision by federal lawmakers to borrow to permit Social Security to pay benefits well beyond those that could be financed from participant contributions.” Dear Editor: Your Dear Pharmacist column by Suzy Cohen is so interesting and informative. I look forward to reading it in the Howard County Beacon. Recently, I read her column (November 2012) about chamomile and apigenin — a citrus bioflavonoid found in it, including

photos with oils and pastels. A Columbia resident, she also participates in juried shows at the Art League Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Va. John Stier, 62, comes in several times a month in addition to his volunteer work at the sales desk. Stier works in photography, concentrating primarily on “witnessing nature in settings that many do not see,” as he explains it. He lives in Columbia, and is a self-described avid backpacker and cross-country skier. Glaser, who serves as the gallery’s archivist, considers herself a traditional landscape painter, but uses transparent watercolor glazes that give her works a touch of the abstract. After graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, she worked as a commercial artist and illustrator in Pittsburgh, and in Silver Spring as a staff artist for the Wall Street Journal. A Columbia resident for the past 20 years, she actively networks with other regional organizations, including the Howard County Council for the Arts, Carol House and Slayton House Center. Images of member artists’ works are included on the gallery’s website (maintained

grapefruit. I cannot eat citrus except lemon and lime juice, and especially not grapefruit, for medical reasons. Is it safe for me to still drink chamomile tea that I have always enjoyed so much? All of Suzy Cohen’s columns are well worth reading and a great help. She’s are a great asset to the Beacon. Kay Anderson Via email Suzy Cohen replies: Lovely to hear from you! Usually when people are allergic to citrus, or have interactions with grapefruit and medication, it’s due to the naringen (sometimes called naringenin). Apigenin is completely different. It should be fine for you to have a little chamomile tea.


Jan. 13


The National Marionette Theatre presents the classic tale with music by Sergei Prokofiev on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 2:30 p.m. and again at 4:30 p.m. at the Horowitz Performing Arts Center, Smith Theatre, on the campus of Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit or call (410) 997-2324.


Jan. 24

Sponsored by the Howard County Arts Council, the Fabulous 50+ Players will perform in a vaudeville-themed show on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. To sign up, call (410) 313-1400.

by Stier) at The Artists’ Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The gallery is located in

the lobby of the American City Building, 10227 Wincopin Circle, Columbia. In case of inclement weather, the gallery advises calling (410) 740-8249 during gallery hours.












From page 30.

Going Home Cremation Service Beverly L. Heckrotte, P.A. Personalized




• 24 hour service specializing in direct cremation • Arrangements made in the convenience of your home or office • Return of the urn and memorial merchandise to your home • Serving Maryland and Washington, D.C. • Serving Md. & Washington D.C. since 2000 without any increase in prices!

(301) 854-9038 or 1 (866) 728-4663 (toll free) call for your FREE information package Visit us at

We’re a coalition of nonprofits, agencies, businesses and professionals who come together to advocate for and help older adults.

Learn more by calling (410) 997-0610 or visit us at

January membership meeting date: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 time: 8:30-10:00 a.m. Location: Heartlands Senior Living 3004 N. Ridge Rd., Ellicott City, MD 21043

Breakfast Sponsors: Being There Senior Care; Heartlands Speaker: Kim Burton, Mental Health Association topic: Mental Health for Older Adults Thank You to Our 2012 Sponsors PLatinum SPonSorS Howard County General Hospital – Johns Hopkins Medicine •The Beacon

GoLd SPonSorS Being There Senior Care • Howard County Office on Aging • Visiting Angels


Jan. 17

Learn new skills to share with your grandchildren — creating clothing out of shopping bags, painting with food coloring and other arts activities — in a four-week program starting Thursday, Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center, 2400 Rte. 97, Cooksville. Taught by a certified art teacher, the course costs $40 plus materials. For more information, call (410) 313-5440.


Bayada Home Health Care • Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr LLP Deborah L. Herman, CPA • Lighthouse Senior Living at Ellicott City Gary L. Kaufman Funeral Home at Meadowridge Memorial Park

Bronze SPonSorS Earl Wilkirmnson, M.D., ENT • EverCare Hospice & Palliative Care • Homewatch Caregivers Professional Healthcare Resources Inc • Transitions Healthcare Patron memBerS Brooke Grove Retirement Village • Elizabeth Cooney Care Network •Gentiva Health Services Home With You, LLC •Ivy Manor Normandy •Morningside House of Ellicott City Premier Planning Group • Right At Home • Winter Growth • Wood Builders Collaborative


J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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Puzzle Page

Crossword Puzzle Daily crosswords can be found on our website: Click on Puzzles Plus Daily Limit by Stephen Sherr 1




4 13


17 20





25 29






49 54



























35 38





9 16







Scrabble answers on p. 29.









1. The limit for how many fish you can catch in this puzzle 4. “Doe ___” 9. Confusion 12. Steeple sound 15. Cheese connoisseur 16. Futbol tally 17. Mouth sore 18. Body images 19. Not quite gross 20. Subtext to every Cubs World Series victory 23. Sign outside H.M.S. Pinafore, maybe 24. School in L.A. (or Columbia) 25. Method to convert bits to bytes 28. Protected from the weather 32. Appeared innocent 35. Ice cream purchase 36. Bit of Morse Code 37. Nobel laureate Niels 38. Homework assignment 40. ___ physicist (was introduced to Stephen Hawking) 41. Ginger drink 42. Alice’s balladeer 43. Removed a burden 44. Military band instrument 48. The largest city in Pitkin County, Colorado 49. Barn bird 50. Inventor of the detective story 53. Judge’s question to the foreman 58. Wine barrel wood 60. Some are dominant 61. See 29 Down 62. Use a credit card 63. Verb with thou 64. Profession 65. And I Love ___ 66. Returns to the stable 67. 2012 candidate Paul

1. Gulf War missiles 2. Further under the weather 3. Cutting company 4. Three on ___ 5. Sullen 6. Peseta replacer 7. Abraham’s grandson 8. Log off and on 9. Stock market symbols 10. Soccer tally 11. Understood 13. Middle third of an ITINERARY 14. Airplane’s destination 21. Contortion conclusion 22. Uncommon sense 26. Fuming 27. ___ To Be You 28. The end of cash 29. Bath additives (with 61 Across) 30. Spy story org. 31. “___ questions?” 32. Addis ___ (Ethiopian capital) 33. Secret recipe subjects 34. Important volleyball player 38. Mess up a pop-up 39. ___-mo 40. West side name 42. When most NHL (but not NFL) games are played 43. Sign up 45. City quadrants 46. Tells war stories 47. Pay off the mortgage 50. Kodiak relative 51. Get the higher score 52. German steel city 54. Injure a muscle 55. Hit the reset button 56. Cozy abode 57. 31-day mo. 58. “Preeeettty” 59. Amazement

Answers on page 29.

Answer: What the stockbrokers gave the attentive waiter — A GOOD "TIP" Jumbles: PIECE YOUNG COUSIN DULCET

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3

CLASSIFIEDS The Beacon prints classified advertising under the following headings: Business & Employment Opportunities; Caregivers; Computer Services; Entertainment; For Sale; For Sale/Rent: Real Estate; Free; Health; Home/ Handyman Services; Miscellaneous; Personals; Personal Services; Vacation Opportunities; and Wanted. For submission guidelines and deadlines, see the box on the bottom of this page. CAVEAT EMPTOR! The Beacon does not knowingly accept obscene, offensive, harmful, or fraudulent advertising. However, we do not investigate any advertisers or their products and cannot ac cept responsibility for the integrity of either. Respondents to classified advertising should always use caution and their best judgment. EMPLOYMENT & REAL ESTATE ADS: We will not knowingly or intentionally accept advertising in violation of federal, state, and local laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status or handicap in connection with employment or the sale or rental of real estate.

Business & Employment Opportunities HOCOPOLITSO seeks a PT Program Coordinator to help this esteemed arts organization in its mission of presenting high-quality literary events. The position’s variable work schedule averages ten hours a week with an annual compensation of $10,000 - $12,000. More information is available at or email

Caregivers CAREGIVER/CNA/GNA – I am looking for work in home care. Columbia area. References and background check. 443-538-5743.

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For Rent/Sale: Real Estate



SALE CONDO move-in condition. Fresh paint neutral. 2BR, 2BA, balcony, wooded view, pool, club house privileges. Updates: kitchen, fast flush toilets, crown molding, wood floor, b-room tile. E. Reisterstown – 410-870-6890.

MILITARY ITEMS Collector seeks: helmets, weapons, knives, swords, bayonets, webgear, uniforms, inert ordnance, fire arms, ETC. From 1875 to 1960, US, German, Britain, Japan, France, Russian. Please call Fred 301-9100783, Thank you. Also Lionel Trains.

$$$ NEED CASH $$$ We’ll Buy Your Stuff. Moving/downsizing, De-Cluttering, Loved One has passed. We Plan and Operate Estate Sales. Help You Sell on E-Bay and Craigslist. We Clean Out Buildings, Barns, Sheds and More... Call for other services 443-514-8583.

CASH BUYER for old costume jewelry, pocket and wrist watches (any condition). Also buying watch maker tools and parts, train sets and accessories, old toys, old glassware & coins. 410655-0412.

FINE ANTIQUES, PAINTINGS AND QUALITY VINTAGE FURNISHINGS wanted by a serious capable buyer. I am very well educated [law degree] knowledgeable [over 40 years in the antique business] and have the finances and wherewithal to handle virtually any situation. If you have a special item, collection or important estate I would like to hear from you. I pay great prices for great things in all categories from oriental rugs to Tiffany objects, from rare clocks to firearms, from silver and gold to classic cars. If it is wonderful I am interested. No phony promises or messy consignments. References gladly furnished. Please call Jake Lenihan 301-279-8834. Thank you.

For Sale 2 SALVADOR DALI woodblock prints from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Signed and framed. Asking $900 for the pair. Can email pictures if desired. Call Steve 410-913-1653.

Home & Handyman Services RICHARD YOUNG PLUMBING * Master plumber * Over 30 years experience * locally owned and operated husband and wife team * Contact us about our discounts 301-562-9100, MPL#21098.

Personal Services

LEARN ENGLISH – SPANISH – ITALIAN – FRENCH – PORTUGUESE Conversational. Grammatical. Private lessons. Reasonable Rates. Tutoring students. 443-352-8200. BOOK WITH BOOKER TRANSPORTATION Private sightseeing tours, group, individual service to bingo, casinos, airport, train, terminal-marina. Will pick-up, deliver for cruises. Clean, courteous, prompt service, family owned, operated. Baltimore City, County, Harford, Howard. (Senior Discount) Book with Booker (Van Service) 443-687-4477.

Personals WHITE MALE, 60, non-smoker, casual drinker, easy going, affectionate. Seeks lady friend for movies, dinner, day trips and quiet romantic evenings. Age unimportant. Call Alan 304-240-5355, after 7pm.

For Rent/Sale: Real Estate

RENOVATED AND FURNISHED 2BR & den rancher; Mt. Carmel Road, large yard. Month-to-month lease; $2500 per month plus utilities. Send inquiry to

BUYING NUMISMATIC COINS and most gold or silver items including coins, sterling, jewelry, etc. Will come to you with best cash offer. Call Paul: 410-756-1906. COLLECTOR BUYING MODERN FURNITURE, lighting, art & accessories from the 1940’s – 1970’s. Danish/Scan, Knoll, Herman Miller, Dunbar, Paul Evans, Thayer Coggin, Harvey Probber, Vladimir Kagan, Nakashima, etc. Also buying abstract modern art, ceramics, glass and records. Please call 202-213-9768.

BEACON BITS PERSONAL ASSISTANT I do it all. Cook, clean, drive, paint & light computer, etc. Semiretired male. Part-time. $18/hour. 410-6276468, Alan.

Wanted COLUMBIA – OVER 50 TOWNHOUSE CONDO 1BR with den, open, airy, wood floors, sunroom, garage, cathedral ceilings. Long & Foster 410-730-3456 EHO. Near Lorien and Hospital. $320,000. Call A. DeTraglia 410-730-9573 to see.


VINYL RECORDS WANTED from 1950 through 1985. Jazz, Rock-n-Roll, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae and Disco. 33 1/3 LPs, 45s or 78s, Larger collections of at least 100 items wanted. Please call John, 301-596-6201. BUYING ANTIQUES ESTATES – Cash paid for furniture, art, jewelry, silver, gold, old toys, sports, military, guns, knives, books, etc. Integrity, experience. Please call Tom 240-4763441.

TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED Deadlines and Payments: Ad text and payment is due by the 5th of each month. Note: Only ads received and prepaid by the deadline will be included in the next month’s issue. Please type or print your ad carefully. Include a number where you can be reached in the event of a question. Payment is due with ad. We do not accept ads by phone or fax, nor do we accept credit cards.

Dec. 31+


The Howard County Fire & Rescue Services will close its Holiday Train Garden display on New Year’s Day, following a holiday schedule of opening at 11 a.m. and closing at 8:30 p.m. on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The display is located at the Ellicott City Fire Department, Station 2, 4150 Montgomery Rd., Ellicott City. For more information or to schedule a group tour, call (410) 313-2036.


Jan. 29

The Jewish Museum of Baltimore will present a living history performance based on the lives of Jewish immigrants in Baltimore at the beginning of the 20th century on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 10:30 a.m. at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. For more information, call (410) 313-7279.

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NEWS & FEATURES • LAW & MONEY FITNESS & HEALTH • LEISURE & TRAVEL ARTS & STYLE • VOLUNTEERS & CAREERS We are pleased to offer both First-Class and Third-Class subscriptions:

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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January 2013 Howard County Beacon Edition  

January 2013 Howard County Beacon Edition

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