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VOL.1, NO.2




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Love after 50 still going strong

5 0 FEBRUARY 2012

I N S I D E …


By Connie George Love and romance are such ageless, timeless concepts that even some primitive cave drawings have been found depicting courtship and the connection of hearts. Here in the 21st century, those sentiments are as alive as ever and — surprisingly for some — particularly so for the over-50 crowd. Advances in healthcare are keeping our bodies and minds in better shape for longer than ever before. And changes in relationship protocols mean there are more opportunities as we age to develop the sorts of connections we want and need. Author Suzanne Braun Levine, a nationally recognized authority on women and family issues, has studied the relationship dynamics of men and women over 50. “For the first time, we’ve got another 25 years of productivity,” Levine said in reference to our longer, healthier life spans. Many people entering this period of life think, “that’s as long as my first adulthood! But you can grow up again and make new choices and experience life differently,” she said. Levine, 70, who was the first editor of Ms. magazine and produced the Peabody Award-winning documentary, “She’s Nobody’s Baby: American Women in the Twentieth Century,” has recently published a book on the subject of sex after 50. How We Love Now: Sex and the New Intimacy in Second Adulthood was released in December and reveals Levine’s findings from studies of women throughout the United States who are finding their own pathways through later-in-life love. In an interview with the Beacon, Levine said whether single or coupled, both men and women tend to enter a “fertile void” right after 50, where they experience a period of confusion over what the future may hold for their most intimate bonds. Her book describes scenarios as varied as involvement with multiple partners at once, choosing a solo life with only-platonic companionship, rebuilding intimacy with a lifelong partner, reconnecting with a long-ago love, and testing the waters in a same-sex union. Along with what she described as a “mellowness” that comes with experience, we love more deeply and with less judgment later in life, meaning that our romantic rela-



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Ben Cusumano, 84, and Bonnie Paul, 66, have been dating nearly two years since meeting in a singles group that gathers weekly at the Joslyn Center in Palm Desert. Both were widowed after enjoying happy marriages, and bonded over their mutual interests in music, dancing, live theater and travel. They say they have both learned that a new relationship at a later age invites bonding in fresh and meaningful ways that fill the heart as much as in younger years.

tionships are more honest and appreciative. While that tingle, the spark, the click when two people connect doesn’t disappear with maturity, Levine reported that “The ‘new intimacy’ goes well beyond physical chemistry.” Here are some local examples of the diversity of experience and “new choices” Levine talks about in her book.

Happy doing it her way Married for 54 years from the age of 18, Palm Desert resident Billie Sieg felt an unexpected sense of freedom following her husband’s death in 2001. “I had never been free,” she said. “I went

from living with family, right into marriage. Some women might find [widowhood] horrifying, but I found it welcome. It was a chance to make my own choices.” She acknowledged that she felt emotionally rocked during the first year after her husband passed. She didn’t date for three years, instead filling her life with friends. “I just thought my life was over, I guess, but I had the support system that didn’t make me lonely.” But over time, drawing on interests in feminism and self-improvement that she and her husband had shared, Sieg began See LOVE AFTER 50, page 22


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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Love after 50 is for all of us February, the traditional Month of Love, In my case, I have had the opportunity to is upon us again with its reminders of experience love both before and after the age hearts, flowers and all things of 50 and to traverse a journey romantic. through the lessons of roAnd who can miss the signs? mance that have taught me a Stores are filled with Valengreat deal about myself and my tine’s Day cards and heartrelationships. shaped decorations of paper I married Debbie in my 30s and lace; pink and red are the and presumed she would be colors of the season; and clubs my partner for the rest of my and restaurants are advertising life. But 13 years later she was theme parties and dinners. diagnosed with lung cancer and The happily coupled are FROM THE then gone in only six months. heading into the most romantic PUBLISHER The shock to my emotions By Michael Brachman holiday of the year on February kept me from dating at all for 14, while the single-and-looking a few years while I buried myare wondering if they might meet a special self in work. I didn’t stay home all the time; someone just in time to share the occasion. I’d get out and look around. But eventually But what does it mean for those of us I came out from the shadow of solitude and over 50? Has the sweet sentiment of roman- began to explore the singles scene, discovtic love lost any of its sparkle over the ering that it is more difficult in your late 40s decades, or is it as shiny as ever? than in your 20s. It was hard work, challengOur cover story in this issue explores ing and stressful. that very topic and finds that the urge to Also, trust was a big issue for me. I think merge in a loving partnership has no expi- that as we get older we need to be able to ration date. No matter our age, the dynam- trust that someone will be there for us. In adics of love and romance are alive — and dition, the fear of having someone leave us by even improve as we get older! way of divorce or death, if we have previously

Beacon The Coachella Valley






5 0

The Coachella Valley Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to inform, serve and entertain the citizens of the Coachella Valley area, and is independently owned and operated by On-Target Media, Inc. under authority of the Beacon Newspapers Inc. Other Beacon editions serve Howard County and Baltimore, Md., as well as Greater Washington, D.C. Subscriptions are available via third-class mail ($12), prepaid with order. 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..................................................Michael Brachman • Feature Writer ................................................Connie George

The Coachella Valley Beacon, 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 203J, Palm Springs CA 92262 Phone: 760.323.3338 • Email: Other content and design provided by The Beacon Newspapers, Inc., Kensington, MD • Publisher ................................................Stuart P. Rosenthal • Graphic Designer..............................................Kyle Gregory Submissions: The Coachella Valley Beacon welcomes reader contributions. Deadline for editorial is the 20th of the month preceding the month of publication. Deadline for ads is the 15th of the month preceding the month of publication. See page 23 for classified advertising details. Please mail or email all submissions. © Copyright 2012 On-Target Media, Inc.

been through those experiences, can cause us concerns about wanting to feel secure. Nevertheless, I had always been a person who enjoyed long-term relationships and one-on-one, and I wanted that again — although with some limitations imposed this time. Coming into the age I now was, I made a decision that I didn’t want to be married again. I didn’t want to go through the trauma I went through the last time. A female friend said she had the ideal woman for me and wanted us to meet. Liz, she explained, was beautiful, intelligent and a flight attendant, so she wouldn’t be around a lot on account of her job. This sounded like a perfect situation to me — lovely companionship with limited involvement. My friend arranged a blind date — for the three of us — at the opening of a new restaurant, but then called the morning of the get-together to tell me she would be running late. Could I meet Liz alone and get things rolling? I arrived early and visited the bar to relax myself with a few cocktails before my date arrived. And then she walked in, and she was indeed beautiful. My friend later arrived and we all attended the opening, where the food was terrible, but all that matters now is that’s where I met Liz. She was as disinterested in marriage as I was and, coming from a family of 11, she liked her privacy and space. We maintained our separate homes in the San Francisco area, along with largely independent lives. The arrangement was very comfortable and lasted many years. But then the company I was with was sold and we made the decision to relocate together to Florida — and to begin cohabitating. After a year and a lot of soul-searching, we realized we were soul mates. So, I made the decision to propose, 17 years after we met (because I don’t like to make hasty decisions). I needed to know that we were able to be happy together, give to each other, and compromise and cohabitate with each other — and I finally, finally knew.

So, in a nice restaurant in Miami, with the staff in on the plan, I got down on one knee and popped the question, although at my age it was difficult to get back up again after Liz said yes. Now we’ve been married for eight years. Among the lessons I’ve learned from being in love after the age of 50 is that now I more fully understand the need to communicate with my partner, and that just as I need to be able to have my own personality, so does the person I am with — I don’t need to turn her into me. Our life together has been rich and meaningful, and has included travel all over the world, which we are reminded of daily because of the large assortment of street art we collected together and have framed throughout our home. These days we don’t take a lot of photographs anymore, but we have a lot of memories that can’t be captured by a camera, and we share our lives with our three dogs and a cat. I have a lot of empathy for the folks featured in this issue’s cover story because of my own experiences. For one thing, as we get older, dating can become more difficult because we get more set in our ways, so our ability to share and our willingness to compromise can become curtailed. On the other hand, we have learned a lot more about what we don’t want, so when we find what we really want, we know it right away! Here at The Coachella Valley Beacon, we’d like to hear your response to our focus this month on love after the age of 50. Please contact us with your feedback. We also invite you to take part in our focus for the March issue on the “sandwich generation” — those of us who are taking care of both our kids and our parents. Whether for reasons of healthcare, finances or other matters, many of us are carrying that double load of responsibilities. If you, or someone you know, are in this situation, please contact us. We’d like to hear your story.

Letters to the editor Readers are encouraged to share their opinion on any matter addressed in the Coachella Valley Beacon as well as on political and social issues of the day. Mail your Letter to the Editor to The Coachella Valley Beacon, 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262, or e-mail to Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification. Dear Editor: I am truly pleased with my ad (and placement) in the inaugural edition of the Beacon. The ad has already yielded results! I received a call from LaQuinta that was requesting a very quick response for a notary service. I was able to respond quickly to meet their needs and get them on their way. They were thrilled! They were also exceptionally pleased

with your new, free publication, the Beacon. They thought the articles were well written, ads well placed, and the overall publication was extremely attractive. I did not capture where they picked-up the publication but know it was in the LaQuinta area. Thank you for a great job. My best wishes for your continued success. Christine Hansen Mobile Notary Chris

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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Money Law &

Help teach your grandchildren valuable money lessons by not spoiling them too much. For more tips, see the story below.

Money missteps many grandparents make By David Pitt It’s so tempting to want to give your grandchildren everything, and to put their wants and needs first. However, one of the common money mistakes grandparents make is to put spending on grandkids ahead of their own retirement security. Here are three money missteps grandparents make and ways to avoid them: 1. Excessively spoiling grandchildren Financial advisers and estate planners have all kinds of stories about retirees who insist on spending significant amounts of their savings on grandchildren. Too often they fail to recognize the severity of the risk it poses for their own retirement security. “You really cannot reason with people not to do it,” said Jean A. Dorrell, an estate planner. “They know they shouldn’t be doing it, but they will continue until they don’t want to do it anymore.” Another temptation is for grandparents to set up Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) or Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts for children as a way to pay private school expenses or for college costs such as tuition, books, or room and board.

However, many don’t realize that when their grandchild becomes an adult (age 18 or 21 depending on the state where the account was established), the money can be spent on anything the child wants, said Casey Weade, a financial planner. The assets in these accounts are owned by the child. That also means the account can affect the amount of financial aid a college student may be eligible for. Weade said it makes more sense to set up a 529 college-savings plan that offers tax benefits when used for qualified college expenses, including tuition, books and housing. 2. Failing to establish an estate plan Estate planning is essential. The smooth transfer of wealth between generations is an important part of a family’s financial well-being, yet most families don’t have the proper documentation in place. That would include a will, a power of attorney for finances, or a trust. In a 2009 survey of more than 1,000 people 18 and older by, just 39 percent of respondents reported having a will. Even fewer had a power of attorney and fewer still had set up a trust.

While it may seem daunting to think about all the aspects of estate planning, it’s not impossible to pull together the basics so that last wishes are fulfilled when the time comes. T. Rowe Price offers an estate planning checklist that provides a good start at: . 3. Leaving retirement funds on autopilot It’s very common to have multiple retirement accounts, said Chuck Cornelio, president of defined contribution for Lincoln Financial Group, which provides retirement and other financial services. It’s not unusual to see workers with as many as six or seven. Frequently workers fail to consolidate accounts in a way that would enable them to manage their money effectively. Consolidating accounts into an IRA, for example, helps ensure the money is adequately diversified across investment options and can help in developing an overall retirement plan. “That’s actually a good idea because then you can get a holistic picture of all your investment opportunities and where you can get your money from in retirement,” Cornelio said.

Workers frequently leave 401(k) money with a previous employer or sometimes roll it over to an IRA and keep it invested in the stock market, said Dorrell. She advises them to evaluate the risk of keeping too much exposed to the volatility of stocks when at or near retirement age. Having both a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA account to pull money from can help a retiree control taxable income. With a Roth IRA, deposits are taxed when made to the account, but money can be pulled out in retirement tax-free. For many it would make sense to consider converting to a Roth. Anyone who expects to be in a higher tax bracket at retirement would benefit by paying the taxes on those savings now. And with tax rates widely expected to rise in the future, many retirees may end up in higher brackets than they are currently. The Vanguard Group provides a good review of Roth conversions at For further help, check this calculator to help determine whether a Roth conversion makes sense:—calc.jsp. — AP

It pays to pay attention to stock fund fees By Mark Jewell Price-conscious or not, consumers invariably slip from time to time. What’s the big deal if you buy something you want for $1.50 at a convenience store rather than spend $1 at a discounter? It can seem that way with mutual fund expenses, although investments clearly aren’t impulse buys. Many investors give little thought to the impact of choosing a fund that charges 1.5 percent over another charging a 1 percent expense ratio. Given that the stock market frequently moves a few percentage points in a single day, do those seemingly minor pricing differences really amount to much over the long run? They sure can — to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, over decades.

How modest fees add up Take for example, the growth of a $10,000 investment in a stock fund over 30

years, if the market gains an average 10 percent a year. (Although that rate may seem unlikely given recent experience, it’s close to the market’s historical average going back several decades.) An investor paying 1.5 percent of assets in annual expenses ends up with nearly $116,000. That doesn’t factor in inflation or the potential drain of commissions known as loads and taxes. The same investment in a fund charging 1 percent grows to nearly $133,000. Those two expense ratios — the ongoing charges that investors pay for operating costs, expressed as a percentage of a fund’s assets — are about average for managed stock mutual funds. Go to the extremes, and expense differences have a far bigger impact. An investor in a pricey fund charging 2.5 percent ends up with less than $88,000. An ultra low cost index fund charging 0.1 percent comes away with almost twice as

much, nearly $170,000. And while there’s no controlling the market’s direction, individuals can control how much they pay to invest. So take charge. “Cost is the driving force in any investment equation — minimize it,” advised John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group and index mutual fund pioneer who now runs Vanguard’s Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. There are, of course, many examples of fund managers whose investment-picking skills earn their investors bigger returns than their benchmark indexes. But a wealth of research shows the ranks of such star managers are relatively small. And their record of outperformance is typically fleeting, measured against the decades needed to save for retirement. “It’s clear that over longer stretches, costs are a big, big hurdle,” said Karen Dolan, Morningstar’s director of fund analysis.

From 2005 through March 2010, U.S. stock funds charging the lowest fees posted average annualized returns that were nearly two-thirds higher than funds charging the highest fees, according to Morningstar. More often than not, funds charging above-average fees are leaky faucets. Many investors fail to hear the drip-drip-drip that drains their investment returns, when they could be switching to a lower-cost option.

Fees matter more in tough times There are times when differences in fund expenses don’t seem to matter much. Stocks surged in the 1980s and `90s, and fee differences were relatively small stacked up against the big market gains. But the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index is down about 17 percent since January 2000. Fees take on greater importance See MUTUAL FUND FEES, page 5

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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2

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when returns are measured in single digits, or when stocks are declining. The same is true now for bond funds. Yields are so low for many lower-risk bond categories these days that minor differences in bond fund expenses are magnified — 10-year Treasurys are yielding about 1.9 percent now, for example. But there’s good news. Fund fees on average have been declining for decades, and the trend is likely to continue. A Morningstar study that gauged what the average fund investor pays came up with an average expense ratio of 0.77 percent in 2010. That reflected a mix of assets in stock funds as well as bond funds. In 1990, the average was 0.94 percent.

Costs are declining, in part, because index funds are increasingly popular. They now hold about one of every seven dollars invested in stock mutual funds, and the proportion is growing. Low-cost options abound. For example, Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) charges as little as 0.07 percent — $7 a year for every $10,000 invested. Similar offerings from Fidelity and Charles Schwab charge only slightly more. You won’t beat the market — index funds seek to match market performance, minus the fees they charge — but you could end up with a lot more to live on in retirement than from choosing a fund that’s far pricier. “More often than not,” Lipper fund analyst Tom Roseen said, “it’s the investor in the fund with the lowest expenses who ends up the winner.” — AP


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Volatility Ahead? Seek Alternate Routes By Vance Boucher Much ado about nothing. That basically sums up the stock market’s performance in 2011. After rallying earlier in the year, stocks took investors on a gut-wrenching ride over the summer before rallying again in the fall. When it was all over, the S&P 500 Index* essentially ended the year where it began. Looking ahead to the remainder of 2012, the route to further stock market gains remains jammed with a series of serious obstacles. First and foremost is the potential collateral damage of a steep recession in Europe. It’s too soon to tell just how bad the euro-zone’s credit crisis will get, but we believe it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. Meanwhile, back here in the U.S., the housing market remains mostly stalled. Employment numbers have ticked up in recent months, but we still have more than 13 million Americans out of work. As local, state, and federal governments grapple with burgeoning budget deficits, additional layoff notices are likely. Add it all up and you get what we call a “traffic jam of challenges” for U.S. stocks. With our economic recovery stuck in first gear, many stock-heavy client portfolios may continue to experience capital appreciation gridlock. The truth is that there are no quick ways to solve our nation’s federal budget deficit, revive the housing market, and find jobs for the millions of unemployed. It’s simply going to take time.

Where does this leave investors who are counting on stock market gains to power their investment portfolios? “Stuck in neutral” is the unfortunate answer for many, especially those with portfolios weighted heavily toward investments that provide little or no income. That’s why we believe our clients, particularly those who are nearing retirement or already retired, should consider escaping the stock market traffic jam by getting on the “income bus.” Adding bonds, dividend-paying stocks, and other income-producing securities to your portfolio can help ensure you get paid to wait while the stock market remains stalled. These investments can also help stabilize your portfolio if the stock market falls. If your portfolio is overly reliant on stocks, consider adding more income-producing securities, such as: High Yield Corporate Bonds. Also known as junk bonds, these bonds are issued by companies with lower credit ratings. Typically, these issuers are facing some type of financial challenge, so they must pay investors a higher yield to compensate for the elevated risk of default. For most investors, an investment in high yield bonds within a professionally managed client portfolio offers more diversification and less risk than individual high yield bonds. In today’s low interest rate, low inflation environment, we believe high yield bonds are relatively attractive, especially when compared to investment grade bonds. Keep in mind, of course, that these bonds tend to fluctuate more like stocks than

bonds, so they do not offer the same diversification benefits of higher rated bonds. Preferred Stocks. These high-yield investments are a hybrid between stocks and bonds. They trade like stocks, but are usually less volatile than a company’s common stock. They usually offer attractive, fixed dividends. Some preferred shares have maturity dates on which the company pays a fixed amount to shareholders to redeem the stock. Dividend–Paying Stocks. Dividends are an often under-appreciated source of total return. For example, during the 10year period from January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2011, the S&P 500* index eked out average annual returns of just 0.92%1. But when you factor in the impact of reinvested dividends, average annual returns jump to 2.92%. While dividendpaying stocks are more volatile than bonds, they offer attractive current yields and the opportunity for capital appreciation (as well as capital losses). Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs). MLPs essentially operate like toll roads. They collect fees to transport or store natural resources, most commonly oil and natural gas. Because MLPs are structured around longterm assets, such as pipelines and storage facilities, they offer a reliable source of income and attractive yields. There are special tax rules that apply to MLPs that can get a little tricky, so be sure to consult with a tax advisor before you invest in them. Keep in mind, of course, that every investment comes with risks. Bond prices fall

when interest rates rise. Stocks, whether they pay dividends or not, can be volatile. Nevertheless, we believe that in the current economic and market environment it makes good sense to rely more heavily on income producing securities rather than relying exclusively on the potential for capital appreciation from stocks. Clients should meet with an advisor to discuss their personal risk tolerance and suitable recommendations. Clients should meet with an advisor to discuss their personal risk tolerance and suitable recommendations. Vance Boucher, CFP®, CLU®, is President of VIP Wealth Management, an independent wealth management firm located at 34220 Gateway Drive in Palm Desert, CA (760)340-3277. Learn more at Securities and Advisory Services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. *All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot actually invest directly into an index. Unlike investments, indices do not incur management fees, charges, or expenses. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” 1 Source - Morningstar



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Money Shorts How to collect your unclaimed bonds, funds, refunds Although there are plenty of scam artists who claim to be from the IRS, this announcement is for real: The Internal Revenue Service is holding on to $153.3 million worth in tax refund checks that were returned to the agency because of mailing-ad-

dress errors. The average check is $1,547, so it could be worthwhile doing a search using the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund?” tool (, particularly if you have moved in the past few years and did not update your address with the IRS. You may also discover unclaimed money by locating old U.S. savings bonds that have been forgotten over the years. Billions of dollars in savings bonds have stopped earning interest but haven’t been cashed. Go to to look up savings bonds issued in 1974 or later. State governments may be holding some of your money, too. State treasuries hold billions of dollars in unclaimed property

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from uncashed dividend checks, returned utility deposits, uncollected insurance benefits, old savings accounts and other money that may have been returned to a financial institution after being sent to a defunct mailing address. Most states have an unclaimed-property database that makes it easy to see whether any of the money is yours. You can find links to each state’s agency through the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators ( Most states participate in the large database, too. Enter your name and the states where you have lived, and you’ll be able to see whether there is unclaimed property for someone with your name; the last address on file with the financial institution; and whether the unclaimed property is worth more or less than $100. Most states then include links to the forms you’ll need to submit to the state treasury to verify your identity and claim the money. Despite all this, it’s worth being suspicious of any letters, calls or emails offering to help you locate lost cash. Scam artists and identity thieves use such messages to try to steal your money or personal information. (The IRS never sends personal emails requesting information). Instead of clicking on a link in an email claiming to be from the government, go to agency sites directly to view their databases. Also check the FBI’s New E-Scams & Warnings page for information about recent scams (

How CDs can work for savers For money you can tie up for a few months or more — say, a portion of your emergency fund that you wouldn’t need for

at least three months, or money earmarked for tuition or retirement income — consider certificates of deposit. CDs come with maturities that typically range from three months to five years, with longer maturities offering higher yields. You can invest in a long-term CD even if you think you may cash out early or if you want to take advantage of rising rates — just be sure to check the interest penalty. For example, a five-year CD from Ally Bank (, which recently yielded 1.82 percent, charges a penalty of only 60 days’ yield if you withdraw the money early. In contrast, a five-year CD from Intervest National Bank, which offered a slightly higher rate of 1.96 percent, takes back half your interest with its early-withdrawal interest penalty of 30 months. Constructing a CD ladder — putting chunks of cash in CDs of varying maturities — allows you to benefit from the best current yields and stay flexible enough to snag top rates down the road. When interest rates rise, you reinvest cash from shorterterm CDs to take advantage of higher yields. Your longer-term CDs will continue to earn interest at today’s highest rates. If you’d like to put more than $250,000 (the maximum that the FDIC will insure in a single account) in CDs, the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) offers a convenient way to invest your funds. You deal with one participating bank, which sets the rate and parcels out $250,000 chunks to some of the more than 3,000 participating institutions. U.S. savings bonds are another safe way to invest money you can tie up for a year. EE bonds pay low rates (0.6 percent), but I-bonds, which pay based in part on the inflation rate, are currently paying an attractive 3.06 percent. You can cash in savings bonds after 12 See MONEY SHORTS, page 7

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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2


Learn these rules to profit in the market By Jeffrey R. Kosnett It’s no longer the stock market — it’s the stuck market. Or at least that’s what it seemed like for much of last summer and fall as the Dow Jones industrial average fluctuated between roughly 10,500 and 11,600. What’s upsetting is that all that motion didn’t earn you much. The major market indexes and your investment balances ended up flat after weeks or months. How do you cope with a trading-range market? It not enough to put your money into a broad stock-market index fund and forget about it. Here are four tips for earning a decent return even if stocks stay in a funk for years. • Buy on weakness, sell into strength. Once stocks drop 15 percent or more, it’s almost always too late to sell. Instead, buy some stocks or stock funds if you happen to

have the cash. Similarly, after stocks roar for a month, as they did in October, it’s too late to go on a buying binge. But it’s not too late to cash in some profits to arm yourself for the next decline. Don’t confuse this with market timing. Consider this a hedging exercise designed to let the market’s rhythms work for you, not against you. • Focus on dividends. Dividends are a bonus in up markets and provide comfort during slides. Over time, dividends have provided about 44 percent of the U.S. stock market’s annualized total return of 10 percent. And they are sure to remain an important component of returns if appreciation is hard to come by in coming years, as we expect. And although there are always exceptions (see bank stocks in 2008), dividendpaying stocks tend to hold up better than

non-payers in down markets. • Set low-ball limit orders. If your strategy includes building stakes in companies that regularly raise dividends, you’d be wise to add more shares as time passes. Here’s a tip: Even if a stock has been weak of late, enter a limit order to buy shares at 3 percent off its current price. There’s a good chance you’ll get your price as soon as traders create some drama because of the euro, the budget deficit or whatever floats their boats on a given day. Every percentage point or two you save on your buys adds to your return later. • Avoid high-octane, all-or-nothing

mutual funds. Sometimes, aggressive managers make brilliant investments and deliver spectacular results. The problem is that most investors buy and sell these funds at just the wrong time: They buy after spectacular performance and they sell after a fund craters. That’s no recipe for success. Jeffrey R. Kosnett is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to And for more on this and similar money topics, visit © 2012 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance


Feb. 17+

RIVERSIDE COUNTY FAIR AND DATE FESTIVAL The 66th annual Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival

will run Friday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb 26 at the county fairgrounds, 82503 Highway 111, Indio. Exhibits, demonstrations, entertainment, two carnivals and fair food are available for all ages. Featured concert performers include LeAnn

Money shorts From page 6 months, but if you redeem them before five years have passed, you forfeit the last three months’ worth of interest. The I-bond’s rate is composed of a fixed rate, currently 0 percent, that lasts for the life of the bond, plus a semiannual inflation

rate that changes every six months. If you bought a $1,000 I-bond and redeemed it after a year, you’d still earn about 3 percent interest after the penalty at present inflation rates. You must purchase savings bonds in an online Treasury Direct account, which you can set up at — Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Rimes and Uncle Kracker. A “Bull-O-Rama,” monster truck rally, demolition derby, and camel and ostrich races are among the featured events. An “Arabian Nights”-style musical pageant is presented every evening. Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Tickets are $8; $7 for 55 and older. Parking is $7. Free admission is available on opening day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 1-800-811-FAIR or (760) 863-8247, or visit online.

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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Health Fitness &

THE CASE FOR CREATINE More study is needed, but creatine may help older adults build strength HEART DRUG WARNING The FDA has added new safety warnings to the heart rhythm drug Multaq MEDICARE DEBATE Policy prescriptions for fixing Medicare’s finances will affect baby boomers CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST! Try this Valentine’s Day chocolate bread pudding; it’s great and healthy

Stem cells may restore vision in the blind By Alicia Chang Two legally blind women appeared to gain some vision after receiving an experimental treatment using embryonic stem cells, scientists reported in January. While embryonic stem cells were first isolated more than a decade ago, most of the research has been done in lab animals. The new results come from the first tests in humans for a vision problem. Researchers caution the work is still very preliminary. “This study provides reason for encouragement, but plans to now get such a treatment would be premature,” said stem cell expert Paul Knoepfler of the University of California, Davis, who had no role in the research.

“Incurable” conditions improved Last summer, each patient was injected

in one eye with cells derived from embryonic stem cells at the University of California, Los Angeles. One patient had the “dry” form of age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness. The other had a rare disorder known as Stargardt disease that causes serious vision loss. There’s no cure for either eye problem. After four months, both showed some improvement in reading progressively smaller letters on an eye chart. The Stargardt patient, a graphic artist in Los Angeles, went from seeing no letters at all to being able to read five of the largest letters. However, experts said the improvement of the macular degeneration patient might be mostly psychological, because the vision in her untreated eye appeared to get better, too.

Both patients remain legally blind despite their improvements, said experts not connected with the study.

A small safety study only “One must be very careful not to overinterpret the visual benefit,” said Vanderbilt University retina specialist Dr. Paul Sternberg, who is also the president-elect of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The findings were published online by the journal Lancet. This early test was meant to study whether the stem cell therapy was safe in people and not whether it would improve vision. Scientists at UCLA and Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), which funded the work, said they were pleased that there have been

no signs of rejection or abnormal growth months after the procedure. Embr yonic stem cells can transform into any cell of the body. Scientists are hoping to harness embr yonic stem cells to create a variety of replacement tissues for transplant, but their use has been controversial because human embr yos have to be destroyed to harvest the cells. The latest news comes two months after Geron Corp. halted its stem cell-based experiment for spinal cord injuries, saying it planned to focus instead on two experimental cancer drugs. Meanwhile, ACT is pushing ahead with its blindness study. The company said that surgeons in London injected stem cells into a patient with Stargardt disease recently. —AP

How you can save on healthcare abroad By Anne Kates Smith Last year, more than a half-million U.S. residents got medical care abroad, according to Patients Beyond Borders, a consumer advisory service. That number is likely to grow at a 25 to 35 percent annual rate. Some procedures lend themselves to international travel. The five most-popular overseas procedures are cosmetic surgery, dentistry, orthopedics, weight-loss surgery, and in vitro fertilization and other reproductive services. Complex procedures that require lengthy recuperation (think bone-marrow transplants) are problematic. Cancer is a gray area, with travel dictated less often by potential cost savings and more often by the desire to undergo treatment close to friends and family. Even with lower-stakes procedures, costs can add up. It makes more sense to travel for four dental implants than for two because you have to make a second trip to get crowns on the implants. A good rule of thumb, according to experts, is that cost savings should be at least $5,000 to $6,000 to make a trip worthwhile. Medical care overseas is cheaper in many places because the cost of living is lower than in the U.S. Efficiencies are often greater overseas as well. In Singapore, you’ll find few general hospitals, for in-

stance. Most medical procedures are performed in specialized centers.

World-class hospitals Many hospitals abroad are world-class facilities that roll out the red carpet for medical tourists. Bumrungrad International Hospital, in Bangkok, Thailand, is one of the biggest, boasting more than 400,000 international patient visits per year. Many of its 900 doctors completed fellowships or residencies in the U.S.; some 200 are U.S. board-certified, and nearly all speak English. The hospital’s International Medical Coordination Office will schedule procedures, attend to family logistics and coordinate follow-up care. Bumrungrad will even send someone to pick you up at the airport. Facilities don’t have to be huge to be attractive. The Barbados Fertility Centre is the smallest hospital to receive accreditations by the Joint Commission International, the global arm of the Joint Commission, the major hospital accrediting body in the U.S. The appeal of medical travel is obvious for the uninsured and under-insured. Travel is also appealing to workers with high-deductible health plans. Not only might they save a bundle abroad, but they can use tax-free dollars from a health savings account to pay for care (and some of

the travel), provided the procedures meet Internal Revenue Service criteria for qualified medical expenses. (To see what the IRS permits, visit Or you can always deduct the cost of qualified procedures that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. It’s rare that U.S. insurance is accepted by overseas care providers.

How to book a trip If you’re considering medical travel, your first stop should be the book Patients Beyond Borders by Josef Woodman, a comprehensive guide to medical travel with information about the best international hospitals and clinics. A newly revised edition is due out in March (about $16 on The organization ( also offers one-on-one advice in free 15-minute consultations or more indepth advice for $250. Some medical tourists prefer to arrange a trip with the help of facilitators, or brokers. Many work with networks of hospitals, doctors and clinics with which they’ve negotiated discounted rates. But be careful. The industry is unregulated, and anyone can hang out a shingle. Look for a long track record and satisfied customers, an affiliation with major insurers or employers, or safeguards against

bias in recommendations. Brokers should thoroughly inspect the facilities they recommend. For example, David Boucher, the CEO of Companion Global Healthcare (, said that Companion physically visits every hospital in its network and that his company does not accept referral fees from hospitals. Instead, patients pay a $700 case-management fee, in addition to the cost of travel and medical care. Planet Hospital ( typically recommends three or four hospitals for you to choose from, and although the company is paid by the hospitals in its network, staffers have no incentive to recommend one over another. Most patients pay for concierge service that costs $100 per day for the first three days and $75 a day thereafter. Be aware that in some countries, doctors may use products that are of lower quality than ones required in the U.S., such as certain types of silicone implants and cosmetic injections. Infection is a leading cause of complications — as it is in U.S. hospitals.

Do your homework Whether you travel for care on your own or with help, insist on a few things. Accreditation by the Joint Commission International See MEDICAL TOURISM, page 11

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Do any supplements really boost energy?

Evidence is slim, conflicting There’s little or no scientific evidence to support the claims for most of these substances. The fact is, the only pill that’ll boost your energy is one containing a stimulant, such as caffeine. And the effects of these stimulants wear off within hours. The same holds true for drinks touted as energy boosters. Most contain a combination of vitamins, as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, and lots of sugar. Furthermore, supplements (including herbs, vitamins, and other substances) aren’t subject to quality control by the U.S. government. The FDA doesn’t regulate their content, purity or effectiveness. It’s up to the individual manufacturers to police the purity and content of their own products. Here’s a look at what studies suggest

about some substances commonly touted as energy boosters: 1. Ginkgo biloba. Derived from the maidenhair tree, ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and is now a common dietary supplement in Western countries. Its effects on cognition (thinking), mood, alertness and memory have been the subject of many studies, but many of those studies have not been of high quality. A 2007 Cochrane Collaboration review of the better studies found evidence too weak to conclude that ginkgo biloba improved cognition in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies suggest ginkgo biloba may improve some aspects of mood, including alertness and calmness, in healthy subjects. Regarding memory, evidence is conflicting. 2. Ginseng. This is a relatively safe and popular herb, said to reduce fatigue and enhance stamina and endurance. Data from human studies are sparse and conflicting. Some studies report that ginseng improves mood, energy and physical and intellectual performance. Other research concludes it doesn’t improve oxygen use or aerobic performance, or influence how quickly you bounce back after exercising. 3. Guarana. This herb induces a feeling of energy because it’s a natural source of caffeine. But consuming a lot of guarana, especially if you also drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages, could ultimately lower your energy by interfering with sleep. 4. Chromium picolinate. This trace mineral is widely marketed to build muscle, burn fat, and increase energy and athletic performance, but research has not supported these claims. 5. Vitamin B12. Some people take vi-

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tamin B12 by injection or pills as a way to get a quick energy burst, but most experts attribute any results to the placebo effect. Unless you have a B12 deficiency, taking shots or supplements is unlikely to make a difference. 6. DHEA. Sometimes marketed as a “fountain of youth,� this naturally occurring hormone is said to boost energy as well as prevent cancer, heart disease, and infectious disease — among other things. The truth is that supplemental DHEA

has no proven benefits and some potentially serious health risks, such as lowering levels of healthy HDL cholesterol and increasing levels of testosterone, which can encourage acne and facial hair growth in women. Some research shows DHEA can damage the liver. Because this hormone is related to estrogen and testosterone, there is also concern that it may increase the risk for breast and See SUPPLEMENTS, page 10

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Do you feel tired or run-down? Do you lack the energy you used to have? If so, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re part of a large group. Fatigue is one of the most common problems patients report to their doctors. As many as 14 percent of men and 20 percent of women say they feel â&#x20AC;&#x153;frequently fatigued,â&#x20AC;? and in a survey of more than 17 million people 51 and older, 31 percent reported the symptom of fatigue. Go to the store, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll see a multitude of vitamins, herbs and other supplements touted as energy boosters. Some are even added to soft drinks and other foods for this purpose. Especially popular are supplements containing ginkgo biloba, ginseng, guarana, chromium picolinate, vitamin B12, DHEA, coenzyme Q10 and creatine. Even ephedra, which was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration several years ago, remains available on the Internet.

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Supplements From page 9 prostate cancers. It’s wise to avoid taking DHEA until further research clarifies its side effects. 7. Coenzyme Q10. This enzyme is found in mitochondria, the energy factories of our cells. Supplements have been shown to improve exercise capacity in people with heart disease and may do the same in people with rare diseases that affect the mitochondria. One small European study in 2009 suggested that people with chronic fatigue syndrome might benefit from supplementation with coenzyme Q10, but more research is needed on this topic. 8. Ephedra. Although this product was banned by the FDA in 2004 because of major safety concerns, including increased

risk of heart attack and stroke, it remains available for sale on the Internet. Any effectiveness ephedra may have in terms of boosting energy probably results from two substances it contains — ephedrine and pseudoephedrine — which may increase alertness. However, there is no safe amount of ephedra you can consume. If you want to boost your energy by stimulating your central nervous system, a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage will work just as well. For information about the supplement creatine, see “Is creatine worth taking?” on page 9. From Harvard Special Report: Boosting Your Energy © 2012 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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Is creatine worth taking? By Celeste Robb-Nicholson, M.D. Q. Please discuss the benefits of creatine supplements for older, postmenopausal women. Are there any drawbacks? A. Creatine is a substance made in our bodies from the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine. Amino acids are the chemical building blocks of protein; we get them from consuming protein in our diets. The body makes 1 to 2 grams of creatine a day, and we also get creatine from certain foods, such as fish and meat. Most (95 percent) of the body’s creatine is located in muscle, though some is found in other tissues, including the brain and retina. Creatine increases energy by producing adenosine triphosphate — a high-energy compound released in muscle during intense, anaerobic exercise. Creatine supplements promote protein manufacture and provide a quick source of energy for muscle contraction. Some studies suggest that supplemental creatine can help young athletes increase muscle mass and strength and improve their athletic performance during brief, high-intensity activity that requires short bursts of energy.

Some evidence for seniors While most of these studies have found that creatine doesn’t enhance performance in older men and women, and doesn’t improve endurance at any age, there are a few exceptions to that conclusion. In a 2003 Canadian study of men and women 65 and over participating in a sixmonth strength-training program, those who took creatine had a twofold increase in lean muscle mass compared with a placebo group. Also, in a small European study pub-

lished in 2008, creatine seemed to confer a short-term benefit on postmenopausal women. At the start of the study, the women were evaluated for muscle performance — bench press, hand grip, tandem walking, and leg press. After one week, women who took creatine, compared with those taking a placebo, showed significant increases in bench-press and leg-press strength (measures of upper- and lower-body strength) and improvement in tests of coordination and balance. These studies and others have involved only a small number of participants. Moreover, there are no studies of the long-term effects from taking creatine supplements.

Possible side effects Creatine’s most common known side effects include weight gain, stomach upset, diarrhea, muscle cramps, headache, anxiety, nervousness, sleepiness and dizziness. Less common, but potentially serious, side effects include liver problems, kidney damage, and interaction with insulin. Women with diabetes or kidney or liver disease should not take creatine supplements. My conclusion is that there’s not yet enough evidence that creatine can help women your age build muscle or increase strength. So your best way to build and maintain your muscle strength is to exercise and get the recommended amount of dietary protein. Healthy women ages 19 to 70 need 46 grams of protein per day, and they should perform regular strength training and aerobic exercise. © 2012 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Health Shorts FDA adds warning to heart rhythm drug Federal health officials have added new safety warnings to the heart rhythm drug Multaq, after a company study by Sanofi linked the tablet to higher rates of heart attack, stroke and death in a subset of patients. The boxed warning highlights the results of a study in which Multaq doubled the risk of heart-related complications in patients with permanent atrial fibrillation — a condition in which the heart’s chambers

Medical tourism From page 8 is a must. (More than 400 public and private healthcare organizations in 39 countries are accredited or certified by JCI.) Look for English-speaking patient representatives. And ask your doctor the same questions you’d ask a doctor anywhere: Where were you trained? How many of these procedures have you done? Who makes the implants you’ll use? Ask if you can contact the doctor before, during and after care. Before you go, arrange for the transfer of medical records

pump out of sync. The revised label stresses that Multaq is only approved for the short-term form of the condition and a related ailment known as atrial flutter. Despite such language, doctors routinely prescribe drugs for conditions not listed on the labeling approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The label, written by the FDA in cooperation with drugmaker Sanofi, instructs doctors to check patients’ heart rhythm at least once every three months. If patients appear to have the permanent form of atrial fibrillation, Multaq should be discontinued. The FDA said that Multaq remains a beneficial drug when used appropriately. In the study that triggered the warning, Sanofi recorded 25 deaths in the Multaq group compared with 13 in the placebo and for after-care in the U.S. Insurers, facilitators, and clinics and hospitals may try to reduce or eliminate their liability in case of malpractice, so read the paperwork carefully. Foreign medical arbitration systems often drag out the process, and if you do get compensation, don’t be surprised if it’s much less than what you’d expect in the U.S. Anne Kates Smith is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to © 2012 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

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group. All 3,200 the patients in the study were older than 65 and had permanent atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder and a frequent contributor to stroke. The French drugmaker estimates there are 2.5 million atrial fibrillation patients in the U.S., and another 4.5 million in the EU. About 278,000 people in the U.S. have received prescriptions for Multaq as of last October, according to the FDA. Sanofi reported about $224 million in sales for the drug in 2010, with most prescriptions written in the U.S. Since 2010, the FDA has approved two other drugs for atrial fibrillation: Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa. Both drugs are marketed as alternatives

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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Health shorts From page 11 best-selling Prevnar 13 vaccine for such use was widely anticipated. It came shortly after a panel of federal health experts voted overwhelmingly to recommend Prevnar 13 as a safe and effective vaccine to prevent pneumococcal bacteria infections in adults. Prevnar 13 protects against 13 strains of the bacteria, which cause meningitis, pneumonia and ear infections. While used mostly in children for the past 10 years, the FDA said 300,000 adults 50 or older are hospitalized every year for pneumococcal pneumonia. “The FDA approval of Prevnar 13 for these adults offers the potential to contribute to the health of millions of aging Americans,” Ian Read, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. Some 5,000 older adults succumb to the disease annually, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevnar, which was first approved in 2000, is a conjugated vaccine, which means it contains pneumococcal bacteria bound to a protein. The addition of the protein helps the body’s immune system recognize the bacteria, especially in babies. The drug also has received approval for adults 50 and older in the European Union, Australia, Mexico and more than 10 other countries, Pfizer said. — AP

Sugar helps researchers destroy cancer cells It’s a heavy price to pay for a sweet tooth. Researchers have tricked glucose-eating cancer cells into consuming a sugar that essentially poisons them; it leaves a “suicide” switch within the cells open to attack.

“Most cancer cells rely almost exclusively on glucose to fuel their growth,” said Guy Perkins of the University of California at San Diego. With Rudy Yamaguchi of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, Perkins found the cells would take up a similar sugar called 2-deoxyglucose. But this sugar physically dislodges a protein within the cell that guards a suicide switch. Once exposed, the switch can be activated by a drug called ABT-263. This kills the cell by liberating proteins that order it to commit suicide, according to the research published in the journal Cancer Research. The approach could ultimately spell doom for several types of cancer, including liver, lung, breast and blood. In mice, the treatment made aggressive human prostate cancer tumors virtually disappear within days. Yamaguchi and Perkins are now hoping to mount a clinical trial at UC San Diego. — New Scientist

Drugs may counteract ‘lethal’ radiation Mice can survive a dose of radiation that should have killed them when given a double-drug therapy, even if they get the drug cocktail 24 hours after exposure. Radiation damages rapidly dividing cells in the intestine, allowing harmful bacteria to leak into the bloodstream. Eva Guinan at Harvard Medical School found that boosting levels of a protein involved in the immune response against the bacteria — while simultaneously giving an antibiotic — helped 80 percent of mice survive, according to the study published in Science Translational Medicine. The protein and antibiotic are both safe to use in people, and could be stockpiled in case of a nuclear accident, Guinan said. — New Scientist

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Medicare debate is all about the boomers By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar Baby boomers take note: Medicare as your parents have known it is headed for big changes no matter who wins the White House in 2012. You may not like it, but you might have to accept it. Dial down the partisan rhetoric, and surprising similarities emerge from competing policy prescriptions by President Barack Obama and leading Republicans such as Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. Limit the overall growth of Medicare spending? It’s in both approaches. Squeeze more money from upper-income retirees and some in the middle-class? Ditto. Raise the eligibility age? That too, if the deal is right. With more than 1.5 million baby boomers a year signing up for Medicare, the program’s future is one of the most important economic issues for anyone now 50 or older. Healthcare costs are the most unpredictable part of retirement, and Medicare remains an exceptional deal for retirees, who can reap benefits worth far more than the payroll taxes they paid in during their careers.

will collect only enough payroll taxes to pay 90 percent of benefits. Second, researchers estimate that 20 to 30 percent of the more than $500 billion that Medicare now spends annually is wasted on treatments and procedures of little or no benefit to patients. Taken together, that means policymakers can’t let Medicare keep running on autopilot, and they’ll look for cuts before any payroll tax increases.

Privatization pros and cons Privatization is the biggest divide between Democrats and Republicans. Currently about 75 percent of Medicare recipients are in the traditional government-run, fee-for-service program, and 25 percent are in private insurance plans known as Medicare Advantage. Ryan’s original approach, part of a

budget plan the House passed last spring, would have put 100 percent of future retirees into private insurance. His latest plan, developed with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would keep traditional Medicare as an option, competing with private plans. Older people would get a fixed payment they could use for private health insurance or traditional Medicare. Proponents call it “premium support.” To foes, it’s a voucher. Under both of Ryan’s versions, people now 55 or older would not have to make any changes. GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich praise his latest plan. How would it work? Would it save taxpayers money? Would it shift costs to retirees as Ryan’s earlier plan did? Would Congress later phase out traditional Medicare? Those and other questions must still be answered. “I’m not sure anybody has come up with

a formula on this that makes people comfortable,” said health economist Marilyn Moon, who formerly served as a trustee helping to oversee Medicare finances. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Wyden-Ryan plan “would end Medicare as we know it for millions of seniors,” causing the traditional program to “wither on the vine.”

Healthcare overhaul’s role But what administration officials don’t say is that Obama’s healthcare law already puts in place one of Ryan’s main goals by limiting future increases in Medicare spending. Ryan would do it with a fixed payment for health insurance, adjusted to allow some growth. In theory that compels consumers and medical providers to be more See MEDICARE DEBATE, page 15

Finances will force change “People would like to have what they used to have. What they don’t seem to understand is that it’s already changed,” said Gail Wilensky, a former Medicare administrator and adviser to Republicans. “Medicare as we have known it is not part of our future.” Two sets of numbers underscore that point. First, Medicare’s giant trust fund for inpatient care is projected to run out of money in 2024. At that point, the program

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Mar. 24


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case of acts in the style of “The Rat Pack,” Nat King Cole and the Beach Boys, plus a silent auction. Tickets are $150. For reservations or more information, call Jack Newby at (760) 323-5689, ext. 118, or visit online.

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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Chocolate for breakfast on Valentine’s Day By Dana Jacobi When Valentine’s Day falls during the week, as this year, time for sharing a leisurely breakfast is unlikely. You can, however, still start the day with a romantic surprise. Writer Ernestine Ulmer said, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” When I first began to create recipes, in 1994, this inspired me to make dessert-like breakfasts. Rice pudding and bread pudding have been particular favorites since they include a healthy combination of protein, complex carbs via whole grain, fiber, plus pleasure. And you can eat them while putting on make-up, reading the paper, heading out to work, or sitting at your desk when necessary. For Valentine’s Day, the chocolate and cherries in this bread pudding make it luxuriously seductive. They have health bene-

fits, too, that say you care — combining the goodness of whole-grain bread with healthpromoting antioxidants in chocolate and cherries. I recommend making this moist pudding a day or two ahead, since it is even better after it sits. Doing this also leaves more time to share on Valentine’s morning. Bread that is too soft makes a mushy pudding, so select a loaf that resists slightly when you press it in its package. For example, I used Arnold Whole Grains 100% Whole Wheat bread. Dried tart Montmorency cherries are my preference over sweet ones. Do use dried fruit — the sour cherries in a jar, even well drained, can turn your pudding soggy.

Cherry Chocolate Bread Pudding 3/4 cup dried tart or sweet cherries 3/4 cup apple juice or water

8 slices whole-wheat bread 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 tsp. salt 2 1/2 cups refrigerated plain coconut milk, divided (This is an unsweetened refrigerated coconut milk beverage with about 50 calories per cup.) 2 large eggs 3 large egg whites 2 tsp. vanilla extract Canola oil cooking spray 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, at least 60 to 63 percent cocoa 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds Preheat oven to 350 F. In small bowl, soak cherries in apple juice or water to plump them. Drain well and set aside. Stack bread slices and, using serrated

knife, cut off crust. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes, making about 7 cups. In large mixing bowl, combine cocoa, sugar and salt. Add 1/3 cup of coconut milk and whisk until smooth. Add remaining coconut milk and whisk to combine well. Add eggs, egg whites and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Add cubed bread and drained cherries, mixing gently until all bread is moistened. Set mixture aside to soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Coat 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Stir mixture again to evenly distribute cherries. Spread mixture in prepared pan. Sprinkle on chocolate chips and almonds. Bake until knife inserted in center of pudding comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Cool on rack until just warm. Cut pudding into 12 pieces and serve. Or cool completely, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Serve this bread pudding cold or at room temperature. Makes 12 servings. Per serving: 176 calories, 4 g. fat (2 g. saturated fat), 31 g. carbohydrates, 5 g. protein, 3 g. fiber, 232 mg. sodium. Dana Jacobi creates recipes for the American Institute for Cancer Research.


Feb. 22+


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Chiropractor Eric M. Davenport discusses preventative health measures at the Indio Senior Center from 10 to 10:45 a.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Upcoming presentations include “Dealing with Brain Pain: Headaches and Migraines” on Feb. 15 and “The Awesomeness of Joint Biomechanics” on March 7. The center is located at 45700 Aladdin St., Indio. For more information, call (760) 391-4170.

C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2

Medicare debate From page 13 cost-conscious. Obama does it with a powerful board that can force Medicare cuts to service providers if costs rise beyond certain levels and Congress fails to act. Like several elements of Obama’s healthcare overhaul, the Independent Payment Advisory Board is in limbo for now, but it is on the books. If the board survives Republican repeal attempts, it could become one of the government’s most important domestic agencies. The White House wants to keep the existing structure of Medicare while “twisting the dials” to control spending, said a current Medicare trustee, economist Robert Reischauer of the Urban Institute think tank. Ryan’s latest approach is arguably an evolution of the current Medicare Advantage private insurance program, not a radical change, Reischauer said. That’s particularly so if traditional Medicare remains an option.

“In the hot and heavy political debate we are in, participants are exaggerating the difference between the proposals,” he said. During failed budget negotiations with Republicans last summer, Obama indicated a willingness to make more major changes to Medicare, including gradually raising the age of eligibility to 67, increasing premiums for many beneficiaries, revamping co-payments and deductibles in ways that would raise costs for retirees, and cutting payments to drugmakers and other providers. “I was surprised by how much the president was willing to offer in terms of Medicare changes without a more thorough vetting and discussion,” said Moon. Obama says he will veto any plan to cut Medicare benefits without raising taxes on the wealthy. Democrats are still hoping to use Ryan’s privatization plans as a political weapon against Republicans, but the Medicare debate could cut both ways. For the 76 million baby boomers signing up over the next couple of decades, it will pay to be watching. — AP

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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Travel Leisure &

Krakow, Poland is becoming an eastern European hot spot. See story on page 18.

The Everglades: One watery wonderland

Who’s watching whom? On a recent visit to Everglades National

Park, as I walked just a few inches above water level along the Anhinga Trail boardwalk, I stopped to study a hunched-over greenback heron. I suddenly realized that I was also being watched. In the grayish-brown muck five feet away, a dark leathery crown barely poked out, and two large, half-emerged shiny orbs just above the waterline were eyeing me. The “keeper of the Everglades,” a Florida alligator, was lurking, camouflaged in the shallows. Once endangered, “today they are too numerous to count,” Christiana Admiral, a National Park Service interpreter told me later. The typical male is seven feet long. To casual observers, alligators seem lethargic, but they can move fast both in water and on land. In the visitor center’s “Gators in Motion” video, I had learned that during courtship males bellow, nuzzle females, and then both submerge to mate. Recalling that we had also been cautioned that “they eat anything,” I didn’t linger. Ambling on, I spotted a big brown bird with wings splayed apart, seemingly frozen in time. It was an anhinga, and except for an occasional blink of the eye, it was sitting perfectly still on a branch drying its wings. Known as “snakebirds,” anhingas swim underwater, spear fish and perch to dry out, an iconic pose in these wetlands. Moving further, I spotted a thin white “tube” reaching upward amid the millions of sawgrass blades. It was a great egret


By Glenda C. Booth A sheet of water once flowed from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes near Orlando to Lake Okeechobee and then across the southern tip of Florida through ponds, sloughs, wetlands, hummocks and forests. Once covering almost 3 million acres, the Everglades was perceived by many during Florida’s early boom years as a worthless swamp interfering with agriculture and other development. So, human engineering was brought to bear, “improving” south Florida with canals, dams and elaborate drainage systems that severely interrupted and diverted the historic flow of water. In large part thanks to Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a journalist and tireless conservation advocate during the 1900s, the Everglades are now viewed as a national natural treasure. In 2000, Congress approved a 30-year plan to restore some of the original Everglades. Today, the ecosystem encompasses 1.3 million acres of sawgrass prairie stretching across South Florida. The largest subtropical ecosystem in the U.S., it now boasts 350 species of birds, 300 of fish, 40 of mammals, 50 of reptiles, 17 of amphibians and 1,000 of plants. This is also the only place where alligators and crocodiles co-exist.

Visitors skim across the Everglades’ “river of grass” in an airboat in search of crocodiles, herons, egrets and other species of the abundant wildlife found in the national park.


A great egret strides through a swamp filled with cypress trees in Florida’s Everglades National Park. Preservation efforts have helped turn the 1.3 million acre ecosystem into a nature-loving tourist’s dream.

awaiting its prey. Around the bend, a great blue heron crouched silently, transfixed on the water. These bluish-gray, 46-inch wading birds patiently stand motionless for a long time waiting for a snack to zip by. The Everglades, North America’s unique “river of grass,” is deceptive. At first glance, all seems quiet, at rest. But it’s not. It is a mesmerizing liquid land where you should slowly imbibe the serenity and study subtle movements and gentle nuances, from the microscopic to the menacing. Tony Iallonardo, a resident of Arlington, Va., described his October visit like this: “I was told not to expect grand vistas like the Tetons or Yosemite. The Everglades require you to move slowly and look closely. Then the beauty opens itself up to you. “What’s most special is the abundance of wildlife. It’s all around you all the time — under your feet, above your head and everywhere in between. “Alligators, diamondback rattlers, other snakes, lizards, a bear cub and hundreds of egrets and herons. We had many moments when we were all alone with the wildlife and our beautiful surroundings.”

Multiple entrances and paths There are three entrances to Everglades National Park: the Ernest F. Coe Visitor

Center near Homestead on the southeast, Shark Valley at the northeast corner, and Everglades City at the northwest corner. Driving to the Coe entrance, 35 miles south of Miami, and from there along the 37-mile road to Flamingo, Fla., is an excellent one or two-day introduction to all that is the Everglades. Off this road are several easy trails where you can get close-up looks at wood storks, ibises and turtles. Unusual plants, like mangroves and moonvines that bloom at night, also abound. On the Gumbo Limbo Trail, I explored a typical hardwood hummock, lush with subtropical plants, including orchids and bromeliads, and secretive animals, such as the Florida tree snail and the Key Largo wood rat. (The gumbo limbo tree is known as the tourist tree because its bark peels like the sunburned skin of a tourist.) The Pa-hay-okee Overlook’s one-quarter mile boardwalk took me to an observation tower for a panoramic view. On the West Lake Trail, a half-mile loop, I watched birds flit around in a forest of salt-tolerant mangrove trees perched on their above-water roots arched like a birdcage. On my drive to Flamingo, I sampled most of the park’s ecosystems — freshwater See EVERGLADES, page 17

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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2

Everglades From page 16 sloughs, marl prairies, cypress and mangrove forests and marine estuaries. During low tide, the mud flats host throngs of birds, including pelicans, cormorants, herons, roseate spoonbills, egrets, mangrove cuckoos and black skimmers. At the road’s end, I had hoped for sightings of a saltwater crocodile or manatee, both of which rangers say are common, but they were not visible on the drizzly day of my visit. Crocodile numbers have rebounded to around 1,500, according to park authorities. Flamingo has boat, kayak and canoe rentals, snacks, an informative visitor center and free ranger-guided programs. Taking another approach, from the Shark Valley entrance off the Tamiami Trail (Highway 41), 25 miles west of the Florida Turnpike, there’s a two-hour, open-air tram tour led by naturalists to a 50-foot observation tower. Or you can rent a bike to explore the 15-mile trail or walk several trails from the visitor center. Alternatively, at the Everglades City entrance, 78 miles west of Miami, the National Park Service rents kayaks, canoes and camping equipment. Many visitors go there for canoe or boat trips in the maze of mangroves and waterways through the Ten Thousand Islands. Some say Everglades City, a fishing

town, is reminiscent of “old Florida” — preDisney World, strip malls and condos. In the U.S., if you say Florida, many Americans think “Miami Vice,” Disney World or the Daytona 500. A Dutch visitor told me, “In the Netherlands, if you say ‘Florida,’ people think ‘Everglades.’” You will, too, after your immersion into this watery wonderland.

Planning your trip Before you go, look at the National Park Service’s website and talk to staff (call (305) 242-7700), especially if you plan to paddle or camp. Thoroughly research your options ahead of time so you can take into consideration weather, tides, mosquitoes (very pesky in summer), water levels and other factors. Even a one-day visit walking the trails is well worth it. Besides the park, there are touristy, kitschy amusements nearby like alligator and snake shows and airboat rides. Be forewarned: Airboats with their jet engines are very noisy and scare wildlife away, but it is a common way to get out on the water. Everglades Wilderness Charters offers guided fishing and camping trips ( En route to the Coe entrance, don’t miss Robert Is Here Fruit Stand, a cornucopia of tropical fruits, jams, milkshakes and Key lime pies. For 38 years, visitors have stopped for the Key lime milkshakes. There is no lodging in the park itself. A

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new lodge will open in Flamingo in 2013. There are several campgrounds. Study the Everglades website for services and rules. Homestead, 15 minutes from the Coe Visitor Center, has many motels listed with the Homestead/Florida City Chamber of Commerce at For a taste of old Florida, try the Grove Inn Country Guesthouse in Redlands, five minutes north of Homestead. I felt like I was on the set of The Night of the Iguana, listening to subtropical critters in the lush garden of bromeliads and lemon trees buffering a central courtyard. The inn houses refugees during hurricanes because of its solid, 1950s concrete construction. Check or call 1-877-247-6572.

When to visit When is the best time to go? There is no easy answer. June to October brings heat, storms, mosquitoes galore and fewer visitors than other times. You may see colorful lubber grasshoppers, female alligators building nests, and loggerhead turtles laying eggs. Birds like white-crowned pigeons, blackwhiskered vireos and gray kingbirds mi-


grate from the tropics to nest in the summer. Wet areas are flooded and the cypress trees green up. The young hatch by September. Fall brings bird migration, including thousands of barn swallows, bobolinks, warblers and peregrine falcons. Alligator hatchlings scramble about. December to April, the dry season, is the most popular, but it is often crowded. “It’s almost like going through the zoo,” Hayley Crowell, a National Park Service ranger, told me. The crocs are easier to see, there are more ranger-led walks, and there are fewer mosquitoes. As some of the Everglades’ water y environs evaporate, wading birds gather around alligator holes where fish congregate. Wood storks nest and their young fledge in Februar y or March. Flying to Miami is the fastest way to access the Everglades. American Airlines has the least expensive flights from Palm Springs in late February, starting at $383 rountrip. Once there, you’ll need to rent a car at the airport. Glenda C. Booth is a travel writer based in Alexandria, Va.

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Krakow, Poland: Historic and now trendy disco or dance club. The sound of singing rises up from cellars filled with party-goers. Krakow, a city of about 800,000 on the banks of the Vistula River in southern Poland, attracts about 7 million tourists a year. The city also boasts two dozen universities with nearly 210,000 students. The mix translates into a youthful, fun energy in the formerly communist countr y. In the evening, visitors to the square will find history meeting the 21st century as

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hip-hop dancers perform in front of the landmark statue of poet Adam Mickiewicz while an older man plays an accordion under the city gate.

Shopping in the main square


By Caryn Rousseau With crowds of tourists and a collegetown atmosphere, Krakow — once the capital of Poland — has become a European hot spot. The center of it all is the centuries-old main square in the Old Town, or Stare Miasto, where brick streets are filled with restaurants, coffee shops, trendy boutiques and sidewalk cafes. Midnight feels like noon as crowds crawl late into the night, when many establishments turn bar, pub,

The large, long Sukiennice building takes up the middle of the main market square. Inside, shoppers move from stall to stall down a hallway, deciding among carved wooden boxes, amber jewelry and other tourist trinkets. The building is also home to the Rynek Underground Museum, where visitors can view centuries-old archaeological ruins of Krakow. On the northeast corner of the square, a bugler emerges every hour, on the Street artists display their paintings in Krakow’s hour (yes, even in the mid- bustling Main City Square. St. Mary’s Church rises in the background. Poland’s former capital has become a dle of the night) from the popular tourist spot, known for its mix of traditional nearly 270-foot tall tower of and trendy restaurants and nightlife. St. Mary’s Church. When he’s done, he waves to crowds below. Visitors can While Krakow has all the trappings of a climb the tower stairs for an aerial view of touristy European city, a unique vibe sets it the square or tour the stunning inside of apart. Nuns wearing full habits ride their bithe church. cycles through the square as Polish famiThe buildings just around the square are lies play with their children near large, filled with sidewalk restaurants where dinartistic sculptures. ers can watch other tourists take horse and At night, groups of young people hop buggy rides or hear an opera singer perfrom bar to bar or wait in long lines for form “Ave Maria” for pocket change. Prices large, cheesy loaves of take-out pizza bread for entry to most attractions are reasonable. called zapiekanka. Poland is not on the euro, and the U.S. dollar is worth roughly three Polish zloty. See KRAKOW, page 19

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Krakow From page 18

Pierogi and parks Food is plentiful and hardy in the Old Town. There are many Polish restaurants where tourists can sample pierogi, bigos, kielbasa and other traditional dishes. But there are also trendier cafes, Italian eateries, and take-out pizza, gelato and kebob counters for a quick bite. Cheapest and most popular for a snack are the blue carts that sell rings of freshbaked bread dough covered in poppy seeds, cheese or sesame seeds. Bakeries every few streets sell pastries filled with chocolate, apples, strawberries and cheese, huge loaves of bread and small Polish cookies. The Old Town is surrounded by green space called the Planty, which tour guides explain was once the city moat. Now it’s filled with trees, statues, a walking path, gardens and fountains. Along the north side of the Planty is St. Florian’s Gate, where local artists fill a stone city wall with paintings for sale. A tram runs in a circle outside the Planty and then branches out into the city. Several tourist attractions sit just outside the Old Town, including Wawel Hill, which can be described as the heart of Poland. It’s where the country’s kings, queens and other dignitaries are buried in Wawel Cathedral. Tours are available of Wawel Castle and outside, near the Vistula River, a tall statue of a dragon actually breathes fire — a fa-

vorite with children. Those looking for a more authentic shopping experience can head to the Stary Kleparz, a flea market-like space where vendors sell fresh vegetables, sausages, kitchen items, clothing, jewelry and flowers.

Side trips to consider Several side trips are worth a look if there’s time on your itinerary: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum: This site of Nazi concentration and extermination camps, where an estimated 2 million people (mostly Jews) were killed in gas chambers during World War II, is about 40 miles west of Krakow. Tours are available in many languages. Kazimierz: The Jewish quarter of Krakow is just south, within walking distance, of the Old Town. Tourists can see several synagogues, a Jewish cemetery and traditional restaurants. Nowa Huta: The communists built Nowa Huta as an ideal workers’ city, with a steel mill, apartment blocks and, at one time, a statue of Lenin. Tours are available or get there via tram. Wieliczka Salt Mine: This UNESCO Heritage Site is about eight miles southeast of Krakow. Visitors can see cavernous rooms filled with intricately carved statues, altars, even chandeliers, all made of salt. Zakopane: Poles flock to this resort town in the Tatra Mountains about 65 miles south of Krakow. During the winter there’s skiing and sledding; summer offers hiking


Feb. 27


Attend a live taping of The Price is Right, starring host Drew Carey, when the Indio Senior Center visits CBS television studios in Los Angeles on Monday, Feb. 27. A non-refundable $69 travel cost covers bus transportation and lunch. Bring a photo I.D. to be eligible as a contestant. The group will leave from the center, 45700 Aladdin St., Indio, at 9 a.m. and return about 9 p.m. For reservations and more information, call (760) 391-4170.

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and swimming. Trams take groups to the top of mountains for stunning views, and shoppers crowd the market and boutiques along Krupowki Street. For information on hotels and other tourist attractions, see the city of Krakow’s official site,, the


Krakow Informer at www.krakow-poland. com/a/Krakow-Tourism,cif, and Explore Krakow at The least expensive flight from Palm Springs in late-February is $1,132 on Lufthansa. Flights from LAX start at $857. — AP


Mar. 17


Visit three unique wineries on a scenic trip to the Temecula Valley on Saturday, March 17. A $43 fee covers bus transportation and lunch at Hometown Buffet. The group will have an hour at each winery to tour the facilities, visit the tasting room and walk the grounds. Plan to depart from the La Quinta Library, 78275 Calle Tampico, La Quinta, by 9 a.m. and return about 5:15 p.m. For registration and more information, call (760) 777-7000 or (760) 564-0096.



The Riverside County Office on Aging is placing volunteers 55 and older in a variety of both skilled and unskilled positions throughout Eastern Riverside County, including the Coachella Valley, through the RSVP program. Volunteer placements for individuals of all ages are also available within the Office on Aging itself, which has a new satellite office at 78900 Avenue 47, Suite 200, La Quinta. For more information on these opportunities, call 1-800-5102020 or (760) 771-0501.



The Indio Senior Center, 45700 Aladdin St. Indio, seeks volunteers to support its programs and services for adults 50 and older. Club leaders, class instructors, office assistants, meal servers and other openings exist. For more information, call (760) 391-4170.


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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

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Style Arts &

Modernism Week defines Palm Springs Part of heritage tourism According to architectural historian Alan Hess, who has published two books on Palm Springs’ popular style, “Mid-century modernist architecture has been discovered nationally, but Palm Springs, for a small city — especially in the 1950s and 1960s — had quite a lot of excellent architectural examples.” The city’s draw for modernism mavens speaks to its positioning in what has come to be called “heritage tourism,” Hess added. “People go to Europe to look at the cathedrals,” he cited as an example, “and they come to Palm Springs to see the modernist architecture.” According to statistics compiled by Modernism Week’s organizers, more than three-quarters of the event’s visitors attend from outside of the Coachella Valley, and 10 percent come from outside the U.S. Hess will be the featured speaker during a luncheon and screening of Desert Utopia: Midcentury Architecture in Palm Springs at noon, Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Hilton Palm Springs, 400 East Tahquitz Canyon Way. Reservations are $25. The film is part of Modernism Week’s Architecture & Design Film Series.


By Connie George Seven years into the promotion of its mid20th century style and culture, Palm Springs Modernism Week has officially put the city on the map as a mecca for fans of the clean, simple lines and elegant informality that denote the modernistic mode. This year’s “week,” Thursday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 26, will again provide an open-house invitation to visit and view vintage examples of everything from art to architecture throughout the community. From elegant estate visits and “Mad Mod” cocktail parties to bus and walking tours, films and lectures, fashion shows and design sales, and other activities, more than 80 listings are on the Modernism Week schedule, many repeated throughout the run of the celebration. Most will focus on modernism in the Palm Springs area, while some will cover the history of the design movement elsewhere in the United States and abroad. First launched in 2006 as the only event of its kind in the world, Modernism Week has been building attendance so rapidly that its 2011 visiting audience, at nearly 26,000, was roughly three times that of the 2009 crowd. More than 80 percent of the visitors have been over the age of 45 — old enough to remember with nostalgia the home, fashion, art, furniture and vehicle designs of their youth.

Guided tours through the interiors of vintage Airstreams and other travel trailers will include discussions with the owners who restored them.

Exploring local history The invitation to explore local history PHOTOS COURTESY OF GREGG FELSEN

during Modernism Week is as much of a draw as the opportunities to view Palm Springs’ unique landmarks and attend festive and educational programs, said planning board member Gary Johns. Also coordinator of Modernism Week’s twice-daily bus tours, Johns said his observation of the riders is that they come aboard as much for the comfortable, seated view of the city as for the entertaining oral histories provided by the drivers. While called “double-decker” bus tours, Johns said that this year’s three-hour excursions will actually hold each load of 48 passengers on the top level of a high-rise bus, allowing everyone a 360-degree view of Palm Springs and the surrounding mountains. The downtown banking district, mid-century neighborhoods, celebrity homes, civic buildings, and even historic churches and buildings from the city’s Spanish heritage will be on the itinerary. Bus tours are $75 per person and include a rest stop at the former Palm Springs Tramway gas station, now a visitor center. Reservations are strongly encouraged for the tours, which depart at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. from The Corridor at 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

Other highlights of the ‘Week’ The 1963 “Frey II House,” designed by architect Albert Frey and overlooking downtown Palm Springs, will introduce visitors to a study in metal, glass and natural desert materials, including a boulder rising up between the bedroom and kitchen around which the home was built. Frey’s work is noted for its ability to blend in with the local desert landscape.

The Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale will feature more than 75 premier national and international dealers in mid-century modern furniture and decorative arts. The show runs from Saturday, Feb. 18 through

Monday, Feb. 20, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros. Doors open at 10 a.m. Admission is $15. Vintage car and trailer enthusiasts will have three opportunities to admire vehicle designs of the mid-20th century. Automotive industry expert Jim Cherry will deliver a lecture, Cartopia: Mid-Century Concept Cars, at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Feb. 20 at the Hilton Palm Springs. Admission is $10. Following the lecture, a free vintage car show will be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center from noon to 4 p.m. Guided tours of vintage Airstream and other travel trailers will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 25 and 26, at Desert Fashion Plaza, 123 N. Palm Canyon Drive. Admission is $10. The design work of noted architect Albert Frey, who lived in Palm Springs and created some of its most significant structures using natural desert materials and colors, will be explored in a lecture and tour of one of his houses. The Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 N. Museum Drive, will host the lecture Albert Frey by Bill Butler, chair of the museum’s Architecture and Design Council, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 21 and 22. Admission is $10. Tours of the “Frey II House” will depart from the museum every 45 minutes between 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., Monday, Feb. 20 through Wednesday, Feb. See MODERNISM WEEK, page 21

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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2

Moderism week From page 20 22. Tickets are $50. A “PreFab Showcase” will feature a 1,200square-foot home built according to mod-

ernism’s unique style, but with the environmental sensibilities of the 21st century. Tours of the three-bedroom, two-bath house at 575 N. Palm Canyon Drive will take place daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10. Reservations are necessary for most ModPHOTO COURTESY OF GREGG FELSEN

A collaboration between architect John Lautner and interior designer Arthur Elrod resulted in the 1968 “Elrod House,” which has a panoramic view of the San Jacinto mountains from its Southridge location in Palm Springs. The home, featured in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, will provide the setting for Modernism Week’s opening night cocktail reception on Feb. 16.


Feb. 16+

BOEING-BOEING AT THE ANNENBERG Winner of two 2008 Tony awards, the 1960s-era comedy Boeing-

Boeing follows an architect juggling three flight attendant fiancés, with assistance from his trusted housekeeper and interference by an old friend. The show will be performed Thursday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 19 in the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Ticket prices range from $39 to $55. The theater is located at 101 Museum Dr., Palm Springs. For more information, call (760) 325-4490 or visit online.

ernism Week activities. For tickets and more information, visit


online. The Modernism Week office can be reached at (760) 333-9169.

Tell them you saw it in the Beacon!


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now,” she said, “where it used to be only the man’s right or responsibility.” But the Joslyn group, whose members range in age from early 60s to mid-90s, also provides companionship for those not necessarily seeking a new partner, Goodman said. Beverly Dinger of La Quinta said “I’m just as happy being by myself, actually, but it’s kind of lonely. I think you need a partner, but it’s got to be the right partner.” Oz Osmanson said he’s just seeking friends, “not something super serious. Not at 83 years old.”

— I’m set in my ways, too.” Balancing the optimism of his youth with his older wisdom is something Parrish admits he is still processing. “At every age you think you’re on top of the world and that you know yourself,” he said. “But then the life lessons come up and you really get to know yourself…At the root of things,” Parrish said, what he seeks most is not only a life partner, but also “a true friend.”

New emotional and sexual paths



According to Levine, learning more about our selves after 50 involves not only Single in the post-AIDS era discerning our desires and independent priAs an older, single gay man, Bill Parrish orities, but also our limitations. “As you can has weathered major changes in the dating learn to say ‘no’ and know your boundaries, scene, which he that’s when you has come to think begin discovering of as “before AIDS yourself,” she said. and after AIDS.” In addition, learnEmotionally, he ing more about our said, his mindset is selves can lead to as free and open as having more conit was before the trol over the direcdanger of AIDS betion of our lives, she came ever-present explained, “and this in the gay male culcan lead to more ture in the 1980s. sexual confidence Yet, he added, his and satisfaction.” innate disinterest Sometimes this in promiscuity is journey leads down not only why he new emotional and believes he has sexual paths as relaeluded the disease, tionship interests but also what change and new opdrives the way he tions become availSuzanne Braun Levine seeks a serious reable, Levine said. lationship. After being married to men, two women, Having turned 60 in December, the Chris Hansen and Carla Umbehocker, Cathedral City resident said he is aware his found a soul match in each other when they age makes him an older man on the dating became involved in 1999. scene, but that his emotions, mindset and The couple described the evolution of energy feel unchanged from when he was discovery that led them to realize their upin his 30s and 40s. He listens to current pop bringings did not match their romantic desmusic by such artists as Pink and Lady tinies. Gaga, and is in“I think as a volved in planning teenager there were the high-spirited lots of expectaparties he and his tions,” said Hansen, friends enjoy dur58. “You graduate, ing games of the get a job or go to colSan Francisco lege, you get mar49ers football team. ried. But then I think Single, but lookself-realization and ing, since relocating self-awareness are to the valley from allowed to kick in.” San Francisco in “You just gather 2010, Parrish said lots of information he usually finds through life and you himself drawn to put it together to men in their 40s bemove on in the dicause they match rection you’d like to his interests and engo,” added UmbeBill Parrish ergy level. He dishocker, 56. “A lot of likes the bar scene that is about who and instead hopes to meet a partner through you are — not to live up to others’ expectaactivities such as dining, outdoor desert excur- tions, but to live up to your own.” sions and sporting events. The women relocated from Washington Yet he has also become aware of a calm- state to Palm Springs in 2008 and wed during of his soul as he’s gotten older. “I love ing the five-month legal window of samemy quiet time and laying under the stars sex marriage that year. and looking up,” he said. He has found other men his age or older to be set in their See LOVE AFTER 50, page 23 ways, “but there’s nothing wrong with that PHOTO BY JOANNA LEVINE

with finding love at a later age, along with observations of other older adults in similar From page 1 situations, has shown them that romance to learn who she was as an individual. feels just as good as in their earlier years, Eventually, on a cruise with friends, she but that dating moves a little faster. met a new man and entered what she de“Your heart glows when you’re younger scribed as her “first adult love affair” since and when you’re older,” Cusumano said. she and her hus“When you’re band had first met younger, you know each other when nothing. You grow they were kids. with your age and The new relationwith the experience ship lasted until her of your life.” That exnew partner’s death perience means that nearly four years an older couple can later, and she has move through the continued dating. phases of dating “You learn so much with more certainty from each different about what each of person,” she said. t he m want s, he Now 84, Sieg has added. met a variety of “After you’ve men through sinbeen married and gles groups, a datthen you find ing service and someone else after online social netyou’ve lost your Carla Umbehocker, left, works, spending spouse, it doesn’t and Chris Hansen time with men of take as much time many ages and making some new friends in to go through all those dating steps,” the process as well. agreed Paul. She said she feels the same roBut she is holding onto her contentment as mantic spark with Cusumano that she did an individual, she explained, and waiting for when she was newly married. “I get those just the right match. “Even though I am still tinglies all over again,” she said. hoping to find Mr. Right for the end-of-life, I Cusumano and Paul said that, like Sieg, am happy. Like in the song, I’m ‘doing it my they also appreciate the independence of way.’” older adulthood. As a result, they have no plans to marry. Cusumano will maintain his Meeting in a singles group home in Rancho Mirage while Paul mainBen Cusumano, 84, met Bonnie Paul, 66, tains hers in Palm Desert, in support of nearly two years ago in a singles group that each other’s privacy and individuality. gathers weekly at the Joslyn Center in Palm Desert. Old expectations, new protocol Cusumano said he hesitatingly joined the Sandy Goodman, 76, coordinates the group for a dinner outing one night and weekly gatherings of the Joslyn Center Sinfound himself seated next to Paul. Both had gles. The Palm Desert resident said she’s been widowed after long, happy unions, and observed that, in many ways, romantic dythe two quickly discovered a number of namics and expectations among older common interests, including dancing, adults who are seeking partners hasn’t music, live theater and travel. changed much since high school. A veteran of three marriages and many “Men crave attention as much as women years of dating, crave companionCusumano said he ship, and the men was m or e jade d are just as afraid about the prospect as the women,” of becoming inGoodman said. volved with a new Yet, she added, partner, but that the increased selfPaul’s openness and knowledge that exuberance capcomes with age, tured his attention. along with changes Because she’d in the rules of datbeen married since ing, affect the overthe age of 18, “I had 50 dating process. never really dated “ Yo u g e t t o d o or kissed anybody more by yourself” else,” Paul said as an independent about entering the older adult, Gooddating field after man said, while her husband died. she acknowledged Billie Sieg She kept herself that many still busy with friends, work and hobbies for a grow tired of eating alone. couple of years before joining the Joslyn One development she’s seen benefiting singles, where five weeks later she met the singles in her group is that modern datCusumano. ing protocol has helped equalize the playing The couple said that their experience field. “It’s okay for a woman to call a man

Love after 50

F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2

Love after 50 From page 22

Long-term love According to Levine, another development in loving, older partnerships is that, no matter how long they have known each other or how many experiences they have shared, the individuals involved become more aware of the need to show appreciation for their partners — to let them know that they are valued for their unique personalities and characteristics. This genuine opening of the heart can reignite long-time relationships as well as help new unions begin on a more fulfilling footing. “We come to this stage of life with very different perspectives,” Levine said. “We need to adjust and tune in to the different needs and interests of our partners.” Sieg observed this dynamic in her marriage of more than five decades. “When you’ve been married a long time, you both change,” she said. “You sort of grow up, but you can grow apart in a lot of ways.” Umbehocker said she came to the same understanding after she turned 50. “I didn’t realize as a younger person that you still

need to date as a couple. It’s where you let that person know how you feel about them in their own love language — because everyone has their own language.” “Always tell each other when you have a wonderful relationship,” Cusumano said of what he has learned about older-age love. “Say ‘I love you,’ touch each other, say ‘I care for you.’” According to Parrish, opening one’s heart to share honest affection is an act of loving maintenance for valued relationships. “Be kind to yourself and others,” he said. “It doesn’t cost anything but some time.” Connecting — or reconnecting — with a partner in our later years can be more meaningful and more grounded than in our youth, according to Levine. “You really can go forward as two complete people who have overlapping and separate interests and commitments,” she said. “Being in love knows no age limits. The kinds of love we can experience in a lifetime are limited only by our imagination and our circumstances.” Suzanne Braun Levine’s latest book, How We Love Now: Sex and the New Intimacy in Second Adulthood, is published by Viking Adult.


Feb. 29+


The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum will present the 11th annual Festival of Native Film & Culture, Wednesday through Sunday, Feb. 29 to March 4, at the Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Rd., Palm Springs. The event features the best in films by, about and starring Native Americans and other indigenous peoples. General admission is $10; $7 if 60 or older. An access pass to all screenings is $70. For festival scheduling and other information, call (760) 778-1079 or (760) 325-6565, or visit online.

Feb. 16


Act I, a valley organization of professionals supporting seniors through community teamwork, will hold its second annual Fat Thursday Mardi Gras Celebration and Gumbo Cook-Off on Thursday, Feb. 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. Appetizers, desserts and drinks will be available; gumbo tasting begins at 5 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for best men’s and women’s costumes. A Dixieland band, tarot card and palm readers, and face painting will add to the festivities, to be held at Fountains at the Carlotta, 41505 Carlotta Dr., Palm Desert. For more information, call Margaret Rouley at (760) 902-0017 or Rena Kearney at (760) 346-5420, or visit online.

Mar. 5+


The BNP Paribas Open, March 5 to 18, is the largest event on both the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association schedules. Men’s and women’s singles champions will receive $1 million in prize money in the tournament, to be held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 78200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells. For schedule, players competing, ticket prices and other information, call (760) 200-8400 or visit online.

Feb. 24+


The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee tells the story of contestants’ lives through songs and flashbacks in this musical comedy that will run Friday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, March 25 at the Indio Performing Arts Center. Show times are 7 p.m. on Fridays, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. General admission is $22. IPAC is located at 45175 Fargo St., Indio. For more information, call (760) 775-5200 or visit online.


TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED 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. Deadlines and Payments: Ad text and payment is due by the 20th of the preceding 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. Ad: Each ad is $35 for 25 words for one month; $.25 for each additional word; $90 for 25 words for 3 months; $.75 for each additional word for 3 months. Note: Each real estate listing counts as one ad. Send your classified ad with check or money order, payable to On-Target Media, to:

The Coachella Valley Beacon, Classified Dept. 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 203J, Palm Springs, CA 92262 Phone: 760.323.3338 • Email: B E AC ON B IT S

Mar. 24

‘STARS AMONG US’ AWARDS DINNER The 7th Annual “Stars Among Us” dinner honoring local leaders of

the nonprofit community will be presented by the Mizell Senior Center from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, March 24 at the Palm Springs Hilton hotel, 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs. This year’s award recipients include Rick Wade, general manager of Palm Springs Disposal; the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation; and the AIDS Assistance Program. The gala will feature a musical showcase of acts in the style of “The Rat Pack,” Nat King Cole and the Beach Boys, plus a silent auction. Tickets are $150. For reservations or more information, call Jack Newby at (760) 323-5689, ext. 118, or visit online.

Feb. 14

HIP AND KNEE LECTURES IN LA QUINTA John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital will sponsor two lectures this month on hip and knee surgery by board-certified orthopedic sur-

geons. Raj K. Sinha, M.D., Ph.D., will cover “Hip and Knee Replacement for Women” from 9 to 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14. Jon McLennan, M.D., will discuss “New Arthroscopic Strategies in the Ligament Injuries of the Knee” from 9 to 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21. Both presentations will be held at the La Quinta Medical Center, 47647 Caleo Bay, Suite 150, La Quinta. For reservations and more information, call 1-800-343-4535.

Mar. 1

HAL HOLBROOK BRINGS MARK TWAIN TO MCCALLUM Hal Holbrook brings his award-winning one-man show, Mark Twain Tonight!, to the McCallum Theatre at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 1.

Ticket prices range from $45 to $65. The theater is located at 73000 Fred Waring Dr., Palm Desert. For reservations and more information, call (760) 340-ARTS or 1-866-889-ARTS, or visit online.

Mar. 8+

30TH ANNUAL LA QUINTA ARTS FESTIVAL Ranked among the top fine arts events in the nation, the La Quinta Arts Festival will celebrate its 30th year March 8 to 11,

from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. More than 200 juried artists in a multitude of styles, live music and other performances, a restaurant row, and a beer and wine bar will all be part of the setting at the Civic Center Campus, 78495 Calle Tampico, La Quinta. Admission is $12 per day or $15 for a four-day pass. For more information, call (760) 564-1244 or visit online.


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IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: Jitterbug is owned by GreatCall, Inc.Your invoices will come from GreatCall. All rate plans and services require the purchase of a Jitterbug phone and a one-time set up fee of $35. Coverage and service is not available everywhere. Other charges and restrictions may apply. Screen images simulated. There are no additional fees to call Jitterbug’s 24-hour U.S. Based Customer Service. However, for calls to an Operator in which a service is completed, minutes will be deducted from your monthly balance equal to the length of the call and any call connected by the Operator, plus an additional 5 minutes. Monthly rate plans do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges. Prices and fees subject to change. 1We will refund the full price of the Jitterbug phone if it is returned within 30 days of purchase in like-new condition. We will also refund your first monthly service charge if you have less than 30 minutes of usage. If you have more than 30 minutes of usage, a per minute charge of 35 cents will apply for each minute over 30 minutes. The activation fee and shipping charges are not refundable. Jitterbug is a registered trademark of GreatCall, Inc. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and/or its related entities. Copyright © 2011 GreatCall, Inc. Copyright © 2011 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond , Inc. All rights reserved.

February 2012 Coachella Valley Beacon Edition