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Knowledgeable instructors Currently, 17 instructors, most with technology backgrounds, teach more than 20 small classes at five senior centers — Columbia’s Bain Center plus those in Elkridge, Ellicott City, Glenwood and North Laurel. Classes that meet for a total of four hours cost $40, while two-hour classes go for $20. There is a $10 fee for demonstrations. Fee reductions or waivers can be arranged for those who cannot afford the classes, said McGonegal. The fees go toward the upkeep and updating of both the hardware and software that make the classes possible. The officers and instructors at CSA get no salary. A big plus are the Friday labs where students, whether still taking classes or having taken them in the past, can use the

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PHOTO BY VICTOR MCGONEGAL

By Robert Friedman “We make the complex simple and fun,” said Victor McGonegal, who runs the allvolunteer Computer Seniors of America (CSA). The nonprofit group helps older computer neophytes in Howard County access the Internet, navigate email, and even talk with grandchildren via Skype. In the group’s low-cost classes held in senior centers, students start by learning how to get to the online world: logging on to the computer, processing words, sending and receiving emails, getting rid of unwanted messages and material that’s no longer useful. They then move on to looking up everything they may have ever wanted to know — from who starred in what movie in which year to expert medical advice on the latest aches and pains. Then there are classes on how to pick up bargains on eBay, how to make spreadsheets and slide show presentations, and how to dial up Skype to simultaneously see and talk to friends and relatives from California to Calcutta. Students can also learn about Facebook, as well as ways to send photos, both old and new, to family, friends and others. And for those who yearn for the betterlate-than-never life of a techie, the operation will soon start classes on the workings of the iPad, iPhone and other tablets and smartphones.

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Comparing costs in five great world-class cities; plus, your rights when airline schedules change, and avoiding ID theft while on vacation page 23

ARTS & STYLE Walter Seymour, a volunteer with Computer Seniors of America, shows Lucy Vecera how to upload photos from a digital camera to the computer. Volunteers with Computer Seniors of America teach more than 20 classes on everything from email to Facebook at five Howard County Senior Centers.

group’s computers for free and ask questions of a lab instructor on duty. “Take one class, and you can use our labs forever,” noted McGonegal. There is also “a liberal retake policy,” where students can make up missed classes, he noted. McGonegal spent many years at IBM before deciding in 1995 that he wanted to teach and to run a company — even one whose goal is not to make a profit , but to get his mature friends and neighbors up and running online. He noted that while the usual professed reason to offer free time is “to give back to the community,” he has an added motive:

“I volunteer because it’s fun.” Still, “for me, this is a business, and I treat it like one so we can go on,” said the tall and imposing 77-year-old. McGonegal, who lives in Laurel, is also a member of the Civil Air Patrol and flies his own plane. So far, in 17 years, more than 4,500 students have learned how to log on and look into the Internet world with the help of the organization he founded.

The fear factor

Howard County organization spotlights literary luminaries; plus, Kathleen Turner channels Molly Ivins’ biting wit in one-woman show page 26 FITNESS & HEALTH k Foods that soothe pain k New drug slows Alzheimer’s

THE SENIOR CONNECTION 15 k Howard County Office on Aging Newsletter LAW & MONEY 19 k ABCs of annuities k Pros and cons of bankruptcy

In its mission statement, CSA says that See COMPUTER SENIORS, page 13

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Life is a practicum Long-time readers of the Beacon have but I discovered more than once that my “met” my mom (83) and dad (92) before in dad was right to ask me or an aide to stay with him every night in both this column. Just last year, I the hospital and rehab to wrote two columns about keep an eye on things and adtheir experiences in moving vocate for him. from their Austin home of 35 Furthermore, it appeared years to a Texas retirement to me that hospital and rehab community. settings conspire to confine a My brother and I have each made two trips there person to bed for 20 or more over the past six weeks, durhours a day regardless of ing which we’ve attempted to what his or her condition is. help our dad navigate his reMy dad was perfectly able covery from a health setback FROM THE to walk, sit up, read, work at a and return to his community. PUBLISHER computer — but the facilities It’s difficult to draw les- By Stuart P. Rosenthal offered only a hospital bed, sons from experiences when sliding food tray, and a guest you’re deep in the throes of them. But I’d chair or two in his room. like to share a few inchoate thoughts with Furthermore, to prevent falls (and the you. Maybe putting them to paper will help resulting liability?), all patients are largely me process them better. encouraged to remain in their rooms (and First, I want to say a few words of praise in bed) most of the time. It seemed to me for the many nurses, techs and doctors this only made my father weaker and frailwho work hard and do their best in busy er as the days and weeks passed. My grandmother (his mother) always hospital and rehab facility settings. There’s so much to remember, so many used to say “a hospital is no place for sick charts and computers to consult, devices people.” As a kid I thought that was funny. to use and pumps to unclog, it’s a wonder I now know what she meant. I also learned that you don’t know what that more mistakes don’t happen. But mistakes do happen, not infrequent- you don’t know. My dad’s chief problem ly. I don’t think the details are important, resulting from his illness is that he is not

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

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

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able to safely swallow food or drink, at least for the time being. His doctor and speech therapist explained that the best option under the circumstances would be to insert a feeding tube into his stomach through which he could directly ingest liquid nourishment. For reasons never made clear, Dad spent three days in the hospital (courtesy of Medicare, and during which time he was getting only IV fluids) before the 45minute procedure was finally arranged. While it went well, it was only a day or two later, while at a rehab facility preparing for discharge, that he learned his retirement community would not permit him to return with a feeding tube! The real kicker is that my parents had just the month before been asked (effectively, forced) to move from the community’s independent living wing to its assisted living wing so the facility could better provide the services they required. What we didn’t know was that residents cannot be excluded from the independent living wing due to feeding tubes — only from the assisted living wing. So having

packed up and moved to assisted living just a month ago, they were now basically being asked to pack up and move out for good! With great effort — involving many calls, much research, some cajoling and a few threats — reason prevailed, and we were able to convince the facility that my dad could safely and independently manage his feeding tube so they could permit him to return. During this period, we visited a few other facilities just in case he would not be allowed back. At one, the marketing director — describing the limits of our ability to negotiate a similar arrangement to the one my parents would be leaving — quoted a song lyric I hadn’t heard before: “Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug,” she said. I think it’s a very apt phrase to describe what I have learned from my recent visits to Texas.

Letters to the editor Readers are encouraged to share their opinion on any matter addressed in the Beacon as well as on political and social issues of the day. Mail your letter to the editor to The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915, or email to barbara@thebeaconnewspapers.com. Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification. Dear Editor: Well done, and thanks for the excellent article and accompanying photograph in your September issue documenting work by me and my fellow ReServists on behalf of various nonprofits in Maryland. The Beacon is a great resource throughout the metro Baltimore/DC community, and I am confident this exposure will have both immediate as well as long-term impact on improving the lives of others. Keep up the good work! David Hall Columbia Dear Editor: In a few months, I will have been retired for 10 years. What I had hoped to achieve by volunteering just didn’t work out. Your information about ReServe (“Retirees happy to serve again,” September) offers a glimmer of hope all is not lost. In case no one’s noticed, volunteers are treated as nothing better than unpaid help — hardly any respect is shown for our time, enthusiasm, energy or expertise. So often I’ve brought in thousands of fundraising dollars or material donations, only to be ignored when a scintilla of gratitude might have been expected. Even in the few (very few) unpaid positions where I was treated fairly well, it was very evident I was not “part of the team.” When the volunteer assignment finished (or when I left in disgust), it was back to square one.

After nearly 10 years of disrespect, marginalization, dearth of appreciation and the sense I’ve wasted my time, I’m ready to quit. I have much to be grateful for, and I really wanted to contribute my time, energy, ability and optimism as a way of “giving back.” Perhaps if one were paid even the minimum wage, your value and commitment might be esteemed. I’ll contact ReServe and send them my two resumes, one from my professional life and the other a review of my extensive volunteer work. Wish me luck! Rosalind Ellis Heid Baltimore Dear Editor: Of course it is “wrong to try to tell the public the changes are cost-neutral or result in cost savings” regarding the socalled Affordable Care Act. However, if Mr. Rosenthal (From the Publisher, September) had taken the time to examine the facts, not the hype, he would have known a long time ago that the costs to small businesses, as well as everyone else, would be going up big time. The misinformation that is put forth by the current Administration is appalling. In addition to rising healthcare costs, there are hidden taxes which affect everyone’s pocket. And as to Medicare, our costs are going up every year. We pay about $10,000 for See LETTERS TO EDITOR, page 31


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Health Fitness &

ONE LESS TEST Women over age 65 may no longer need to get an annual Pap smear ARM YOURSELF WITH INFO Check blood pressure in both arms; a big difference could spell trouble ALZHEIMER’S TREATMENT For the first time, a drug appears to stabilize Alzheimer’s disease ANGER MANAGEMENT Look beneath the surface to discover why family members get angry

Soothe pain with foods, from fish to fruit By Sharon Palmer Aches and pains — whether they result indirectly from a condition like arthritis or cancer, or directly due to injury — can be destructive. However, research is beginning to discover the power of diet to help manage pain. When you injure yourself or get an infection, acute inflammation is your body’s natural defense response. Redness, swelling and pain are the telltale signs as immune cells flood the area to target infectious organisms or push out debris from the site. But chronic inflammation occurs when the inflammatory process is triggered with no real threat at hand. This slow simmer of inflammation may underlie the pathogenesis of many diseases, such as cancer and arthritis, that cause pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs have been used to treat pain and inflammation for more than 40 years. Now scientists are turning their attention to foods that can act as anti-inflammatory agents.

Foods fight or feed inflammation Studies show that your daily food choic-

es can either reduce or increase levels of inflammation in your body. A 2006 review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that a dietary pattern high in refined starches, sugar, saturated fats and trans fats, and low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids, increased inflammation. In contrast, Mediterranean diet patterns — characterized by high fruit, vegetable, whole grain, healthy plant fats and fish intake, and low intake of processed foods, refined grains and red meat — are linked with lower inflammation. “Making poor food choices, like highfat, high-sodium foods, can increase inflammation levels in our bodies that can trigger flare-ups and cause further problems,” said registered dietician Jessica Crandall, Wellness Director at Sodexo Health Care and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago. “Foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, such as berries, beans, broccoli, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, grapes and fish,

will help reduce inflammation throughout the body,” Crandall noted. Beyond just taming inflammation, consuming a balanced diet with adequate intake of essential protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and fluids should be your first goal in addressing pain. Many nutrient deficiencies present themselves with symptoms of pain, such as low levels of vitamin D manifesting with muscle and back pain. Conversely, vitamin D supplementation can reduce levels of pain, and magnesium supplementation helps treat migraines. “Drinking inadequate amounts of fluids can cause additional joint pain and headaches,” Crandall added. Water is used by your body as a natural lubricant around joints and as a shock absorber for your eyes, brain and spinal cord. If you have sensitivity to a particular food, it can also cause pain, said Crandall. Food allergies are an abnormal immunologic response following the ingestion of a certain food. Food intolerances are an adverse reaction to a specific food produced by a non-

immunologic mechanism. For example, both peanut allergies and red wine sensitivities can trigger painful symptoms, such as stomach cramps or headaches in some individuals. A 2010 study published in Cephalagia found that a diet that restricted foods that produced an immunologic response significantly reduced migraines. If you suspect food sensitivities may be triggering your pain, you may want to keep a food diary to track symptoms and consult your healthcare provider to discuss testing for food allergies.

Foods that reduce pain While science supports the benefits of an overall anti-inflammatory diet — high in minimally processed plant foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea and spices — to reduce chronic inflammation, certain foods and supplements are linked with managing certain types of pain, including: 1. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish See SOOTHE PAIN, page 5

A variety of foods may reduce stroke risk By Hara Estroff Marano Canny as it is, the brain deploys a number of ways to preserve its functions over time. Brain cells turn out a variety of homegrown factors to maintain integrity. Behavioral actions such as intellectual challenges and physical activity keep brains humming, as well. The most significant way to keep brain cells healthy is to assure they get an adequate blood supply. Unfortunately, interruption of blood flow to the brain by blockage or hemorrhage — known as a stroke — is common among Americans. Stroke is the third leading cause of death (after heart disease and cancer), and each year nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke. While stroke risk dramatically increases after age 55, nearly a quarter of strokes occur among those under age 65. High blood pressure and smoking are two of the biggest risk factors. Yet researchers are discovering that diet plays a huge role in keeping the brain and its

blood supply in good working order and, in some cases, can even limit the damage to brain cells if stroke occurs. Fruit boost. No one miracle food can eliminate the risk of stroke, but eating an array of fruits and vegetables confers significant protection. It’s the variety that’s important, say Swedish scientists, as it provides many different antioxidants that work synergistically to inhibit oxidative stress and inflammation of blood vessels — major factors in stroke risk. In a Karolinska Institute study of over 36,000 women, those with the highest antioxidant intake cut stroke risk 17 percent more than those with the lowest intake. White knights. Bright color tends to be a good guide to antioxidant content in fruits and vegetables, yet white-flesh fruits such as pears and apples have a particular ability to ward off stroke, Dutch scientists found. In a 10-year study of over 20,000 hearthealthy adults, those who consumed the

most white fruits and veggies — including bananas, cauliflower, and cucumbers — had a 52 percent lower risk of stroke. For every 25-gram increase in consumption of white foods — an apple averages 120 grams — stroke risk fell by 9 percent. Tea by three. Tea is yet another antioxidant powerhouse, and UCLA physicians find that drinking three cups a day cuts stroke risk by 21 percent. It doesn’t matter whether tea is green or black; both contain the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate. Tea is also rich in theanine, an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier and, researchers speculate, displaces glutamate — a neurotransmitter responsible for much nerve cell damage after a stroke. The effect of tea is linear; the more you drink, the more protection you get. Milk ilk. Maintaining normal blood pressure throughout life is critical to cardiovascular health and to minimizing risk of heart disease and stroke. To that end, dairy products are important for optimal blood pressure regulation, at all ages. The

calcium content, especially in low-fat milk products, helps tone the smooth muscle that lines arteries. In a study of 552 Canadian children ages 8 to 10, the highest intake of dairy foods was associated with the lowest levels of blood pressure, but only among normalweight kids. Fish riches. A diet well-stocked with fatty fish boosts health. Fish oil attenuates the adverse effects of air pollution on the cardiovascular system — a hidden factor in aging. Researchers gave healthy middle-aged adults 3 grams daily of fish oil supplements, or a similar dose of olive oil, and then subjected them to blasts of air pollution. Those taking fish oil were protected against negative changes in nervous system control of heart function and against increases in blood triglyceride levels. — Psychology Today Magazine © 2012 Sussex Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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cussing biofeedback devices, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 10:30 a.m to

speaker from the University of Maryland’s Department of Public Health dis-

★ FR EE I N FOR MATION ★ FR EE I N FOR MATION ★ FR EE I N FOR MATION ★

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Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. The next meeting, featuring a

Personal Care & Hygiene Meal Preparation Light Housekeeping & Laundry Activity & Appointment Assistance Shopping 301-879-2700 OME CARE, IN Companionship TH www.athomecareinc.com Medical Reminders 301-421-0200 Exercise Assistance Serving the Metropolitan area since 1977

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and fish oil, produce arthritic pain-reducing effects equivalent to ibuprofen. 2. Green tea, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, appears to reduce inflammation and pain in arthritis. 3. Pomegranates and cherries are both linked with reducing muscle soreness after intense physical activity. 4. Red grapes or wine, rich in the compound resveratrol, are associated with reducing pain. 5. Olive oil contains the compound oleocanthal, which possesses anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen. 6. Coffee has been shown to reduce muscle pain during and after exercise. 7. Curcumin, the anti-inflammatory spice

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that gives curry its golden hue, relieves pain in osteoarthritis, according to research. 8. Ginger has been linked with reducing pain associated with muscle injury after exercise. 9. Glucosamine and chondroitin, supplements often taken together, have shown improvements in pain related to osteoarthritis — although not all studies have found such benefits. 10. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) supplements appear to be as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs such as celecoxib at relieving arthritis pain. Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC.1-800-8295384. www.EnvironmentalNutrition.com. ©2012 Belvoir Media Group. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Health Shorts No need for Pap smears after 65 If you’re over 65, you may no longer need to see your clinician for a Pap smear every year. In March, both the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and American Cancer Society released new recommendations on cervical cancer screening. The groups say women over 65 can stop having this annual screening, provided they’ve had at least three negative Pap smears or two negative human papillomavirus (HPV) tests in the last 10 years and they aren’t at high risk for cervical cancer. Women who’ve had their cervix removed with a hysterectomy also don’t need to be screened. Up to age 65, women should have either a Pap smear every three years, or a

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

combination of a Pap smear and HPV test every five years. As with any health guidelines, it’s important to discuss cervical cancer screening with your doctor, taking into account your unique risks for the disease. If you’re having unprotected sex with a new partner, also talk to your doctor about getting tested for HPV, as well as for other sexually transmitted diseases. — Harvard Women’s Health Watch

Soft drinks may increase stroke risk Pop. Soda. Cola. No matter what you call soft drinks, they’re among the unhealthiest beverages in this country. Sugar-sweetened soft drinks have been linked with coronary artery disease and its risk factors, including obesity, high blood lipid levels, hypertension and diabetes.

And although low-calorie sodas have not been extensively studied, there’s new information that both sugar-sweetened and diet soft drinks may increase the risk of stroke, according to a study in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The finding comes from an analysis of two long-term studies, the Nurses’ Health Study, which began in 1976 with 121,700 women, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which started in 1986 with 51,529 men. Every few years, participants in both studies complete questionnaires about their health and diet. This allows researchers to see relationships between food choices and medical conditions that arise over time. In this study, researchers looked at the number and type of strokes that occurred over a 22- to 28-year period. They compared this information with the consumption of

low-calorie caffeinated colas, caffeine-free colas, other low-calorie soft drinks and their sugar-sweetened counterparts. All findings were adjusted for factors that might influence stroke risk, such as vegetable and red meat intake, smoking, hormone replacement therapy, age, parental history of heart attack and stroke, and exercise. What they found was a red flag: Sugarsweetened and diet soft drinks alike were associated with a higher risk of stroke, particularly in women. The more sugar-sweetened soft drinks the women drank, the higher their risk of ischemic stroke. Even more alarming was the significant risk of hemorrhagic stroke with increasing amounts of diet soda consumed. The number of hemorrhagic strokes that occurred in men was too small to draw a comparison with soda consumption. The questionnaires also asked about consumption of other beverages, and here there is some good news: Coffee was associated with a 9 to 13 percent lower risk of stroke, and skim milk with an 11 percent lower risk than soft drinks. Tea and orange juice were also safer, but the comparison was not as dramatic. — Harvard Heart Letter

Prolong your life with healthy habits

BRAND NEW APARTMENT HOMES FOR ACTIVE ADULTS 62 OR BETTER

Practicing seven healthy lifestyle habits might reduce your risk of dying from heart disease or any other cause, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The American Heart Association calls these steps the “Simple 7” — 1) Exercise at least five days a week; 2) See HEALTH SHORTS, page 8

BEACON BITS

Regency Crest is an extraordinarily carefree community because of the convenient lifestyle enjoyed by those who live here. We go the extra mile to provide our residents with distinctive amenities and service that cannot be found in ordinary active adult communities. COMMUNITY AMENITIES • Beautiful club room with theater and demonstration kitchen • Wellness center • Indoor saltwater pool • Yoga studio and classes • Cooking Classes, and many more planned activities

• Movie theater • Billiards room • Business center • Incredible courtyard and meditation garden with koi pond and gazebo

PLANNED ACTIVITIES SUCH AS WATER AEROBICS, RESIDENT MIXERS, COOKING CLASSES, ZUMBA, MOVIE NIGHTS, BBQ’S AND MANY MORE! Directions: We are located at the corner of Rt. 40 and Rogers Avenue.

Oct. 15

Learn more about ptosis, or drooping eye lids, and new surgical techniques from Dr. Nicholas Mahoney in a free program on Monday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center Medical Pavilion, Suite 100, 10710 Charter Dr., Columbia. For more information, call (410) 740-7601.

Oct. 17 3305 Oak West Drive Ellicott City, MD 21043

855.446.1136 www.RegencySeniorApts.com

EYELIDS NEED A LIFT?

BREAST CANCER EMOTIONAL ISSUES

Share an evening with experts discussing research on lingering physical, emotional and social issues following breast cancer on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center Medical Pavilion, 10710 Charter Dr., Suite 100, Columbia. For more information, call (410) 740-7601.


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Check your blood pressure in both arms Arm-to-arm variations in blood pressure may warrant attention. A difference of 10 or more points could signal peripheral artery disease. Roll up both sleeves the next time you check your blood pressure at home or have it measured by a healthcare provider. Why? A recent analysis of 20 different studies in which blood pressure was measured in both arms came to two noteworthy conclusions. First, people with arm-to-arm pressure differences of 15 points or more were twice as likely to have peripheral artery disease (PAD) compared with those who had similar readings in both arms. PAD occurs when vessels of the arms, legs or other body parts beyond the heart and brain become clogged, usually from atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty plaque that is also behind most heart attacks and strokes.

Stroke predictor Second, arm-to-arm pressure differences of 10 to 15 points or more also boosted the chances of having a stroke or dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in Lancet. The first finding may be more worthy of

attention than the latter, even though strokes and death sound more grievous than “peripheral artery disease.” The fact is that PAD affects an estimated 12 million Americans — more than heart disease and stroke combined. It can severely limit mobility and cause debilitating pain, but it can also lurk silently. It can be deadly, as well, which might make differences in blood pressure from arm to arm an important early warning sign. Most guidelines already recommend measuring blood pressure in both arms, but many doctors and do-it-yourselfers ignore that guidance. You needn’t worry much about variations of a few points between the right and left arm. But if your arm-to-arm readings at home diverge by more than 10 or 15 points, tell your doctor and ask him or her to check both arms also. If your doctor finds the same discrepancy, he or she might order another test. That’s the ankle-brachial index, which is calculated from blood pressure measurements at the ankle and the arm. Pressure that is significantly lower at the ankle than at the arm suggests a blockage in the leg. And, as the authors of a commen-

tary accompanying the Lancet article note, many cases of high blood pressure could be missed when only one arm is checked. Tips for taking blood pressure at home 1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine for 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure. 2. Sit quietly for a few minutes with your feet on the floor before inflating the cuff. 3. Rest your arm so your elbow is level with your heart, and wrap the cuff over the

bare skin of your upper arm. 4. Take two readings. If they’re close, average them. If not, take a third reading and average the three. 5. Repeat the procedure in the other arm. For a video showing how to measure your blood pressure at home, go to www.health.harvard.edu/128. — Harvard Heart Letter © 2012 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc

BEACON BITS

Sept. 29

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WORKSHOP An interactive workshop on the art of loving yourself and under-

standing why self-love is essential to healthy relationships will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, Suite 310, 5457 Twin Knolls Rd., Columbia. The program is designed for persons not in crisis to explore issues related to healthy relationships. To pre-register or for more information, call the Community Engagement Department at (410) 997-0304.

Making Moments Matter The Place for Memory Care

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Health shorts From page 6 lower cholesterol to under 200 mg/dL; 3) eat a heart-healthy diet; 4) manage blood pressure; 5) keep body mass index under 25, 6) reduce blood sugar; and 7) don’t smoke. The study, which used survey information from nearly 45,000 adults, found that people who met six or more of these goals had a 51 percent lower risk of death from any cause, and a 76 percent lower risk of death from heart disease compared to people who met one or fewer goals. Only 10 percent of people surveyed said

they were meeting six of the goals, and less than 2 percent were achieving all seven goals. The good news from this study is that there is a lot we can do to help ourselves if we make important lifestyle changes. — Harvard Women’s Health Watch

New knee can help your heart Here’s another reason to get that knee replacement you’ve been considering. A new study presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting

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

of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons finds that adults with osteoarthritis face lower odds of developing heart failure by having a total knee replacement. The study did not show a direct cause and effect, or prove definitively that a total knee replacement (TKR) could improve cardiovascular health. However, the procedure does allow the recipient to exercise again, which can lead to better heart health. “These days, total knee replacement lasts a long time. After 20 years of implantation, 80 percent of new joints survive. That’s better than cars, washing machines and refrigerators,” said Dr. Donald Reilly, assistant clinical professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. “The large majority of U.S. surgeons do a resurfacing operation,” said Reilly. In resurfacing, surgeons remove damaged cartilage at the ends of the thigh and shin bones, then implant metal and plastic components to act as the new surface of the joint. They may also resurface the underside of the knee cap. Sometimes, only part of the surface of

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Oct. 1

MEDICARE GAPS EXPLAINED

A free presentation on gaps in Medicare and a discussion of Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) and Medicare Supplement Policies (Medigap) will be held on Monday, Oct. 1 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center Medical Pavilion, Suite 100, 10710 Charter Dr., Columbia. For more information, call (410) 740-7601.

Oct. 11

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the knee bones needs to be resurfaced. This is called a partial total knee replacement. The procedures are reliable, with very few problems. Complications that can require repeat surgery — like infection, instability, wear, fracture and loosening — occur at a rate of about 1 percent per year. But even today’s advanced TKRs come with a long recovery. “We have gotten better with pain management after total knee replacement, but the postoperative course is hard and takes substantial effort in physical therapy by the patient,” explained Reilly. “Patients who are in good shape can expect to climb stairs with crutches three to five days after surgery and walk comfortably on crutches by four weeks.” Reilly said physical therapy typically lasts two months and it may take six months for a patient to be able to climb the stairs without assistance. But most people are happy to have full use of their knee again. “Four out of five people are glad they had their knee replaced,” said Reilly. — Harvard Health Letter

SPIRITUAL LINKS TO HEALTH

The final lecture in the free SPRING Wellness Seminars will look at the interconnection between spiritual and emotional well-being on Thursday, Oct. 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the East Columbia 50+ Center located at the East Columbia Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. The registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 8. To register or for more information, call (410) 313-7680.

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Health Studies Page

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

THE PLACE TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON AREA CLINICAL TRIALS

Researchers study depression and aging By Carol Sorgen Depression in late life has often been dismissed as a normal part of the aging process — a psychological reaction to physical limitations and to stressors, such as the loss of loved ones or the demands of caregiving. But an increasing body of research has shown that depression has a biological

basis. There are changes in brain chemicals when someone is depressed. Two doctors at Johns Hopkins Bayview have developed a unique program of research enabling them to directly study changes in brain structure and brain chemistry that distinguish depression from normal aging. They are currently

Want to Prevent Falls in the Elderly? Seeking Men and Women to participate in a research study at the University of Maryland &Veterans Affairs of Baltimore to better understand balance and the prevention of falls in aging individuals. You will receive:

• Health evaluation • Balance, step, strength, and/or flexibility exercises • Compensation for your time If interested call: 410-605-7179 & Mention code: LIFT at Baltimore VA/University of Maryland Gerontology Recruitment Line *You must be at least 65 years old and in good health *Participants will be seen at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and University of Maryland School of Medicine *You will attend approximately 41 visits for 1 to 4 hours each per visit

CALL TODAY!

Do You Have Knee Arthritis and Difficulty Sleeping? Volunteers NEEDED for a Clinical Trial on New Non-drug treatment for problem sleeping

looking for volunteers both with and without depression to assist in this study.

geted treatments for these symptoms.

Participate in a study Symptoms of depression Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of energy, loss of interest in or inability to enjoy pleasurable activities, changes in appetite (increase or loss of appetite) or sleeping patterns (too much or too little sleep), and problems with concentration and memory. Depressed individuals also have greater physical disability and an increased risk of developing cognitive decline and later dementia. Over the past decade, the work of Dr. Gwenn Smith and Dr. Christopher Marano, both professors of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins, has shown important differences in brain circuit activity in depressed compared to non-depressed elders, as well as the effects of antidepressant medications on brain function. For example, they found that the brain circuits responsible for mood, concentration and memory are actually hyperactive in people with depression. During a course of antidepressant treatment, the individuals who show the greatest improvement in mood and memory also show the greatest decrease in this brain circuit activity, to the levels observed in non-depressed individuals. The researchers are now using brain imaging methods to understand the specific biological mechanisms to explain the hyperactivity of brain circuits and the disabling symptoms observed. It is hoped this will help them develop effective, tar-

Researchers are now seeking participants 55 and older for a study that involves a comprehensive assessment of mood and memory, as well as medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension that have been associated with depression. People with and without depression may take part in the study. Those who do not have depression will serve as the “control” group. The study will also help the researchers understand why having depression increases the risk of cognitive decline. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is performed to examine changes in brain structure, including brain vascular disease, which may contribute to the mood and memory symptoms. Position emission tomography (PET) scans are performed to look at serotonin — the brain chemical that has been associated with depressed mood, sleep and appetite problems — as well as a brain protein that is increased in patients with memory problems such as Alzheimer’s disease. After these assessments are completed, the depressed individuals begin a course of antidepressant treatment and are followed closely, including follow-up memory testing and a PET scan to measure directly the effects of the medication on the serotonin system. Participants are compensated for their time, and transportation is provided to the study visits. See HEALTH STUDY, page 11

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are looking for volunteers to participate in a research study examining new ways of treating insomnia, in people with osteoarthritis in their knee.  To participate in this study, you must be: • At least 50 years of age OR 35 years of age and older with prior diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis • Have frequent knee pain • Interested in sleeping better  This study involves: • Sleep studies conducted in your home • Sensory testing and knee exam at Johns Hopkins • Meeting with sleep specialist to discuss ways to improve sleep • Additional optional medical tests • All examinations, parking, & tests are provided at no cost.  Compensation up to $870.00

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New drug may help stabilize Alzheimer’s By Marilynn Marchione For the first time, researchers are reporting that a treatment might help stabilize Alzheimer’s disease for as much as three years, although the evidence is weak and found in only four patients. The drug is Gammagard, made by Baxter International Inc. Doctors say that four patients who have been receiving the highest dose for three years showed no decline on memory and cognition tests. A dozen others on different doses or shorter treatment times didn’t fare as well. This study was far too small to prove the treatment works, but a more rigorous one involving 400 patients will give results within a year.

Small study, but encouraging Still, the findings from the small study encouraged doctors at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, where they were presented in July. “It’s tantalizing. If you were to pick out four people with Alzheimer’s disease, the likelihood that they would perform the same on standardized tests three years later is very, very tiny,” said William Thies, the association’s scientific director. People typically go from diagnosis to death in about eight years, so to be stable for three years “is a long time,” he said.

Health study From page 10 According to the researchers, the study will provide important information regarding the mechanisms involved in the response to antidepressants, which

“We shouldn’t get euphoric and we shouldn’t get unreasonable enthusiasm, but this is a positive piece of data.” The need for an effective treatment is huge: About 35 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer’s is the most common type. In the U.S., about 5 million have Alzheimer’s. Current medicines such as Aricept and Namenda just temporarily ease symptoms. There is no known cure. Gammagard is intravenous immune globulin, or IVIG — multiple, natural antibodies culled from donated blood. Half a dozen companies already sell IVIG to treat immune system and blood disorders. These antibodies may help remove amyloid, the sticky plaque that clogs patients’ brains, sapping memory and ability to think. Dr. Norman Relkin, head of a memory disorders program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, gave three-year follow-up results on 16 of 24 patients in an earlier study of Gammagard aimed at finding the right dose to use in the larger study. The other eight are no longer being followed, and at least some of them have died. After the early study ended, some participants were kept on Gammagard and some who had been receiving dummy infusions were switched to Gammagard.

is essential to the development of more effective treatments. In the near future, the researchers plan to test new treatments based on the findings of their research. If you are interested in participating in the research, call (410) 550-4192.

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Positive results shown Relkin found: • As a group, the 11 patients started on various doses of Gammagard fared better than the five started on dummy infusions. • The five given dummy treatments declined more slowly after they were switched to Gammagard. • All four participants originally given the highest dose and kept on that dose for three years showed no decline in cognition. “To have all four not progress was very eye-opening,” Relkin said. Even a single patient who doesn’t decline over three years is unusual, he said. “When I see that in clinical practice, I start to question whether the person has Alzheimer’s disease,” but all of these study

participants were verified by advanced testing to have it, he said. Jason Marder is among them. The New York City man, who is 70, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s more than eight years ago and continues to get Gammagard infusions every two weeks from a visiting nurse at home. “I feel that I haven’t gone down, and that’s good,” he said in a recent interview. “I feel good. I’m very independent.” His wife, Karin Marder, said: “He has slowed down, no question about it. His walk is a little slower, but that could also have a lot to do with age. He’s still the Jason that I married. He’s still there. We still have a wonderful relationship together. I’m grateSee ALZHEIMER’S, page 13

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Computer Seniors From page 1 it offers “an easy-to-understand and simple view of the computer world that is personable and enjoyable.” But in reality, easing seniors into the cyberworld is not always so easy. Some 62 percent of people 75 or older don’t own a computer, according to a recent article in the AARP Bulletin. Psychology and motivation often produce what some see as computer fear among seniors, the article indicated. According to one researcher, older people weigh costs heavily again benefits when deciding whether to adopt a new technology. Putting himself into the shoes of a mature non-technie, the researcher on aging and technology asked, “If it takes you twice as long to learn something, why would you invest that time when you could be drawing on your crystallized intelligence — your already acquired knowl-

edge — and doing things you enjoy doing?” Lucy Vecera, 82, of Ellicott City, has an answer. She admitted she was “scared initially” two years ago when she started taking the computer classes. Now, she’s taking a four-hour course on digital photography and how to transmit photos through the Internet. “For those seniors who say they are afraid of computers, I tell them you have nothing to fear,” said Vecera. “I think that getting on the Internet is terrific. If you know how and where to look and how to evaluate what you get, you have all kinds of information at your fingertips. “It is also a great way to keep in touch with your family,” she added, noting she specifically signed up for the digital photography class so that she could learn how to scan her photos, including many older ones, and share them with far-flung family via the Internet. Franca Paplauckas, 71, also a member

of the digital photography class, was asked if she was happy to have joined the cyberworld. “Are you kidding?” she replied. “It has enriched my life. It’s the present — the future — you can’t change that.” She is especially overjoyed about being able to talk to (and see) relatives via Skype. When she and her cousin, who lives in Italy, were able to communicate for the first time in years, they exchanged many things, including a torrent of tears. “You can direct the [computer] to show the snow outside,” the Elkridge resident said. “You see that other face up on the screen, it’s just wonderful.” Paplauckas does have one caveat though. Many times, overseas calls are interrupted by a voice and a face — spam (with a mustache) trying to get up close and personal to sell her something. “I wish they could fix that,” she said. Whenever an interloper appears, she tells him to “buzz off.”

Alzheimer’s ful for every day that he’s independent.”

Larger studies underway Other doctors warned against over-optimism on these early results. Many previous drugs looked good until tested in large, definitive studies. Relkin’s 400-patient study will end late this year and results are expected early next year. Treating Alzheimer’s with IVIG would cost $2,000 to $5,000 every two weeks, depending on the patient’s weight, he estimated. “We want to make clear that this is not an approved treatment as yet and we’re not making any sensational claims,” Relkin said. Two other experimental Alzheimer’s drugs are in late-stage studies that just ended. Results are being analyzed now. One is solanezumab by Eli Lilly & Co. The other drug is bapineuzumab, by Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy unit. In a recent study, Pfizer said the injected drug didn’t slow mental or functional decline in patients with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The study included about 1,100 patients who carry a gene called ApoE4, which gives people a higher risk of developing the memory-robbing disorder. Researchers are still analyzing biomarkers — spinal fluid and brain imaging — to see if bapineuzumab had any effect on clearing amyloid, the sticky plaque that clogs patients’ brains. If so, that might lend support to trying the drug earlier in the course of the disease, before people have so much plaque that it causes symptoms. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, see the government’s web page at www.alzheimers.gov, the website of the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org and the information from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference www.alz.org/aaic/overview.asp. — AP

The two women were the only students taking a recent digital photography class at the Bain Senior Center in Columbia. Instructor Walter Seymour, a retired veteran of the General Electric audio and visual division, got things rolling with the basics of the camera, both film and digital. When the four one-hour lessons end, the women will be versed in, among other things, the whys and wherefores of pixels, resolution, flash control, capturing motion, JPEG and Picasa — the last being a free Google website for organizing, viewing and editing digital photos to be shared and sent along on the Internet. The photos will go, said Vecera and Paplauckas, to children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers, sisters and friends. For more information and a schedule of classes, go to www.computerseniors.org or call (410) 336-5878. Volunteers are also needed to teach one or two classes a month.

s! dult A e ur Mat n o i nt Atte

From page 11

GetActive, StayActiveand SaveMoney! Columbia Association is offering mature adults

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For more information or to sign-up, please visit CA’s Membership Service Center (10221 Wincopin Circle, Downtown Columbia on the Lakefront) any time Monday-Saturday from 10am-7pm or call 410-730-1802.

13

Offer is valid for CA Residents, ages 65+, and cannot be combined with any other special offer or discount. 20% discount applies to one-year Individual Facility, Outdoor Pool, Package Plan or Package Plan Plus memberships. 25% discount applies to multi-year Individual Facility, Package Plan or Package Plan Plus memberships. Discounts are valid on new memberships only. Additional fees and restrictions may apply for classes, indoor tennis courts and greens fees. Offer expires October 31, 2012.


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Look beneath the surface of angry family Dear Solutions: though the two of them formed an alUntil recently, I thought that my liance, and I was left out. daughter and I had a speI was very hurt and angry, cial relationship and that but I thought it would pass. we were really friends. I’m Now she calls me and says it still working, and I’m very means “We can’t travel toactive and independent, gether anymore.” It feels and that’s how she always like I’m shut out and rejectthinks of me. ed, and my head hurts. But a couple of months — Headache ago, we traveled together to a Dear Headache: very different foreign counThe reason your head hurts try and stayed with a friend is because you got it caught in SOLUTIONS of hers who lives there. We the generation gap. There’s By Helen Oxenberg, were in very tiny quarters, in friends and there’s friends. MSW, ACSW addition to which I had jet lag And there’s travel and there’s and couldn’t move around or travel. get oriented as quickly as the two younger Mother and daughter friendship is wonwomen. derful as long as it’s recognized for what it My daughter got very annoyed and is. It’s not the same as peer friendships. critical, and we kept arguing. It was as There’s a real gap involved — age gap, val-

ues gap, energy gap, role gap. Your daughter has always seen the strong parent who was her “friend.” Suddenly she had to see the “older woman” who was vulnerable and couldn’t keep up. The inner child in her got scared. What happened to strong, indestructible Mommy? She also was with a friend her own age and had expected you to be “one of he girls,” or she wouldn’t have brought you. So she was embarrassed. Feeling scared and embarrassed makes her angry. Her solution, she says, is “don’t travel with me.” The rest of the sentence is “because I don’t want to see you that way.” A strong dose of reality is needed here. You both need to know and accept that you are older, and although you and she can still be friends, you can’t be peers. Then there’s travel. If it’s important to you to travel with her, choose your destina-

TThis h i s eelection, l e c t i o n , tthe h e ffirst i r s t cchoice h o i c e you’ll you’ll m a k e iis s w h i c h day d a y to t o vote. vote. make which

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tions carefully. Don’t go to places that are so far away and so different that you become disoriented. You may get bigger gains out of shorter mileage. Dear Solutions: My husband is recovering from recent surgery, and we went out to breakfast with friends. He ordered pancakes, which came cold and tasteless. He just sat waiting for the waitress to return. When she didn’t, I stood up and tried to wave to her. He told me in an angry tone to sit down. I didn’t, and called to her. He got very angry and yelled, “Sit down, you’re not my mother.” I’m feeling hurt and confused. I was just trying to help so that he wouldn’t do without breakfast. I don’t understand his reactions. What did I do wrong? — Confused Wife Dear Confused: He can do without breakfast more easily than he can do without his sense of adulthood, i.e., control. That’s what you were taking from him, and he wasn’t willing to trade that for a stack of pancakes! You meant well, but try to understand that his surgery has probably made him feel vulnerable and a little helpless. He’s trying to compensate for this by insisting on helping himself, even if it doesn’t always work. You can only ask him if you can help in such situations. But when he says no, back off. Dear Solutions: My granddaughter and her boyfriend — they consider themselves unofficially engaged — want to rent an apartment together but can’t pay the security deposit. He’s still in school, and she’s just stated a new job. She’s asking me for help. I have a good relationship with them, and the boyfriend will be out of school in a year, but I don’t know the best way to handle this about money. What do you suggest? — Not Sure Dear Not: Make this strictly lend-lease. You lend, they lease; you write agreement, they repay. As long as you don’t object to their living arrangements and you make this strictly a business arrangement, it should work. Good luck. © Helen Oxenberg, 2012. Questions to be considered for this column may be sent to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915. You may also email the author at helox72@comcast.net. To inquire about reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.

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VOLUME 2, N  O. 10 â&#x20AC;˘ O  CTOBER   2012

1HZVIURPWKH+RZDUG&RXQW\2IILFHRQ$JLQJ 'HSDUWPHQWRI&LWL]HQ6HUYLFHV  'HSDUWPHQWRI&LWL]HQ6HUYLFHV

A Message from the Administrator





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By Dayna Brown, Office on Aging Administrator

First off, I want to thank those of you who have attended one of the recent Community Listening Forums to share your thoughts about the Office on Aging and growing older in Howard County. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve raised great questions about a full range of things â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Affordable Care Act, housing, transportation, intergenerational programs and employment, among others. And while I readily admit that I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t had all the answers, I really enjoyed the exchange and am looking forward to the rest of the scheduled sessions! I hope you will join me. Coming up in November is another terrific opportunity for us to shed light on the realities facing older adults in our community. Join members of the Howard County Commission on Aging on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Courthouse Drive in Ellicott City, for an in-depth look at national trends in aging and the local implications. Four nationally recognized speakers will offer insights into demographics, volunteerism, caregiving and more. For more information, call 410-313-6410 or email coa@howardcountymd.gov. With all this emphasis on identifying and meeting the needs of Howard Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s older adults, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think there could be a better time to hold the 14th annual 50+EXPO. Coming up on Friday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, the 50+EXPO will showcase not only Office on Aging programs and services, but also those offered by 150 vendors and exhibitors, including county and state agencies, nonprofit and community organizations, and local businesses. Add to that a comprehensive health fair, flu shots, life enriching seminars and workshops, a Green Fair, free all day entertainment â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including two shows by the incomparable Capitol Steps at noon and 2 â&#x20AC;&#x201D;plus great food, and you have an event you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to miss. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plenty of free parking at the Mall in Columbia, so park your car, hop on the EXPO shuttle and enjoy your day at the 50+EXPO. For more information and event updates, visit www.howardcountyaging.org/50plusexpo or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HoCo50plusEXPO. Hope to see you at the EXPO!

Share your thoughts and concerns about growing older in Howard County and the Office on Aging with Administrator Dayna Brown. Light refreshments will be offered. All are welcome. Reservations are requested but not required. Call the Center to RSVP. Elkridge Senior Center â&#x20AC;˘ 410-313-5192 â&#x20AC;˘ Thursday, October 4, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Longwood Senior Center â&#x20AC;˘ 410-313-7217 â&#x20AC;˘ Wednesday, October 10, 10 a.m. to noon Ellicott City Senior Center â&#x20AC;˘ 410-313-1400 â&#x20AC;˘ Monday, October 15, 1 to 3 p.m.

Office on Aging Administrator Dayna Brown listens as older adults at the Bain Center share their thoughts about growing older in Howard County.

The Senior Connection is published monthly by the Howard County Office on Aging, Department of Citizen Services. We welcome your comments and suggestions. To contact us, or to join our email subscriber list, email seniorconnection@howardcountymd.gov with â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;subscribeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the subject box. Howard County Office on Aging 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046 410-313-6410 | www.howardcountyaging.org www.Facebook.com/HoCoCitizen Dayna Brown, Administrator Advertising contained in the Beacon is not endorsed by the Howard County Office on Aging or by the publisher.


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Medicare Education Events Sugar Alcohols… What are they? The Senior Connection

For more information or to register for one of these free education events, call 410-313-7392. Oneon-one appointments are also available. Sponsored by the Office on Aging’s Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP); for a complete schedule, visit www.howardcountyaging.org and click on SHIP.

By Rona Martiyan, MS, RD, LDN Sugar alcohols, or “polyols,” are often used as lower calorie sweeteners in foods. Despite their name, these substances do not contain alcohol; the name comes from their chemical structure. Made from fruits, trees and other plants, sugar alcohols are considered “nutritive sweeteners” as opposed to “non-nutritive sweeteners” such as Equal, Splenda and Sweet’n Low. Listed on food labels as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, isomalt, erythritol or lactitol, sugar alcohols are not as sweet as sugar and are often combined with artificial sweeteners in foods to get the desired level of sweetness. The benefits of sugar alcohols or polyols include: • Can be used in desserts, ice cream and candies • Promotes a lower glycemic response • Can be used in many diabetic and dietetic products • Reduces risk of tooth decay • Tastes like sugar, but has fewer calories “Polyols” or sugar alcohols contain about 2 calories per gram, while sugar has 4 calories per gram. The amount of sugar and sugar alcohols is reflected in the total amount of carbohydrates on the “Nutrition Facts” of food labels. Remember, consuming large quantities of polyols, sugar alcohols, and sugar can affect your blood glucose level and your calorie intake. Moderation is the key to a healthy diet.

SAVE THE DATE!

Saturday, November 17 The Bain Center 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. CAREGIVING: FINDING THE BALANCE Save the date for a seminar just for caregivers. Respite care will be provided; continental breakfast served at 8:30 a.m.; lunch will be provided. Call 410-313-5980 for more information.

Medicare 101: What You Can Expect From Medicare

Medicare Part D Review & Enrollment Events

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 11 a.m., Kiwanis Wallas Rec Center, 3300 Norbert’s Way, Ellicott City 21042

(Open enrollment for Medicare Prescription Drug Plans runs Oct. 15 to Dec. 7) Tuesday, Oct. 16, 9 a.m. to noon, Glenwood 50+ Center, 2400 Route 97, Cooksville 21723 Friday, Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to noon, Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Road, Ellicott City 21042

Medicare 102 - Why Medicare Isn’t Enough Monday, Oct. 1, 10 a.m., Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, Columbia 21044 Wednesday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m., KiwanisWallas Rec Center, 3300 Norbert’s Way, Ellicott City 21042

October is Residents' Rights Month, a time to honor residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and retirement communities. The 2012 theme is, "My Voice, My Vote, My Right," and encourages residents' right to vote and participate in the political process. For more information, contact a Howard County Ombudsman at 410-313-6423.


Coming Events

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The Senior Connection

Mondays, Oct. 1 – 29, 1 to 3 p.m. – Creative Writing with Shana Johnson, East Columbia 50+ Center Shana Johnson encourages seasoned and new writers to think “outside the box” when developing their characters, plots, story lines and poetry in a series of five weekly workshops. Cost: $53; call 410-313-7680 to register.

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 11 a.m. to noon – Improve Balance to Prevent a Serious Fall, The Bain Center Falls can cause serious injury and result in prolonged inactivity and reduced independence. Touchstone Physical Therapy and Wellness will be here to help you learn ways to improve your balance. Free; register in lobby or call 410-313-7213. Wednesdays, Oct. 3 – 31, 1 to 3 p.m. – Intro to Hand Built Pottery, Glenwood 50+ Center Presented by the Columbia Art Center over the course of five weeks, you will learn hand building techniques for creating art with clay, including slab, coil, pinch and combinations of the three. Cost: $79; call 410-313-5440 to register. Wednesday, Oct. 3, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – A Showcase of Services, North Laurel 50+ Center Learn about programs, services and volunteer opportunities for older adults at North Laurel and beyond. Our showcase will also feature exercise demonstrations; call 410-313-0380 for details. Wednesday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. – Pets on Wheels Evaluations, The Bain Center Have a friendly dog or cat looking for new adventures? Become a Pets on Wheels volunteer and share your pet with a lonely nursing home resident. Come out and make a difference! Call 410-313-7461 to register for a free pet evaluation or contact igleysteen@howardcountymd.gov for more information. Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Glenwood Annual Car Show, Glenwood 50+ Center Join us for a day of family fun. Judge the cars, guess the weight of the pumpkin, bid on wonderful items at the silent auction, enter our door prize drawings and enjoy free entertainment! Call 410-313-5440 for more information. Tuesday, Oct. 9, 11 a.m. to noon – ByKota on Stage: “Fiona’s Follies of 1975,” The Bain Center When a women’s club brings former Ziegfeld Follies’ performers together again for a fundraiser, hilarity ensues. Join the fun and find out if they’ve still ‘got it’ in this new show! Free; call 410-313-7213 to reserve your seat early. Wednesday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m. – Clean Out Clutter, East Columbia 50+ Center Need a little push to declutter and free up new spaces? We can help, with projects and support to inspire you to clear out your rooms, car and garage. Free; call 410-313-7680 to register.

Thursday, Oct. 11, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – SPRING Wellness Seminar: The Emotional/Spiritual Connection, East Columbia 50+ Center Rev. Paige Getty, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, provides a thoughtprovoking look at how spiritual wellness relates to emotional and whole-health wellness. Small group discussions follow; light refreshments served. Free; call 410-313-7680 to register by Oct. 8 or contact Karen Hull, 410-313-7466, for more information. Friday, Oct. 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – La Boehme & Lunch, Glenwood 50+ Center Tom Glenn will be at Glenwood to show and perform musical selections from the opera; join him to share a lively discussion and lunch. Cost: suggested lunch donation. Call 410-313-5440 to register. Wednesday, Oct. 17, 1 to 4 p.m. – Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions, Ellicott City Senior Center Dr. Mary Carson will perform free hearing screenings. Appointments are required; to schedule yours, call 410-313-1400. Thursday, Oct. 18, 11 a.m. – Meet John Hauserman, Ellicott City Senior Center Author John Hauserman joins us to discuss his newest book, “Retirement Quest: Make Better Decisions,” followed by a book signing. A Certified Financial Planner and Board Ambassador of the CFP Board, he specializes in retirement planning for those over 50.

Friday, Oct. 19, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 14th Annual 50+EXPO, Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia, 21045 Don’t miss this year’s 50+EXPO, with more than 150 vendors and exhibitors, life enriching workshops, flu shots, a comprehensive health fair, all day entertainment, and two free shows by the incomparable Capitol Steps at noon and 2 p.m.! Visit www.howardcountyaging/50plusexpo for details, or ‘like’ us at www.Facebook.com/HoCo50PlusEXPO! Monday, Oct. 22, 10 to 11:30 a.m. – Let’s Talk Elections, The Bain Center Sponsored by the SPRING Current Events group and moderated by Lowell Sunderland, “Let’s Talk Elections” will include a discussion on ballot issues and a small group exercise. Join us to listen and share your thoughts in a lively group setting. Free; call 410-313-7213 to register. Tuesday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to noon – Music & Art Traveling Heart Show; The Bain Center Join us and get your toes tapping and fingers clapping; sing and dance along to some great songs! Free, with refreshments; sign up in the lobby or call 410-313-7213 to register. Wednesday, Oct. 24, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – CarFit, Elkridge Senior Center Are your mirrors in your car adjusted properly, and are your seat and seatbelt set correctly? Have the experts ‘fit’ you in your car to keep you safe behind the wheel. Free; call 410-313-5192 for appointments.

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2 to 4 p.m. – 9th Annual Art Show & Reception, Ellicott City Senior Center Meet and greet our senior center artists, view their original paintings and enjoy refreshments! Call 410-313-1400 for details. Thursday, Oct. 25, 10:30 am to noon – Preventing Violence in Relationships, The Bain Center Join Vanita Leatherwood, Director of Community Engagement at the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, for a candid presentation on violence in all types of relationships. Learn how to recognize the signs, find help and take steps to prevent violence before it happens. Call 410-313-7213 to register. Friday, Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Cozy Inn & Gettysburg Outlets, Elkridge Senior Center We’ll enjoy a delicious lunch at the famous Cozy Inn, then visit the Gettysburg Outlets for some shopping enjoyment! Relax and leave the driving to us. Cost: $30/person; call 410-313-5192 for details and reservations. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 11 a.m. – “Giving Thanks” with Ballet Mobile, North Laurel 50+ Center Enjoy an inspiring dance performance by Ballet Mobile that will touch your heart and lift your spirits. Free; call 410-313-0380 to register. Friday, November 9, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – AARP Driver Safety Class, Elkridge Senior Center Learn defensive driving techniques, new traffic laws and review the rules of the road in this class, designed just for drivers age 50 and older. Call 410-313-5192 for fees and to register. Classes in November are free for all veterans!

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LIFE INSURANCE ISSUE It’s best to take control of your options when receiving a payout

Money

THE ABCs OF ANNUITIES Annuities provide guaranteed income for life, but it’s important to understand how they work before you invest GOING FOR BROKE Understand the pros and cons of personal bankruptcy and which type is best for you prior to filing

Ginnie Maes offer safety and good returns By Mark Jewell Investors continue to place an unusually high premium on safety. How else to explain the record low yields they’re willing to accept for lending to Uncle Sam? The rate on the 10-year Treasury note sank as low as 1.39 percent in late July, although it bounced up a quarter of a percentage point in August. That’s still paltry payback for locking up their money for a decade. Investors can earn significantly more by taking on just a bit more risk. Yields of mutual funds that specialize in governmentbacked mortgage bonds known as Ginnie Maes are currently more than double those of Treasurys maturing over a similar number of years.

Invest in mortgages These funds invest in pools of home mortgages that carry the explicit guarantee of the Government National Mortgage Association, or Ginnie Mae. Investors in Ginnie Mae bonds are ensured full and timely payment of principal and interest, regardless of whether borrowers make payments. “If you’re conservative, and looking for that steady diet of payments, Ginnie Mae

funds can be a great option,” said Jeff Tjornehoj, a bond fund analyst with Lipper Inc. It’s decent income for risk-averse investors who may appreciate the monthly cash distributions they can elect to receive from their fund’s investment returns. The 15 funds specializing in Ginnie Maes — most bearing the abbreviation “GNMA” — have posted an average total return of 5 percent over the last 12 months. Returns have ranged as high as 7.1 percent for Payden GNMA (PYGWX) to as low as 3 percent.

Learn more before you invest The category’s recent solid performance doesn’t necessarily mean that Ginnie Mae funds will be a good addition to any portfolio. Here are five key considerations: 1. Steady returns Expect smoother returns than you’ll get from higher-risk segments of the bond market. For example, in 2008, the Vanguard GNMA fund (VFIIX) returned 7 percent, as Ginnie Maes offered safety during the financial crisis. Compare that with the 2008 losses averaging 26 percent for funds specializing in high-yield corporate bonds.

2. Not all are alike These funds are required to invest at least 80 percent of fund assets in Ginnie Mae bonds. But managers have leeway with the other 20 percent. Non-GNMA mortgage investments can be found in their portfolios, as well as other government bonds such as Treasurys. So returns can vary significantly from fund to fund. Some bearing “Government” in their name but not “GNMA” invest in Ginnie Maes as well, but don’t focus on them. Although those funds’ broader investment mandates can sometimes result in stronger returns, risks are typically lower at a fund that largely sticks with the agency’s guaranteed bonds. 3. Prepayment risk One unique aspect of Ginnie Maes makes them slightly riskier than other governmentguaranteed bonds. Declining interest rates means many homeowners are trying to refinance to less expensive mortgages, creating “prepayment risk” for Ginnie Mae funds. When refinancing activity spikes, some of the higher-rate mortgages in Ginnie Mae funds are replaced by lower-rate mortgages. That squeezes the interest payments that a fund’s bond portfolio earns,

and fund returns can be reduced. Typically, fund managers discuss their strategies for dealing with prepayment risk in quarterly commentaries sent to investors. 4. Rate risk Just like those owning other types of bonds, Ginnie Mae investors could see returns shrink if interest rates rise. Market values for mortgage investments bought when rates were lower would drop as investors seek higher returns from newer mortgages paying higher rates. Investors wishing to protect against this risk should check disclosures listing a fund’s duration — a measure of vulnerability to rising rates. Most Ginnie Mae funds currently have durations of 2.5 to 4.5. The bigger the number, the more risk an investor faces from a potential rate increase. However, that risk isn’t imminent. The Federal Reserve doesn’t expect to raise its benchmark rate until late 2014, at the earliest. 5. Costs count Ginnie Maes typically generate modest returns, and fund expenses can eat up See GINNIE MAES, page 20

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Life insurance proceeds present a choice By Eleanor Laise If you’re the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, you might be expecting to receive a check in the mail. But the insurance company may have another idea. Many insurers automatically move death benefits into retained-asset accounts unless a beneficiary specifically requests a lump sum or other payout option. Insurers tout these accounts as prudent places to stash death benefits. But critics say they pay paltry interest rates, place restrictions on survivors’ access to funds, and don’t provide the same protections as bank accounts. Retained-asset accounts have been around since the early 1980s, but they have received scrutiny in recent years as federal employees and others were com-

monly defaulted into the accounts. The Office of Personnel Management, which administers the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program, responded to concerns last year by requiring that most beneficiaries choose a payout option.

the interest rate on the account versus available bank products and investment vehicles. MetLife, for example, is paying 0.5 percent on its retained-asset accounts. The highest-yielding money market deposit accounts, however, recently yielded roughly 0.9 percent.

How the accounts work If your benefits are placed in a retainedasset account, you’ll typically receive a book of “drafts,” which resemble checks and allow you to draw money from the account. If you don’t want the account, you can write a draft for the full benefit amount and transfer the money to a bank or investment account. When weighing a lump-sum payout against a retained-asset account, compare

More drawbacks The drafts that allow beneficiaries to tap their money may look like checks, but, unlike checks, drafts require the insurer’s permission before the money can move where the beneficiary directs it. Retailers don’t always accept drafts, and there are often minimum withdrawal amounts. Retained-asset accounts may not be fully protected if a life insurer goes belly up. The accounts are protected by state guaranty associations, which in most states provide coverage for death benefits only up to $300,000.

Ginnie Maes From page 19 much of what investors earn if they’re not careful. So pay close attention to fees. Vanguard’s Ginnie Mae fund charges the lowest among the group, with an expense ratio of 0.21 percent.

A beneficiary who took a lump sum and stashed $1 million in accounts at four different banks, however, could have Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protection on the full amount, because the FDIC covers up to $250,000 per depositor at each institution. Retained-asset accounts may still be valuable for some beneficiaries, particularly those who are dealing with an unexpected death and may be overwhelmed by receiving a large lump sum. Yet insurance experts warn against leaving large sums in the relatively low-yielding accounts for a sustained period. Generally, says Jeffrey Stempel, insurance law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, “the better thing is just to get control of the money as soon as you can.” Eleanor Laise is associate editor of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report. © 2012 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Even without considering costs, Tjornehoj, the Lipper analyst, said there’s plenty to like about these funds. For starters, there’s Ginnie Maes’ current yield advantage over Treasurys: “They stack up pretty well, given the low rate environment we’re in, and how richly priced the safest assets like Treasurys have become.” — AP

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

FREE HOME SECURITY CHECKUP

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

Oct. 3+

ADD YOUR VOICE TO BIKE PLAN

Howard County’s Department of Planning and Zoning is hosting a series of workshops this fall to gather public input on “Bike Howard,” the county’s Bicycle Master Plan to expand transportation. The workshops are planned for Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 6 to 8:45 p.m. at the East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia; Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Parsons Auditorium, Building 2, 11100 Johns Hopkins Rd., Laurel; and Wednesday, November 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Rte. 97, Cooksville. For more information and a listing of additional workshops planned later this year, visit www.bikehoward.com.

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The ABCs of fixed and deferred annuities Guaranteed income for life, especially in grows on a tax-deferred basis; and the paythe aftermath of a deep recession and fi- out phase, during which you begin to receive scheduled payments. nancial crisis, sounds wonderThere are several types of deful. That must be why insurferred annuities to consider: ance companies are ramping • Fixed annuity: Insurup their marketing of annuance companies guarantee a ities. fixed interest rate for a cerDue to the complexity of tain period of time. At the end annuities, I’ll cover the basics of this period, the company this month, and then in the will declare a renewal interest next issue, I will set forth the rate and another guarantee pros and cons. period. Most guarantee a minAn annuity is a financial RETIRE SMART imum interest rate for the life contract issued by a life insurBy Jill Schlesinger of the contract. ance company that offers tax• Variable annuity: For investors who deferred savings and a choice of payout options (income for life, income for a cer- want access to more investment options, tain period of time or lump sum) to meet variable annuities offer “sub-accounts,” your needs in retirement. Because the which look like mutual funds inside of an contract enjoys tax-deferred treatment, the insurance policy. • Equity index annuity: A blend beIRS may impose a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty for some distributions if tween a fixed and a variable, where the insurance company invests in a mix of bonds they are taken before age 59 1/2. The concept of trading a lump sum of and stocks designed to return a targeted money for a stream of income is easy to un- percentage of a particular index (e.g., S&P derstand, but annuities come in lots of fla- 500). The owner does not control the invors, which can make them confusing. The vestment selection but can participate to a two big categories of annuities are “immedi- degree in stock market gains during a rising market. Conversely, if markets fall, the ate” and “deferred.” In an immediate annuity, payments contract guarantees a minimum return, begin immediately or within one year of typically 3 percent. the policy’s issue. These contracts are also referred to as “single premium immediate Ask these questions annuities” or SPIAs because they are usuWhen an insurance salesman, a finanally purchased with a single payment. cial adviser or a broker broaches the topic SPIAs can help you manage the risk of out- of annuities with you, here are six quesliving your money, which is known as tions that you should immediately ask: “longevity risk.” 1. What type of annuity is this, and why do you recommend it for me? Deferred annuities 2. Exactly how much will I pay in the A deferred annuity has two phases: the first year of the contract, and then how accumulation phase, during which you much in subsequent years? make regular payments and your money 3. What will be your first-year commis-

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sion on the contract, and what will you earn in subsequent years? Annuities are notoriously expensive (more on the fees in next month’s column), so you will want to understand the total costs, which include mortality and expense charges (“M&E”), administrative fees, underlying fund expenses, charges for special features, and the salesperson’s commission. 4. Have I already maxed out other taxdeferred vehicles? One of the big selling points of annuities is that they offer tax deferral. That’s great, but make sure that you are maximizing your 401(k) or IRA accounts first before investing in an annuity, because chances are, those are cheaper tax-deferred vehicles. 5. Should I tie up my money with this

contract? Once you sign up for an annuity, it’s hard to get your hands on that money, and it can be expensive to do so. Make sure you have ample liquidity outside of the annuity before taking the plunge. 6. How is this insurer rated by AM Best, S&P, Moody’s and Fitch? Before the financial crisis, this question seemed silly, but now we know that insurance companies can go broke. Since the success of an annuity is predicated on the survival of the insurance company, it’s important that the company be highly rated. Jill Schlesinger, CFP, is the Editor-atLarge for www.CBSMoneyWatch.com. She welcomes comments and questions at askjill@moneywatch.com. © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Oct. 5

SPORTS GOLF TOURNEY TEES OFF The Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks is hosting

the fourth annual Celebration of Sports Golf Tournament on Friday, Oct. 5 at 8:30 a.m. at the Timbers at Troy Golf Course, 6100 Marshalee Dr., Elkridge. The event benefits the department’s “Step Up to Health” fund for developing recreational programs. Fees are $85 for an individual, $340 for a foursome. To register or for more information, call (410) 313-7275 or visit www.howardcountymd.gov/celebrationofsports.htm.


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Pros and cons of personal bankruptcy In my 12 years as a certified countycourt mediator in Florida, one of the most common questions I’ve heard defendants ask is, “Should I file for bankruptcy?” It is a good question, but one that should be directed to an experienced bankruptcy attorney, who will be able to explain the process, eligibility, costs and available options in greater detail. With so many individuals being sued because of large outstanding debts for credit cards, mortgages, car loans, etc., it is important for people to consult with expert counsel to better grasp the advantages and disadvantages of bankruptcy.

Two types of filing There are two forms of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Chapter 13 is for individuals who have significant equity in property that they

want to keep. Such individuals typically have regular income, but are behind on payments because of debt. Chapter 13 allows individuals to maintain their property while catching up with their debt obligations over three to five years through a court-approved repayment plan. Chapter 7 is for individuals who have little property other than necessities, and who have such high debt that they cannot meet basic expenses. A “means test” determines whether an individual’s income is low enough to be eligible for Chapter 7 after applicable expenses. The process is relatively quick — it may take only a few months — and creditors cannot contact you during an “automatic stay” (a court order that protects you from creditors) or after your debts are discharged. After you file the paperwork and obtain the automatic stay, creditors cannot garnish wages, repos-

sess autos or institute foreclosures. because you file for bankruptcy. One of the most significant advantages While bankruptcy normally prevents the of Chapter 7 is that most of garnishment of wages, it is your unsecured debt gets dispossible under some circumcharged. Exceptions include stances (as determined by debts owed to the IRS, student state law) for creditors to garloans, loans on property in nish the wages of individuals which the creditor has a lien, without the ability to repay. and spousal and child supAlso, a bankruptcy filing will port. not eliminate liens on property Individuals in severe debt previously owned. (However, should consider bankruptcy in Chapter 13, many types of because it can protect properliens can be reduced or elimity from unsecured creditors. THE SAVINGS nated because of provisions in GAME It can provide protection for the bankruptcy code that allow By Elliot Raphaelson your home, car and personal filers to retain property they property. would otherwise lose.) A bankruptcy attorney will be able to explain other exemptions, which vary by Bankruptcy disadvantages Bankruptcy filings will remain on your state and often include insurance, pensions and wages. No employer can fire you credit history for 10 years. Naturally, this can have an impact on your ability to borrow, although some creditors may feel that you will be in a better position to handle debt than you were before. The legal fees of an experienced bankruptcy attorney can be substantial. For a Chapter 7 filing, administrative and filing fees are around $300, with additional attorney fees likely to be between $1,500 and $2,000. Total expenses for Chapter 13 will be more expensive. Most fees will have to be paid up front. In addition, according to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, there will be additional costs for requisite pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and a credit education course. Keep in mind that a previous bankruptcy affects the eligibility for a new filing. You cannot file for Chapter 7 if you have previously done so within the past eight years, or the past six years for Chapter 13. If you do consider filing, make sure to use an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Your regular attorney may have a recommendation, and you can also ask the local bar association. An excellent resource is The New Bankruptcy: Will it Work for You? (NOLO), by Stephen Elias. Nolo.com contains a nationwide lawyer directory with associated profiles. In the current economy, many people are facing substantial debt problems because of job losses, health expenses, etc., and bankruptcy is certainly an option to consider. Elliot Raphaelson welcomes your questions and comments at elliotraph@gmail.com. © 2012 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Place a classified ad. They work! See page 31.


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Leisure &

How to safeguard yourself from identity thieves while on vacation. See story on page 25.

Comparing costs, hassles in five cities DREAMSTIME.COM

well when it came to inexpensive, authentic, easily procured food. Breakfast was cafe con leche with medialunas (crescent rolls). Lunch was a classic Argentine choripan sausage with lettuce and tomato in a freshly baked baguette, with a soft drink, $7, followed by a second afternoon indulgence of apparently irresistible empanadas, three for $2.25. Dinner took two hours in keeping with the Argentine tradition of a late, leisurely meal and was a mere $17 for red wine, soup and prime beef.

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Skyline views In Dubai, the ticket for the Burj Khalifa was the most expensive single item on that city’s itinerary, at $29 ($6 more than the Empire State Building and $10 more than the Eiffel Tower). But with a ticket bought in advance, the wait to get to the top of the Burj was a mere 12 minutes. Compare that to an hour at the Empire State Building in New York and three hours at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where the elevator was broken the day our reporter went. At one point during the interminable wait in Paris, our poor correspondent declared that he had “lost the will to live,” but the typical wait at the Eiffel Tower when the lifts are running properly is said to be less than a half-hour.

Sensoji Temple in Tokyo

seemed clean, safe and relatively free of aggressive vendors and panhandlers.

Some frustrations

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There were frustrations, of course. Good luck finding a skyline view in Buenos Aires, where the Obelisco, a storied landmark, is closed for renovation, and the rooftop cafe at the PanAmerican Hotel is only open to hotel guests. Our reporter was also unable to find Peron’s tomb in the cemetery at the Recoleta church. A guard at the gate gave directions, but after 15 minutes of wandering with no sign of the promised gravestone, our correspondent gave up. Buenos Aires was also tied with New York for longest time getting in from the airport — a one hour, 15 minute ride in the Argentine capital, with the same torturous length of time from Kennedy Airport into Manhattan once you combine the wait for the cab with the trip. Another annoyance in New York: the promised flat fare of a $45 cab ride turned out to be more like $58 with tolls and a 15 percent tip. Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires But Buenos Aires did

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The Associated Press sent reporters on a typical tourist’s itinerary one weekday in June in five cities around the world — New York, Paris, Tokyo, Dubai and Buenos Aires — to compare prices and hassles, and they came away united in one conclusion: A tourist’s life is exhausting. But there were some pleasant surprises. One was just how hassle-free and affordable it is to be a tourist in Dubai, which is perceived as one of the world’s most expensive cities. A day in Dubai ran about $80, including three meals, a $14 taxi from the airport that took just 10 minutes, a museum visit, and a ticket to see the view from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Only Buenos Aires was cheaper for the day’s itinerary, at just over $60. New York and Tokyo were about the same, just under $135, while Paris proved most expensive, at $164. Dubai and Buenos Aires proved cheapest for hotel prices as well, with three-star hotels found through Priceline.com for a weeknight in June charging $39 to $181 in Dubai and $58 to $210 in Buenos Aires. Tokyo’s three-star hotels priced through Priceline.com for a weeknight in June also turned out to be cheaper than one might expect, at $80 to $295, while New York and Paris tied for most expensive hotels, $145 to $409 for Manhattan and $118 to $705 for Paris. Other good news: Decent food could be had for reasonable prices in all five cities, with breakfast at about $5 and dinner under $30, even in places tourists frequent (though a waiter in Paris lived up to that city’s reputation for rude service when he refused to repeat the wine options). And tourist areas in all five cities

Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Eiffel Tower in Paris

Hassle-free Tokyo The Tokyo tourist experience also seemed more affordable than the perception of an expensive city might suggest, if you subtract the astronomical cab fare ($82) from the airport. (Our reporter took a taxi from Haneda Airport, which serves a growing number of international tourists, but the fare from Narita International Airport is even higher at $300.) The day in Japan’s capital also seemed remarkably free of hassles, perhaps in keeping with the Japanese reputation for efficiency (and as long as you don’t brave the city’s packed subways at rush hour). That cab ride from the airport might have been pricey, but it took only 20 minutes; there was no wait to get up to the top of the Tokyo Tower, and the ticket was only $10; admission to Sensoji Temple, an important cultural site, was free, and a walk in Ueno Park was pleasant. Lunch, an eel bowl with rice plus tea, was $8, and dinner at a popular sushi chain just outside Japan’s biggest fish market in Tsukiji, one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations, was $25. And nothing beats free in any city. At no charge, our reporters enjoyed Central Park in New York; Ueno Park in Tokyo; Tuileries Gardens in Paris; the Plaza de Mayo in See COMPARING COSTS, page 25


24

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

Your rights when airline schedules change Airlines often change schedules; some Although you may view the schedule as by a few minutes, some by hours or even an inherent part of what you buy when you days; some voluntarily, some buy a ticket, the airlines say, forced by circumstances. “Not really.” Clearly, in this Other than in the isolated matter as in others, airlines are cases covered by government challenging the banks to see regulations, your “rights” in a who can employ the most oneschedule change are govsided consumer contracts. erned by the contract you Last-minute changes. have with an airline, which is You’re most likely to encalled a “contract of carriage.” counter schedule changes in And most lines’ contracts are the context of a delay or daysurprisingly vague and impre- TRAVEL TIPS of-departure cancellation. Alcise about schedule changes. By Ed Perkins though all lines promise “best Not part of the contract. efforts” to get you to your desYou might be surprised to find that most air- tination as soon as possible, “best efforts” line contracts specifically state that the is an elusive concept. schedule is not part of the contract, or they If a different airline can get you to your contain an equivalent statement that the air- destination sooner than your original line, line is not liable for failure to operate ac- Alaska, Allegiant, Frontier, Hawaiian and cording to schedule, or both. JetBlue say they’ll transfer you to that line,

as long as that line has (1) available seats and (2) an interline agreement with the original line. However, you have to ask; the airline seldom volunteers it, and a transfer may be contingent on a minimum delay of up to three hours. American, Delta, United, US Airways and Virgin America say they can transfer you to another line, but only at their sole discretion. In effect, you can ask, but you can’t demand. Southwest and Spirit promise only to put you on another of their own flights. The refund option. If you don’t like your airline’s solution, most contracts offer you the alternative of a refund, with no refund penalty even on a nonrefundable ticket. At the start of the trip, the refund is for the full amount. After you’ve started, the typical refund is for the “unused portion” of your ticket. Of the contracts I checked, only Spirit’s does not specify any refund option.

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Other assistance. Typically, when a schedule change is an airline’s fault, most contracts obligate the airline to provide various forms of assistance — meals, accommodations and such, as appropriate. In the event of weather or other cancellations not under the airline’s control, however, all you get is a new flight or a refund. If you decide to abort. Typically, you will prefer to accept the best deal you can get to complete your trip with as little disruption as possible. Occasionally, however, even your airline’s best alternative will no longer suit your purpose: If the delay or cancellation would cause you to miss an important meeting, connecting flight or some other firm date, you may no longer want to complete your trip at all. At your original departure point, the full refund option obviously applies. But if you’re stalled at a connecting point, you might just want to go home without continuing. Alaska is the only airline whose contract provides a refund of the entire ticket rather than just the unused portion in this situation. Also, some airlines set a minimum qualifying time for delay-based refunds: 60 minutes on Alaska, 90 minutes on Delta, and an undefined “significant” delay on Allegiant. Advance cancellation. If you learn of a schedule change before your departure date, you might want out, with no penalty, so that you could find a better deal on some other line. I found no specific contract language about such advance cancellations. As far as I can tell, most lines treat them in the same way as they treat departure-day cancellations, but that’s a matter of practice, not contract. Typically, what you get is what the agent you deal with says you get. © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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How to avoid ID theft when on vacation By Kimberly Lankford It can be easy to let down your guard when you’re away on vacation. Here are six ways to protect yourself against ID theft while traveling. 1. Notify your bank and credit card company that you’ll be traveling. Financial institutions have become a lot more vigilant about watching for suspicious activity and may put a hold on your account if they see numerous unusual transactions and can’t get in touch with you. Also be sure to provide updated contact information, including your cell phone number. 2. Be careful about what you throw away in hotel trash cans. Papers such as your airline boarding pass, flight itinerary

and car-rental receipts could include your driver’s license number, address, name, credit card number and other personal information. Shred the papers or take them home with you. 3. Don’t conduct financial business on a public Wi-Fi. Use a private network, a protected network at a hotel, or 3G or 4G on your smart phone or iPad. If you do use a hotel network, make sure that it really belongs to the hotel. Scam artists sometimes set up a Wi-Fi name that looks very similar to the hotel’s name. Also avoid entering personal information on hotel computers, which could have software that logs keystrokes and records your passwords and account numbers. And don’t announce on Facebook or other

Comparing costs

gold shops, merchants selling spices, incense, carpets, textiles and pots and pans, and an endless number of vendors hawking watches. — Thomas Adamson in Paris, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Adam Schreck in Dubai, Roger Dwarika in Buenos Aires and Beth J. Harpaz in New York collaborated on this report from the Associated Press.

From page 23 Buenos Aires, which is often filled with protesters and is a hub of political life since the 1810 revolution that led to Argentina’s independence from Spain; and the Dubai Waterway, which leads to the old souk or marketplace, filled with winding alleys, glittering

social-networking sites that you are traveling. 4. Avoid stand-alone ATMs. Thieves have been known to install software that records your bank-account information and PIN number (called skimming). Stick with bank ATMs because the security is likely to be better. 5. Watch your wallet. Take out all unneeded credit card and personal information from your wallet before you leave home. Make copies of all of your important documents, such as your passport, driver’s license, health insurance card and travel tickets, so you’ll have access to the information if your wallet is stolen. Leave the copies with a family member or scan them into an encrypted file on your

computer. Also keep a list of contact numbers for your credit-card company and bank with you or in the hotel safe. That way, it will be easy to call if your wallet is stolen or you have any trouble with your account. 6. Check your credit card and bank statements frequently for unusual small charges. Charges for $10 or less could be a sign that thieves are testing your account number. Kimberly Lankford is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and the author of Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, $18.95). Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. © 2012 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

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

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Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda will discuss book censorship at a HoCoPoLitSo event on Oct. 2.

Literary society invites authors and poets education.” She is today the society’s director emeritus. A graduate of Barnard College with a master’s in French literature from the University of Wisconsin, Kennedy was nominated in 1969 for a National Book Award for her translation of Albert Camus’ Lyrical and Critical Essays. She lectured in colleges across the country for a decade as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and, according to the Baltimore Sun, is known nationally for her study of poets of the African Diaspora, translating an anthology of the so-called Negritude Poets.

Exploring censorship HoCoPoLitSo is set to mark Banned Books Week with a discussion about Grove Press — the publishing company that worked to lift the ban on works by such latter-day literary icons as D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Jean Genet and William Burroughs. The week when bibliophiles, and others, celebrate the freedom to read whatever is written will be celebrated locally on Oct. 2 at Howard County Community Col-

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

lege. A discussion with Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda and editor Jeannette Seaver about the historic role played by Grove Press in the 1950s and ‘60s in getting censors off the backs of writers and readers will take place that day at the Horowitz Performing & Visual Arts Center from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The free event will highlight The Tender Hour of Twilight, the recently published memoir of Richard Seaver, the late chief editor of Grove Press. Jeannette Seaver finished editing the book after her husband’ death. Besides battling the obscenity charges leveled against such classics as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer and Naked Lunch, under Seaver, Grove published such once-controversial works as The Autobiography of Malcolm X and The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon. The censors are still stomping around, according to the American Library Association, which reported 326 “challenges” to books in 2011. Among the top 10 books that have “shocked” last year’s would-be word removers were The Hunger Games, My Mom’s Having a Baby! A Kid’s Monthby-Month Guide to Pregnancy and To Kill a Mockingbird. McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin, which won the 2009 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, will be making another appearance in March for HoCoPoLitSo’s invigorating Irish

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By Robert Friedman In 1974, a lifelong bibliophile, Ellen Conroy Kennedy, decided to bring literature to life in Columbia by founding the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, better known as HoCoPoLitSo. The group brings literary luminaries to Howard County for poetry and book readings and other events. Since 1986, the society has also arranged for their appearances on “The Writing Life,” a show appearing on Howard County and other Maryland educational TV stations. The writers who have visited and read from their works over the years include Nobel Prize in Literature winners, such as Saul Bellow, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Derek Wolcott and Seamus Heany, as well as other writing notables, including Reynolds Price, memoirist Frank McCourt, civil rights historian Taylor Branch, poets W.S. Merwin, Amiri Baraka and Gwendolyn Brooks, playwright Edward Albee and novelist Collum McCann. “I was interested in literature, and I wanted something to happen [here],” said Kennedy, now 80, of starting the society. “I became a literary person because of my

Ellen Conroy Kennedy began the Howard County Poetry and Literary Society in 1974. The group has brought notable authors, from Saul Bellow to Frank McCourt, to Howard County for public programs.

Evening, when the written word and the music of those with Erin-Go-Bragh in their blood perform and entertain.

Getting started Kennedy began HoCoPoLitSo after moving here from Washington, where she was involved in the D.C. literary scene and her husband, Padraic Kennedy, was acting See LITERARY SOCIETY, page 29

Columbia Pro Cantare COLUMBIA PRO CANTARE 36th SEASON FRANCES MOTYCA DAWSON, CONDUCTOR October 27, 2012, 8 pm – ORFF: CARMINA BURANA – Jim Rouse Theatre Columbia Pro Cantare chorus, Laura Whittenberger, soprano, David Dickey, tenor, Chad Sloan, baritone, Alison Gatwood and Erik Apland, pianos; with percussion and Women of River Hill High Choirs. Generously supported by Howard County General Hospital Tickets: Advance $23 Adults; $20 Seniors/Students; $2 more At Door; Group discounts available

For tickets, call 410-799-9321 Or visit www.procantare.org


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Molly Ivins, wit and without her essence son Engel, former reporter and political speechwriter. What they have given us is 75-minutes of zingers, one-liners and pithy observations taken from Ivins’ writings, interviews and speeches.

In search of the real Ivins What they have not given us is much sense of the woman herself, and Ivins was a woman with a very textured life. A selfdescribed bleeding-heart populist in an increasingly right-wing Texas, a woman in a rough boys’ club, and a person who struggled with personal tragedy, bouts with the bottle, and breast cancer (to which she finally succumbed in 2007), Ivins had plenty of life to delve into. But you don’t get any closer to Ivins here than you would from reading one of her columns, or watching one of her appearances on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” The Engels are hampered by a reporter’s restraint, cobbling together a who-whatwhere-and-when monologue for Turner, but leaving out most of the why. We get only two clues to the woman behind the typewriter. She had an overbearing, authoritarian father, and her one and only true love was killed in Vietnam. For 75 minutes, Turner holds us in rapt attention as she hop-scotches through Ivins’ writings and touches on the resume points

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By Michael Toscano The timing couldn’t be better: the eve of a hot national election. The venue couldn’t be better: Arena Stage’s Kogod Cradle, large enough to hold the outsized energy of the play’s subject but intimate enough to maintain a human dimension. And that subject? Couldn’t be better, either, as it is the late crusading political journalist Molly Ivins. The production, Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, unfortunately, could be better. It’s not the fault of its formidable star, the esteemed and still steamy Kathleen Turner — an Academy Award, Tony and Golden Globe nominee (and Golden Globe winner for Prizzi’s Honor, co-starring with Jack Nicholson). Turner’s work in the contemporary film noir classic Body Heat in 1981 is enough all by itself to earn her a permanent place in Hollywood history, not to mention my all-time list of favorites. Now edging closer to 60, the voluptuous figure filled out and that smoky voice reaching into the lowest baritone registers, she seems a gathering force of energy that should allow her to fully explore the real-life ball-of-fire that was Texas’ own Molly Ivins. The one-woman play was written by real-life twins Margaret Engel, a one-time reporter for the Washington Post, and Alli-

Kathleen Turner portrays the late political journalist Molly Ivins in Arena Stage’s production of Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. Ivins was known for her strong political opinions and barbed tongue.

of her career. Except for several silent walkons by a low-level newsroom gopher, Turner is alone onstage — alone with Ivins’ ghost and with an audience hanging on every word, waiting and hoping for her to open the recesses of that brave heart and quick mind. How did the combination of personal sorrow, good humor and rapier wit form? How did Ivins live with a prodigious talent in an era when editors — whom she called “mice,

training to be rats” —regularly defanged her work? Did Ivins have close friends, or was she a loner, content with passing acquaintances in the intermingled worlds of politics and journalism? We get hardly a clue here.

Turner’s star turn Turner successfully channels Ivins’ bluff See MOLLY IVINS, page 29


28

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Literary society From page 26 director of the VISTA program, She said it was difficult in those first years breaking away from Washington and moving to small town Columbia, which, in 1972, had a population of only 15,000. Padraic Kennedy became the first president of the quasi-governmental Columbia Association, where he served from 1972 to 1998. With a $1,000 grant from the Maryland

Molly Ivins From page 27 and semi-caustic mannerisms, her directness. And her work here, directed by Broadway’s David Esbjornson, is subtle and nuanced enough to allow us a glimpse of the innate humor behind her giving George W. Bush the nickname “Shrub.” Or saying that a fiery speech by 1992 Republican presidential contender Patrick Buchanan “sounded better in the original German.” Or her writing of a Texas legislator, “If his IQ slips any lower, we’ll have to water him twice a day.” Referring to her occasional challenges with drinking she quipped, “Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route.” So we know there’s an interesting woman behind the typewriter, and I regret not really meeting her here. The play is elegiac, starting with Ivins struggling to write a column about her father, who is near death. The set is stark, an open, white space with a battered metal desk crowned with an ancient manual typewriter and a life-sized armadillo. At the rear, in front of a floor-to-ceiling projection screen, a few desk and chairs are piled up, ready to be moved out and signaling this is a life drawing to a close. An old-fashioned AP teletype machine, which occasionally spits out a news dispatch, is off to a side. She begins by describing a traditional 1940s and 50s family life, a seemingly happy enough childhood in spite of her father’s demanding nature. (She calls him “the general.”) Later, she mentions that all her sass is directed at him. Wearing jeans, red cowboy boots and a light blue workshirt, Turner briskly sketches an itinerant reporter’s wanderings from

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Arts Council, Ellen Kennedy organized the society’s first event on Nov. 19, 1974: a poetry reading to Wilde Lake High School students by poets Carolyn Kizer and Lucille Clifton. Five years later, in 1979, with the blessing of Columbia creator and next-doorneighbor Jim Rouse, who lent a venue for the event, the first Irish Writing and Music evening was held. Her memories of that night: a performance by Irish actress Pauline Flanagan,

whose career spanned the gamut, from plays at Dublin’s famed Abbey Theater to a role in the American TV soap opera “Ryan’s Hope”; former nun Barbara Murphy playing the harp; daughter Erin in a lovely green velvet dress; a sellout crowd of 300 at $3 a ticket. Nearly four decades after the society’s founding, Kennedy has no fear that changes brought about by the Internet will debase the written word. Life will continue to be lit by the great poets, novelists and

essayists, she said. “Even though the forms and fashions may change, I think there will always be storytellers,” she said. “Look at Shakespeare, for God’s sake!” she said, noting that centuries later the multitude is still turning out for, and finding greatness in, the Bard’s plays via local theater productions. For more information on HoCoPoLitSo and its activities, see http://hocopolitso.org or call (443) 518-4568.

Houston to Minneapolis, to Ivins’ years at the Texas Observer, where she was finally allowed to blossom, and then on to talent-restraining stints with the New York Times and CBS before returning to her beloved Texas and ultimately finding success as a nationally syndicated columnist. It’s a connect-the-dots script, but Turner skillfully negotiates the segues from humor to poignancy.

and struggled against an entrenched culture of men, money and mischief. Or perhaps her fish-out-of-water years working for the New York Times could have been explored for 75 minutes, providing a more dimensional look at the woman as well as her times and the great issues then at play. It seems as though a number of the brief chapters glossed over here are ripe for expansion. Should fans of Molly Ivins, of which I am one, see this production? Yes, of course. It’s much like re-reading a favorite column or seeing one of those old “60 Minutes” face-offs. You will enjoy it. And many of her political barbs are relevant today, drawing laughs and applause from the Washington audience. So while you won’t leave knowing Molly Ivins the person any better when you leave, you will appreciate once again these words Ivins speaks through Turner: “My legacy will be helping people be a pain in

the ass to those in power.” Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins continues through Oct. 28 at Arena Stage’s Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle, part of the Mead Center for American Theater, located at 1101 6th St. SW, Washington, D.C. Performances are Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. A matinee is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16 at noon. A panel discussion will follow the Sunday matinee performance on Oct. 7. Ticket prices range from $46 to $94. There are no discounts for seniors. Halfprice HOTTIX go on sale 30 minutes before curtain and are sold at the box office until they sell out. Limit of two per person. Tickets may be purchased online at www.arenastage.org, by telephone at (202) 488-3300 or at the theater’s sales office, Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.

Ivins and Ann Richards Photographs of the actual Molly Ivins and some of her subjects and associates are occasionally flashed on the screen, including a brief glimpse of her comrade-in-arms, the late Texas Governor Ann Richards. It is interesting that a similar production about Richards played last year at the Kennedy Center — a wonderful onewoman show called Ann, starring the incomparable Holland Taylor. Ivins and Richards shared sharp tongues and strong minds, faced personal and professional battles in a male-dominated culture, and occupied the same time and place. But the Richards play took us behind the hairdo and the accent for a fully-realized portrait. It may be unfair, but I could not help thinking of Ann and finding this effort pale in comparison. Some of the career points lightly touched on here might make for compelling storytelling if only we were allowed to linger. Would we not get a more fully realized portrait of the human being behind the quips if we could explore, say, her time covering the Texas legislature? Ivins came into regular contact with a colorful roster of characters there, a veritable rogues’ gallery it seems. The overall themes of her life could be put into sharper focus with a look at how she formed relationships

ANSWERS TO SCRABBLE

H A L L

I N T O W

M O N D O

A N T I U N I T E R

O G L E

P R E Y

P A V E

From page 30.

S C I S S O R S T R O B E S

B O S F A F T O S E L H E O C R T S E

S A T U R N

A N I L

M E S S L O E T O L A P P O X Y O P V E R Y H E U N I T T O N I A D O S H E S

C R U M B

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C H I M E R A W E E K D A Y

Oct. 20

STRING QUARTET WITH A MODREN TWIST

The Candlelight Concert Society presents the Borromeo String Quartet in a classical program featuring laptop screen projection of the music in a performance on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Horowitz Performing Arts Center in Smith Theatre, Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Tickets are $30 for adults, $28 for seniors, $12 for students. To order tickets or for more information, visit www.candleightconcerts.org or call (410) 997-2324.

Oct. 11

ENGLISH GARDENS

The Longfellow Garden Club of Howard County is inviting gardeners and garden lovers to a tea and talk on “Artistic Sources and Elements of the English Garden” on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. For more information, call (443) 803-4850.

All Pet Crematory, Inc. (410) 552-0703 or 1(888) 552-0703 (toll free)

ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD A B A B

BEACON BITS

A R A B

S I T E

T S A R

A L I E N S N A M E

G O L A N

G U S T Y

O L E G

X I N G

• open directly to the public for private cremations only • caring & professional staff • memorial urns and merchandise available “Pet Lovers Serving Pet Lovers” WWW.APCrematory.com


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1. Epiphany sounds 5. Uncle with a big hat 8. Playbill list 12. French bench 13. Cause of misery 14. The only woman with more French Open championships than Steffi 15. High prefix 16. Word inside many elevators 17. Gaucho’s rope 18. Fortified rest 21. Part-time B-52 crewmen 22. COMET’s core 23. Fortified modesty 30. Dark films 31. It vanishes every time you stand up 32. Giant Felipe, Matty, or Jesus 33. 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (more commonly) 34. Adhesive 36. Abbrevs. for Illinois and Israel 37. Keats’ feats 39. Take an axe to 40. Sit in the hot seat 42. Fortified value 46. Mythical bird 47. “___ Johnny!” 48. Fortified visitation 55. Goes for the gusto 56. Tennille, to the Captain 57. Droopy watch painter 58. American Pie destination 59. Big commotions 60. “I agree!” 61. Looks at suspiciously 62. ___ So Fine (The Chiffons’ first hit) 63. Safecracker 1. Rhyme sequence

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2. Dealer, on a classic game show 3. Divisive politician 4. A real kick, to Michael Phelps 5. NASA appraises its rings 6. Blue dye 7. Predicament 8. Hybrid monster 9. ___ League (Cairo-based org.) 10. World Wide Web locale 11. Autocrat 13. Daily Variety adjective 14. Mouse’s portion 19. Teens’ terrors 20. Bonkers 23. Along with 24. Gargantuan 25. Elude the caterers 26. Pay check subtraction 27. Mork or E.T. 28. Disputed Mideast region 29. Blustery 34. Opt for 35. Technique where the aud. sees what the char. sees 38. Disco lights 40. Lively 41. When school is in session 43. It usually precedes the cart 44. Horned herbivores 45. Bigfoot’s cooler cousins 48. Look up and down 49. Carnivore’s target 50. Cover with tar 51. State two borders away from Canada, and two away from Mexico 52. Lymph locale 53. Designer Cassini 54. “Deer ___”

Answers on page 29.


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

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

Caregivers LICENSED, BONDED CNA with a decade of geriatric care experience seeks long-term, fulltime overnight position. Currently a grad student pursuing nursing degree, I come with an extensive resume, sterling references & solid pet-care skills. If interested, kindly call Jacqueline at 301-787-3555.

More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

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For Sale

Wanted

Wanted

STAMP COLLECTION, old mail covers 1940’s and up. Will sell for fair price. Must see. Call evenings, Suzan @ 410-931-0426.

VINYL RECORDS WANTED from the 20s through 1985. Jazz, Rock-n-Roll, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae and Disco. 33 1/3 LPs, 45s or 78s, Larger collections preferred. Please call John, 301-596-6201.

WE BUY, SELL, AND TRADE Miscellaneous Items i.e., Musical Instruments, Recreational Items, Motorcycles and Minibikes, Collections, Memorabilia, Vintage Items, Electronics, Toys, Cars, Jewelry, Tools. We can sell your items for you on Ebay and Craigslist. We can help you sell large items i.e., Cars, Campers, Equipment and more. Call Dave 443-514-8583.

SELLING OLD POCKET WATCHES, some have 3 jewels, men’s dress watches, parts and watchmaker’s tools. Call Evenings: Suzan @ 410-931-0426.

Home & Handyman Services RICHARD YOUNG PLUMBING * Master plumber * Over 30 years experience * locally owned and operated husband and wife team * Contact us about our discounts 301-562-9100, richardyoungplumbing@gmail.com. MPL#21098. FEDERAL HOME SOLUTIONS INC. Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). We are a full service remodeling company specializing in modifications for the aging and disabled. 410409-8128.

Miscellaneous POWERFUL PRAYER TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN (Never Known to Fail) Oh, most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine splendor of heaven. Blessed Mother of the Son of God. Immaculate virgin, assist me in my necessity. Oh, star of the sea, help me and show me, herein you are my mother. Oh, Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth! I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to the succor me in this necessity (make request). There is nothing that can withstand your power. Oh, Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (3 times). Holy Mary I place this cause in your hands (3 times). Say prayer 3 consecutive days. Publish it and your petitions will be granted to you. Thank you for listening to my prayers. MJM.

For Sale

FINE ANTIQUES, PAINTINGS AND QUALITY VINTAGE FURNISHINGS wanted by a serious capable buyer. I am very well educated [law degree] knowledgeable [over 40 years in the antique business] and have the finances and wherewithal to handle virtually any situation. If you have a special item, collection or important estate I would like to hear from you. I pay great prices for great things in all categories from oriental rugs to Tiffany objects, from rare clocks to firearms, from silver and gold to classic cars. If it is wonderful I am interested. No phony promises or messy consignments. References gladly furnished. Please call Jake Lenihan 301-279-8834. Thank you. STAMPS! Small collector buying stamps. Also U.S. mint stamps for sale. Southwest Stamp Club meets Friday, October 19th, 2012. Arbutus. 410-247-4169.

CASH BUYER for old costume jewelry, pocket and wrist watches (any condition). Also buying watch maker tools and parts, train sets and accessories, old toys, old glassware & coins. 410-655-0412. BUYING NUMISMATIC COINS and most gold or silver items including coins, sterling, jewelry, etc. Will come to you with best cash offer. Call Paul: 410-756-1906. LIONEL & AMERICAN FLYER electric trains. Any age or condition. Also buy old toy cars and metal soldiers from the 1950’s. Call: 410-363-4873.

Thanks for reading!

BEACON BITS

Oct. 16

WWII FILM

The Jewish Federation of Howard County presents the film In Our Own Hands, the story of the British all-Jewish fighting unit in World War II on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 10:30 a.m. at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. For more information, call (443) 803-4850.

Ongoing

CIVIL WAR ERA EXHIBITS IN LAUREL

New exhibits commemorating local ties to the Civil War’s Battle of Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation are open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Laurel Museum, 817 Main St., Laurel. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.laurelhistoricalsociety.org or call (301) 725-7975.

Personal Services MACULAR DEGENERATION READER for person with AMD, a 22-inch screen Merlin reader. Used 17 months. Original cost $3,000, now $950. Have all papers. 410-608-8225 / 410-821-1010. 2 SALVADOR DALI woodblock prints from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Signed and framed. Asking $900 for the pair. Can email pictures if desired. Call Steve 410-913-1653. DULANEY VALLEY MEMORIAL GARDENS, top and bottom burial lot. Abbey Gardens Area. Crypt # 114 – Asking $2250. Contact – 410-655-1439.

Letters to editor From page 2 coverage now, but in 2013, just the Medicare payments alone are going up $114 per person a month, plus an increase in drug coverage. I cannot imagine what our supplemental insurance will cost. Why do you think there are so many

LEARN ENGLISH – SPANISH – ITALIAN – FRENCH – PORTUGUESE Conversational. Grammatical. Private lessons. Reasonable Rates. Tutoring students. 443-3528200. GETTING MARRIED? Licensed officiant will perform Wedding and Renewal of Vows at most Indoor and Outdoor venues in Maryland. NonDenominational and Interfaith couples are accepted. Phone: 410-343-7208. Email: ladyofficiant@gmail.com.

people who want to repeal the bill and start over? We have been ill advised and ill served by the passage of this bill, thanks to an irresponsible Congress and prevaricating Administration. So glad you finally noticed the disparities. Sharon B. Wharton Baltimore

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

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

Learn more by calling (410) 997-0610 or visit us at www.cogsmd.org.

Join us at our

october CoGS meeting date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012

time: 8:30-10:00 a.m. Location:

Gary L. Kaufman Funeral Home at Meadowridge Memorial Park 7250 Washington Blvd • Elkridge, MD 21075

Speaker: topic:

Delegate Gail Bates General Assembly’s Effect on Seniors Thank You to Our 2012 Sponsors PLatinum SPonSorS

Howard County General Hospital – Johns Hopkins Medicine •The Beacon

GoLd SPonSorS

Private Party Text Ads: For individuals seeking to buy or sell particular items, or place a personal ad. Each ad is $10 for 25 words, 25 cents for each additional word.

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

Business Text Ads: For parties engaged in an ongoing business enterprise. Each ad is $25 for 25 words, 50 cents for each additional word.

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

Note: Each real estate listing counts as one business text ad. Send your classified ad with check or money order, payable to the

Beacon, too:

The Beacon, Howard County Classified Dept. P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915-2227

SiLver SPonSorS

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


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Brooke Groove Retirement Village cordially invites you to attend an

Open House Tuesday, October 16, 2012 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Westbrooke Clubhouse 18310 Slade School Road Sandy Spring, MD 20860 Discover the casual elegance & comfort of The Cottages independent living. Explore Westbrooke Clubhouse, its restaurant and fitness center. Enjoy the homelike atmosphere of The Meadows assisted living and learn about our innovative approach to memory support. Please RSVP to 301-260-2320 or lsmith@bgf.org by October 11, 2012.

Simply different ...because what surrounds you really matters

301-260-2320 or 301-924-2811 18100 Slade School Road Sandy Spring, MD 20860

www.bgf.org See why generations have chosen Brooke Grove.

residential cottages assisted living

memory care rehabilitation skilled nursing care


October 2012 Howard County Beacon Edition