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Recalling the real-life Argo

On the run Once they fled the American embassy on that terrifying day in 1979, Anders and four other embassy workers zigzagged through the streets of Tehran to Anders’ nearby apartment, where they holed up for the night.

APRIL 2013

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PHOTO BY BARBARA RUBEN

By Barbara Ruben Nov. 4, 1979 started like any other work day for Robert Anders, a senior consular officer at the American Embassy in Iran. He passed hundreds of demonstrators crowding the gates in the rain chanting “Allahu akbar! Marg bar Amrika!” — “God is great! Death to America!” But that was nothing new. A few weeks before, the Shah had fled Iran to come to the United States for medical treatment and the anti-American Ayatollah Khomeini took power. “I thought, ‘So what? It’s just another day at the office,” Anders recalled of a day that would become anything but routine. By mid-day, some of the more militant demonstrators scaled the walls surrounding the 27-acre compound and stormed the gate. Electric lines were slashed, and Anders finished issuing his last visa by flashlight. He and five other diplomats slipped out the back door — and into an 80-day odyssey of subterfuge and concealment that is documented in the recent Best Picture Academy Award-winner Argo. In a plot orchestrated by the CIA, and with the help of Canadian diplomats, Anders and the other Americans eventually escaped Iran by posing as Canadian filmmakers scouting a location for an absurd science fiction adventure film that happened to be called Argo. Fifty-two other embassy workers weren’t as lucky and were taken hostage by the Iranians. Many were not released for more than a year. Today, Anders, 88, lives in Silver Spring, Md., after a Foreign Service career hopscotching from Rangoon to Manila to Oslo. He chatted with the Beacon about the months spent hiding at a Canadian diplomat’s home, his alter ego as film location manager Robert Baker, and just how much the Hollywood version of his escape deviates from actual events.

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LEISURE & TRAVEL

Big Bend National Park is big even for Texas; plus, Lady Bird Johnson’s wildflower legacy, and how to avoid passport dilemmas when traveling overseas page 42

ARTS & STYLE

Trapped in Iran during the hostage crisis in 1979, Robert Anders and five fellow American Embassy workers posed as Canadian movie executives to escape the country. Their story is recounted in the Academy Award-winning movie Argo. After Foreign Service posts around the world, Anders now lives in Silver Spring, Md.

The next day, fearing his apartment was an obvious target and too close to the American embassy, they sought refuge at the British embassy. But they found demonstrators surrounding that compound as well, so they pressed on, wandering through an unfamiliar part of Tehran. Anders served in some respects as the defacto leader of the little group. He was 20 years older than the others and had previously been posted in Rangoon and Manila as a Foreign Service officer. Iran was the first posting for the others. “I am a World War II veteran, so I have some experience with people shooting at me,” he said. “Perhaps I had a little less surprise and shock with people who didn’t

like Americans, with people who are shouting and yelling all sorts of uncomfortable things.” Anders also had more high-level Western contacts in Iran. “One of the lucky breaks was that I had brought my little address book with me, and I called my very good Canadian friend John Sheardown,” a high-ranking immigration officer with the Canadian Embassy, Anders recalled. “I said, ‘This is Bob.’ I didn’t even get to my last name, and I’ll never forget what he said: ‘Where are you? Why didn’t you call sooner?’ I told him I didn’t know where we were. I said I had four other people with See ARGO, page 50

An intergenerational drama unfolds at Studio Theatre; plus, Bob Levey sticks up for toddlers having temper tantrums page 47

FITNESS & HEALTH k Pessimists may live longer k Spice up your diet

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Driven by technology Your broke your glasses (or your foot)? tic solution that is, amazingly, almost ready You had surgery recently? Your car’s in for prime time — namely, “self-driving the shop? cars.” Getting from here to there Perhaps you’ve read about — to the doctor’s office, to these cars, enhanced with the grocery store, to a conself-driving technology by cert, to the hospital — can Google (yes, the Internet become a problem for all of search engine people). There us at one time or another. are about a dozen such comThe solution? Call a cab. puter-run vehicles on the Call a friend. Take the bus. road today, mostly in CaliforWe can usually work around nia, following programmed it for awhile. instructions and rooftop But getting around can be- FROM THE radar that control their route, come a daily struggle for PUBLISHER turns, speed, braking and those who can no longer safe- By Stuart P. Rosenthal parking. ly drive, either due to poor viA person sits in the driver’s sion, a chronic or permanent disability, or seat, but only in case of emergency (and the lack of a car (or of access to the keys). probably to keep other folks from driving That’s why, for a number of years now, off the road at the sight of a driverless the most common concerns raised by car). those calling aging and disability services They are still being tested and imhotlines tend to be transportation-related. proved, but so far, we are told these vehiA number of more-or-less satisfactory cles have driven more than 300,000 miles solutions exist, ranging from public para- without a single accident — that is, withtransit systems for those unable to use out a single accident they have caused. Vepublic transit (MTA Mobility in Baltimore; hicles driven by people have run into them Metro Access in Greater Washington), to from behind on occasion. volunteer drivers, subsidized taxis and the Google says its research has shown the like. These are helpful (but often far from automatic cars have outperformed profesideal) options we have written about in the sional drivers in accident simulations. Beacon many times over the years. Take a look at the self-driving car doing But today I want to write about a futuris- its thing on a three-minute YouTube video,

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taking people back and forth pretty much 24/7 (once they teach the cars how to fill themselves at a gas station!). In the meantime, car manufacturers including Lexus and Ford are already selling a number of models that can parallel park themselves, have “adaptive cruise control” (which maintains a safe distance from cars in front), and “lane keep assist” systems that, with cameras and automated steering control, keep cars safely within their lane when the driver fails to do so. These existing technologies — plus new ones in development that will allow cars to communicate with each other on the road and maneuver safely in crowded conditions, such as Ford’s “Traffic Jam Assist” — will transform both public and private transportation. And I don’t mean in the distant future, either. Reportedly, Ford envisions selling a self-driving car by 2017, building on currently available technologies. Yes, our demographic realities will mean rapidly increasing numbers of older drivers (and non-drivers) in the coming years. But fortunately, inventive and daring engineers are crafting what appears to be a solution in tandem with the problem.

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.

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The Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to inform, serve, and entertain the citizens of the Greater Washington DC area, and is privately owned. Other editions serve Greater Baltimore, Howard County, Md. and Greater Palm Springs, Ca. Readership exceeds 400,000. Subscriptions are available via first-class mail ($36) or third-class mail ($12), prepaid with order. D.C. and 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 of Operations ....Gordon Hasenei • Director of Sales ................................Alan Spiegel • Managing Editor............................Barbara Ruben • Graphic Designer ..............................Kyle Gregory • Assistant Operations Manager ..........Roger King • Advertising Representatives ........Doug Hallock, ................................................Dan Kelly, Cheryl Watts

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in which nearly blind Steve Mahan, a resident of Morgan Hill, Calif., is driven from his home to a taco drive-through and his neighborhood dry cleaner and back again (www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgQpa1pU UE). Three states have already passed legislation permitting such cars on their roads: California, Nevada and Florida. It is probably no coincidence that California and Florida also happen to have more residents 65 and over than any other states in the Union. Given the higher rate of accidents per mile among older drivers, and the greater risk of fatality that older adults experience in auto crashes, the promise of an accident-free and totally independent mode of transportation for those no longer able to drive on their own would be a dream come true — not only for otherwise homebound people themselves, but for their families and indeed everyone else on the road. Of course, such a solution, while possibly accident-free and driver-free, is not free. At present, the computer and radar components that make Google’s customized cars autonomous cost a reported $150,000 per car. But most people will not need to own such a car themselves. I envision companies with a small fleet of them using an online reservation system that keeps its cars

Dear Editor: After reading (your March cover story) “Mad for the game of basketball,” my hands and feet began to twitch after six years off the court. This morning I joined 24 other “seniors” at Bauer Recreation Center for almost two hours of exercise and camaraderie. I look forward to many more such mornings. Thanks for getting me “hooked!” George Gluck Via email Dear Editor: I found your editorial on the difficulties of dying very interesting. I think making decisions about how one wants to die and then implementing them (whether one does it oneself or another individual empowered with that information) is indeed very difficult. And improvements (are they really improvements?) in what we can fix temporarily don’t make it easy. I look forward to reading further discussion on these issues. Jean Clarren Silver Spring, Md. Dear Editor: I thank [your publisher] for writing

more than once about the thoughts and concerns of the over-80 crowd (to which I belong). Many (not all, I’m sure) of us nearing the end of life want to think about and/or write about and talk about death. It is something that I, like many I know, want to try to face with whatever dignity we may be able to muster when the time comes, but that can be hard. Doctors and nurses routinely call us by our first names and express surprise when we offer the answer to some esoteric pro football or other question. At one such time, my dentist said “Wow! How old are you? You’re sharp as a tack!” Obviously this was meant as a compliment, but how many conversations do average people have where they feel obliged to ask the other’s age? America is a very youth-oriented society. It is not comfortable with people over 80 and tends to look through us at meetings and elsewhere. We become invisible, and that would depress anyone, wouldn’t you agree? So while we may have a desperate need to talk about our feelings in relation to See LETTERS TO EDITOR, page 53


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Health Fitness &

MEDITERRANEAN DIETS WIN A large study shows heart-healthy Mediterranean diets beat low-fat ones A TRICKY OPERATION Comparing surgery costs can be confusing; expect a wide range of prices TENNIS ELBOW, ANYONE? Commonly used steroid shots for tennis elbow may worsen the condition THE SPICE OF LIFE Spices like sage can improve memory, while rosemary helps the heart

Pessimists may live longer, healthier lives Older people who have low expectations for a satisfying future may be more likely to live longer, healthier lives than those who see brighter days ahead, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. “Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic in predicting a better future was associated with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade,” said lead author Frieder R. Lang, PhD, of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. “Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions.” The study was published online in the journal Psychology and Aging. Lang and colleagues examined data collected from 1993 to 2003 for the national German Socio-Economic Panel, an annual survey of private households consisting of approximately 40,000 people 18 to 96 years old. The researchers divided the data according to age groups: 18 to 39 years old, 40

to 64 years old and 65 years old and above. Through mostly in-person interviews, respondents were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their lives and how satisfied they thought they would be in five years. Five years after the first interview, 43 percent of the oldest group had underestimated their future life satisfaction, 25 percent had predicted accurately and 32 percent had overestimated, according to the study. Based on the average level of change in life satisfaction over time for this group, each increase in overestimating future life satisfaction was related to a 9.5 percent increase in reporting disabilities and a 10 percent increased risk of death, the analysis revealed.

More pessimistic with age Because a darker outlook on the future is often more realistic, older adults’ predictions of their future satisfaction may be more accurate, according to the study. In contrast, the youngest group had the sunniest outlook while the middle-aged adults

made the most accurate predictions, but became more pessimistic over time. “Unexpectedly, we also found that stable and good health and income were associated with expecting a greater decline compared with those in poor health or with low incomes,” Lang said. “Moreover, we found that higher income was related to a greater risk of disability.” The researchers measured the respondents’ current and future life satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10 and determined accuracy in predicting life satisfaction by measuring the difference between anticipated life satisfaction reported in 1993 and actual life satisfaction reported in 1998. They analyzed the data to determine age differences in estimated life satisfaction; accuracy in predicting life satisfaction; age, gender and income differences in the accuracy of predicting life satisfaction; and rates of disability and death reported between 1999 and 2010. Other factors, such as illness, medical treatment or

personal losses, may have driven health outcomes, the study said.

But optimists may be happier The findings do not contradict theories that unrealistic optimism about the future can sometimes help people feel better when they are facing inevitable negative outcomes, such as terminal disease, according to the authors. “We argue, though, that the outcomes of optimistic, accurate or pessimistic forecasts may depend on age and available resources,” Lang said. “These findings shed new light on how our perspectives can either help or hinder us in taking actions that can help improve our chances of a long healthy life.” To read the full journal article, “Forecasting Life Satisfaction Across Adulthood: Benefits of Seeing a Dark Future?,” go to www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/pa g-ofp-lang.pdf. — American Psychological Association

Sometimes it’s better to wait than operate By Marilynn Marchione In a stunning example of when treatment might be worse than the disease, a large review of Medicare records finds that older people with small kidney tumors were much less likely to die over the next five years if doctors monitored them instead of operating right away. Even though nearly all of these tumors turned out to be cancer, they rarely proved fatal. And surgery roughly doubled patients’ risk of developing heart problems or dying of other causes, doctors found. After five years, 24 percent of those who had surgery had died, compared to only 13 percent of those who chose monitoring. Just 3 percent of people in each group died of kidney cancer. The study only involved people 66 and older, but half of all kidney cancers occur in this age group. Younger people with longer life expectancies should still be offered surgery, doctors stressed. The study also was observational — not an experiment where some people were given surgery and others were monitored, so it cannot prove which approach is best. Yet it offers a real-world look at how more than 7,000

Medicare patients with kidney tumors fared. Surgery is the standard treatment now. But perhaps it shouldn’t be. “I think [the study] should change care” and that older patients should be told “that they don’t necessarily need to have the kidney tumor removed,” said Dr. William Huang of New York University Langone Medical Center, who led the study. “If the treatment doesn’t improve cancer outcomes, then we should consider leaving them alone.” The research was discussed in a recent telephone news conference sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and two other cancer groups. In the United States, about 65,000 new cases of kidney cancer and 13,700 deaths from the disease are expected this year. Twothirds of cases are diagnosed at the local stage, when five-year survival is more than 90 percent. However, most kidney tumors these days are found not because they cause symptoms, but are spotted by accident when people are having an X-ray or other imaging test for something else, like back trouble or chest pain. Cancer experts increasingly question

the need to treat certain slow-growing cancers that are not causing symptoms — prostate cancer in particular. Researchers wanted to know how lifethreatening small kidney tumors were, especially in older people most likely to suffer complications from surgery. They used federal cancer registries and Medicare records from 2000 to 2007 to find 8,317 people 66 and older with kidney tumors less than 1.5 inches wide. Cancer was confirmed in 7,148 of them. About three-quarters of them had surgery and the rest chose to be monitored with periodic imaging tests. After five years, 1,536 had died, including 191 of kidney cancer. For every 100 patients who chose monitoring, 11 more were alive at the five-year mark compared to the surgery group. Only 6 percent of those who chose monitoring eventually had surgery. Furthermore, 27 percent of the surgery group, but only 13 percent of the monitoring group, developed a cardiovascular problem such as a heart attack, heart disease or stroke. These problems were more likely if doctors removed the entire kidney instead of just a part of it.

The results may help doctors persuade more patients to give monitoring a chance, said a cancer specialist with no role in the research, Dr. Bruce Roth of Washington University in St. Louis. Some patients with any abnormality “can’t sleep at night until something’s done about it,” he said. Doctors need to say, “We’re not sticking our head in the sand, we’re going to follow this” and can operate if it gets worse. One of Huang’s patients — 81-year-old Rhona Landorf, who lives in New York City — needed little persuasion. “I was very happy not to have to be operated on,” she said. “He said it’s very slow growing and that having an operation would be worse for me than the cancer.” Landorf said her father had been a doctor, and she trusts her doctors’ advice. Does she think about her tumor? “Not at all,” she said. For more information on kidney cancer, see www.cancer.net/cancer-types/kidneycancer and www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/kidney. More information on the study can be found at http:// gucasym.org. — AP


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People who read the nutritional information on food labels are generally thinner than those who don’t read labels, an international team of researchers in Spain determined. Their study findings link label reading to obesity prevention, especially in women. Data from surveys of more than 25,000 people suggest that women who read nutrition information on food labels have a BMI (body mass index) score 1.49 points lower than women who never read food labels, according to the study published in the journal Agricultural Economics.

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Nutrition Notes

safety or effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. An estimated 150 million Americans purchase supplements every year.

U.S. government investigators found that 20 percent of the 127 weight-loss and immune-boosting supplements they purchased online and in retail stores across the country carried labels that made illegal claims to cure or treat disease, according to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, many of the supplements lacked the scientific studies to support their suggested uses. The investigators even found products that claimed to cure or prevent diabetes, cancer and HIV — claims that are strictly prohibited by law. The report concluded that consumers may not just be wasting their money on pills or tablets, but they also could be endangering their health if they take a supplement in place of a drug, thinking it will have the same effect. Under current law, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not approve the

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Mediterranean-style diets beat low-fat ones By Marilynn Marchione Pour on the olive oil, preferably over fish and vegetables. One of the longest and most scientific

tests of a Mediterranean diet suggests this style of eating can cut the chance of suffering heart-related problems, especially strokes, in older people at high risk of them.

extraordinary life, If you’ve led an

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The study lasted five years and involved about 7,500 people in Spain. Those who ate Mediterranean-style with lots of olive oil or nuts had a 30 percent lower risk of major cardiovascular problems compared to others who were told to follow a low-fat diet. Mediterranean meant lots of fruit, fish, chicken, beans, tomato sauce, salads and wine — and little baked goods and pastries. Mediterranean diets have long been touted as heart-healthy, but that’s based on observational studies that can’t prove the point. The new research is much stronger because people were assigned diets to follow for a long time and carefully monitored. Doctors even did lab tests to verify that the Mediterranean diet folks were consuming more olive oil or nuts as recommended.

Better than medication Most of these people were taking medicines for high cholesterol and blood pres-

Nutrition notes From page 5 vitamin daily reduced their risk for overall cancers by 8 percent. That’s the equivalent of about 130,000 cancers prevented annually. Combined with a good diet and healthy lifestyle, the findings confirm that multivitamins safely and effectively fill in nutritional gaps. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Chew longer to feel fuller The oral stimulation of chewing food is

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sure, and researchers did not alter those proven treatments, said the study’s leader, Dr. Ramon Estruch of Hospital Clinic in Barcelona. But as a first step to prevent heart problems, “we think diet is better than a drug” because it has few if any side effects, Estruch said. “Diet works.” Results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and were discussed at a nutrition conference in Loma Linda, Calif. People in the study were not given rigid menus or calorie goals because weight loss was not the aim. That could be why they found the “diets” easy to stick with — only about 7 percent dropped out within two years. There were twice as many dropouts in the low-fat group than among those eating Mediterranean-style. Researchers also provided the nuts and See DIETS, page 7

an important factor in satiety, according to researchers in the Netherlands and Switzerland in a study published in the journal Obesity. In order to isolate the effects of chewing on satiety, researchers conducted a study in which 26 men chewed food for between one and eight minutes without swallowing. Meanwhile their stomachs were filled with food through a feeding tube. A meal was given 30 minutes later. Those with longer chewing times consumed 19 percent fewer calories, demonstrating that the act of chewing impacted satiety. © 2013 Environmental Nutrition. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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Diets From page 6 olive oil, so it didn’t cost participants anything to use these relatively pricey ingredients. The type of oil may have mattered — they used extra-virgin olive oil, which is richer than regular or light olive oil in the chemicals and nutrients that earlier studies have suggested are beneficial.

Participants at high risk The study involved people ages 55 to 80, just over half of them women. All were free of heart disease at the start but were at high risk for it because of health problems — half had diabetes and most were overweight and had high cholesterol and blood pressure. They were assigned to one of three groups: Two followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil (4 tablespoons a day) or with walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds (a fistful a day). The third group was urged to eat a lowfat diet heavy on bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, fruits, vegetables and fish — and light on baked goods, nuts, oils and red meat. Independent monitors stopped the study after nearly five years when they saw fewer problems in the two groups on Mediterranean diets. Doctors tracked a composite of heart attacks, strokes or heart-related deaths. There were 96 of these in the Mediterranean-olive oil group, 83 in the Mediterranean-nut group

and 109 in the low-fat group. Looked at individually, stroke was the only problem where type of diet made a big difference. Diet had no effect on death rates overall. The Spanish government’s health research agency initiated and paid for the study, and foods were supplied by olive oil and nut producers in Spain and the California Walnut Commission. Many of the authors have extensive financial ties to food, wine and other industry groups but said the sponsors had no role in designing the study or analyzing and reporting its results.

American experts weigh in Rachel Johnson, a University of Vermont professor who heads the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, said the study is very strong because of the lab tests to verify oil and nut consumption and because researchers tracked actual heart attacks, strokes and deaths — not just changes in risk factors such as high cholesterol. “At the end of the day, what we care about is whether or not disease develops,” she said. “It’s an important study.” Rena Wing, a weight-loss expert at Brown University, noted that researchers provided the oil and nuts, and said “it’s not clear if people could get the same results from self-designed Mediterranean diets” — or if Americans would stick to them more than Europeans who are used to such foods.

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WIDOW/WIDOWER SUPPORT GROUPS

Haven of Northern Virginia is offering free six-week Widow/Widower Bereavement Support Groups beginning on Saturday, April 13 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and 4 to 5:30 p.m. To register, call (703) 941-7000, visit Haven’s Web site at www.havenofnova.org, or email havenofnova@verizon.net. The group will meet at 4606 Ravensworth Rd., Annandale, Va.

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A third independent expert also praised the study as evidence diet can lower heart risks. “The risk reduction is close to that achieved with statins” — widely used cholesterol drugs, said Dr. Robert Eckel, a diet and heart disease expert at the Uni-

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versity of Colorado. “But this study was not carried out or intended to compare diet to statins or blood pressure medicines,” he warned. “I don’t think people should think now they can quit taking their medicines.” — AP


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Answers on NSAIDs and bladder training By Dr. Howard Lewine and Dr. Celeste Robb-Nicholson Q: I’ve been taking a couple of over-

the-counter ibuprofen tablets two or three times per day to ease pain and inflammation in my knees. Could it be

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Apr. 21

LEARN ABOUT IBD The Greater Washington DC/Virginia Chapter of the Crohn’s and

Colitis Foundation will present a free half-day education program “YOU, ME and IBD: A Shared Vision For Healthy Living,” on Sunday, April 21 from 2 to 5 p.m. Topics include drug approaches, nutrition, alternative therapies and more. The event will be held at the Holy Cross Hospital Professional & Community Education Center, 1500 Forest Glen Rd., Silver Spring, Md. Register online at http://online.ccfa.org/site/Calendar/955544043.

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harmful to do this for an extended period of time, say a year? A: Ibuprofen is one of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It’s sold under brand names such as Advil and Motrin. It’s also widely available as less expensive generic versions. Other over-thecounter NSAIDs include aspirin and naproxen (Aleve, generic versions). As with most medicine, the higher the dose of an NSAID, the more likely you’ll have side effects. The typical over-the counter ibuprofen tablet contains 200 milligrams (mg.) of active ingredient. So you’re taking between 800 and 1,200 mg. each day. I know that seems like a lot, but it’s actually a fairly low dose. For some conditions, people take as much as 3,200 mg. daily. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs tend to irritate the stomach lining. So the most common side effect from the amount of ibuprofen you’re taking is an upset stomach. You may experience a burning pain in the upper part of your abdomen, mild nausea or a loss of appetite. To prevent these problems, try taking NSAIDs at mealtimes or with an antacid. NSAIDS can cause other side effects, but these are less common. For instance, NSAIDs may cause: 1. More serious abdominal problems, including ulcers and internal bleeding 2. Blood pressure to rise, or rarely, drop

to an unhealthy degree 3. Kidney damage 4. People with heart disease to develop heart failure, causing shortness of breath and leg swelling 5. A severe allergic reaction Another common painkiller, acetaminophen (Tylenol), is not classified as an NSAID. It doesn’t cause the bleeding problems associated with NSAIDs, but too much can build up and cause liver damage. All of this sounds pretty scary. Keep in mind, however, that these side effects are exceptions to the rule, especially at the dose you’re taking. Millions of people use NSAIDs for pain with satisfying results and without harm. Q. I have urinary incontinence and have heard bladder training might help. Could it stave off surgery? A. Bladder training can go a long way toward helping with urinary incontinence — an especially common condition in women. You can easily cope with intermittent incontinence by wearing a pad, but the condition can become severe enough to affect important activities like exercise, social events and travel. The good news is that many women with incontinence respond to nonsurgical treatments, and bladder See HARVARD DOCS, page 10


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9

Need surgery? Comparing costs is tough By Lindsey Tanner Want to know how much a hip replacement will cost? Many hospitals won’t be able to tell you, at least not right away — if at all. And if you shop around and find centers that can quote a price, the amounts could vary astronomically, a study found. Routine hip replacement surgery on a healthy patient without insurance may cost as little as $11,000 — or up to nearly $126,000. That’s what researchers found after calling hospitals in every state, 122 in all, asking what a healthy 62-year-old woman would have to pay to get an artificial hip. Hospitals were told the made-up patient was the caller’s grandmother, had no in-

surance but could afford to pay out of pocket — that’s why knowing the cost information ahead of time was so important. About 15 percent of hospitals did not provide any price estimate, even after a researcher called back as many as five times. The researchers were able to obtain a complete price estimate including physician fees from close to half the hospitals. But in most cases, that took contacting the hospital and doctor separately.

No easy answers “Our calls to hospitals were often greeted by uncertainty and confusion,” the researchers wrote. “We were frequently transferred between departments, asked

to leave messages that were rarely returned, and told that prices could not be estimated without an office visit.” Many hospitals “are just completely unprepared” for cost questions, said Jaime Rosenthal, a Washington University student who co-authored the report. Most hospitals aren’t intentionally hiding costs, they’re just not used to patients asking. That’s particularly true for patients with health insurance who “don’t bother to ask because they know insurance will cover it,” said co-author Dr. Peter Cram, a researcher at the University of Iowa’s medical school. But he said that’s likely to change as employers increasingly force workers to

share more healthcare costs by paying higher co-payments and deductibles, making patients more motivated to ask about costs. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. A California study published last year about surgery to remove an appendix found similar cost disparities. Commenting on the study, American Hospital Association spokeswoman Marie Watteau said hospitals “have a uniform set of charges. Sharing meaningful information, however, is challenging because hospital care is unique and based on each individual patient’s needs.” See COSTS OF SURGERY, page 11

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Apr. 14

PREPARING FOR END-OF-LIFE ISSUES The City of Fairfax Commission for Women is hosting a free panel

discussion on managing the legal, physical and spiritual issues faced when nearing the end of life. Moderating the event is Janice Lynch Schuster, author of the Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness. Following the discussion, visit with local providers of end-of-life guidance and services. The event takes place on Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m. at Fairfax City Hall, Annex Room 100, 10455 Armstrong Street, Fairfax. Call (703) 385-7894 or email cfw@fairfaxva.gov for more information.

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Harvard docs From page 8 control training is often successful. Bladder control training entails learning to urinate on a schedule (timed voiding) and doing pelvic muscle exercises (Kegels). Timed voiding means you urinate on a set schedule, not when your bladder urges you

to do so. You can definitely learn to do this yourself. First, start by keeping track of the times when you urinate or leak for a few days. From this voiding diary, calculate how long you typically wait between urinations, then choose an interval that’s 15 minutes longer than what you normally wait. On the first day of training, empty your

A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

bladder in the morning, and don’t urinate again until the interval you’ve set has passed. If that time arrives before you feel the urge, go anyway to stick to the schedule. If the urge comes early, do whatever you can to hold off urinating. Cross your legs, breathe slowly, or do Kegel exercises. Once you’re secure with your first interval and are not having leakage (this may take a few weeks), you can increase the interval by another 15 minutes. Continue repeating this process, increasing your intervals by 15 minutes each time. Over time, your feelings of urgency and episodes of incontinence may significantly diminish, and you’re likely to be able to delay the frequent trips to the bathroom that interrupted your normal activities. Q: I have sneezing fits whenever I step out into the sunlight. I can sneeze five times in a row. Am I allergic to the sun? A: What you have is called the photic sneeze reflex. It’s not an allergy. The

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sneezing is a response to sudden bright light. Sunlight exposure is the usual culprit. But a camera flash or any bright light can trigger the sneezing. No one knows the exact cause. It seems to be related to the change from darkness to light rather than the brightness of the light. One theory is that light hitting the retina in the back of the eyes triggers the optic nerves. The nerves send a signal that stimulates the vision centers in the brain. But the nervous system is interconnected. So a signal also gets sent to the brain’s “sneeze center.” It’s located near where the spinal cord enters the brain. Another theory suggests that photic sneezers have nervous systems that are especially sensitive to light. Intense light floods nerve circuits. So nerves in the nose are activated along with other nerves. This results in nasal congestion and that familiar tickling sensation that leads to a sneeze. The photic sneeze response is usually nothing more than a temporary nuisance. But if you’re driving, you may want to be extra careful coming out of a tunnel. Not only could you be momentarily blinded by the light, but you might close your eyes while sneezing. Howard LeWine, M.D., is a practicing internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and chief medical editor of Internet publishing at Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School. Celeste Robb-Nicholson, M.D., is editor in chief of Harvard Women’s Health Watch. © 2013 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Apr. 13

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DATING AND INTIMACY AFTER 50

Sibley Senior Association and the Widowed Persons Outreach will present an educational seminar for those age 50 and older on the changes that occur, in both body and mind, that affect physical intimacy as well as the challenges and joys of meeting new people and developing relationships. The program will take place Saturday, April 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will be presented by Dr. Susan Milstein, professor in the Dept. of Health Enhancement, Science and Physical Education at Montgomery College in Maryland. The cost is $20, including lunch and parking fees. To register, make check payable to Sibley Hospital and mail to Sibley Senior Association, Attn: Seminar, 5255 Loughboro Rd. NW, Washington, D.C. For questions call Marti Bailey at (202) 364-7602.


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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

Costs of surgery From page 9 She said states and local hospital associations are the best source for pricing data, and that many states already require or encourage hospitals to report pricing information and make that data available to the public.

Insurance and Medicare pay less U.S. insurance companies typically negotiate to pay less than the billing price. Insured patients’ health plans determine what they pay, while uninsured patients may end up paying the full amount. The study authors noted that Medicare and other large insurers frequently pay between $10,000 and $25,000 for hip replacement surgery. Sean Toohey, a grains broker at the Chicago Board of Trade, had hip replacement surgery last summer at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. An old sports injury had worn out his left hip, causing “horrendous” pain on the job, where he’s on his feet all day filling orders. Toohey, 54, said his health insurance covered most of the costs, and it didn’t occur to him to ask about price before-

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Apr. 15

FOODS THAT BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Oncology nutrition specialist Lynda McIntyre will talk about the foods that boost immunity and the dietary strategies useful in managing cancer symptoms at a program by Hope Connections for Cancer Support on Monday, April 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The program will be held at Beaumont House at FASEB, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Md. For information, contact (301) 493-5002 or info@hopeconnectionsforcancer.org.

Apr. 13

DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY Psychotherapist and

art therapist Rebecca Wilkinson will present a workshop called “Bouncing Back: How to Feel Happier and Increase Well-Being” on Saturday, April 13 from 10 to 11 a.m. The free event will be held at the Cleveland Park Public Library, 3310 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. For more information, contact Rebecca@CreativeWellbeingWorkshop s.com, call (202) 352-5225 or see www.creativewellbeingworkshops.com.

hand. He was back at work two weeks later and is pain free. That’s what matters most to him. “I never really looked or paid attention” to the cost, he said. He paid about $7,900, but wasn’t sure what the total bill amounted to. The average cost for hip replacement surgery at Loyola is about $42,000. The most expensive items on a typical hip replacement bill include about $11,000 for the hip implant, said Richard Kudia, Loyola’s vice president of patient financial services Kudia said some patients do ask in advance about costs of surgery and other medical procedures, and those questions require “a little bit of research” to come up with an average estimate. Costs vary from center to center because “there is no standard pricing among hospitals across the country. Each hospital develops its own pricing depending on its market,” he said.

An editorial accompanying the hip replacement study said “there is no justification” for the huge cost variation the researchers found. A few online sites provide price comparisons for common medical procedures, but the editorial said that kind of information “is of almost no value” without information on hospital quality.

11

A proposed federal measure that would have required states to force hospitals to make their charges public failed to advance in Congress last year but could be revived this year, the editorial said. “It is time we stopped forcing people to buy healthcare services blindfolded,” wrote the editors. — AP

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Health Shorts Avoid steroid shots for tennis elbow Commonly used corticosteroid shots may worsen tennis elbow in the long run and increase chances that the painful condition will reappear, a small study found. So-called tennis elbow is caused by

repetitive activity or overuse of the arm, which can cause small tears in tendons that attach to the elbow bone. Rest, applying ice, and over-the-counter pain medicine can help relieve symptoms. Researchers at the University of Queensland enrolled 165 adults aged 18 and older suffering from tennis elbow. They were divided into four treatment groups: a single steroid injection; a shot of a dummy liquid; a steroid shot plus about eight weekly half-hour sessions of physical therapy; or a dummy injection plus physical therapy,

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After four weeks, steroid patients fared best, but after one year, those who didn’t get a steroid shot did better: All the patients who had physical therapy without steroids and 93 percent who got just dummy injections reported complete recovery or much improvement, versus about 83 percent of those who had steroids with or without physical therapy. A recurrence of tennis elbow was reported by about half of the patients in both steroid groups, compared with just 5 percent of the physical therapy patients and 20 percent in the placebo group. While the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, echoes previous findings, injections of cortisone or similar steroids are still widely recommended by doctors to treat tennis elbow and similar conditions, probably because they can provide short-term pain relief. One reason steroid injections aren’t always the best choice is that they reduce the pain without fixing the underlying problem, so patients are more likely to resume activity too soon, said Dr. Michael Perry, a sports medicine specialist at Northwestern Me-

Prosthetic retina restores some vision Patients who have lost their sight due to retinitis pigmentosa, a rare inherited disorder, may be able to regain some vision using a new device implanted in their retinas. In February, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System as the first treatment for the disorder that causes the breakdown of cells in the retina. The technology will initially be available only to a small number of patients, but could eventually be used to treat vision disorders that affect millions of people, including macular degeneration. The device was approved in Europe in late 2011. The system includes a small video camera and transmitter mounted on a pair of glasses. Images from the camera are processed into electronic data that is wireSee HEALTH SHORTS, page 13

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EXERCISE FOR OLDER ADULTS Dr. Loretta DiPietro, Chair of the Department of Exercise Science

at George Washington University, will explain current findings in the clinical and psychological benefits of exercise for seniors. She will also demonstrate specific exercises. The program, a Dupont Circle Village Live and Learn seminar, will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Monday, April 22 in the St. Matthew’s Cathedral North Conference Room. The room is at the back of the driveway to St. Matthew’s Center Parking between the Cathedral and the Rectory, 1725 Rhode Island Avenue NW. For reservations, contact Linda Harsh at (202) 234-2567, or lindajkh@mac.com. The talk is free for village members and $10 for others.

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From page 12

FDA approves targeted breast cancer drug The FDA has approved a first-of-a-kind breast cancer medication that targets tumor cells while sparing healthy ones. The drug Kadcyla, from Roche’s Genentech unit, combines the established drug Herceptin with a powerful chemotherapy drug and a third chemical linking the medi-

have great potential in other patients as well. Kadcyla will carry a boxed warning, the most severe type, alerting doctors and patients that the drug can cause liver toxicity,

heart problems and potentially death. The drug can also cause severe birth defects and should not be used by pregnant women. — AP

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lessly transmitted to electrodes implanted into the patient’s retina. The FDA approved the device from Second Sight Medical Products for patients who have advanced retinitis pigmentosa. The inventor, Dr. Robert Greenberg, first proposed the technology as a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University’s medical school about 20 years ago. He founded Second Sight to develop the technology in 1998. Results from a study of 30 patients with the condition showed that most were able to perform daily activities better with the implant than without it. Activities included navigating sidewalks and curbs, matching different color socks, and recognizing large words or sentences.

cines together. The chemical keeps the cocktail intact until it binds to a cancer cell, delivering a potent dose of anti-tumor poison. Cancer researchers say the drug is an important step forward because it delivers more medication while reducing the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy. “This antibody goes seeking out the tumor cells, gets internalized, and then explodes them from within. So it’s very kind and gentle on the patients — there’s no hair loss, no nausea, no vomiting,” said Dr. Melody Cobleigh of Rush University Medical Center, who helped conduct key studies of the drug. “It’s a revolutionary way of treating cancer.” The FDA approved the new treatment for about 20 percent of breast cancer patients with a form of the disease that is typically more aggressive and less responsive to hormone therapy. These patients have tumors that overproduce a protein known as HER-2. Patients taking Kadcyla lived about 2.6 years, compared with 2 years for patients taking the other drugs. Roche estimates a full course of Kadcyla, about nine months of medicine, will cost $94,000. FDA specifically approved the drug for patients with advanced breast cancer who have already been treated with Herceptin and taxane, a widely used chemotherapy drug. However, doctors are not required to follow FDA prescribing guidelines, and cancer researchers say the drug could

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Implants help relieve chronic nerve pain By Dr. Halena M. Gazelka Dear Mayo Clinic: Eighteen months ago, I had surgery on my back to relieve the nerve pain that radiates down my leg. It didn’t help as much as I’d hoped, and my doctor said additional surger y isn’t likely to help. I have tried pain meds, steroid injections, chiropractic and physical therapy, but I’m still in a lot of pain. What exactly are implanted pain relief devices, and would I be a candidate for one? If so, how effective are they? The pain you’re describing is called radiculopathy, and it is a type of nerve pain. There are several devices for pain relief from varied types of chronic nerve pain.

Some rely on stimulating nerves with a mild electrical current. Other implanted devices deliver pain-relieving medication directly into the spinal canal. These devices are typically implanted by physicians specializing in pain management. Both types are usually considered only after more conservative options have failed, and they seldom provide complete pain relief. However, when they are effective they can change debilitating pain into tolerable, manageable pain that allows you to function and regain your life.

Blocking pain signals Nerve stimulation devices work by blocking pain signals as they travel from the nerves to the spinal cord. In doing so,

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they send electrical impulses from the spinal cord out along affected nerves. These electrical impulses may produce a pleasant “tingling” sensation that can be directed to the area where you feel pain. The two main forms include: 1. Spinal cord stimulators. With these, a wire electrode is implanted in the epidural space within the spinal canal. It provides electrical stimulation on an area of the spinal column called the dorsal columns, which is where sensory nerves from the spinal cord are located. Spinal cord stimulators are FDA approved for conditions that involve pain generated from damaged or dysfunctional nerves of the trunk, legs or arms. This includes problems such as radiculopathy, pain that persists after spine surgery, peripheral neuropathy, post herpetic neuralgia, and a condition called complex regional pain syndrome, which usually results in leg or arm pain. 2. Peripheral ner ve stimulators. Placed along nerves that branch off from the spinal cord, these may be used for pain arising from numerous peripheral nerve problems, including remaining leg pain after back surgery, post-herpetic neuralgia, and some types of headaches. Peripheral nerve stimulators are more targeted to a specific nerve or group of nerves than are spinal cord stimulators. Occasionally, spinal cord and peripheral nerve stimulators are used in combination to achieve better pain relief. Determining if one or both nerve stimulation devices are right for you depends on many factors, including the cause of your pain, its location, your overall health, and your ability to care for an implanted device. If your doctor thinks you may be a candidate, you’ll likely undergo a stimulation test with a temporarily placed electrode to find

out how well you respond to the therapy. If the device has a beneficial effect, the wire electrode and the electrical generator (or battery pack) can be fully implanted under the skin during a separate surgical procedure.

Medication pumps Technically called intrathecal drug delivery systems, these deliver pain medication directly into the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord. They’re most often used to relieve pain from cancer or to relieve chronic back pain that’s unresponsive to more conservative therapies. They also may be used as a “last resort” option for certain types of severe chronic pain. They may be considered if a nerve stimulator fails to provide relief, or rarely, in conjunction with a nerve stimulator. Medication pumps consist of a small flexible catheter that’s placed in the spinal fluid. The catheter is connected to a drug infusion pump that’s implanted into your lower abdominal wall. The pump is programmed to dispense the drug it contains — often opioid pain medications (such as morphine) or other medications to treat nerve pain — at a set rate, and can be refilled with an injection through your skin into a sealed port on the device. A key limitation of medication pumps is the eventual development of tolerance to the drugs. Dosages of pain medication can be increased as tolerance rises, but there are limits. That’s why this therapy is generally used for people with limited life expectancy or those in extreme circumstances. One main advantage of this type of device is that the medication is delivered directly to the site of action (spinal cord), and the effective dose can be reduced by See NERVE PAIN, page 15

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Five mental disorders share genetic links By Lauran Neergaard The largest genetic study of mental illnesses to date finds five major disorders may not look much alike, but they share some gene-based risks. The surprising discovery comes in the quest to unravel what causes psychiatric disorders and how to better diagnose and treat them. The disorders — autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia — are considered distinct problems. But recent findings suggest they’re related in some way. “These disorders that we thought of as quite different may not have such sharp

boundaries,” said Dr. Jordan Smoller of Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the lead researchers for the international study appearing in The Lancet.

Nerve pain

least 50 percent. The main objective is to reduce pain to a manageable level, allowing improved function and quality of life. — Halena M. Gazelka, M.D., Pain Medicine-Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic is an educational resource and doesn’t replace regular medical care. To submit a question, write to: medicaledge@mayo.edu. For health information, visit www.mayoclinic.com. © 2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

From page 14 100 fold from the equivalent dose by mouth. This greatly reduces the risk of side effects from the medications. Surgery to implant any pain device carries some risk of complications, such as infection, bleeding or even the potential for spinal cord or nerve damage. Fortunately, the risks are quite low. Nerve stimulators and medication pumps can work exceedingly well in the right situations. When effective, a reasonable goal with these devices is to reduce pain by at

or other mental illnesses. Instead, doctors rely on symptoms agreed upon by experts. Learning the genetic underpinnings of mental illnesses is part of one day knowing

if someone’s symptoms really are schizophrenia and not something a bit different. See MENTAL DISORDERS, page 16

Looking for biological causes That has implications for learning how to diagnose mental illnesses with the same precision as physical illnesses are diagnosed, said Dr. Bruce Cuthbert of the National Institute on Mental Health, which funded the research. Consider: Just because someone has chest pain doesn’t mean it’s a heart attack. Doctors utilize a variety of tests to find out. But there’s no blood test for schizophrenia

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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Mental disorders From page 15 “If we really want to diagnose and treat people effectively, we have to get to these more fine-grained understandings of what’s actually going wrong biologically,” Cuthbert explained. Added Mass General’s Smoller: “We are still in the early stages of understanding what are the causes of mental illnesses, so these are clues.”

Focusing on the role of calcium The Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, a collaboration of researchers in 19 countries, analyzed the genomes of more than 61,000 people, some with one of the five disorders and some without. They found four regions of the genetic code where variation was linked to all five disorders. Of particular interest are disruptions in two specific genes that regulate the flow of calcium in brain cells, key to how neurons signal each other. That suggests that this change in a basic brain function could be one early

pathway that leaves someone vulnerable to developing these disorders, depending on what else goes wrong. For patients and their families, the research offers no immediate benefit. These disorders are thought to be caused by a complex mix of numerous genes and other risk factors that range from exposures in the womb to the experiences of daily life. “There may be many paths to each of these illnesses,” Smoller cautioned. But the study offers a lead in the hunt for psychiatric treatments, said NIMH’s Cuthbert. Drugs that affect calcium channels in other parts of the body are used for such conditions as high blood pressure, and scientists could explore whether they’d be useful for psychiatric disorders as well. The findings make sense, as there is some overlap in the symptoms of the different disorders, he said. People with schizophrenia can have some of the same social withdrawal that’s so characteristic of autism, for example. Nor is it uncommon for people to be affected by more than one psychiatric disorder. — AP

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

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Spices have tasty array of health benefits By Hara Estroff Marano Hot! hot! hot! That’s the word on spice. Not just in the culinary world but in the scientific community, as well. Flavor is the least of it, although that’s certainly reason enough. Take cayenne pepper, that red chili loaded with capsaicin, which makes your mouth burn if you get enough of it. Well, it burns your body fat, too. In easily tolerable amounts — one gram added to tomato soup — it both increases energy expenditure and feelings of satiety. “That’s a modest culinary dose,” said Guy Johnson, a nutritional scientist who is executive director of the McCormick Science Institute. But it offers a subversive approach to one of the most intractable problems of modern life: Subjects who ate the pepper-spiked soup were able to curb their consumption of mac ‘n’ cheese served several hours later. Spices typically stimulate all our senses, kick-starting digestion and metabolism as well. Not long ago, many were sought-after aphrodisiacs, believed to open pathways to passion. But spices do much more for our food and for us. More than most ingredients, spices bring us a taste of the whole world. Civilizations have risen and fallen on the search for and trade in spices, for both medicinal and culinary uses. Black pepper, cumin seed and nutmeg, which originated in the tropics of Southeast Asia and still are scented with the mystery of the East, have even served as currency itself. So special were spices that both words — “special” and “spice” — share a common etymological root. With the expansion and routinization of trade, these once-exotic tidbits have become so commonplace that where they

formerly inspired global exploration, spices now often serve as a culinary afterthought, retrieved from the back of a cabinet where they’ve been sitting for years. But spices are enjoying a very piquant life in science. They’re the objects of significant research for an array of health benefits, from fighting cancer, to protecting nervous system function, to maintaining metabolic integrity. The use of turmeric, for example, substantially cuts blood levels of fats after a rich meal, and it lowers insulin levels, as well. Consumption of cinnamon, a host of studies show, aids the management of healthy blood glucose levels.

Can sage make you a sage? Much of the very newest research shows that spices have powerful effects on the brain, both in promoting cognitive function and preventing its decline. For example, even in low doses — and consuming small amounts over long periods of time is the way most people consume herbs and spices — the herb sage improves memory and attention in healthy older adults, including times of the day when mental performance is known to decline. Rosemary has been shown to increase the speed of working memory, a predictor of cognitive function in the aging process. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has a measurable effect on mood; it induces neural growth factors in the brain, mimicking the action of the antidepressant Prozac. A vaguely Indian spice blend containing turmeric and cloves, as well as rosemary, oregano and thyme, has been shown to boost cardiovascular health by improving the function of the cells lining arteries — and anything that boosts blood flow abets brain performance in general.

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The same spice blend added to hamburgers headed for the grill substantially protects the fat content from oxidation, reducing production of carcinogens. Turmeric, a common component of Indian curries, protects neurons from Parkinson’s disease. A variety of recent studies show that it engages several mechanisms to maintain cognitive integrity, protect against oxidative stress, and reduce cognitive impairment. Curcumin also ameliorates neuropathology; it improves many of the abnor-

malities seen in Huntington’s disease. Saffron, a spice not commonly used in American cuisine, inhibits the accumulation of toxic beta-amyloid in the brains of human subjects and helps fight moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Even the scent of spices has notable brain effects. The smell of both peppermint and cinnamon enhances alertness and minimizes fatigue. Both increase general physiologic See HEALTHY SPICES, page 19


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Health Studies Page

A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

THE PLACE TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON AREA CLINICAL TRIALS

Finding better treatments for influenza By Barbara Ruben Flu season may be winding down, but if you’re still coughing, hacking and exhausted, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would like you to help test flu medications that may help get you back on your feet more quickly. Three clinical trials that seek to find more

effective treatments for influenza are enrolling volunteers with flu at the NIH’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., and at several dozen other domestic and international sites. One study examines whether treatment with a licensed influenza drug, oseltamivir, reduces the time that infected people continue to produce virus in the upper airway.

A second study tests whether a combination of three licensed flu antiviral drugs works better than oseltamivir alone in people with influenza who have chronic health conditions or who are older adults, which puts them at greater risk of severe illness. The third tests whether treatment with plasma enriched with anti-influenza antibodies improves the condition of hospitalized influenza patients compared to standard antiviral treatment alone. “This year’s flu season came earlier than usual and has been particularly hard on the elderly,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, part of the NIH. “Despite our best efforts to prevent influenza through vaccination, people still get sick every year with the flu. At best, influenza infection is a miserable experience. At worst, it can be a deadly one. “We need better ways to treat people with influenza, which kills thousands of people in the United States each year, and clinical research supported by NIAID helps to address that need,” Fauci said.

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Although oseltamivir has been approved for use in the United States since 1999, no studies have shown conclusively whether the drug significantly reduces the amount of virus produced (shed) by an infected person. Reduced shedding would

likely lessen the chances of an infected person passing the virus to others. Enrollees in the oseltamivir trial must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and have confirmed influenza virus infection — but not be hospitalized or suffering from any other health conditions that would put them at risk of developing influenza complications. Patients will be randomly divided into two groups. One group will take oseltamivir twice a day for five days. The other group will take a placebo (a similarlooking pill without active ingredients). Patients will be seen at the clinical center for laboratory assessments and exams on days 1,3,7 and 28 of the study.

A study for those 65+ and others Those enrolling in the trial comparing oral oseltamivir alone to treatment with oseltamivir plus two other licensed antiviral drugs must have at least one other characteristic that places them at higher risk of developing serious complications. These additional characteristics include being over age 65, having asthma or other lung disorders, heart disease, being obese or having a weakened immune system. For this trial, participants must be at least age 18; there is no upper age limit. They will be randomly divided into three groups. All will get varying combinations See INFLUENZA, page 19

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

Healthy spices From page 17 arousal, fostering attention, motivation and the ability to maintain workloads. While not as effective as eating sage, merely smelling that herb boosts memory and mood. Spices and herbs get their distinctive flavor — and their health punch — from the unique array of minerals, antioxidants and other bioactive compounds concentrated in them. In most, the active ingredients are highly intense and volatile because they originate as chemical defenses in plants, designed by nature to ward off attack by animal predators or microbes, or destruction by the elements. “Cinnamon,” said Jack Turner, author of Spice: The History of Temptation and an independent scholar, “is a natural form of armor. The seductive aroma of the nutmeg is, to certain insects, a bundle of toxins. “The elemental irony of their history is that the attractiveness of spices is (from the plant’s perspective) a form of Darwinian backfiring. What makes a spice so appealing to humans is, to other members of the animal kingdom, repulsive.”

What’s a spice vs. an herb? Spices differ from herbs in that herbs come from the leaves of plants, most of which grow in temperate zones, while spices are derived from the buds (cloves), bark (cinnamon), seeds (fennel), roots (ginger, turmeric), and other parts of plants native to the tropics.

Influenza From page 18 of active flu medication. They will make four visits to the clinical center for tests.

For hospitalized patients The third trial is enrolling children as well as adults (including pregnant women) who are hospitalized with severe influenza. All participants will receive standard drug treatment for influenza, and half will also receive two infusions of plasma enriched with antibodies against the virus. Antibodies are infection-fighting proteins produced by the immune system. The antibodies used in the trial are derived from blood donated by volunteers who were recently vaccinated against flu or are recovered from a recent bout of flu. “Anecdotal evidence suggests that the addition of plasma with high levels of antibody against the virus may confer additional benefit over drug treatment alone,” said Dr. Richard Davey, deputy clinical director. “This trial will be one of the first to examine that possibility in a scientifically rigorous fashion. The outcome of this trial may provide valuable data on how best to treat patients hospitalized with severe influenza,” Davey said. For more information about the plasma trial, contact Dr. John Beigel at (301) 4519881 or jbeigel@niaid.nih.gov. To volunteer for one of the two oseltamivir studies, contact Jocelyn Voell at (301) 435-7913 or jvoell@niaid.nih.gov.

Both release their flavor components most fully when heated and retain full power if added toward the end of the cooking process. In Indian cooking, however, spices may be cooked first, in oil, and mellowed together. They are often added in a strict sequence that has been worked out over centuries and has a very sophisticated chemical logic, in which one volatile element enhances the release of another. “There’s no nutritional downside to using herbs and spices,” Johnson noted. “They have no calories. They have no fats. They make food more satisfying. They help modulate food intake. And they have components with substantial biological effects.” Few home cooks treat spices with the respect they deserve. To get the most out of spices, it’s best to buy them whole, store them whole, and grind as needed. Whole spices have a “flavor life” of a year, at most. Ground spices, which oxidize rapidly due to their vastly increased surface area, should be replenished every six

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

months. Spices are best processed by grinding by hand with a mortar and pestle. For flavor with a brain boost, use them liberally instead of salt.

19

— Psychology Today Magazine © 2013 Sussex Publishers. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Bet you this tip can help you lose weight By Joseph Pisani Kimberly Calliari paid $300, lost 51 pounds and won $1,200. That all happened after she signed up for two challenges on HealthyWage.com, a website that lets dieters bet their own money that they’ll meet a weight loss goal. HealthyWage is one of several wagering websites that have launched in the past few years, including DietBet.com and Stickk.com. GymPact, a smartphone app, pushes people to go to the gym — or get charged for it. All of the sites work differently, but have the same premise: get healthy or risk losing your cash. “If I didn’t have anything on the line, I don’t think I would have [lost the weight],”

said Calliari, a 29-year-old merchandise buyer for grocery stores in Milwaukee. The services make money by taking a percentage of the total collected from those who don’t meet their goals. To make sure no one fakes a weight loss, the sites ask users to photograph themselves on a scale or film a video and submit it to the site for verification. Calliari first heard about HealthyWage after the company she worked for used the website as a way to motivate employees to lose weight. In February 2012, she started two challenges. One was to lose 10 percent of her body weight in six months. She wagered $100. She lost the weight and won $200. The second was a year-long challenge to drop her body mass index from obese to healthy. She wagered $300. Her weight

dropped from 204 pounds to 153 pounds and her body mass index, a number determined using weight and height, fell to 24 from 33.8. She’ll soon receive a check for $1,000. The thought of losing a large amount of money kept Calliari on track. “If I’m going to spend money on a purse, why can’t I put in $300 for my own health?” Calliari asked. If you think money will motivate you to drop the pounds, check out these four weight loss and exercise wagering programs:

Dietbet.com DietBet users can go on its website and join a public group, or create their own private game among family members or friends. The amount of money needed to wager is set by the person who starts the game. There are many public games that charge as little as $25. The goal is to lose 4 percent of your body weight in four weeks. Those that do, share the total amount of money the group collected. Jamie Rosen, the CEO of DietBet.com, said that about a third of the dieters who bet money actually win money. But he said about 93 percent of people who join a game lose weight, even if they don’t win cash. DietBet.com takes as much as 15 percent of the total amount collected before distributing the balance to winners. Rosen said the average person who wagers $25 can expect to win about $50 to $75 if they shed 4 percent of their body weight.

GymPact This smartphone app wants to make sure you’re hitting the gym. You have to make a pact on which days of the week you plan to go to the gym. You have to wager at least $5 that will be charged if you don’t make it there on those days. Every time you go to the gym, you have

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This website enables you to select from three different challenges. Bet $150 that you’ll lose 10 percent of your body weight in six months, and you could win $300 if you drop the pounds. (The 10 percent challenge cost $100 with a $200 prize when Calliari started the challenge last year, but it was bumped up to $150 with a $300 prize in January after customers asked for a bigger prize.) If you have a body mass index above 30, which is considered obese by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can join the 12-month challenge to lower your body mass index below 25, which is considered healthy. There’s a free program that awards $100 to anyone who completes the BMI Challenge, or you can wager $150 to win $400, or $300 to win $1,000. The third challenge is called The Matchup, where users are put in a team of five. It costs $25 a month for three months, and the team that loses the highest percentSee LOSE WEIGHT, page 23

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

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Try linden herb tea, with doctor’s blessing Dear Pharmacist: antihypertensive herbs. At one of your lectures, I heard you Linden is also capable of soothing the say you drink linden tea at night, but upper respiratory tract, great if you have a you never said why. What cold or flu. It promotes sweatis it and why is it someing, so this as a great natural thing you like? way to break a fever and re— L.P. lease toxins from your body. It Dear L.P.: also has natural antiseptic Linden herb is chock-full of properties so it could ward off antioxidants and ingredients infections. that impact your cardiovascuHaving both expectorant and lar, digestive and respiratory anti-inflammatory properties, tract. Linden herb is awelinden can help thin mucus, and some, and because it has so this could be very soothing for DEAR many health benefits, I incorsome people, especially those PHARMACIST porate it into many homewith bronchitis, emphysema, By Suzy Cohen made herbal teas. chronic obstructive pulmonary You may not have been disease (COPD) or asthma. heard of it before, but this centuries-old In addition, linden supports liver health herb has been historically used as a non- and enhances bile secretion. These actions narcotic treatment to help with mild in- help you eliminate toxins better. somnia and anxiety. Linden is not that popular (yet), so if you One of the active ingredients in linden is want it, there are only a few options: Dried an essential oil called farnesol, which herb is sold online and at some health food helps relax the cardiovascular system. stores. Just make tea like I do (one tableThis may have a positive impact on ar- spoon herb per cup of water). For a rhythmias while also curbing stress. Most stronger effect, buy a pure extract made by people report feeling relaxed and even Herb Pharm or capsules made by Nature’s drowsy. Linden can also help with indiges- Way. tion as well as nausea and vomiting. Linden is a gorgeous tree. But if you This is interesting. Linden mildly re- have one, be careful harvesting from it beduces blood pressure because the farnesol cause of possible skin reaction. it contains acts like a natural calcium chanAlso, too much linden can adversely afnel blocker (drugs that are in this catego- fect the heart. Because it has widespread ry include amlodipine, nifedipine and dilti- effects on the body, head to toe, it could inazem among others). teract with medications, especially lithium Linden also is a mild diuretic and gently and diuretics. dilates blood vessels allowing blood to flow It’s important to ask your doctor if new more freely. Sweet, if you have high blood herbs, even great ones like linden, are appressure! That said, don’t give up your propriate for you. medication. I don’t think it’s as strong as This information is opinion only. It is not medicine unless you combine it with other intended to treat, cure or diagnose your con-

Lose weight From page 22 age of their total weight wins $10,000. But about 150 teams are playing at a time, so the chances of winning any money are slimmer.

Stickk.com On this website, there’s no money to win. Instead, users set an amount of money their credit or debit cards will be charged if they don’t reach their goal of losing a certain amount of weight in a week.

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As a motivator, the money can be sent to a charity or friend who you wouldn’t want to give the chance to hold your lack of commitment over you. You might even try what Stickk calls an anti-charity. You can pledge that the money will go to an organization whose mission you don’t support. Stickk collects 29.5 percent of money sent to an anti-charity and 19.5 percent of money sent to a charity. Stickk also lets users use the site without wagering any money, and can set other goals besides losing weight, such as quitting smoking. — AP

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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Why do so many avoid gluten and lactose? Q: So many people follow a glutenfree or lactose-free diet today. Do they play a role in reducing cancer risk? A: For people who have celiac disease, closely following a gluten-free diet is vital. Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye and barley that poses no risk to most people, but for people with this condition, it damages the intestines, and that could increase risk of cancer. People with celiac disease can eat a wellbalanced diet, replacing these three grains that are harmful to them with potatoes, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, beans, and starch or flour made from them. However, for people without conditions that make them sensitive to gluten, re-

search shows no cancer protection from avoiding it. In fact, whole-grain foods containing gluten can be good sources of fiber and antioxidant phytochemicals that may be cancer-protective. For people who can’t digest lactose, a milk sugar, the problem is the uncomfortable cramping and diarrhea that result from consuming it. Although a few studies have linked high consumption of lactose with greater risk of ovarian cancer, the overall evidence is not conclusive, and some animal research shows possible protective effects of lactose in the colon. High consumption of dairy products is linked with increased risk of prostate can-

cer, especially advanced or fatal forms. But single teaspoon of sugar only saves 16 this may relate to excess consumption or calories. But in foods or drinks in which it calcium or some other comporeplaces larger amounts of nent of milk, not lactose itself. sugar, stevia and other zeroOverall, research shows no calorie sweeteners can make reduction in cancer risk by a significant calorie differavoiding foods with lactose ence over time. (dairy products) if you are not Of course, when added to lactose-intolerant. In fact, desserts or to soft drinks to AICR’s expert report and its replace some sugar, those updates link consumption of foods still contain calories dairy products with lower risk from the other ingredients. of colon cancer. “Reduced-calorie” foods are Q: Do stevia sweeteners NUTRITION not “zero-calorie.” offer any special advantage WISE Stevia sweeteners are one because they are natural? of many options for adding By Karen Collins, A: Keep in mind that “natur- MS, RD, CDM sweetness without calories. al” on food labels has no legal Yet even though some refer to definition; in fact, stevia sweetstevia as “natural,” adding it eners are highly purified compounds tech- (or any other zero-calorie sweetener) to a nically called steviol glycosides, produced food or drink with no nutritional value does as extracts of the stevia plant. Research not suddenly turn it into “health food.” does not identify these products as any The American Institute for Cancer Remore beneficial to health than other zero- search offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800calorie sweeteners. 843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday Stevia sweeteners are available under through Friday. This free service allows you several different brand names and are 200 to ask questions about diet, nutrition and to 300 times sweeter than sugar. So in the cancer. A registered dietitian will return small amounts needed to sweeten foods, your call, usually within three business days. they are essentially calorie-free. Like other Courtesy of the American Institute for calorie-free sweeteners, stevia sweeteners Cancer Research. Questions for this column do not raise blood sugars and are safe for may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., people with diabetes. NW, Washington, DC 20009. Collins cannot Substituting sweeteners like this for a respond to questions personally.

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

BECOME A VOLUNTEER GUARDIAN

Are you interested in helping those who cannot help themselves? Do you have a passion to serve older adults and persons with disabilities? If you can commit to a long-term partnership, then becoming a courtappointed volunteer guardian may be for you. Contact Randy Feliciano of the Arlington County Dept. of Human Services at (703) 228-1734.


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

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A meal in a bowl with a touch of Mexico This wonderful, colorful mixture of beans and rice will be a favorite no matter where you are. The brown rice is laced with bell peppers, corn, tomatoes and black beans. These add to the nutritional quality and keep the rice moist and flavorful. In fact, the black beans actually make this dish a vegetarian meal. Rice has fed more people over a longer period of time than any crop in history. Using brown rice ensures that you get all the nutritional benefits of this ancient food. Unlike white rice, brown rice retains its outer layer of bran and its germ. This results in more fiber and nutritional value. Brown rice also has a mild nutty flavor, as opposed to the bland flavor of white rice. The bell peppers, beans, corn and tomatoes add texture and color. A bit of cumin provides a hint of Mexican flavor. The aromatic turmeric comes from a plant that is a member of the ginger family and adds an appealing subtle yellow coloring along with its flavor. You can customize this dish by adding either mild or hot chiles to obtain the amount of zesty heat you like. Round out this vegetarian entrée by adding your favorite green salad and fresh fruit for dessert. This recipe also can be used as a side dish and makes great left-

overs. Simply refrigerate in a tightly covered container and reheat within the next day or two to enjoy it again.

South of the Border Beans and Rice 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 16 oz. reduced-sodium vegetable broth 1 cup uncooked brown rice ½ tsp. cumin 1/8 tsp. turmeric 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed (or use no-salt-added beans) 12 oz. corn kernels, no-salt-added canned, or frozen, thawed 1 can (4 oz.) mild (or hot) green chiles, diced 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste In medium pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add peppers, onion and garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes. Stir in broth, rice, cumin and turmeric. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and sim-

mer for 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender (do not stir during this time). Then gently stir in beans, corn, chiles and tomatoes. Heat through and let stand 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 220 calories, 3 g. total fat (0 g. saturated fat), 42 g. carbohydrate, 7 g. protein, 6 g. dietary fiber, 70 mg. sodium. — The American Institute for Cancer Research

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

OFFER TELEPHONE ASSISTANCE

The Jewish Council for the Aging’s Senior HelpLine offers callers referrals for a full range of elder care needs with the help of volunteers, who help answer the phone, make sure that the information about service providers is accurate, and keep track of our callers and their needs. For more information on becoming a volunteer, call Ellen Greenberg at (301) 255-4215 or email her at egreenberg@AccessJCA.org.

When faced with the loss of a loved one, many people are uncertain as to the best way to bury. What more natural and reverential means of uniting those we love with our environment than the time-honored ceremony of burial at sea? This makes one a part of nature, a part of the seas that surround us.

Captain Tom V. Hallock, Sr. Licensed Sea Captain

410-276-2145 www.lifebeyondseaburial.com

BEACON BITS BE A GENOME EXHIBIT GUIDE

Apr. 16+

In June, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute, will open the exhibit, “genoME: unlock life’s code,” focusing on the human genome and looking at who humans are in the context of the natural world. Volunteers are needed to serve as exhibit guides and lead visitors in hands-on activities. There will be six evening training sessions, beginning Tuesday, April 16 and one Saturday training session. Teaching and communications experience is helpful. For more information, email NMNHVolunteer@si.edu

Dentistry to Enhance Your Smile Stephen J. Friedman, DDS, PA www.go-smiles.net We offer all general dental services to help you look, feel and function your best. Some of our many services include:

• Zoom! Teeth whitening • Conscious sedation • Invisalign teeth straightening

RECEIVE $100 OFF ANY FULL FEE SERVICE* After your initial exam, x-ray and cleaning. ONE COUPON PER HOUSEHOLD *excludes insurance discounted services

Call (301) 681-8200 today Se Habla Español On Parle Français

to schedule your appointment Free parking. Located in Kemp Mill Shopping Center.

Small, friendly group sessions Certified instructors Daytime Blue Hour Rates


24

Fitness & Health | Say you saw it in the Beacon

A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Always saving for a rainy day brews storm Dear Solutions: Dear Tillie: All our life, my husband Bill has inTell him if he takes that vacation, he’ll fisisted on “saving for a nally know when that rainy rainy day.” As a result, we day will come. It will come as have kept putting off lots of soon as you get settled on vacations I wanted to take. that sunny beach — guaranHe’s just retired, and I teed! want to take a long vacation Seriously, you can keep on some of those beautiful exsaving forever, but no umbrelotic sunny islands I’ve always la is big enough to protect read about. He says now, esagainst every raindrop. pecially as we get older, we There will always be a cerhave to be practical and think tain amount of risk. That’s SOLUTIONS about rainy days ahead. life. You can’t keep putting off We’re not rich, but we’re By Helen Oxenberg, living waiting for the “catanot paupers, either. We just MSW, ACSW strophe” to happen. You must keep arguing. How can I achieve some practical balchange his attitude? What can I say to ance. him when he worries that we’ll never The trouble with Bill is that he’s making know when that rainy day may come? every day into a rainy day. Tell him he’d — Tillie better let some sunshine in — some pleas-

ure before that rainy day turns into a stormy marriage! Dear Solutions: I live in a community with many retired seniors. A local newspaper put out a call for a senior to write a column. It was a competition. Two of the people who live here thought it would be fun and applied for it. I also applied. They are not writers or journalists and just thought this would be fun. I am a retired professional in a field that relates to the subject the newspaper wanted, and I am also a freelance writer. My column was chosen. Now one of the women tells people that I “stole” their idea and she’s very hostile to me and berates me every time I happen to cross her path. This is very upsetting to me since I had no idea what their

Your New Lifestyle Begins Here

Designed and managed for today’s seniors at these locations: AN ARUNDEL COUNTY ANNE ! ""#$%&'(!)$&%'*!410-761-4150 ! ++(,($%&!-&$.!410-544-3411 )/0123456!7218 )/ ! /9*:&%;!1($$&'(!410-276-6440 ! 7<:;9=$>%?!410-542-4400 )/0123456!74@A18 ! 7&B<%9,>::(!410-719-9464 ! C#%;&:.!410-288-5483 *New D! "#::($B<%!410-663-0665 Renovatlyed! ! 3>$&E&$!0&%;>%?!410-391-8375 ! 5&%;&::9B<F%!410-655-5673 ewly * Rosedale 410-866-1886 Re*N novated! ! 1&G:<$!410-663-0363 ! 1<F9<%!410-828-7185 ! H<<;:&F%!410-281-1120

6/+165A!+I456 ! 6&9B<%!410-770-3070 I/5"45C!74@A18 ! )(:!/>$!410-893-0064 ! )<J!I>::!410-515-6115 I4H/5C!74@A18 ! 7<:<%>&:!0&%;>%?!410-796-4399 ! 7<:#EK>&!410-381-1118 ! 6::>'<BB!7>BG!410-203-9501 ! 6::>'<BB!7>BG!22!410-203-2096 ! 6E($9<%!301-483-3322 ! +%<F;(%!5>,($!410-290-0384 -52A76!L645L6M+!74@A18 NOW! D! ):&;(%9K#$?!301-699-9785 *55 or Better ! 0&#$(:!301-490-1526 ! 0&#$(:!22!301-490-9730

FFFN-&$.O>(F+(%><$0>,>%?N'<E Call the community nearest you to inquire about eligibility requirements and to arrange a personal tour or email seniorliving@sheltergrp.com. Professionally managed by The Shelter Group. www.thesheltergroup.com

column proposal was about. I need some suggestions as to how to deal with her anger and sarcasm because no matter what I say, she still leaves angry. — Lil Dear Lil: Evidently, she wraps herself in indignation and leaves with it. You can’t strip her of this jealousy, which is hiding inside as moral indignation, by arguing and/or defending yourself. All you can do is remain calm, tell her you’re sorry she feels this way and that you hope she can get past this and allow both of you to get to a better place in your relationship. Then move on. It takes a lot of maturity to deal with someone like this. You probably can’t change her, so your best bet is to just ignore her outbursts. Dear Solutions: This may be a strange pet peeve, but it really annoys me. It’s the music that is played constantly wherever I am. Every store I go to has music playing, and it’s not music I appreciate, either. If I have to wait on the phone for “the next available,” they think I can’t wait unless they play music. I’d like that time to think my own thoughts or to review what I’m calling about. Is it just me? Do you think I’m just a grumpy old man? I think silence is golden. What do these other people who are playing music all the time think? — Sam Dear Sam: They think silence is deafening. There evidently is a feeling today that there’s an empty space between your ears, and it must be filled in or you may walk away, or, even worse, heaven forbid, you may hang up the phone! I’m on your side. I’m pro-choice about the music I want to hear. Unfortunately we’re not on the winning side. You could try voicing your complaint to these companies, but don’t count on results. I doubt if you can be heard above the music! [Editor’s note: Here’s another suggestion. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Get an MP3 player and load it with music that you like, or with podcasts of speakers you enjoy, and wear your earpods with pride! Even if you don’t turn the thing on, the earphones will help block out the elevator music around you. Of course, none of this will help when you’re on hold…] © Helen Oxenberg, 2013. 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.

To subscribe, see page 53.


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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OFFICE ON AGING

Spotlight On Aging VOLUME XXIV, ISSUE 4

A newsletter for D.C. Seniors

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE By John M. Thompson, Ph.D., FAAMA In this month’s edition of “Spotlight on Aging,” I would like to discuss caregiver support. This is a very important topic for so many people who are sacrificing to provide support to loved ones, and I am certain that you can relate to my brief experience below. Recently, I found myself serving as a caregiver to my pregnant wife, who was diagnosed with pneumonia and a sprained muscle near her ribcage. This was a very difficult time for my wife, as she was unwilling to take certain types of pain relieving medications because of her pregnancy, which left her in excruciating pain for more than three weeks. In my attempt to be a good husband and father to my four-year old daughter, I was cooking, helping with homework and reading bedtime stories, washing clothes, cleaning the house, and grocery shopping as my wife was unable to perform these activities of daily living. Beyond these duties, I did not skip a beat with fulfilling my responsibilities at the District of Columbia Office on Aging (DCOA) and incorporating time for exercise into my schedule as part of my renewed commitment to getting fit. As I reflect on this brief period of my wife being “out of commission,” I learned the tough job that she has of being a stay-at-home mom. Moreover, I personally understand the tough role of caregivers who are juggling full-time jobs, raising children and grandchildren, and providing service to individuals needing support so that they can experience a comfortable lifestyle while seeking personal time for relaxation. For those of you who find yourself having to juggle life’s demands while caring for a senior, please consider attending the National Caucus and Cen-

ter on Black Aged (NCBA) Caregiver’s Symposium, which will be held on Thursday, May 9 at the Samuel J. Simmons NCBA Estates. The Estates is located at 2801 14th St. NW in Washington, D.C. Experts will be on hand to address the critical needs that caregivers face in their efforts to care for loved ones. If you have questions or are interested in attending this symposium, please contact NCBA at 202-6378400 or caregivers@ncba-aged.org. In addition to this symposium, I encourage you to take advantage of the following DCOA programs and services for caregivers. District of Columbia Caregivers’ Institute (DCCI) The purpose of DCCI is to support unpaid caregivers residing in the District of Columbia who have primary responsibility for older, vulnerable District residents. DCCI strives to be a one-stop, centralized resource to help caregivers make critical decisions, develop and implement a Caregiving Support Plan, advocate for themselves and the older person, and participate in activities designed for personal rejuvenation. Lifespan Respite Flex Account System DCOA’s Lifespan Respite Flex Account System will allow caregivers flexibility in choosing a respite provider. This will address the issue of affordability barriers in accessing respite care. This funding initiative will provide flexibility and reimbursement for respite care expenses for an extended weekend (or up to a maximum of four days) per caregiver per year. Faith-Based Partnerships Initiatives DCOA’s Lifespan Respite program See EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, page 27

April 2013

Volunteers Wanted: DCOA First Responders D.C. Office on Aging is actively recruiting seniors, former first responders, lead agency personnel and college students to participate in the District of Columbia’s First Responder training in the event of an emergency, disaster or catastrophe. In order to be certified, participants must complete four days of the training modules offered from the schedule below. Each day, the training will start promptly at 9 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided during the training. The training will be held at the Department of Health, 55 M St. SE, Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20003. You must sign-up for modules 1, 2, 3 and 4; participants have the option and flexibility of taking classes consecutively or as your schedule permits until all modules are complete. However, we do require that all four days be selected for each module when registering for the course. Classes will fill quickly, so please contact the D.C. Office on Aging’s Information and Assistance Unit to hold your space at 202-724-5626. Onsite training module April Wednesday, April 3 Code: A1 CERT Training (Community Emergency Response Team) Thursday, April 4 Code: A2 Sheltering Tuesday, April 16 Code: A3 CPR, First Aide, Senior Sensitivity, DCOA Info Wednesday, April 17 Code: A4 POD (Points of Dispensing), Mental Health, Pets

May Wednesday, May 8 Code: M1 CERT Training (Community Emergency Response Team) Thursday, May 9 Code: M2 Sheltering Tuesday, May 21 Code: M3 CPR, First Aide, Senior Sensitivity, DCOA Info Wednesday, May 22 Code: M4 POD (Points of Dispensing), Mental Health, Pets June Wednesday, June 5 Code: J1 CERT Training (Community Emergency Response Team) Thursday, June 6 Code: J2 Sheltering Tuesday, June 18 Code: J3 CPR, First Aide, Senior Sensitivity, DCOA Info Wednesday, June 19 Code: J4 POD (Points of Dispensing), Mental Health, Pets Make-up Training Sessions Monday, June 24 Code: MU1 CERT Training (Community Emergency Response Team) Tuesday, June 25 Code: MU2 Sheltering Wednesday, June 26 Code: MU3 CPR, First Aide, Senior Sensitivity, DCOA Info

Search for Ms. Senior D.C. 2013 We are looking for Ms. Senior D.C. 2013. Maybe you know her. Ms. Senior D.C. is elegant, poised, talented and very active in her community. If you know a District woman age 60 or older who fits this description, and is interested in representing her peers as Ms. Senior D.C., please make sure she is entered in the Ms. Senior D.C. Pageant 2013. Please send an email to darlene.nowlin@dc.gov or call 202724-5626 for more information.


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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

D.C. OFFICE

ON

AGING NEWSLETTER

Smart911 Frequently Asked Questions What happens when you dial 9-1-1 today? When you dial 9-1-1 from any landline, mobile phone or VoIP phone, your call is directed to the closest Public Service Answering Point (PSAP). When dialing from a landline, your call is directed by the address associated with the number. When dialing from a mobile phone, your call is routed by the closest cell tower. At the PSAP, the call taker can see your incoming phone number and sometimes a location — the full address if you are dialing from a landline, and a general location when dialing from a mobile phone.

What is Smart911? Smart911 is a national database that provides 9-1-1 dispatchers and first responders with additional critical-care and rescue information when you dial 9-1-1. This information is entered through the Smart911 website in the form of a Safety Profile. If you call 9-1-1 from a phone that has been registered and verified, your profile is automatically displayed to 9-1-1 call takers and first responders where the service is installed.

Why is my 9-1-1 center implementing Smart911? In addition to the information above,

over 70 percent of calls to 9-1-1 are made by mobile phones. With the limited information available on these calls, Smart911 allows for additional information to be made available to 9-1-1 and responders. Making Smart911 available will improve the level of safety and service provided by all 9-1-1 and response agencies.

How do I register for Smart911? Go to www.smart911.com and follow the prompts for creating your free Safety Profile.

Why should I use Smart911? Smart911 can help protect you and your loved ones by allowing you to give 9-1-1 and response teams the information they need to help you and your family members before an emergency happens. Your Safety Profile includes critical-care and rescue information on all members of your family, including children and pets.

What is a Safety Profile? A Safety Profile includes key facts that, if known to emergency response teams, will probably cause them to prepare or act in a manner specifically tailored to you or members of your household. This may be information

Beware of Lottery Scams A good rule to follow is: if you have won money, you shouldn't have to pay money to receive it. Too many senior citizens are becoming victims of a Jamaican Lotter y Scam as repor ted on the “Today Show” and other news broadcasts in recent months. One of the latest victims is a resident of the Baltimore area who lost $400,000 in the scam. The following information is provided by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to make District residents more aware of lotter y scams and how to safeguard against them. Lotter y scams are one of the most common scams throughout the U.S. The approach is made via email, telephone, fax or letter. A good rule of thumb in these situations is to remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it is! Don’t let your excitement get the best of you.

Here’s how it might happen: • The suspect tells the victim that he just won the lottery. All he needs to collect the winnings is to wire them the money for taxes and the international conversion fees. • The suspect requests that money be wired to a Western Union or MoneyGram location based out of the country, usually Canada, the United Kingdom or Nigeria. • The victim never sees any winnings.

What to do if approached in this manner Do not send any money. If you really win the lottery, the lottery association will arrange to take the money for the taxes directly out of your winnings. Should you become the victim of a theft by trick, con man or other deception, contact 311, your locate police district, or the Financial Crimes and Fraud Unit at 202-727-4159.

about how to find your residence, medical information and other details that could be helpful to emergency response teams in the event of an emergency.

How has Smart911 helped citizens? Smart911 helps all citizens by providing enhanced caller data in the event of an emergency that necessitates a call to 9-1-1. Smart911 is especially helpful to those who may have trouble communicating with a 9-1-1 dispatcher over the phone by offering an innovative way to preload informational data. In addition, Smart911 allows call-takers and first responders to gather critical information without relying solely on verbal communications.

email address as disclosed in the Smart911 Terms of Service, including notifying you when it is time to update or verify your profile. Smart911 is funded by participating 9-1-1 centers, not through any form of marketing.

Who enters and maintains my information? You do. You decide how much or how little information to register with Smart911. You may change, add and remove information whenever you choose to do so. Think of Smart911 as holding your information and only delivering it to the 9-1-1 operator when you call. It is your responsibility to keep the information accurate and upto-date.

Why do I have to update my information every six months?

Is the data I provide to Smart911 It is critical that emergency responsecure and private? ders have the latest information to enYes. Smart911 uses the latest in security technologies and conducts regular audits to ensure all information is secure and only made available to 9-1-1 and emergency responders in the event of an emergency.

Will Smart911 sell my subscriber data or email address or spam me? No. Smart911 will ONLY use your

sure their response can be quick and accurate.

When can I access or change my critical-care and emergency rescue information? You can access your Safety Profile at any time by entering your User ID and Password. Log onto www.smart911.com to register your information today!

My Social Security My Social Security is a new service that lets you set up an online account and gain quick access to the Social Security information you need the most. You can use your account to get a copy of your Social Security Statement, which includes your earnings record and estimates of your future retirement, disability and survivor benefits. If you already get Social Security,

you can use your account to view or print your benefit verification letter, check your benefit information, change your address and phone number, and more. You’ll be able to gain access to all your important Social Security information by creating a My Social Security account. Visit www.socialsecurity .gov/myaccount .

Complete Your Housing Application at DCOA by April 12 DC Housing Authority (DCHA) applications can now be completed at the D.C. Office on Aging for senior citizens age 62 and older and persons living with disabilities. DCOA personnel have been trained and authorized by DCHA to complete applications for residents interested in subsidized housing. DCHA estimates that there are

more than 70,000 families and individuals currently on the existing waiting list for housing. In an effort to modify the current list and verify the list for need, DCHA will be closing the application process on April 12 until further notice. Staff at DCOA will still be completing applications until April 12. For more information, please call 202-724-5626.


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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

D.C. OFFICE

ON

AGING NEWSLETTER

Community Calendar April events

10th • 10 a.m. Learn about milk alternatives in this nutrition education program at all Ward 5 senior nutrition sites. For a location near you, call Vivian Grayton at 202-529-8701

3rd • 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. UDC School of Nursing will present a program called “Reclaiming our Health (Breaking the Chain of Infection)” at the Washington Senior Wellness Center, 3001 Alabama Ave. SE. Reserve your spot by calling the center at 202-581-9355.

10th • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. A Community Health and Wellness Fair sponsored by the D.C. Office on Aging will be held at Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center, 3500 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave. SE. Exhibitors include Minimally Invasive Vascular Center; D.C. Fire and EMS Blood Pressure and Glucose Screening; Fire/EMS Education Dept.; Marva Jean Herring, D.D.S dental screen; dental screenings courtesy of Howard University Dental School; UDC speech pathology (hearing) screening program; Top Banana Home Delivered Groceries; Legal Counsel for the Elderly & Ombudsman LongTerm Care Program; Serve DC & Public Service Commission; and PEPCO. For more information, call 202563-7225.

Executive Director From page 25

is expanding its efforts to foster partnerships with faith-based organizations. This target-specific outreach will increase the knowledge of lifespan respite among church, staff members and attendees, which promotes coalition building and enhances the caregiving support often needed by church attendees. Caregiver Buddy System This is an initiative to connect caregivers with each other to help regain perspective and find comfort in even

10th+ • 4 to 5:30 p.m. Join Iona Senior Services’ new facilitated community discussion group called “Take Charge/Age Well.” Group members will learn how to navigate the opportunities and challenges of aging through presentations that offer expert advice, wellness coaching, guidance on critical decision-making, and planning for the future. The group meets every other week for seven weeks from April 10 to July 3. The fee is $10 per session, and scholarships are available. Iona is located at 4125 Albemarle St. NW. To register, call 202-895-9448 and select option 4.

11th, 18th, 25th • 11 a.m. Providence Hospital will offer a three-week diabetes education seminar series at Green Valley Senior Nutrition Site, 2412 Franklin St. NE. For more information, call Vivian Grayton at 202-529-8701

500 K St., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002 202-724-5622 • www.dcoa.dc.gov John M. Thompson, Ph.D., FAAMA Executive Director Darlene Nowlin, Editor Selma Dillard Photographer The D.C. Office on Aging does not discriminate against anyone based on actual or perceived: race, color, religion, nation-

Join the D.C. Office on Aging (DCOA) Ambassador Program, a free, interactive, member-based program designed to reach out to older adults and their caregivers to help them learn about the services and resources available to them through DCOA. At the next training workshop learn about all of the programs and services that DCOA offers to the community and how you can become an Ambassador. The training takes place at the DCOA office at 500 K St. NE.

May events 9th The National Caucus and Center on Black Aged Caregiver’s Symposium will be held at the Samuel J. Simmons NCBA Estates, 2801 14th St. NW. For more information or to register, call 202-637-8400 or email caregivers@ncba-aged.org.

16th • 4 to 8 p.m. The East River Family Strengthening Collaborative, Inc. K.E.E.N. Seniors Program Presents a Ward 7 prom for seniors, a special evening of glitz and glamour. For more information, contact Robin Gantt or Chicquita Bryant at 202-534-4880.

the most difficult caregiving situations. Online Chat The online chats are bi-weekly chats that provide caregivers and other stakeholders with important information about respite and other issues impacting caregivers. Respite Service Provider Database The respite service database is an online listing of respite service providers across the District of Columbia. For more information about the aforementioned programs, please contact DCOA at 202-724-5626.

SPOTLIGHT ON AGING Spotlight On Aging is published by the Information Office of the D.C. Office on Aging for D.C. senior residents. Advertising contained in the Beacon is not endorsed by the D.C. Office on Aging or by the publisher.

17th • 10 a.m. to noon

al origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, disability, source of income, and place of residence or business. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which is prohibited by the Act. In addition, harassment based on any of the above protected categories is prohibited by the Act. Discrimination in violation of the Act will not be tolerated. Violators will be subjected to disciplinary action.

DCOA Establishes Intergenerational Collaboration with YouthBuild Public Charter School Free Painting and Home Improvement Services to Seniors & Persons with Disabilities D.C. Office on Aging has formed an intergenerational collaboration with YouthBuild Public Charter School. YBPCS offers on the job training programs; while helping the students to obtain their GED and learn a viable trade in the process. The students are from age 16 to 24 and they are a part of a volunteer workforce that provides painting and small home improvement jobs to our seniors and persons with disabilities at no cost. During the pilot phase of this program, we helped seven seniors achieve a cleaner, brighter home environment. Clients must purchase their own paint and supplies and YouthBuild Public Charter School will provide labor. All YouthBuild students and faculty are bonded and insured. YBPCS provides services at no cost to District of Columbia seniors and persons with disabilities. Reservations are required!

Call Information and Assistance (Vadonia Mallory) for more information at (202) 724-5626.

The Office on Aging is in partnership with the District of Columbia Recycling Program.

Government of the District of Columbia Vincent C. Gray, Mayor


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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

Say you saw it in the Beacon

INDEPENDENT LIVING

BROOKE GROVE RETIREMENT VILLAGE CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO ATTEND AN

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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

Say you saw it in the Beacon

INDEPENDENT LIVING

BROOKE GROVE RETIREMENT VILLAGE CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO ATTEND AN

OPEN HOUSE Tuesday, April 30, 2013 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Westbrooke Clubhouse 3LADE3CHOOL2OADs3ANDY3PRING -$ Discover the casual elegance & comfort of The Cottages independent living. Explore Westbrooke Clubhouse, its restaurant and fitness center. Enjoy our 220-acre campus of lush pastures and hardwood forest.

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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Money Law &

GETTING CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE Twenty percent of consumers may have an error in their credit reports LIFE INSURANCE FOR YOUR SPOUSE? There are a number of reasons life insurance is important for some seniors LOST AND FOUND A new technology uses cellphones and iPods to find missing keys, etc. BANK PERKS The best bank benefits, like investment help, go to big account holders

Stocks may be less risky than you think By Bernard Condon Is it too late? If you’ve stayed out of stocks recently, you might be worried that you’ve missed your chance to get back in. After all, they must be expensive now that the Dow Jones industrial average has risen 120 percent in four years to a record high. The good news is that stocks still seem a good bet despite the run-up. The bad news: They’re no bargain, at least by some measures, so don’t get too excited. Many investors obsess about stock prices. But you must give equal weight to a company’s earnings. When earnings rise, stocks become more valuable — and their prices usually rise, too. That seems to be happening now. “We’ve had record profits upon record profits,” said John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet, a research firm. “And estimates are we’ll have record profits this year, too.”

What’s more, some of the typical threats to stock run-ups — such as rising inflation and interest rates, which often trigger a recession — seem unlikely to appear soon. Among reasons to consider stocks again:

A stronger economy While it’s difficult for those without jobs to believe, there are no traditional signs of a recession. And that’s encouraging for stocks, which almost always fall ahead of an economic downturn. Stocks started falling two months before the Great Recession began in December 2007 and one year before the recession that started in March 2001. Better yet, the economy may be on the verge of faster growth. The unemployment rate in February dipped from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent, its lowest level since December 2008. Employers added more than 200,000 jobs each month from November

to February, compared with 150,000 in each of the prior three months. More jobs mean more money for people to spend, and consumer spending drives 70 percent of economic activity. And there has been a flurry of other hopeful signs lately. Homebuilders broke ground on new homes last year at the fastest pace in four years. Sales of autos, the second-biggest consumer purchase, are at a five-year high. If recent history is any guide, this economic expansion is still young. The expansion that began in June 2009 is 44 months old. The previous three expansions lasted 73 months, 120 months and 92 months. Corporate earnings grow in expansions, which can push stocks higher. In the 1982-1990 expansion, earnings of companies in the Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index grew 50 percent, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, which oversees the index. The S&P 500 itself surged near-

ly 170 percent. For 2013, earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 7.9 percent, then jump another 11.5 percent next year, according to FactSet. If that’s right, stocks could rise fast. But history offers three caveats: First, if you look at the 11 expansions back to World War II, instead of the last three, they last 59 months on average. By that measure, the current expansion is middle aged, not young. Second, investing based on U.S. economic expansions may not work as well as in the past. Big U.S. companies generate nearly half their revenue from overseas now so you need to worry about other economies, too. The 17 European countries that use the euro as a currency have been in recession for more than a year. Japan, the world’s third largest economy, has struggled to grow. See STOCKS, page 31

Startup helps DIY investors buy cheaply By Mark Jewell Think you can tell the difference between a fad and a trend with staying power? Look around, and you might come up with some decent investing ideas. If you’ve noticed that lots of your friends are using tablet computers instead of PCs, it might be a good time to consider stocks of companies driving the tablet revolution. See evidence that Americans are getting more serious about their weight problems? Consider stocks of fitness center chains and weight-loss clinics. On the other hand, if you’re convinced that we’ll never get disciplined about our diets, try the opposite approach and invest in fast-food chains. For average investors hoping to beat the market, buying several stocks fitting a broad investment theme is probably a better option than assessing which individual companies to buy. Few have the know-how to routinely make good stock picks, let alone the patience to do the required research.

Do-it-yourself, sort of With those realities in mind, a Silicon Val-

ley startup last year launched a website aimed at do-it-yourself investors who consider themselves savvy trendspotters. The company, Motif Investing, enables customers to buy baskets of up to 30 stocks that fit various “motifs,” as the company calls them. The bigger player a company is in that investing theme, the larger its weighting is in the basket of stocks. For example, WalMart makes up nearly one-quarter of the portfolio in a retail stock motif called “Discount Nation.” The website has a menu of more than 100 motifs. Some are fairly conventional, such as offerings focusing on dividend-paying stocks and diversified bond portfolios. But most are trend-oriented, such as a “Tablet Takeover” motif geared toward tablet computing, a “Fighting Fat” basket of weight loss-themed stocks, and a “Junk Food” motif of fast-food and soft drink stocks. If social change is important to you, a “No Glass Ceilings” motif owns stocks of corporations run by female executives. Another invests in companies with gay-friendly workplace policies. Motif launched last June, and recently announced a new feature enabling individu-

als to create custom motifs and share them with other customers. Eventually, Motif plans to adopt a royalty system, allowing someone creating a motif to earn small payments when other investors buy it. Customers can post investing ideas online for all to see, or friends or colleagues can exchange tips privately.

Other creative websites Motif is among a small number of young companies trying to challenge traditional investment advisory firms through novel uses of the Internet and social networking. Others include Covestor, MarketRiders, Wealthfront, ShareBuilder and Betterment. Although none has become a significant player in the industry, some could eventually catch on with certain types of investors. “There’s room for these niche players if they can get some traction,” said David Schehr, an analyst at research firm Gartner Inc. Motif’s likely target audience, he said, is investing enthusiasts who actively trade small portions of their invested savings. Motif isn’t disclosing how many customers it has or how much money they’ve invested. The company raised $26 million

in venture capital funding and has some big backers. Board members include Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Sallie Krawcheck, a former executive with Bank of America and Citigroup.

Low fees, easy to use Low costs are one of Motif’s chief selling points. After meeting a minimum investment of $250, there’s a $9.95 charge to buy a single motif of up to 30 stocks. That’s comparable to the commissions that traditional brokerages charge to buy a single stock (although some offer free ETF trades with certain restrictions). For $4.95, a Motif customer can buy additional shares of an individual stock or ETF in a motif, thus customizing holdings so they’re different from the default motif. And, in contrast with mutual funds and ETFs, there are no ongoing investment management fees. After getting a demo of Motif from cofounder and CEO Hardeep Walia, I’m impressed with how easy the site is to use. InSee DIY INVESTING, page 32


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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

Stocks From page 30 Third, earnings forecasts are often too high. They come from financial analysts who study companies and advise on stocks to buy. In the past 15 years, their annual earnings forecasts were an average 10 percent too high, according to FactSet. Last year, they got closer: They overestimated by 4 percent.

Stocks are reasonably priced Investors like to use a gauge called priceearnings ratios in deciding whether to buy or sell. Low P/E ratios signal that stocks are cheap relative to a company’s earnings; high ones signal they are expensive. Right now P/E’s are neither low nor high, suggesting stocks are reasonably priced. To calculate a P/E, you divide the price of a stock by its annual earnings per share. A company that earns $4 a share and has a $60 stock has a P/E of 15. Most investors calculate P/E’s two ways: based on estimates of earnings the next 12 months and on earnings the past 12. Stocks in the S&P 500 are at 13.7 times estimated earnings per share in 2013. That is close to the average estimated P/E ratio of 14.2 over the past 10 years, according to FactSet. The P/E based on past earnings paints a similar picture. The S&P 500 trades now at 17.6 times earnings per share in 2012, basically the same as the 17.5 average since World War II, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, which oversees the index. Again, a caveat. Another way to calculate P/E’s, called a “cyclically adjusted” ratio, suggests stocks are not such a decent deal. Its champion is economist Robert Shiller of Yale University who warned about the dotcom and housing bubbles. Shiller thinks it’s misleading to look at just one year, because earnings can surge

or drop with the economic cycle. To smooth such distortions, he looks at annual earnings per share averaged over the prior 10 years. The cyclically adjusted ratio is 23 times. Since the end of World War II, it’s ranged between 6.6 and 44.2, and the average is 18.3. That suggests stocks are expensive, though perhaps not wildly so. No matter which P/E you choose, it’s important to think of it as a rough guide at best. Stocks can trade above or below their average P/E’s for years.

Optimistic investors A new love of stocks could prove a powerful force pushing prices up. In fact, it can push them up even if earnings don’t increase. That’s what happened in the five years through 1986. Earnings fell 2 percent, but the S&P 500 almost doubled as small investors who had soured on stocks throughout the 1970s returned to the market. The multiple — shorthand for the price-earnings ratio — rose from eight to nearly 17. Market watchers refer to this as “multiple expansion.” Will it happen again? As stocks have surged over the past four years, individual investors have been selling, which is nearly unprecedented in a bull market. But they may be having second thoughts. In January, they put nearly $20 billion more into U.S. stock mutual funds than they took out, according to the Investment Company Institute, a trade group for funds. Some financial analysts say we are at the start of a “Great Rotation.” That would mean investors shifting money into stocks from bonds. If that happens, stocks could soar. It’s too soon to say if the buying will continue.

Low interest rates Interest rates are near record lows.

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That’s good for stocks because it lowers borrowing costs for companies and makes bonds, which compete with stocks for investor money, less appealing. If you want to kill a stock rally, then hike interest rates. That’s what happened in the runup to Black Monday, Oct. 19, 1987. In August that year, the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose above 10 percent. Investors thought, “If I could make 10 percent each year for 30 years in bonds, why keep my money in stocks?” So they sold and stocks drifted lower. Then Black Monday struck. The Dow plunged 508 points, or nearly 23 percent — its largest fall in a single day.

Today, the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond is 3.2 percent. The yield on the 10year Treasury note is 2.05 percent, less than half its 20-year average of 4.7 percent. It could be years before rates even return to that average level. Of course, interest rates could jump on fears of higher inflation. But inflation has been 1.6 percent the past year, below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target. What’s more, the Fed has promised to keep the benchmark rate it controls near zero until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent. Unemployment today is 7.7 percent. — AP

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240-399-7899 Positioning Your Financial Plan For These Uncertain Economic and Financial Times If you are not sure how much risk you are really taking with your investments or if you simply want to seek peace of mind with better control of your future, then a simple, noobligation 3 step review can assure that your decisions and planning are right for you and your particular situation. This is NOT a seminar event. This offer entitles you to privately go through our 3 Step Review, and as a special thank you upon completion of your portfolio analysis you will receive a complimentary $100 gift card.

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Investment Advisory Services offered through Global Financial Private Capital, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Any comments regarding safe and secure investments, and guaranteed income streams refer only to fixed insurance products. They do not refer, in any way to securities or investment advisory products. Insurance and Annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing company, and are not offered by Global Financial Private Capital.


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Your credit report may well contain errors By Marcy Gordon One in five consumers had an error in a credit report issued by a major agency, according to recent government study. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study also said that 5 percent of the consumers identified errors in their reports that could lead to them paying more for mortgages, auto loans or other financial products. The study looked at reports for 1,001 consumers issued by the three major agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The FTC hired researchers to help consumers identify potential errors. The study closely matches the results of a yearlong investigation by The Columbus Dispatch. The Ohio newspaper’s report

last year said that thousands of consumers were denied loans because of errors on their credit reports. The FTC said the findings underline the importance of consumers checking their credit reports. Consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report each year from each of the three reporting agencies. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877322-8228 toll-free to obtain yours. The FTC study also found that 20 percent of consumers had an error that was corrected by a reporting agency after the consumer disputed it. About 10 percent of consumers had their credit score changed after a reporting agency corrected errors

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Medicare Costs! The DC Medicare Savings Program can save you over $5,000 each year in Medicare expenses and prescription drug costs. You can qualify if you… Are a DC resident Are eligible for Medicare Have monthly income below $2,812 (single) or $3,802 (couple) If you work, your income may be higher. Any money you have in savings is not counted for this program.

For more information, contact 202-994-6272 or DCHICP@gmail.com Health Insurance Counseling Project

LAWC_1213_8

The District of Columbia Office on Aging

in their reports. The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the credit reporting agencies and other data companies, said the FTC study showed that the proportion of credit reports with errors that could increase the rates consumers would pay was small. The study confirmed “that credit reports are highly accurate, and play a critical role in facilitating access to fair and affordable consumer credit,” the association said in a statement.

New enforcement clout In September, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gained the authority to write and enforce rules for the credit reporting industry and to monitor the com-

DIY investing From page 30 formation on the investment options is presented in user-friendly language. Photos illustrate each investing motif. Commands can be executed with a few mouse clicks or taps on a touch-screen. That said, investing isn’t a game, and there’s a potential negative to Motif’s ease of use. As you tap away, it could be easy to get carried away with money that you may be depending on for retirement. Also, some of the motifs are geared toward potentially short-term trends that are unsuitable investment ideas for anyone with long-term goals. For example, one

pliance of the three agencies. Prior to that, the reporting agencies weren’t subject to ongoing monitoring by federal examiners. The CFPB hasn’t yet taken any public action against the agencies. However, it is accepting complaints from consumers who discover incorrect information on their reports or have trouble getting mistakes corrected. The agencies have 15 days to respond to the complaints with a plan for fixing the problem; consumers can dispute that response. By contrast, the FTC can only take action if there is an earlier indication of wrongdoing. It cannot demand information from or investigate companies that appear to be following the law. — AP

motif called “Rebuilding After Sandy” invests in hardware store chains and utilities services firms that saw demand spike after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast last October. Stocks such as Home Depot and Lowe’s outperformed the broader market in the days after the storm, but its impact on the companies’ bottom lines will be temporary. With such potential shortcomings in mind, Gartner’s Schehr suggests that anyone considering Motif or rival websites invest only small amounts of their savings, reserving the majority for traditional diversified portfolios: “Just take a taste,” he advised, “and don’t sign up for the full banquet.” — AP

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How to locate a lost life insurance policy By Kimberly Lankford Q: My sister-in-law passed away recently. We thought she had a life insurance policy, but we’ve searched through her papers and can’t find one. Is there a way to find out if she still had a policy and, if so, with what company? A: There isn’t a centralized database for tracking down life insurance policies, but you can use several strategies, and a few new resources, to help with your investigation. Searching through your sister-in-law’s papers is a good first step (obviously, you must be her legal representative or an approved family member to do so). Look in her bank records and canceled checks for premium payments, and check her tax returns for evidence of any taxable withdrawals or dividends, which can help you find the insurer. Also look through her address books for contact information for a life insurance agent, financial planner, accountant, attorney or other adviser and ask if the adviser knows about a life insurance policy. Contact each insurer with whom she had other types of policies and ask if she had life insurance there, too. And keep an

eye on the mail for any premium notices. If your sister-in-law was working at the time of her death, contact her company’s employee benefits office — she might have had some workplace coverage. Check with former employers, as well, to see if she purchased voluntary, extra coverage and kept it after she left the job.

person, and people who believe they may be beneficiaries, may submit a notarized search-request form with an original death certificate. Requests are forwarded to Missouri-licensed life insurance companies within 30 days, and if a policy is located, the insurer will contact the beneficiary. Since its launch in November 2011, the service has located a total of $148,000 for beneficiaries. If a state doesn’t have a special program

Some states will help If your initial search fails to produce results, contact the insurance regulator in the states where she lived (To locate state insurance regulators, see the National Association of Insurance Commissioners map at www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm). Also, several states plus Puerto Rico have new resources to help people track down lost life insurance policies, including Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Oregon. Programs are also being developed in Rhode Island and Texas. Missouri’s Policy Locator Service, for example, helps track down information about both life insurance policies and annuities purchased in Missouri. Executors and legal representatives of the deceased

to find lost life insurance, it may still have resources that can help you with your search. Ask the state insurance department for contact information for life insurers licensed to do business in the state, and contact the companies yourself. The insurance department can also help you find current contact information for insurers that may have merged since your See LOST POLICY, page 35

BEACON BITS

Apr. 25

PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS

A Virginia attorney will discuss the legal directives and healthcare documents that need to be developed and filed so that you can control decisions made about your care or the care of a family member in this program called “Know Your Rights and How to Ensure Them.” Sponsored by At Home Alexandria, the free program will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Charles Beatley Library, 5005 Duke St., Alexandria, Va. For more information, email aha@athomeinalexandria.org or see www.athomeinalexandria.org.

Ongoing

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The Senior Connection needs volunteer drivers to offer rides for grocery shopping, errands and medical appointments. For more information, please contact Marcia Custer at 301-962-0820 X14, or download an application on the website at: www.seniorconnectionmc.org/volunteers/become-a-volunteer.

BEACON BITS

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Learn about developing a business plan on Tuesday, April 16 and accounting for small businesses on Tuesday, May 21 from members of the US Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). The seminars are each held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Germantown Library, 19840 Century Blvd., Germantown, Md. Five SCORE counselors/mentors also provide counseling daily, five days a week, at Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave. Online registration is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library. On the library’s homepage, go to the Library Events Calendar. For more information about the program, contact SCORE DC at somkdsr@verizon.net.

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Protect your spouse with life insurance Often, when individuals retire, the need for life insurance either is greatly reduced or eliminated. However, that is not always the case. If you are fortunate enough to be eligible for a lifetime pension, you may also

have the option to elect a lifetime pension for your spouse (should you die first) in exchange for accepting a lower monthly amount. If you have this option, you have less need for ongoing life insurance. But for those without a lifetime pension,

BEACON BITS

Apr. 27

MEDICAID FOR NURSING HOMES Information on nursing home Medicaid will be presented at the

Long Branch Library, 8800 Garland Ave., Silver Spring, Md. on Saturday, April 27 at 2 p.m. Information presented will feature how Medicaid differs from Medicare, general asset and income regulations, and what to expect during the application process. A question and answer session will follow the program. For more information, call (240) 777-0910.

and the option to elect continued pay- able to purchase $250,000 worth of term ments to their spouse, life insurance can insurance for 20 years. I also initiated a be helpful. Many households new investment program that do not have enough savings utilizes dollar-cost-averaging, and investments to ensure so that if I live past age 85 that a surviving spouse will (when my term insurance have sufficient income for life. ends), my spouse will no In that case, life insurance is longer need life insurance. still required. Fortunately, even at age 65, term insurance Other reasons for insurance is available at reasonable prices for healthy individuals. There are other circumSometimes, insurance can be stances that may necessitate THE SAVINGS needed even with a pension. For the need for life insurance GAME example, when I retired, I sewhen you are in retirement. By Elliot Raphaelson lected a survivor option for my Sometimes you will run into spouse regarding my employerunexpected expenses, or provided pension, but sadly, my spouse died your investments will not perform as well about five years later. as you expect. I was fortunate enough to re-marry. But For example, even though my wife and I as is often the case, I was not able to add have excellent health insurance, we do not my new spouse to my pension plan as a have good dental insurance, which is the survivor. So I needed to protect my pres- case for many retirees. I have used more ent spouse. Millions of retired individuals than one dental policy with poor results. A few years ago, both my wife and I inare in the same situation. I was 65 when I re-married. I investigat- curred approximately $50,000 in un-reimed the cost of term insurance at that time, bursed dental expenses, which we paid for using an independent insurance agent. over a one-year period utilizing “CareCredLuckily, my health was good, and I was it” in order to avoid any interest costs and able to purchase term insurance at a rea- to continue to earn as much as possible on sonable cost. See LIFE INSURANCE, page 35 For a little more than $100/month, I was

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

Lost policy From page 33 sister-in-law bought a policy.

Unclaimed property offices A state’s unclaimed-property office may eventually get the money if an insurer knows a person has died but is unable to contact the beneficiaries. You can search unclaimed-property databases for several states at www.MissingMoney.com or find links to each state’s unclaimed-property division through the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators at www.unclaimed.org. See Kiplinger’s “4 Ways to Get Lost Money from Government Agencies” at http://bit.ly/GetLostMoney for more information about tracking down money in the states’ unclaimed-property databases. The Medical Information Bureau’s Policy Locator Service at www.mib.com/lost_life_insurance.html can also help. Insurers who are

Life insurance From page 34 our invested assets. [Editor’s Note: CareCredit is a credit card that allows interest-free payment for medical expenses as long as minimum monthly payments are made and the entire balance is paid off in a pre-determined number of months. See www.carecredit.com for more information.] Unfortunately, we are still likely to be faced with high dental bills in the future. If I die when there is still a large outstanding dental bill, I want my spouse to be protected. Accordingly, I purchased additional term life insurance for a shorter time frame.

For those with little savings The reality is that many households have an insufficient capital base to protect a surviving spouse. In a recent Wells Fargo survey, respondents between the ages of 25 and 75 were asked about their level of savings. The median savings was $25,000. Obviously, that is insufficient for just about any type of retirement. Thankfully, the cost of term insurance is reasonable. Costs have actually decreased because people are living longer due to better medications and improved healthcare in general. It pays to review your financial situation in retirement at least annually. At age 65, and even at 70, term life insurance is affordable. But it won’t be when you’re 10 years older. If you are in good health, you should consider whether term life insurance makes sense while you are insurable and can afford it. A good financial plan can ensure that either surviving spouse will have sufficient income and/or assets to maintain a prosperous retirement. Elliot Raphaelson welcomes your questions and comments at elliotraph@gmail.com. © 2013 Elliot Raphaelson. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

members of the MIB share general medical and other information they discover during underwriting about applicants for life insurance policies. The service tracks applications for individual policies made to member companies since 1996. (Although most life insurers are members, the service doesn’t track group policies.) Not everyone can get the information, however. You must be the executor of the deceased’s estate or the surviving spouse. If there is neither an executor nor a spouse, the child of the deceased or another eligible representative may make the request. Whoever makes the inquiry must provide an original death certificate. The service costs $75 and takes about 10 days to produce a report. If your sisterin-law applied for life insurance at any of the member companies, the report will include the company’s name, the date the application was submitted, and information about how to contact the insurer. The insurer can then tell you if the policy was ac-

tually issued, whether it remains in force, and who the beneficiary is.

Spare your heirs While you’re tracking down your sisterin-law’s life insurance policy, remember to keep good records yourself so you can spare your heirs the same hassle. The American Council of Life Insurers recently introduced a new tool called My Insur-

ance Log at www.myinsurancelog.com. It helps people pass key information about insurance policies and retirement plans to their beneficiaries and personal representatives. Also be sure to keep the beneficiary contact information up-to-date with your insurers, which will make it easy for them to track down your heirs. © 2013 Kiplinger. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Apr. 16

35

MAKING HEALTHCARE DECISIONS Woodbine Rehabilitation and Health Care will host a panel of ex-

perts on advanced directives and medical power of attorney from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16. Attorneys, social workers, nurses and other elder care advocates will make brief presentations and then be available for one-on-one discussions or informal questions and answers. The free event will be held at 2729 King St., Alexandria, Va. For more information or to RSVP, call (703) 836-8388.


36

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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Use your cellphone to find lost keys, etc. By Peter Svensson Jimmy Buchheim is behaving oddly. On the floor of the world’s largest cellphone trade show in Barcelona, Spain, he’s looking at the screen of his iPod Touch, taking a few steps, and then looking again. Now and then he backtracks or turns, and looks again. Slowly, he confines his movements to a smaller and smaller area. Then he drops to his knees, and checks the screen again. He scrabbles forward. “There we are!” he says. Buchheim has found his keys, which had been hidden behind a wastebasket by a skeptical reporter. On the key ring is a small disc, slightly bigger than a quarter. That’s what Buchheim was homing in on with his iPod. It allowed him to find his

keys, hidden out of sight in an apartmentsized booth. Buchheim’s company, Stick-N-Find Technologies, wants to give people a way to find things — whether it’s keys, wallets, TV remotes or cat collars. There’s no real trick to sending out a radio signal and having a phone pick it up. That’s been done before. What makes the Stick-N-Find practical is a new radio technology known as Bluetooth Low Energy, which drastically reduces the battery power needed to send out a signal. That means the disc can be small, light enough for its sticky back to adhere to a lot of surfaces, and be powered by a watchtype battery that lasts up to two years without recharging. The signal can be picked

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up as far as 300 feet away, but that’s under ideal circumstances. On the floor of the wireless show, with a multitude of Wi-Fi transmitters jamming the airwaves, the range was roughly 20 feet. One downside to Bluetooth Low Energy: It doesn’t come cheap. Stick-N-Find charges $50 for two “stickers” from its first production run. It gave early backers a better deal — 4 discs for $65 — on crowdfunding site Indiegogo.com, where it had sought to raise $70,000 from donors and ended up getting $931,970 by the time the campaign ended recently. Another downside is that few devices can pick up the signals. The latest two iPhones can do it, as can the latest iPod Touches and iPads. The latest high-end Samsung smartphones work, too. Bluetooth Low Energy is expected to become a standard feature in phones, but it’s not yet. Furthermore, whatever device you use, it won’t tell you exactly where your sticker is located. All it can tell is how far away it is. That means finding something is a process of walking around and checking whether you’re getting “hotter” or “colder.”

Of course, often you don’t really need to know where your wallet is: knowing that it’s within 8 feet and therefore somewhere in the car with you is assurance enough. Buchheim says the company has plans to add direction-finding features. Users can also set up a virtual “leash” between a sticker and a Bluetooth device. Depending on the settings, when the two devices move a certain distance away from each other, the sticker starts beeping or the device’s screen shows an alert. That way, you could place a sticker in your wallet, link it to your phone, and you’d know if you’re leaving either one behind. Buchheim sees this as just the start for what Bluetooth Low Energy can do. StickN-Find is working with a museum that’s interested in putting stickers on its exhibits, so they can issue tablets or other devices to visitors that can sense the proximity of exhibits, and say “Hello, this is the statue of so-and-so,” Buchheim says. It could even end up as a technology for the blind — one that tells them where their belongings are, he notes. —AP

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

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Banks use perks to woo loyal customers By Lisa Gerstner Being a bank customer can be a little like going out with someone who wants you only for your money. But if you’re willing to commit to one bank with a chunk of cash, you may find yourself being courted in style. The country’s largest banks offer their most attractive pricing and perks to customers who have tens of thousands of dollars in linked accounts: checking, savings and investment accounts, loans and credit cards. To get the best benefits, you’ll need to tuck at least $25,000 into such relationship accounts. Benefits typically include access to enhanced customer service (sometimes with a dedicated banker or team), breaks on fees, higher interest rates on bank accounts, and lower rates on loans. You also get breaks on checking overdraft fees and charges for account services such as money orders, cashier’s checks and wire transfers.

For the well-heeled If you’re a hands-on investor, you may appreciate the commission-free trades in self-directed investing accounts (up to a monthly or annual limit) that Bank of America provides to its Platinum Privileges clients and Wells Fargo to its PMA customers. You could also get a break when you take out a mortgage or other loan. For example, a member of Citibank’s relationship service, Citigold, can get up to $2,500 off closing costs or 0.375 percent off the interest rate on a first mortgage. The largest banks also have private divisions that offer exclusive benefits and wealth-management services to the very well heeled. For instance, Chase customers with total assets ranging from $500,000 to $5 million who are willing to keep at least $250,000 with Chase are eligible for Chase

Private Client, which includes access to a team headed by a dedicated banker and a J.P. Morgan adviser. Citibank provides its high-level customers with access to events, said Venu Krishnamurthy, president of Citigold Wealth Management. Those customers may include members of the Citigold program, which is aimed at clients with about $100,000 to a few million dollars in assets, as well as the wealthiest customers who use Citi’s private banking service.

For smaller account holders But you don’t always need to come up with big bucks to qualify for perks. PNC Bank, for instance, offers a variety of packages with manageable minimum-balance thresholds. To avoid the $10 monthly fee for its relationship rewards Virtual Wallet With Per-

formance Spend account, you must have a total of $1,500 in checking and savings accounts; make a $2,000 monthly direct deposit; or have a combined balance of $10,000 in several accounts, including certificates of deposit and mortgages.

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Montgomery County’s Long Term Care Ombudsman program is seeking individuals to work as long-term care advocates. Volunteers are assigned to make regular visits to residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities The intensive training program for volunteer candidates is a comprehensive orientation to promoting resident rights. Using your advocacy skills and applicable laws, you will work to resolve complaints. Training is scheduled for the week of April 22 to 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton, Md. To register for the training, call (240) 777-3369; email hhsltcombudsman@montgomerycountymd.gov or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ltcombudsman.

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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

Say you saw it in the Beacon

Careers Volunteers &

39

Did you (or someone you know) change careers, start a business or go back to school after retirement? Please share your story. Email info@theBeaconNewspapers.com or call Barbara at (301) 949-9766.

Volunteers honored for decades of service

A red-hot volunteer Goodloe, 81, is in her tenth year as president of the Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association of Montgomery County. She’s the first woman in the U.S. to head a volunteer fire-rescue association. She remains unwaveringly devoted to the volunteer fire-rescue service, working at her desk in the Fire & Rescue Volunteer Association offices several floors above its storefront recruitment office in Rockville. She still shows up on the firefighting frontline as well — driving the canteen

wagon to support firefighters during fire calls, arranging for awards and commendations, and reaching out to the community. “I am just so impressed by each and every fire and rescue volunteer. They do so much and endure so many physical and emotional challenges without complaining every time they go out on a call,” she said. “Whatever I can do to assist them, I’m here for it.” Goodloe, who lives in Kensington, worked for the county as executive secretary of the Department of Fire and Rescue Services, and later as the executive director of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Commission. She continued her volunteer efforts with the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department after she retired from the Commission, leading to her work with the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association. A. Michael Kelly, past president of the group, nominated her for the Path of Achievement award. As the association president, Goodloe has been at the negotiating table with the county, seeking benefits and protection for

PHOTO COURTESY OF JOYCE SIEGEL

By Anne Ball Marcine Goodloe and Joycel Siegel both bring to mind that battery-operated Energizer Bunny — they just keep on going and going! The two dynamic volunteers, who have each spent 40 to 50 years contributing to the community, are being honored with Montgomery County’s 2013 Neal Potter Path of Achievement awards. The awards honor two residents age 60 or older whose lifetime of volunteer service and commitment to Montgomery County make them outstanding role models for young and old alike.

Joyce Siegel, right, interviews a recipient of the Bernie Scholarship Award, which Siegel cofounded to help students living in subsidized housing in Montgomery County pay for college. Siegel is one of two winners of the 2013 Neal Potter Path of Achievement Awards.

the approximately 1,800 volunteer fire and rescue workers. She meets regularly with the county fire chief, the county executive, members of the county council, the gover-

nor, and state delegates and elected members of Congress. See VOLUNTEERS, page 40


40

Volunteers & Careers | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

Volunteers From page 39 On a first-name basis with many of them, Goodloe enjoys the opportunities to

A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

PHOTO COURTESY OF MARCINE GOODLOE

bring the special attributes of volunteer fire and rescue workers to the attention of politicians. “Our volunteers take the same training as career firefighters and work side-byside with them,” she said. “Just like the paid firefighters and rescue people, when they leave their families in the morning, they know there’s always the possibility that they may not come back.” There are a scattering of mementoes and group photos around her office, including one of Goodloe with Maryland U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, who autographed it with the notation: “To Goodloe — A Powerhouse at the Firehouse.”

Improving living conditions Joyce Siegel, 79, who is being recogMontgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association President Marcine Goodloe (left) poses with former Maryland State Senator Rona Kramer.

nized for volunteerism beginning in the 1960s, when she became involved in improving living conditions in western Montgomery County’s Scotland community, also has served as a commissioner on the Housing Opportunities Commission. She then helped to organize the Citizen’s Human Relations Commission to work on equal access issues for minorities. That volunteer commission was the catalyst for the creation of the county’s Human Relations Commission. Since Siegel and her husband Alan moved into the Forum, a condominium building on Rockville Pike, six years ago, she’s focused on a new concern — renewable energy. That interest landed her a place on the condominium’s board of directors, where she is addressing energy efficiency. But it was an earlier family move in 1962 — from Baltimore to the West Fernwood area of Rockville, about a mile from the historically poor Scotland community —

Pearl can’t wait to get started every morning at Ring House. Because here, the facts of everyday life don’t create limits to activity and independence. Pearl has formed abiding friendships with her neighbors, with whom she lives, eats and kibbitzes. She participates in an unparalleled schedule of social programs, with choices from creative writing to yoga, frequent outings to the Kennedy Center and shopping. And our chefs prepare a delicious kosher breakfast and dinner every day. Pearl is surrounded by gracious amenities: a sunny pavilion, expansive lobby, intimate card

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that began Siegel’s path to volunteerism. Her three children went to school with some of the Scotland children, who were living in shacks lacking running water, sewer and trash collection. Stunned by the conditions, Siegel joined Suburban Maryland Fair Housing and the League of Women Voters’ housing committee to address housing issues of the poor in Montgomery County. At the same time as she was working on her bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Maryland (she later taught in the county’s Head Start program), Siegel was opening her home to meetings. “My children used to line up chairs in the living room and play ‘meeting,’” she remembered with a laugh. In 1970, thanks to the work of Siegel and other concerned volunteers, there were 100 affordable homes built in Scotland: 75 rentals, 25 individually owned. Siegel was invited to join the Scotland Community Board and served on the county’s Housing Opportunities Commission for years. She joined the Commission’s staff as Public Affairs Officer for 10 years before retiring in 1995. A longtime member of Am Kolel Congregation, Siegel also became involved over the years in the Board of Community Ministries, now known as Interfaith Works, and served as president of the nonprofit Interfaith Housing Coalition, which works to find affordable housing for homeless families. Her nomination for the Path of Achievement award came from the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program, which Siegel cofounded with Bernie Tetreault in 1996. The program’s financial assistance helps offset the educational and training expenses of low- and moderate-income students living in Montgomery County‘s subsidized housing. Over the years, the program has provided more than 325 scholarships, totaling over $300,000, to graduating high school seniors as well as adults returning to school, college or vocational programs. A young man who received two Bernie scholarships is doing so well he contributed to the fund this year, Siegel said. Another award winner just became a registered nurse. “Recently, a young man who teaches art in an area high school came to interview me. I last saw him when he was 5 years old, living in a home without water or adequate heat in Scotland. He wanted to tell me how decent housing so improved his entire life,” she said. “There is so much to be said for volunteering,” Siegel added. “A volunteer I worked with on the Scotland housing effort recently told me that her work to help improve the old community was one of the most positive experiences of her life. “Now, years later, I reflect on how very fortunate I have been to work with so many great volunteers and to see tangible results of our mutual efforts.”

See VOLUNTEERS, page 41


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Volunteers & Careers

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

41

Advance your career for less than $1,000 For as little as $1,000, you could see a big payback — and maybe even a bigger paycheck. Build your brand. Job hunting or not, you can stay poised for new opportunities — and boost your standing at the office — by polishing your professional image. A career adviser, such as a counselor or coach, can help with matters such as updating your resume, networking, and identifying strengths you can showcase in the workplace and in interviews. Costs vary by region and adviser, but you might pay about $500 for a few sessions with a career coach. Consider hiring a photographer to take professional headshots (about $200). Use your favorite photograph on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for a cohesive online presence. Want to share your expertise on a blog or personal website? You can create one free using a platform such as WordPress.com. But for $99 a year, you can upgrade to the WordPress Value Bundle, which includes a domain name of your choice, high-definition video uploads and custom design options. Those looking for work may want to invest in a LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium account ($180 for six months). Among its benefits are five monthly “InMail” messages, which you can use to contact any-

one on LinkedIn. Awaken the geek within. Many community colleges offer classes that could help you learn the technical skills you need to get ahead in your job (or find a better one). For example, Montgomery College, a community college with three campuses in Montgomery County, Md., offers more than 100 technology classes, ranging from digital literacy to programming for mobile devices. Prepare for a post-retirement career. If you’re already doing taxes for family members, consider becoming an enrolled agent — a licensed tax professional who has the right to represent taxpayers before the IRS. For $995, you can take an online course that will prepare you for the exam you must pass to obtain the designation. For more information, go to the website of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, www.naea.org.

There’s a certificate program for just about every second-act career imaginable, from landscape design to writing grant proposals, said Kerry Hannon, author of Great Jobs for Everyone 50+. For example, you could find a second career as a geriatric care manager, a person who helps seniors navigate their

healthcare options. The application, handbook and exam to become a certified care manager costs $270. You can use the rest of your money to buy two years of membership ($345 per year) in the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (www.caremanager.org). © 2013 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

BEACON BITS

Apr. 14

PIANO SOCIETY’S SPRING CONCERT

Enjoy piano solo and chamber works by Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Bartok and the Armenian composer Alexander Arutiunian at a concert by the Piano Society on Sunday, April 14 at 3 p.m. Both familiar and new works are introduced and performed. A reception follows. The concert is free, but donations are appreciated. It will be held at Calvary Lutheran Church, 9545 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, Md. For more information, call (301) 793-1863, or see www.pianosocietyofgreaterwashington.org.

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Volunteers

Friday, May 17, 2013, 10am-3pm

From page 40

Marriott Bethesda North Hotel and Conference Center 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, Maryland

Path of Achievement awards The volunteer efforts of both women date from the ‘60s, and because of the causes they were involved with, both knew and worked with Neal Potter — former activist, county councilman and county executive — in whose memory the annual award is given. In partnership with the Montgomery County Commission on Aging and the Beacon newspaper, the Montgomery County government presents the Neal Potter Path of Achievement awards each spring. The winners will be celebrated at the Montgomery Serves Awards gala organized by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, Fund for Montgomery and the Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery. The event takes place at 6 p.m. on April 29 at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. It is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and advance registration is required. Call (240) 777-2600 or register online at www.montgomeryserves.org. Along with the Neal Potter awardees, the winners of the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Awards and the Montgomery Serves Awards in the categories of Youth, Business, Community Service by an Individual and Community Service by a Group will be honored.

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Travel Leisure &

Make sure your paperwork is up to date before traveling overseas. See story on page 45.

Big Bend Nat’l Park is big even for Texas Desert, mountains and river

© BENKRUT | DREAMSTIME.COM

As you approach this National Park Service (NPS) park from the north across miles and miles of flat desert, suddenly big grayish-black limestone mountains loom, rising to 8,000 feet. As you get closer, they become orangey and russet bulging boulders, nubby knobs, protruding thumbs, rounded humps, sharp crevices, pointy mini-castles, curved ridges and jagged cliffs. Geologists treasure Big Bend because the rocks’ strata are easy to see. The park is 75 percent wilderness; 99.5 percent is open to visitors. Roads twist and turn, and trucks toot before attempting hairpin curves. The orange-brown-to-black hues and dramatic contrasts, from parched desert to mountain peaks, lure the curious. Visitors soak in the vastness, and at high elevations have long panoramic vistas for over 100 miles on a clear day. Quiet high-mountain trails invite short guided walks and long backcountry treks. Even the mountains’ name is inviting — chisos, probably shortened from the Spanish word “hechizos,” which means enchanted and is what early explorers called the mountains. Big Bend has three ecological regions and over 200 miles of trails as well as paved and unpaved roads. The park lies in the Chichuahuan Desert under a relentless sun where summer ground temperatures can reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit at midday. It’s so hot that many desert animals emerge only at night. The lower desert can be around 80 degrees even in winter. The Chisos Mountains are dotted with wildflowers, evergreen and deciduous trees, and hardy bushes like mountain mahogany, Texas madrone, juBig Bend National Park is home to more types of cacti than nipers and pinyon any other U.S. national park. Desert plants bloom from late pines. The Chisos oak February through April and July through September.

PHOTO BY GLENDA BOOTH

By Glenda C. Booth Any mention of Big Bend National Park invokes powerful descriptors: “One of the most remote,” “large and vast,” “one of the least visited,” “darker than anywhere else in the lower 48 states” and “one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States.” Larger than the state of Rhode Island, the park sprawls across west Texas, where the state juts into Mexico and the Rio Grande River flows through 1,500-feetdeep gorges as it makes a 90-degree bend (after which the park is named). The number of annual visitors is a testament to its remoteness — 365,000 versus Yellowstone’s more than 2 million. The park’s 1,250 square miles are a river-desert-mountain landscape, where Native Americans believed the Great Spirit dumped all the rocks left over from the creation. But there’s lots of life here, too. “You can see little miracles here every day,” said James Evans, who’s been photographing Big Bend for 23 years.

Visitors paddle canoes down the Rio Grande River in Texas’s Big Bend National Park. The sprawling park covers nearly 1 million acres in the southwestern part of the state.

and drooping juniper are found only here. For over 1,250 miles, the Rio Grande River serves as the international border between the U.S. and Mexico. About 250 of those miles constitute the park’s southern border, where the river has carved three rugged canyons — Santa Elena, Mariscal and Boquillas.

Paddling through the park Canoeing on the Rio Grande from Gravel Pit to Rio Grande village through the Hot Springs Canyon, you can glide on gently-rippling water and bounce through a few Class I rapids. You might see ravens nesting on canyon ledges. When your legs get cramped, you can stretch out on sand bars or bubble in a hot spring. Check out the fading murals in the remains of the former Hot Springs Resort and examine ancient pictographs on rock walls. A 2.5-mile hike up the winding Lost Mine Trail and back is a good introduction to Big Bend. This round trip from 5,500 to over 6,000 feet among Mexican pinyon pines, 17 species of oak and weeping junipers takes about four hours. You may be greeted by the cactus wren’s “ack, ack, ack,” protecting its globular nest in the cholla cactus, as a peregrine falcon soars overhead. The trail has many switchbacks and gets steep in a few places, but offers 75-mile views over the desert.

People say that in much of Big Bend, it is so quiet you can “hear yourself think.” And because of low artificial light at night, the park won the Gold Tier Level Dark Sky Park certification by the International Dark Sky Association in 2012. With minimal light pollution, star gazing is spectacular. Park ranger Gail Abend tells a story about introducing school children to the Milky Way. “I remarked how spectacular the Milky Way looked. The kids wanted to know where to look. Most had never seen that milky band of stars that crosses the sky. Here we can see our Milky Way from horizon to horizon. You don’t need equipment. Just look up. It’s inspiring.”

Fauna and flora Peering through my binoculars last October, looking for a pyrrhuloxia (the desert version of a cardinal), I sensed slight movement in the tall, amber grasses. It turned out to be a well-camouflaged, Sierra del Carmen whitetail deer, about three feet tall and unique to the area. “That’s prime mountain lion food,” quipped Mark Flippo, a local guide. In a place so open, so huge, so uninhabited by humans, some animals are quite visible, some not. There are 11 species of amphibians, 56 species of reptiles, 40 See BIG BEND, page 44


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Lady Bird Johnson’s wildflower legacy

An affinity for flowers Born Claudia Alta Taylor in 1912 in Karnack, Texas, Johnson answered all her life

to the “Lady Bird” nickname given her as a small child. Her mother died when she was 5 and, as her parents’ only daughter, Lady Bird spent many hours alone in the lush natural fields around her rural home town. In 1934, just 10 weeks after graduating from the University of Texas, she married the tall, handsome Lyndon B. Johnson, then a Congressional aide. She soon became his most influential political adviser. Lady Bird launched her beautification program just two weeks after LBJ’s 1965 inauguration. Her goal, she said, was to put “the whole field of conservation and beautification” on the national agenda. President Johnson fully supported her efforts to beautify America, and he went to bat with Congress for her more controversial highway beautification program, launched later that year. The program was designed to reduce the number of junkyards and billboards along the nation’s highways. This didn’t succeed as well as beautification due to protests by the powerful billboard industry.

Environmental endeavors Lady Bird never liked the word “beautification” and struggled to find something better. But the term survived and came to represent what she called “the whole broad tapestry of environment — clean air, clean water, scenic rivers, new national parks, wilderness areas.” Plugging her programs, she would argue that cleaner, more beautiful neighborhoods “lessen tensions, create harmony and bring people together.” And she insisted, cannily, that “wildflowers are good for the pocket book and the soul.” Lady Bird felt that her programs worked hand in hand with President Johnson’s Great Society, especially his war on pover-

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WILDFLOWER CENTER

By Gwen Gibson In 1965, Lady Bird Johnson decided that the nation’s capital needed a facelift. So, in a bold and unprecedented move, the new first lady formed the Committee for a More Beautiful Capital and filled it with wealthy private donors and political VIPs. Through this committee, she saw that thousands of dogwood trees, daffodils and azaleas were planted in straggly parks and neighborhoods throughout Washington, D.C. Highly popular, this program grew into the nationwide beautification effort that Johnson championed for the next 42 years of her life. No wonder she is called our environmental first lady. Today, thanks to her work, once-blighted areas around many cities and highways still come to life in the spring with native plants and brightly colored wildflowers. But the centerpiece of her legacy is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 10 miles southwest of downtown Austin. In this 279-acre center, some 650 species of plants and trees native to Central Texas are displayed and nurtured, and that’s just part of the picture. The center offers hiking trails, woodlands and gardens as well as exhibits, lectures, conferences and family-friendly programs throughout the year. In addition, it operates a nationally-known center of information on the sustainable use and conservation of native plants, wildflowers and landscapes. “This is the physical expression of Johnson’s love of nature — the place where her ideals are expressed to the world,” said Damon Waitt, the Center’s senior director and botanist.

ty and crime and his Head Start program. On July 26, 1968, President Johnson presented Lady Bird with 50 pens he used to sign environmental legislation she had proposed and influenced. Two other presidents recognized her achievements. In 1977, President Gerald Ford presented her with the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian award. In 1988, she received the Con- The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center near gressional Gold Medal from Austin, Texas, commemorates the former first lady. President Ronald Reagan. Unlike many other first ladies, Lady knew everything that was going on and Bird continued to champion her causes where every garden was.” Lady Bird died in July 2007 at age 94. after leaving the White House. She worked She is buried next to her husband at the from her office at the LBJ Presidential Library for some 25 years, sponsoring pro- LBJ ranch, 50 miles west of Austin. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Cengrams and symposiums on civil rights, ter is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday women’s rights and the environment. “She was active here to the last,” said through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. SunSusan Rieff, the Wildflower Center’s exec- day. For more information, visit www.wildutive director. “Three weeks before she flower.org or call (512) 232-0100. Former Washingtonian Gwen Gibson is died she took a tour of the gardens….She now a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. couldn’t talk and could barely see. But she

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Big Bend From page 42 species of fish, 75 species of mammals, 450 species of birds, and about 3,600 species of insects. Local favorites include the tarantula, road runner, coyote and javelina, a piglike animal with a pointy snout. The park is the northern-most habitat for some species more common south of the Rio Grande, like the Mexican longnosed bat. Big Bend boasts more types of birds, bats and cacti than any other U.S. national park. Big Bend is on the “bucket list” of many birdwatchers because every spring, Colima warblers arrive from Central America to mate and nest in the Chisos Mountains chaparral at 4,000 to 8,000 feet. Birders descend from March to September, unde-

terred by a long hike up to see these brown and gray yellow-rumped birds. Northern Virginia residents Ray and Anne Smith were determined to see them. Describing their trek, Ray said, “Going up and down at 45 degree angles on switchbacks, it was 9.3 miles round trip. We saw many new birds, including a Lucifer hummingbird, ash-throated flycatcher, Montezuma quail and elf owls. “The Colima warbler is definitely one of the most difficult birds to see in the U.S. Some people are lucky and catch it part way up the mountain. We were not and had to do the whole hike.” Wildflowers burst out of the parched desert in big bunches and little sprigs. There are 1,500 different types of plants, like ocotillo, yucca and desert marigold. Agaves reach up to your shoulder.

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Apr. 24

AN IMPRESSIVE TRIP TO SEE IMPRESSIONISTS Northwest Neighbors Village is sponsoring a day trip to the new

Barnes Foundation Museum in Philadelphia on April 24. The museum is home to the world’s leading collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. The $145 cost includes round-trip deluxe bus, lunch at the City Tavern, 30 minute introduction to the museum collection and touring of museum with audio devices. Depart Washington at 9:30 a.m. and return by 8:30 p.m. Call Benita Lubic at (202) 362-6100) or email Blubic@aol.com for application and reservations.

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Visiting Big Bend Big Bend has five visitor centers open year round: Panther Junction, the park headquarters; Chisos Basin; Castolon; Persimmon Gap, and Rio Grande Village. Select one closest to where you enter the park and pick up materials and tips to fit your interests and schedule. The Chisos Mountain Lodge has 72 rooms and a dining room. Rooms start at around $125 a night in the summer. Reservations are strongly recommended. There are four campgrounds, including the Rio Grande Village RV Camp with full hookups. Backcountry campsites (a permit is required) have no amenities. Cellphone coverage is limited in the park. NPS staff can suggest lodging options outside the park if there are no vacancies in Big Bend. The most popular time to visit is October through April, say park rangers. All year, temperatures vary significantly between the desert floor and the mountains. Air temperature changes around five degrees for every 1,000 feet in elevation change. That means that the temperature in the high mountains can be 20 degrees cooler than temperatures along the Rio Grande. On the same day, you can sweat at ground level and wear fleece at 4,000 feet. May and June are hot, into the 90s. Desert plants bloom between late February and late April and July to September. Humidity is low.

Big Bend is 559 miles from Dallas; 474 miles from Austin; 406 miles from San Antonio; 329 miles from El Paso; 39 miles from Marathon. A vehicle is a must since there is no public transportation in the park. Distances are long between services. Fill up your gas tank in Alpine or Marathon. Crossing the border from the park into Mexico is illegal, with up to $5,000 in fines and/or one year in prison. Park officials caution visitors against buying items from Mexican nationals who may approach you. Items can be seized as contraband. You can also check out the nearby funky ghost town of Terlingua. One October afternoon, the front porch of the trading post seemed infested with aging hippies, imbibing various liquids as mongrels wandered among dusty pickups and guitar pickers plucked. Next door, at the Starlight Café, margaritas, infused with who knows what, were going for $2. The joint was hopping, Texasstyle, at 2 p.m. For more information on Big Bend, download a visitor’s guide at www.nps.gov/bibe. A friends group sponsors some events. See www.bigbendfriends.org. See www.BigBendResortAdventure.com for van tours and http://bigbendfarflung.com for river trips. Ask NPS officials for recommendations. There are no equipment rentals in the park. Glenda C. Booth is a freelance writer in Alexandria, Va.


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Heading overseas? Check your paperwork By Ed Perkins Several decades ago, a high-powered Madison Avenue ad man I know was heading to an important client meeting in Frankfurt. He had a reservation for a flight on Lufthansa, but when he got to JFK, he realized that his passport had just expired. Being a resourceful sort, he found a pencil, ducked into a handyman’s room, and — very carefully — altered the expiration date. He got on the flight. Needless to say, that wouldn’t work today with machine-readable documents and it wasn’t a very good idea even then. Fast-forward to last month. An Oregon friend has a son who works for an international organization, and he was on his way to an assignment in South Africa. Everything was OK on his flight from Oregon to Washington, but when he arrived for his connection to Johannesburg, the agent refused to board him because his passport, although valid, did not have enough extra pages. He was forced to delay his flight until he could get either a new passport or a book of extra pages. These days, you need a passport just about anywhere you want to travel outside the United States — and even to get back in the United States from most countries. The only exceptions are a few nearby island countries, Canada and Mexico, where you can cross borders with a bit less, but only by ground or sea. So don’t even think about leaving the United States without a valid passport. Unfortunately, even a valid passport often isn’t enough. I spot-checked a few dozen of the countries you’re most likely to visit, and I found some important gotchas: — Lots of countries aren’t content with a valid passport that’s due to expire soon. Instead, they demand a passport with remaining validity ranging from one to six months, often measured from the end of your visit, not the beginning. Among them: Bolivia, China, Ecuador, Estonia, French Polynesia (Tahiti), Jordan, and most countries in Southeast Asia. — A few countries require one or two blank pages in your passport. The only ones I found in my check were South Africa

and Turkey, but there are probably others. — Lots of popular destination countries require visas issued in advance, including Brazil, China, India, Russia and Vietnam. Several others require visas but issue them on arrival at your entry airport. — A few countries, including Australia and Sri Lanka, require you to arrange an “electronic travel authority” in advance, which you can do online. It’s used in place of a visa and is linked to your passport. — A few South American countries — notably Argentina and Chile — assess a $160 fee on U.S. visitors in retaliation for a fee the U.S. imposes on their citizens, but Chile lets you pay on arrival. — Many countries have complex rules about travel with minor children, especially when traveling with only one parent. Some require written authorization from both parents, even when divorced. My spot-check was based on entry requirements for travelers who are tourists

Join MCC on a Trip and Take a Day

Away! Springtime in the Brandywine River Valley Tuesday, May 14 A spring trip not to be missed! Longwood Gardens, the premier gardens of the east coast, will be our first stop. Lunch will be in the cafeteria, which serves only the best, fresh regional cooking. Next is the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa., a unique home to American art. Here, a shuttle bus will take us to the recently opened Andrew Wyeth’s Studio. Activity No. 7015.313 $140 per person $135 MCC district residents

and plan to stay only a limited time, and maximum stay periods for tourists typically vary from 30 to 90 days. If your travel plans include work, business or study in a foreign country, requirements typically vary and are generally stiffer and more involved. Countries don’t fool around with you if you arrive without proper documentation. Instead, they’ll refuse to admit you and make you get on a plane heading back where you came from — at your expense. Airlines are

supposed to check for compliance before you leave the United States, but problems sometimes slip through the cracks. Unless you’re heading to very familiar territory, such as the Caribbean or Western Europe, I strongly recommend you visit the State Department’s detailed country-by-country rundowns at www.travel.state.gov/travel/. The “Entry/Exit Requirements for U.S. Citizens” sections provide all the details on various red tape requirements. © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Upcoming Trips

Philadelphia! May 5-7 $639 p.p.,d.o. “Broadway: Now & Forever” at American Music Theatre May 18 $129 Villa Roma in the Catskills June 18-21 $599 p.p.,d.o. Historic Queen City DineAround, Cumberland June 29 $149 Montreal and Quebec July 21-27 $1545 p.p.,d.o. “Les Misérables – The Musical” at Riverside Dinner Theater August 14 $129

Call us for our full schedule and details about these and our other fun-filled trips.

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Arts &

Learn more about the real-life characters from Argo on page 50.

Studio play nimbly bridges the generation gap body that are beginning to betray her, and coping with the loss of almost all of her contemporaries. Of the two, Leo’s journey is the longer, as he first has to face himself before he can face up to adulthood. So it is primarily his story that provides the momentum for this low-key drama. But it is the character of Vera and the dexterous performance of Tana Hicken that provide the structure on which the story rests.

PHOTO BY SCOTT SUCHMAN

By Michael Toscano Four-thousand miles is the distance between America’s West and East coasts. Fourthousand miles may also represent the gulf between two people, or two generations. Both expanses can be spanned, and both have their own sets of challenges, but it is the space between people that proves trickier to negotiate. Amy Herzog, emerging as a top contemporary American playwright, takes us into the chasm dividing people in her acclaimed drama, 4,000 Miles, now onstage at D.C.’s Studio Theatre. She conjures up meticulously detailed dialogue and perceptively crafted characters, who become more complex — and yet more understandable — as they reveal themselves to each other and us. This is both a “coming of age” story and a coming-to-grips-with-age story. Leo (Grant Harrison), a post-college age neohippie, bicycles across America and lands at the Manhattan apartment of his octogenarian grandmother Vera (Tana Hicken). He’s reeling both from a devastating shock experienced on the road and family issues. She is dealing with a mind and

Direct and unsentimental There is not a lot of action in the 90minute play; rather it is a contemplation of mortality and how companionship imbues life’s daily moments with meaning. Director Joy Zinoman has returned to the theater company she founded and guided for decades. She has three out of her cast of four (including Heather Haney as Leo’s erstwhile girlfriend Bec) move through Herzog’s economical dialogue with unsentimental directness. A fourth character, Annie Chang as Amanda, a young lady Leo brings back to grandma’s apartment for a one-night fling, is allowed appropriate

Grant Harrison and Tana Hicken play a grandson and grandmother who get to know each other after he makes a cross-country bicycle ride to her New York home in Studio Theatre’s production of 4,000 Miles.

brassiness and dynamism to fit the character’s purpose. She lightens things up momentarily and helps move Leo to a new understanding of himself. Herzog’s dialogue is naturalistic and startlingly effective at conveying worlds of

information in just a sentence or two. Near the top of the play, Leo explains to Vera why he’d rather not talk to his adopted sister, with whom his relationship is undergoSee 4,000 MILES, page 48


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4,000 Miles From page 47 ing stress. “Jane and I are at a juncture where more talking is not better than less talking.” Those few words, and Harrison’s matterof-fact delivery, tell us everything we need to know at that moment. Later, we’ll find out more. Zinoman’s work here is particularly striking in that she manages to maintain the low-key nature of the play while allowing each scene a varying degree of energy, depending on whom Leo is sharing the stage with. Each relationship is different, and so are the dynamics. Just like real life.

Complex characters Tana Hicken’s performance is achingly

A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

honest. She is marvelously effective portraying a woman whose spirit remains fully intact but often can’t find words, or remember where she put things. As her friends and associates from a long life devoted to leftist causes die off, and her body becomes frail, her life is shrinking to the confines of her apartment. Still, Hicken’s Vera remains Vera at the core. She’s no story-book grandma, and her flashes of annoyance or pettiness are bracing reminders that life isn’t always pretty. Grant Harrison’s work is slightly unsettling, as Zinoman has him often gazing with unfocused eyes out toward some unseen horizon, rather than looking at Vera, while they are talking. Added to an edginess conveyed by the character’s frequent abruptness and impatience, it initially

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makes one wonder if Leo is on the verge of a breakdown. As Vera and Leo spend a few weeks together, Herzog steadily reveals details that have led Leo to his estranged, unsettled present. In the play’s one structural flaw, an unexpected event causes Leo’s sudden catharsis. It is almost too pat an ending, and rather unsatisfying that he comes to grips with himself offstage. We are watching the Leo we have just come to know; the next moment, after a scene-change blackout, he is transformed. The play may sound somber, but it’s not. There is light humor layered through the action, all of which takes place in Russell Metheny’s realistic New York apartment set. The humor is often bittersweet, though, as in a moment when Leo finally opens up and tells Vera some long-held secrets. She listens quietly and then lets it be known she doesn’t have her hearing aid in and missed much of what he said. It’s both funny and sad simultaneously,

much like real life. And anytime you can get a glimpse of real life on stage, well, that’s a pretty good thing. 4,000 Miles continues through April 28 at Studio Theatre’s Mead Theatre, located at 1501 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. Evening performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $39 to $82, with a $5 discount for seniors (62+) and military personnel (except for the Saturday evening performances). $30 tickets are available 30 minutes before show time, except Saturday evenings. All performances are fully accessible for patrons with special needs, including an FM listening system. Call for a schedule of sign-interpreted performances. Accessible seats are available by reservation. For tickets, call (202) 332-3300. For information, visit www.studiotheatre.org. Michael Toscano is the Beacon’s theater critic.

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Apr. 23

If you have never been to an opera, try this opera designed for young schoolchildren, Monkey See Monkey Do, a one-act opera by award-winning Texas composer Roberto Rodriguez performed by NOVA Opera. The score blends elements of Mexican traditional folk melodies with the contemporary style of the composer. Seniors who are fans of opera and grew up listening to opera on Saturday Afternoon Radio, are invited to review the performance and counsel the company. Monkey See Monkey Do will be performed on Tuesday April 23 at 10 a.m. at Thomas Jefferson Middle School Theater, 125 S. Old Glebe Rd., Arlington, Va. Tickets are $4. To make reservations, contact Opera NOVA at mcdm1@verizon.net or (703) 536-7557.

Apr. 19+

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Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts, featuring more than 40 Fairfax-area events showcasing local performance and visual artists, will run from Friday, April 19 to Monday, May 6. This year’s Spotlight, themed “An Artistic Kaleidoscope,” features not only artists from established arts groups, but also artists from nontraditional arts and cultural groups from the area. For more information on Spotlight, call (703) 352-ARTS or visit www.fairfaxspotlight.org.

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PHOTO BY ROBERT KUSEL FOR LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

“A perfectly realized Show Boat for the ages. No one should miss it.” —Chicago Sun-Times

Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II

A spectacular new production from WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello

MAY 4–26, 2013 | OPERA HOUSE David and Alice Rubenstein are the Presenting Underwriters of WNO. This production is made possible through the generous support of Jacqueline Badger Mars. Major funding for Show Boat is also provided by the Adrienne Arsht Musical Theater Fund. Additional support is provided by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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(202) 467-4600 kennedy-center.org

Tickets also available at the Box Office | Groups (202) 416-8400 | TTY (202) 416-8524 The Kennedy Center welcomes patrons with disabilities.


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Argo From page 1 me, and he said to bring them all.” The five Americans were joined by Lee Schatz, who had been hiding at the Swedish Embassy. Unlike in the movie Argo, only two of the diplomats, husband and wife Kathleen and Joe Stafford, were secreted at the Canadian ambassador’s house, while the other four went to Sheardown’s rambling home built into a Tehran hillside. While the hostage crisis unfolded, Anders and his colleagues lived out their days in relative comfort, playing Monopoly and Scrabble to pass the time. Anders exercised several hours each day in an interior courtyard and was in the “best shape of my life,” he recalled. He got word out to his wife, who was liv-

ing with two of their five children in Athens, Greece, that he was doing OK. “We had to try to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. We said, ‘What’s the State Department going to do when we get back?’ Were they going to charge us annual leave because we were just sitting there enjoying ourselves?” The Staffords had to be more circumspect at the embassy, hiding in their bedroom when guests arrived. “At first we thought it will be over in hours or days, and then in a month. So our expectations were gradually stretching out and we were thinking, ‘Is this ever going to end?’” Anders recalled.

Plotting an escape In January, CIA spy and “exfiltrator” Tony Mendez (played by Ben Affleck in the movie) arrived. He gave the American

A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

diplomats three options to disguise their departure from the country: posing as agricultural researchers, teachers or movie executives. While Anders’ character in the movie, played by Tate Donovan, calls the Argo movie plan, “the theater of the absurd” and says, “We don’t know what the hell movie people do,” Anders recalls liking the movie idea much more in real life, saying it was the only viable alternative. Anders was assigned the role of movie location manager in the guise of Robert Baker, born in Ottawa and educated at McGill University in Montreal. Mendez drilled the Americans on their new Canadian identities and provided everything from Canadian passports to credit cards to business cards. Anders still carries that business card of his alter ego, now laminated, in his wallet. He decided to really play the part. Because they escaped with literally only the shirts on their backs, the Canadians provided clothing. Anders was given a shirt two sizes too small that he could only button partially up his chest, ‘70s style. He added a gold chain and sunglasses, having fun morphing into a Hollywood mogul. But getting through the airport security and onto a Swiss Air flight was less than fun, although not nearly as filled with anxiety and near-misses as portrayed in the film. The group left their Canadian friend’s home at 4 a.m. for the airport. “Waiting was nerve wracking. You worked up a little sweat, hoping everything was going to work out OK,” Anders said. Only Schatz was questioned about his identity because his mustache didn’t match the one on his newly issued Canadian ID. The Americans thought they were almost home free — until there was an announcement that their flight was delayed. Initially told the flight would be three hours late, the delay ended up being only a half hour. Anders had one more moment of comic relief before leaving Iran. Walking out on the tarmac to the plane, he noticed that the real name of the type of jet they were boarding was Aargau. “I said to Tony [Mendez], you CIA guys really think of everything, don’t you?” Anders recalled. “The last, final moment of relief was

when we crossed over the border. That was portrayed pretty accurately in the movie. We all looked at each other and had a drink and said, ‘Cheers.’” Anders went on to Foreign Service posts in Norway (Oslo), Jamaica (Kingston) and Austria (Vienna). He retired, moved to London for 12 years while his son was at Cambridge, and worked part time as a “glorified clerk” in the customs section of the American Embassy. He returned to the United States to house-sit for his daughter in Silver Spring when her husband, also in the Foreign Service, was posted to Latin America. Anders now lives in Silver Spring’s Leisure World retirement community with his partner. He has seven grandchildren. While the escape from Iran happened more than 30 years ago, it’s never been far from his mind. He initially toured the U.S. for several months after returning from Iran, sharing his story. But the public story was that the Canadians planned the escape, as the CIA’s role remained classified until 1997. “Between 1980 and 1997 interest gradually died out and people, especially younger people, said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and even if they did, they’d say ‘It’s ancient history.’ “But then it got more attention in 1997 [when it was declassified], and a lot more with the Argo film. It’s like when Andy Warhol said everybody gets their 15 minutes of fame. My 15 minutes have sort of stretched out over 30-some years. I get a minute or two every few years.”

Going Hollywood But these last two years, he’s gotten more than a few minutes. Anders even had a role as an extra in the Hollywood film. You can spy him in the scene near the end when the newly returned Americans visit the State Department. He’s the one in the crowd holding the sign “Welcome back Bob Anders.” Of course, Anders had a much larger role than that in the making of the film, although when he heard about the plan to make a movie of his adventure about five years ago, he was less than star struck. “I didn’t really know who Ben Affleck See ARGO, page 51


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Arts & Style

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

Argo From page 50

walked through Tehran’s open air bazaar. Another difference is the cascade of closecalls that ended the movie — from the plane tickets being canceled, to being detained by the Iranians at the gate, to the plane being pursued by Iranian police as it took off. None of that happened, Anders said. Despite these qualms, Anders said, “It’s really a great film, and I like being a part of it and everything. It’s wonderful.”

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! Where are they now? Several of the other rescued diplomats, as well as former CIA agent Tony Mendez, also live in the Washington region. Some have gotten together for 20, 25 and 30-year reunions. They also went to the Toronto Film Festival for the movie’s debut, and many got together in Washington in March for a news show about them shot by a Canadian TV company. Mendez, played by Ben Affleck in the film, lives in rural Carroll County, where he pursues a successful art career in a barn converted to a studio. He published his book Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History last September. Kathleen and Joe Stafford, who

stayed with Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor while hiding, spent many years in Africa and the Middle East in the Foreign Service. Last fall, Kathleen was evacuated from Sudan as a precaution after the bombing of the American Embassy in Libya. Also an artist, she came to Northern Virginia, where she had an exhibit of her artwork at the Alexandria Black History Museum. She hopes to rejoin her husband in Africa this spring. Lee Schatz lives in Severna Park in Anne Arundel County with his wife and two sons. Mark and Cora Lijek, the other two American diplomats, live outside Seattle. John Sheardown died on Dec. 30, 2012 in Ottawa.

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He says he’s glad his little role in history has been recognized. “We get a lot of hero treatment, but actually we didn’t really do anything. It was the Canadians and the CIA who were the real heroes of the thing — and also the people who were really hostages. “We were just lucky. We made a couple of good guesses and good decisions and [took] the right fork in the road. It’s nice to have all this attention, though.”

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was. I’m not a real movie buff,” he said. And he certainly didn’t recognize actor Tate Donovan’s name. Donovan called Anders to help get a better sense of the person he was to portray in the movie. “I did a little Googling and as far as I know, his claim to fame was he was engaged to Jennifer what’s-her-name and some other actress,” he said. (Anders was referring to Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock, whom Donovan dated.) Before the movie began production, Anders and the other American diplomats were given the script to look over. He also met both Affleck and George Clooney, one of the producers. Anders remembers thinking, “’They’re leaving out the Canadians, and especially

John Sheardown.’ To us that was a key factor. If I didn’t have John Sheardown’s phone number and he wasn’t so open in saying, ‘Come on and stay with me,’ the whole thing wouldn’t have happened.” Anders wasn’t alone in criticizing the minimizing of the Canadians’ role in the escape, but the script went unchanged. That oversight garnered more criticism as the film racked up awards: Movie of the Year from the American Film Institute, a Golden Globe for Best Picture, and a second-place People’s Choice award at the Toronto Film Festival, where Argo debuted. In addition to not including Sheardown in the movie, Anders found a number of other errors, large and small. For one, the Americans never scrambled through a trap door to hide when visitors came to the Canadian ambassador’s house. They also never dressed up as their Hollywood characters and

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A P R I L 2 0 1 3 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Don’t make a scene when kids are seen Chocolate Face was not having a good benefit of hindsight and a keyboard. As time. He was crying. He was whining. He horrendously behaved as Chocolate Face was interrupting. He was punchwas in that restaurant, he ing his big sister in the bicep. should not only be allowed to His mother tried to silence stay. He should be encourhim and appease him with a aged to stay. Even at age 3. square of chocolate. But Meanwhile, senior citizens Chocolate Face richly earned who pass judgment on ramhis nickname by smearing the paging kids and their parents square all over his right cheek need to a) take a deep breath, instead of eating it. b) remember how difficult “This is a restaurant!” his their own children were, and mother pronounced. “You HOW I SEE IT c) write T-O-L-E-R-A-N-C-E 10 need to behave!” times on their place mats. By Bob Levey But reasoning with 3-yearYes, other diners have the olds is never easy, and with Chocolate right to eat in peace. Yes, demanding that a Face, it wasn’t possible on this mid-winter child behave as if he were an adult is a losing evening. The kid was determined to be a strategy. Yes, 3 years old might be a tad pill, and he was succeeding admirably. young for a child to sit still throughout a 75I was sitting three tables away. Four minute meal. ladies of a certain age were sitting four taBut a restaurant is a great place for a little bles away. For the next 10 minutes, they guy to begin learning such virtues as pacommented endlessly and judgmentally tience, grace and good manners. If parents about Chocolate Face and his behavior. yank a child out the door the second he misSome snippets: “The owner should ask the behaves, he learns these virtues more slowfamily to leave.” “That mother can’t control ly — and maybe he doesn’t learn them ever. her own children.” “We were having such a They say our country is divided politinice time until that family arrived.” And the cally. But if you really want to split a room clincher: “Kids shouldn’t be allowed in full of adults these days, ask if young chilrestaurants.” dren should ever be seen AND heard. I didn’t speak up, but I will now, with the Many seniors believe that the answer is

BEACON BITS

June 18+

SUMMER ARTS INSTITUTE Adults age 55+, are invited to attend the Encore Summer Choral Institute at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The institute, now in

its 6th year, will attract adult students from all over the country to learn a new art, or continue to perfect lifelong skills. All levels of vocal and performance experience are welcomed. The institute runs from Tuesday, June 18 to Saturday, June 22. Repertoire will include spirituals, oratorio selections, songs from the American Song Book and Broadway. Singers may sit for rehearsals and performance. The deadline to register is May 17. For more information, call Encore at

never, never, never. Restaurants are a major flashpoint. But weddings can lead to three-hour debates, too. Should toddlers be allowed to attend the ceremony? More and more, members of the wedding say no. I’ve never understood this, because a wedding is supposed to be a community celebration. By definition, the bride and groom are announcing themselves as a couple to anyone and everyone in the world. Don’t young kids fall under the anyone/everyone umbrella? Obviously. Yet many adults believe that children will “spoil” a wedding by writhing in their chairs or whimpering just as The Big Kiss is about to be shared. I say such unscripted moments can add to a wedding, not subtract from it. If a little tyke calls out “Kiss her!” just before the groom actually does, don’t you think that’ll be remembered with a grin 30 years from now? Planes are another place where adults and kids have big trouble mixing. Not long ago, in the middle of a fourhour flight, a very small person across the aisle from me was bellowing pretty much non-stop. The mother tried every trick in the book — a pacifier, a story, a snack, a back rub. Little Person wasn’t playing. My seatmate was a hard-charging executive-type male. He had finally had enough. “Can’t you keep that child quiet?” he demanded. “Gee, I wish I could,” the mother replied, with more equanimity than the hard-charger deserved. “Kids shouldn’t be allowed on planes,” he huffed, before diving back into his laptop. Even in settings where seniors predominate, children are seen as the enemy. I well remember visiting an elderly relative in Florida many years ago. She lived in a condominium on the Atlantic Ocean. You had to

be at least 60 years old to own a unit there. After we arrived, the relative invited my family for a swim in the pool. We accepted eagerly. But our pleasure turned to pain when we immediately noticed a sign about ten feet high. The entire left half of it was the word NO, in red paint. Along the right half ran a litany of The Forbidden: Horseplay, eating, swimming while wearing a diaper, loud music, revealing bikinis, noisy conversation. The sign might as well have said: GRANDCHILDREN STAY HOME. I don’t mean to tar every senior with a big wide brush. Many, many older people are absolutely terrific with young kids, even kids who aren’t relatives. They coo, soothe and defuse any situation. They obviously remember what it was like to have been on the firing line as a young parent. As for the others, one thought: Kids who are misbehaving in public places don’t want to cause a stir. Usually, something else is causing the outbreak. Hunger. Fatigue. Boredom. An absolutely totally awfully rotten older sister. Maybe all of the above. One trick that seniors might want to try is getting involved. On the plane with Noisy Little Person, I decided to try it. “May I walk your daughter for a minute?” I asked the beleaguered Mom. She accepted with obvious relief. I bundled the little girl into her blanket and held her against my shoulder. I rocked her lightly as we marched down toward first class, then back, then up, then back. I confess that I even hummed a few bars of a lullaby. By the time I got back to Beleaguered Mom, the child was fast asleep. Mom smiled. Child snored. I beamed. As usual, getting involved was its own best reward. Bob Levey is a national award-winning columnist.

(301) 261-5747 or email info@encorecreativity.org. Program details and registration forms are available online at www.encorecreativity.org.

Ongoing

DANCE THE NIGHT (OR DAY) AWAY Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center has dances every Friday at 9 p.m., Sunday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. and some

Saturdays at 9 p.m. Daytime dances are held on Monday and Thursday afternoons at noon. A complimentary group dance lesson is included in the $15 admission price an hour before general dancing begins. For further information and directions, call (301) 326-1181 or see www.HollywoodBallroomDC.com.

BEACON BITS

May 17

50+ EMPLOYMENT EXPO

The Jewish Council for the Aging will sponsor a 50+ Employment Expo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, May 17. The free event will be held at the Marriott North Bethesda Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd., N. Bethesda, Md. More than 50 recruiters from nonprofit, government, healthcare, retail and technology industries will be represented, along with information on community resources. Seminars will cover interviewing skills, career changes, resume writing and online job searching. The keynote speaker will be WJLA-TV news anchor Maureen Bunyan. For more information, call (301) 255-4200 or (703) 425-0999, or visit www.accessjca.org.

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Arts & Style

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

ANSWERS TO SCRABBLE

ONE BIG HAPPY By Rick Detorie

ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD

Letters to editor From page 2 death, other (mostly younger) persons are not comfortable enough with us to let that happen. They tend to roll their eyes and want to change the subject. The Beacon could truly lead the way in

opening up the subject for discussion. There are focus groups on everything under the sun, so I hope you might conduct such a group by means of the newspaper. In any event, thank you again for your always “sober reflections.” Barbara Young Greenbelt, Md.

Classifieds cont. from page 54. Wanted 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. LOOKING FOR STAIR LIFT in good condition and working. Please contact me at 202361-7429.

Wanted WANTED: ANTIQUE ELECTRONICS, engineers’ estates, Hi-Fi Stereo, huge old loudspeakers, ham radios, records, professional quality musical instruments, antique computers, scientific curiosities. 202-527-9501, vcvdc@msn.com. STAMP COLLECTIONS, AUTOGRAPHS purchased/appraised – U.S., worldwide, covers, paper memorabilia. Stamps are my specialty – highest price paid! Appraisals. Phone Alex, 301-309-6637. Stampex1@gmail.com. WE BUY JUST ABOUT ANYTHING – Jewelry to coins, watches to tools, silver to toys, & clocks to artwork. Call Greg 717-6587954. No middle man, no wasted calls. Call me, talk to me, deal with me personally. One piece threw entire collections or whole & partial estates! Let me help you, give me a call 717-658-7954.

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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 at the right. 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 accept responsibility for the integrity of either. Respondents to classified advertising should always use caution and their best judgment. EMPLOYMENT & REAL ESTATE ADS: We will not knowingly or intentionally accept advertising in violation of federal, state, and local laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status or handicap in connection with employment or the sale or rental of real estate.

Business & Employment Opportunities EXPERIENCED PHONE SALESPEOPLE to sell news services for 50-year-old company. Endorsed by Grant Professionals Association. Flexible weekday hours. Near Silver Spring Metro. 301-588-6380 x134. A RESPONSIBLE PERSON NEEDED for part-time office work for a luxury, boutique tour operator. Travel experience helpful, but not essential. Knowledge of Outlook, Microsoft and excellent communication skills, especially good writing skills, attention to detail and ability to work unsupervised required. You will work at our Germantown, MD office, 4-5 hours daily, Monday – Friday. Excellent pay and very interesting work for the right person. If interested, please email ymbarnes@verizon.net or call 240350-5643. HEALTH CARE AGENCY is hiring commercial representatives. Salary based on commission with possibility to be the next office manager. Send resume to: onejoboffer@hotmail.com.

Caregivers ASSISTED LIVING HOME – Compassionate, cost effective, professional medical staff and in a home-like environment in Silver Spring. Maryland State Licensed. Transportation, recreation, shopping, and clinical support. Call 301-944-4600. PRIVATE HOME HEALTH AIDE Certified CNA/GNA, certified medical technician, certified patient care technician, certified pharmacy technician. Over 15 years of home care and hospice care experience. Reliable, kind and has a passion to care. Call 240-367-2267 or 240-422-9266. CNA / MED TECH ELDERLY CARE for live-in or live-out, taking care of the elderly. Over 15 years experience. Own transportation. Excellent references upon request. Please call 202-710-3127. DONNA CAROL’S SERVICE (301-593-0521) – Nursing assist, companionship, transportation, general cleaning, daily personal care, meal preparation, laundry, overnight care, social outings. LW references. ELDERLY CAREGIVER & COMPANIONSHIP reliable and experienced (10 years of experience), housekeeper for seniors. I have great references. I can go to doctor’s appointments and run errands. Call Gisela at 301-768-7150. Gigi.pat@hotmail.com. COMPANION. Experienced, compassionate, mature, native English-speaking woman available for part-time care with elderly, which is my passion and my joy. References. Contact Maggie at 202-237-5760.

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Caregivers CARING, LOVING, DEPENDABLE, experienced, hard working CNA is available to work immediately. Live-in. Excellent references. Please call Margaret 240-425-3550. HOME CARE COMPANION – compassionate lady will care for your loved one. Seniors/adults with disabilities welcomed. Own transportation, English speaking, 10 years experience with excellent references. Please call 240-426-3548 for more information, and kindly leave me a message. CNA – CAREGIVER – have 20 years of experience taking care of the elderly. Reliable, caring, and dependable. Will work full/part-time, Monday to Friday, Live-in/out. Have references. Call 240-398-0334.

Computer Services PROBLEM WITH YOUR PC/MAC OR NETWORK? Computer Systems Engineer will come to you with help. Call: D. Guisset at 301-642-4526. COMPUTER LESSONS – Personal Computer training at your home. Email, Internet, general computer use. Windows 8, Smartphone/tablet, digital camera. Learn at your own pace with gentle & patient tutor. We also troubleshoot problems & setup new computers. Teaching Seniors since 1996. Senior Discount. Call David, 301-762-2570, COMPUTERTUTOR. COMPUTER REPAIR AND TUTORING. Will come to your home and fix your computer. Also give lessons on how to use/understand your computer. John 301-990-9393.

For Sale/Rent: Real Estate LOOKING TO TAKE THE LEAP? I’ll take you on a tour of the community, show you floor plans, discuss campus amenities, & offer how to best coordinate your move. I will preview units & contact you with a match. I also offer exceptional service selling your home. I’m a Seniors Specialist, Buyer Broker, Top 1% of Agents Nationwide, and a Leisure World resident! You can see my current listings on page 36. Contact me: 301-580-5556, SueHeyman@aol.com, www.SueHeyman.com, Weichert, Realtors. LOOKING FOR A QUIET AND FRIENDLY WOMAN between the ages of 55-70 to share my lovely home in a quiet area of Silver Spring, MD. Must be strict vegetarian, non-smoker, and nondrinker. The rent is $600/month including utilities. Call Carol at 301-754-1289 between 6:30PM – 8:30PM. LEISURE WORLD® - $279,000. 3BR 2FB “M” in Fairways. Close to elevator, golf course view, table space kitchen. 1530 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $139,000. 3BR 2FB “Ellicott” model with table space kitchen, separate dining room, separate laundry room, ground level patio, lots of extras. 1340 sq ft., Stan Moffson, Weichert Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $224,900. 2/3BR 2FB “Sherwood” model Patio home. End of group, custom reconfiguration with Great Room, tons of storage, enclosed patio, recent paint and carpet. 1400 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - RENTAL - $1400. 2BR, 1-1/2BA “C” in “Greens” New paint and carpet, move in ready. 950 sq ft, Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $108,000. Berkeley townhouse. 2BR 1full 2 half baths, freshly painted, new carpet, renovated and ready to move in. 1600 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463.

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING RATES Deadlines and Payments: Ad text and payment is due by the 20th 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. Private Party Text Ads: For individuals seeking to buy or sell particular items, or place a personal ad. Each ad is $15 for 25 words, 25 cents for each additional word. Business Text Ads: For parties engaged in an ongoing business enterprise. Each ad is $35 for 25 words, 50 cents for each additional word. Note: Each real estate listing counts as one business text ad. Send your classified ad with check or money order, payable to the Beacon, to:

The Beacon, D.C. Classified Dept. P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915-2227 For information about display advertising, or to request a media kit, call (301) 949-9766. For Sale/Rent: Real Estate

Volunteer Opportunities

HOME FOR RENT: Ideal for 65-plus couple or two unrelated companions. One-Level, contemporary home (1,800 sq. ft.) in Hollin Hills, Alexandria, VA. 3BR/2FB, LR, DR, eat-in kitchen, den, front/back gardens and patios. Rent $2,800 (furnished) or $2,500 (unfurnished); includes monthly cleaning service; yard maintenance; house membership with Mt. Vernon at Home. Contact Michael at mstanges@me.com or 703-356-5439.

COLUMBIA LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND, a nonprofit organization serving people of all ages in the Washington metropolitan area who are blind and visually impaired, is recruiting adult volunteers to serve as Readers and Friendly Visitors. Participants in the Readers & Friendly Visitors program are adult volunteers who are matched one-on-one with blind or visually impaired adults. Volunteers arrange weekly meetings with clients at their homes to assist with activities, such as reading mail, grocery shopping or running errands. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Jocelyn Hunter at 202-454-6422 or jhunter@clb.org to attend an upcoming orientation.

For Sale YARD SALE benefitting Haiti school classrooms: Rent outdoor table $20 by April 4 to sell your goods at St. Elizabeth Church, Rockville April 20. 301-881-1380. HUMMEL FIRST EDITION 1971 annual plate, $100. Other Hummel plate years, bells and figurines available. David Winter Cottages, The Village, $250. Other cottages available. 571-313-0065. CEMETERY PLOT, (KD2-82-4) King David Memorial Park, Falls Church, VA. Current value $4650, Sell $2400. Seller pays all transfer fees. 301-258-7633. AREA ARTIST SALE, 450 original pieces in all media. April 5-7, 2-5p.m. Woman’s Club, 7931 Connecticut Ave. at Dunlop. Benefits scholarships. Free admission/parking. 301-652-8480. 2 SALVADOR DALI woodblock prints from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Signed and framed. Asking $900 for the pair. Can email pictures if desired. Call Steve 410-913-1653.

Home/Handyman Services ABC CARPET Shop at home 703-398-6040. Carpet with pad install $1.99/sqft. Hardwood install $5.99/sqft. Laminate install $3.99/sqft. All include with material and labor.

Miscellaneous BUDGET CUT CONCERNS – Your Mobil Phone Can Help. National Company has partnered with TMobile with others include AT&T and Bank of America. Get Unlimited International Text, Quality Talk, & 4G Date on Nationwide & Puerto Rico 4G Network. $49.00/Month to Free! No Contract! Great Customer Service, Multi Country plans. Call 804-7145787, equidale@gmail.com, www.Get3and4GforFree.com.

Personal Services VAN MAN – For your driving needs. Shopping, appointments, pick-up and deliver – airport van. Call Mike 301-565-4051.

Wanted HIGHEST CASH PAID FOR ANTIQUES, ESTATES - Cash paid for antiques, estates. I’ve been in the antiques business for over 25 years. I live in Silver Spring and work in Bethesda, I’ve been selling on EBAY for over 15 years. I pay the most for your valuable treasures. Buying the following items: furniture, art, silver, gold, old coins, jewelry, wrist watches, military items including, guns, rifles, knifes, swords, medals, etc. also buying old toys, dolls, trains, books, tools, musical instruments, old sports items, memorabilia, gold, baseball, fishing, old photos, comic books, etc. Please call TOM at 240-476-3441, Thank you. STERLING SILVER will pay top dollar for your silver marked “Sterling”, “925” “800.” Please no silver plate. Want flatware, bowls, plates, candlesticks, etc. Call Richard 301-646-0101. WANTED: OLDER VIOLINS, GUITARS, BANJOS, MANDOLINS, ETC. Musician/collector will pay cash for older string instruments. Jack (301) 279-2158. CASH FOR JEWELRY: Buying jewelry, diamonds, gold, platinum, silver, watches, coins, flatware, etc. We make house calls. Ask for Tom. Call anytime 301-654-8678 or 301-654-0838. BUYING MILITARY MEMORABILIA WW2, WW1, Civil War uniforms, weapons, photos and items associated with US, German, Japanese or items of other Military History. DAVE 240-464-0958. WE PAY CASH for antique furniture, quality used furniture, early American art, pottery, silver, glassware, paintings, etc. Single items to entire estates. Call Reggie or Phyllis at DC 202726-4427, MD 301-332-4697. MILITARY ITEMS WANTED: Collector seeks to purchase military uniforms; flight jackets, patches, insignia, medals, etc. from the Civil War through Vietnam. Especially seeking U.S. Army Air Corps, USMC, Airborne, and German/Japanese/Italian items from WWII. ALSO BUYING old Boy Scout, Airline Items, Toys, Lighters. Call Dan (202) 841-3062.

LEISURE WORLD® - $109,900. 2BR 2FB “Folkstone” model, rarely available condo with fenced patio and level access to the street. Separate dining room, updated table space kitchen, large laundry/storage room, 1348 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert Realtors, 301-9283463.

PET SITTER. Experienced with dog & cats. Temp or long-term. Can give meds. Montgomery Co., including Leisure World. Excellent references. Contact MaryBeth 240-558-4013, m.b.mason@comcast.net.

WE’LL BUY YOUR HOME Without the Hassles. Local Company in business since 2003. BBB Accredited. Call 877-948-3232 today for details. No Obligation or Fees.

DC 24HR MOBILE NOTARY PUBLIC We make visits to homes, offices, hospitals and hotels to notarize POA, vehicles, loan signings, adoption papers and more. 202-468-6502, Angela.

CASH FOR ESTATE BUYOUTS, estate cleanouts, jewelry to furniture, one item or whole state. Free Estimate, Will Travel. 301-520-0755.

LEISURE WORLD RENT OR SELL – One Bedroom, Fairways South: Furnished or Unfurnished, Ground Floor on Golf Course. Doreen / Jeff 301-963-8303.

MOTHER WILL DRIVE you to your appointments, church, shopping and assist you. Honest, reliable. References. DC & Maryland. Bee 301949-4873.

Classifieds cont. on p. 53

WILL TYPE YOUR MEMOIRS, manuscripts, etc. For info and rates, call 703-671-1854.

VINYL RECORDS WANTED from 1950 through 1985. Jazz, Rock-n-Roll, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae and Disco. 33 1/3 LPs, 45s or 78s, Larger collections of at least 100 items wanted. Please call John, 301-596-6201.


WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — A P R I L 2 0 1 3

Puzzle Page

Say you saw it in the Beacon

Crossword Puzzle Daily crosswords can be found on our website: www.TheBeaconNewspapers.com Click on Puzzles Plus Ward Words by Stephen Sherr 1

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Across 1. Holder for a Tall Decaf Mocha Frappuccino 4. Atkins diet no-no 8. Sample scents 13. “What have I done?” 14. Santa Monica landmark (not on land) 15. ___ meenie miney mo 16. TËEËTËRËA 19. Erupts 20. Fraternal group 21. Enterprise-ing start 22. Parking places 24. Be vanquished 27. “Canoe”, for example 30. Performs at a dinner theatre 31. Snack bit for mares and does 32. Small dots of land 36. Intense anger 37. Buffoon 38. Spice measure (abbrev.) 40. 50% of the population of 56 Down 41. Fellas 43. Response to a doctor 44. “We agree” 45. RISE 49. Least wordy 51. Not now 52. Rejections 53. Looks through the scope 55. Lauder, the only woman on TIME magazine’s list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century 58. “CAW! I’m busy; I’ll have to caw you back later” 62. Rap producer Sam, named almost like the golfer 63. Cubemeister Rubik 64. Track and field competition 65. ___ as a beet 66. Dance maneuver 67. It can conclude cant 1. Karate maneuver 2. Like non sequiturs

34

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Answers on p. 53.

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Scrabble answers on p. 53.

55

3. Group meet-ups 4. EMT’s procedure 5. Congressional page, for example 6. Shine back 7. Rather not; Jennings not 8. Sun. speech 9. Unprecedented 10. Ironic peace/time divider 11. Who’s position 12. Govt. employees 13. Words in 10 Steinbeck titles 17. Pet in The Thin Man movies 18. ìGod doesn’t require ___ succeed, he only requires that you try.î (Mother Teresa) 23. Signs of theatrical success 25. Unit of a snowman’s demise 26. Driver’s lic. and passport 27. Not tacit 28. Light beige shade 29. Prosecutors (abbrev.) 33. Citrus producer 34. Bedtime story penultimate word 35. Transmit an e-mail 37. Egyptian snakes 38. Scintilla 39. “It’s freezing, ___ the door” 42. Its westernmost pt. is in Portugal 43. Where to pick up easels and paint 44. Mind-blowing 46. Have on 47. Stage whispers 48. “That was a close one!” 49. Burgs 50. Gravelly ridge 52. Letters on a weather satellite 54. Letters on a weather vane 56. Word in only one Steinbeck novel title 57. Bragger’s suffix 59. Tiny 60. Insert a rider 61. Keystone ___

Answers on page 53.


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April 2013 DC Beacon Edition  

April 2013 DC Beacon Edition