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VOL.9, NO.4




More than 100,000 readers throughout Greater Baltimore

Medical marijuana for Maryland?

Legislature considers legalization Miran’s personal experience has made her passionate about the bill now before the state legislature that would make Maryland the nation’s 16th state allowing physicianapproved use of medical marijuana. The chief sponsor of HB291 is physician and Delegate Dan Morhaim (R-Baltimore County). The billed is cross-filed in the

APRIL 2011

I N S I D E …


By Carol Sorgen After battling chronic leukemia for a decade, Lutherville resident Deborah Miran had exhausted all her options, from approved drugs to clinical trials. Her remaining hope to keep the condition in check was a bone marrow transplant. Fortunately, Miran’s sister was an ideal match, and in 2006, Miran, now 56, underwent the arduous process to receive the life-giving bone marrow. Following the transplant, the immunosupressant drugs she had to take left her nauseated, with no appetite, no sense of taste, and no energy, even as her body was working mightily to rebuild new cells. As a result, she was losing about two pounds a week for more than two months. “My doctors wanted me to eat more but I just couldn’t,” Miran said. Then her oncologist commented that marijuana might spark her appetite. Though illegal and unavailable through her doctor, Miran felt she had no choice. To this day, Miran doesn’t know how her husband found the marijuana she needed — “he made a few calls” — but she does know that it was the “single most helpful thing” in relieving her nausea and increasing her appetite to halt her weight loss. “It did the trick,” said Miran, pointing out that she used the marijuana solely for medical reasons, and once her weight had stabilized in about two months she no longer had any use for it. Miran views using marijuana for medical purposes as akin to taking a Tylenol for a headache. She said it’s a short-acting drug and clears the system quickly. She would take a few “hits” before dinner, feel hungry about 20 minutes later and have something to eat, and then the effects were gone. “When the need is no longer there, the drug is no longer there,” she said.

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The charm of yesteryear in rural Virginia; plus, mystery trips that surprise and delight (most) travelers page 23

ARTS & STYLE To combat side effects of a bone marrow transplant for leukemia some years ago, Deborah Miran turned to marijuana, which helped increase her appetite and relieve her nausea. The Maryland legislature is now considering a bill that would legalize the use of marijuana for those with a doctor’s prescription.

Cirque du Soleil traces human evolution in a show under the big top; plus, photographs never before exhibited page 27

Senate as SB308 by Republican Jamie Raskin and Democrat David Brinkley, both cancer survivors. The Maryland Senate passed similar legislation last year by an overwhelming margin of 35-12, but it was held up when House Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Vallario assigned the bill to a workgroup rather than giving it a thumbs up or thumbs down. In the current legislative session, Delegate Morhaim, who is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine, has filed a new medical marijuana bill that would allow patients whose doctors recommend marijuana to purchase it from regulated dispensing centers

and protect them from arrest. Maryland’s current law provides medical marijuana patients with a limited affirmative defense in court, but no protection from arrest. Patients can still be given a $100 fine that results in a criminal conviction. Dan Riffle, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), argues this is highly inadequate. “This means that, in addition to an unjust fine and misdemeanor conviction, patients have no legal way to obtain doctor-recommended medicine.” Even if the new law passes, the possession See MARIJUANA, page 16

LAW & MONEY k Is it too late to buy stocks? k Reaping dividends


FITNESS & HEALTH 10 k New blood test for cancer k How to save at the pharmacy VOLUNTEERS & CAREERS k It’s never too late to learn





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Resenting retirement [Publisher’s Note: This month I cede my overbearing. usual space to a guest columnist I hope He doesn’t want her to go shopping, you’ll enjoy.] scoot up to Atlantic City, or Ah, men. do any amount of Not Much Just when it seems as if in between. He wants her to we’ve made progress — we do be at home and to stay at dishes, we change diapers — home, to greet him as he here comes evidence that comes in the door each some guys are still living in evening. caves, or should be. He hasn’t said he’d like her Unfortunately, many such to be wearing a see-through men are at or near retirement. negligee and mixing him a And it’s retirement that expos- HOW I SEE IT double martini, but I figure es their caveman-ness. those are next. By Bob Levey Say hello to a woman we’ll Roxanne asked my advice. call Roxanne — which I did one recent af- She said she has asked all her female ternoon. friends what to do, and the consensus is We exchanged the usual what-do-you-do “Tell him to get over it.” biographies. She let me know that she had But she’s not happy with that answer. just retired from the federal government She thought that my male perspective after 36 years of service. might offer a different view. She’s spending her time doing Pure It certainly does. Here’s what I told RoxPleasure — shopping till she drops, gam- anne, and would tell anyone else whose bling jaunts to Atlantic City, and a whole spouse suddenly acts super-selfish: lot of Not Much in between. The issue here isn’t retirement and it “I figure I’ve earned it all,” she said. isn’t men-are-from-Mars, women-are-fromWho could disagree? Her husband could. Venus. The issue is timing and communiHe is still working, even though he and cation. his wife are the same age (55). He has beDidn’t Roxanne and Caveman know far come very jealous, possessive, cranky and in advance that she’d be retiring in late

Beacon The






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The Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to inform, serve, and entertain the citizens of the Greater Baltimore area, and is privately owned. Subscriptions are available via third-class mail ($12), prepaid with order. MD 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.

horizon. But if a couple doesn’t discuss it, the cloud rains all over them, and each blames the other. New score: Caveman minus two, Roxanne minus two. Could this couple discuss the situation now and reach some sort of jerrybuilt agreement? “He refuses,” Roxanne said. Which puts Caveman in the lead: minus three to minus two. Caveman locked up the championship for good when I asked the bottom-line question: Does he truly believe that Roxanne shouldn’t have a life — even an afternoon — separate from him? Obviously, he doesn’t. Obviously, he regards his wife in some way as his adjunct; his possession. Obviously, he wishes he could do Not Much himself. But he isn’t being honest about that. Instead of expressing that thought, he has transformed it into: If I can’t be happy, I don’t want you to be happy, either. Obviously, Caveman deserves another minus in the ledger. He captures the family crown, minus four to minus two. Three (Bronx) cheers. I sincerely hope Caveman won’t want to put the trophy on his rec room shelf. I sincerely hope he and Roxanne can find a way through this mess. But someone will have to bend, and both of them will have to listen. They came into this marriage with four ears between them. All four should be open and on high alert. Bob Levey is a national award-winning columnist.

Letters to the editor Readers are encouraged to share their opinion on any matter addressed in the Beacon as well as on political and social issues of the day. Mail your Letter to the Editor to The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, Md. 20915, or e-mail to Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification.

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2010? Didn’t they discuss whether he would do so at the same time? Didn’t they ask (or in her case, reveal) how she’d be spending her time once the office no longer beckoned? The ugly truth, according to Roxanne, is that no such conversations ever took place. “I just figured it would become ‘Me Time,’” she told me. “But I never checked what that would mean with him.” Which makes the score Caveman zero, Roxanne minus one. But Caveman never asked those questions, either. Did he assume that Roxanne would sit at home all day and only go out when he could accompany her? Did he assume that Roxanne was his possession? Did he assume that he had a larger vote in the matter because he still brings home a paycheck? Assuming is the enemy of all relationships, at all stages of life. New score: Caveman minus one, Roxanne minus one. So why didn’t Caveman retire at the same moment that Roxanne did? “He said we couldn’t afford it yet,” she told me. “He said that because of all our credit card debts and our house being underwater, someone had to keep earning a full salary.” All very reasonable and very typical (especially in this day and age). But was their financial situation a revelation to either one of them? No house goes underwater in five minutes. Big debts don’t accumulate overnight. It’s often very easy to see financial trouble forming far away, like a cloud on the

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Dear Editor: Today I had the extreme pleasure of receiving from my son Joseph the Beacon paper with the article on shingles (February 2011). After suffering for two months, I am finally in to the post-pain of shingles. My son was so happy that he found this article and said he was glad to read about shingles. No one can possibly tell you of the pain that it causes. I am praying that everyone will get this shingles shot, and hope Medicare will help pay the expense of it. No doctor can really cure this horrible disease. All they do is try to help. How I wish that I had had a little more knowledge about it. But now I do upon reading the Beacon. Thank you. Continue to bring great stories to people, especially seniors. I will make sure that the Beacon will be in my home in the future. Theresa Krause Baltimore

Dear Editor: Very helpful discussion and a reminder to take advantage of a valuable immunization option (“Explaining shingles and how to avoid it,” February). However, the article closed with a confusing and inadequate comment on the billing issue. Medicare D plans do pay for the vaccine in accord with the provider’s policy. Medicare Part B will compensate Medicare physicians for the administration. The editorial comment that 45 percent of physician’s offices do not know how to handle the muddled process is discouraging since the JAMA and Annals of Internal Medicine (and probably others) have provided instructions and the proper ICD billing codes for administration of vaccines. A. Lear Via e-mail


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Money Law &

AVOID HIGH BANK CHARGES Pick the right account, watch out for service fees, and don’t overdraw your account to keep checking account costs in check. See page 7.

Is it too late to return to the stock market? By Mark Jewell Investors are finally inching back into the stock market. But are they too late? While millions sought refuge in traditionally stable bonds over the past two years, they missed a more than 90 percent rally in stocks. Suddenly bonds don’t look so safe, and some of the $11 trillion that Americans have parked in mutual funds is shifting back to stocks. After putting more than $570 billion into bonds over the past two years, mutual fund investors reversed course last fall, worried that the prospect of rising interest rates and the growing deficits of state and local governments were bringing bond prices down. In the last two months of 2010, investors withdrew a net $23 billion from bond funds, according to industry consultant Strategic Insight. At the same time, corporate bottom lines are improving. So investors are finally starting to take another look at stocks after being burned in the 2008 financial crisis and scared by the market’s “flash crash” single-day plunge in May. “Most investors have been in a capital-

preservation mentality, because they saw so much of their net worth destroyed in the bear market,” said Chris Jones, chief investment officer with J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Few have fully recovered since the stock market began sliding from its historic peak in October 2007. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is 17 percent shy of that level, despite recent gains. The momentum has shifted, and now, with a couple of years of solid market performance, many risk-averse investors may be ready to get back in. But there are cautionary voices. The economic recovery is still fragile in the eyes of Tom Roseen, an analyst with fund-tracker Lipper Inc. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a little bit of a pullback over the next couple months, as people re-evaluate their portfolios and take a look at how much the market has gained,” he said.

Bond losses boost stocks Until recently, investors got a decent return from their play-it-safe strategy. Diver-

sified bond funds gained an average of 10.8 percent last year, beating their average annual gain of 6.2 percent over the past five years, according to Morningstar. Still, nearly all types of bonds lost money in the fourth quarter of 2010, with government bonds taking the biggest hit. This downturn helped fuel a shift into stocks — most notably abroad. Mutual funds buying overseas stocks took in a net $72 billion last year, while investors pulled a net $49 billion out of funds buying American stocks. There are signs that U.S. stocks are becoming more attractive to mutual fund investors. For one week in December, domestic stock funds took in more money than investors pulled out. The last time that had happened was last April. And the pace of withdrawals is slowing. Market optimism is also improving. For 19 consecutive weeks, surveys by the American Association of Individual Investors have shown a greater-than-average belief that stock prices will rise. The last time the surveys had such a long streak of bullish sentiment was in late 2004. Yet the movement of money because of

troubles with municipal bonds offers a reminder of how important it is for investors to remain even-keeled. “You simply have got to put aside the emotion and believe in what you are taught — to buy low and sell high,” said Carol Clemens, a 64-year-old retiree from Edmond, Okla. She scored big when she snapped up shares of Ford for around $2 when it appeared U.S. automakers might go under a couple of years ago. The stock now trades above $18, thanks to smart moves by Ford’s management and a strengthening economy. Clemens’ portfolio is about two-thirds stocks and one-third bonds, and she’s recently been trimming her stake in bonds. Belief that the economic recovery is on track has recently driven up long-term interest rates from record lows. This has led investors to pull out of low-yielding Treasurys. Rising rates also are making it costlier for state and local governments to borrow. Fear of further rate increases also is causing prices for many previously issued See STOCK MARKET, page 5

Why now’s a good time to seek dividends By Mark Jewell Glance at 2010 returns and it’s easy to see why mutual fund investors might be tempted to chase the stock market’s hot spots. Thinking small paid off big last year. Funds specializing in stocks of smaller companies gained an average of 23 percent, compared with 13.6 percent for largecap funds, according to Lipper Inc. But avoiding those big stocks could mean missing out on one of this year’s best opportunities. There’s growing potential in dividends, and they’re more likely to be paid by larger companies. That’s because smaller companies generally reinvest profits in expanding their business. A couple of reasons why dividend investing is likely to pay off this year: An extension of the Bush-era tax cuts means Uncle Sam will continue treating dividend income favorably. And corporate America is sitting on hoards of cash. During an economic recov-

ery, corporations will be more inclined to raise their dividend payouts. “Traditional dividend investing is back in style as investors look for total return, stability and income,” said Howard Silverblatt, a Standard & Poor’s analyst. “2010 was a very good turnaround year.” Yet there’s still a lot of ground to make up before payouts reach their pre-recession levels.

How dividends work Dividends are the quarterly distributions that companies pay to shareholders. In turn, mutual funds holding dividendpaying stocks pass that money on to their investors. Dividends are important because historically they make up more than 40 percent of the total return of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, with the rest coming from rising stock prices. Large-cap stocks — generally, those with market values of more than $3 billion,

the cutoff for stocks in the S&P 500 — are the first place to look for dividends. About 75 percent of the stocks that make up the index pay dividends. Only 39 percent of smaller companies below the cutoff pay them. Here are six factors to watch: 1. A two-year tax holiday: For much of 2010, it appeared likely that taxes would rise on dividend income. Since 2003, dividend taxes have topped out at 15 percent. The extension of the Bush-era tax cuts means that historically low rate will remain for another two years. Without the tax deal signed into law last year, dividend investors in the top income bracket would have faced a rate of nearly 40 percent. For top earners, the extension means a savings of nearly a quarter on every dollar of dividend income they generate in a taxable account. Investors will save nearly $75 billion over two years, Silverblatt estimated. 2. Payouts expected to rise in

2011: The economic recovery is gaining strength, leaving companies more confident that they can afford to partially restore previous dividend levels. This comes after a tough two years when dividend investors took a huge hit as companies slashed and, in come cases, eliminated dividends to ride out the recession. Announcements of dividend increases rose 45 percent in 2010 compared with 2009. Instances of companies reducing payouts fell 82 percent, according to S&P. Silverblatt expects these trends to accelerate in 2011 as companies spend more of their recently expanded cash coffers. “Companies are going to move quickly to demonstrate that they are well into the recovery mode, and dividend increases will be their early tool of choice to ensure that this happens,” he said. 3. Spring could be a bonanza: Companies are preparing to report 2010 finanSee DIVIDENDS, page 6

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The Conflict Resolution Center of Baltimore County (CRC) presents a workshop to address planning for aging family members on Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m., at the Bykota Senior Center, 611 Central Ave., Towson. Find out how to discuss the often emotional and difficult issues in planning for aging family members, such as living arrangements for mom or dad, managing finances, making medical decisions, and talking with siblings and other family members about these matters. Suggested donation is $7. Call (410) 663-7070 for more information.

Elder Law • Advance Care Wills & Trusts Directives Estate Planning • Medicaid Planning Powers of Attorney • Probate

Mar. 23

• • • •


Yet many believe investor conservatism still runs deep, in part because of demographics. Baby boomers are beginning to retire in droves, and they’re drawn to the steady income and returns that bonds typically generate. Indeed, not everyone is declaring that

Strategic Estate Planning for Seniors

But bonds remain popular

“The numbers suggest a slow rebound for investor confidence in stocks,” said Strategic Insight’s Avi Nachmany. “But they’ll continue to buy bonds for the same reasons they bought them before: There’s an insatiable interest in income, and people are still scared.” — AP


So as bond prices decline, investors like Clemens will be looking for income from stocks that pay solid dividends. And as other investors step back into stocks, they may be questioning whether they’re making the classic mistake of buying in at the market’s peak. The S&P 500 is up 27 percent since Sept. 1, and at its highest point since August 2008. It finished 2010 with a return of 15 percent including dividends, more than twice the gain for a comparable bond index. J.P. Morgan’s Jones expects further stock gains in 2011, with a breakout year for growth stocks of companies whose earnings rapidly appreciate — think, whose stock price has tripled since March 2009. But Jones doesn’t think many investors are willing to get back into those richly priced stocks. Many market pros are predicting another year of double-digit gains. They point to an abundance of positive economic indicators: factories cranking up production, hiring activity picking up, growing corporate


Stock gains expected


bonds to drop. That’s because investors will be able to buy newly issued bonds paying higher interest.

investors have given up on bonds. Strategic Insight expects demand for bond funds will rebound in the first half of this year. A key reason is that bond yields still look pretty good compared with the current near-zero returns from cash investments such as money-market funds.

From page 4

investment in technology. Consumers also are more confident, thanks in part to the recent extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and a new cut in the Social Security payroll tax. If the market behaves like it has coming out of previous recessions, the S&P 500 could rise nearly 12 percent this year. That’s the average gain the index made in the one year immediately following this point in the economic cycle, a year and a half after the end of a recession. The analysis by Birinyi Associates examined market gains coming out of seven prior recessions. Another positive: Corporate earnings are rising. Around mid-year, Bob Doll, chief stock strategist at BlackRock, the world’s biggest money management company. expects profits of S&P 500 companies will top the record high they reached in June 2007. He notes that more companies have recently been boosting their earnings projections than scaling them back.


Stock market



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Dividends From page 4 cial results. With the uncertainty about dividend taxes settled for the next two years, expect a surge of announcements by companies planning to increase payouts in the spring.


That could inspire investor confidence and lift stock prices, said Joanna Bewick, co-manager of the Fidelity Strategic Dividend & Income Fund (FSDIX). Such announcements “send a long-term signal to investors, saying ‘We think we have a sustainable business model, and we can afford the dividend increase over the long term.’”


Apr. 16

CITYLIT FESTIVAL Baltimore native Jaimy Gordon, winner of the 2010 National Book

Award for fiction, is one of the many authors you can meet at the 8th annual CityLit Festival, on Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Enoch Pratt Central Library, 400 Cathedral St. For more information, call (410) 396-5430 or visit

4. Dividends will recover, but slowly: Although the dividend outlook is improving, it’s important to maintain perspective. Dividend cuts were so deep following the stock market meltdown that Silverblatt expects it will be 2013 before payouts return to 2008 levels. And that’s only if the economy cooperates. One example: General Electric said in December it would boost its quarterly payout by 2 cents to 14 cents per share. Back in 2008, the payout was 31 cents per share. 5. Bank stocks will continue to lag: Stocks of large banks are traditionally big dividend payers. But the market meltdown changed that. Banks were hurt more than most stocks, because the recession was driven by subprime mortgage troubles and a credit-market freeze. They’re recovering more slowly than other areas of the economy — one reason why funds specializing in financial stocks posted the third-smallest average return in 2010 (11 percent) among 21 stock fund cat-

egories that Morningstar tracks. 6. Dividend income could complement bond income: Fear over rising interest rates has cut into bond returns and reduced the prices investors are willing to pay for many types of bonds. Key reasons include improving expectations for the economy, and fear of long-term inflation. Those factors make dividends potentially attractive to investors looking to trim bond holdings and find alternative income sources. Historically, Bewick said dividend-paying stocks have fared better than bonds during rising inflation. It’s one reason her $815 million fund has recently increased its stake in dividend-paying stocks, particularly energy stocks like top holding Exxon Mobil. In a slow economic recovery, typically steady dividend-paying stocks, “could make up a greater proportion of investors’ overall returns than in the past,” she said. — AP


Apr. 26+


Turning 65? Ready to enroll in Medicare? Baltimore County Senior Insurance Assistance Program will provide educational presentations for those preparing to enter the complex world of Medicare coverage. Two sessions will be offered: Tuesday, April 26 at 6 p.m. and Tuesday, May 24 at 6 p.m. Both sessions will be held at the Cockeysville Library, 9833 Greenside Dr. Pre-registration is required. RSVP to (410) 887-2594 or email

Having trouble using the phone? Missing or misunderstanding words? Maryland Relay provides a free public service with equipment (free to qualifying Marylanders) and a system that make it possible, and simple, for you to use the phone again. Learn more:



Maryland Relay Customer Service 1-800-552-7724 (Voice/TTY)


Maryland Relay Department of Information Tech nnology 301 West Preston Street, Suite 1008A Baltimore, MD 21201


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How to avoid fees on checking accounts By Candice Choi First they took away free checking. Now banks are charging more for ATM withdrawals, stop payments on checks and other services. The encroaching fees on checking accounts come as the industry seeks ways to offset the impact of new regulations that limit key revenue sources. Most notably, banks are bracing for a cap on the fees they can collect from merchants whenever customers swipe their debit cards. Some estimate that the Federal Reserve’s proposed restriction could slash this income by as much as 70 percent, or about $14 billion a year, once it goes into effect this summer. Banks are also prohibited from automatically enrolling customers in overdraft programs, which have been an increasingly rich source of penalty-fee income. To make up for the losses, banks are quietly raising or introducing new account fees. But a sharp eye can help you avoid

them. Here are five ways to dodge fees on your checking account. 1. Pick the right account If you don’t pay close attention to notices from your bank, you may not realize if there’s been a change in the lineup of accounts and their features. At Citi, for example, customers who maintained a minimum balance of $1,500 previously enjoyed free checking. Now customers who sign up for the most basic checking account have to make at least five transactions a month to get an $8 monthly fee waived. Even if your bank hasn’t changed its menu of options, keep your eyes peeled. The industry is still feeling out ways to adjust to the new regulations. Bank of America, for example, is testing checking accounts with fees ranging from $6 to $25. The trial is limited to three states but is expected to go national sometime next year.


Mar. 31


The Liberty Senior Center will host a free presentation by Social Security on retirement benefits, survivor’s benefits and disability on Thursday, March 31 at 10 a.m. The center is located at 3525 Resource Dr. in Randallstown. For more information, call (410) 887-0780.

Mar. 25


Wealthy people do not splurge. They have learned to create a budget and live within their means. Join ReBuilding Baltimore in this workshop to help individuals and families create wealth by building an attainable budget that helps alter your lifestyle and achieve your financial goals. The workshop will take place on Friday, March 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fallsvillage Community Center, 5900 Green Meadow Pkwy. Register online at or call (443) 525-4013.


Medical Assistance Planning Asset Protection Guardianship


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Checking fees From page 7 have caused a headache, but at least it didn’t result in a penalty fee. But Bank of America recently started charging $12 for each deposited check that doesn’t clear. Statements that include check images are no longer free either. They now cost $3. Chase customers are looking at a spate of fee hikes, too. If a deposited check doesn’t clear, it will cost $12, up from $10. A stop payment will cost $34, up from $32. Domestic wire transfers will cost $30, up from $25, and online wire transfers will be $25, up from $20. Such fees don’t get a lot of attention because most customers don’t incur them regularly. But being aware can help inform your decisions and ensure you’re not caught off guard. 3. Don’t get robbed at the ATM A trip to the ATM could cost more if you’re not careful. To start, it might be better to print your

statement at home. Bank of America is now charging $3 if customers print an account summary at an ATM, up from $2. Chase recently began charging customers $1 to print recent account transactions. And the cost of using another bank’s ATM isn’t getting any cheaper. Not only will your own bank ding you, but so will the ATM operator. The combined cost for getting cash was almost $4 on average, according to a survey conducted last fall. Banks have already raised fees since that study came out. In November, Citi raised the fee for using another bank’s ATM from $1.50 to $2 for customers with entry-level accounts. At Chase, customers who use an ATM while overseas will be charged $5 starting next month, up from $3. 4. Tune in and opt out One of the fastest ways to rack up fees is by overdrawing your account. Now at least you can prevent that costly mistake by turning off the ability to do so. This wasn’t an option before July of last



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year, when it was industry standard to automatically enroll customers in overdraft programs — often with no way to opt out. Now that customers must be given a choice, banks are touting lower penalty fees to try and entice enrollment. But keep in mind that fees are still as high as $39 per violation. And if you don’t notice that you’ve overdrawn your account, you can quickly rack up hundreds of dollars in fees without realizing it. That’s even if you overdraw your account by just a few dollars at a time. If you opt out, on the other hand, the worst you’ll suffer is some momentary embarrassment when your transaction is denied at the register. 5. Take the money and run If you’re still not satisfied with your checking account, start shopping for a new place to park your cash.


Even though banks are pulling back, free checking is still widely available; 65 percent of checking accounts last year were free, according to When factoring in accounts that offer fee waivers, that number rose to 88 percent. So it might take some homework and a closer examination of your spending habits, but you should be able to find plenty of free checking options. If it’s service fees you’re worried about, banks sometimes waive certain fees for customers who keep higher balances. So consolidating your deposits — CDs, checking and savings accounts — at a single bank is worth considering. Another option is to check out smaller community banks or credit unions, which may offer more favorable terms and a — AP more intimate level of service.

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Health Fitness &

SUPPLEMENTS FOR SENSITIVE EYES If outdoor light hurts your eyes, try the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, along with artificial tears TARGETING DEPRESSION Researchers are seeking participants for a study targeting therapies for African Americans EYEING THE TRUTH Wearing glasses won’t make your eyesight worse (it just seems that way)

Blood test for cancer is becoming reality By Marilynn Marchione A blood test so sensitive that it can spot a single cancer cell lurking among a billion healthy ones is moving one step closer to being available at your doctor’s office. Boston scientists who invented the test, and healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, announced in January that they are joining forces to bring it to market. Four big cancer centers also will start studies using the experimental test this year. Stray cancer cells in the blood mean that a tumor has spread or is likely to, many doctors believe. A test that can capture such cells has the potential to transform care for many types of cancer, especially breast, prostate, colon and lung. Initially, doctors want to use the test to try to predict what treatments would be best for each patient’s tumor and find out quickly if they are working. “This is like a liquid biopsy” that avoids painful tissue sampling and may give a better way to monitor patients than periodic imaging scans, said Dr. Daniel Haber, chief of Massachusetts General Hospital’s cancer center and one of the test’s inventors. Ultimately, the test may offer a way to

screen for cancer besides the mammograms, colonoscopies and other less-thanideal methods used now. “There’s a lot of potential here, and that’s why there’s a lot of excitement,” said Dr. Mark Kris, lung cancer chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He had no role in developing the test, but Sloan-Kettering is one of the sites that will study it this year.

Would aid treatment decisions Many people have their cancers diagnosed through needle biopsies. These often do not provide enough of a sample to determine what genes or pathways control a tumor’s growth. Or the sample may no longer be available by the time the patient gets sent to a specialist to decide what treatment to prescribe. Doctors typically give a drug or radiation treatment and then do a CT scan two months later to look for tumor shrinkage. Some patients only live long enough to try one or two treatments, so a test that can gauge success sooner, by looking at cancer cells in the blood, could give patients more options. “If you could find out quickly, ‘this drug

is working, stay on it,’ or ‘this drug is not working, try something else,’ that would be huge,” Haber said. The only test on the market now to find tumor cells in blood — CellSearch, made by J&J’s Veridex unit — just gives a cell count. It doesn’t capture whole cells that doctors can analyze to choose treatments. Interest in trying to collect these cells soared in 2007, after Haber and his colleagues published a study of Mass General’s test. It is far more powerful than CellSearch and traps cells intact. It requires only a couple of teaspoons of blood and can be done repeatedly to monitor treatment or determine why a drug has stopped working and what to try next. “That’s what got the scientific community’s interest,” Kris said. Doctors can give a drug one day and sample blood the next day to see if the circulating tumor cells are gone, he explained.

Finding one in a billion The test uses a microchip that resembles a lab slide covered in 78,000 tiny posts, like bristles on a hairbrush. The posts are coated with antibodies that bind to tumor cells.

When blood is forced across the chip, cells ping off the posts like balls in a pinball machine. The cancer cells stick, and stains make them glow so researchers can count and capture them for study. The test can find one cancer cell in a billion or more healthy cells, said Mehmet Toner, a Harvard University bioengineer who helped design it. Researchers know this because they spiked blood samples with cancer cells and then searched for them with the chip. Studies of the chip have been published in the journals Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine. It is the most promising of several dozen that companies and universities are rushing to develop to capture circulating tumor cells, said Bob McCormack, technology chief for Veridex. The companies will start a research center at Mass General and will have rights to license the test from the hospital, which holds the patents. In a separate effort, Mass General, Sloan-Kettering, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and See CANCER TEST, page 12

Five ways to save money at the pharmacy By Dr. Kenny Lin With our nation still mired in a deep recession, many of us are having a tough time paying for prescription drugs — especially those for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. In fact, a Consumer Reports survey last year found that 28 percent of Americans have taken drastic steps to cut costs, like not filling their prescriptions, skipping dosages, and cutting pills in half without getting their doctor’s approval. There are, however, far safer approaches for saving money on prescription medications. Try these strategies: 1. Don’t assume new drugs are superior. Prescription drugs aren’t like software and cell phones. Newer versions aren’t necessarily better and may occasionally be inferior to older and less expensive pills. While prescription Clarinex for seasonal allergies is more expensive than over-thecounter Claritin, studies suggest it’s no

more effective. And prescription Nexium can be a pricey way to treat acid reflux when most heartburn sufferers can get substantial relief from cheaper, generic omeprazole. I also remember how excited doctors were about Vioxx for arthritis pain; we quickly switched patients away from ibuprofen, since Vioxx was thought to be easier on the stomach, but later regretted it when Vioxx was withdrawn from the market after being linked to heart attacks and strokes. 2. Avoid your doctor’s sample closet. Most family practices have a “sample closet” stocked with freebies of brandname prescription drugs for common conditions from high blood pressure and diabetes to asthma and allergies. When I was in training, I often gave financiallystrapped patients who were starting a new medication a month’s supply of samples instead of a prescription. Although it seemed like a money-saving

idea at the time, it wasn’t long before the samples ran out and my patients were left with the choice of paying for an expensive medication or switching to a less expensive drug they hadn’t tried before. A 2006 study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that practices that distributed free drug samples ultimately cost their patients an average of $7 more per prescription each month than practices that did not give out samples. 3. Go generic when possible. When your doctor suggests that you need a new medication, ask if it’s possible to prescribe a less costly or generic alternative that might be equally effective for your particular condition. Many pharmacies and discount chains offer a month’s supply of generic medications for $4 or a 90-day supply for $10. If you’re taking more than one medication for a condition, like high blood pressure, you might be able to cut costs by getting a generic pill that combines the two

medications. 4. Ask about drug discount plans. If you don’t have insurance coverage for prescription drugs, some pharmaceutical companies, as well as local and state government agencies, offer sizeable discounts on frequently prescribed medications for people who meet certain financial requirements. If you’re not eligible for Medicare, ask about the Together Rx Access program offered by drug companies. (See 5. Buy in bulk. If you’ve been taking a medication for three months or more, consider buying several months’ supply in bulk via mail order. The website www. provides a useful tool for comparing drug prices among reputable online pharmacies. Patients should check with their doctors before going this route, just in case their doctor is planning to make alterations in dosing or frequency. © 2011 U.S. News and World Report

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New technologies ease everyday tasks By Barbara Ruben From easier-to-use keyboards and cell phones to innovative ways to read and listen to books, technology is making it easier to communicate and use the computer. Here are a few new products and services: The MoreKeyboard has larger keys with large print designed to benefit those who are physically challenged, visually impaired or larger-framed. The easy-to-see, raised lettering enables those with vision problems to type more accurately. MoreKeyboard keys are 25 percent larger than regular keys. Yet, the keyboard is 18 by 7 inches and takes up about the same amount of desk space as a regular keyboard. Also important, the keyboard is designed to keep one’s wrists in a neutral position — important to avoid pain and reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. To assist with this, the keyboard has front and back legs with three different height adjustments. The keyboard sells for $69.95. For more information, see

Read to distant grandkids One of the joys of grandparenting is reading books with grandchildren, but that’s difficult when you live far apart. A new service called Readeo allows families to read together in real time over the Internet. Readeo combines video chat with children’s books to create BookChat, intended for picture-book age children and their families. Users need a computer with broadband (high-speed) Internet access and a webcam (a small camera device that sits on your desk or computer monitor). You don’t need to download software to use the site. Readeo integrates video chat (similar to services such as Skype) with digital children’s books so that those on both ends of the conversation can see each other as well as the book on their screens simultaneously.


Apr. 27+


Find out how you can enjoy better health as you age in the Better Health and Wellness workshop offered by the Senior Institute at CCBC Essex from April 27 to June 29, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information or to register for the Wednesday sessions, call (443) 840-5842.

Mar. 26


St. Joseph Medical Center will host a free diabetes fair on Saturday, March 26 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at 7601 Osler Dr., Towson. Join physicians, nurses, diabetes educators and nutritionists from St. Joe’s Diabetes Management Center. For more details, call (410) 337-1382.

Readeo has partnered with major publishers of children’s books to provide numerous titles online. “I created Readeo to give my son more meaningful interaction with my parents when we can’t be together,” said Readeo’s founder Coby Neuenschwander. “We [also] use video chat, and while it’s much better than using the phone, it doesn’t create a shared interaction or the bonding that reading does.” Members pay $9.95 a month, or $99.95 a year, for an unlimited subscription. A 14day free trial is available. For more information, go to or e-mail

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For more information on balloon kyphoplasty call 800-652-2221 or visit Medtronic maintains a list of physicians who have been trained to use, and are believed to be both active and proficient users of, Medtronic’s products and who are willing to accept patient referrals. Physician participation on this list is voluntary and free. All referrals are identified based upon geographic criteria only. Medtronic does not guarantee the accuracy of the listings or the capabilities of the physicians listed. The physicians referenced may be paid consultants of, and research cited may have been funded partially or in whole by, Medtronic. Although the complication rate with KYPHON® Balloon Kyphoplasty has been demonstrated to be low, as with most surgical procedures, there are risks associated with the procedure, including serious complications. This procedure is not for everyone. A prescription is required. Please consult your physician for a full discussion of risks and whether this procedure is right for you. © 2008 Medtronic Spine LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Cancer test From page 10 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston will start using the test this year. They are one of the “dream teams� sharing a $15 million grant from the Stand Up to Cancer telethon, run by the American Association for Cancer Research. Already, scientists have been surprised to find that more cancer patients harbor these stray cells than has been believed. In one study, the test was used on men thought to have cancer confined to the prostate, “but we found these cells in two-

thirds of patients,� Toner said. This might mean that cancer cells enter the blood soon after a tumor starts, or that more cancers have already spread but are unseen by doctors. Or it could mean something else entirely, because researchers have much to learn about these cells, said Dr. Minetta Liu, a breast cancer specialist at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. She led a session on them at last year’s San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and has been a paid speaker for Veridex. She hopes the cells will someday aid cancer screening.

Trouble Getting up the Stairs?


“The dream is, a woman comes in for her mammogram and gets a tube of blood drawn,� so doctors can look for cancer cells in her blood as well as tumors on the imaging exam, she said. That’s still far off, but Mass General’s test already is letting doctors monitor patients without painful biopsies. Like Greg Vrettos, who suffered a collapsed lung from a biopsy in 2004, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. “It had spread to both lungs and they couldn’t operate,� said Vrettos, 63, a nonsmoker and retired electrical engineer from Durham, N.H. Tests from the biopsy showed that he was a good candidate for the drug Iressa, which he has taken ever

since. He goes to Boston every three months for CT scans and the blood test. “They could look at the number of cancer cells and see that it dropped over time. It corresponded with what the scans were showing,� Vrettos said of doctors looking at his blood tests. The test also showed when he had a setback last January and needed to have his treatment adjusted. “I think it’s going to be revolutionary,� he said of the test. For more information on the test from Mass General, see 2e7tbuz. Information on it from the National Cancer Institute is available at http:// and http:// 2557mw6. — AP


Apr. 9

CAREGIVER’S CONFERENCE REGISTRATION The 19th annual Caregiver’s Conference hosted by the Anne

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Technologies From page 11 have vision problems that keep them from reading easily, another service offers a monthly subscription to audio books. Simply Audiobooks bills itself as the Netflix of audiobooks. Members get unlimited rental access to a library of more than 14,000 books on CD in 33 categories — with no due dates, shipping costs or late fees. “Libraries carry [audio books], but the selection is thin,” said Lee Chesworth, CEO of Simply Audiobooks. ”Audio books can cover more than 15 CDs, which makes them expensive to purchase. “In contrast, Simply Audiobooks has multiple copies of each book in stock so the wait to grab the new thriller you’ve been dying to enjoy is short,” he said. Categories included in the Simply Audiobooks selection span popular genres from biographies to mysteries, romance to horror and science fiction to religion. Books can also be downloaded from Simply Audiobooks’ website. CD memberships are available for a monthly fee of $26.98 or annual pricing at

$21 a month. Books can be downloaded from the website starting at $14.95 a month for one book. To sign up for a free 15-day trial, visit

Easier-to-use cell phones Phone manufacturers are also working to make cell phones easier to use. The company Clarity makes amplified cell and landline phones for those with hearing loss. Its ClarityLife C900 mobile phone, for example, works on several cellular networks, including AT&T and T-Mobile. The phone includes 20 decibel amplification, a onetouch emergency help button, four large buttons for easy navigation, a large backlit display, and oversized text for easier reading. The phone costs $99.95. Clarity offers a free service in which a company representative can remotely modify the phone, setting up volume and speed dial settings for customers. For more information, see or call 1-800426-3738. Pantech’s Breeze II phone also has large buttons to make dialing easier. It in-

See puzzles on p. 30. More at our website.

cludes three-easy-to-program buttons for one-touch calling to the three people called the most, as well as large text on the screen. Phone users can also speak commands, from finding a contact to making the call. The 3G phone is equipped for texting, e-

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Effective supplements for sensitive eyes By Suzy Cohen Dear Pharmacist: My eyes are so sensitive to light that I have to reach for my sunglasses as soon as I step out the door. Can you offer any help with this problem? — E.R. Dear E.R: If sunglasses are needed for normal outdoor light, your eyes are overly sensitive to glare. Another symptom would be excessive sensitivity to light from computer screens,

which I can vouch for personally since my job requires lengthy stays in front of a computer! If you have this problem, you likely squint against the glare of oncoming traffic at night. You know who you are. I can recommend a couple of nutrients: lutein and zeaxanthin. They’re so powerful at improving the eyes’ sensitivity to glare that they’ve actually been dubbed “natural sunglasses.” These nutrients should be perfectly safe to take if you also use any type of pre-

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eases and conditions. One of my favorite books and a great resource for natural symptom relief is NutriCures: Foods and Supplements That Work with Your Body to Relieve Symptoms and Speed Healing, by Alice Feinstein. The author provides a scientific basis for her recommendations, and I appreciate knowing that there is science to back up the claims. It’s an easy read. Speaking of vision, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the king of the carotenoids, astaxanthin, which has been the buzz word lately. The dietary supplement is sold by several high-quality makers such as NOW foods, Vitamin Shoppe and NSI brands. “BioAstin,” the best-selling dietary supplement in all of Hawaii, just became available to health food stores nationwide on the mainland. Emerging studies for this nutrient are super exciting, because astaxanthin can protect our vision, ease arthritis, fibromyalgia pain, and reduce cholesterol and fatigue. This information is opinion only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Consult with your doctor before using any new drug or supplement. Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To contact her, visit

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Bravo Health plans are offered by subsidiaries of Bravo Health, Inc. A Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Enrollment is open year round. All cost-sharing is based on your level of state medical assistance - premiums, copays, coinsurance, and deductibles may vary based on your income. The benefit information provided herein is a brief summary, not a comprehensive description of benefits. For more information contact the plan. Benefits, formulary, premiums, and copayments may change on January 1, 2012. H2108_11_0034 File and Use 12142010



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“makes sense.” Similarly, a new poll shows broad support for the bill. The poll was sponsored by MPP and conducted by Public Policy Polling, which surveyed 1,076 Maryland registered voters. The survey informed voters of the bill pending in the legislature that would allow patients with multiple sclerosis, cancer, debilitating pain and other serious conditions to use marijuana with their doctors’ approval. When asked if they supported the bill, 72 percent said yes, with just 21 percent opposed and 7 percent undecided. Details of the poll showed strong support for medical marijuana across all age, partisan and geographic lines. Older voters were very supportive of the proposal: among 50- to 64-year-olds 77 percent approved; among those 65 and


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older 69 percent approved. Democrats were more likely to support the bill, but Republican support was still very strong at more than two to one. And voters favored the legislation throughout the state, with even 62 percent of those in conservative, western Maryland in support. Morhaim said he was pleased but not surprised by the results of the poll. “There’s a strong consensus among medical and scientific professionals that marijuana can relieve the suffering of those with certain serious illnesses, and there’s nothing controversial about relieving suffering. That’s what this bill is about,” he said. “I’ve never had personal experience with the issue,” said Sillars, “but I have long believed that we have a way of dealing with marijuana in this country that makes no sense.” While few senior and medical organizations are as vocally supportive as United Seniors of Maryland, most are not on record as opposed to the legislation. Local Maryland hospitals will not comment on the issue, while organizations such as AARP, the American Medical Association, and MedChi (the Maryland State Medical Society), all report that they have no official position but support research looking into the use of medical marijuana.

443-926-4435 or

Celebrity backing, too

From page 1 and cultivation of marijuana, and sending or receiving it through the mail, would remain federal offenses, including in states that have legalized it.

Older adults support Among the organizations that sent representatives to Annapolis to testify in support of the legislation is United Seniors of Maryland, an umbrella group representing many senior advocacy groups and older adult organizations throughout the state. In a survey last year, the group’s members overwhelmingly supported legalization of the use of marijuana by medical patients. For Don Sillars, 81, United Seniors’ vice president of legislation, the bill

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tive fight in support of the Maryland bill is popular former talk show host Montel Williams, who appeared at a January press conference with the sponsoring delegates in Annapolis. “I grew up in Maryland, graduated from the Naval Academy, and my family still lives in Baltimore today,” Williams said at the press conference. (His father was Baltimore’s first African-American fire chief.) “So I’m excited about the prospect of helping my home state put in place a policy that’s more compassionate toward our most vulnerable residents,” he added. Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a decade ago and has sought treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Following his diagnosis, he created the Montel Williams MS Foundation, which is committed to raising awareness of the disease and providing inspiration to those who live with MS. Williams has served as an advocate for the compassionate use of medical marijuana in a variety of states that have approved new laws. To date, 15 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. For Morhaim, the use of marijuana in medical treatment is “just another tool in the toolbox, to be used safely and responsibly like any other therapy. “I can’t emphasize enough how imporSee MARIJUANA, page 17

Lending some star power to the legisla-

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Marijuana From page 16 tant it is for patients to have access to the medicines that work best for them, especially for those suffering from serious ailments like cancer and multiple sclerosis,” Morhaim said. “Marijuana may provide the greatest possible relief, one that can help when other therapies are not effective.”

Opposition in high places But Maryland‘s health secretary, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, said recently he opposes the current version of the bill because his department lacks the resources to oversee the system to dispense it, and the

medical use of the drug remains controversial. However, he also told a panel of lawmakers the department would be willing to help them study the issue this year to look for a “more feasible option.’’ Opposition from Sharfstein is significant, because the proposed legislation makes the health department responsible for overseeing growers, licensing sellers and doing other administrative jobs. Sharfstein, the former No. 2 official at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, became secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in January. “The use of the marijuana plant itself for medical purposes is controversial,” Sharf-


Franklin Square Hospital Center offers free blood pressure screenings at Eastpoint and White Marsh malls and at the Bel Air Target. Call (443) 777-7900 for dates and times.

Mar. 27

the time has come to pass the bill. “I would much rather have paid a co-pay through my insurance company to have gotten the marijuana legally and known it was safe and free from impurities,” said Miran, who added that she had no problems with the marijuana she did obtain. Miran counts herself fortunate that she was able to find the marijuana that proved key to helping her get back her strength. “It was a miracle for me.” Now she hopes others will have that same opportunity. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

stein said. “This is not just because marijuana is a controlled substance. It is also because marijuana, unlike approved pharmaceuticals, has not been characterized, studied and determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be safe and effective.’” Morhaim said he’s ready to work with the department to address the secretary’s concerns, and he said he hoped to address some of the issues during the current legislative session, which ends April 11. For patients like Deborah Miran, Montel Williams, Delegate Dan Morhaim, and Senators Jamie Raskin and David Brinkley,

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Get “Helpful Answers to Complex Questions about Growing Older,” at an education and resource fair on Sunday, March 27 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Learn about a variety of topics at breakout sessions, panel discussions and from keynote speaker Dr. William Thomas, international authority on aging. Cost: $5 in advance; $8 at the door. The event is open to all and takes place at Beth Israel Congregation, 3706 Crondall Lane, Owings Mills. For more info or to register, call (410) 654-0800, ext. 210.

Same Day, Weekend and Evening appointments Most Insurance Accepted Dr. Richard Rosenblatt DPM

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Baltimore Eye Doctor Helps Legally Blind to See Again Diplomat in Low Vision Care trains Dr. Thomas Azman to help those with age-related macular degeneration with reading and driving. By Elena Lombardi Freelance Writer

Donald Paquette, 72, a former assessor from Anaheim, California, thought that his driving days were over. “I could not read the street signs soon enough and I couldn’t pass the vision test at the DMV office.” Gonzalo Garcia, 74, Albuquerque, New Mexico, wanted to be able to read and write more easily. He wanted to see the nails and screws when he tried to use them in home repairs. He wanted see his grandchildren singing in the church choir. But he thought those days were over when he was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. California Opthomasetrist, Dr. Richard J. Shuldiner and Baltimore opthomasetrist Dr. Thomas Azman are using miniaturized binoculars or telescopes to help people who have lost vision from macular degeneration or other eye conditions. “Some of my patients consider us


Hank Frese wearing Bioptic Telescope Driving Glasses

the last stop for people who have vision loss.” said Dr. Azman, a low vision opthomasetrist who has just completed training with Dr. Shuldiner in California. “Amazing!” says Donald. “I can read the street signs twice as far as I did before and even see the television better!” Macular degeneration is the most common eye disease among the senior population. As many as 25% of those over 65 have some degree of degeneration. The macula is one small part of the entire retina, but it is the most sensitive and gives us sharp images. When it degenerates, macular degeneration leaves a blind spot right in

the center of vision, which makes it impossible to recognize faces, read a book, or pass the drivers vision test. The experts do not know what causes macular degeneration. But major factors include UV light from the sun, smoking, aging, and improper nutrition. Vitamins can help. The results of two studies, AREDS and LAST demonstrated a lowered risk of progression by about 25% when treated with a high-dose combination of vitamins. Dr. Azman advises patients on the best nutritional supplements during the low vision evaluation. Nine out of ten people who have macular degeneration have the dry type. There is no medical treatment except for vitamins. The wet type involves the leakage of fluid or blood from the blood vessels behind the macula. Injections of Leucentis or Avastin are very effective in preventing the vessels from leaking. “Our job is to figure out anything and everything possible to keep a person functioning,” says Dr. Azman. “Whether it’s driving, reading, watching television, seeing faces, playing bridge… we work with whatever is on the persons “wish list.” Even if it’s driving.

Maryland and California are two of many states that allow the use of telescopic glasses for safer driving. Hank Frese, 69, a former High School Principal from La Palma, California saw Dr. Shuldiner last August. “I could not read the street signs soon enough when driving, and I could not read my morning paper.” Bioptic Telescopic glasses were prescribed to read signs and see traffic lights farther away. As Hank puts it, “These telescope glasses not only allow me to read signs from a farther distance, but makes driving much easier. I’ve also used them to watch television so I don’t have to sit so close. Definitely worth the $2450 cost. I don’t know why I waited two years to do this; I should have come sooner” “Telescopic glasses start at around $1500”, says Dr. Azman, “and low vision prismatic reading glasses start at $500. A small price to pay for better vision and increased independence.” If you or someone you care about is struggling with vision loss, call Dr. Thomas Azman for a free telephone interview. You can reach Dr. Azman by dialing (410) 561-8050.


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Health Studies Page



Testing a tailored depression treatment By Carol Sorgen Depression is a common but treatable illness. Several studies have found, however, that African Americans suffering from depression don’t take advantage of outpatient specialty mental health services as much as whites do. While African Americans are just as likely as whites to receive care in primary care settings, they are less likely to be recognized as depressed and to initiate or complete drug therapy or psychotherapy for depression. Compared with whites, African Ameri-

can patients express stronger preferences for counseling and more negative attitudes toward antidepressant medication, the most common form of treatment of depression used by primary care physicians. Blacks are also more likely to see depression and its treatment through a spiritual or religious framework. With this in mind, researchers at several Baltimore hospitals are conducting a clinical study to answer the following research question: Would a culturally tailored intervention that focuses on the specific concerns and preferences of African

Seeking Overweight Postmenopausal Women Participate in a research study at the University of Maryland Baltimore / Baltimore VA You will receive: Health and Fitness Evaluations • 4 months of treadmill walking classes Fully equipped exercise facility Weight loss/behavioral stress reduction classes You must be less than 20 years postmenopausal, under the age of 70, and a non-smoker with no history of diabetes.


Mention code: NEMO-II

American patients with depression and their primary care providers help more than standard care?

Testing education programs This study will determine whether two new educational programs can improve the care for depression in African Americans. These programs include visits with a depression case manager and access to educational materials, such as a videotape, a calendar, pamphlets and books. One program is a standard quality improvement program for depression that has been shown to be effective in most patients. The other program is similar, but has materials that focus more on the patient’s specific culture, beliefs, values and preferences. Thirty physicians and 250 patients will be randomly selected for either standard interventions or culturally tailored interventions. In Baltimore the study is being conducted at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians (410-338-3421); Baltimore Medical Systems Middlesex Health Center (410558-4700); Sinai Hospital (410-601-6856);

and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (410-614-3659). Doctors hope that they’ll see better patient and physician satisfaction with care, patient-physician communication, and improved attitudes towards depression among those in the patient-centered, culturally tailored intervention group. The study will also serve as a prototype of how to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare for common conditions.

Who is eligible? African Americans between the ages of 18 and 75 are eligible for the study. Qualifications include experiencing two weeks or more of depressed mood or loss of interest in the past year, and one week or more in the past month. Those not eligible for the study include people with a history of grief or bereavement in the last two months, a terminal illness, who don’t speak English and/or have been residing in the United States for less than five years, and who are currently seeing a mental health provider. See DEPRESSION, page 19

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Do glasses make your eyesight worse? By Dr. Stephen Taylor Q. I’m starting to have trouble reading. But I’ve heard that wearing glasses to help me read will make my eyesight worse. Is that true? A. This is a common question. Many people believe that glasses can make eyesight worse, but that’s more myth than reality. Many of us start to have trouble reading in our mid-40s. The condition is called presbyopia (pronounced prez-bee-OH-peeah), and it is the natural loss of the focusing ability of the lens of the eye. The lens is about the size of a shirt button. Because it can change shape, we are able to see objects that are close or far away. The closer the object, the more the lens has to “flex” to bring the object into focus. With age, though, the lens slowly grows larger and thicker. As it grows, the many tiny ligaments that connect the lens to the ciliary, or “focusing,” muscle in the eye become slack. When that happens, those ligaments (called zonules) cannot exert enough force on the lens to bend it into the position necessary to see things clearly up close. The lens also hardens and becomes less flexible, compounding the problem. Exercising the ciliary muscles so they could pull harder on the lens would seem logical, but these muscles don’t get appreciably weaker with age. Even if eye exercises could strengthen the ciliary muscles, they wouldn’t have much effect.

Why blame glasses? There are two reasons people wrongly blame glasses for worsening presbyopic vision.

Depression From page 18 While compensation is not paid to volunteers, all services and materials in the study will be provided free of charge.

First, the underlying condition worsens during the period when they start wearing reading glasses, so they associate the glasses with declining vision. Second, they get used to seeing near objects well when wearing reading glasses, so when they take them off, their vision seems to have gotten worse. They blame the reading glasses, when they’re really just experiencing the contrast between corrected and uncorrected vision. People do learn to cope with bad eyesight. The brain learns how to interpret blurry images and make educated guesses. If glasses make it easier for you to see well, your brain may get out of practice doing the tricks it learned to do to cope with poor eyesight. But that’s not the same thing as glasses making your eyesight worse.

Myopia is largely genetic, but the progression of the condition may be influenced by environmental factors, such as the stress of focusing on near objects when reading. For some children, this stress on the focusing system may cause their eyes to grow, and hence their myopia increases at a much faster rate. Bifocals may be able to reduce that stress. A study published in Archives of Ophthalmology in January 2010 showed that children wearing them had a 58 percent slower rate of progression of myopia, compared with children who wore traditional glasses with regular lenses that corrected for nearsightedness. That study confirmed findings from an

earlier one that showed a similar but more modest benefit from wearing bifocals. Meanwhile, some other studies have suggested that specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses may also slow myopic progression. There isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend that children with myopia wear bifocals or special contact lenses. Myopia is a very complex condition, and as the results of more well-designed studies get reported, we may be able to figure out a way to alter the course of this increasingly common form of visual impairment. © 2011 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Studies on Aging: Johns Hopkins University

Situation differs in children

Are you 70 years or older?

Whether glasses worsen presbyopia is a settled issue. They don’t. But it’s not as clear-cut when it comes to childhood myopia, or nearsightedness (a term that causes confusion: it means your sight is good for near things and bad for things in the distance). The National Eye Institute has reported that the prevalence of myopia has increased by 66 percent since 1980, and this increase has prompted many studies aimed at understanding the cause of myopia. Myopia causes distant objects to be blurry because the eye grows too long, so the focal point of the lens ends up in front of the retina instead of directly on it. The condition usually develops in childhood and gradually worsens until eye growth slows down in early adulthood.

Investigators from the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Campus are looking for individuals aged 70 or older to participate in a research study that is looking at the aging process. Tests would include measurements of strength, walking speed and questions about your physical activities. We may also request a blood draw and urine sample. You will be paid $10 for participating depending on the study and we can conduct the study in your home. No travel required. If you choose to travel to Bayview, a parking pass will be given to you.

For more information, please call our study coordinators at Bayview:

410-550-9016 or 410-550-2113

Knee arthritis pain? We look forward to hearing from you!

The study is being sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Aetna, Inc., and the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information, or to volunteer, contact Bri Ghods at (410) 522-6500, ext. 263 or at

Tell your friends about the Beacon!

Seeking Men and Women The University of Maryland & Veterans Affairs of Baltimore are conducting a research study to better understand FALLS in aging individuals. With your participation you will receive:

• Health evaluation • CT scans of waist, hip, and leg • Balance and strength testing

410-605-7179 Mention code: FALLS You must be at least 65 years old and in good health. You will be compensated for your time.

Volunteers are needed for a research study conducted at Johns Hopkins Bayview

To study sleep in paents with osteoarthris of the knee. To parcipate, you must be 50 years or older. Both good and poor sleepers are needed. Parking, and tests are provided at no cost. Compensaon is provided.

Call 410-550-7906 and/or visit the website at Principal Invesgator: Michael T. Smith, Ph.D. Protocol NA_000118021

Approved 08/24/2009


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Careers Volunteers &

Does your organization use senior volunteers or do you employ a number of seniors? If you do and you’d like to be considered for a story in our Volunteers & Careers section, please send an e-mail to

Volunteers help adults obtain job skills By Carol Sorgen In Baltimore City, 38 percent of adults are either unable to read or read below the fourth grade level, and more than 142,000 adults do not have a high school diploma. Since 1991, South Baltimore Learning Center (SBLC) has provided Baltimorearea residents in need of education and employment skills with literacy, life skills training and career services. SBLC now annually serves more than 1,300 adults, ages 16 to 83. It operates out of an award-winning, historically-preserved 19th-century building that once housed the Southern District Police Station. One SBLC program, designed for indi-

viduals with very basic reading skills, pairs a learner with a trained volunteer so they can work together on introductory reading and writing skills at a level and pace best suited to the learner’s needs. Locust Point resident Janine Linden, 52, has been a one-on-one tutor at SBLC for several years. Linden, a science writer, has worked with learners from 40 to over 70. “I enjoy the challenge,” said Linden of her weekly tutoring sessions. “I admire the learners’ spirit. They come to the center because they want to learn.” Linden adds that her students’ interesting life experiences keep her on her toes as she tries to weave what they are familiar with into her lesson plans.


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In addition to the tutoring, SBLC offers classes in adult basic education, pre-GED and GED instruction (to prepare for highschool equivalency certification), computer classes, career counseling, and academic counseling. Their state-of-the-art computer lab is open to the community, though there is a fee for computer classes. Also, SBLC is Baltimore City’s sole provider of the External Diploma Program (EDP), which enables qualified adults to earn their high school diploma by completing independent assignments on a flexible schedule rather than take the GED exam. EDP students can earn a Maryland high school diploma after demonstrating 65 specific life skills in problem solving, critical thinking, speaking, writing and computation. These skills are demonstrated by completing real-life tasks, such as searching for a new apartment, reviewing a lease, writing a letter of complaint to a landlord, or budgeting rent from a simulated monthly salary. The EDP takes an average of six months to a year to complete. To assist with job placement, a career counselor works with GED learners and EDP clients to explore employment readiness, resume writing skills and interviewing techniques. Staff-led individual and group sessions assist learners in determining their career goals, demonstrating performance or getting job training. While many of the classes and counseling are free, there are costs associated with GED and EDP instruction.

On April 2, SBLC will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a gala fundraiser. In addition to live and silent auctions, live music, and food and beverages provided by some of Baltimore’s best restaurants, SBLC will honor board member Steven G. Tomczewski. Tomczewski, a Bel Air resident who is the executive director for environmental operations of Maryland Environmental Service, has been involved with SBLC since 1993. At the time, he was the Plant Manager for Wheelabrator Baltimore (formerly Baltimore RESCO). Wheelabrator helped SBLC keep its doors open at a difficult time, paying its rent and utilities for one year, until SBLC could raise the money needed to keep delivering its adult literacy services. The company is also being honored at the gala for its long-time support. Tomczewski said he got involved because SBLC “fills a critical role in the education of the citizens of Baltimore. A literate society is the cornerstone of the democratic process. “The learners at SBLC really want to be helped and go out of their way to make that effort,” he added. “Their hard work encourages me to continue my work with the center.” The gala will be held on April 2 at the Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Blvd., from 7 to 11:30 p.m. For more information about volunteering at South Baltimore Learning Center, or to purchase tickets ($100 per person) for the gala, call (410) 625-4215 or visit

Apr. 30

HALL OF FAME NOMINATIONS Do you know active volunteers age 60 or older who have made

outstanding contributions to improve the lives of others? You can nominate them for the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. Nomination forms are available by calling Parker Koons at (410) 828-5852. The deadline for submissions is April 30.

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NORTHWEST HOSPITAL NEEDS VOLUNTEERS The gift shop at Northwest Hospital needs volunteers to assist customers. Weekday and weekend hours are available. Training is

provided. For more information, call the volunteer office at (410) 521-5911.

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How longer lives will affect our workforce By Mark Miller In 2005, there were 270,000 people over age 100 in the world — a figure the United Nations expects will explode to 2.3 million by 2040 due to improvements in nutrition, health and healthcare. By that year, the U.S. Census Bureau expects the proportion of people over age 65 will more than double from 2008 levels, to 14 percent of the world’s population. The topic of aging in America often prompts discussion and worry about how we’ll manage in our graying country. Author Ted Fishman puts those questions into a broader context in his recent book, Shock of Gray (Scribner, 2010). The book offers a thoughtful — and often surprising — analysis of how aging will drive globalization and immigration patterns in the years ahead, and determine the economic destiny of nations. But while Fishman is thinking global, he reports local. Fishman explains the trends by painting detailed portraits of places in the world already feeling the effects of aging. His on-the-ground reporting includes portraits of the hollowed-out economy of Rockford, Ill., and the retirement mecca of Sarasota, Fla., alongside dispatches from Spain, Japan and China.

in every developed country — when workers can start to get Social Security — are higher than the ages that people actually leave their primary jobs. People are encouraged to leave; they are bought out, made redundant, or left in the cold when their jobs move. For Americans closing in on retirement, Fishman sees major implications in two areas: caregiving and job loss at midlife. “If you’re already retired, you may have children entering that catch-up period in their 50s where their employment is newly imperiled. “So if you were counting on help from them, you might get more time from them but less money! I think the environment will push more family members who are available into the caregiving role. “And for workers at mid-career, it’s the flip of that: You have to try to ensure that your labor isn’t devalued. You need to

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make sure that you have a good inventory of skills and a strong social network before you find yourself in an employment crisis.” The best way to avoid that crisis, Fishman argued, is to focus on developing differentiated skills. “We have a large group of workers who haven’t kept their skills cur-

rent,” he said. “You might be a great machinist in your type of factory, but your factory may have a great outsourcing strategy. So you need a more generalizable skill.” Mark Miller is the author of The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: © 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Aging fuels immigration And Fishman has concluded that the news about aging isn’t all bad. “It’s a wonderful circumstance overall, since we get to live longer, but we have to adjust to a reality humankind has never faced before,” he said. “Americans who reach age 60 have a pretty good chance of getting to 95. Our aging country faces a swelling number of dependent elders at the upper reaches of the lifespan. “Just as it will be more common for people in their late 60s and 70s to work, it will also be common for those older workers to have living parents to tend to. “Our workforce over 50 will grow to three times its current size, but the number of younger workers will stay nearly constant. Virtually all the expansion of the U.S. workforce will be in the upper age range.” This lopsided picture helps explain why we will experience a growing globalization of a workforce devoted to providing caregiving services, Fishman argued. “It’s very likely that older Americans will have very small families to look after them when they need it. And often, the families are separated by big geographical distances. “Now, many families rely on immigrants to provide care services family members themselves cannot, or will not, take on. This is one way that aging is a kind of global enterprise.” “Robust immigration into the U.S. helps America age less quickly than most other aging countries,” he added. “But the numbers of young immigrants will never be enough to reverse the aging of our population.”

Midlife job loss “Currently, the standard retirement ages

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Eastern Shore U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì >Ã̜˜\ {£ä‡ÇÇä‡ÎäÇä Harford County U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì œÝ ˆ\ {£ä‡x£x‡È££x U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì i ˆÀ\ {£ä‡n™Î‡ääÈ{ Howard County U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì œœ˜ˆ> >˜`ˆ˜}\ {£ä‡Ç™È‡{Ι™ U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì œÕ“Lˆ>\ {£ä‡În£‡£££n U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì -˜œÜ`i˜ ,ˆÛiÀ\ {£ä‡Ó™ä‡äÎn{ U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì ˆVœÌÌ ˆÌÞ\ {£ä‡Óä·™xä£ U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì ˆVœÌÌ ˆÌÞ \ {£ä‡Óä·Óä™È U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì “iÀܘ\ Î䣇{n·ÎÎÓÓ Prince Georges County NOW! *55 or * *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì >`i˜ÃLÕÀ}\ Î䣇ș™‡™Çnx Better U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì >ÕÀi\ Î䣇{™ä‡£xÓÈ U *>ÀŽ 6ˆiÜ >Ì >ÕÀi \ Î䣇{™ä‡™ÇÎä

:Xcc +('$)+-$.+00 fi <dX`c J\e`fiC`m`e^7j_\ck\i^ig%Zfd kf `ehl`i\ XYflk \c`^`Y`c`kp i\hl`i\d\ekj Xe[ kf XiiXe^\ X gi`mXk\ kfli% Professionally managed by The Shelter Group. The Shelter Group is committed to Equal Housing Opportunities for people of all races, religions, ethnic groups, and disabilities and all other groups protected by federal, state, or local law.


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Leisure &

Take someone you love on a trip they know nothing about. See story on page 25.

A trip back to rural wonders of yesteryear foothills, comfortable and casual surroundings, and a full menu of activities with appeal for every age group. If you’re seeking a place to lounge away a weekend or longer, experience colorful tidbits of the past, or participate in a variety of outdoor activities, this is your place.


By Victor Block The “T” intersection of two narrow roads that is the closest thing to the center of Syria, Va. (population 370) is the site of the Syria Mercantile Company. It was there that my recent journey into the countryside, as well as the past, began. Three gray-haired men rocked on the front porch dishing the local dirt. Tacked to a bulletin board beside them were handwritten notices advertising chain saw repairs, fishing and hunting guides, where to report wild turkey kills, and “Jessie’s Equisport Therapy — Therapeutic massage for horses.” Inside, aisles were lined with hunting and fishing gear, bib overalls and a mishmash of other goods not seen at my local supermarket. Stopping at a tiny cubicle near the front of the store that serves as the post office, I paused to chat with the woman inside who was sorting mail. When I inquired what she does about lunch, she replied that she closes up and takes a half-hour break. “I used to take an hour,” she added, “but that didn’t last long. After all, what can you do for an hour here?” After spending a long weekend in the area, I have an answer to that. As a visitor in search of rest and recreation, I found all that I could have wished for — including a rustic, family-owned resort that offers a long list of to-do’s along with a central location convenient for sightseeing. Graves Mountain Lodge combines a magnificent setting overlooking rolling

Visiting Madison County Much of Madison County in north central Virginia, a leisurely two-hour drive from Washington, is characterized by rolling fields and valleys that lead to foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A large portion of its western region is within Shenandoah National Park, where Skyline Drive follows the crest of the mountain chain. The county got its name from the family of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States (1809-1817), which owned land there. Agriculture is still the dominant industry in the area, with beef and dairy cows, grains and fruit the major products. Some descendants of early settlers from England, Germany and Ireland who still live in the county are farmers like their ancestors. The tiny town of Madison, which serves as the county seat, offers interesting historical tidbits along with some fun and funky attractions. A number of houses built during the 18th and 19th centuries line a five-block stretch of Main Street. Even more intriguing to me were businesses with deep roots in the past. At the Madison Drug Company, established in 1856, I paid 10 cents for a Coca Cola and

Graves Mountain Lodge offers numerous outdoor pursuits, from horseback riding to fishing, as well as a variety of accommodations on the 1,500-acre property.


the same for a cup of coffee. While agreeing that she loses money charging those prices, store owner Margie Lamar insisted that she’s not going to raise them. Housed in a somewhat rickety building dating back to 1925, the nearby Feed Store, while not as old, provides an equally colorful trip back to the past in terms of atmosphere. In keeping with its name, the establishment sells a variety of animal food, along with what a sign describes as “Antiques & Collectibles.” That refers to a clutter of items hanging from rafters, stacked on tables, and jammed into every nook and cranny. Bits and pieces of antique decorative glass share space with old-fashioned toys. Clocks and oil lamps stand near a unique hand-carved cider press bearing a $1,500 price tag. That was one of the few articles I saw whose asking price was marked. When I asked the salesperson on duty about that, he replied, “Well, the owner knows the price of everything.”

Enjoy grand homes, outdoor sports

Author Victor Block inspects grapes at DuCard Vineyards near Shenandoah National Park. The vineyard uses solar power and has an extensive recycling program.

If Madison epitomizes the image of a sleepy small town, the surrounding countryside combines a bucolic air with an enticing choice of sightseeing and activities. Within a convenient car commute are well-known destinations like Skyline Drive, Luray Caverns, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home and Montpelier, the home of James Madison. Another presi-

dent, Herbert Hoover, built a fishing retreat along the banks of the Rapidan River that is open to the public. Oenophiles face an equally inviting selection, with three wineries that offer tours and tastings. Prince Michel Vineyards and Winery is a gracious estate with a “seethrough” sampling room that has magnificent views of the surrounding fields and expansive lawns. Along with the de rigueur hospitality center for tastings, Sweely Estate Winery boasts an attractive boutique and art gallery. In addition to being Virginia’s newest winery, DuCard Vineyards makes other claims to fame. Visitors sample its wines as they take in a vista of vines against the backdrop of Shenandoah National Park. In addition, the operation follows “sustainable” practices, like extensive recycling and the use of solar power. For those seeking more active pursuits, Graves Mountain Lodge can serve as a convenient home base. For example, both casual walkers and experienced hikers find scenic trails that wind through hemlock forests, pass rushing waterfalls, and lead to spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Those seeking a short stroll may prefer the Doubletop Mountain nature trail through woods on the resort, with the names of trees and plants posted along the See RURAL WONDERS, page 24


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Rural wonders From page 23 way. The more challenging Rose River trail leads to three waterfalls and the remains of an early settler’s cabin. Still more exercise, and more dramatic scenery, await hikers in White Oak Canyon who pass by six waterfalls, and those who accept the challenge of the scramble up 3,291-foot tall Old Rag Mountain.


Rather than walking, wading — or simply casting a line from shore — is likely to appeal to those for whom fishing is exercise enough. Mountain streams are home to both native and stocked trout. Fish-andpay and catch-and-release ponds teem with trout, bass and bream. The Hoover Camp on the banks of the Rapidan River combines fishing good enough for a president with a touch of history. Herbert Hoover built his simple fishing


May 9+


Experience Louisville, Ky., with the Pascal Senior Activity Center from May 9 to 13. The travel package includes four nights’ lodging, four breakfasts including a “Backstretch” Breakfast Tour, lunch at Churchill Downs with a day of racing, a walking tour and two river boat dinners. Tours of the Kentucky Derby Museum, the Kentucky Horse Park, and a Thoroughbred Center are included. Cost is $505 per person double occupancy. Register by April 1 by calling the Pascal Senior Activity Center Trip Desk at (410) 222-6682.

May 18


The O’Malley Senior Activity Center is hosting a trip on May 18 to Oaks, Pennsylvania, to visit the American Treasure, where participants can discover a diverse collection of treasures spanning the 19th and 20th centuries. Not a museum tour, this adventure features a 90-minute tram ride with tens of thousands of items — from nickelodeons to vintage cars — to view over three acres. The day trip includes lunch and a tour of Valley Forge National Park. The bus leaves O’Malley Senior Activity Center, 1275 Odenton Rd., Odenton, at 7:45 a.m. and returns at 7:15 p.m. Cost is $88. Make the $25 deposit now with the balance due by April 12. Call (410) 222-6227 for more information.

cabin near the headwaters of the upper Rapidan. It was known as the “Brown House,” and served as a retreat from the White House during his presidency (1929-1933). An avid fisherman, Hoover selected an outstanding location, as the Rapidan has been ranked among America’s best trout streams. There are other options for those who prefer to experience the outdoors in different ways. Several public golf courses welcome players from low-handicap to duffers. Bird watchers may look for a variety of nesters in woods, spot bluebirds and other winged residents in boxes located throughout Graves Mountain Lodge property, and sight bald eagles perched near river banks or flying overhead. Rockhounds can uncover samples of unakite (pyrite), jasper, and blue and rose quartz along the Robinson and Rapidan rivers, or the Rose River which runs through the 1,500 acres of Graves Mountain Lodge land. Even those who limit their exploration and activities to the resort itself find plenty to fill the hours and days. Guided hourly or full-day horseback rides begin at stables on the property. During warm weather, guests may swim in the large pool or perhaps recapture youthful memories with a dip in a swimming hole in the Rose River.

Enjoy the simple pleasures

Aging Matters: Helpful Answers to Complex Questions About Growing Older An Education and Resource Fair for Seniors, their Family Members, Caregivers and the Community

Sunday, March 27, 2011 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

If you’re looking for a full-service luxury resort with television, a telephone and other in-room amenities, Graves Mountain Lodge may not be for you. Instead, it’s a place where you can fill your time with an enticing choice of activities or, as some prefer, simply rocking, reading and relaxing. Views from the setting look out over expansive groomed lawns, apple orchards and gentle hills. Seasonal apple picking,

hay rides and other rural recreation increase the sense of times past. An educational farm holds interest for city slickers of all ages. Horses, goats, pigs, sheep, cows and other four-legged residents graze contentedly in fenced fields. My wife Fyllis and I were awed by the size of Monticello, a Holstein that was the third cloned cow in the United States and dwarfs its bovine Black Angus companions. Our attention also was attracted by three very friendly pigs that trotted to the fence surrounding their pen to greet Fyllis and me, hoping for a tasty treat. Even accommodations at Graves Mountain Lodge become part of the experience. Some houses and cabins that augment traditional motel rooms are perfect for guests who prefer to stay in a bit of history. Pete’s House is an early 1800s two-story cabin, Boxwood is a two-story house built in 1856, and Wild Wind Cottage, perched on a hilltop, was expanded from a oneroom schoolhouse. No matter what their accommodations, guests are immersed in a piece of the past, offered a varied choice of activities, and surrounded by scenery as beautiful as it is restful. What more can one want in a getaway destination so close to Baltimore, about 130 miles away? Nightly rates at Graves Mountain Lodge, including three meals a day, begin at $79 per person in motel rooms for two, and range from $85 to $135 a person in cabins. Some cabins with a full kitchen can accommodate up to 18 guests, and may be rented without paying extra for meals. These are priced at $255-$335 a night. For more information, call (540) 923-4231 or log onto Victor Block is a Washington, D.C.-based travel writer.

Nominate a Marylander 60 or over for the

Keynote speaker William Thomas, M.D., international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare, will discuss Eldertopia: The Rise of a New Old Age

Governor’s Leadership in Aging Awards

Breakout sessions. Expert panel discussion. Resource information.

“For Excellence and Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Aging and Quality of Life for Seniors”

Cost: $5 in advance; $8 at the door. Call for a registration brochure: 410-654-0800, extension 210

Four categories: Trailblazer Visual or Performing Arts Health and Vitality Photography – NEW CATEGORY

This event is open to the community.

Beth Israel Congregation 3706 Crondall Lane Owings Mills, Maryland 21117 Special thanks to our media sponsors

Ellen Saval, CLTC, Long Term Care Insurance Specialist

Winners will be honored at Maryland’s Older Americans Month celebration in May For detailed category descriptions and a nomination form,visit

For more information call (410) 767-1064 or 1-800-243-3425 Nomination deadline: April 8, 2011

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Something different: a mystery vacation 15 days of surprises In October, the Whites flew from Providence, R.I., to Washington, D.C., before continuing to Denver. Karin White threw in a red herring by telling him they were only overnighting in Rocky Mountain National Park, then leaving Colorado. The next day, White assumed they were heading back to the airport until his wife “stopped the car, ran around [to his side of the car] and said, ‘I’m blindfolding you.’” A few minutes later, at the YMCA of the Rockies, the blindfold was removed to reveal 23 family members who had come from North Carolina, Florida, California and Colorado to celebrate his 70th birthday. After a four-day reunion, they traveled to Sedona, Ariz., where they went hot-air ballooning. They then helicoptered over the Grand Canyon, and stayed in the same room on the North Rim where they had stayed after their wedding a dozen years ago. “I don’t think she told me the rest of the trip until we left the North Rim,” White said, explaining that he then participated by mapping out a leisurely drive to Arches National Park in Utah. They spent two days there before returning home from what White described as a practically perfect trip. The blindfold “was the only little bump,” he said. “That startled me.”


By Karen Schwartz Blindfolded, 1,500 miles from home, 70year-old Paul White was being driven along a twisting mountain road to an unknown destination. No, it wasn’t a kidnapping, or even a mystery novel. It was a mystery vacation. From the moment White left his house in East Sandwich, Mass., until well into the 15-day vacation his wife spent two years planning, he didn’t know where he’d be going or what he’d be doing. The same thing happened to Heather and Brian Cornwell, of Jacksonville, Fla., after her father arranged a 10-day “scavenger hunt” vacation as a wedding gift. Ditto for the hundreds of women who have traveled with Pink Bus Mystery Tours out of Fargo, N.D. But a mystery vacation isn’t for everyone. While some laud it as an adventure free from the hassles of trip planning, others say it’s unnerving giving up so much control. White is one of those who love it. His wife, Karin, organizes their mystery getaways, which have lasted from a day to two weeks. She has whisked him off to England, Mexico and several U.S. destinations. She tells him in advance how long they’ll be gone, then does the rest, including packing.

Linda and Chuck Wright (couple on the right) planned a mystery trip to Colorado as a wedding present for their daughter Heather and her husband Brian Cornwell. Most people enjoy the spontaneity and freedom of going on such trips, but some find the surprise element unnerving.

A traveling scavenger hunt Heather Cornwell, 34, was given a choice for a wedding present: cash or an all-expense-paid trip to Colorado. The Cornwells, who juggle family obligations, full-time jobs and university studies, liked the idea of having someone else make the plans.

“We wanted the trip to be fun and exciting,” said Chuck Wright, Heather’s father. “We came up with the idea of a twist on a scavenger hunt.” The first stop was a lodge in Riverside, Wyo., accompanied by Wright and his See TRAVEL MYSTERY, page 26

serving those who



and their eligible non-vet spouses Come see us at the Southern Maryland Senior Housing Expo

May 14th from 10 am to 3 pm at the Northern Senior Center


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Travel mystery From page 25 wife, Linda. That night, Cornwell recalled Wright telling them: “Tomorrow you need to wear clothes that can get wet. Bring Ziplocs for your camera.” But she added: “We had no idea what we were going to be doing.” After a day of fly-fishing, the Wrights returned home to Fort Collins, Colo., leaving the Cornwells to continue solo. “We couldn’t sleep that night,” Cornwell said. We were very excited.” The next morning, the proprietor handed them an envelope and a map of hiking trails. The instructions told them to drive to Steamboat Springs, Colo., shop for three days’ worth of food, and continue to a lakeside campground in Routt National Forest. (Wright had packed their truck with camping gear.) The letter also told them to leave two days later, stopping by the Ranger Station

in Yampa, where another set of instructions had been e-mailed. Those led them to a hotel in Glenwood Springs, Colo., for two nights, and then to the REI store in Denver by 5 p.m. on the third day, where the Wrights were waiting in the parking lot with tickets to a Rockies-Red Sox game. Cornwell said the trip was better than their honeymoon to Scotland and Ireland because of the “excitement, adventure and love” that went into planning it. “As an adult, your life is all about where you have to be next and what you have to do next,” she explained. “It was such an amazing thing to relinquish control of your life for a minute.”

Some caveats But not everyone loves that feeling. Lynnette Cashman said she felt “a little out of sync” during a 30th anniversary surprise planned by her husband, who normally leaves travel arrangements to her. She knew something was up two months



TRAVEL WITH LIBERTY SENIOR CENTER Liberty Senior Center in Randallstown has trips planned to Luray

Caverns and Skyline Drive on May 26, Newport Rhode Island and Michigan Sun Casino from June 6 to 8, and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on Sept. 20. For more information, call (410) 887-0780.

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ago when she saw credit card charges for a four-day trip to St. John’s, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but that was all she was allowed to know. “I felt more shut out than anticipatory,” she explained. Although she appreciated her husband’s efforts, thought St. John’s was beautiful and the trip relaxing, she said she felt “annoyed at times” and “detached” at others. “I’m not a go-with-the-flow person,” said Cashman, a retired accountant from West Chester, Pa. ”I like being in charge.” Still, others are so intrigued by mystery tours, they sign up for them on their own. Women pay $200 for a four-person room and an unknown adventure with Pink Bus Mystery Tours ( from Saturday morning until Sunday night. “It’s sisters, or sisters and moms, or high school friends that have gotten together and they decide to go away for a weekend,” explained co-owner Debbie Carriveau. Activities have included boating, train rides, winery visits, belly dancing, cooking demonstrations, pottery factories, dairy farms and more. Clients receive a post card with a suggested packing list, which will sometimes include a teaser, like “bring an apron,” she said. The company has offered six to eight

weekend trips annually for four years departing from the Fargo area. But they’re now attracting so many participants from elsewhere that this year a full tour originated in Milbank, S.D., 140 miles away. And next year, Pink Bus will try something new: A flight to a destination revealed in advance — California’s Napa Valley. To preserve the mystery element, though, participants won’t be told the itinerary or activities. White says that for him, mystery trips are the only way to travel. As a sculptor with employees, he said he would find it impossible to focus on planning a trip. “I think it’s fantastic. It fits my personality,” he said. “Once I leave I’m fine, but it’s very difficult for me to get out the driveway.” His wife’s subterfuge is so good that once, after driving for five hours, White thought they were lost somewhere in Maine — until they got out of the car and into a boat for a trip across Chesuncook Lake to a bed-and-breakfast. On another occasion, without telling him they were going to England, she tricked him into getting a passport by having his daughter tell him that she was getting one, and he should, too. “I sometimes wake up and realize this isn’t fair. I’ve never taken her any place and she loves to travel,” White said. “But she also loves to plan.” — AP

WANTED All Maryland citizens 100 years of age and older, and persons who will be age 100 by December 31, 2011 to attend

The 19h Annual Maryland Centenarians Recognition Luncheon Thursday, May 12, 2011 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Martin’s West 6821 Dogwood Road Baltimore County, Maryland

For more information, contact Dr. Odessa Dorkins at 410-664-0911


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Arts &

Cirque du Soleil comes to Baltimore in April. See story on page 29.

Never-before-displayed photos at BMA since 1960, said Hileman, is that the medium began to concern itself less with photojournalism (with the heyday of magazines such as “Look” and “Life” beginning to fade) and more with critical views of contemporary life. Going hand-in-hand was a greater use of color photography, and more experimental ways of producing images. “Artists began to think conceptually during this time,” said Hileman, noting that BMA’s past curators had the “foresight” to collect the photographs that form the basis of this exhibition, a “celebration of our collection and its diversity.” “Seeing Now” is divided into five sections: “Seeing Pictures,” images from history and popular culture; “Seeing People,” which provides an intimate look at people in their private world; “Seeing Places,” images of natural and man-made environments; “Seeing Performance,” which moves photography into newer forms such as video installations; and “Seeing Photography,” which shows how contemporary photographers use their medium as a subject in and of itself.

Experimental, conceptual images

Haunting and gritty

What is significant about photography

These are no “chocolate box” photos; in-

stead, they veer between nostalgic and haunting, thought-provoking and even depressing, at times. Robert Frank’s “Cape Cod”— at first glance, a family beach scene — shows, on

closer inspection, a young girl at play, a woman lying on her stomach and a young boy gazing at a newspaper. Look closely See PHOTOS, page 28


By Carol Sorgen Picking up where it left off in its 2008 exhibition “Looking Through the Lens: Photography 1900-1960,” the Baltimore Museum of Art is bringing us up to date with its new exhibition, “Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960.” The exhibition features individual photographs and photographic series by such renowned artists as Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander and Cindy Sherman, as well as works by artists whose names may be less familiar, such as Kota Ezawa and Joan Jonas. Curated by Kristen Hileman, “Seeing Now” draws from the BMA’s more than 4,000 images. “We had a lot to choose from,” said BMA director Doreen Bolger. Because the photos are so light-sensitive, many of them have never before been on display. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Bolger said. For Hileman, choosing the works to be displayed was an “incredible opportunity” to learn about the BMA’s holdings in an indepth way.

Mickalene Thomas’s 2010 photograph, “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires,” is part of the BMA’s exhibit of photos taken since 1960.


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Photos From page 27 and you can see the headline reporting the death of Marilyn Monroe. Mary Ellen Mark’s black-and-white photo, “Amanda and Her Cousin Amy, Valdese, North Carolina (1990),” shows two young girls in a wading pool, the 9year-old Amanda gazing defiantly at the camera with a cigarette in her hand. One can only wonder, what happened to such a tough little girl? Even more “gritty,” as Hileman described them, are such photographic se-

ries as Larry Clark’s black-and-white “Tulsa,” shot between 1963-71, which tells the story of the drug-abusing friends he left behind, while Danny Lyon’s “Conversations with the Dead,” also in black and white, were shot in Texas prisons during the 1960s. In an age where virtually everyone now has the tools to be a photographer, it’s no surprise that the BMA is itself taking advantage of technology to enhance the exhibition for viewers. Visitors are invited to download a free application, such as QR Reader, and scan QR codes on select wall labels with their

Cars, boats, furniture, antiques, tools, appliances Everything and anything is sold on

Radio Flea Market Heard every Sunday, 6:30-8 a.m. on 680 WCBM


smart phones. Using QR codes, “Seeing Now” viewers can immediately access thought-provoking written responses composed by students studying contemporary photography at Maryland Institute College of Art. Nate Larson, Maryland Institute College of Art professor and artist, invited students enrolled in his course “Contemporary Directions in Photography” to respond in writing to seven of the exhibition’s images or series. The students considered the art works in relation to their understanding of the photographic medium, the history of photography and their own developing artistic practices. In sum, what this exhibition is about, said Hileman, is the capture of a moment in time, to see in the future, to reflect upon the past. Accompanying the exhibition are several special events. On Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m.,

a panel discussion, “Watching You: Surveillance Exposed,” will explore the role of photography in surveillance. It will explore the local and global impact of this issue, and address individual responses, from artists’ subversions of street cameras to streaming constant video of oneself on the Internet. The event is free, but tickets are required and will be available at the BMA box office one hour prior to start time. On Friday, May 6, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., Baltimore photographer Jim Lucio curates “Photography Late Night,” an evening of films, performances and interactive works inspired by the exhibition. “Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960” is on view through May 15 at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. Admission is free. For more information, call (443) 573-1700 or visit


June 21+


Singers 55 and over are invited to attend a five-day singing “camp” at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where they will rehearse daily with conductor Jeanne Kelly, founder of Encore Creativity. The program includes rehearsals and performances of challenging classical and secular pieces. Also offered will be daily movement/yoga classes, vocal technique classes and sectionals. Singers will attend concerts and other events in the evenings. A public grand finale Encore Chorale concert will be performed on June 25. For pricing information and more details, visit Encore’s website at or contact or (301) 261-5747.

THE EDWARD A MYERBERG CENTER PRESENTS The Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park presents





Monday, May 16, 2011 at 7pm Wednesday, March 30th 1 p.m.

Contestants from eight Maryland counties will be competing. Join this showcase of senior vocal talent! Tickets are $6 and are available in advance by calling Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks at 410.396.2920.

ation . g e r g e l Con ights Av E h t Be ark He P 8101

For more Information: Call 410-358-6856 or visit

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Cirque du Soleil plays under the big top By Carol Sorgen Cirque du Soleil will bring its unique blend of music, dance, acrobatics and visual effects to Baltimore when its new traveling show, Totem, sets up under the characteristic blue and yellow big top on April 7 at Westport Waterfront. The waterfront is located about 2 miles south of the Inner Harbor, along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, and is under development. The show runs through April 24. Totem premiered in April 2010, in Montreal, home of Cirque du Soleil, and has since played in Quebec City, Amsterdam and London. It had its U.S. premiere in Charlotte earlier this month, and will move on to Pittsburgh after it closes here. One of the company’s five big-top shows, Totem traces the journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage that evokes a giant turtle — the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, Totem illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species.

Somewhere between science and legend, Totem explores the ties that bind humans to other species, our dreams and our potential.

A circus without animals


Totem is made up of 11 acts, with cast members performing with bars, rings, hoops, trapeze, roller skates and more. It’s like a circus, but without animals, said Cirque spokesperson Amelie Hamel. Totem is director Robert Lepage’s second Cirque du Soleil show. “Inspired by the foundation narratives of the first peoples, Totem explores the birth and evolution of the world, the relentless curiosity of human beings and their constant desire to excel,” he said. “The word ‘totem’ suggests that human beings carry in their bodies the full potential of all living species, even the Thunderbird’s desire to fly to the top of the totem,” Lepage said. While all Cirque shows are different from one another because they each have different creators, Totem is unique, according to Hamel, because this show is “very realistic and natural.” “Unlike other shows, Totem is not set in a fantasy world,” she said, adding that while the production traces human evolution, it is not promoting any philosophy or belief system. Instead it incorporates myths, symbols, signs and dreams to tell the story of mankind.

Spectacular visual effects Another distinguishing characteristic, according to Hamel, is the production’s visual effects, which give audience members

Cirque du Soleil’s Totem, in town from April 7 to 24, tells the story of the evolution of humans using acrobatics and spectacular visual effects.





From page 30.





















the distinct sensation of traveling to different worlds, be it in a volcano, under water and so on. “The main objective is to simply experience the magic…to be amazed and entertained. That is what a Cirque show is all about,” she said. Totem took a team of 12, led by director Lepage, about three years to create. The team worked together on not only the original concept, but details such as make-up, lighting and set design. “It evolves, both creatively and logistically, from these brainstorming sessions,” said Hamel. Cirque du Solei’s “raison d’etre,” she added, is the creation of shows, to be pre-

sented under big tops, in theaters or arenas around the world. Nearly 200 creators have contributed to the 21 shows created since 1984. Tickets for Totem range from $55 to $190 for adults. Senior discounts of about 9 percent are available for those 65+ for non-peak performances (Sunday to Thursday, and Friday at 4 p.m.). Seniors will be required to provide verification of age through valid I.D. at the time of the show. Tickets are available online at or by phone at 1-800450-1480. Tickets are also available at the box office at 2001 Kloman St., Baltimore, starting April 6.

The Woodlands

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Puzzle Page

NEW! Daily Crosswords on our website: Click on Puzzles Plus

Figures of Speech 1









by Stephen Sherr 6


































Across 1. Apprehends 5. Turner and Fey 10. Corn units 14. Sadly 15. ___ of reality 16. Early 10th century year 17. Vending machine button 18. Just a few of the L words, for example (with 23 Across) 20. Garden store item 21. Plant life 22. Gurus 23. See 18 Across 26. Actor James 27. Center of m.p.g. 28. Modern-day Persian 30. Stubborn one 33. Lend a hand 36. Fairly common, relatively speaking 40. Bigger than med. 41. Top pilots 42. Office furniture 43. Galley power 45. Post on eBay 46. Literary records (with 56 Across) 53. 2010 shipment from D.C. to Sichuan, China 54. Most new drivers 55. Poseidon’s realm 56. See 46 Across 58. Show partner 59. Two of Ripley’s words 60. Still kicking 61. ___ time next week 62. Cuts down 63. Yielded land 64. School grps. 1. Cheesy chip 2. Cat-like












Scrabble answers on p. 29.







26 28





Answer: What the theater audience considered the laser show? “LIGHT” DRAMA Jumbles: CANAL SIXTY MARAUD HANGAR


3. Get ready for a birthday party 4. Direction from Utica to NYC 5. ___ the Saddle (1944 John Wayne western) 6. Blockhead 7. Dame from Paris or Indiana 8. She was born on film three times 9. Briefly choose 10. Dessert cart option 11. Pal 12. Off the couch 13. Waits to go in the game 19. Toward Cancun, from Guadalajara 21. Thrash about 24. Daily Planet reporter 25. Mighty Joe Young and King Kong 28. Home from work 29. Fix (as an election) 30. Cheese partner 31. Employ 32. ___ Cruces, New Mexico 33. Traveler’s goal, perhaps 34. Type 35. Capital word in Iowa 37. Football unit 38. Conceptions 39. Suffer a snowman’s fate 43. Requests from a doctor, or to a waiter 44. Controversial apple spray 45. Intuited 46. ... ___ San Jose (pre-MapQuest song) 47. Hop ___ 48. Made off with a fur 49. Frigid 50. Superman portrayer 51. Alabama city 50 miles from Montgomery (by foot) 52. Accounts say-able 53. A good name for a stamp collector 57. Breathalyzer measure (abbrev.) 58. 1/768th of a gallon

Answers on page 29.


CLASSIFIEDS The Beacon prints classified advertising under the following headings: Business & Employment Opportunities; Caregivers; Computer Services; Entertainment; For Sale; For Sale/Rent: Real Estate; Free; Health; Home/ Handyman Services; Miscellaneous; Personals; Personal Services; Vacation Opportunities; and Wanted. For submission guidelines and deadlines, see the box on the bottom of this page. CAVEAT EMPTOR! The Beacon does not knowingly accept obscene, offensive, harmful, or fraudulent advertising. However, we do not investigate any advertisers or their products and cannot 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 UNLIMITED INCOME POTENTIAL from home promoting unique products that everyone will need. Will train the right individual. Watch FREE video for complete details at

Entertainment OPEN MIC: Southwest Baltimore County’s newest at Dewey Loman American Legion Post 109, 1610 Sulfur Spring Rd., Halethorpe, MD 21227. 410-242-5256, Ext. 11. Every Saturday. Starts April 30, 2011 7-10pm. Be there!

Financial Services

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For Sale




FINE ANTIQUES, PAINTINGS AND QUALITY VINTAGE FURNISHINGS wanted by a serious capable buyer. I am very well educated [law degree] knowledgeable [over 40 years in the antique business] and have the finances and wherewithal to handle virtually any situation. If you have a special item, collection or important estate I would like to hear from you. I pay great prices for great things in all categories from oriental rungs 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.

DONATE YOUR VEHICLE ELDERLY NATION DONATIONS is seeking vehicle donations running or not. With your donation we are able to give financial support to our local elderly for medicine, medical devices, food, etc. We are a local non-profit organization. You will receive a tax deduction for you donation. Donate by phone at 410-865-3002 or 877-370-3002. On our website

Health DISCOUNT DENTAL PLANS – Save 10% to 60% on most dental procedures. Plans start at only $79.95 a year. Website: DentalPlans.htm. COULD THIS BE THE END OF CANCER? Heart disease? The flu? Etc.? Researcher sharing scientific discoveries. Visit my personal website at or call 410294-7606. VIAGRA 100MG and CIALIS 20mg!! 40 Pills + 4 FREE for only $99.00 #1 Male Enhancement, Discreet Shipping. Only $2.70/pill. The Blue Pill Now! 1-888-777-9242. VIAGRA 100mg and CIALIS 20mg!!!! 40 Pills + 4 FREE Only $99 #1 Male Enhancement, Discreet Shipping SAVE $500 BUY THE BLUE PILL NOW!!! 1-888-598-3772.

Miscellaneous REACH OVER 28 MILLION HOMES WITH ONE AD BUY! Only $2,795 per week! For more information, contact Roger at 410-2489101. DONATE A CAR – HELP CHILDREN FIGHTING DIABETES. Fast, Free Towing. Call 7 days/week. Non-runners OK. Tax Deductable. Call Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 1-800-578-0408. ATTEND COLLEGE ONLINE from Home. *Medical, *Business, *Paralegal, *Accounting, *Criminal Justice. Job placement assistance. Computer available. Financial Aid if qualified. Call 800-510-0784 DONATE A CAR To Help Children and Their Families Suffering From Cancer. Free Towing. Tax Deductible. Children’s Cancer Fund Of America, Inc. 1-800469-8593.

TRYING TO GET OUT OF DEBT? NO Obligation – Complimentary Consultation $10k in Credit Card/Unsecured Debt YOU have Options!! Learn about NO Upfront Fee Resolution Programs! Call 800-593-3446.

DONATE YOUR CAR! Breast Cancer Research foundation! Most highly rated breast cancer charity in America! Tax Deductible/Fast Free Pick Up. 800771-9551

CASH NOW! Cash for your structured settlement or annuity payments. Call J.G. Wentworth. 1-866-SETTLEMENT(1-866-738-8536) Rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.

GET YOUR DEGREE ONLINE *Medical, *Business, *Paralegal, *Accounting, *Criminal Justice. Job placement assistance. Computer available. Financial Aid if qualified. Call 800510-0784

For Rent/Sale Real Estate GEORGIA LAND- FINAL LIQUIDATION SALE! Augusta Area (Washington Co.) 75% sold, beautiful homesites, 1acre-20acres starting @ $3750/acre. Wonderful weather, low taxes, financing from $199/ month. 706-364-4200. OWN 20 ACRES Only $129. Per/mo., $295/down near growing El Paso Texas (safest city in America!) Money back guarantee, no credit checks, owner financing. Free map/pictures 1-800-7558953 5 ACRES, $9750! Southern COLORADO, Level valley land on road, near high mountains and rivers, Surveyed, $500 down, $125/month. Owner, 806-376-8690

For Sale STEEL BUILDINGS 30 x 40, 100 x 100 – Others discounted before inflation (Steel shortage looming) Buy Now! Source: 1A9. 410-630-4418. PRINCESS DI & Queen Mum memorabilia, coins, stamps, books, pamphlets, best offer. 410242-2169. TWO GRAVE LOTS valued at $6500.00 located at Gardens of Faith Cemetery on Trumps Mill Road (off Rossville Blvd). $3000.00 or best offer for both. Call 410-282-9065 and leave message with your contact information. **ALL SATELLITE SYSTEMS are not the same. Monthly programming starts under $20 per month and FREE HD and DVR systems for new callers. CALL NOW 1-800-799-4935.


DONATE YOUR CAR…To the Cancer Fund of America. Help Those Suffering With Cancer Today. Free Towing and Tax Deductible. 1-800835-9372

Personal Services LEARN ENGLISH – SPANISH – ITALIAN – FRENCH – PORTUGUESE Conversational. Grammatical. Private lessons. Reasonable Rates. Tutoring students. 443-352-8200. PIANO LESSONS: Patient teacher with 20+ years experience teaching ages 6 thru seniors. Keyboards OK. Near Towson. Call Linda at 410-532-8381.

Vacation Opportunities SUNNY SPRING SPECIALS At Florida’s Best Beach-New Smyrna Beach Stay a week or longer Plan a beach wedding or family reunion. or 1-800-541-9621.

Wanted ELECTRONIC CLEAN-OUTS WANTED, absolute best price, collections, contents, electronics, attic-basement-garage, speakers, accumulations, generous offers, honest pricing, unlimited funds, will travel, CASH. Call Alan 410740-5222 or 240-478-1100. VINYL RECORDS WANTED from the 20s through 1985. Jazz, Rock-n-Roll, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae and Disco. 33 1/3 LPs, 45s or 78s, Larger collections preferred. Please call John, 301-596-6201.

STAMPS! U.S. only. Small collector buying pre1940. Best price paid. Southwest Stamp Club meets Friday, April 15th, 2011, 1PM, Arbutus. 410-247-4169. CASH BUYER seeking wrist and pocket watches (any condition). Also buying watchmaker’s tools and parts, old costume jewelry. 410-655-0412 or 410-409-4965.

LOOKING FOR GOLD and silver coins. Father and son from Howard County will pay cash for your coins. Please call Mac 443-285-2774 STAMP COLLECTIONS, AUTOGRAPHS purchased/appraised – U.S., worldwide, covers, paper memorabilia. Stamps are my specialty – highest price paid! Appraisals. Phone Alex, 301309-6637. **OLD GUITARS WANTED!** Fender, Gibson, Martin, Gretsch, Prairie State, Euphonon, Larson, D’Angelico, Stromberg, Rickenbacker, and Mosrite. Gibson Mandolins/Banjos. 1930’s thru 1970’s TOP CASH PAID! 1-800-401-0440.


Mar. 30


Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks hosts the 5th Annual Maryland Senior Idol Competition and Benefit at the Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park on Wednesday, March 30 at 1 p.m. Contestants age 60 and over from across the State of Maryland will be competing in this vocal competition. Proceeds will benefit the Maryland Food Bank. Tickets are $6. For more information or for tickets, call (410) 396-2920 or e-mail

Mar. 28


The Loyola/Notre Dame Library is hosting a screening and discussion of the film Smoke Signals, and short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, on Monday, March 28, at 7 p.m. in the Ridley Auditorium, 200 Winston Ave. in Baltimore. Associate Professor of Communication Arts Joe Schaub will lead the discussion of the 1998 film, which is based on Sherman Alexie’s short story focusing on two young Native American men. For more information, e-mail Alison Cody at

Mar. 29


The College of Notre Dame of Maryland School of Education is hosting a discussion and screening of Library of the Early Mind: a Grown-Up Look at the Art of Children’s Literature on Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. at LeClerc Auditorium, 4701 N. Charles St. Featuring more than 40 contemporary children’s book authors, illustrators, and critics, the movie explores the impact of popular childhood tales on the collective conscious. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. For registration, visit Attendees are asked to bring a new or gently used children’s book for children in need. For additional information about the screening, call (410) 532-5362 or visit


Deadlines and Payments: Ad text and payment is due by the 5th of each month. Note: Only ads received and prepaid by the deadline will be included in the next month’s issue. Please type or print your ad carefully. Include a number where you can be reached in the event of a question. Payment is due with ad. We do not accept ads by phone or fax, nor do we accept credit cards. Private Party Text Ads: For individuals seeking to buy or sell particular items, offer a personal service, or place a personal ad. Each ad is $10 for 25 words, 25 cents for each additional word. Commercial Party Text Ads: For parties engaged in an ongoing commercial business enterprise. Each ad is $25 for 25 words, 50 cents for each additional word. Note: Each real estate listing counts as one commercial ad.

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April 2011 Baltimore Beacon Edition  
April 2011 Baltimore Beacon Edition  

April 2011 Baltimore Beacon Edition