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Musicians put heart into songs

SEPTEMBER 2011

I N S I D E …

PHOTO BY FRANK KLEIN

By Carol Sorgen A passion for music has defined Ted Zlatin’s life, from his days playing in a teenage band in suburban Baltimore to a career that has covered every aspect of the music business, from promoting records to selling pianos. Now retired, Zlatin is using that same passion to bring the joy of music to older adults throughout the greater Baltimore area through the Music and Art Traveling Heart Show. “Music and arts have shown the power to touch a heart and soul, bring back a memory, evoke an emotion, inspire feelings and stimulate the senses,” said the 62-year-old Zlatin, who lives in Howard County. The vision of the Music and Art Traveling Heart Show, which Zlatin established two years ago, is to enhance quality of life for area seniors. Two of his inspirations are his own parents, ages 92 and 89. “They are why I’m doing what I’m doing,” Zlatin said. “We strive to bring out emotions with an interaction of musicians, artists, performers, video and audio to find a way to touch their hearts,” said Zlatin.

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LEISURE & TRAVEL

Nearby sites for late summer fun: Life’s more than a beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks; plus, SEALs, sun and squadrons in Virginia Beach page 25

Members of the band The group is made up of four musicians: Otis Stroup on keyboard, Jamie Hopkins on bass and Tim Ghiz on drums, with Bruce Thomas as the vocalist. Zlatin himself doesn’t perform, but serves as the band’s executive director. Stroup has been a mainstay in the Baltimore and surrounding area, playing for more than 20 years at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Rusty Scupper restaurant Friday and Saturday nights. He is also a regular performer at the popular Café de Paris in Howard County. Ghiz has been playing drums professionally for 43 years. He has also traveled across the country playing numerous shows on the road. He has performed in many different senior living communities over the years and continues that tradition by playing with the Traveling Heart Show. “White Lightnin’” Hopkins is a full-time musician, teaching bass and guitar, performing on bass and singing. He has been performing in the area since the age of 13. He also composes and has made numerous recordings with local performers.

The Music and Art Traveling Heart Show — brainchild of Ted Zlatin (left) — brings a lively, interactive performance of golden oldies to senior centers and retirement communities throughout the Baltimore area. Members of the band (behind Zlatin) include Tom Ghitz, drummer, Jamie Hopkins, bass guitarist, Otis Stroup, pianist and Bruce Thomas, vocalist.

Thomas, the vocalist, first took to the stage at age 3. Over the years, he said, his vocal style has been influenced by such artists as Al Jarreau, Frank Sinatra, Al Green and Miles Davis, not to mention his own father, Ralph Thomas, a professional singer. Thomas once was a full-time singer, but he went back to the “real world” after the birth of his daughter. He started singing again two years ago. In addition to his work with the Traveling Heart Show, he performs at area restaurants and nightclubs, including Café de Paris, Great Sage, Tabrizi’s and others. Through his day job as branch manager with Options for Senior America, a personal home care organization, Thomas has

found a special connection with seniors that he attempts to bring to his performances with the Traveling Heart Show. “I try to put joy into their lives, and music helps me do that,” he said. Thomas also looks for people in the audience with whom to connect. “It could be the person who already has a sparkle in her eyes, or on the other hand, it could be the person who sits with his arms folded and needs a special touch.” Literally. Thomas is a strong believer in both the power of music and the power of a simple touch on the shoulder. “I just want the audience to accept what I can give them,” he said. See BAND, page 32

ARTS & STYLE

Actors add a human dimension to Civil War exhibit; plus, the art of writing (instruments) at the Walters page 31

FITNESS & HEALTH 4 k Put cancer risks in perspective k B vitamins boost your brain LAW & MONEY 18 k Become a better bargainer k What investment pros are buying VOLUNTEERS & CAREERS k Garden variety volunteers

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Moving the folks (Part I) My parents, whom long-time readers turned in recent years, leaving Dad mostly have “met” before in this column, have responsible for the shopping, cooking, once again graciously providserving and clean-up duties. ed me with an occasion for Primarily because of Mom’s some musings. You see, needs, and my father’s growthey’ve recently moved into ing concern over how long he an assisted living facility. can continue to handle her While I have edited articare (and clean the chickens), cles about such moves many they recently decided to move times over the years, this is into an assisted living facility my first opportunity to expenear their home in Texas. rience one myself, and thereMy brother and I, who FROM THE in lie a few tales. both live in this neck of the First, what led my parents PUBLISHER woods and typically visit our to make such a change after By Stuart P. Rosenthal folks a few times a year, re60 years of marriage? Though cently took turns assisting in my 91-year-old father has some of the the move. It was an education in several usual chronic conditions (high blood pres- ways. sure and cholesterol) and some less usual While I had expected to face some chalones (celiac disease), he is generally in lenges in paring down their spacious twosound health, drives safely and walks inde- bedroom-plus-den condo to a modest onependently (if carefully). bedroom assisted living apartment, I had My 82-year-old mother, suffering from remembered my parents’ home as containosteoporosis and arthritis, needs a walker ing the accumulated furniture, bric-a-brac and considerable assistance with daily and debris of one family. tasks, but she, too, is otherwise in decent But over the years, without my realizing health. it, they had accumulated many of the valuFor decades, my mother took care of ables (and much of the detritus) of their the household needs, but the tables have own parents, who had passed on in the in-

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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. • Publisher/Editor ....................Stuart P. Rosenthal • Associate Publisher..............Judith K. Rosenthal • Vice President, Operations........Gordon Hasenei • Director of Sales ................................Alan Spiegel • Assistant Operations Manager ..........Roger King • Managing Editor............................Barbara Ruben

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tervening decades. So my brother and I were really facing not one, but three households of goods — and cherished memories — to help sort through. Adding to the difficulty was the pressure applied on my brother and myself to absorb many of these “heirlooms” in order to keep them in the family and avoid the pain of truly disposing of them. I won’t deny that there were some family items my brother and I were thrilled to bring home (though my wife was somewhat less than ecstatic about the artsy plaster menorah). But there were many, many more that we had to politely but firmly refuse, including old 78 rpm records, VHS tapes, books, baby pictures, wall hangings, rococo serving platters and formal china. Psychologically, I think it was most difficult for my parents to grasp what it means to move to a place where they would be fed three meals a day (plus snacks!). While that was one of the main impetuses for the move (for my father, at least), it was painful to have to keep reminding them they didn’t need to retain every item from their kitchen and dining room. A dining room table and chairs for eight? A breakfront full of (multiple sets of) china and crystal stemware for 16? Pots, pans, mixing bowls, cutlery, serving

and storage paraphernalia? You name it, there was little they were happy to leave behind. I guess the idea that they would be making so many new friends and wouldn’t be able to entertain them in style was hard to swallow. Clothing was a similar Rubicon, for my mother, that is. She painstakingly went through her walk-in closet (plus the smaller walk-in closet in the second bedroom) to collect about 15 linear feet worth of items. The problem was, their new closet had about 5 feet of space for the two of them. Perhaps she did realize they’d be eating in a public dining room after all. How could she wear the same thing more than once a month and not “dress up” for dinner? Well, I’m almost out of space this month and there’s so much more to talk about: estate sale hell, the absolutely essential help of friends and neighbors, selling the home. Stay tuned. I’ll share more in my next column. In the meantime, we’d love to hear about your own experiences. Please write or email us.

Letters to the editor Readers are encouraged to share their opinion on any matter addressed in the Beacon as well as on political and social issues of the day. Mail your Letter to the Editor to The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915, or email to barbara@thebeaconnewspapers.com. Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification. Dear Editor: As a retiree collecting benefits, I’m troubled by the drumbeat of doom concerning my lifestyle. Yes, there are many problems facing our demographic: declining payroll tax collections, a shrinking workforce, longer lifespans and (gasp!) retirement of 68 million baby boomers [I’m one of them]. What Stuart Rosenthal fails to mention in his August column, “On Being Misunderstood,” is the need for political action. Where are the voices of yesterday? Everyone is so busy with their computers, cell phones, Facebook and social media junk they don’t understand the urgency to take action. I remember the demonstrations, political action groups and the successes of the 1960’s and ‘70’s, but where are those people now? Social Security and Medicare are always scheduled for the trimming table, but our humongous military expenses are never mentioned. I could also suggest we need to cut immigration, asylum applicants and refugees. America cannot continue being the policeman and sugar daddy of the planet. Sadly, as this country launches into more and more overseas adventures (Libya comes to mind), no one complains. This recklessness is costing a fortune. We need to bring back the old protest mentali-

ty and organize — after all, our lives and wellbeing depend on it! Rosalind Ellis Heid Baltimore Dear Editor: I wanted to send you my proposal for keeping Social Security solvent after I read your first column on it, but I put it off. I got the idea about eight years ago while looking over my telephone bill: tax, fee, tax, fee. A light went on, and I thought ‘Why couldn’t we add a deduction on pay stubs [to support Social Security]?’ Workers who got paid weekly would have $1 deducted for the Social Security Fund; those who got paid twice a month would have $2 deducted. The money would be for Social Security only. I don’t know why anyone would not want to do this, knowing that money would be there for them when it was their time to retire. It certainly would be less painful than cutting benefits or raising the retirement age, two options I totally disagree with. Thanks for your invitation to participate in finding a solution to keeping Social Security solvent. Diane Mogavero Baltimore


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Health Fitness &

A CLEAR ANSWER Cataract surgery should be based on vision problems, not “ripeness” MAKING FOOD SAFER Irradiating food can eliminate health dangers, but shoppers still object B VITAMINS EARN AN “A” B vitamins help maintain memory, boost mood and lower stroke risk VET THE INTERNET Where can you go for reliable health information online?

Cancer risks abound. Should you worry? By Marilynn Marchione You’re sitting in a freshly drywalled house, drinking coffee from a plastic foam cup and talking on a cell phone. Which of these is most likely to be a cancer risk? It might be the sitting, especially if you do that a lot. Despite all the recent news about possible cancer risks from cell phones, coffee, styrene, and formaldehyde in building materials, most of us probably face little if any danger from these things with ordinary use, health experts say. Inactivity and obesity may pose a greater cancer risk than chemicals for some people. “We are being bombarded” with messages about the dangers posed by common things in our lives, yet most exposures “are not at a level that are going to cause cancer,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society’s deputy chief medical officer. Linda Birnbaum agrees. She is a toxicologist who heads the government agency that just declared styrene, an ingredient in

fiberglass boats and Styrofoam, a likely cancer risk. “Let me put your mind at ease right away about Styrofoam,” she said. Levels of styrene that leach from food containers “are hundreds if not thousands of times lower than have occurred in the occupational setting,” where the chemical in vapor form poses a possible risk to workers. “In finished products, certainly styrene is not an issue,” and exposure to it from riding in a boat “is infinitesimal,” she said.

Possible vs. actual risk Carcinogens are things that can cause cancer, but that label doesn’t mean that they will or that they pose a risk to anyone exposed to them in any amount at any time. They have been in the news because two groups that periodically convene scientists to decide whether something is a carcinogen issued new reports. Recently, the International Agency for

Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, said there is a possibility cell phones raise the risk of brain tumors. “The operative word is ‘possibility,’” said Lichtenfeld, who among others has pointed out the thin evidence for this and the fact that cancer rates have not risen since cell phones came out. Soon after, the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences — both of which Birnbaum heads — issued its report. It adds formaldehyde to the list of known carcinogens. The substance is found in building materials and some hairstraightening products, though Birnbaum said on-the-job exposure is the main concern. The list also adds a plant substance in some “natural” arthritis remedies — aristolochic acid. Six other things were dubbed “reasonably anticipated” to be carcinogens, including styrene and another herbal medicine

ingredient, riddelliine (rih-DELL-een). Since 1971, the international cancer agency has evaluated more than 900 substances. Just over 100 have been deemed carcinogens, 59 are called probable carcinogens, and 266 others are possible ones.

Everyday products In this last category of possibles — besides the electromagnetic energy from cell phones — are coffee, engine exhaust and talc-based body powder. Talc in its natural form may contain asbestos, though products sold for home use since the 1970s have been asbestos-free. Again, most risk is thought to involve occupational or unusual exposure to natural talc. The evidence on coffee has gone back and forth for years, with no clear sign of danger and some suggestions of benefit. However, known carcinogens include alSee CANCER RISKS, page 7

Benefits of custom-made blood vessels By Marilynn Marchione Three dialysis patients have received the world’s first blood vessels grown in a lab from donated skin cells. It’s a key step toward creating a supply of ready-to-use arteries and veins that could be used to treat diabetics, soldiers with damaged limbs, people having heart bypass surgery and others. The goal is to one day have a refrigerated inventory of blood vessels in various sizes and shapes that surgeons could order up as needed, like bandages and other medical supplies. The work so far is still early-stage. Three patients in Poland have received the new vessels, which are working well two to eight months later. But doctors are excited because this builds on earlier success in about a dozen patients given blood vessels grown in the lab from their own skin — a process too long and expensive to be practical. “This version, built from a master donor, is available off the shelf and at a dramatically reduced cost,” estimated at $6,000 to $10,000, said Todd McAllister, chief of Cytograft Tissue Engineering Inc., the San

Francisco-area company leading the work. The American Heart Association considers it so promising that the group featured it in the first of a new series of webcasts about cutting-edge science. “This is tremendously exciting,” said Duke University’s Dr. Robert Harrington, a heart expert who had no role in the work, because the failure of blood vessels used in dialysis is “a huge public health problem.”

Could solve common problem Kidney failure, which is common in diabetics, requires dialysis to filter wastes from the blood through a connection between an artery and a vein called a shunt. The shunt gets punctured several times a week to hook patients up to the dialysis machine, and complications include blood clots, clogging and infection. What’s more, patients often run out of suitable sites for these shunts as problems develop. Each year, nearly 400,000 Americans undergo dialysis and half of them use plastic shunts. Plastic versions have high rates of failure and complications. Doctors have

long wished for a natural substitute. In 2005, Cytograft reported success with its first attempt at dialysis shunts using patients’ own skin. Some of the early work was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The new work, using donor cells, makes this advance more practical for wide use, said Dr. Timothy Gardner, a heart surgeon at Christiana Care Health Services in Newark, Del., and former American Heart Association president. “It provides the option or the opportunity for off-the-shelf graft availability as opposed to something that has to be built from the individual’s own cells,” he said. Cytograft plans a study in Europe and South America comparing 40 patients getting the lab-grown vessels to 20 getting plastic shunts. Studies also are planned on a mesh version for people with poor leg circulation.

How they’re made The lab-grown vessels are free of artificial materials. They don’t involve stem cells, so they’re not controversial.

Researchers start with a snip of skin from the back of a hand, remove cells and grow them into sheets of tissue that are rolled up like straws to form blood vessels. So far, these lab-grown vessels have been tolerated by the recipients’ immune systems; no anti-rejection medicine or tissue matching is needed. That’s not surprising because lab-grown skin is already used to treat many burn victims. “There are literally hundreds of thousands of patients that could use this technology,” McAllister said. More than 160,000 people lose limbs because of poor circulation that might be improved with lab-grown vessels. About 300,000 people have heart bypass operations using blood vessels taken from other parts of the body to create detours around clogged heart arteries. Some heart patients say the leg wound from removing the long vein to create heart bypasses hurts more than the chest wound for the open-heart surgery. For more about Cytograft and a video about how the vessels are made, see www.cytograft.com. — AP


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Aging makes us more vulnerable to heat

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Medicines can also make people more vulnerable to the heat. These include diuretics for high blood pressure, which increase urination and make it more important to drink plenty of water, Dale said.

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Medicines increase risk

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Dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and potentially deadly heat stroke. During a heat wave, that can happen in a matter of hours in older adults if they over-exert themselves, don’t drink enough water, or are frail and don’t get out of uncooled homes. Heat exhaustion can cause muscle cramps, low blood pressure, rapid pulse and nausea. It can be treated at home, by drinking water, getting into an air-conditioned room or sitting in front of a fan and misting the body with cool water. But affected people should be monitored for mental changes and to make sure their temperature does not rise above 102, because the condition can quickly lead to heat stroke. A medical emergency, heat stroke involves temperatures of 104 or higher and can cause seizures, loss of consciousness and death.

Doctors also advise older patients to avoid alcohol and coffee during extreme heat because they can cause the body to lose fluid and contribute to dehydration. For more on staying healthy during hot weather, see the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extr emeheat/elderlyheat.asp and the American Geriatrics Society at www. healthinaging.org/public_education/hot_weather_ti ps.php. — AP

Scott Sheridan, who studies the effects of heat and climate on health at Kent State University, researched how people over 65 view heat warnings. In his 2006 study of more than 900 people, he found about 70 percent knew about advice to drink plenty of water on very hot days, avoid outdoor activities and stay inside with air conditioning. But only about half said they followed the advice. “People well into their 70s would say old people should watch out, but not them,” he said. “People just didn’t want to be thought of in that same category.” As Dr. William Dale, geriatrics chief at the University of Chicago Medical Center explains why heat can become more dangerous with age: “Any older adult has less reserve and is more likely to become dehydrated than others, just because their

Dehydration can be fatal

Some types of drugs can interfere with sweating and raise body temperature, including some medicines for insomnia, nausea, prostate conditions, Parkinson’s disease and even Benadryl. Many list “dry mouth” as a side effect — a tip-off to drink more water. There aren’t specific guidelines on how much water older people should drink in a heat wave. Dale said he generally tells his older patients to drink a quart of water throughout the day, and to drink even if they don’t feel thirsty.

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Many ignore warnings

overall body water goes down with age no matter how healthy you are.” The amount of water in the body declines with aging, from about 80 percent in young adulthood to about 55 to 60 percent for people in their 80s, Dale said. Temperature sensors in the brain become less sensitive as people age, so the body doesn’t get the same signals to drink water in hot weather, and older adults often don’t feel thirsty even when they need to replenish, Dale said. They also may not feel the typical symptoms of dehydration, such as headache or dizziness.

F R E E

By Lindsey Tanner This summer’s relentless heat may be uncomfortable, but you’re healthy, active and feel just fine. So what if you’re over 65? Think again. Feeling good doesn’t mean you’re safe. Changes occur as we age that raise the risk for heat stroke and other problems. An older body contains far less water than a younger one. Our brains can’t sense temperature changes as well, and they don’t recognize thirst as easily. Blistering summer heat is an underappreciated killer, claiming by some estimates as many as 1,000 U.S. lives each year — more than any other type of weather. One federal study found 40 percent of heat-related deaths were in people 65 and older. Those numbers could be lower if more heeded heat warnings aimed at seniors. Yet research has shown many people over 65 don’t think the warnings apply to them, regardless of their age.


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Health Shorts New drug for hospital infections The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new antibiotic to treat an intestinal infection that afflicts more than 700,000 patients each year in the United States and sometimes can prove fatal. Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Dificid tablets were approved to treat Clostridium difficile, an infection that usually affects older patients and can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to potentially lifethreatening inflammation of the colon. The condition is most common in hospitals and nursing homes, where the bacteria spores can be found in bed linens, bathrooms and medical equipment. In fact, Clostridium difficile recently surpassed a type of staphylococcus bug as the most common hospital-acquired infection, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. Optimer’s twice-a-day tablet is the first new drug approved for the infection in nearly 25 years, according to the company. In recent decades, some varieties of germs have grown immune to popular an-

SEPTEMBER 2011 — BALTIMORE BEACON

tibiotics like penicillin, creating anxiety about the dwindling number of new antibiotics available. Vancomycin is currently used to treat the infection. The new drug, known generically as fidaxomicin, is only the third antibiotic cleared by the FDA since 2006, according to Optimer. In company trials, Dificid worked as well as vancomycin in treating the infection, and proved superior at preventing reinfection three weeks after treatment. —AP

Artery screening not recommended The carotid arteries in the neck are the main supply route for blood to get to the brain. But atherosclerotic plaque can gum them up, just as it does the coronary arteries. If that plaque ruptures, blood clots can form that block the carotids or other, smaller arteries, resulting in an ischemic stroke. Narrowed carotid arteries can be identified with an ultrasound before a stroke occurs. The examinations are noninvasive and inexpensive. Some hospitals are charging the public as little as $45 for an ultrasound of their carotid arteries. Yet for several good reasons, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force discourages

routine screening of the carotid arteries. First, only about 1 percent of the general population has significant narrowing, or stenosis, of the carotids, although the percentage does increase with age. Second, less than 10 percent of first-time ischemic strokes are associated with carotid stenosis, so stroke prevention efforts based on ultrasound screening can only go so far. Third, roughly eight in every 100 ultrasounds produce a false positive — a result that indicates the presence of significant stenosis that isn’t really there. False positives result in unnecessary tests and possibly unnecessary treatment. The plaque in a carotid artery can be surgically removed, and carotid endarterectomy, as the procedure is called, does lower stroke risk in some groups. But the procedure itself causes some strokes and heart attacks, so some harm done has to be factored in as well. Based on various assumptions, the task force calculated that if 100,000 people were screened for carotid artery stenosis with ultrasound, 23 strokes would be prevented over a five-year period, but 10 nonfatal heart attacks would be caused. — Harvard Health Letter

Sunscreen standards finally updated After spending more than 30 years in

“Seeing Mom safe and happy makes me happy too.” Renaissance Gardens is the extended care neighborhood at Charlestown in Catonsville and Oak Crest in Parkville. Here, you’ll feel confident knowing Mom has everything she needs for a rewarding life.

bureaucratic limbo, new guidelines for sunscreens have been published by the FDA to enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens and make them easier to use. Currently, standards of protection (and the associated sun protection factor or SPF ratings) apply only to one part of the sun’s spectrum, ultraviolet B rays, which cause sunburn. Under the new rules, they will also have to protect against ultraviolet A rays, which can penetrate glass and are associated with skin cancer and premature aging. Products with at least an SPF rating of 15 that protect against both types of rays may be labeled “broad spectrum” starting next summer. Sunscreens with less than an SPF of 15 or that aren’t “broad spectrum” will have to carry a warning label: “This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.” The SPF figure indicates the amount of sun exposure needed to cause sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin compared with unprotected skin. For example, an SPF rating of 30 means it would take the person 30 times longer to burn wearing sunscreen than with exposed skin. Also under the new rules, the FDA will prohibit sunscreen marketing claims like “waterproof” and “sweat proof,” which the agency said “are exaggerations of performance.” Most dermatologists recommend a broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher every two hours while outside. — AP

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Sept. 18

GRANDPARENTS’ CLASS

First-time grandparents are invited to attend a class covering the latest trends in maternity and infant care on Monday, Sept. 18 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. Cost is $10. To register, call (410) 337-1880.

Call today for your free brochure. Remember, your loved one doesn’t have to be a current resident of Charlestown or Oak Crest to come here.

Join us at these special events. August 23, 1-2 pm

Chef’s Table

A gourmet lunch prepared and served by our experienced culinary team.

August 29, 1:30-3 pm

Tastes and Tours

Sample scones and mimosas, finger sandwiches and light beverages as you connect with friends and take a tour of the community.

Call us at 866-363-2855 for reservations

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BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2011

From page 4 coholic beverages, estrogen treatments for menopause symptoms, birth control pills, certain viruses and parasites, and even some drugs used to treat cancer, such as cyclophosphamide and tamoxifen. “Most people would probably be shocked to see the number of things they interact with every day” on these lists, Lichtenfeld said. Here’s the problem: The agencies that pass judgment on a carcinogen don’t regulate it or determine what levels or routes of exposure are a concern and for whom. “People immediately assume it’s going to cause cancer at any exposure level, and that’s simply not true,” said A. Wallace Hayes, editor of the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, and an industry consultant. The rule is “RITE” — Risk Is equal to Toxicity times Exposure — and “they’ve left out half of the equation” by not saying how much exposure is a concern, Hayes said. “The organizations that list these substances as possibly carcinogenic have to be conservative,” said David Ropeik, a consultant and author of How Risky Is It Really? Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts. “That means if there’s any reasonable evidence, way before it’s a sure thing, they have to say, ‘Let’s be cautious.’ That’s their job — to raise the flag,” he said. It’s human nature to fear risks we didn’t choose, such as hazardous chemicals, more than those we did, such as lack of exercise, poor diets or smoking, he added. “A risk that is imposed on us scares us

BEACON BITS

Sept. 17

CONQUER CHIARI WALK

The Conquer Chiari Walk Across America is a series of coordinated awareness and fundraising walks being held across the country on the same day. Chiari Malformation is a neurological disorder where the brain descends out of the skull and puts pressure on the spine. Join the Maryland effort on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Kinder Farm Park, 1001 Kinder Farm Park Rd. in Millersville. Walk lengths are 1 mile and 2.5 miles. A minimum donation of $25 is suggested. Pre-register online at www.conquerchiari.org. For more information, contact Patrick Killpatrick at (443) 286-7367 or ConquerChiariWalk@verizon.net.

Sept. 22

more than a risk we take voluntarily,” especially if it comes from companies we don’t trust, Ropeik said.

Minimizing risk Styrene is an example: The government says it is a component of tobacco smoke and that is the biggest way most people are exposed to it. Smoking, of course, is the most easily preventable cancer risk. To minimize risk, people can take reasonable measures to avoid exposure to possibly harmful things, experts say. “If you walk into a room and you can smell formaldehyde, you probably want to vent the room before you spend a lot of time in it. That’s just common sense,” Birnbaum said. If you’re concerned about pesticides, you can peel fruit and vegetables or choose organics, though there is some evidence that organic products may be less safe in terms of germs like E. coli and salmonella. People worried about cell phones can

hold them farther from the head, text-message instead of talk, or use a headset or earpiece as Lichtenfeld does. He was returning from a major cancer conference in Chicago recently when a fellow traveler pointed at Lichtenfeld’s Bluetooth earpiece and said, “Do you know that thing can cause cancer?” “I said, ‘Yes, ma’am, I’m very familiar with the data and I choose to use Bluetooth,’” said Lichtenfeld, who didn’t tell

her he was one of the biggest cancer experts she’d ever meet. “You can’t live life in fear,” he said. “You have to live life.” For more information online, see the American Cancer Institute’s page on carcinogens at http://bit.ly/aJI6ht as well as IARC’s monograph at http://monographs. iarc.fr/index.php and NIH’s report on carcinogens at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/ roc12. — AP

BEACON BITS

Sept. 22

OSTEOPOROSIS SUPPORT GROUP

Learn about the potential for jaw problems that can occur when taking bisphosphonates for osteoporosis in a seminar with Jaime S. Brahim, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Maryland Dental School. The presentation on Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. is part of the osteoporosis support group sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. It will be held at the center’s conference room at Physicians Pavilion West, 6569 N. Charles St. Light refreshments will be served. To register, call (443) 849-3308.

Get your Flu and Shingles vaccinations* at our Pharmacy

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Get screened for osteoporosis through a painless ultrasound of your heel bone. The free screening will be held on Thursday, Sept. 22 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. For more information, call (410) 337-1479.

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SEPTEMBER 2011 — BALTIMORE BEACON

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday, October 6, 2011 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Cow Palace, Timonium Fairgrounds

Harvesting Opportunities to Enrich Your Life

Discover resources, entertainment and new passions! All ages will enjoy the various features of the event: • Visit 200+ exhibitors with information and shop speciality products • Experience new life pursuits in our Enrichment Fair with interactive displays of cultural and creative arts, life-long learning, sports, volunteerism and career development • Gain guidance from our Medicare Part D Assistance Area (410-887-2059 for appt.) • Celebrate veterans with period military displays and veteran benefit information (Free Admission for Veterans on Thursday, Oct. 6th) • Enhance your life with the World of Possibilities DisAbilities Fair by Caring Communities, Inc. • Tap your toes to continuous entertainment on the Main Stage • Find a local treasure at a book signing with Maryland authors • Make a difference with the Red Cross Blood Drive (10 a.m. - 3 p.m., daily) • Promote wellness with a flu shot or having valuable health screenings • Compete in a Bocce tournament or have your golf swing analyzed • Reap the rewards by being the highest bidder at the Silent Auction • Sculpt your employment goals with a personalized career coach Admission: $2 or two cans (of non-perishable food for the MD Food Bank)

FREE Gift TOTE BAG Sponsored by

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www.seniorexpoonline.com • www.babyboomerexpoonline.com • 410-887-2594


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BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2011

9

Cataracts don’t need to ‘ripen’ anymore By Dr. Jeffrey S. Heier Q. I think I may have cataracts. I heard somewhere that they need to be “ripe” before I get surgery. Is that true? A. The lens of the eye is normally clear and has a consistency that is a bit stiffer than Jell-O. A cataract is a clouding of the lens caused by degradation and clumping of various proteins in the tissue. When that happens, the lens also gets stiffer, and in extreme cases, a lens can get as hard as a rock. It’s true that people used to have to wait until their cataracts hardened, or “ripened,” before they could get cataract surgery. The operation involved removing the lens more or less intact through a fairly

large incision in the eyeball. The results were better if the lens was solid, so it wouldn’t fall apart as the surgeon extracted it. But since the early 1990s, most cataracts have been removed by breaking up the lens into small pieces and then suctioning them out. Doing the surgery this way means that the lens doesn’t need to be hard to be removed. In fact, it’s more difficult to suction out the chunky pieces of a hardened lens. So now cataract surgery can be based on how much the cataract is affecting a person’s vision, not on whether it is ripe. There are other advantages to the phacoemulsification technique, as the suction procedure is called. The incision is much smaller, so stitches often are not needed

Vision improvement for 98% Cataract surgery isn’t risk-free. No surgery is. Infection, swelling and bleeding in various parts of the eye can occur. But in something like 98 percent of cases, the vision of people who have cataract surgery improves.

TAI CHI FOR SENIORS

Diabetic foot exams Corns/calluses Wound/infection care Toenail fungus

Relax and improve your health with this ancient Chinese martial art. Classes are offered every Monday at 12:45 p.m. at the Senior Network of North Baltimore, 5828 York Rd. For information, call (410) 323-7131.

Sept. 19+

LUPUS SUPPORT GROUP

The Lupus Foundation of America offers a free monthly support group for lupus patients the third Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the YMCA of Central Maryland, 900 E. 33rd St. For more information, visit www.lupusgw.org.

Ongoing

By the time we turn 60, most of us will have some clouding of the lens. A noticeable increase in the amount of glare you experience can be a sign of a cataract, as can an overall increase in blurriness, although many different kinds of eye problems can cause glare or blurriness. There’s no objective test for when you need cataract surgery. It’s a question of how much the loss in vision is affecting you. Can cataracts be prevented? Ultraviolet light is hard on the eyes, so wearing sunglasses may help some, but the data on that are pretty inconclusive. © 2011 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Gentle Foot Care inYour Home

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

and the eye heals faster. The pocket-like lens capsule is left behind, and it helps hold in place the artificial lens that replaces the cataract. In about a third of patients, the back of the capsule clouds up, but that problem is easily treated by lasering a small hole in the capsule. The laser procedure is quick and painless.

Dr. Richard Rosenblatt DPM

Over 25 years experience

410-358-0544 6606 Park Heights Avenue Baltimore, MD

Same Day, Weekend and Evening appointments. Most Insurance Accepted

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH

If you are living with a chronic health condition, learn practical ways to deal with pain and fatigue, discover better nutrition and exercise choices, and find effective ways to talk with your doctor and family about your health condition. These workshops will be held at senior centers throughout Baltimore County. For more information, call the Baltimore County Department of Aging at (410) 887-2594.

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SEPTEMBER 2011 — BALTIMORE BEACON

When osteoporosis medications don’t work For example, bones that contain fewer minerals than normal become weak and eventually begin to deteriorate and lose their internal supporting structure. Most medications for osteoporosis are geared toward slowing bone breakdown. Several possible reasons could explain why your osteoporosis medications aren’t working as well as they should. In some people, the medications aren’t absorbed into the body properly, so they can’t do their job of preserving and maintaining bone density. In addition, many other causes of bone loss exist beyond osteoporosis. If you have another condition that’s causing bone loss but is not being treated, then medications for osteoporosis alone may not be enough. Finally, for osteoporosis medications to be most effective, taking them exactly as prescribed is very important.

BEACON BITS

August

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday through Aug. 31, take a Walk on the Wild Side at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Join a zoo educator for an entertaining and informative walk through a featured area of the zoo, exploring a new topic or zone each week. First come, first served; there is a limit of 20 people for each walk. Meet at the Base Camp Discovery by 10:15 a.m. For more information, call (410) 396-7102 or visit www.marylandzoo.org.

Absorption problems By far, the most common medications prescribed for osteoporosis are bisphosphonates. Examples include alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel) and ibandronate (Boniva). Bisphosphonates work by decreasing the rate at which bones lose density and strength, allowing the body to maintain bone density. These medications can be taken either in pill form or injected directly into a vein. To work correctly, bisphosphonates must be completely absorbed into the body. Problems with absorption may occur. Conditions such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb bisphosphonates, as can stomach surgery and weight-loss surgery. It is also possible that another condition, in addition to postmenopausal osteoporosis, is causing your bone loss. More than 50 other causes of bone loss exist, including thyroid disorders and conditions that affect the body’s production of estrogen or testosterone. Having one of these conditions may be part of the reason osteoporosis drugs aren’t preventing bone loss. Considering the difficulty you’ve had with repeated fractures while taking osteoporosis medications, a reasonable step would be to ask your doctor to explore the possibility of an absorption issue or a secondary cause of bone loss.

Take as directed Also critical to your medication’s maximum effectiveness is to take it on time, ex-

actly as directed. For example, in most cases, alendronate should be taken at least 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything else, because some food and beverages — such as mineral water, coffee, tea or juice — decrease the amount of alendronate absorbed by the body. Also, make sure your doctor knows about all other medications and supplements you’re taking. Some, such as antacids, calcium or vitamin supplements, can also decrease the absorption of certain osteoporosis drugs. If you’re taking the medication as directed, and no secondary causes of bone loss can be found, I would first recommend switching from oral to intravenous bisphosphonates. This can help ensure you’re getting the right dose at the right time. If that doesn’t work, then another, more potent drug that can build bones may be necessary. In addition to medication, lifestyle changes can help strengthen bones. Regularly engaging in weight-bearing physical activity, eating a healthy diet with the right amounts of calcium and vitamin D, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol can help fight the effects of osteoporosis. Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic is an educational resource and doesn’t replace regular medical care. To submit a question, write to: medicaledge@mayo.edu, or Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic, c/o TMS, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY, 14207. For health information, visit www.mayoclinic.com. © 2011 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media.

BEACON BITS

Sept. 15

CRUISE ON THE SAWYER

Overlea Senior Center invites you on this day trip to Dorchester, Md., on Thursday, Sept. 15. You’ll cruise on the Sawyer, enjoy a seafood buffet at Old Salty’s Restaurant and take part in a tour and tasting at Layton’s Winery and Vineyard. Cost is $78. Call (410) 887-5220 for reservations and details.

Sept. 7

GAMBLE IN DELAWARE

Join Victory Villa Senior Center on Wednesday, Sept. 7 on this enjoyable trip to Delaware Park and Casino. The $24 cost includes $20 in coin play and $5 toward lunch buffet. Reserve your spot now by calling (410) 887-0235.

Getting you back to your life.

Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing

©2011 HCR Healthcare, LLC

By Dr. Bart Clarke Dear Mayo Clinic: I’m an 85-year-old woman who’s had osteoporosis for more than 25 years. I’ve been on numerous medications, but my bone density is dropping significantly. I’ve suffered many fractures. Why aren’t medications working for me? Are there more natural ways to slow bone loss? Answer: Osteoporosis makes bones weak and brittle, often resulting in multiple broken bones. Exactly why osteoporosis happens isn’t always clear. But women are almost twice as likely as men to develop the condition. Also, age is a significant risk factor. The strength of bones depends on their size and density. Bone density depends in part on the amount of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals that bones contain.

Dulaney – 410.828.6500 Ruxton – 410.821.9600 Towson – 410.828.9494 www.manorcare.com


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BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2011

11

Irradiated food is safer, but unpopular By Lauran Neergaard Microwaving salad fixings with just a bit of radiation can kill dangerous E. coli and other bacteria — and U.S. food safety experts say Europe’s massive outbreak shows that wary consumers should give the long-approved step a chance. The U.S. government has OK’d irradiation for a variety of foods — meat, spices, certain imported fruits, the seeds used to grow sprouts. Even iceberg lettuce and spinach can be irradiated without the leaves going limp. And no, it does not make the food radioactive. But sterilized leafy greens are not on the market, and overall sales of irradiated foods remain low. A disappointed U.S. Grocery Manufacturers Association says one reason is that sellers worry about consumer mistrust. “We need to do whatever we can to give us a wider margin of safety,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota infectious disease specialist who frequently advises the government. “Food irradiation for a number of produce items would give us not just a marginal increase, but give us probably the Grand Canyon increase of safety.” While the E. coli outbreak in Europe has waned after officials discovered the culprit was sprouts, the U.S. has faced its own spate of tainted produce in recent years. E.

coli, salmonella, listeria and other bugs have been linked to lettuce, spinach, hot peppers, sprouts, cantaloupes and more.

How irradiation works The outbreaks have renewed interest in higher-tech fixes like irradiation, used in certain foods in the U.S. and parts of Europe. Irradiation zaps food with electron beams, like the kind long used to run TVs, or with gamma rays or X-rays. It’s the same way numerous medical products are sterilized. The Food and Drug Administration approved irradiation for raw spinach and lettuce three years ago, saying it safely killed germs and lengthened shelf life without harming texture, taste or nutrients. But it didn’t catch on, and the grocery producers group, which wants more salad ingredients approved for irradiation, blames both consumer wariness and a technical issue. Some of the bags the greens are sold in need approval to be zapped, too. Irradiated meat has been around for years, particularly ground beef that is a favorite hiding spot for E. coli. Thorough cooking kills E. coli and other germs, but people don’t always cook their meat until it’s done enough. About 15 million to 18 million pounds of

U.S. ground beef are irradiated every year, said Ron Eustice of the Minnesota Beef Council. That is a tiny fraction of the hamburger meat sold in the U.S., and it must be labeled so consumers who don’t want irradiated food can choose to avoid it. On the other hand, some retailers advertise irradiated hamburger as a safety selling point.

Spices and imported produce zapped Actually, Americans get more irradiated foods than they realize. About a third of commercial spices — the kind added to processed foods — are irradiated, said Eustice, who’s also a consultant to the Food Irradiation Processing Alliance. About 30 million pounds of imported

produce, mostly fruits such as guavas and mangos, get a low-dose zap — not enough to kill germs but to kill any foreign insects along for the ride. As for those seeds used to grow recallprone raw sprouts, Eustice says irradiation has not caught on for them either, despite government research backing it. Some growers instead try washing seeds in a mild bleach solution. The newest irradiated product is pet treats, about 40 million pounds and counting, Eustice said. It’s to combat the problem of salmonella-tainted dog chews. Irradiation is not an excuse for dirty produce, Osterholm said. It is far better to preSee IRRADIATED FOOD, page 13

ADVERTORIAL

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.


12

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SEPTEMBER 2011 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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Have you ever said to yourself “I’d love to connection. Then you’ll see the get a computer, if only I could figure out screen. This is a completely new how to use it.” Well, you’re not alone. operating system, without the Computers were supposed to make our cluttered look of the normal computer lives simpler, but they’ve gotten so screen. The “buttons” on the screen are complicated that they are not worth the easy to see and easy to understand. All you trouble. With all of the “pointing and do is touch one of them, from the Web, clicking” and “dragging and dropping” Email, Calendar to Games– you name it… you’re lucky if you can figure out where and a new screen opens up. It’s so easy to you are. Plus, you are constantly worrying use you won’t have to ask your children or about viruses, spam and freeze-ups. If this grandchildren for help. Until now the sounds familiar, we have great news for you. There is finally a “I love this computer! very people who could benefit computer that’s designed for It is easy to read and to most from Email, simplicity and ease of use. It’s use! I get photo updates and the Internet the WOW Computer, and it was from my children and are the ones designed with you in mind. that have had This computer is easy-to-use, grandchildren all the hardest time worry-free and literally puts the the time.” accessing it. Now, world at your fingertips. From thanks to the the moment you open the –From Janet F. WOW Computer, box, you’ll realize how different the WOW computer is. The components countless older Americans are discovering are all connected; all you do is plug it into the wonderful world of the Internet every an outlet and your high-speed Internet day. Isn’t it time you took part? Call now, …”surf” the internet Get current weather & news.

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BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2011

Health Studies Page

13

THE PLACE TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON AREA CLINICAL TRIALS

Hopkins study seeks healthy older adults By Carol Sorgen Inflammation within the body increases with age, and in a study of almost 5,000 older adults, scientists discovered nearly a decade ago that frail seniors were even more likely to have signs of increased inflammation than their more active counterparts. Furthermore, the study showed evidence that frail seniors with elevated inflammatory markers in their blood also tended to show more clotting activity, muscle weakness, fatigue and disability than active older adults. Though the processes that contribute to

increased inflammation with age are not likely to be completely reversible, scientists believe the development of a safe and effective intervention that might reduce the body’s inflammatory responses could be an important component of prevention against frailty and other health problems.

Irradiated food

also sometimes taint food, and it adds to the food’s price. She said consumers’ biggest desire is to make cleaner food in the first place. Nor is irradiation the only high-tech option. Scientists also are trying high-pressure treatment to literally squeeze away germs. It’s been used for fresh guacamole and raw oysters. Earlier this year, beef giant Cargill Inc. announced it was using the technology for a longer-lasting hamburger patty. — AP

Selenium may fight frailty As part of an ongoing effort to identify the triggers of inflammation in older adults, researchers at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital have discovered those who have more of the trace mineral seleni-

um (which the body uses to make antioxidant enzymes) have less of an inflammatory protein in the body known as Interleukein-6 (IL-6). They have also found a significant relationship between low selenium levels and deaths from all causes in older women. Based on the researchers’ findings in older adults and on data from other studies, Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital is conducting a study to determine whether selenium is effective in targeted populations with inflammatory conditions.

The investigators believe that giving selenium supplements to older adults who show increased inflammatory markers and low normal selenium levels will, in the short-term, reduce inflammation and, in the long-term, reduce the prevalence of inflammation-associated frailty, disability and mortality. In the study, participants will be randomly assigned either 200 micrograms of selenium, taken daily in tablet form for eight See HEALTH STUDY, page 14

Research Study From page 11 vent contamination on the farm or in the processing plant than to try to get rid of it later. But it’s impossible to prevent all animal-borne bacteria in open fields. There is no reason to fear irradiation but there’s no easy solution, cautioned food-safety expert Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Irradiation does not kill viruses that

Have you been told you snore? Do you need to lose weight? Johns Hopkins Medicine is conducting a research study in persons who may snore and are not currently being treated for snoring. Eligible participants must be over 60 years of age, overweight, not smoking, and not regularly exercising. All visits are free, including parking, at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

For more information, please call 410-550-5428 or 410-550-5429 or 410-550-6997. Principal Investigator: Devon A. Dobrosielski, PhD IRB# NA_00040314

BEACON BITS

Aug. 27

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION

Volunteer to tutor GED reading, writing and math to foreign-born students learning English or students learning English for GED classes. Basic proficiency in math is required. The orientation will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Community College of Baltimore County Dundalk. For more information, call (443) 840-4700.

Ongoing

HELP A BALTIMORE CITY YOUNGSTER

Volunteers are needed for Baltimore Inner City Outings (BICO), which provides under-served Baltimore City youth with educational, enjoyable and safe outdoor experiences at no cost to them. BICO’s volunteers nurture personal growth, inter-cultural and inter-generational understanding, and a community service ethic via active engagement with the world of nature. For more information, contact Bob Burchard at (410) 744-0510 or bobburchard@yahoo.com.

Depression and memory problems in older adults are common and are often undetected. • Symptoms of depression may include feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of energy, inability to enjoy pleasurable activities, or changes in appetite or sleeping patterns.

• Problems with memory may include difficulty remembering recent events, misplacing household objects or poor concentration. If you are feeling depressed or having memory problems, are not taking antidepressant medication, and are in good physical health, you may be eligible to participate in a research study. Qualified people will participate at no cost to them and will be compensated for time and transportation. For more information about the study, please call:

410-550-4192 Approved November 2, 2010 IRB Protocols: NA_00021615, NA_00026190 Principal Investigator: Gwenn Smith, PhD

Research Study

Are you having memory problems? We could help! Are you having memory trouble? Or do you know someone who is? Do you want to help us find better treatments?

Johns Hopkins doctors have several research studies for people with memory trouble, dementia, or Alzheimer’s. Our research studies cover a variety of age ranges but most are for persons 60 years and older. For more information and to learn how to participate, please call, 1-855-204-4797 Constantine G. Lyketsos, MD, Principal Investigator Johns Hopkins Medicine IRB#HBV84-04-26-01


14

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SEPTEMBER 2011 — BALTIMORE BEACON

New skin cancer drugs fight melanoma Two novel drugs produced unprecedented gains in survival in separate studies of people with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. In one study, an experimental drug showed so much benefit so quickly in people with advanced disease that those getting a comparison drug were allowed to switch after just a few months. The drug, vemurafenib, targets a gene mutation found in about half of all melanomas. The drug is being developed by Genentechand Plexxikon Inc.

The study is a landmark and the results are “very impressive” in people who historically have not fared very well, said Dr. April Salama, a Duke University melanoma specialist. The second study tested Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s Yervoy, a just-approved medicine for newly diagnosed melanoma patients, and found it nearly doubled the number who survived at least three years. Known chemically as ipilimumab, Yervoy is part of a group of targeted cancer medicines that harness the body’s im-

Studies on Aging: Johns Hopkins University Are you 70 years or older? 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 We look forward to hearing from you!

Seeking Overweight Postmenopausal Women lose weight and improve health! Participate in a research study at the University of Maryland Baltimore / Baltimore VA you will receive: health and Fitness evaluations • 4 months of yoga or walking classes Weight loss and stress reduction counseling You must be less than 20 years postmenopausal, under age 70, and a non-smoker with no history of diabetes.

410-605-7179

Mention code: neMO-ii

Adults 62+ – Make Your Move!

mune system to fight off cancer, rather than attacking the disease with outside chemicals like chemotherapy. The drug works by blocking a molecule linked to melanoma called CTLA-4, which interferes with the protective activity of white blood cells. When the molecule is blocked, the cells behave normally and help fight off cancer. Mike Brockey of Frederick, Md., was diagnosed with late-stage melanoma in 2008 and tried both conventional and alternative medicines before starting therapy with ipilimumab last September. Though the drug took time to work, he says his latest scans show that his tumors are inactive.

“This is the first time in two years I had a sense that anything was going in the right direction,” Brockey said. “Melanoma has just seen a renaissance of new agents,” said Dr. Allen Lichter, chief executive of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Melanoma is on the rise. There were 68,000 new cases and 8,700 deaths from it in the United States last year, the American Cancer Society estimates. Only two drugs had been approved to treat it, with limited effectiveness, until Yervoy won approval in March. The new studies were published by the New England Journal of Medicine. — AP

Health study

must be at least 70 years old and able to provide written, informed consent. Those who take a multi-vitamin containing 60 micrograms or more of selenium more than once a week, or have evidence of an active, untreated, acute inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout or malignancy, are not eligible to participate in the study. Those who are taking any corticosteroids or the medications prednisone or methotrexate also are not eligible. For more information on this study, or to volunteer, contact Jennifer Hughes, PhD, (410) 550-2113, jhughe39@jhmi.edu, or Leeondra Thornton, (410) 550-9017, lthornt6@jhmi.edu.

From page 13 weeks, or a placebo — a pill that looks similar but contains no active ingredients. IL-6 and selenium levels will be measured at the beginning of the study and then every two weeks through a blood test. The investigators hypothesize that as selenium levels increase with supplementation, there will be a statistically significant decrease in IL-6. IL-6 levels should remain unchanged over eight weeks in those taking the placebo.

Volunteers 70+ needed To be eligible for the study, participants

BEACON BITS

Sept. 11

DRESS A GIRL AROUND THE WORLD

Learn to sew and help put a smile on disadvantaged girls’ faces across the globe. Come to the Sassy SEWer Sewing Lounge on Sunday, Sept. 11, from 3 to 6 p.m., to sew pillowcase dresses for young girls. The public is invited to this free event, but RSVPs are required to sew.sassy@verizon.net. Started under the ministries of Hope 4 Kids International, the program has been distributing pillowcase dresses for girls in Haiti, the Congo, Uganda and Honduras, and will soon add the U.S., Russia, Peru, India, the Baltic, Romania, Tanzania and Rwanda, among others. To register or for more info, contact Blondell Howard, Sassy SEWer-Sewing Lounge, 9008 Harford Road, (410) 882-7277.

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

$0 Security Deposit

$0 Application Fee

• • • •

Health evaluation Balance, step, strength, and/or flexibility exercises Compensation for your time Free parking

410-605-7179 300 Cantata Court • Reisterstown, MD 21136 www.firstcentrumcommunities.com

Mention code: liFT You must be at least 65 years old and in good health. CALL TODAY!


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BALTIMORE BEACON â&#x20AC;&#x201D; SEPTEMBER 2011

15

B vitamins boost the brain, improve mood By Hara Estroff Marano New studies link B vitamins to preserving memory, mood and cognitive mastery at all ages. There are nine B vitamins, and while all of them play a role in metabolism, some also protect the nervous system. Vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin), and folic acid (B9) are especially known to influence neural functioning. The nine chemical entities that comprise the B complex often are found in the same food sources. Calfâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s liver and yeast are especially rich in many of the Bâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. Asparagus, spinach, bananas, and potatoes all contain B vitamins. But B12 is found only in meats and fish. Although B12 appears to protect the brain against age-related problems, deficiency of the vitamin most often occurs among older adults, as the bodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to absorb it from food declines with age. There are non-nutritional factors, such as smoking, that also reduce levels of B vitamins at all ages.

Help maintain memory Large doses of B6, B12, and folate given for two years slow progression of mild cognitive impairment in the elderly. Normally, brain atrophy accompanies such impairment and progresses to de-

mentia in 50 percent of cases. Brain scans showed that 85 people getting doses of B vitamins had a 0.76 percent per year rate of atrophy, versus 1.08 percent among 83 people on placebos. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a very dramatic and striking result,â&#x20AC;? the researchers said. The vitamins also lower levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for stroke. What role do the low levels of vitamin B12 that are common among the elderly actually play in memory loss? Finnish researchers tracked 271 people ages 65 to 79 for seven years, measuring blood levels of homocysteine and the active form of vitamin B12. None of the 271 had dementia at the start of the study, but 17 developed Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s over its course. Small increases of homocysteine were linked to large increases in the risk of Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, while small increases in B12 levels reduced the risk. Folic acid supplements may prevent the neurologic deterioration that occurs in the movement disorder Parkinsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disease. Brazilian scientists find that homocysteine levels are 30 percent higher in Parkinsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s patients than in those without the disease, and folic acid deficiency is the major determinant of that increase. Both folate deficiency and homocys-

BEACON BITS

Sept. 17+

MARYLAND LIGHTHOUSE CHALLENGE RETURNS

Self-tour Marylandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s historic lighthouses on Saturday, Sept. 17 and/or Sunday, Sept. 18. Visit one or more of the attractions and collect a complimentary souvenir at each. While souvenirs are free, some lighthouses charge an entry or state park fee. Visit all and receive a special completer souvenir to mark your accomplishment. More information and driving instructions from one lighthouse to the next are available at www.cheslights.org, (410) 437-0741.

Sept. 12+

teine separately exert neurotoxic effects, highlighting the value of keeping up folic acid levels with foods such as liver, lentils, pinto beans, asparagus and spinach.

Mood boost Low blood levels of B6, B12 and folate are linked not only to cognitive decline in older adults, but also to depression in people of all ages. In a large study in Spain, the prevalence of depression was linked with low folate intake among men who smoke and men with low anxiety levels. Among women, whose folate levels were generally higher than menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, depression manifested in those with low B12 intake. The vitamins are thought to be involved in the production of serotonin and

other neurotransmitters. Even among healthy males in the prime of life, a high-dose B-complex vitamin and mineral supplement has cognitive and mood benefits. In a randomized, double-blind trial, men who got the supplement for 33 days rated themselves less subject to stress and did better on a range of tests assessing mood, mental well-being, and cognitive performance during intense mental processing. The vitamins may protect against mental fatigue in tasks requiring high levels of attention and executive control. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Psychology Today Š 2011 Sussex Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Rise to the Occasion and Consider Your Health! A research study focusing on ways to help older adults avoid falls is currently enrolling. With your participation you will receive: â&#x20AC;˘ Health Evaluation and Fall Risk Assessment â&#x20AC;˘ Nutrition Assessment and Dietary Counseling â&#x20AC;˘ Balance Exercises with or without Strength Training

410-605-7179 Mention code: â&#x20AC;&#x153;FieSTaâ&#x20AC;? You must be at least 70 years old and able to walk. You may be eligible for ďŹ nancial compensation for your time. You will be compensated for your time.

Trouble Sleeping?

Volunteer for a Sleep & Sensory Tesng Study Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are looking for volunteers to par!cipate in a research study examining the associa!on between sleep and sensory abili!es.

HEADING TO NEW HAMPSHIRE

Join the Rosedale Senior Center from Sept. 12 to 16 on this trip to Lincoln, N.H., where youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll stay at the Indian Head Resort, enjoying breakfast and dinner at the lodge, a cocktail reception, floor show and evening entertainment. Call (410) 574-4125 for more details.

â&#x17E;˘ To parcipate in this study, you must be: â&#x20AC;˘ 50 Years of age or older â&#x20AC;˘ Have Trouble Staying Asleep â&#x20AC;˘ Be otherwise Healthy

â&#x17E;˘ Compensaon up to $330.00

â&#x17E;˘ This study involves: â&#x20AC;˘ 1 Sleep study conducted in your home â&#x20AC;˘ Sensory and Physical tes!ng @ Johns Hopkins â&#x20AC;˘ 1 Blood draw â&#x20AC;˘ Parking and Tests provided at no cost

Michael T. Smith, Ph.D., Principal Inves!gator Protocol: NA_00011802 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Approved 04/5/2010

For informaon, please call (410) 550-7906


16

Fitness & Health | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

SEPTEMBER 2011 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; BALTIMORE BEACON

This herb speeds healing, fades bruises Dear Pharmacist: from soccer to volleyball. If this stuff came It seems my grandkids spend the with the soccer momâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seal of approval, it summer getting bumped had to be effective. and bruised. I develop As my friend relayed her bruises sometimes myself, story to me, I became excited too. Can you recommend a to write about it, too, since natural remedy to help there are no prescription them go away? drugs or salves that do all that â&#x20AC;&#x201D; P.E. calendula apparently can. Dear P.E.: My friend dabbed the cream Yes, I have just the thing. on her bruises and scrapes, Not too long ago, a friend of took a nap and woke up signifimine took a nasty spill while cantly better. Within days, she DEAR riding her bicycle. She shared was as good as new. PHARMACIST the details of what happened This inspired me to research By Suzy Cohen with me, and today, I will calendula. I wish I had known share her story with you. about it when my children were My friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next-door neighbor asked young. A few European studies have conpolitely how she was doing after the minor cluded calendula can help soothe wounds accident, and she confessed to her neigh- and improve healing. It has antifungal, anbor that everything hurt. tiviral and even anti-tumor properties. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have just the thing,â&#x20AC;? the neighbor reI think calendula would be fantastic for sponded and ducked inside her house, cradle cap and diaper rashes, or any rash emerging a moment later with a jar of cal- for that matter. You can use it on minor endula cream. Calendula (Calendula offici- burns, sunburn, bedsores, eczema and nalis) is an herb that has been used safely poison ivy. all over the world for centuries, specifically A small study showed it can ease the for wound healing. pain of radiation-induced dermatitis. CalMy friend decided to give her neighborâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s endula may improve acne, too. cream a try, since she trusted the source. Health food stores and online retailers sell She trusted her because the lady had raised calendula in cream, lotions, ointments or five teenagers who played every sport, tinctures. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll see various brands and com-

panies selling it, a few of which include Boiron, Weleda, California Baby and Hylandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. If you are creating a first-aid cabinet, I recommend you include calendula. Put it next to your hydrocortisone and tea tree oil. Calendula is so safe you can literally eat the beautiful yellow flowers from which the cream is made, so long as youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not allergic to flowers in the daisy or marigold family. Calendula extract imparts a beautiful yellow color, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s used as a natural coloring agent in cuisines around the world. Lately, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been buying the fresh, edible version of flowers from my natural grocer to garnish

salads and soups. It makes for a delicious conversation piece at my dinner table.

Did you know? Quercetin is a natural antihistamine. You can buy it in health food stores nationwide if you have seasonal allergies. 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 www.dearpharmacist.com.

BEACON BITS

Sept. 24+

EASTERN AND WESTERN REUNIONS

Eastern High School class of 1966 is holding its 45th reunion at the Radisson Hotel in Cross Keys, 5100 Falls Rd., on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 7 p.m. to midnight. For further information, see www.easternclass66@yahoo.com. Western High School class of 1951 will hold its 60th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 22 from noon to 4 p.m. at the same location. For more information, call Marcia at (410) 998-9966.

RACINGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S GRAND PRIX COMES TO BALTIMORE

Sept. 2+

IndyCar racing comes to Baltimore this Labor Day weekend. Cars at speeds of more than 180 mph race around the Inner Harbor, Sept. 2, 3 and 4. The three-day event includes the American Le Mans Series by Tequila PatrĂłn, produced by the Baltimore Grand Prix. Call (443) 708-1338 or visit www.baltimoregrandprix.com for ticket prices and more details.

Stay on the go, without going far A Patient Focused

PHARMACY

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$10

off

Your First New or Transferred Prescription NeighborCareÂŽ Professional Pharmacy. Limit one per person. Offer not valid for prescriptions from other NeighborCare Pharmacies. No Cash Value. Per federal law, offer not valid if any portion of prescription is paid for by a government program. *BB - SP2011 For Internal Use Only

New Customer Existing Customer

Store Location No. Prescription No.

Edenwald oďŹ&#x20AC;ers an active retirement lifestyle, complemented by warm, welcoming residents, in the heart of Towson. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a place where everyone knows one another, and all know theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve planned well for their future with Edenwaldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lifecare plan. Come experience our close-knit fellowship, excellent food and exceptional location.

Call 410-823-1341 today to schedule a tour of our apartment homes, oďŹ&#x20AC;ering a wide variety of styles and sizes for your personal taste and needs.

www.edenwald.org 800 Southerly Road, Towson, MD 21286-8403

A Continuing Care Retirement Community


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BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2011

17

How to find reliable health info online Q: When I want to check news about written and reviewed for accuracy by qualdiet and health, I go online and type ified experts. the topic in the search box. Check sites related to overThe top few websites that all wellness, particular organicome up should give the zations devoted to specific most trustworthy informadiseases or health problems tion, right? (like www.aicr.org or www. A: No. Internet search endiabetes.org), and organizagines are set up with intricate tions of trained health profesformulas that raise a website sionals (like www.eatright. higher on the list based on a org, the web home of regisvariety of factors, including tered dietitians) that provide popularity as well as technical commentaries and evidencedetails about how the website NUTRITION based reviews of important is set up and run. This is no WISE health issues. sign of the accuracy of a web- By Karen Collins, These days it can be hard to MS, RD, CDM site’s information. tell the difference between a If you want to check on a true nutrition news story and study that you’ve heard reported on the a press release put out by companies with news, you can go directly to the website of something to sell, so it really does pay to the journal in which it’s published or to check what the experts you trust say. the U.S. National Library of Medicine A recent survey shows that many seek(www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/) and ing health information on the Internet search for it by topic. don’t check where their information However, remember that it’s never wise comes from. Don’t let a search engine deto make food or lifestyle decisions based cide for you whom to trust. on just one study. Make decisions based Q: A friend laughed at me recently on the big picture of overall research. when I said that I was trying to save Because it’s hard to keep up with all the calories by ordering a cupcake for studies, you’ll save time and get trustwor- dessert instead of cake or pie. Are there thy information by keeping a list of a few more calories there than it seems? sites you trust where information posted is A: Yes, indeed, the popularity of cupcakes

BRAND NEW APARTMENT HOMES FOR ACTIVE ADULTS 62 OR BETTER Regency Crest is an extraordinarily carefree community because of the convenient lifestyle enjoyed by those who live here. We go the extra mile to provide our residents with distinctive amenities and service that cannot be found in ordinary active adult communities. COMMUNITY AMENITIES • Beautiful club room with theater and demonstration kitchen • Wellness center • Indoor saltwater pool • Yoga studio & classes • Cooking Classes, and many more planned activities • Movie theater & Billiards Room • Business center • Incredible courtyard and meditation garden with koi pond and gazebo PLANNED ACTIVITIES SUCH AS WATER AEROBICS, RESIDENT MIXERS, COOKING CLASSES, ZUMBA, MOVIE NIGHTS, BBQ’S AND MANY MORE!

does not reflect any help for weight control. The bakeries in major cities that specialize in cupcakes generally choose not to provide calorie and nutrient analysis. Figures from bakeries and chefs that do share the information range from 360 to over 800 calories per cupcake. That comes from both heavy loads of fat — equal to five or more pats of butter — and five or six teaspoons of sugar apiece. The wide range is due to differences in portion size of the cake itself, the amount of frosting piled on top, and the richness of ingredients in each. That puts cupcakes in the same neighborhood as a piece of cake or pie, where the same factors influence calorie content. The bottom line is that all these are indulgences that you might consider splitting with a companion, or at least trying not to feel compelled to finish on your own. Enjoy any of these as an occasional treat, not a staple. When purchasing, order one

cupcake per person (or per two people), not by the dozen! Alternatively, you can find recipes for cupcakes that are under 300 calories that use different kinds of puréed berries, cherries, apples or other fruit to add moisture and sweetness; smaller pans to limit portion size; and toppings of a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a small dollop of whipped cream. Even then, limiting the number you eat is important. The American Institute for Cancer Research offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will return your call, usually within three business days. Courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research. Questions for this column may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., NW, Washington, DC 20009. Collins cannot respond to questions personally.

BEACON BITS

Aug. 28

GET READY! GET SET! GET FIT!

Take part in the 5K run/walk to benefit the Baltimore County Fitness Programs for Seniors on Aug. 28, at 8 a.m., at the Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson University. Entry for those 60 and older is $10. For more information and to register, visit www.getreadygetsetgetfit5k.com.

I am a patient who had severe foot pain for 2 years, with no relief in sight....by the end of the 4 days I was 85% pain free in both feet. I thank God for Dr. Goldman and his passion for research in healing people with foot and leg pain. – Alvin, Baltimore

How fortunate I feel to have found a doctor who could not only diagnose an underlying problem that many specialists missed, but who has been able to 8ind a painless and rapid method of relieving the worst symptoms. – Susan, Baltimore

As a podiatrist with over 30 years experience, I have always focused on conservative treatment of foot and leg pain. I 8ind that most people with foot or leg symptoms (arthritic, aching, burning, ramping or dif8iculty walking) , even those who have had other treatments, including surgery of the foot (or back), can be helped, usually in 1or 2 visits.

Stuart Goldman, DPM 3305 Oak West Drive Ellicott City, MD 21043

410.753.4171 www.RegencySeniorApartments.com

410-235-2345

4419 Falls Road, Suite A, Baltimore 4000 Old Court Road, Suite 301, Pikesville

— Dr. Stuart Goldman Fellow American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Marquis Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare Author, multiple articles on Foot & Leg Symptoms

H ELP F OR Y OUR F EET .C OM


18

SEPTEMBER 2011 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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Money Law &

CUT GAS COSTS A tune-up can pay for itself quickly with

increased gas mileage LEARN FROM THE PROS What’s a good investment today? The pros share their favorites TOWN FOR SALE The town of Oella was basically bought and redeveloped by a descendent of the family that owned its iconic mill

To save money, learn to bargain better Consumers can negotiate better prices base of customers than to collect income for just about anything, but many don’t like from some of them. to do it because conflict is un• Ask to collect on obsocomfortable. Once you suclete offers. ceed, however, it will be habitLast year my wife, Carolyn, forming, profitable and much and I were given a generous more comfortable. gift card for a local restauNegotiating became second rant. We used the card, had nature to me because for an excellent meal, and filled many years I was a merchant, out a card for future promobuying, selling and negotiattions. We subsequently reing at the Englishtown, N.J. ceived a $50 gift card with an flea market, one of the largest expiration date at the end of THE SAVINGS in the Northeast. November. GAME I have found that there are We’d forgotten about the By Elliot Raphaelson virtually no limits to the varicard until some friends sugety of products and services gested we dine there on New you can successfully negotiate for, leading Year’s Eve. We agreed, and remembered to considerable savings. the gift card. Here are some ways you can save money: When we noticed the expiration date, • Negotiate lower fees for Internet we were about to throw it out, but we deand phone and cable service. cided that we had nothing to lose by askAn acquaintance mentioned she was ing the restaurant whether we could use paying $19 less than we were for monthly the card even though it had expired. Internet service — with the same provider. We were pleasantly surprised when they I called the provider to complain, and they said yes. We had an excellent New Year’s immediately dropped the monthly cost. dinner at a top restaurant for under $50. Later, I called to cancel the service, and • Complain about bad service, and they told me I could continue the service report good service. at no cost. It was apparently more imporMy son is a frequent restaurant custant to them to be able to claim a large tomer. He never hesitates to write the com-

pany documenting any problems. Nor does he hesitate to pass along compliments. As a result, he almost always receives some sort of compensation. What surprised me is that he even receives rewards when he is complimentary. Never hesitate to make a legitimate complaint, or to compliment good service. • Develop good relations with salespeople. My wife has made strong relationships with salespeople at her favorite department stores. This habit results in many benefits. For example, she often finds an item she likes that is overpriced. She then asks the salesperson to contact her when the item goes on sale. In most major department stores, salespeople work on commission. It is to their advantage to develop warm relationships with customers. It is common for a salesperson to call us announcing a sale on a specific item. Sometimes, Carolyn will make a purchase a few weeks before an item goes on sale. Even then, she will receive a call telling her she will be receiving a credit because of the sale. It pays to develop relationships with salespeople when you show loyalty. • Negotiate with credit card companies.

The credit card business is very profitable for financial institutions. As long as you have been a profitable customer, these institutions do not want to lose your business. Therefore, they are willing to negotiate interest rates and fees. Unfortunately, a significant percent of credit card users do not pay their balance in full each month and end up paying interest on their balance. Try to pay your balance in full each month, but even if you can’t, you can still negotiate a better interest rate. If your credit rating is good and you are receiving offers from many other institutions, your existing creditor may very well match other offers. You can also negotiate the elimination or reduction of other fees. If you sent in a late payment, for example, most issuers will waive the fee if you have a good payment record. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. You have nothing to lose. Please send me innovative examples of how you saved money on products and services to share. I will share your good fortune with other readers. Elliot Raphaelson welcomes your questions and comments at elliotraph@gmail.com. © 2011 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Rising food prices mean big stock returns By Jennifer Schonberger Soaring grain and meat prices, robust orders for machinery, and heartier diets among the once-malnourished citizens of developing nations are feeding a global boom in agriculture. The AgIndex of 21 blue-chip stocks, hatched by farm economists at the University of Illinois, has soared since the stock market bottomed in March 2009. Food prices will continue to rise as long as populations and incomes grow briskly and the agriculture sector faces high production and distribution costs. Using corn for ethanol production is pushing up prices, too, as is grain traders’ relentless buying of futures contracts. At the same time, high grain and energy costs are biting into the profit margins of

food processors and packagers, such as General Mills and Corn Products International, making their stocks unappetizing.

Stocks positioned for profits Some ag-related stocks are reasonably priced, among them Deere (symbol DE; recent price, $79), the world’s largest producer of farm machinery. Deere could double its annual sales, to $50 billion, by 2018 and keep piling up record profits now that the company’s fortunes are tied to economic growth worldwide. It is an active player in the fastestgrowing emerging markets, including China and India. Its stock trades at 12 times estimated earnings of $6.36 per share for the fiscal year that ends this October, compared with

an average price-earnings ratio of 17 for the farm-and-construction-machinery sector. The Chinese eat half the world’s pork and serve it twice as often as all other meats combined. As food retailing in China transitions from local butchers to Westernstyle supermarkets, Zhongpin (HOGS; $11) is well positioned to profit. Zhongpin supplies fresh and processed pork under its brand name to supermarkets. Analyst Stephen Share, of Morgan Joseph TriArtisan, a New York City investment firm, said Zhongpin can boost sales and earnings by more than 20 percent annually over the next three to five years. Zhongpin issues financial results in dollars but operates exclusively in China, so it won’t be hurt directly if China’s currency continues to rise against the dollar and

squeezes China’s exporters. Zhongpin trades at six times estimated 2011 earnings of $1.85 per share. Stocks of fertilizer companies have been on a roll for most of the past five years, but they have more room to grow. Record demand for potash, a key ingredient in fertilizer, will continue to boost potash prices and lift sales and profits of the big players. Our favorite is the largest producer, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT; $51). Analysts expect Potash’s profits to soar 67 percent this year, to $3.41 per share. Jennifer Schonberger is a staff writer at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. For more on this and similar money topics, visit www.Kiplinger.com. © Kiplinger’s Personal Finance


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Retirement account loans get a bum rap By Elliot Raphaelson According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of individuals borrowing from their 401(k) accounts has increased dramatically the last few years. Some members of Congress feel that this is a dangerous trend, and they are proposing legislation to make it more difficult for individuals to take out these loans. They apparently feel that people who take them are jeopardizing their retirement. Congress should not pass any legislation that restricts this type of loan. Individuals contribute to 401(k) accounts for two primary reasons: To save for retirement and to take advantage of a matching contribution from their employer. If they decide to borrow from their 401(k), it is because they have a better short-term alternative for these funds. For example, when I worked full time, such loans were very useful to pay for my children’s education. Most, but not all, employees enrolled in a 401(k) plan are allowed to borrow from it. Just as companies match employee contributions at different levels, or not at all, companies also impose varying interest rates on loans from their plans. Some companies don’t allow loans. Meanwhile, federal law requires loans to be paid back within five years, or 15 years if the loan is used to purchase a primary residence.

Does loan rate matter? One of my pet peeves regarding 401(k) loans is not with the loans themselves, but rather with the emphasis most pundits and columnists place on the loan rate that is imposed on these loans. Whether you think the rate is favorable

or poor is irrelevant because the individual who is taking out this loan is paying it back to himself rather than to a financial institution. What is important is comparing what these funds could have returned in the retirement account to the return that the borrower receives on the funds withdrawn. For example, assume a borrower has been receiving an average total return of 4 percent on the funds in his retirement account. If he uses the proceeds to pay off a credit card with a rate of 18 percent, he has saved 14 percent. It is true that a higher rate on the loan means a larger annual repayment amount (to his own retirement account). However, he is paying it back to himself. A high loan rate does not hurt him. What is relevant is how he uses the proceeds.

If you leave your job One potential disadvantage of the 401(k) loan is that if you leave your job for any reason and you are younger than 59 1/2, you have only 60 days to repay the loan. If you fail to do so, you have to pay the IRS a 10 percent penalty on the unpaid loan amount (in addition to ordinary income tax). If you have other funds that you can use to pay off the loan, there is no penalty. In some circumstances, taking the loan is still beneficial (even if you do leave your job and have to pay a penalty because you are unable to repay the loan). For example, assume you contribute $3,000 a year to the retirement plan because you want the $1,500 employer match (again, this contribution varies from plan to plan). You also borrow $3,000 from the plan each year. At the end of three years, your

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employer has contributed $4,500. You leave the company at the end of three years, with an outstanding loan of approximately $9,000. If you can’t repay it, you owe the IRS a $900 penalty. However, your retirement account contains $4,500 more than you would have had without the $3,000 annual contribution. (The example assumes you are vested in the plan, and that you can keep all of the employer contributions.) No tax is due when you borrow from your 401(k). If Congress makes it more

difficult to borrow, some people will be forced to make withdrawals, which results in both income tax liability and a 10 percent penalty. I recommend that you write your congressional representative, and tell him or her to leave the existing 401(k) laws in place. Congress has not shown us that it knows more than we do in handling resources. Elliot Raphaelson welcomes your questions and comments at elliotraph@gmail.com. © 2011 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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What investment pros are buying today By Dave Carpenter A slumping stock market and economic difficulties make this a challenging time for investors looking for the best place to put their money. No consensus emerged among the nearly 1,700 financial planners and fund managers attending the annual Morningstar Investment Conference. But many floated ideas for good buys and strategies in this difficult environment. Several professionals offered up their single best investment ideas: Dividend stocks. Hold Procter & Gamble (PG) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT) as dividend stocks for the long term. Both have yields of more than 3 percent. “Their stocks haven’t moved in years, but both

their dividends and revenues are moving.” Both are businesses that are going to be around and still strong 15 years from now. P&G’s rise in product sales is coming from emerging market countries with good growth prospects. Abbott’s top-selling drug, Humira, which is used to treat inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, is “not going to fall off the cliff,” and the company keeps finding new uses for it. — Josh Peters, equity income strategist for Morningstar Mutual funds. Think about large-cap funds in general, and Jensen J (JENSX) in particular. It’s a large-cap growth fund, rated five stars by Morningstar. And for cash, use an online bank for the

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A passion for music has defined Ted Zlatin’s life, from his days playing in a teenage band in suburban Baltimore to a career that has covered every aspect of the music business, from promoting records to selling pianos. Now retired, Zlatin is using that same passion to bring the joy of music to older adults throughout the greater Baltimore area through the Music and Art Traveling Heart Show. “Music and arts have shown the power to touch a heart and soul, bring back a memory, evoke an emotion, inspire feelings and stimulate the senses,” said the 62-year-old Zlatin, who lives in Howard County. The vision of the Music and Art Traveling Heart Show, which Zlatin established two years ago, is to enhance quality of life for area seniors. Two of his inspirations are his own parents, ages 92 and 89. “They are why I’m doing what I’m doing,” Zlatin said. “We strive to bring out emotions with an interaction of musicians, artists, performers, video and audio to find a way to touch their hearts,” said Zlatin.

SEPTEMBER 2011

I N S I D E …

LEISURE & TR AVEL

Nearby sites for late summer fun: Life’s more than a beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks; plus, SEALs, sun and squadrons in Virginia Beach page 25

Members of the band

The group is made up of four musicians: Otis Stroup on keyboard, Jamie Hopkins on bass and Tim Ghiz on drums, with Bruce Thomas as the vocalist. Zlatin himself doesn’t perform, but serves as the The Music and Art Traveling Heart Show band’s executive director. — brainchild of Ted a lively, interactive performance Zlatin (left) — brings of golden oldies to senior Stroup has been a mainstay centers and retirement in the Balti- communities throughout the Baltimore area. more and surrounding area, playing for include Tom Ghitz, drummer, Jamie Hopkins, Members of the band (behind Zlatin) bass guitarist, Otis Bruce Thomas, vocalist. more than 20 years at Stroup, pianist and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Rusty Scupper restaurant Friday Thomas, the vocalist, first and Saturday nights. He took to the found a is also a regular stage special connection with at age 3. Over the years, performer at the popular seniors he said, his that he attempts Café de Paris in vocal to bring to his performstyle has been influenced Howard County. by such ances with the artists as Al Jarreau, Frank Traveling Heart Show. Ghiz has been playing “I Sinatra, Al Green try to drums profes- and Miles put joy into their lives, Davis, not to mention his sionally for 43 years. He and music own fa- helps me do that,” has also traveled ther, he said. Ralph Thomas, a professional across the country playing singer. numerous Thomas also looks for people Thomas once was a full-time shows on the road. He in the ausinger, but dience with has performed in he whom to connect. “It could went back to the “real world” many different senior living be after the the person communities birth of who already has a sparkle his daughter. He started over the years and continues in singing her eyes, or on that tradition again two the other hand, it could years ago. In addition by playing with the Traveling be to his the person who Heart Show. work with sits with his arms folded the Traveling Heart Show, “White Lightnin’” Hopkins he and needs a special is a full-time performs touch.” at Literally. area musician, teaching bass restaurants and nightand guitar, per- clubs, Thomas is a strong believer including Café de Paris, in both the forming on bass and singing. Great Sage, power of He has been Tabrizi’s music and the power of and others. performing in the area since a simple the age of 13. touch on the shoulder. “I Through his day job as just want the audiHe also composes and branch manager ence has made numer- with to accept what I can give them,” Options for Senior America, ous recordings with local he said. a personperformers. al home care organization, Thomas has See BAND, page 32

ARTS & STYLE

Actors add a human dimension to Civil War exhibit; plus, the art of writing (instruments) at the Walters page 31 FITNESS & HEALTH 4 k Put cancer risks in perspective k B vitamins boost your brain LAW & MONEY 18 k Become a better bargainer k What investment pros are buying VOLUNTEERS & CAREERS k Garden variety volunteers

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PLUS CROSSWORD, BEACON BITS, CLASSIFIEDS & MORE

best CD rates. We’re moving a lot of customers into Ally Bank, where they can get 2.3 percent for a five-year CD. — Ross Levin, founding principal of the financial planning firm Accredited Investors Inc. in Edina, Minn. TIPS. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) should be the bedrock of any investor’s portfolio to help provide a hedge against inflation. (TIPS are a type of Treasury bond whose payout is adjusted every six months for inflation.) They are “badly overpriced” at the moment but still a good buy if you believe that inflation is going to be 4 to 5 percent over the next year. — Robert Johnson, director of economic analysis for Morningstar. MLPs. Master limited partnerships (MLPs) are a publicly traded version of limited partnerships, which enables them to avoid paying corporate income taxes. Most are oil and gas pipeline companies. A master limited partnership called En-

ergy Transfer Equity (ETE) has a 5 percent yield, and new pipelines coming on line enable it to achieve double-digit growth in the next couple of years. — Paul Larson, equities strategist for Morningstar. Large-cap U.S. stocks. High-quality, large-cap stocks are the only U.S. stocks worth buying right now. “We’re underweight [on] stocks in general, but only moderately, because [the returns on] cash and bonds stink, too.” — Ben Inker, head of asset allocation at investment management firm GMO. Growth stocks. Companies that are on track to double or triple their revenues in the next five or 10 years are good opportunities. “If you can wait for an opportunity today and buy them at a reasonable price, you can buy them and hold them and make a lot of money.” — Morty Schaja, CEO and managing partner at Riverpark Funds, New York. — AP

Money Shorts

Keeping your car well maintained can improve your mileage by an average of 4 percent, according to government estimates. That number will vary depending on the age of your car and how well it’s maintained, but you may be able to save in the neighborhood of 16 cents per gallon. Routine maintenance can help detect small problems before they become big ones, which will lower your costs for more expensive repairs. — AP

Get a tune-up to cut gas costs Paying $4 for a gallon of gas may make you wish for a more fuel-efficient car. But if a new set of wheels isn’t in the cards, don’t give up on saving money at the pump. There are plenty of ways to cut costs and maximize the efficiency of your car. The first step to consider is a tune-up. It can pay for itself quickly if it coaxes more miles per gallon out of your aging vehicle. A periodic tune-up should be a part of every car owner’s maintenance routine. A thorough job may involve any of the following: replacing the air and fuel filters, unclogging fuel injectors, changing the distributor cap and ignition rotor, changing spark plugs and possibly the spark plug wires, adjusting valves and belts, and replacing or replenishing necessary fluids. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to address these items. Prices vary depending on the age and model of the vehicle, exactly what work is done, how long it takes, and where it is serviced. A complete tune-up could cost several hundred dollars. If you can’t afford the works, try getting just the spark plugs changed. That can go a long way toward improving your mileage and will cost about $125 to $150. Many auto repair chains, such as AutoZone and Jiffy Lube, offer tune-up packages or coupons that can lower the cost. Check newspapers or search online to find your local options. Some shops may honor competitor coupons, as well.

Don’t fall for traffic ticket scam If you get an email from the state police about a traffic ticket, don’t worry. Your driving record is clean. But don’t click to open the attachment, either. A new email scam is landing in in-boxes across the country. The email looks like it’s officially from the New York state police and is labeled “Uniform Traffic Ticket.” It includes the date and time of a speeding violation and instructs the recipient to open an attachment to print out the ticket. But don’t do it, even if you only want to reply to tell the sender the ticket is in error. The attachment contains what’s known as a “Trojan horse,” which will download malware that can steal information from your computer and allow criminals to control it from afar. Police departments are very unlikely to send people traffic violations via unsolicited emails, according to the Hoax Slayer website. And beware of a similar current scam, purportedly by the IRS, Hoax Slayer noted. Don’t open any attachments from emails that claim to be from the IRS. — Barbara Ruben


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He bought a nearby town to preserve it By R.A. Propper Sooner or later we all make large purchases — a home, car or a college education for our kids. But how many of us buy a whole town to preserve its history and uniqueness? One area resident did, buying the tiny hamlet of Oella, on the banks of the Patapsco River between Catonsville and historic Ellicott City. Charles Wagandt, now 86, purchased the town in 1973 just after the textile mill that had been in his family since 1887 closed its doors. Home to generations of mill workers, the 80-acre town includes 242 houses, most of which were constructed from just before the War of 1812 through the early 20th century. Some are 200-year-old stone homes, while log cabins are tucked into the rocky hillsides, and numerous World War I-era cottage-style kit homes line some streets. The original mill was built in 1808 and sold to Wagandt’s great-grandfather 80 years later. William J. Dickey & Sons Textile Mill became known as one of the country’s premier producers of fancy menswear woolens. In its earliest days, the bustling mill, then known as the Union Manufacturing Mill, briefly became the largest cotton mill in the country, and Oella itself is named after the first woman in America to spin cotton.

Stepping up to the plate But once the mill was shuttered, the town’s fate was in question as buildings deteriorated and developers waited in the wings for a prime piece of Patapsco River property. “I believe in historical preservation. Through the voices and fabric of Oella, I wanted to offer a glimpse into a way of life that is no more,” Wagandt said of his interest in saving the town. Wagandt’s work to preserve Oella’s past

garnered him the 2008 Calvert Prize from the Maryland Historical Trust for having “significant impact at the broadest state level.” Rodney Little, director of the Maryland Historic Trust, puts Wagandt’s efforts to save Oella this way: “Without Charles, I think it would have deteriorated and probably not be there any more.” Wagandt served as chairman of the board of the Trust from 1981 to 1986, transforming it from a quasi-public entity that handed out preservation information to a state agency with the power to enforce laws.

A home at the mill But Wagandt wasn’t always interested in history and preservation. In fact, he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to work for the family business at the mill when he graduated from Princeton in 1948. “When I got out of college I didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do. That’s when I went to my uncle, who was running the Oella mill, and said to him, ‘I’m trying to figure out what I want to do.’ “My uncle replied, ‘Why don’t you come work for me here at the mill and learn something about the textile business, because you might have some interest in it sometime in the future.’” That sounded more pragmatic than Wagandt’s other career aspiration. “The only other job I was interested in,” he said, “was working in the library at the Baltimore Sun. I love libraries, but I didn’t see myself making a career of it.” So Wagandt dove into working at the mill, took textile courses, and along the way got a masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania — all at the same time. He also ran for a few elective offices: Maryland House of Delegates, 1958, (defeated), Baltimore City Council 1958, (de-

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Baltimore City resident Charles Wagandt, pictured at the 1904 church that serves as his office, stepped in to purchase and preserve the town of Oella after its historic mill — owned by his family since 1887 — closed its doors. His ongoing work garnered an award from the Maryland Historic Trust.

feated), and the Maryland State Constitution Convention in 1967 — winning this one. “Governor Schaefer once said to me publically that ‘You’re no politician, Charlie’ — which I’m not,” he laughed. Along with his political life, the mill began to flounder in the late 1960s. “There were a number of ‘revolutions’ in America, including civil rights, the sexual

revolution, and, most important to the mill, the revolution in dress,” he recalled. “People weren’t wearing woolen sport coats as they had for generations. Double knits were in, but the mill didn’t have the equipment for making this type of clothing.” Toward the end of the mill’s operation, See WAGANDT, page 23


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Wagandt From page 21 Wagandt’s two uncles died, and two of his cousins moved south, leaving everything in his hands. Now he had to learn the business operation double time. “You learn a hell of a lot more when business is not going well than you do when things are going well. So I got a real education during those last few years of the mill’s operation,” he said. Despite efforts to keep the mill open, in 1972 the mill was shuttered and soon after battered by Hurricane Agnes, which damaged part of the mill, along with some houses. “This was the coup de gras of the whole operation,” Wagandt said. A company bought the mill primarily for its equipment, and the mill building lay vacant for years. Wagandt paints a poignant picture of the mill’s closure on his website, www.oellacompany.com: “It’s gone now — the sight of richly colored fabrics; the aroma of dyes, chemicals and wool; the feel of tweed, saxonies and shetlands; the clatter of looms echoing off the hillside. “No longer do hundreds of workers pour in and out of the mill at shift change. No longer does water from the mill race set the electric turbines humming. Stripped of the machinery and workers that gave life to its brick walls, now all is just a memory.”

Preserving the town While the mill was out of his hands, Wagandt was left to ponder what to do with the town of Oella and the 100 houses originally home to the mill’s employees, where some retirees still lived. Wagandt tried to get someone to take over the town as a co-op, but the proposed buyer wanted money up front. So in the end, Wagandt bought it himself from his extended family, for an undisclosed amount. But no matter the price, the town was no bargain. Some houses still had outhouses, and raw sewage flowed into the Patapsco River. Fireplaces and original stone and log walls of houses had been plastered over, leaving little historic charm. Log cabins were deteriorating. “You know, the purchase price was only a small part of it. The real matter is how much you have to put into it. You have to bring in water, sewer and many other improvements to make it habitable according to the county codes. Without this, it was hopeless,” Wagandt recalled. “It came to the point of ‘do or die.’ We had to succeed, or the dream of saving this lovely historical town was gone.” Wagandt worked to combine historic preservation with infill housing that was sensitive to the character of the town. He also put in place a social program to help longterm tenants afford to live in the renovated houses. Residents helped place Oella on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Even today, Wagandt is continuing to rehab houses. The Granite Hill development includes five renovated stone houses, eight luxury new homes, and three

houses that will combine small historic houses with new additions. The town’s commerce now consists of a general store, small businesses, and the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum, which also includes extensive nature trails. The museum highlights the contributions of Benjamin Banneker, an 18th century African American astronomer who lived in the area. Oella is also home to the Mount Gilboa Chapel, built in 1859, reportedly the only pre-Civil War African American church still standing in the Baltimore area. The church was originally served by descendents of a community of slaves set free in 1786. And the mill itself was home to artists’ studios for a time before being converted by Southern Management to 147 loft apartments in 2005. “The apartments were designed to retain some of the original structural elements, keeping some of the historical flavor of the mill’s interior. I’m proud of what

they did; it’s a showplace,” Wagandt said. Asked about his involvement in the mill’s rebirth, he said, “I wasn’t directly involved in the construction, but I gave the project a lot of support.” Wagandt still goes to work every day at his offices in a converted 1904 church. “When I walk out of my office in the morning and see this old stone house right in front of me with its unusual double set of entrances, it gives me a lot of satisfaction to know I helped save wonderful places like this,” he said. That’s part of the reason Wagandt has no plans to retire. “You get a great sense of

23

reward in moving forward and helping others,” he said. Wagandt himself doesn’t live in Oella. In fact, he lives in one of the first contemporary style homes built in Baltimore City 60 years ago. As he looked back on his long history with Oella and the mill, he mused, “Who would have ever thought the mill would be shutting down? Who would have ever thought I’d wind up in real estate or with this community? It’s kind of amazing. But doors close and doors open.” R.A. Propper is a freelance writer living in Catonsville, Md.

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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 email to info@thebeaconnewspapers.com.

Garden lovers find opportunities at Ladew a Ladew volunteer, Ladew Topiary Gardens is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a public garden this year. As a nonprofit organization with limited staff, the many programs, events and garden care would not be possible without the dedication of its volunteers, like Edgar, who go “above and beyond,” said Volunteer Director Betsey Barringer.

Long history The beginnings of Ladew date back to 1929, when Harvey S. Ladew was lured to the Maryland countryside because it was ideally suited for his favorite sport — foxhunting. Ladew had hunted here during several

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seasons and became so enamored with the area that he purchased the property adjacent to the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club, known as Pleasant Valley Farm. Though Ladew described the old farm house as “handsome,” it had no plumbing, electricity or heat. According to garden writer Dee Hardie, Ladew spent the next 10 years stretching “his house to the whims of his imagination and needs, and to make it more comfortable for his way of life — which was a very entertaining one, especially Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The 22 acres of gardens feature more during the fox hunting than 100 topiaries and a large manor house. Volunteer doseason. It was a house of cents are needed to help with visitor activities and gardens. fun and leisure.” Once the house was to his liking, it was served on the board of trustees. “Molly is a treasured and still very aconly natural that the surrounding property would be the focus of Ladew’s next cre- tive volunteer at Ladew,” said Barringer. ative endeavor, given his great love of gar- “She has researched information on the paintings displayed in the manor house dening. and has led education programs for doThough Ladew said he knew “little” about gardening, he helped landscape the cents and Ladew supporters. “Molly also coordinates all the volun22-acre property with imaginative topiary and divided it into 15 themed garden teers for the Ladew concert series (no simple task!) and can often be seen greeting “rooms.” In the early 1960s, Ladew began open- and assisting visitors at concert admising his home and gardens to the public for sions,” Barringer added. “She is an enthutheir enjoyment. “I’d love to have them siastic supporter of Ladew and will do anycome and visit my garden. I created it for thing you ask of her with a smile.” Numerous volunteer opportunities people,” he told an interviewer. It was about then that Molly Edgar and exist, including openings for docents, ofher family, who had just relocated to Balti- fice and gift shop assistants, leaders of more County from Howard County, children’s and special activities, garden learned about Pleasant Valley Farm maintenance and more. To learn more through St. James Academy, where her about volunteering, contact bbarringer@ ladewgardens.com or call (410) 557-9570. children attended school. The gardens, manor house and nature Edgar’s love of people and education and Ladew’s growing need for volunteers walk are open from April through October, were a perfect fit. While she began selling 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 10:30 a.m. admission tickets, Edgar quickly became to 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Admission, including a even more involved in making the gar- house tour, is $13 ($11 for students and dens and manor house into what they are those 62+; $5 for 12 and under). For more information, including Notoday. Using her experience as an active volun- vember/December events and summer teer docent at the Walters Art Museum, concerts, visit www.ladewgardens.com. Barbara Barnoff is Ladew’s visitor servicEdgar was instrumental in creating the docent program at Ladew and has also es and marketing coordinator. PHOTO COURTESY OF LADEW TOPIARY GARDENS

By Barbara Barnoff “My early memories of volunteering at Ladew are of selling admissions at a card table near the front gate and hoping people would come in and visit the gardens,” recalled volunteer Molly Edgar. That was well over 40 years ago and long before Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton became a public garden (it used to be part of a private home). Today, the Ladew manor house and its 22 acres of gardens — with more than 100 topiaries (shrubs and trees trimmed into ornamental shapes) — regularly attract more than 30,000 visitors each year from all over the world. Just as Edgar is celebrating 40 years as


BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2011

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Want to keep working happily until 100? By Philip Moeller When Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, turned 80 last year, the headlines blared his intent to work until he turns 100. That’s a nice sentiment, you may have thought. Unlikely, but nice. Not so fast. Hundreds of other wellknown business leaders are well into their 80s. Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, 83, now heads investment firms BP Capital and TBP Investments Management. Kirk Kerkorian, Las Vegas gaming and entertainment legend, is 93. Longevity has taken up residence in the corner office. Many business leaders routinely work beyond age 65. That’s not new. But increasingly, they’re keeping the lights on for decades after reaching what used to be the traditional retirement age. And while we see this trend in business, longevity experts tell us that it can be found throughout society.

It helps to be rich Truth be told, academic research has consistently found two variables that are powerfully associated not only with old age, but also with being highly productive in old age. “Higher education and higher incomes are consistently associated” with success-

ful aging and high-achieving older persons, said Laura Carstensen, a noted researcher on aging and the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. People with knowledge and money tend to occupy homes in better neighborhoods, have jobs that aren’t physically taxing or hazardous, and live in cleaner environments, she pointed out. “So, that’s part of it,” Carstensen said. “But a huge piece of this is that people in this category can navigate their lives themselves. They can control their lives.” As an example, she cited research that well-educated people dealt more effectively with health problems than other groups. When they sit down with their doctors, they pepper them with informed questions and take ownership of their medical conditions. “This group of people has very little in the way of functional disabilities,” Carstensen said of Buffett and other older business leaders. “What we know about them is that they’re doing incredibly well, physically and emotionally.” There is a truly heartening and profound implication of seeing a group of such high-functioning older persons, she said. “It proves that aging itself is not what is limiting human activities as we get old.” Of course, Carstensen noted, the ranks

of the wealthy and highly educated are not enormous. What about the rest of us?

Focus on what’s important Older people of all backgrounds have some good tools they’ve developed to help them age successfully, she said. “As people age, they tend to narrow their worlds,” Carstensen said. “They are pruning their worlds and their social networks. In the process, they are keeping the best things and letting go of things they don’t care about.” This helps them be more selective, make better judgments, use their time well, and be more in control of their environments and their lives. “People with more resources can do this even better,” she said. “This is just a hunch, but I bet people aren’t very successful at pushing Warren Buffett to do things he doesn’t want to do.” Actually, it has been reported that Buffett’s wife, Astrid, has had modest success in convincing him to trade in cheeseburgers and Cokes for healthier fare. He also exercises but makes no claims to a mean-

ingfully healthy lifestyle. Steve Jordan, business editor at the Omaha World-Herald, has covered Buffett for years. Here’s an insight into Buffett’s longevity from one of his stories: Nutritional dentist (yes, there are such people) Gregg Schneider of Linden, N.J., is nothing if not true to his profession. When he realized that Buffett seemingly existed on peanut brittle, soda, hamburgers, steak, ice cream and hash browns, he knew what he had to do. “These are not the doctor’s prescriptions for a long and healthy life,” he wrote to Buffett, encouraging him to choose healthy food and take nutritional supplements. Buffett wrote back: “My diet, though far from standard, is somewhat better than usually portrayed. I have a wonderful doctor who nudges me in your direction every time I see him.” “All in all, I’ve enjoyed remarkably good health — largely because of genes, of course — but also, I think, because I enjoy life so much every day.” © 2011 U.S. News and World Report

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Travel Leisure &

Virginia Beach offers more than the usual boardwalks and water fun. Read about it on page 28.

More than beaches on N.C.’s Outer Banks often overlooked story of World War II sea action doesn’t turn you on, there’s an entire island transformed into a living history museum.

History lessons abound

PHOTO BY VICTOR BLOCK

Visitors today follow a long line of people who have been attracted to the region. Croatan Indians found the excellent hunting and fishing to their liking as long as 10,000 years ago. Italian, French and Spanish explorers set foot on the land during the 16th century. They were followed by an English attempt to settle on Roanoke Island in 1587, 22 years before colonizing Jamestown, Va. The history of the Outer Banks constantly comingles with life there today. Tiny family cemeteries stretching back generations are hidden behind some homes. A number of houses contain timbers, sheathing and other materials that were salvaged from the hundreds of ships that fell prey over centuries to the shoals and treacherous waters off the coast. Visitors may also occasionally have trouble understanding native “Bankers” who retain vestiges of a unique generations-old accent. The Outer Banks began attracting vacationers in the 1830s, when families of wealthy Nor th Carolina planters found refuge there from the summer heat. They were followed by sportsmen drawn by the outstanding fishing and hunting that Native Americans had discovered many centuries earlier. The same attributes continue to attract many visitors. Of course, beaches along the 130mile-long Outer Banks remain the major draw for most folks. Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a 30,000-acre preserve, covers much of the Banks. Stretching over 70 miles, this national seashore — the first in the country, established in 1953 — encompasses some of the largest areas of undeveloped beaches in the United States. Even at the height of the summer tourist season, A blacksmith demonstrates his craft at the Roanoke some sections are occupied by Adventure Museum, which explores 400 years of history in the Outer Banks. more sea birds than people.

PHOTO BY VICTOR BLOCK

By Victor Block I stood frozen with fear, unable to run. The terrifying pirate drew closer, his curved sword swinging wildly. Just as he was about to separate my head and body, I snapped back to reality, left my all-too-real daydream about Blackbeard behind and moved on to the next exhibit in the museum. The story of Blackbeard the Pirate is one display that makes the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, N.C., fascinating, and possibly horrifying. That eclectic collection is among numerous attractions that transform the Outer Banks — the chain of narrow barrier islands that parallels the state’s Atlantic coastline — into much more than just another sun-andsand vacation destination. Stretches of broad beaches and sand dunes, interspersed by marshes and pockets of woodland, comprise the barrier islands that shield the mainland from the ocean’s surging waves and ferocious storms. They also are home to an inviting variety of intriguing attractions that can fill many a day of activity and sightseeing. If lighthouses and the story of a lost colony aren’t of interest, what about the first flights of the Wright Brothers? If an

Costumed interpreters on the Elizabeth II tell tales of the British sailing vessels that visited the Outer Banks in the 16th century.

Beachside towns Drivers heading south on state highway 12, or a stretch of US 158 that runs parallel to it for a while, have opportunities to check out villages along the way. In addition to similarities to oceanfront vacation towns, some have unique characteristics. Many visitors rate Corolla (pronounced COH-roll-uh), the northernmost enclave, and Duck, several miles further south, as the two prettiest villages on the islands. Both have a small town atmosphere, good restaurants and a number of rambling houses that would feel at home in an upscale neighborhood anywhere. Duck is perfect for strolling. A new wooden boardwalk along the west side of town follows the edge of Currituck Sound, in some places passing woods where you’ll hear only bird calls, in other spots leading to locally owned boutiques and galleries. According to Nancy Meyers, a Washingtonian who is a frequent visitor, “Duck is an established, and establishment, community. You don’t rough it in Duck.” Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head form the commercial hub of the Outer Banks. Along with a strip-mall atmosphere, there are two major attractions. It was at Kitty Hawk where, on December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first controlled-power flight. The

prevailing winds, combined with gentle slops and soft landing spots provided by sand dunes, drew them to the area. After hundreds of test glides, they made four successful powered flights that lasted from 12 to 59 seconds and covered from 122 to 852 feet. If those times and distances seem miniscule, consider the impact they’ve had on the world. A museum and exhibit pavilions house a full-scale replica of the Wright Flyer, photographs of the event taken by Orville, and a wealth of other treasures. Granite boulders mark the start and ending point of each flight. A plane flew overhead as I stepped off the distance, prompting me to wonder what the brothers would think about today’s jet travel. Nearby Jockey’s Ridge State Park contains the tallest sand dunes on the east coast. In this mini-desert setting, winds reshape the sand, causing the dune for which the park is named to vary in height from 80 to 100 feet. South of the commercial section of the Outer Banks, both traffic and the width of the islands thin. The road passes through several miniscule towns and, just past Hatteras village, ends at a ferry dock. Along the way are more opportunities to check See OUTER BANKS, page 27


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Outer Banks From page 26 out enticing attractions, some on many people’s “must see” list.

A lost colony I would rate Roanoke Island, on the sound side of the Banks, worth a visit even if it were a stand-alone destination. Several chapters of history spring to life at this site of the first English colony in the New World. A good place to start is Festival Park, where the life of Native Americans who originally inhabited the area is recreated. Longhouses, a dance circle, and planting and harvesting areas set the mood. Interactive exhibits scattered about the area are sure to interest generations of family visitors. To relive the next chapter of history, clamber aboard the Elizabeth II, a sailing ship representative of the seven British vessels that visited the area during the 16th century. Costumed interpreters spin tales of perilous voyages in a brogue that echoes the speech of that time. A visit to the Settlement Site provides an immersion in life at an early military outpost. As soldiers stand watch against intrusions by hostile Indians, costumed blacksmiths, carpenters and other workmen ply their trades. The history lesson continues at the Roanoke Adventure Museum, where 400 years of the Outer Banks’ past are explored. From early pirates to the Civil War, from boat-building to shipwrecks, virtually every facet of life as it used to be, and in some ways still is, gets its due. The Elizabethan Gardens is reminiscent of early English plantings. Statues both old and new gaze out over the setting, including a monumental bronze sculpture of Queen Elizabeth I. By far, the most famous attraction on Roanoke Island is the Lost Colony — a lavish, something-for-everyone drama with special effects, daring action, comedy, music and dance. It relates the true story of the disappearance — no one knows where or why — of 116 men, women and children who settled in the New World in 1587. Even this list does not exhaust the possibilities. The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village tells the story of more than 2,000 known shipwrecks that lie in waters off the Outer Banks. Many went down in the 18th and 19th centuries, victims of dangerous currents, shoals and storms. Others were cargo vessels heading to England that were sunk by German submarines lurking off our country’s east coast during World War II. Parts of several shipwrecks are visible today on beaches or in shallow water at low tide. Other well-done exhibits at the museum deal with pirates, including the notorious Blackbeard, who was killed in the area, and the Civil War ironclad U.S.S. Monitor. Lighthouse buffs will think they’ve gone to heaven. Three towers mark the Outer Banks, two of which are open from spring to fall for those — not I — who wish to climb to the top. Also available are remnants of what once were more than 20 life-

saving stations that were built along the Banks in the late 19th century. Crews risked their lives to rescue people from wrecked ships. Story-telling and realistic beach drill reenactments during summer bring this bit of history to life in a dramatic way. If climbing the 257 steps of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse isn’t your idea of enjoyable exercise, there’s always hiking and hang gliding, kayaking and kite boarding, fishing and crabbing, sailing and surf boarding. Oh yes, and one of my favorite beach pastimes: relaxing on some of the finest sand anywhere, with a good book.

If you go It takes about six hours to drive from Balitmore to Duck and Corolla at the northern end of the Outer Banks. I recommend buying and listening to three audio guided tours ($10 each) that I used, which provide historical and inter-

esting tidbits about the area. For information, call (252) 441-3201 or log onto www.ourtourguide.net. There’s a wide choice of motels along the Banks in every price range. Typical is Shutters on the Banks in Kill Devil Hills, with heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a location near the Wright Brothers Museum and Roanoke Island. Summer rates begin at $150. For more information, call 1-800-848-3728 or log onto www.shuttersonthebanks.com. By contrast, my wife Fyllis and I spent only about $100 a night for much larger accommodations. By sharing our stay with friends, we enjoyed a three-story beachfront house including use of a kitchen, which saved money on meals. With an estimated 12,000 rental houses available, there’s plenty of choice for every budget. Dining also offers a wide selection.

27

Seafood is fresh and excellent, including the catch-of-the-day sandwich at the diner-like Kill Devil Grill ($9). The eclectic menu ranges from grilled white pizza ($7.25) to half roast chicken ($13). Locals drop by for the pecan pie and apple crisp deserts ($6). It’s at milepost 10 on Route 12. For more information, log onto www.thekilldevilgrill.com or call (252) 449-8181. Many restaurants offer views of the sea or sound, so you might as well have dinner at one of them. Dinky’s, overlooking a small harbor in Hatteras, serves excellent tuna tartare ($9) and crab ravioli ($11), followed by a long list of seafood entrees. It’s on the second floor of the Village Marina. For more information, call (252) 986-2020 or log onto www.villagemarinahatteras.com. For more information about visiting the Outer Banks, call 1-877-629-4386 or log onto www.outerbanks.org.

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SEPTEMBER 2011 — BALTIMORE BEACON

SEALs, sun and squadrons in Va. Beach

Autumn’s appeal For a more leisurely vacation, wait a month or two for a visit.

“In the fall, we get our beach back,” said Ron Kuhlman, head of the tourism office. Summer’s frenzy dies down, prices drop, the kids are in school, collegians are back on campus, air temperatures are in the 70s, and the water averages 67 degrees. Virginia Beach decompresses, but still has plenty going on. The area’s Neptune Festival (www. neptunefestival.com) has events all summer long. It culminates with many activities throughout the month of September, including a seniors’ Big Band Gala on September 16. Enjoy 20 blocks of art, sand sculpture, outdoor concerts and fireworks. A 10-day sand sculpting competition, one of the world’s largest, inspires 300 amateurs and pros to mold sand into works of art. Virginia vintners offer samples. The Naval Air Station puts on air shows, including a parachute jump onto the beach. September 10-11 will feature Blues at the Beach, a weekend of free outdoor concerts, a model train show and sale, and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra by the boardwalk. October’s events include a craft beer festival and the national women’s rugby championship. Billed as the “best beach party of the year,” the annual pig and oyster fest sponsored by the Old Coast Guard Station in October has live music, hush puppies,

PHOTO BY GLENDA C. BOOTH

By Glenda C. Booth Trying to spot a SEAL is all the rage in Virginia Beach, the Old Dominion’s largest resort town. It is home to the nowfamous counterterrorism super-secret Navy team that raided Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound on May 1 and carried his corpse out to sea. Locals brag about their SEAL-spotting skills. Virginia Beach, a 14-mile stretch of sand with a heavy military backdrop, is Virginia’s version of “Atlantic City” — Atlantic Ocean beach lined with hotels, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, arcades, souvenir shops and partiers of all ages. It’s a popular destination for surfers, sunbathers, military buffs, families and outdoor types, as well as the bikini-challenged and sun shy. You can walk much of the resort area or rent rollerblades, bikes or two-passenger pedal “surreys.” From your oceanside balcony, watch dolphins cavort, study pelicans flapping by, and track the cargo ships creeping across the horizon. Ambling up and down the three-mile, beachside boardwalk is a favorite de-stressor for all ages, especially in the evening.

A large statue of Neptune, Roman god of the sea, overlooks Virginia Beach’s threemile-long boardwalk.

fried fish, oyster stew and Mini Malbon’s internationally-acclaimed barbecue sauce. Winter holidays are celebrated with jumping dolphins and porpoises in colored lights and a Christmas tree on the beach. Many hotels offer special fall and winter packages.

Navy and Coast Guard tributes Whether it’s Strike Fighter jets zooming and booming across the skies, Blue Angels cracking the sound barrier, or aircraft carriers out at sea, Virginia Beach prides

itself on the area’s military history and its prominent role in today’s national defense. The Naval Aviation Monument Park at 25th Street and Atlantic Avenue honors the area’s rich naval heritage with sculptures of a family welcoming dad home and military personnel in action. (Also at 25th Street is the Norwegian Lady statue, a gift from the people of Moss, Norway, commemorating an 1891 Norwegian shipwreck.) See VA. BEACH, page 29

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Va. Beach From page 28 The Old Coast Guard Station at 24th and Atlantic, built in 1903 as a U.S. Life Saving Station and now on the National Register of Historic Places, explores Coast Guard history, rescue methods and shipwreck stories. King Neptune reigns at 31st Street and the boardwalk, a 16-foot tall statue with bronze, wave-inspired curls. It’s a favorite photo op stop. For a water adventure, try ocean kayaking. Bottlenose dolphins come to your kayak, promoters claim, on excursions from April to October. Chesapean Outdoors (http://chesapean.com) runs dolphin-spotting trips and eco-tours using sit-on-top kayaks that are stable and easy to paddle. Chances are you’ll also see brown pelicans, ospreys and maybe sea turtles. Departures are from several locations; reservations recommended. Well worth a visit and a step back in time is the free Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum in the Victorian Dewitt Cottage, the oldest seaside cottage in Virginia Beach and one that has survived hurricanes because of its 14-inch-thick brick walls. Decoy carvers explain their craft as they whittle. Museum officials say the native plants in the yard attract fall songbirds. The wooden rocking chairs and long porch offer the perfect perch for lazy ocean-gazing.

Beyond the beach For relief from sand and the beach hubbub, there are several spots worth visiting within an hour’s drive of downtown — more military, more history and the great outdoors. Rare aircraft, beautifully restored and all in flying condition, recall the early days of aviation, World War II and the Korean conflict at the Military Aviation Museum. You’ll see the Flying Tigers, a B-25 bomber, British Spitfire, the Russian Polikarpor and the Nazis’ Junkers (Ju52). There are 1920s biplanes with fuselages made of wood and canvas. Check out the V-1 bomb, a “buzz bomb” and a German encryption machine. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center probes the life of the sea and shows off a live Egyptian cobra and Australian hedgehogs. The museum’s trail through a wetland offers a salt marsh experience. The Cape Henry lighthouses are at the site where colonists made landfall in 1607 before going more inland to Jamestown. You can climb the old lighthouse, a 90-foot tower with 191 stairs. The 1881 cast-iron lighthouse at 163 feet offers a “newer” lesson in lighthouse technology. First Landing State Park nearby also commemorates the 1607 landing and is the state’s most visited park. It is the northernmost location on the East Coast where subtropical and temperate plants thrive to-

serving those who

served and their eligible non-vet spouses

gether. You’re likely to see snakes dangling in the Spanish moss or slithering over the cypress trees “knees.” The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is 9,000 acres of coastal barrier island habitat, windswept dunes, wetlands and waterfowl. False Cape State Park, once considered a ship graveyard, is a good example of scrub maritime forests. Vehicles are barred from False Cape, but a tram called the Blue Goose Express offers trips to both (www.bbrf.org). In the fall, bird migration is in full swing. Most first-time visitors want to check out the 17.6-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel spanning the mouth of the Bay. It is the largest bridge-tunnel complex in the world. On the way, there are four manmade islands, a fishing pier and a restaurant. On your stops, you can look for birds or battleships. Depending on your religious point of view, you may want to take a side trip to the Christian Broadcasting Network Studio or the headquarters of the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE). The Christian Broadcasting Network Studio (www.cbn.com) has daily tours and you can be in the audience of a live daily show, The 700 Club, “a program of music, prayer and ministry,” usually hosted by Pat Robertson. CBN was the first Christian television broadcasting station in the nation, on the air since 1966. The ARE Center (www.edgarcayce.org)

29

has a free daily orientation movie at 2 p.m. and lecture at 3:30 p.m. ARE was formed to “explore transpersonal subjects such as holistic health, ancient mysteries, personal spirituality, dreams and dream interpretation, intuition, and philosophy and reincarnation.” They say their holistic massage is “like none other in the world.” Maybe they give psychic tips on spotting SEALs.

If you go Visit www.vbfun.com for trip planning, lodging information and calendars. Virginia Beach has a full range of lodging choices — cabins at First Landing State Park, a Wyndam resort, chain hotels, motels and B&Bs. It also has 300 independently-owned restaurants. See www.vbfun.com/ dining. Virginia Beach is a five-hour drive from Baltimore, but usually longer because of I95 congestion. Amtrak is the least stressful way to get there. The last hour of the trip is via an Amtrak-contracted bus from Newport News, which stops at 19th Street, one block from the main drag, Atlantic Avenue. City buses travel regularly up and down Atlantic Avenue. If you want wheels to get beyond the resort area, try Enterprise Rental Car at Charles Barker Toyota, 1-800736-8227. The closest airport is in Norfolk. Glenda C. Booth is a freelance writer in Alexandria, Va.

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Arts &

Jewel-encrusted pen cases are among the artifacts now on display at the Walters. More on page 33.

Museum brings Civil War history to life cuses on the reunification of the country, which some say is not still complete.

Maryland and the war Maryland sent 60,000 men to serve in the Union Army. More than 20,000 more served in the Confederacy. The human stories of these men and women are told by bringing letters to life with contemporary technology, such as 3D videos and interactive exhibits. In addition, hundreds of rare objects are displayed, many of them for the first time since the 19th century. These include Robert E. Lee’s camp chair, John Brown’s carbine, Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, and compelling photographs of the period. But it is the Maryland Historical Society Players who add a new dimension to the exhibit. Museum Director Burt Kummerow was the impetus behind the establishment of the Players. “In my experience in museum work, I’ve found that live interpretation brings artifacts and objects to life and enhances the museum experience for visitors,” he said. To implement his vision, Kummerow contacted Dale Jones, a resident of Glenwood, Md., who is well-versed in museum theater, having previously developed interpretive programs for Baltimore’s former City Life Museums. Jones currently has his own company, Making History Connections, through which he consults with museums and historic sites across the country in their ef-

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

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MARYLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY

By Carol Sorgen Unless you’re an expert on Maryland’s Civil War history, you might not know anything about Christopher Fleetwood. But you should. This free black man of Baltimore led other black soldiers into battle and earned the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1864 for his bravery. Other Marylanders, such as Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman, also played significant roles in the Civil War. Now, you can meet them all at the Maryland Historical Society, where these heroes and heroines (and more infamous notables, such as John Wilkes Booth) have come to life through the newly formed Maryland Historical Society Players. This six-actor troupe, under the co-direction of Harriet Lynn and Dale Jones, perform every weekend at the Historical Society Museum, in conjunction with the museum’s exhibit, “Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War.” The exhibit is Maryland’s largest and most comprehensive about the Civil War, occupying more than 5,000 square feet. It effectively relates the impact of the war on the people of Maryland in personal terms. The exhibit tells the story of the war in three “acts” — the romantic war, the real war, and the long reunion. The romantic war covers the first year or so of the conflict, when both sides saw the war as an adventure and patriotic duty. The real war, over the next three years of bloodshed, left hundreds of thousands of young men dead. And the long reunion fo-

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Maryland Historical Society Players portray notable Civil War figures from Maryland, including Christopher Fleetwood, a freed slave who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.

forts to create personal connections that are meaningful and engaging. “Museum theater allows audiences to connect emotionally and intellectually to the objects they are seeing,” said Jones. “It’s a way to bring the human element to history.” Co-director Harriet Lynn agrees. Lynn has been involved in museum theater for

more than 15 years, working with organizations such as the Jewish Museum of Maryland. After a recent performance at the Historical Society, a member of the audience wrote that she had been moved to tears. “If you See CIVIL WAR, page 32


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Band From page 1

Music’s multiple benefits Numerous studies have shown that music can play a significant role in a person’s health and happiness, particularly later in life. In a study conducted in Switzerland, for example, researchers found that exercising to music reduces the risk of falls among older adults. Another study has found that learning to play a musical instrument, even late in life, can improve hand-eye coordination and left-brain/right-brain connections, perhaps slowing down — or even preventing — the onset of dementia. Other groups in the region, such as Encore Creativity for Older Adults and Arts for the Aging, also provide programs designed to engage older adults through the arts to improve their health and enhance their life. Before establishing the Traveling Heart

Civil War From page 31 can accomplish that in just 15 minutes, you know you’re making an impact,” said Lynn.

In character Currently on the Players’ schedule are original presentations on Christopher Fleetwood, Harriet Tubman, John Wilkes Booth, and the Pratt Street Riots. An inter-

a es ift! k a g M at e gr

SEPTEMBER 2011 — BALTIMORE BEACON

Show, Zlatin consulted with physical therapists and psychiatrists who work with older adults to get ideas on how to make the show not only entertaining but as beneficial as possible. The advice he kept receiving was to make the performances interactive. “That’s what we try to do,” he said. “We not only want them to have fun, but to get involved.” That could mean anything from singing along to dancing, clapping, shaking marimbas, mingling with fellow seniors, or “whatever comes along,” said Zlatin. He plans, for example, to bring high school kids to performances at senior centers and nursing homes so the generations can interact. In the future, he wants to add videos and art work to the presentations. “It’s a gumbo of different activities,” Zlatin said, adding that he hopes to do a rock festival for seniors at some point, too. The shows now feature music from the 1940s and ’50s. “As we get older, we’ll probably start pretation of Clara Barton will join the rotation in September. Through these vignettes, which are followed by a 30-minute tour of the exhibit led by the actors, visitors experience, for example, the first bloodshed of the Civil War. That took place in Baltimore just one week after the conflict began, as Federal troops attempting to move through the city were attacked by a mob of Confederate supporters.

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The Music and Art Traveling Heart Show is set up as a nonprofit corporation, seeking donations, contributions and grants to help it reach as many seniors as possible. The shows are offered on a regular basis at senior centers and communities throughout the region, often as an open house for families to enjoy. “Family members love watching the interaction and involvement of their relatives,” said Zlatin. He receives enthusiastic feedback after performances from both audience members and program directors, many of whom comment on the sessions’ upbeat and enjoyable nature. According to Marian Oser, a program specialist at the Baltimore Country Dept. of Aging, the one-hour program “engages audiences. [They] can’t help but get involved in the fun,” she told Zlatin.

That’s the kind of response Zlatin likes to hear. “The passion we bring to each performance with the engagement of the participants will help us to achieve our mission to enhance the quality of life for senior citizens through music and arts,” he said. The Music and Art Traveling Heart Show will perform on August 26 at 12:45 p.m. at the Bykota Senior Center, 611 Central Ave., Towson. They will also play later that same afternoon at the Liberty Senior Center, 3525 Resource Drive, Randallstown. Another performance will take place on Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. at Emeritus at Pikesville, 1840 Reisterstown Rd. In addition, the group will perform at the Beacon’s 50+ Expos on Oct. 30 at Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Va., and on Nov. 6 at White Flint in N. Bethesda. For more information, visit www. travelingheartshow.com, or contact Zlatin at travelingheartshow@gmail.com, (410) 499-9777.

Audiences also learn about (and from) Harriet Tubman, who led more than 300 people to freedom via the Underground Railroad before the war even started. During the war, Tubman became a spy for the Union and led a military raid on Confederate forces in South Carolina. And then there is John Wilkes Booth. Listen to him explain why he assassinated President Lincoln just days after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. And Christopher Fleetwood talks about the efforts that earned him this country’s highest honor. Appearing in Pratt Street Riots and soon as Clara Barton, Britt Olsen-Ecker sees first-hand the impact the live vignettes have on the museum’s visitors. No matter the age of the audience member, Olsen-Ecker has found that museumgoers are responding well to seeing history made real, rather than moving through a stat-

ic exhibit reading plaques on a wall. “Information is conveyed a lot better through live acting,” said the Charles Village resident. The Civil War exhibit will run for the next four years with annual updates. The Historical Society museum also houses major exhibits of famous Maryland paintings, silver, furniture, maritime history and children’s toys from the last 300 years. It is located at 201 W. Monument Street. On Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., the Maryland Historical Society Players perform short vignettes of major events that took place in Maryland during the Civil War. Museum admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for those ages 3-18, and free for children under 3. The museum is free to all on the first Thursday of each month. For more information, including general hours and tour times, go to www.mdhs.org or call (410) 685-3750.

adding the Beatles as well,” Zlatin laughed.

A nonprofit ensemble

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On display: the art of writing instruments

Form and function on display The Walters’ small, but fascinating, ex-

hibition features approximately 25 writing instruments produced in cosmopolitan centers such as Paris, Isfahan and Kyoto. As the objects on display demonstrate, design was an important element, and many such items were constructed with the objective of delighting the user, either through the level of comfort in the hand or by technological innovation. Enjoyment in holding and using these instruments was believed to inspire the writer and give him or her pleasure. In fact, the exhibition makes the point that the writing instrument historically was not simply the everyday household item it is today (or was, anyway). These implements were personal objects used by individuals empowered with the skill to inscribe. And since that made them precious, the associated implements themselves, including pens, knives and scissors, as well as storage chests, pen-cases and writing desks, were often fashioned with precious materials: mother of pearl, gems, imported woods, gold and silver. Included among the eye-catching objects on display are an Ottoman Turkish

ANSWERS TO SCRABBLE

ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD A R E N A L I L A C A B O V E B R O S C A B B Y W A L I E V I N Y H O N T O P O Y E S N O D N A S T U D E N C O R S O L I E U H O V E R B R E R S T

From page 34.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WALTERS ART MUSEUM

By Carol Sorgen Throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the art of writing long served as a hallmark of the literate and cultured classes. Hence every culture that has valued the written word has found ways to reflect the prestige and pleasure of writing. For those who made writing their primary occupation, such as calligraphers and poets, or their avocation, including wealthy merchants and women of fashion, writing tools were cherished objects that reflected their education, refinement and political power. Today, in contrast, technology is seeking to render traditional writing objects unnecessary, replacing pens and writing desks with iPhones, computer keyboards and tablets. And so it was as I was leaving the Walters after viewing the exhibit, “The Art of the Writing Instrument from Paris to Persia,” that I realized I had not written a single word, at least not with pen and paper. Instead, I had collected my thoughts on my smartphone. Talk about irony.

This 18th century Turkish letter opener and pen made from a reed, and their ornate holder embellished with rubies and emeralds, are part of an exhibit at the Walters Art Museum called “The Art of the Writing Instrument from Paris to Persia.”

penbox and penholder, a lady’s desk from late 18th-century master cabinetmaker Maurice-Bernand Evalde, and a writingbox (suzuri-bako) from Edo Japan. “These objects are quite exquisite and are rarely on display,” said Amy Landau, associate curator of Islamic Art and Manuscripts, adding that the response to the exhibit has been very favorable.

“People are really thinking about how they communicate these days, and how the tools they communicate with have changed,” she said. Even with texts and emails, Landau observed, most people really appreciate when others take the time to send a written note. See ART OF WRITING, page 35

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SEPTEMBER 2011 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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Puzzle Page

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

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1. Madison Square Garden, for one 6. Baker’s meas. 10. Like Obama’s office 14. Light purple shade 15. Operatic solo 16. Debit card issuer 17. Absolutely legitimate 19. Julia’s Oscar-winning title role 20. List of 9 Down players 21. Impolite 22. Suffering from chicken pox 26. Unbeatable foes 28. Rare utterance from George Washington 29. Part of WPM 32. Pollster’s grouping 33. Like a Harvard wall 34. “We have met the enemy, and ___ us” (Walt Kelly) 36. Chose 40. Elated 43. Simple question 44. “___ little faith” 45. “... ___ man about a horse” 46. Evidence on CSI: Miami 48. It’s not quite as easy as ABC 49. Choosing word 50. Test taker 54. “Every science begins as philosophy and ___ art” (Will Durant) 56. Approximately 57. Pure 60. Stead 61. What the start of each of this puzzle’s theme answers means 66. Hop, skip or jump 67. ___ Day (vitamin brand) 68. Moved cattle 69. While lead-in 70. Comicc Foxx 71. Bisected a lady (temporarily)

1. Chicken king divider 2. Eve, originally 3. Prodigious acronymous 1970’s rock band 4. Part of USNA, in Annapolis 5. Not at all sweet 6. Artsy New Mexico town 7. Little monster 8. Seductress 9. National League team 10. Appearing in too many movies 11. Computer calamity 12. Comment to the audience 13. Bowling alley units 18. ... ___ Cried Wolf 22. Beatles’ culinary song “___ Truffle” 23. Conclusion to re-, in-, and de24. Grammatical gaffes 25. Surely 27. Persian word 30. Challenge authority 31. Positioned 35. Pump or clog 37. Oxygen producers 38. Supreme Court Justice Kagan 39. Attack times 41. Corn bread 42. Lacking vitality 47. Give berth 50. Fill in the last square 51. One who gives it a go 52. Addicts 53. Thou, possessively 55. Brainiacs 58. Mellowed, as wine 59. Seafood selection 62. La-la lead-in 63. Outcast from the Five W’s 64. Madison ___ 65. Homer’s next door neighbor

Answers on page 33.

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Art of writing From page 33

How we communicate Not part of the exhibit itself but certainly an interesting accompaniment is the permanent display in the adjacent Learning Center. It depicts the timeline of communicating through images and words — from pictograms, to hieroglyphs, alphabets, parchment, paper, books, printing and digital means. An interactive display also explores the construction of books from the time of the Middle Ages when all books were made by hand. The scribes who wrote these books were not authors but usually copyists, who

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worked from existing texts to produce manuscripts often accompanied by decoration (known as illuminations), which were painted by specially trained artists. Whether you’ve come to rely more on technology for ever ything from correspondence to grocery lists, or you’re a die-hard Luddite, or somewhere in the middle (or, as I am, just a pen fancier), this small gem of an exhibit is well worth a visit. The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 N. Charles St. Hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission is free. For general museum information, call (410) 547-9000 or visit www.thewalters.org.

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Sept. 8

CALLING ALL CHORAL SINGERS

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Sept. 16

35

TRIBUTE TO THE STARS

The Parkville American Legion presents Tribute to the Stars on Sept. 16 at the Parkville American Legion Post #183, 2301 Putty Hill Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m. and show time is from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Guest artists will pay tribute to Roy Orbison, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Tickets for sale at www.richardblane.com or at (410) 665-0372.

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BEACON BITS

August

BALTIMORE PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL CONTINUES

The 30th season of the Baltimore Playwrights Festival continues with the presentation of Abraham & Isaac, written by Steve Schulze and directed by Barry Feinstein, by Theatrical Mining Company at Le Clerc Hall, College of Notre Dame, 4701 N. Charles St. Performances are Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 7 p.m., through Aug. 28. Reservations are recommended and may be made online at www.originalplays.com/tmc or by calling (410) 710-8166.

Ongoing

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The Comunity College of Baltimore County offers a variety of resources to help your small business put together a successful social media marketing campaign. For more information, visit www.ccbcmd.edu or call (443) 840-2222.

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