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VOL.9, NO.3




More than 125,000 readers throughout Greater Baltimore

Appraiser brings history to life

Becoming a collector Kelbaugh, whose specialty on the series is collectibles and ephemera, did come across a few gems that made his heart beat a little faster, including a set of letters written in 1941 between a mother and her son who ultimately lost his life later that year in the bombing of the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor. For Kelbaugh, his work on “Chesapeake Collectibles” is just an extension of his days in the classroom. He taught history to junior and senior high students in Catonsville until retiring in 2001.

MARCH 2012

I N S I D E …


By Carol Sorgen Talk to Ross Kelbaugh for even a few minutes and you’ll see why he was a successful history teacher for 30 years. Kelbaugh’s passion for bringing the past to life is contagious, a fact that did not escape the producers of the MPT-produced television program “Chesapeake Collectibles,” a local version of the internationally popular series, “Antiques Roadshow.” For the local show, area residents bring antiques and collectibles to the MPT studios to be appraised by area experts and filmed for possible airing. During the program’s inaugural season last year, Kelbaugh brought in a pre-Civil War object to be appraised. Not only was his filmed interview included in one of the first-season episodes, but he was later invited to become one of the appraisers for the second season of the program. The producers were impressed not only by the 62-year-old Baltimore County resident’s knowledge, but by his on-air presence. The fact that he was a “local boy” made him even more attractive, Kelbaugh related, as the producers were seeking to have more Marylanders as appraisal experts, instead of bringing in folks from out of town. Kelbaugh will appear in eight of the 13 second-season episodes, which began airing on MPT stations in January. To tape those eight programs, Kelbaugh spent two “very long and difficult” days this past June, seeing countless people who brought in their treasures in hopes of finding out more of the objects’ history — and, of course, perhaps learning that they were sitting on a small fortune.

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Visit Las Vegas through the eyes of a first-timer; plus, all aboard a cruise with Hollywood legends page 23

Ross Kelbaugh (right) talks with a participant on “Chesapeake Collectibles,” MPT’s local version of “Antiques Roadshow,” in which appraisers evaluate items brought in by viewers. Kelbaugh, a former history teacher, collects vintage photographs and writes books.

“I would always bring objects in to show the students,” he said. “I wanted to teach them not only about the artifact itself, but about the people related to it. There’s excitement in uncovering someone’s life…I’ve always enjoyed that hunt.” If you like to play along on shows such as “Chesapeake Collectibles” and “Antiques Roadshow” and think, ‘Hey, I could do that,’ know that Kelbaugh has spent virtually his entire life acquiring the vast knowledge he has when it comes to the world of antiques. In grade school, he began collecting stamps and coins. By the time he was in sixth grade, which coincided with the Civil

War Centennial, he was captivated by that era of American history. “I was attending Pikesville Elementary School, which was located next to what once was the Home for Confederate Soldiers [now Maryland State Police headquarters],” Kelbaugh said. That piece of history, virtually in his own backyard, “ignited my imagination,” he said. He wasn’t alone, Kelbaugh recalled. Among the boys of the Sudbrook Park neighborhood in which he grew up, collecting Civil War relics was an avid pursuit. From then on, Kelbaugh continued his See APPRAISER, page 21


Geppi’s gem of a museum brims with nostalgia; plus, new book looks at the pros and cons of living solo page 27

FITNESS & HEALTH k Stem cells fight blindness k Save on healthcare abroad


LAW & MONEY 14 k Time to focus on dividends k Grandparent money missteps VOLUNTEERS & CAREERS k Teaching late learners





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How ill are we really? Having good mental health is probably even if such short-term depression was as important as having good physical brought on due to a medical illness or behealth, if not more so. But reavement. when our mental health is According to a report in “not so good,” would most of the Washington Post, other dius call ourselves ill, as in agnosable mental disorders “mentally ill?” that qualified as mental illSuppose you find it diffiness “could include spidercult to sleep or lose your apphobia and staying upset for a petite for a couple of weeks long time after arguing with because you’ve been diagone’s spouse.” nosed with a serious physical One psychiatrist the Post illness or suffered the loss of FROM THE interviewed about the survey a loved one. Would you say PUBLISHER characterized it as “kind of By Stuart P. Rosenthal alarmist.” Another said he you had a mental illness? Apparently, our governwas “skeptical that rates this ment would, and does. high make sense.” I was rather taken aback to see the reTo be fair, the survey also estimated that cently-released “mental health findings” of only 5 percent of U.S. adults suffered from the National Survey on Drug Use and a “serious mental illness,” defined as a Health. mental illness that results in “serious funcBased on interviews and self-adminis- tional impairment, which substantially intered questionnaires from more than terferes with or limits one or more major 68,000 Americans, the annual survey esti- life activities.” mates that 46 million people in 2010 — 20 Certainly when symptoms interfere percent of adults in the United States — with daily life to a significant extent, a perhad a “diagnosable mental, behavioral or son should take it seriously and seek imemotional disorder” sufficient to consider mediate help. them to suffer from a “mental illness.” But what does that say about the 35 milThis included people with “depressed lion Americans whose “mental illness” was mood or loss of interest or pleasure in not considered “serious?” Presumably, daily activities” lasting two weeks or more, their conditions do not interfere in any

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substantial way with even one major life activity. And if that’s the case, are we doing ourselves a favor by labeling them, even as a group, with a diagnosis of “mental illness?” I’ve gotten to know enough people over the years to recognize that almost everyone has quirks, tics, skeletons and phobias, many of which have labels in the psychiatric profession’s DSM-IV manual of mental disorders. And I understand why psychiatrists would want to catalogue every possible symptom and disorder. That enables more accurate and comprehensive diagnoses, and presumably helps them develop better treatment plans. I also appreciate that, when even relatively minor or temporary conditions cause a person distress, it is valuable and important to seek help. Therapy, behavioral modification and medications can make a world of difference and vastly improve a person’s quality of life. Still, I’m disturbed when our government utilizes the vast expansion of catalogued disorders to declare that one in five Americans has a mental illness. Just because a condition is “diagnosable” doesn’t mean we as a society necessarily want to stigmatize it. Perhaps the intent of those behind this effort is actually to remove the stigma of the term. If most of us could be classified as suffering from mental illness at one

time or another, then being (or having been) mentally ill would actually become “normal.” If anyone asked me, however, I’d say let’s do what we can to help everyone overcome their psychological and emotional limitations and issues — but hold back on the labels, please. By the way, I was intrigued to see tables in the government’s report that indicated the older one gets, the less likely one is to exhibit symptoms of mental illness. That applies not only to “any mental illness,” but also to serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, and major depressive episodes. The highest incidence of all such conditions was found among 18 to 25 year olds, while the lowest incidence was among those 50 and older. At the same time, those 50 and older were the most likely to seek treatment for any such symptoms. The two probably go together. With age comes perspective, experience and a certain wisdom about life that, one hopes, helps keep anxiety, fear and panic at bay. At the same time, older adults have lived long enough to know that taking action to address a problem is the first step in solving it.

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

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Dear Editor: I just read Stuart Rosenthal’s article on the Coachella Valley Beacon. I was very interested because my parents had lived in Palm Desert, Calif., for many years, and I inherited their home when they passed away. I have since sold the home but still love the area. I would love to be able to read the Bea-

• Publisher/Editor ....................Stuart P. Rosenthal


• Associate Publisher..............Judith K. Rosenthal

Feb. 28

• Vice President, Operations........Gordon Hasenei • Director of Sales ................................Alan Spiegel • Assistant Operations Manager ..........Roger King • Managing Editor............................Barbara Ruben • Contributing Editor ..........................Carol Sorgen

con for that area if you could provide me with the website, if it is online. Sue Townsend White Hall, MD Editor’s response: You can view current and past issues of the Coachella Valley Beacon at www.thebeacon

INVESTMENT FRAUD PROTECTION Attorney Jason W. Gaarder of West & Gaarder, LLC, will address

the topic of investment fraud targeting seniors. This informative session will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. at the Pikesville Senior Center, 1301 Reisterstown Rd. Call (410) 887-1245 for more information.

• Graphic Designer ..............................Kyle Gregory • Advertising Representative ..............Steve Levin

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SELF-HELP GUIDE AVAILABLE The Baltimore County Self-Help guide is now available online at

The guide lists services for women, families and service providers in areas such as health, education, employment, as well as crisis hotline phone numbers. For more information, call (410) 887-3448.


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Health Fitness &

LOSING ENERGY There’s not much evidence that supplements and drinks boost energy NEW PNEUMONIA VACCINE The FDA has approved the vaccine Prevnar for use in those over 50 HEART HEALTH HELP Harvard doctors answer reader questions on exercise and aspirin HOT TIPS TO REDUCE COLDS Try probiotics, vitamins C and D, zinc and elderberry to support immunity

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

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

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

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

A small safety study only “One must be very careful not to overinterpret the visual benefit,” said Vanderbilt University retina specialist Dr. Paul Sternberg, who is also the president-elect of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The findings were published online by the journal Lancet. This early test was meant to study whether the stem cell therapy was safe in people and not whether it would improve vision. Scientists at UCLA and Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), which funded the work, said they were pleased that there have been no signs of rejection or abnor-

mal growth months after the procedure. Embr yonic stem cells can transform into any cell of the body. Scientists are hoping to harness embr yonic stem cells to create a variety of replacement tissues for transplant, but their use has been controversial because human embr yos have to be destroyed to har vest the cells. The latest news comes two months after Geron Corp. halted its stem cell-based experiment for spinal cord injuries, saying it planned to focus instead on two experimental cancer drugs. Meanwhile, ACT is pushing ahead with its blindness study. The company said that surgeons in London injected stem cells into a patient with Stargardt disease recently. —AP

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

Finances will force change “People would like to have what they

used to have. What they don’t seem to understand is that it’s already changed,” said Gail Wilensky, a former Medicare administrator and adviser to Republicans. “Medicare as we have known it is not part of our future.” Two sets of numbers underscore that point. First, Medicare’s giant trust fund for inpatient care is projected to run out of money in 2024. At that point, the program will collect only enough payroll taxes to pay 90 percent of benefits. Second, researchers estimate that 20 to 30 percent of the more than $500 billion that Medicare now spends annually is wasted on treatments and procedures of little or no benefit to patients. Taken together, that means policymakers can’t let Medicare keep running on autopilot, and they’ll look for cuts before any payroll tax increases.

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

Ryan’s original approach, part of a budget plan the House passed last spring, would have put 100 percent of future retirees into private insurance. His latest plan, developed with Sen. Ron Wyden, DOre., would keep traditional Medicare as an option, competing with private plans. Older people would get a fixed payment they could use for private health insurance or traditional Medicare. Proponents call it “premium support.” To foes, it’s a voucher. Under both of Ryan’s versions, people now 55 or older would not have to make any changes. GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich praise his latest plan. How would it work? Would it save taxpayers money? Would it shift costs to retirees as Ryan’s earlier plan did? Would Congress later phase out traditional Medicare? Those and other questions must still be answered. “I’m not sure anybody has come up with a formula on this that makes people comfortable,” said health economist Marilyn Moon, who formerly served as a trustee helping to oversee Medicare finances. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Wyden-Ryan plan “would end Medicare as we know it for millions of seniors,” causing the traditional program to

“wither on the vine.”

Healthcare overhaul’s role But what administration officials don’t say is that Obama’s healthcare law already puts in place one of Ryan’s main goals by limiting future increases in Medicare spending. Ryan would do it with a fixed payment for health insurance, adjusted to allow some growth. In theory that compels consumers and medical providers to be more cost-conscious. Obama does it with a powerful board that can force Medicare cuts to service providers if costs rise beyond certain levels and Congress fails to act. Like several elements of Obama’s healthcare overhaul, the Independent Payment Advisory Board is in limbo for now, but it is on the books. If the board survives Republican repeal attempts, it could become one of the government’s most important domestic agencies. The White House wants to keep the existing structure of Medicare while “twisting the dials” to control spending, said a current Medicare trustee, economist Robert Reischauer of the Urban Institute think tank. Ryan’s latest approach is arguably an evoSee MEDICARE DEBATE, page 6


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If you’re considering medical travel, your first stop should be the book Patients Beyond Borders by Josef Woodman, a comprehensive guide to medical travel with information about the best international hospitals and clinics. A newly revised edition is due out in March (about $16 on The organization ( also offers one-on-one advice in free 15-minute consultations or

Look for a long track record and satisfied customers, an affiliation with major insurers or employers, or safeguards against bias in recommendations. Brokers should thoroughly inspect the facilities they recommend. For example,

Many hospitals abroad are world-class facilities that roll out the red carpet for medical tourists. Bumrungrad International Hospital, in Bangkok, Thailand, is one of the biggest, boasting more than 400,000 international patient visits per year. Many of its 900 doctors completed fel-

How to book a trip

more in-depth advice for $250. Some medical tourists prefer to arrange a trip with the help of facilitators, or brokers. Many work with networks of hospitals, doctors and clinics with which they’ve negotiated discounted rates. But be careful. The industry is unregulated, and anyone can hang out a shingle.


World-class hospitals

lowships or residencies in the U.S.; some 200 are U.S. board-certified, and nearly all speak English. The hospital’s International Medical Coordination Office will schedule procedures, attend to family logistics and coordinate follow-up care. Bumrungrad will even send someone to pick you up at the airport. Facilities don’t have to be huge to be attractive. The Barbados Fertility Centre is the smallest hospital to receive accreditations by the Joint Commission International, the global arm of the Joint Commission, the major hospital accrediting body in the U.S. The appeal of medical travel is obvious for the uninsured and under-insured. Travel is also appealing to workers with highdeductible health plans. Not only might they save a bundle abroad, but they can use tax-free dollars from a health savings account to pay for care (and some of the travel), provided the procedures meet Internal Revenue Service criteria for qualified medical expenses. (To see what the IRS permits, visit Or you can always deduct the cost of qualified procedures that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. It’s rare that U.S. insurance is accepted by overseas care providers.


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


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Do any supplements really boost energy? Do you feel tired or run-down? Do you lack the energy you used to have? If so, you’re part of a large group. Fatigue is one of the most common problems patients report to their doctors. As many as 14 percent of men and 20 percent of women say they feel “frequently fatigued,” and in a survey of more than 17 million people 51 and older, 31 percent reported the symptom of fatigue. Go to the store, and you’ll see a multitude of vitamins, herbs and other supplements touted as energy boosters. Some are even added to soft drinks and other foods for this purpose. Especially popular are supplements containing ginkgo biloba, ginseng, guarana,

chromium picolinate, vitamin B12, DHEA, coenzyme Q10 and creatine. Even ephedra, which was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration several years ago, remains available on the Internet.

Evidence is slim, conflicting There’s little or no scientific evidence to support the claims for most of these substances. The fact is, the only pill that’ll boost your energy is one containing a stimulant, such as caffeine. And the effects of these stimulants wear off within hours. The same holds true for drinks touted as energy boosters. Most contain a combination of vitamins, as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, and lots of sugar.

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Furthermore, supplements (including herbs, vitamins, and other substances) aren’t subject to quality control by the U.S. government. The FDA doesn’t regulate their content, purity or effectiveness. It’s up to the individual manufacturers to police the purity and content of their own products. Here’s a look at what studies suggest about some substances commonly touted as energy boosters: 1. Ginkgo biloba. Derived from the maidenhair tree, ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and is now a common dietary supplement in Western countries. Its effects on cognition (thinking), mood, alertness and memory have been the subject of many studies, but many of those studies have not been of high quality. A 2007 Cochrane Collaboration review of the better studies found evidence too weak to conclude that ginkgo biloba improved cognition in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies suggest ginkgo biloba may improve some aspects of mood, including alert-

ness and calmness, in healthy subjects. Regarding memory, evidence is conflicting. 2. Ginseng. This is a relatively safe and popular herb, said to reduce fatigue and enhance stamina and endurance. Data from human studies are sparse and conflicting. Some studies report that ginseng improves mood, energy and physical and intellectual performance. Other research concludes it doesn’t improve oxygen use or aerobic performance, or influence how quickly you bounce back after exercising. 3. Guarana. This herb induces a feeling of energy because it’s a natural source of caffeine. But consuming a lot of guarana, especially if you also drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages, could ultimately lower your energy by interfering with sleep. 4. Chromium picolinate. This trace mineral is widely marketed to build muscle, burn fat, and increase energy and athletic performance, but research has not supported these claims.

Medicare debate

ments and deductibles in ways that would raise costs for retirees, and cutting payments to drugmakers and other providers. “I was surprised by how much the president was willing to offer in terms of Medicare changes without a more thorough vetting and discussion,” said Moon. Obama says he will veto any plan to cut Medicare benefits without raising taxes on the wealthy. Democrats are still hoping to use Ryan’s privatization plans as a political weapon against Republicans, but the Medicare debate could cut both ways. For the 76 million baby boomers signing up over the next couple of decades, it will pay to be watching. — AP

From page 4 lution of the current Medicare Advantage private insurance program, not a radical change, Reischauer said. That’s particularly so if traditional Medicare remains an option. “In the hot and heavy political debate we are in, participants are exaggerating the difference between the proposals,” he said. During failed budget negotiations with Republicans last summer, Obama indicated a willingness to make more major changes to Medicare, including gradually raising the age of eligibility to 67, increasing premiums for many beneficiaries, revamping co-pay-


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Energy boosters From page 6 5. Vitamin B12. Some people take vitamin B12 by injection or pills as a way to get a quick energy burst, but most experts attribute any results to the placebo effect. Unless you have a B12 deficiency, taking shots or supplements is unlikely to make a difference. 6. DHEA. Sometimes marketed as a “fountain of youth,” this naturally occurring hormone is said to boost energy as well as prevent cancer, heart disease, and infectious disease — among other things. The truth is that supplemental DHEA

Medical tourism From page 5 David Boucher, the CEO of Companion Global Healthcare (, said that Companion physically visits every hospital in its network and that his company does not accept referral fees from hospitals. Instead, patients pay a $700 case-management fee, in addition to the cost of travel and medical care. Planet Hospital ( typically recommends three or four hospitals for you to choose from, and although the company is paid by the hospitals in its network, staffers have no incentive to recommend one over another. Most patients pay for concierge service that costs $100 per day for the first three days and $75 a day thereafter. Be aware that in some countries, doctors may use products that are of lower quality than ones required in the U.S., such as certain types of silicone implants and cosmetic injections. Infection is a leading cause of complications — as it is in U.S. hospitals.

Do your homework Whether you travel for care on your own

has no proven benefits and some potentially serious health risks, such as lowering levels of healthy HDL cholesterol and increasing levels of testosterone, which can encourage acne and facial hair growth in women. Some research shows DHEA can damage the liver. Because this hormone is related to estrogen and testosterone, there is also concern that it may increase the risk for breast and prostate cancers. It’s wise to avoid taking DHEA until further research clarifies its side effects. 7. Coenzyme Q10. This enzyme is found in mitochondria, the energy factories of our cells. Supplements have been or with help, insist on a few things. Accreditation by the Joint Commission International is a must. (More than 400 public and private healthcare organizations in 39 countries are accredited or certified by JCI.) Look for English-speaking patient representatives. And ask your doctor the same questions you’d ask a doctor anywhere: Where were you trained? How many of these procedures have you done? Who makes the implants you’ll use? Ask if you can contact the doctor before, during and after care. Before you go, arrange for the transfer of medical records and for after-care in the U.S. Insurers, facilitators, and clinics and hospitals may try to reduce or eliminate their liability in case of malpractice, so read the paperwork carefully. Foreign medical arbitration systems often drag out the process, and if you do get compensation, don’t be surprised if it’s much less than what you’d expect in the U.S. Anne Kates Smith is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to © 2012 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

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shown to improve exercise capacity in people with heart disease and may do the same in people with rare diseases that affect the mitochondria. One small European study in 2009 suggested that people with chronic fatigue syndrome might benefit from supplementation with coenzyme Q10, but more research is needed on this topic. 8. Ephedra. Although this product was banned by the FDA in 2004 because of major safety concerns, including increased risk of heart attack and stroke, it remains available for sale on the Internet. Any effectiveness ephedra may have in terms of boosting energy probably results

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

Please patronize our advertisers.

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You’re on top of your medications. But we make a good back up. You know it’s important to stay on your medications exactly as prescribed. However, if you miss a dose, want a lower-cost alternative, or experience any side effects, we can answer any questions. Speak to your local CVS Pharmacist to learn more. Find a store near you at



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

only approved for the short-term form of the condition and a related ailment known as atrial flutter. Despite such language, doctors routinely prescribe drugs for conditions not listed on the labeling approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The label, written by the FDA in cooperation with drugmaker Sanofi, instructs doctors to check patients’ heart rhythm at least once every three months. If patients appear to have the permanent form of atrial fibrillation, Multaq should be discontinued. The FDA said that Multaq remains a beneficial drug when used appropriately. In the study that triggered the warning, Sanofi recorded 25 deaths in the Multaq group compared with 13 in the placebo group. All 3,200 the patients in the study were older than 65 and had permanent atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is the most common

heart rhythm disorder and a frequent contributor to stroke. The French drugmaker estimates there are 2.5 million atrial fibrillation patients in the U.S., and another 4.5 million in the EU. About 278,000 people in the U.S. have received prescriptions for Multaq as of last October, according to the FDA. Sanofi reported about $224 million in sales for the drug in 2010, with most prescriptions written in the U.S. Since 2010, the FDA has approved two other drugs for atrial fibrillation: Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa. Both drugs are marketed as alternatives to the hard-to-use warfarin, a 60-year old drug that doctors often prescribe for atrial fibrillation. Too much warfarin can cause dangerous internal bleeding, and too little can result in strokes. — AP



THE BENEFITS OF RESILIENCY Join Susan Parks of the Mental Health Association of Maryland for an interactive discussion on the benefits of being resilient and

how to apply the coping skills you already have to the difficulties that can emerge in later life. These workshops are co-sponsored by the Baltimore County Department of Aging and are being held several times a month through July at county senior centers. For more information, call MAP at (410) 887-2594 or go online at

Pneumonia vaccine for those over 50 Federal regulators recently approved for use in adults 50 and over a pneumonia vaccine previously used only for infants and young children. The announcement late last year from the FDA that it has approved Pfizer Inc.’s

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


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 optometrist, Dr. Richard J. Shuldiner and Baltimore optometrist 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 optometrist 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. I don’t know why I waited two years to do this; I should have come sooner” “Telescopic glasses start at around $1500”, says Dr. Azman, “and low vision prismatic reading glasses start at $500. A small price to pay for better vision and increased independence.” If you or someone you care about is struggling with vision loss, call Dr. Thomas Azman for a free telephone interview. You can reach Dr. Azman by dialing (410) 561-8050.


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Health Studies Page



Study evaluates treatments for scoliosis By Carol Sorgen People with scoliosis suffer from an abnormal side to side (or lateral) curvature of their spine. Rather than appearing straight when viewed from the back, their spine may appear shaped somewhat like an “S” or “C”. Scoliosis is a common condition, usually experienced by children and adolescents. However, adults can also develop scoliosis, which may bring with it pain and sometimes visible deformity. Dr. Charles Edwards II, medical director of the Maryland Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, said that adults with scoliosis fit into two categories: those who developed the condition as adolescents, and those with adult onset (degenerative) scoliosis. “As we age, the discs in our spine degenerate, which can cause the spine to tilt, much like the Leaning Tower of Pisa,” Edwards said. Bulging discs, tilting bones and the formation of bone spurs not only lead to the development of back pain, but also put

pressure on the nerves. When spinal nerves are compressed, people may feel pain, numbness or cramping in their legs. Although paralysis is very uncommon with adult scoliosis, people tend to slow down and experience a reduced quality of life due to the increased pain.

Treatments make a difference For Wendy Warren, the pain from scoliosis became so bad that she couldn’t even stand at the kitchen table to make a salad. “I was in agony,” said the 65-year-old Howard County resident. Warren had suffered from back pain for years, but attributed it to the occupational hazard of being a nurse. “But it got progressively worse,” she said and nothing she tried helped — until she was referred to a health study being conducted by Edwards. To determine which patients — like Warren — benefit from scoliosis treatment and what kind of treatment is most effective, the Maryland Spine Center is participating in a five-year, multi-site trial compar-

Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren Are you a grandmother raising a grandchild age 4-12? Would you like to take part in a support and learning group? We are sponsoring grandparent programs and research to measure their impact. We provide compensation for interviews plus on-site babysitting and a meal during group sessions that last about 2 hrs and meet once a week for 10 weeks. For more information, call 855-462-8766. Dr. Frederick Strieder • Family Connections 1701 Madison Avenue • Baltimore, MD 21217

Are you online? So are we! Visit our website: You’ll find topical articles, as well as blogs, recipes, useful links, games, puzzles and event listings. Add your event to our calendar. Also –

ing the results of surgical and non-surgical treatment. Launched in 2010, the study is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is the first of its kind to examine adult-onset spinal deformities. Most of the research has historically focused on adolescents, Edwards said. “Unlike for kids, who still have some growth potential left, for adults the treatment is mostly driven by the patient’s symptoms,” he said. “It’s about quality of life rather than concern for correction.” Two hundred patients have been studied so far. An additional 150 are being recruited at six sites around the country, including Mercy’s Spine Center.

Study offers choices To be eligible for the study, participants must be 40 to 80 years of age and have a scoliosis curve greater than 30 degrees with the apex of the curve in the lumbar spine. Selected participants will be followed for five years and will be asked to fill out periodic health questionnaires, complete a functional treadmill test, and have routine X-rays and regular physician office visits. Study participants will be invited to choose one of three options in which to participate: Option 1: Non-surgical treatment, which includes interventions such as injections, medication, physical therapy and exercise Option 2: Surgical treatment, which involves relieving nerve pressure, straight-

ening of the spine, and fusing several of the spine bones together Option 3: Undecided course of treatment, from which participants randomly will be selected for either non-surgical or surgical treatments The surgery usually requires a three- to five-day hospital stay, and is covered by Medicare or private health insurance. Some patients spend an additional week to 10 days in a rehabilitation facility. “By two or three months, most individuals are back to all normal functions, except prolonged exercise, heavy lifting or forceful bending,” Edwards said of those undergoing surgery. “These functions return to normal in a three- to six-month time frame.” For Warren, who had the surgery in April 2011, the pain relief was almost immediate. “I’m a whole new person now,” she said, adding that she’s back to walking four to five miles a day, and is currently loading her backpack with sandbags to get in even better shape for a planned backpacking trip this spring. “I have a new lease on life,” she said. Study participants will receive a cash payment to compensate them for time spent completing questionnaires and follow-up visits, whether or not they have surgery. For more information about the adult scoliosis clinical trial or to find out if you are eligible to participate, contact Lisa Ford, PA, Maryland Spine Center Research Coordinator, at, or by calling (410) 332-9077.


Mar. 1+


Hopewell Cancer Support offers weekly stretch and tone classes beginning Thursday, March 1, from 11 a.m. to noon. The class teaches participants to use their body to their advantage. The goals of these classes are to maximize muscle control, strength, flexibility and balance to get through medical treatments and feel stronger and more confident. This class uses weights, chairs and our own bodies as props. All levels are welcome. To register, go online to

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

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



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Questions and answers on heart health From Harvard Health Letters Q. I’ve read that if you take aspirin every day, stopping it temporarily increases your chance of having a heart attack even higher than it would have been if you had never taken aspirin. Is that true? If I need to stop taking aspirin for some reason, is there a safer way to do it than stopping cold turkey? A. What you are describing is sometimes called the rebound effect or rebound phenomenon. It occurs when a person stops taking a medication and the symptoms or problem that the medication had controlled reappear, but more severely than before the person started taking the medication. Although a rebound effect has been seen with some beta blockers and some sedatives used to treat insomnia, it is unlikely this happens with aspirin. Aspirin helps prevent heart attacks and the most common form of stroke (ischemic stroke, caused by a blood clot) by making platelets in the bloodstream less “sticky.” It does this by inactivating an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). Without this enzyme, platelets have a difficult time sticking to each other, a key step in the for-

mation of a blood clot inside an artery. In most people, a single low dose of aspirin (81 milligrams) is enough to inactivate all of the COX in all of the platelets circulating through the bloodstream. The effect of a single dose lasts for several days, as older COX-inactivated platelets are removed from circulation and new COXactive platelets enter circulation. That makes an immediate “withdrawal effect” unlikely to happen. It isn’t necessary, then, to taper off aspirin, as is recommended for beta blockers. Among individuals who have had a heart attack or ischemic stroke, or who are at high risk for having one, aspirin offers proven protection for the heart and arteries. If you need it, take it every day and don’t stop unless you are experiencing harmful side effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, or you are due to have an operation in which excess bleeding would be especially hazardous, such as brain surgery. In that case, your doctor will recommend that you stop taking aspirin a week beforehand — no tapering off needed. —Kenneth A. Bauer, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Beth Is-

rael Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass. Q. I had a pacemaker implanted a few months ago. I’m planning to join a gym to get back some strength in my arms and upper body, but I’m afraid of damaging the wires with some of the presses and pull-down movements I’d have to do to work out on the gym’s machines. Are there any exercises or movements I should avoid? A. It’s great that you want to exercise and improve your upper-body strength. You just need to be a bit more careful going about it than someone without a pacemaker. Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) have two basic working parts — the generator, which is implanted under the skin between the shoulder and chest, and one or more wires that stretch from the generator to the heart. These wires, called leads, are designed and built to flex and move freely when the arm or shoulder nearest the pacemaker or ICD moves. Like all mechanical devices, leads are subject to wear and tear. It is minimal with the routine movements of everyday life,

but can be substantial with repetitive arm movements. Using arm-strengthening machines, rowing, lifting weights and the like cause the lead to bend and relax repeatedly at the same spot. Over time, this can damage the lead. Activity that involves excessive extension of the arm nearest the pacemaker or ICD, like using an overhead press machine or doing some yoga positions, poses a different problem. It can crush the lead between the collarbone and the first rib. I tell my patients that they can and should do upper-arm exercises, but not go crazy with them. A moderate session once a week at the gym should be fine. Ask if a trainer can show you exercises that are suitable for someone with a pacemaker. Weightlifting with repetitive flexing of the chest muscle on the side where the device is implanted is ill-advised. —Peter Zimetbaum, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass. © 2012 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Health shorts

sively on glucose to fuel their growth,” said Guy Perkins of the University of California at San Diego. With Rudy Yamaguchi of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, Perkins found the cells would take up a similar sugar called 2-deoxyglucose. But this sugar physically dislodges a protein within the cell that guards a suicide switch. Once exposed, the switch can be activated by a drug called ABT-263. This kills the cell by liberating proteins that order it to commit suicide, according to the research published in the journal Cancer Research. The approach could ultimately spell doom

for several types of cancer, including liver, lung, breast and blood. In mice, the treatment made aggressive human prostate can-

cer tumors virtually disappear within days. Researchers now hope to mount a clinical trial at UC San Diego. — New Scientist

From page 9

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

Trouble Sleeping?

Volunteer for a Sleep & Sensory Testing Study Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are looking for volunteers to participate in a research study examining the association between sleep and sensory abilities.

STUDIES ON ANEMIA Are you 65 years or older? Have you been recently diagnosed with anemia? OR Have you had anemia in the past? en you may be interested in: “THE JOHNS HOPKINS registry of older adults with anemia” • Several new research studies are being designed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University specifically for older adults with anemia. • By volunteering to join our anemia registry, you will be kept up to date on anemia research studies that match your situation.

➢ To participate in this study, you must be: • 50 Years of age or older • Have Trouble Staying Asleep • Be otherwise Healthy

Call us at 410-550-2113

➢ Compensation up to $330.00

to join the Anemia Registry today! We can conduct the study in your home. No travel is required. If you choose to come to Bayview to participate, your parking will be paid.

We look forward to hearing from you! Principal Investigator: Dr. Jeremy Walston, MD. IRB application No: NA_00035307

➢ This study involves: • 1 Sleep study conducted in your home • Sensory and Physical testing @ Johns Hopkins • 1 Blood draw • Parking and Tests provided at no cost

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

Approved 04/5/2010

For information, please call (410) 550-7906


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What should I do to reduce risk of colds? Dear Pharmacist: Every winter I worry about catching cold and flu. What are some simple steps I can take to keep my immune system healthy? — L.F., Alexandria, Va. Dear L.F.: Preventing the spread of germs is job one. If you feel any symptoms of a cold, please stay home and delegate your errands to a friend or relative. Also, keep your distance from other individuals home

with you, such as your husband or child, who could potentially fall ill. Being mindful of this could have lasting benefits if you consider the fact that another person who catches your cold could end up with pneumonia should they have a weak immune system. If you have to cough or sneeze, please do so into the crook of your elbow. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and for at least 30 seconds. To protect yourself, while shopping for

Getting you back to your life.

©2011 HCR Healthcare, LLC

Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing

Dulaney – 410.828.6500 Ruxton – 410.821.9600 Towson – 410.828.9494

bargains at the mall, or waiting in airport Zinc: This mineral is a strong antioxisecurity lines, or anywhere for that matter, dant best known for supporting prostate keep your hands away from health, but it also happens to your eyes, nose and mouth. I neutralize free radicals. It may also recommend keeping antireduce the duration of a cold. bacterial lotion or wipes handy. Elderberry extract: This With that, here are some of herb has been revered for my top vitamin recommendacenturies and is best known tions to help support immunity: for its anti-viral effects. Two Probiotics: These are benseparate studies have found eficial bacteria that naturally that it can inhibit influenza if help maintain immune system taken during the first 48 wellness. They also aid in hours of symptoms. DEAR proper digestion. Echinacea: Related to PHARMACIST Vitamin C: The human By Suzy Cohen daisies, this herbal supplement body doesn’t make vitamin C, is thought to rev up the imso it’s important that we get it mune system, thereby lowerfrom other sources such as supplements, ing risk of infection. Recommended dosage citrus fruits or vegetables (bell peppers are is usually in cycles, not every single day. a good source). It’s a strong antioxidant When choosing dietary supplements, that does “housekeeping” on your cells and seek out brands that are committed to scihelps support the immune system. ence-based protocols for product developVitamin D: Getting your Vitamin D ment and testing. from sunlight isn’t always reliable, espeBe sure to ask your healthcare professioncially if you use sun block to protect your al or pharmacist what supplements are best skin or live in a state with a long winter. for you, especially if you take medications. Most people don’t realize that Vitamin D This information is opinion only. It is not is mostly obtained from fortified foods. A intended to treat, cure or diagnose your conVitamin D supplement can provide added dition. Consult with your doctor before using support. Try 1,000 to 5,000 IUs, but ask any new drug or supplement. your doctor first to confirm the amount. Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist You want the bio-active form, “Vitamin and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist D3,” and high-quality supplements say that and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To on the label. contact her, visit


Feb. 28+ I am a patient who had severe foot pain for 2 years, with no relief in 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


The Lupus Foundation of America offers a free monthly support group for lupus patients the fourth Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, 2812 Reisterstown Road. For more information, visit

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 find a painless and rapid method of relieving the worst symptoms.

Mar. 9

Join BCASCO (Baltimore County Association of Senior Citizens Organizations) for its 8th Annual Senior Educational Forum on Friday, March 9 at the Towson United Methodist Church, Dulaney Valley Rd. and Hampton Lane, Beltway exit 27B. There will be many speakers, displays and giveaways. For more information, contact Beth Wiseman at (410) 484-6866.

– Susan, Baltimore

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

Stuart Goldman, DPM


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

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 orYour F eet.C oM


Apr. 21


Save the date for the 20th annual Caregivers’ Conference to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, April 21, at a new location, the DoubleTree Hotel, 210 Holiday Ct., in Annapolis. The event provides in-depth information for family and professional caregivers. The cost is $15, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch, light refreshments during the event, and printed materials. For event information and to be placed on a mailing list for this and other caregiver programs, e-mail or call (410) 222-4464, Ext. 3043.

Mar. 15


Hampton National Historic Site will host “Free Yet Bound: The African American Community in Baltimore from 1860 to 1864,” on Thursday, March 15, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Goucher College in Towson. Dr. Christopher Phillips, author of Freedom’s Port: The African American Community of Baltimore, 1790-1860, will be the keynote speaker. Admission is $30. Contact Angela Roberts-Burton at (410) 823-1309, ext. 208 for more information.

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How to slow down a too-fast relationship Dear Solutions: that other people are waiting for taI met a very attractive man at a singles bles, I find that suddenly the waiters resort. He’s very sophisticator busboys are on top of us ed and quite affluent. I had asking if we finished a no intention of going to bed course while it’s obvious with him at that time, and that we’re still eating. yet that’s what I did. They also start bringing I really didn’t feel great out the next course while about it and thought he we’re still on the first wouldn’t call. He did, though, course. I really got angry and I went out with him. at a waiter the other night. Since I thought I couldn’t go I don’t want to have to backward, I went to bed with hurry because they make SOLUTIONS him again. too many reservations. By Helen Oxenberg, I really hate myself now, Part of the pleasure of MSW, ACSW but I feel that I can’t just keep going to a restaurant is to up a conversation with him have time to visit and even for a whole evening and think I just won’t to overeat once in a while. What’s the see him again. best way to handle this? What is wrong with me that I end up — Len doing exactly the opposite of what I think Dear Len: I should? Before the first course, not during it. — Disturbed The best course to take is the manageDear Dis: ment/owner course not the waiter/busboy What’s wrong is that you think, “good course. in bed, ‘nuff said!� You obviously think Tell the maitre d’ that you appreciate not your sexual skills are much greater than being rushed and if they can’t accommoyour conversational skills. You also think date your desire for a leisurely dinner this man is so superior to you that he won’t you’d rather go elsewhere. After all, you be interested in boring little you. don’t want their overbooking to prevent Take back some power. you from overeating! First, decide that it doesn’t matter if you Dear Solutions: don’t see him again. Then tell him that in I’m writing to you about my mother, spite of what happened, you’d like to just who is a senior. My parents were digo slow and develop a friendship with him. vorced when I was little, and all I reConversation? Get tickets to plays and member is bad things said about my or interesting things that you can talk father by my mother and her family. about afterward. Spend time doing things While I was growing up, and all and getting to know him. Get out of his these years since, I thought he was bed and into his head! dead. Now I’m in my 30s, and I acciDear Solutions: dentally found out that he is alive and I’ve found this happening a lot late- lives in the state where I am about to ly. When I go to a restaurant and see move for my job.

I really want to contact him but my mother is upset that I’m moving away (I live near her now), and I don’t know if I should tell her this. I’ve always been honest with her, but I don’t know if he’ll see me, and I’m in a dilemma about upsetting her now. Should I tell her my plans? — Marge Dear Marge: Why open up a can of worms if you may not even fish? You don’t know at this point whether you will get to see your father. You’re an adult, and if you can establish a relationship with him, that is strictly between you and him. You’re certainly entitled to try.

If you do get to see him, then you can tell your mother that this doesn’t change your feelings for her. You can tell her you know how hurtful her relationship with him was, but he’s your father, and you hope she’ll understand your need to contact him. Perhaps, since you’ve always been honest with her, this might open up an honest discussion of why she allowed you to think he was dead all these years. Remember, you’re not asking for her permission to see him, only her understanding. Š Helen Oxenberg, 2012. Questions to be considered may be sent to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915. You may email the author at For reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.


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REAPING THE DIVIDENDS Look to dividend-paying stocks for return, especially through funds investing in utilities, real estate and healthcare HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS When starting a new business, get practical advice from retired business owners first. SCORE can help VANGUARD FOUNDER’S ADVICE Most investors should expect to net just 1 or 2 percent a year from stocks, says mutual fund pioneer John C. Bogle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fees matter more in tough times There are times when differences in fund expenses don’t seem to matter much. Stocks surged in the 1980s and `90s, and fee differences were relatively small stacked up against the big market gains. But the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock See MUTUAL FUND FEES, page 15

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Money Shorts How to collect your unclaimed bonds, funds, refunds Although there are plenty of scam artists who claim to be from the IRS, this announcement is for real: The Internal Revenue Service is holding on to $153.3 million worth in tax refund checks that were returned to the agency because of mailing-address errors. The average check is $1,547, so it could be worthwhile doing a search using the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund?” tool (, particularly if you have moved in the past few years and did not update your address with the IRS. You may also discover unclaimed money by locating old U.S. savings bonds that have been forgotten over the years. Billions of

Mutual fund fees From page 14 index is down about 17 percent since January 2000. Fees take on greater importance when returns are measured in single digits, or when stocks are declining. The same is true now for bond funds. Yields are so low for many lower-risk bond categories these days that minor differences in bond fund expenses are magnified — 10-year Treasurys are yielding about 1.9 percent now, for example. But there’s good news. Fund fees on average have been declining for decades, and the trend is likely to continue.

dollars in savings bonds have stopped earning interest but haven’t been cashed. Go to to look up savings bonds issued in 1974 or later. State governments may be holding some of your money, too. State treasuries hold billions of dollars in unclaimed property from uncashed dividend checks, returned utility deposits, uncollected insurance benefits, old savings accounts and other money that may have been returned to a financial institution after being sent to a defunct mailing address. Most states have an unclaimed-property database that makes it easy to see whether any of the money is yours. You can find links to each state’s agency through the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators ( Most states participate in the large database, too. Enter your name and the states where you have lived, and you’ll be able to see whether there is unclaimed property for someone with your name; the last address on file with the financial institution; and whether the unclaimed property is worth more or less than $100.

Most states then include links to the forms you’ll need to submit to the state treasury to verify your identity and claim the money. Despite all this, it’s worth being suspicious of any letters, calls or emails offering to help you locate lost cash. Scam artists and identity thieves use such messages to try to steal your money or personal information. (The IRS never sends personal emails requesting information). Instead of clicking on a link in an email claiming to be from the government, go to agency sites directly to view their databases. Also check the FBI’s New E-Scams & Warnings page for information about recent scams (

A Morningstar study that gauged what the average fund investor pays came up with an average expense ratio of 0.77 percent in 2010. That reflected a mix of assets in stock funds as well as bond funds. In 1990, the average was 0.94 percent. Costs are declining, in part, because index funds are increasingly popular. They now hold about one of every seven dollars invested in stock mutual funds, and the proportion is growing. Low-cost options abound. For example, Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) charges as little as 0.07 percent — $7 a year for every $10,000 invested. Similar offerings from Fidelity and Charles

Schwab charge only slightly more. You won’t beat the market — index funds seek to match market performance, minus the fees they charge — but you could end up with a lot more to live on in retirement


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than from choosing a fund that’s far pricier. “More often than not,” Lipper fund analyst Tom Roseen said, “it’s the investor in the fund with the lowest expenses who ends up the winner.” — AP

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consider certificates of deposit. CDs come with maturities that typically range from three months to five years, with longer maturities offering higher yields. You can invest in a long-term CD even if you think you may cash out early or if you want to take advantage of rising rates — just be sure to check the interest penalty. For example, a five-year CD from Ally Bank (, which recently yielded 1.82 percent, charges a penalty of only 60 days’ yield if you withdraw the money early. In contrast, a five-year CD from Intervest National Bank, which offered a slightly higher rate of 1.96 percent, takes back half your interest with its early-withdrawal interest penalty of 30 months. Constructing a CD ladder — putting chunks of cash in CDs of varying maturities — allows you to benefit from the best current yields and stay flexible enough to snag top rates down the road. When interest rates rise, you reinvest cash from shorter-term CDs to take advantage of higher yields. Your longer-term CDs will continue

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Dividend-paying stocks still looking good By Mark Jewell Stock investors as a group ran in place in last year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended 2011 about where it started. Invest in a stock mutual fund, and you likely ended up losing because of fee expenses. About three-quarters of the U.S. stock fund categories that Morningstar tracks closed out the calendar year with a loss. That’s another knock for investors who are still stinging from their losses in the financial crisis of 2008. Although the market rebounded sharply beginning in March 2009, it’s still about 20 percent shy of its peak in late 2007. Yet even in the gloom, there was a bright spot in 2011 — dividend-paying stocks. Across the board, the top-performing

mutual fund categories were those that invested in dividend stocks, led by funds specializing in utilities stocks. Other top categories were funds that primarily invest in real estate investment trusts, the healthcare sector and stocks of consumer goods companies that make necessities. What’s more, large company stocks outperformed small- and mid-cap stocks. It’s the big companies, rather than the smaller ones, that are the most reliable dividend payers. Nearly 80 percent of S&P 500 companies make regular payouts. The results are a complete reversal from 2010, when the top-performing funds specialized in small-cap stocks. Those stocks typically outperform larger ones when economic news turns positive, as it did in 2010,

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a year when stocks rose 13 percent.

Reaping the dividends But the economic recovery lost momentum in 2011, and investors bid up the prices of dividend stocks, while small-caps fell. “Practically anything paying a dividend was hot,” Morningstar fund analyst David Kathman said. Dividend-payers are typically well-established companies that share profits through quarterly payouts, rather than plowing the cash back into the company to fuel growth. Stocks of smaller companies can offer greater long-term potential, but are more vulnerable when the economy stumbles, or when fears like the European debt crisis send stocks tumbling. Investors have been hard-pressed to find decent sources of investment income, which has made dividends more appealing. Consider that 10-year Treasury bonds yield around 1.9 percent. That’s less than half the yield of more than a dozen S&P 500 stocks. With interest rates low, bank accounts and savings options such as certificates of deposit provide even less income than Treasurys. “People are looking to dividends for income, because they can’t get it from the other sources they normally rely on,” Kathman said.

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Talk to Ross Kelbaugh for even a few minutes and you’ll see why he was a successful history teacher for 30 years. Kelbaugh’s passion for bringing the past to life is contagious, a fact that did not escape the producers of the MPT-produced television program “Chesapeake Collectibles,” a local version of the internationally popular series, “Antiques Roadshow.” For the local show, area residents bring antiques and collectibles to the MPT studios to be appraised by area experts and filmed for possible airing. During the program’s inaugural season last year, Kelbaugh brought in a pre-Civil War object to be appraised. Not only was his filmed interview included in one of the first-season episodes, but he was later invited to become one of the appraisers for the second season of the program. The producers were impressed not only by the 62-year-old Baltimore County resident’s knowledge, but by his on-air presence. The fact that he was a “local boy” made him even more attractive, Kelbaugh related, as the producers were seeking to have more Marylanders as appraisal experts, instead of bringing in folks from out of town. Kelbaugh will appear in eight of the 13 second-season episodes, which began airing on MPT stations in January. To tape those eight programs, Kelbaugh spent two “very long and difficult” days this past June, seeing countless people Ross Kelbaugh (right) talks with a participant on “Chesapeake Collectibles,” who brought in their treasures local version of “Antiques MPT’s Roadshow,” in which in hopes of by appraisers evaluate viewers. Kelbaugh, finding out more of the items brought in a former history teacher, objects’ history — writes collects vintage photographs books. and, of course, perhaps and learning that they were sitting on a small fortune. “I would always bring objects in to show War Centennial, the students,” he said. he was captivated by that Becoming a collector “I wanted to teach era of American history. them not only about the Kelbaugh, whose specialty artifact itself, but on the series about “I was attending Pikesville the people related to it. is collectibles and ephemera, Elementary There’s ex- School, which did come citement was located next to what in uncovering someone’s across a few gems that made his heart life…I’ve once was the Home for always enjoyed that hunt.” Confederate Solbeat a little faster, including a set of letters diers [now Maryland If you like to play along State written in 1941 between Police headon shows such quarters],” a mother and her as Kelbaugh said. That piece “Chesapeake Collectibles” son who ultimately lost of and “An- history, virtually his life later that tiques in his own backyard, “igRoadshow” and think, ‘Hey, year in the bombing of I could nited my imagination,” the U.S.S. Arizona do that,’ know that Kelbaugh he said. at Pearl Harbor. has spent virHe wasn’t alone, Kelbaugh tually his entire life acquiring For Kelbaugh, his work recalled. the vast Among the on “Chesa- knowledge boys of the Sudbrook he has when it comes peake Collectibles” is just Park to the neighborhood an extension of world in which he grew up, of antiques. his days in the classroom. colHe taught histolecting Civil War relics was In grade school, he began an avid pursuit. ry to junior and senior collecting high students in stamps From then on, Kelbaugh and coins. By the time continued his Catonsville until retiring he was in in 2001. sixth grade, which coincided with the Civil See APPRAISER, page 21

5 0 MARCH 2012

I N S I D E …

Here’s a look at average returns through the end of 2011 for some notable stock fund categories, starting with top four performers: Utilities (9.7 percent): These stocks tend to be stable performers in both a rising and falling market. It’s an outgrowth of the typically steady demand for electricity and natural gas. The average dividend yield of utilities stocks within the S&P 500 is 4.1 percent, about twice the average yield of the index. A handful of utilities sector funds delivered returns of around 20 percent in 2011, including Franklin Utilities (FKUTX), which earned top-rung gold honors from Morningstar under its new analyst ratings of funds. Some of the strongest-performing utilities, with gains of more than 30 percent including dividends, were big names like Progress Energy Inc. and Consolidated Edison Inc. Real estate (6.9 percent): Real estate investment trusts generate income from properties they own, and often operate. They’re big dividend payers, because they’re required to distribute at least 90 percent of their taxable income to shareholders. Although the real estate market clearly


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isn’t back to where it was a few years ago, commercial real estate has fared better than residential real estate. Healthcare (6.6 percent): Uncertainty over President Obama’s healthcare overhaul hurt healthcare stocks in 2009 and 2010, but that cloud lifted a bit in 2011. Drug maker Pfizer returned nearly 28 percent. One attraction was the stock’s dividend yield of 3.7 percent. Biotech stocks were among the year’s biggest winners. Biogen Idec shares jumped 64 percent, and a specialized fund, Fidelity Advisor Biotechnology (FBTAX), returned nearly 17 percent. Consumer staples (4.5 percent): These funds invest in stocks of companies that provide everyday essentials, from food to soap to trash bags, and typically pay dividends. Demand for these products is stable in good times and bad. Two of the standout stocks in 2011 are tobacco companies paying dividends of 3.9 percent or higher. Lorillard returned about 46 percent, and Philip Morris International 39 percent. Financials (16 percent loss): Funds that specialize in stocks of banks and other financial services companies were the worst-performing mutual fund category of 2011. It’s familiar territory. Financial sector funds also have the worst results over the past three- and five-year periods. In 2011, these stocks were hurt by the slowdown in the economic recovery; legal liability stemming from the flood of home foreclosures; and fears that debt-burdened European governments would fail to fully pay their debts, potentially hurting European and U.S. banks. Shares of Bank of America tumbled 60 percent. Technology (8 percent loss): These stocks are among the top performers over the past three years, but the slowdown in the economic recovery hurt their 2011 results. There were exceptions, like Apple, whose shares gained nearly 25 percent as consumers continued to demand the latest versions of the iPhone and iPad. As for dividends, the outlook remains strong. The cash coffers of companies in the S&P 500 are at a record $1 trillion, putting them in good position to keep increasing dividends. Payments rose about 16 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year, and more than half of S&P 500 companies increased their dividends. S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt is quite confident about the outlook for dividends: “You can write the copy for [the] year now: Dividends continue to increase for 2012.” — AP


Volunteer Alvin Miller, a computer expert, will help with any problems concerning your computer at the Cockeysville Senior Center from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 8. He will discuss issues that come up frequently concerning computers at this free session at 10535 York Rd., Cockeysville. For more information, call Sue Levin at (410) 887 7694.


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Avoid pitfalls when starting a business That’s where an organization like SCORE Many Americans dream of starting a small business. For some, it’s a way of doing can help. Most SCORE chapters have volunteers with a wide variety of something they love while backgrounds. being their own boss. For othWhen a fledgling entrepreers, it’s an idea they turn to neur comes for counseling, he after losing a job or retiring. or she is matched with counWhat every aspiring small selors with practical experibusiness owner needs to know ence in the business they are is that starting an enterprise considering. takes a lot of work and investThe counseling is free. (Simment, and the chances of failure are high. ilar counseling can often be Most small businesses fail found through local governTHE SAVINGS in the first few years, for many ment agencies, chambers of GAME reasons. Many fail because commerce and universities.) By Elliot Raphaelson the owner has little or no exRecently, an individual with perience. It is difficult to sucsome experience in the jewelceed, even with experience, and I would ry business approached my chapter of discourage anybody from starting a busi- SCORE about plans he had to open a retail ness in a field they are not familiar with. store, and I arranged a counseling session Another big mistake new business own- with a volunteer who had owned a very sucers make is not adequately managing their cessful jewelry business for many years. investment capital. For example, I recently Whether that counseling will make the spoke to a struggling small business owner difference between success and failure is in my capacity as a counselor at SCORE, a hard to say at this point. But counseling is nationwide nonprofit organization that ad- much more effective if it comes before a vises people who have started a new busi- person starts his or her business. ness or are contemplating doing so. SCORE encourages first-time entrepreThe man and his family had started a neurs to take a seminar called “Starting business and had made a significant in- Your New Business.” (This costs $50 for vestment, both in manpower and invento- two individuals from the same business.) ry. They had completely overestimated The seminar discourages individuals their projected sales and now were run- who shouldn’t start a business and highning out of capital. They needed to borrow lights the most important factors for sucmoney to stay in business. cess. It stresses the need for a sound busiI had to inform him that it was highly ness plan, and for hiring competent profesunlikely that they would get a loan because sionals such as attorneys, accountants and the business did not have a history of prof- insurance representatives. itability.

short of covering the needs of most homebased businesses. Most home-based business owners, he writes, are not aware of many risks associated with their businesses, and homeowner’s policies don’t cover many of the common risks. Hungelmann explains the various types of property risks and emphasizes the importance of liability insurance. A wise course is to discuss your liability risks with an insurance agent. Most lawsuits cost $40,000 to $100,000 to defend, and judgments or jury awards can exceed that. Being uninsured for any potential business liability risks more than you can afford to lose. Moreover, if you haven’t set up and run your business as a corporation, 

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Money shorts From page 15 to earn interest at today’s highest rates. If you’d like to put more than $250,000 (the maximum that the FDIC will insure in a single account) in CDs, the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) offers a convenient way to invest your funds. You deal with one participating bank, which sets the rate and parcels out $250,000 chunks to some of the more than 3,000 participating institutions. U.S. savings bonds are another safe way to invest money you can tie up for a year. EE bonds pay low rates (0.6 percent), but I-bonds, which pay based in part on the in-

Even if you succeed in establishing a business, unexpected things can go wrong that may sink the enterprise. Another mistake many small business owners make is to underinsure. It is especially important for anyone starting a home business to have adequate business insurance. An excellent, comprehensive book on the subject is Insurance for Dummies by Jack Hungelmann (Wiley). Hungelmann points out that homeowner’s policies, even with optional business coverage, falls far

flation rate, are currently paying an attractive 3.06 percent. You can cash in savings bonds after 12 months, but if you redeem them before five years have passed, you forfeit the last three months’ worth of interest. The I-bond’s rate is composed of a fixed rate, currently 0 percent, that lasts for the life of the bond, plus a semiannual inflation rate that changes every six months. If you bought a $1,000 I-bond and redeemed it after a year, you’d still earn about 3 percent interest after the penalty at present inflation rates. You must purchase savings bonds in an online Treasury Direct account, which you can set up at — Kiplinger’s Personal Finance


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It’s a shame this individual sought advice only after the family business got into trouble. With prior counseling from experienced business owners, he might have done things differently — or not started the business in the first place. If you’re starting a business, the advice of experienced business people in that field is invaluable. However, not everybody has a personal relationship with such mentors.

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it can place your personal property at risk. Too many people decide to go into business without doing their homework. Lack of initial planning is one of the most likely reasons that a business fails. Your chances of success greatly increase if you take advantage of available resources, obtain advice from an experienced business attorney and insurance agent, and develop a comprehensive business plan before making the final decision to start your business. For information about local and online workshops offered by SCORE, visit To contact the Baltimore chapter for an appointment with a mentor or more information, call (410) 962-2233. © 2012 Elliot Raphaelson. —TMS

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Vanguard founder: expect modest returns By Mark Jewell The prospect of doubling your money is always alluring. Doing it in only seven years is even better. That’s what draws investors to the stock market. It has proved to be the most reliable place to build up savings over the long run. The math seems to be there, at least. Invest $10,000 at an annual growth rate of 10 percent, and with compounding, it swells to $19,487 over seven years. After eight years it totals more than $21,000. Of course, there’s the caveat that there aren’t any guarantees in investing. Witness the past decade, when a $10,000 investment was reduced to $9,000, including dividend income, by the end of 2009. Yet that lost decade was an anomaly. The notion of stock investments doubling in about seven years is based on historic average annual total returns of 9 to 10 percent. With the required caveats, that amount is frequently cited in investment company literature, based on data going back several decades for the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index. The total return reflects appreciation in stock prices, as well as regular dividend payments.

Expect to net just 1 to 2% But investors planning for retirement

would be foolish to expect their stock portfolios to grow by as much as 10 percent a year over the long run, said John C. Bogle. The 82-year-old founder of the Vanguard Group and index mutual fund pioneer said most investors should expect just 1 or 2 percent a year from their stock investments. That’s because the 10 percent that many investors anticipate doesn’t factor in various costs that cut into their actual portfolio returns. “People ought to be very conscious of the mathematics of investing,” said Bogle, who now runs Vanguard’s Bogle Financial Markets Research Center, in a recent interview. “But they so often ignore it.” He acknowledges that his 1 to 2 percent return calculation isn’t a hard rule, because it’s based on many of the variables affecting market performance. But it’s instructive for understanding why an investor’s net returns pale in comparison to market returns. Here’s a look at Bogle’s math: Stocks have averaged 9 to 10 percent gains, but Bogle figures 7 percent is more realistic over the next several years. He cites the current muted forecast for economic growth, as the nation slowly recovers from the recession and struggles to get government deficits under control. Subtract at least 2 percent for inflation, and the annual gain shrinks to 5 percent.

Historically, inflation has averaged 2 to 3 percent. That’s in line with current inflation. (The rate fell to zero during the recession.)

Fees also eat up returns Bogle said most investors should subtract an additional 2 percent, to cover expenses for professionals who manage money, advise investors, and handle trades. The investor’s return is then shaved to 3 percent. Even if you’re not an active stock investor, consider that the average expense ratio charged by managed stock mutual funds last year was 1.45 percent, according to Morningstar. That’s the amount investors pay each year, expressed as a percentage of a fund’s assets. Expenses charged by index mutual funds were about half as much, averaging 0.73 percent. Index funds seek to match the market rather than beat it, and charge lower expenses because they don’t rely on professionals to pick stocks. In addition to ongoing expenses, many mutual fund investors also pay one-time charges called loads — commissions paid to invest in a fund. Investors can also ultimately bear additional costs when fund managers trade stocks. The remaining 3 percent return can shrink further if investments are held in a taxable account, rather than a retirement

account like an IRA or 401(k). When fund managers sell investments that appreciated in value, they pass on the capital gains to investors each year. These gains are taxed unless held in a tax-sheltered account. Bogle figures investors with taxable accounts can expect to shave off another 1 percent from their return, leaving just 2 percent. What’s more, many investors cancel out that small return, or end up with losses, by making rash decisions. Studies show most investors have poor timing. A common scenario: An investor buys a mutual fund based on its recently strong returns. The market shifts, the fund’s manager is late to respond, and the investor’s return reflects the subpar performance, rather than the prior market-beating numbers. Bogle advises that investors pay special attention to limiting the costs they can control by choosing a low-cost index fund and holding it for the long haul. His calculations aren’t meant to imply that investors should abandon stocks. Despite their volatility, stocks are the best means to ensure that savings outpace the rise of inflation. Still, Karen Dolan, Morningstar’s director of fund analysis, said it’s hard to overstate Bogle’s central point that investors shouldn’t expect returns in their portfolios to match market performance. — AP





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If you do and you’d like to be considered for a story in our Volunteers & Careers section, please send an email to

Helping adult learners get GEDs and jobs “I felt that getting in on the ground floor of SBLC — which was a young organization at that time — would be a good way for me to help make an impact.” Throughout her long tenure with SBLC, Abrams has served in a number of volunteer capacities: volunteer tutor, classroom instructor, board member and officer, and member of the advisory council, on which she still serves today. SBLC offers classes in adult basic education, pre-GED and GED instruction (to prepare learners to take the high school equivalency tests), one-to-one tutoring for adults who are beginning readers, computer classes, career counseling, and academic counseling. It also manages the Exter-

Would you like to sell ads for the Beacon?

This full-time, outside sales position pays a base salary plus commissions and benefits. We’re looking for a hard-working, detail-oriented people person. Must be outgoing, love selling, be comfortable with computers, e-mail and contact management software (such as ACT!), and be willing to follow direction, complete required paperwork, and participate in weekly training and sales meetings at our office.

nal Diploma Program, which enables qualified adults to earn their high school diploma by completing independent assignments on a flexible schedule rather than take the GED exam.

Putting SBLC on the map Abrams has been particularly involved in fundraising efforts for SBLC, and her efforts on behalf of the organization earned her a Mayor’s Citation for Volunteer Service in 1997. During her term as board treasurer, Abrams played an instrumental role in writing the first adult education and family literacy grant request to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). SBLC was the only community-based organization to receive this grant in 1994, which helped ensure its survival as a nonprofit organization. With the first MSDE grant, SBLC was able to hire permanent full-time staff, as well as part-time adult education instructors and support staff. The organization will honor Abrams at its March 31 gala, “Tip Your Hat to Learning Cabaret.” “I could always rely on Shelly for specific help and also professional guidance and support — all of which are so valuable to an executive director,” said SBLC’s Executive Director Sonia Socha. “In the younger years of the organization, board members had to be ‘hands on,’ and Shelly was definitely that and more.” Since it opened in 1990, SBLC has pro-


By Carol Sorgen Shelly Abrams began volunteering with South Baltimore Learning Center (SBLC) 20 years ago, soon after the organization opened its doors. She lived at the time in Federal Hill, near the group’s original headquarters. SBLC helps adult learners get their high school diplomas and offers career counseling. Abrams recalled that the neighborhood high school at that time had one of the highest dropout rates in the city. “I have always been concerned about literacy and education, and wanted to volunteer in those areas to help improve young people’s access to employment opportunities,” she said.

Shelly Abrams, a long-time volunteer at South Baltimore Learning Center

vided functional literacy, life skills training and career services to Baltimore-area residents. The organization’s mission is to improve the self-sufficiency of educationally disadvantaged adults. Each year, it serves over 800 adults ranging in age from 16 to 83. Maryland has almost 613,640 adults without a high school diploma. In Baltimore City, 38 percent of adults are either unable to read or read below the fourth grade level, and over 142,000 adults do not have a high school diploma. See LEARNING CENTER, page 22




The Edward A. Myerberg Center is seeking volunteers to work in the Center’s G Café. Responsibilities include selling pre-made food items, collecting money, and greeting patrons. Volunteers should have excellent communication skills and atten-

If you love the Beacon — and would be excited to call and meet with potential advertisers throughout the Greater Baltimore and Howard County areas — send your resume and cover letter to Alan Spiegel, Director of Sales, at:

tion to detail. The G Café hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and volunteers are needed one or more days per week. For more information, call Arnold Eppel, executive director, at (410) 358-6856 or visit www.myerbergse-

The Beacon Newspapers, Inc. • 3720 Farragut Ave., #105 • Kensington, MD 20895 The Myerberg Center is located at 3101 Fallstaff Rd.

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Appraiser From page 1 collecting ways, fully encouraged by his parents, who were also interested in antiques. From flea markets to antique shops, he began picking up relics from the Civil War era. As a high school student, he even brought in a Civil War musket to his initially doubtful history teacher, who soon realized that the young Kelbaugh knew what he was doing. At the age of 13, Kelbaugh’s parents took him to a reenactment of the Battle of Antietam, and for the first time he was exposed to “living history,” which led to his participation in Civil War reenactments himself. It also inspired him to march in the Fife and Drum Corps (Kelbaugh plays the fife) in the country’s bicentennial parades, both in Washington, D.C., and in Philadelphia — something he still recalls as an “incredible thrill.”

A focus on photography As a college student at the University of Maryland College Park, one of Kelbaugh’s early mentors was Burt Kummerow, now the president of the Maryland Historical Society. It was Kummerow who sparked Kelbaugh’s interest in early photography and took his collecting in an entirely new direction. “Burt came early to the field of early American photography, a field that didn’t get much respect in the museum world at that time,” said Kelbaugh. It was in 1971, as he was graduating from college, that Kelbaugh had the “epiphany” that set him on the 40-year path that led to his having one of the most important collections of 19th century/early 20th century photography — especially Maryland photography — in the country. “I realized that there was a lot of material out there waiting to be bought and appreciated,” Kelbaugh said. He sold off most of his Civil War collec-

tion of artifacts and started buying photographs. One of his first acquisitions was a daguerreotype by Baltimore daguerreotypist J.D. Marsters. That early purchase led Kelbaugh to what he calls a “great adventure,” although he says that with the Internet and the growing interest through the years of museums and deep-pocket collectors (such as rock musician Graham Nash), early photographic images are getting increasingly more difficult to find — and more expensive. When he first started building his collection, Kelbaugh could purchase vintage photos for less than a dollar (though he has also spent in the “five figures” he said). His collection grew to number in the thousands. Some he lives with, others he stores, and still others he has sold. One of the latter— the only known photo of a black Civil War soldier and his family — is now on loan from its purchaser to the Library of Congress. Through the decades, Kelbaugh continued his own collecting efforts, “running the roads” on weekends, attending flea markets, antiques fairs, estate sales, etc., in search not only of Civil War-era finds, but also 19th-century folk art and furnishings. “I was always interested in what was good, whether it was a direct interest of mine or not,” he said. As a result, Kelbaugh developed a broad spectrum of knowledge about antiques, or as he said with a laugh, “I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things.” These days, Kelbaugh doesn’t scour antiques shows as frequently as he once did. Now he can just sit at his computer and see what’s for sale on eBay. But Kelbaugh also admits that as he gets older, he realizes that the work of acquiring and caring for a collection may be more effort than he wants to put in. “At this time of life, you begin to think about downsizing,” he said. At the same

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time, he laments that younger people don’t seem to have the same acquisitive nature as his generation did —at least not for historical artifacts.

A full plate By virtue of staying closer to home, Kelbaugh has been able to pursue other areas of his interests, such as the creation of Historic Graphics ( — a multifaceted company through which he buys and sells vintage images, displays photographs from his collection online, and provides graphics and research services for other publications and even for films, such as Steven Spielberg’s Gettysburg. Among Kelbaugh’s other recent ventures was serving as guest curator for the Maryland Historical Society exhibition, “The Civil War in Maryland: Rare Photographs from the Maryland Historical Society and Its Members.” He also produced a 3-D short film for the society about the beginnings of the Civil War, and is now working on one about the Battle of Antietam. Kelbaugh is also the author of several books. The most popular, Introduction to Civil War Photography, is in its 10th printing. His most recent book, Maryland Civil War Photography: The Sesquicentennial Collection, will be published this spring by the Maryland Historical Society. Between all that, Kelbaugh says, “My plate is full.”

Still, if you weren’t one of the 1,200 visitors to the most recent tapings of “Chesapeake Collectibles” and want Kelbaugh to give you the benefit of his expertise, you can catch him at some of his upcoming public appearances at antiques and military collectibles shows and at open appraisals. He will have a table at the annual Maryland Arms Collectors Show at the Timonium Fairgrounds on March 17 and 18, where he will be selling and buying fine military photographs in addition to other mlitaria. On March 24, Kelbaugh will be appraising antiques at “Treasured Heirlooms,” sponsored by the Historical Society of Frederick County. (For Kelbaugh’s full appearance schedule, visit the Historic Graphics website.) For would-be collectors, Kelbaugh said that the Middle Atlantic and New England states are the richest source for anything related to American history. “Thrifty New Englanders held on to everything!” he said. And though you might think that 150 years after the end of the Civil War there would be no artifacts left to find, you’d be mistaken, Kelbaugh said. “There’s still a lot of stuff coming out of family homes.” While the Internet may open up new avenues for collecting, Kelbaugh said that there’s still nothing like attending an antiques show, flea market or auction. “There’s just no substitute for seeing an object in person and holding a piece of history in your hands,” he said.

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Learning center



From page 20

SENIOR CITIZENS HALL OF FAME Nominate residents of Maryland, age 60 or older, who are active

volunteers and have made outstanding contributions to improve the lives of others for the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, which inducts 50 nominees each year. Nomination forms and additional details are available by calling Parker Koons at (410) 828-5852. Nomination forms must be postmarked by April 30.


HELP A BALTIMORE CITY YOUNGSTER Volunteers are needed for Baltimore Inner City Outings. BICO provides under-served Baltimore City youth with educational, enjoy-

able 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 the world of nature. For more information, contact Bob Burchard at (410) 744-0510 or

Many volunteer options The organization offers numerous volunteer opportunities. Adult literacy tutors work one-on-one with adults with very low reading abilities. SBLC provides tutors with a free training session before being paired with a learner. The minimum commitment is two to four hours per week for one year. Classroom assistants lessen the strain on instructors with growing classroom sizes, providing small group instruction for learners and offering individual tutoring to those needing extra help. Again, SBLC provides a free training session. The time commitment is one to two class sessions per week for one semester. Drop-in center tutors work with preGED and GED adult learners who are enrolled in SBLC classes. The minimum time commitment is a two-hour weekly session

Fifth Annual Governor’s Leadership in Aging Awards For Excellence and Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Aging and Quality of Life for Seniors Categories Trailblazer: An individual, community group, business or organization that has demonstrated leadership in advocacy or developed an innovative program, research or training for seniors. Visual or Performing Arts: An individual 60 or older, or a group (members must be 55 or older) who has demonstrated excellence in the visual or performing arts. Health and Vitality: An individual, 60 or older, who demonstrates a commitment to healthy living, and who serves as a role model to others.

Nomination Information Select a category. Submit a nomination form (below) and a 500-word-or-less description or recommendation (why the nominee meets the criteria). Visual Arts nominations must be accompanied by photos, slides or a CD of artwork. Performing Arts nominations must be accompanied by a DVD or web link to a video sharing site (e.g., YouTube). Nominations that do not require supporting materials may be faxed to (410) 333-7943. Download additional nomination forms at For more information, call (410) 767-2075 or 1-800-243-3425.

Nomination Form Person or Group Nominated: Name:___________________________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Daytime Phone:__________________________ Evening Phone:__________________________ Fax:__________________________ E-mail:____________________________________________ Category of nomination: ____________________________________________________________ Nominator Information: ❒ Self Nomination (check box if you are nominating yourself) Name:___________________________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Daytime Phone:__________________________ Evening Phone:__________________________ Fax:__________________________ E-mail:____________________________________________ E-mail form with your recommendation and supporting materials to:

Or mail to: Mr. Wesley Wood Maryland Department of Aging Governor’s Leadership in Aging Awards 301 W. Preston St., #1007 Baltimore, MD 21201


for one semester. Office assistants answer phones, take messages, welcome visitors, make copies, prepare mailings, file student materials, distribute fliers in the community, assist with database entry, make phone calls and help with other office needs. Special events assistants help run various events throughout the year, including the spring gala and learner recognition events in the fall and spring. Generally, volunteers contribute two hours for the event. Abrams has helped in nearly all these roles. The success of the organization has kept Abrams involved all these years. “Just hearing the outcomes of the people we have helped keeps us all motivated,” said Abrams, pointing out that many of SBLC’s volunteers have been there as long as, if not longer than, she has. “This is such an amazing organization, and I am proud of it and honored to be recognized by it,” Abrams said. On March 31, SBLC will present its spring gala from 7 to 11:30 p.m., at Montgomery Park Business Center (1800 Washington Blvd.). Individual tickets are $100 per person in advance and $110 per person at the door. SBLC hopes to raise more than $75,000 through the gala to support its educational services and operations. For tickets, or more information on volunteering, call (410) 625-4215 or visit SBLC is located at 28 E. Ostend St.




The Legal Services for Senior Citizens Program provides free legal assistance, consultation and/or representation to seniors 60 or older on healthcare issues, income maintenance, nutrition, housing and utilities, protective services and unemployment benefits, and will assist in helping a senior in a lawsuit when there is substantial risk to the client’s person, property or civil rights. Call the Maryland Senior Legal Helpline at (410) 951-7750.

Mar. 7


LifeBridge Health will offer a health fair with heart screenings on Wednesday, March 7 at Milford Mill United Methodist Church, 915 Milford Mill Rd., Pikesville. Appointments start at 9:15 a.m. The screenings include a blood pressure check, cholesterol/triglycerides test, a comprehensive metabolic panel blood profile, body composition analysis, a heart health awareness assessment and a brief counseling session with a registered nurse. The cost is $20. Appointments are required. Call (410)601-9355 to register.


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Leisure &

Setting sail with silver screen stars. See story on page 24.

Las Vegas through the eyes of a first-timer the-clock party scene in casinos, bars and spas, and over-the-top architectural re-creations of modern and historic wonders, it doesn’t get more fantastic than Las Vegas.

Giving in to temptation


More than 35 million people have visited Las Vegas every year for the past 10 years, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LCVA), but until last summer, I was a Vegas virgin — intrigued, yet worried I’d feel awkward and uncomfortable. I decided it was time to give in to the temptations of Sin City when Derk, my husband, registered for a conference there. For help with planning, I turned to some trusty sources, who not only are upstanding citizens, spouses and parents, but also are highly experienced, shall we say, in Vegas ways. They helped me shape a getaway that made my first time so special, I’m eager to do it again. Las Vegas is “wild, wacky and sometimes bizarre,” said my friend Bob, a retired military officer and engineer who works for a large defense contractor in Northern Virginia, and who has visited Vegas at least 10 times for his job or to see family. “You will see all types there. But it’s also clean and friendly, and you will have a blast.” Here are some tips for planning your own trip.

The four-mile-long Las Vegas Strip is home to more than 67,000 hotel rooms, as well as half-scale replicas of the Eiffel Tower and other icons from Paris and New York.

Lay of the land “The Strip” refers to a stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard more than four miles long that is dotted with a couple dozen hotelcasino properties and the relatively new mixed-use development called CityCenter, among other amenities. Mandalay Bay anchors the south end of the Strip. The Sahara, which operated for almost 60 years before shutting down in mid-2011, anchors the north end. Generally, the properties toward the north end are older and less opulent, and thus room rates are cheaper. Each hotel-casino property


By Laura Stassi Jeffrey It feels like I’ve walked out of an icebox and into an oven as I exit the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, but I won’t let the summertime heat derail my exploration of the Las Vegas Strip on foot. Adjacent to the golden-hued Mandalay Bay is the dark, imposing, pyramid-shaped Luxor hotel and casino, and beyond that stands the multi-turreted, castle-like property called Excalibur. I haven’t even reached the halfway mark of my stroll before scoring my first Elvis sighting — a slightly built impersonator standing on the walkway that connects the Excalibur with the Big Apple-themed property named New York-New York, counting a wad of bills he’s pulled from the pocket of his white jumpsuit. For me, February is fantasy month — the time to daydream about a vacation getaway and perhaps even put some plans into motion. With live entertainment that ranges from bawdy to spectacularly breathtaking, lush exterior as well as interior landscaping that defies the desert locale, a ‘round-

At Las Vegas’ Bellagio hotel and casino, built for a reported $1.6 billion, dancing fountains offer a show several times an hour, using synchronized light and music.

has its own personality and theme, and room rates can fluctuate widely. When mulling over the options, think about your budget as well as your tolerance for a high-energy atmosphere. Keep in mind that anyone 21 years or older is welcome inside any Strip property for gambling, shopping, eating, attending a show or even limited wandering around. However, pools and other features may be available only for registered hotel guests. Sidewalks and elevated walkways enable strolling along the Strip. Monorail and tram service are also available among some properties, or you can hop on a bus or hail a taxi. For our stay, we booked a room at the impressive Four Seasons, which comprises the top five floors of the 39-story Mandalay Bay tower. This was the conference host site, so the rate discount was decent, but we also were mindful that the setting was blissfully removed from most of the hubbub. While the Four Seasons rooms are in the $200 to $300 range, rooms in the rest of Mandalay Bay start at a more reasonable $90. Bob, a methodical trip planner, grouped his hotel recommendations into three tiers before he gave them to me, and Mandalay Bay was in his top tier. But the Bellagio is Bob’s first choice. This

massive and elegant structure, modeled after the Lake Como resort in Italy, rose from the rubble of the Dunes hotel and casino. Outside the Bellagio is a manmade lake — the water-fountain show, set to lights and music, is a must-see — and the interior features include a lush botanical garden, art galleries, and a candy shop complete with chocolate fountains. Hotel rooms are well worth the splurge, according to Bob. Rates range from $159 to $349 in February. My cousin Sam, technical director for a global marketing agency headquartered outside of Chicago, wholeheartedly agrees. Sam has visited Vegas about a dozen times for work or pleasure. He stays at the Bellagio whenever he can and has even planned getaways during off-times, to take advantage of drastically slashed rates. “If you can take the heat, summer is the best bargain,” he said. Off the Strip, Sam has stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and utilized the free shuttle to and from the Strip’s south end. Two off-Strip properties Bob offers as word-of-mouth recommendations are the Rio — which Sam confirms has a terrific wine cellar and tasting room — and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. See LAS VEGAS, page 25


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Taking a cruise with Hollywood legends mieres by the stars in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

Star power After boarding, there was the compulsory lifeboat drill. At the time, the crew demonstrating safety procedures was forced to compete for the crowd’s attention when Ernest Borgnine appeared and was mobbed by well-wishers trying to shake his hand. (In the wake of the Concordia incident, I imagine people will be listening more closely to safety instructions going forward.) Borgnine himself was overwhelmed by the response of the passengers. “Oh my goodness, I couldn’t have been treated better by the TCM folks or fans,” said a humble 95-year-old Borgnine, when I spoke with him later during the cruise. “I don’t know why, because I certainly don’t deserve it. “It’s one thing to like an actor, but the kind of love people have shown me is amazing. I just want to be one of the gang on the ship,” said Borgnine, an Academy Award-winning movie actor who is perhaps most widely known for the TV series McHale’s Navy. (By the way, he knows his way around a ship, having served for 10 years in the Navy prior to taking up acting.) Borgnine was typical of the celebrities on board. Far from retiring to their cabins and emerging only to fulfill their obligations, they regularly roamed the decks — mingling with the passengers, eating at


By Nick Thomas The tragic Jan. 13 capsizing of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the Tuscan island of Giglio in Italy probably has some potential passengers thinking twice about embarking on a future cruise. But these floating luxury “hotels” make thousands of trips each year without incident, and the cruise ship industry has an excellent safety record. This is one of the reasons why some 2,000 people from across the U.S., Canada and Europe made their way to Miami on Dec. 8 in order to take a four-day, roundtrip cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. But it wasn’t the golden beaches or sparkling blue waters that united this dedicated band of travelers. It was the onboard events and list of eminent guests. While celebrity cruises are nothing new, this one truly was a classic: the inaugural Classic Cruise hosted by the cable channel Turner Classic Movies (TCM), which brought film fans together with their favorite Hollywood legends on the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship. Celebrity shipmates included Ernest Borgnine, Eva Marie Saint, Tippi Hedren and director Norman Jewison, as well as TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz. With the average age of the four special guests being around 87, this was a vacation that appealed to seniors, and many passengers recalled attending film pre-

Actor Ernest Borgnine greets passengers aboard a cruise hosted by Turner Classic Movies, which included several other screen stars who mingled with the passengers. Borgnine celebrated his 95th birthday in January.

the buffet, chatting and posing for photographs. In addition to snagging a much sought after celebrity snapshot, serious film enthusiasts were able to enjoy a selection of scheduled events that TCM had planned: movie screenings, often preceded by introductions from the stars who were in the films, Q & A sessions with the stars, and panel discussions with Osborne and Mankiewicz. Surprise guests included veteran game show host Wink Martindale, who hosted movie trivia contests, and Chelsie Hightower and Louis Van Amstel from “Dancing with the Stars.” OK, so they weren’t Fred and Ginger, but they did put on a dazzling dance display. And when Ernie and Eva Marie came out on stage for a whirl around the dance floor with the youngsters, the crowd went wild.

Behind the scenes stories Although the ship docked at Key West and Cozumel for passengers to go ashore and see the standard tourist attractions, these were merely an added bonus. Probably the most anticipated events were the celebrity presentations prior to film screenings. Eva Marie Saint talked about the making of North by Northwest. Ernest Borgnine discussed The Poseidon Adventure (an odd film to show on a cruise ship, yes). Tippi Hedren spoke about The Birds, and Norman Jewison featured his film The Thomas Crown Affair. While some of their stories had been told before in autobiographies or previous interviews, it hardly mattered to the devoted throngs of admirers who hung on every word and were thrilled just to be seated a few feet from some of their favorite film personalities. A much-anticipated event was the ap-

pearance of both Saint, 89, and Hedren, 83, as the “Hitchcock blondes” in a discussion with Osborne. Saint was in good form, as evident by her playful sense of humor. “If you look at the Hitchcock catalog,” Osborne began, “Ingrid Bergman was not a blonde, Teresa Wright [Shadow of a Doubt] was not a blonde, Tallulah Bankhead was not a blonde.” “So why are we here?” quipped Saint to the laughter of the audience. Appreciating the humor, Osborne wondered if the general belief that Hitchcock favored blondes was just a myth. Saint wasn’t sure, but Hedren suggested that blondes have both an innocence and a sense of mystery about them, which she thought might have appealed to Hitchcock. Saint’s sense of humor was also apparent when I interviewed her and she talked about Osborne, 79, who has been primetime host and anchor since TCM made its on-air debut in 1994. “I call him the rock star of the classic movie world. I love my husband of 60 years, then Robert Osborne!” For his part, Osborne said, “I’ve only been on one other cruise in my life, and that was years ago to Acapulco, so I’m really enjoying this trip and being around so many film fans.” Osborne added that TCM is seriously looking at having another movie star cruise later this year. Cabins (which went for around $800 to $2,500 per person) sold out within about two months for the inaugural cruise. Announcements of any future cruises will be made on its website, Nick Thomas is author of the recently released book, Raised by the Stars: Interviews with 29 Children of Hollywood Actors, and can be reached through his website,

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Las Vegas From page 23

Gambling for food, dollars When I told Claire, my booking agent and a Vegas aficionado, about my upcoming trip, she was emphatic. “You must eat at a buffet,” she said. I hesitated to follow her advice. Derk and I have long said that the day we found ourselves standing in line for an all-youcan-eat buffet was the day we officially became old. But after enjoying a huge breakfast buffet spread solo one day at Cravings in the Mirage (cost: $16.95), I talked Derk into joining me at the Bellagio buffet for the next day’s lunch. Derk grumbled a bit as we — yep — stood in a long line, but he later agreed the wait had been worthwhile for the huge spread including Italian, Japanese, Chinese and American food, seafood and an incredible desert assortment. If you time it right, the lunch buffet ($19.95) can suffice as your meal for the day. Buffet prices vary by season, but discount coupons are sometimes available, and room packages often include a meal or two at the hotel where you’re staying. Craps, blackjack, poker, roulette — as first-timers, we were too intimidated to even try. We happily settled for feeding coins into a slot machine, and reveled in a $25 profit on our $5 investment. Derk and I have already decided that on our return trip we’d like to be joined by companions who know their way around the tables and can guide us. Spending a lot of money? You might want to join a “players club,” offered by one of the casinos you’ll be frequenting. You don’t have to be a high roller, and you’ll accumulate points toward promotions, including free meals and hotel rooms. You can do this once you’re in a casino. Follow the signs pointing you to the players club or ask a casino employee where to go to apply for the card. You’ll be issued one on the spot. Sam also usually sticks to spending money primarily at one property, and he charges everything to his room. “I don’t gamble a lot, but I do spend a lot of money in the restaurants, bars, shops and shows,” he said. “I am pretty sure the hotels track that info when sending offers.”

Beyond gambling The live entertainment choices seem endless — concerts, comedy acts, stage plays, even a burlesque show featuring former Hugh Hefner girlfriend Holly Madison. Bob gave high recommendations to ‘”Mystere,” the Cirque de Soleil show at Treasure Island. But we emboldened ourselves and bought tickets to the adultthemed “Zumanity.” The cabaret-style show is billed as the sensual side of Cirque de Soleil, and the acrobatics were incredible. Don’t take a front seat, though, unless you’re game to be included in some risqué antics with cast members. You can also buy a ticket to the top of the Eiffel Tower replica at the Paris property

and watch the Bellagio’s water-fountain show from there. For more faux-European fun, take a gondola ride at the Venetian. If the artificiality of the Strip starts to wear on you, rent a car and head about 20 miles west to Red Rock Canyon to hike or jog amid the rugged beauty of the Mojave Desert. Hoover Dam, a National Historic Landmark, is about 25 miles southeast of Vegas. Check out the hotel-casino property websites or go to for a full list of promotional packages and discounts on hotel rooms, show tickets and other offerings. Don’t buy a package deal unless you’ve vetted all the different parts of it to ensure it really is a good deal. You also may want to cross-reference rates with results from, which offers a compilation of the lowest published rates for airfare, hotel and ticket packages on discount travel sites such as Expedia and Orbitz. The best roundtrip airfare deal to Las Vegas in mid-March starts at $454

roundtrip from BWI on United or Continental Airlines. However, driving to Dulles will save you money. Flights there start at $317 on Virgin America and Delta. Also


check the travel websites that include airfare and hotel for potentially better deals. Laura Stassi Jeffrey is a freelance writer living in Chantilly, Va.


Feb. 23

CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLES The Maryland Historical Society will explore the Paul Henderson

Photograph Collection (ca. 1930-1960) and the McKeldin-Jackson Oral History Project (1969-1977) in a Black History Month event on Feb. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. Panelists will discuss their personal affiliations and expertise with the civil rights struggle in Maryland in relation to the collections. Dr. Helena Hicks, one of only three surviving members of the widely publicized sit-in at Read’s Drugstore in Baltimore, will reveal the impromptu nature of the 1955 protest. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is free. The Historical Society is located at 201 W. Monument St. For further information, contact Jennifer Ferretti, (410) 685-3750 or

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Arts &

Explore the trend toward living alone. See book review on page 28.

Gem of a museum brims with nostalgia companies, including DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics and Wizard Entertainment. An avid baseball fan, Geppi also dreamed of playing professional ball. He didn’t realize that ambition, but becoming part of a local ownership group of the Baltimore Orioles in 1993, and subsequently locating his museum at Camden Yards, is just about the next best thing. For Geppi, opening GEM has been a lifelong dream to see pop culture “in the setting it deserves,” as he notes in the museum’s vision statement. Geppi has called GEM “a showplace of ideas, a marketplace of thought and imagination.” It’s also a heck of a lot of fun, as I found on a recent visit.

been revived, helping to popularize products from juice, milk, soda, bread, cereal and candy, to a dazzling array of consumer products. In this manner a wide range of characters has been instilled in the American psyche. Throughout the various galleries, you’ll see exhibits on the history and display of comic books, some of which may be among your childhood favorites. There’s also a special gallery called “Extra, Extra!” looking at newspaper


By Carol Sorgen When a museum has the word “entertainment” in its name, it has a lot to live up to. But Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (or GEM, as it’s known to its enthusiastic staff) lives up to both its name and nickname. It’s a thoroughly entertaining homage to pop culture — from vintage comics to toys of the 1950s and ‘60s. Located at Camden Yards on the second floor of Camden Station above Sports Legends!, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is the brainchild of inveterate collector Stephen A. Geppi, president of Diamond Comic Distributors, part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles, publisher of Baltimore magazine, and a native son of Baltimore’s Little Italy. In fact, Geppi’s childhood passions of comics and baseball have shaped the direction of his entire life. Geppi, born in 1950, left school early to support his mother. He took a job with the U.S. Postal Service, but thought he might be able to make more money selling comic books. He opened a small store in Baltimore, expanded that to four stores, moved into comic book distribution when he bought the business of a failing distributor, and successfully expanded the distribution business throughout North America and Europe. Today, Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc., represents many of the top publishing

See MUSEUM, page 29

Childhood favorites One of the premises of the museum is that comic characters, whether entirely fictional (like Archie, one of my childhood favorites) or based on figures from real life (“Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees”), have both entertainment and educational value, and play a role in youngsters’ lives that is not forgotten as they get older. First seen in newspapers, magazines, comic books, movies, radio or television, such characters have long been effective and popular advertising spokesmen. Each time a new form of media has emerged, as you’ll learn in your self-guided visit, new comic characters have sprung up and older, successful ones have

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

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum’s eclectic collections focus on pop culture icons, especially comic book heroes, such as the life-size Batman shown here.



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Book explores ups, downs of living alone

Solo singletons Singletons are tied with childless couples as the most prominent residential type — more common than the traditional nuclear family, the multigenerational family, and the roommate or group home. Today’s solo dwellers, reports Klinenberg, are primarily women — about 17 million compared to 14 million men. The majority, more than 15 million, are adults between the ages of 35 and 64, while those 65 and above make up about 10 million of the total.

a es ift! k Ma at g e gr

The reasons for the growing number of singletons of all ages are not necessarily surprising: Women no longer find marriage an economic necessity; those couples who do marry are marrying later; and even when couples are married for a long time, one of them (usually the man) is going to die before the other, leaving the surviving spouse to a new singleton life. What may be more surprising, Klinenberg has found, is that living alone — once considered a social stigma by society, wellmeaning family and friends, and even solo dwellers themselves — is no longer thought of as a sign of a flawed personality. Furthermore, researchers who have historically feared that living alone led to loneliness, isolation, poor mental and physical health, and even a weakening of the fabric of community life are now coming to see that those fears may be groundless for a large percentage of solo dwellers. On the contrary, as Klinenberg shows in his scholarly but readable book, most solo dwellers are very much engaged in social and civic life. In fact, his research shows, compared with their married counterparts, singletons are more likely to eat out, exercise, go to art and music classes, attend public events and lectures, and volunteer.

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And with the various forms of media available to all of us, there are countless (perhaps too many!) ways to stay “connected,” Klinenberg points out.

Living alone at all ages


By Carol Sorgen In 1950, 4 million Americans lived alone, accounting for 9 percent of all households. Today, 31 million Americans live alone, making up 28 percent of all American households. Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology at New York University, award-winning author, and the editor of the journal Public Culture, focuses his latest book on this most significant demographic shift since the baby boom — the notable increase in the number of people who live alone. In his new book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, Klinenberg refers to those living alone as “singletons,” as opposed to singles whom, he points out, may or may not live alone.

For all singletons, there are both challenges and opportunities, as Klinenberg relates: Young professionals, for example, pay higher rent for the freedom and privacy of their own apartments. Singletons in their 30s and 40s refuse to compromise their career or lifestyle for an unsatisfying partner. Divorced men and women who choose to remain alone no longer believe that marriage is a reliable source of happiness or stability. And many older adults prefer living by themselves to In Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Apliving with friends or peal of Living Alone, author Eric Klinenberg explores the trend toward living alone, whether one is 25 or 75. their children. Throughout the book, Klinenberg introduces readers to single- phenomenon, providing housing and servtons of all ages — from young adults just ices — especially to older singletons — out of college to 90-somethings. Their sto- that will keep them both safe and happily ries are, for the most part, compelling, engaged throughout their solo-dwelling though they are not all an advertisement life, whether it’s one they have chosen or one in which they have been thrust. for living alone. As Klinenberg writes, “What if, instead Even among those who have chosen to of indulging the social reformer’s fantasy live alone and don’t envision changing that status, there are the doubts that creep in that we would all just be better off togethabout what would happen should they be- er, we accepted the fact that living alone is come unable to care for themselves. There a fundamental feature of modern societies are also those, such as the founder of a and we simply did more to shield those movement known as “Quirkyalone,” who who go solo from the main hazards of the have come to realize that while living alone condition?” Though Klinenberg himself is now marsuited them for a time, maybe it’s time to ried and the father of two young children, consider other alternatives. Whether it’s by choice or through life he remembers his singleton days happily, circumstances, the number of people liv- and believes that whether short-term, ing alone is on the rise, not just in the U.S. long-term, or even forever, living alone can but worldwide (in Sweden, for example, 50 help us discover and appreciate ourselves. Going Solo, published by Penguin Press, percent of adults live alone). For that reason, says Klinenberg, we is available at book stores and online. Its need to pay more attention to this growing retail price is $27.95.


❐ One Year = $12 (Maryland residents add 6% for sales tax = $12.72) ❐ Check here if this is a gift subscription. Write the recipient’s name above. A gift card will be sent in your name: _____________________________ Return this form with your check, made payable to The Beacon, to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915-2227







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Museum From page 27 comics, including early favorites such as the Yellow Kid, Buster Brown and the Katzenjammer Kids. There are also displays of toys, many of which are smaller versions of products originally aimed at adults. As the museum explains, this has been a common pattern in toys through the generations. First there were trains, for example, then there were toy trains. Then cars and trucks were invented, followed by toy cars and trucks. Each gallery in the museum captures a

specific period or medium in American pop culture. Along with the displays, there are interactive tools for the more digitallyminded visitors, special exhibits, and events such as the annual Zombie Gras (which takes place around the same time as Mardi Gras).

Baltimore firsts In the gallery called “Pioneer Spirit,” you’ll learn about Baltimore heroes and other Baltimore “firsts,” such as the first do-it-yourself (DIY) tools created by Black and Decker and the first college for women in the South (Goucher).


Mar. 3

There’s also a look at how the Great Depression and World War I molded a new America, how post-war America fell in love with the new medium of television (Howdy Doody, anyone?), the arrival of British rock and roll, new media technologies and today’s 24/7 global information age. Just try walking through the museum and not grinning when you see your favorite childhood toy, cartoon, TV character, even lunch box. No matter how young or not-so-young you are, there really is something at GEM that will bring a smile to everyone’s face and a nostalgic sigh of


recognition. General admission to Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is $10 ($9 for those 55 and older), $7 for children 5 to 18, and free for kids under 5. Visit the museum on the day of any Baltimore Ravens or Baltimore Orioles home game and admission is half price. And show your ticket stub for public transportation for that day and receive $2 off admission. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed Mondays. For more information, call (410) 625-7060 or visit


Apr. 15+


Join Whodunnit for Hire at its Murder Mystery Dinner on Saturday, March 3, at the Hillendale Country Club, 13700 Blenheim Rd., in Phoenix, Md. The professional traveling theatre troupe will present Murder on the Vine, a Sherlock Holmes mystery with a wine theme. The party will be turned into a crime scene and you must discover “whodunnit” before dessert. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the mystery and dinner begin at 7 p.m. Cocktail attire is recommended. Cost is $49 per person plus gratuity and taxes. Advance reservations are required. Call (410) 592-8011.

VISIT CHARLESTON AND SAVANNAH Join the Cockeysville Senior Center on Sunday, April 15, for a five-

night trip to Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. The cost is $595 per person. For further information, call (410) 887-7694.

Apr 24+

PARKVILLE AARP HEADS TO CAMBRIDGE The Parkville AARP Chapter #3090 will visit Cambridge, Md., on Tuesday, April 24. The trip will include a narrated tour covering


Mar. 11

Musica Antiqua Quartet, now in its 25th season, performs music from Baltimore during the War of 1812 with period instruments and costumes on Sunday, March 11, from 2 to 3 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Hampton National Historic Site, 535 Hampton Lane in Towson. For more information, call (410) 823-1309, ext. 251. Admission is free.

Feb. 24+

homes of early Maryland Governors and the countryside where watermen founded the early seafood industry. Lunch in the Historic District will be followed by a visit to SB Farms in Hurlock, Md., where you’ll ride a tour wagon through a herd of bison. Cost is $72. Call (410) 256-4318 for more information.

Pr iv


ate Av Resid a il abl ence s e

Sinatra meets Tharp when Broadway musical Come Fly Away dances into town from Friday through Sunday, Feb. 24-26, at the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave. The show features the classics of Frank Sinatra and the inventive choreography of Twyla Tharp relating the love affairs of four couples. Tickets start at $67. For more information and tickets, call (410) 685-5086 or visit

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Puzzle Page

Crossword Puzzle Daily crosswords can be found on our website: Click on Puzzles Plus This Puzzle Lacks Nothing 1








by Stephen Sherr 9









21 24











44 48








50 56




61 65








3. Concern about an 11 Down 4. Fred and Adele Astaire 1. Prince William, to Prince Charles 5. The end of the world (briefly) 4. eHarmony customers 6. Ingredient in a Kauai kitchen 10. Half blue; half green 7. Words of the betrayed 14. Excessively 15. Rhett’s eventual feeling toward Scarlett 8. Beach Boys’ helper 9. How sentences are built 16. Should, to the extreme 10. Chant of agreement 17. “Excellent job, torero” 11. Morass 18. Kramden’s neighbor 12. ___ Enterprise 19. Simplicity 13. Sampled the salmon 20. SEC concern 21. Pac-10 school (not on the Pacific) 23. “Fur ___” (Beethoven dedication) 22. Mosque leader 24. Make a lake 26. Dollar alternative 25. Pirate’s instructions 27. Caresses 28. Persimmon, per some 29. Priest’s robe 33. ___ Gin Fizz 30. “They’re not booing; they’re chanting 34. Seniority alternative ___” 35. Whacks, Sopranos-style 39. Place for Wile E. Coyote’s contraptions 31. Relent 32. No. in a Rolodex 42. The end of hope and heart 35. Stare at 43. Be a bad winner 36. Pledge recipient 45. Official language of Pakistan 37. Pretty (but poisonous) plant 47. NCAA Memorial Day event 38. Cul-de-___ 54. “...the chicken or the ___?” 40. One less than tetra 55. Logical beginning 41. Old name for Tokyo 56. Cruise ship embarkation location 44. “___ Shoot Horses...” (Fonda flick) 57. West coast waits 46. Alone 62. Perched over 48. Squirrel’s stash 64. Deal with a complaining diner 49. “___; nothing to see here” 65. ___ Friday’s 50. Be a benchwarmer 66. Second off the ark 51. Put a stop to 67. What a dead man might tell 52. Put on the screen 68. Shoebox designation 53. Sprites 69. Is underwater 58. Imitates 70. Captured 59. This, in Tijuana 71. License to drill 60. Like James Stewart’s window Down 61. Peddler’s goal 1. Purloined 62. Commotion 2. “That’s so fancy” 63. Haul






Scrabble answers on p. 28.






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33 35




Answer: "Robes" all mixed up can be -- SOBER Jumbles: FOYER BLOOM EXPEND SOOTHE


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ATTEND COLLEGE ONLINE from Home. *Medical, *Business, *Criminal Justice. Job placement assistance. Computer available. Financial Aid if qualified. Call 800-494-3586 PREGNANT? CONSIDERING ADOPTION? You choose from families nationwide. LIVING EXPENSES PAID. Abby’s One True Gift Adoptions. 866-413-6292, 24/7 Void/Illinois.

Personal Services E-BAY AND CRAIGSLIST LISTING SERVICE AND CLEARING. We also clean out homes that are cluttered, vacant, from estates, and for people who are downsizing. We also clean out sheds, barns, basements, attics, garages, and out buildings. Call Dave 443-5148583. LEARN ENGLISH – SPANISH – ITALIAN – FRENCH – PORTUGUESE Conversational. Grammatical. Private lessons. Reasonable Rates. Tutoring students. 443-352-8200.

Wanted STAMPS! Small collector buying singles, sets or collections. Fair price paid. Southwest Stamp Club meets Friday, March 16th, 2012, 1PM, Arbutus. 410-247-4169. VINYL RECORDS WANTED from the 20s through 1985. Jazz, Rock-n-Roll, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae and Disco. 33 1/3 LPs, 45s or 78s, Larger collections preferred. Please call John, 301-596-6201. CASH BUYER SEEKING WATCH MAKER’S TOOLS & PARTS, wrist & pocket watches (any condition), costume jewelry and antiques, coins. 410-655-0412. BUYING NUMISMATIC COINS and most gold or silver items including coins, sterling, jewelry, etc. Will come to you with best cash offer. Call Paul: 410-756-1906. WE BUY MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS, Musical Instruments, recreational Items, Motorcycles and Minibikes, Collections, Memorabilia, Vintage Items, Elecronics, Toys, Cars, Jewelry, Tools, and More. Call Dave 443-514-8585. CASH FOR CARS, Any Make or Model! Free Towing. Sell it TODAY. Instant offer: 1-800-8645784.

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

Send your classified ad with check or money order, payable to the Beacon, to:

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Phrase of the month The curious origins of our words and rituals

Personal WHITE MALE, 52, EX-MARINE, 5 foot 9 inches, 200 pounds, clean cut, well rounded, caring, sensitive. Looking for: caring, outgoing, sensitive, woman for friendship first and more later. Call Joe 410-661-4940.

WANTED DIABETES TEST STRIPS Any kind/brand. Unexpired up to $22.00. Shipping Paid Hablamos espanol 1-800-267-9895

Gilding the Lily To ‘gild the lily” means to attempt to improve upon something that is already beautiful or perfect — to take an unnecessary or superfluous action. The original quote from which the term derived comes from Shakespeare’s The Life & Death of King John (Act IV, Scene 2): “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily… is wasteful and ridiculous excess.” The context in the play is King John’s second coronation, which the speaker, the Earl of Salisbury, considered unnecessary and even unwise. Over time, the quotation was condensed so that today it directly conveys the sense of something counterproductive, since coating a lily with melted gold would destroy it. The misquote creates an internal rhyme of sorts — thus the catchier sound overcame the better sense. Prepared for The Beacon Newspapers by Wizard Communications©. All rights reserved. Want to have a word/phrase or ritual/custom researched? Contact


Mar. 14


Join CCBC as it heads to Broadway to see a production of War Horse, which centers on the relationship between a boy and his horse on the eve of World War I. You’ll arrive in New York in time for lunch and shopping or sightseeing before the 2 p.m. matinee. After the show, you’ll have more time to shop or grab a deli sandwich for the ride home before the 5:45 p.m. departure. The cost for the trip is $183, which includes bus, breakfast snack, orchestra tickets, gratuities and escort. Make your reservations now. Call (443) 840-4700 or go online to

Mar. 20


CCBC hosts this trip on Tuesday, March 20, to see the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s landmark exhibition of Vincent Van Gogh. This grouping of works has never been seen together and will appear only in Philadelphia. After the self-guided tour, there will be free time available to visit other areas of the museum, have lunch on your own, and check out the museum’s gift shops. Cost is $65 and includes bus, admission, gratuities and escort. Call (443) 840-4700 or go online to


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March 2012 Baltimore Beacon Edition  

March 2012 Baltimore Beacon Edition

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