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The Coachella Valley

IN FOCUS VOL.3, NO.3

FOR

PEOPLE

OVER

COMPLIMENTARY

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More than 40,000 readers throughout the Coachella Valley

Local golfers at the Kraft Nabisco

INSIDE…

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By MaryAnne Pinkston Rich traditions abound at the 42nd Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first LPGA major of the 2014 tour. Whether it’s the winner’s legendary leap into Poppie’s Pond, the lush but tough-toplay course that belies its desert location or its status as the longest continuous running LPGA major at a single venue, the April 1-6 golf tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage is a favorite for woman golfers. More than 100 of the top women golfers in the world will compete this year. The field will include defending champion Sun Young Yoo and other top American and international players, including 2012 Player of the Year Stacy Lewis, Yani Tseng, Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Michele Wie, Lexi Thompson, Na Yeon Choi, Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen, Ai Miyazato and Jiyai Shin. Three players who live in the Coachella Valley — two with memories of competing in the major and one still looking for her first Nabisco title — tell why the Kraft is so special.

MARCH 2014

LEISURE & TRAVEL

Pasadena’s many museums, restaurants and shops; plus, new ships and attractions for 2014 cruises, and cruises that stimulate the mind page 19

Playing with Dinah Shore Sherri Steinhauer, who now plays on the LPGA Legends Tour, says she fell in love with the desert the first time she played the Nabisco Dinah Shore tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in the late 1980s. When her parents bought a home nearby, she gratefully moved in; a few years later, having prospered on the LPGA Tour, she bought her own desert retreat. Although it’s now called the Kraft Nabisco Championship, when Steinhauer first played the Mission Hills major event it was called the Nabisco Dinah Shore in honor of the tournament’s patron saint, who even today is remembered with a special reverence by the players of that era who knew her and had the opportunity, as Steinhauer did, to play golf with Dinah. Asked for a favorite memory, Steinhauer says, “We were playing a practice round, and Dinah hit her shot, and she was posing, you know, like players do on their follow through when they hit a really good shot, but the ball never left the ground — it just rolled away cross the grass. And she said, ‘I wish I was as thin as that shot was.’” That story will bring a smile to anyone

Nicole Castrale, whose LPGA career has been marked three times since 2001 by season-ending hip and shoulder injuries, is determined to give the Kraft her best shot in 2014.

who’s ever hit a golf ball. Or tried to lose five pounds.

A challenging course Named 1988 Golf Digest Rookie of the year, 1994 Swedish Golfer of the Year and 1994 Golf World’s Most Improved Golfer, Liselotte Neumann was recognized during the LPGA’s 50th Anniversary in 2000 as one of the LPGA’s top-50 players and teachers. “The Kraft Nabisco was always one of my favorite events on tour,” says the Swedish golfer, who also now plays on the LPGA Legends Tour where she says she is “always working on my game to improve on every level.”

The Nabisco “has celebrity status, and it is played at Mission Hills, one of the most challenging and difficult golf courses we play,” she says. “To have the LPGA competing in Coachella Valley is very important for golf and everyone that follows women’s golf, and it also helps a lot of local charities.” Playing Mission Hills introduced the Coachella Valley to Neumann, who has embraced living here. “I love the outdoors,” she says. “I hike with my dogs in the mountains, I play a lot of golf on the many beautiful golf courses

ARTS & STYLE

Sculptor Christopher Georgesco in a lighter mood; plus, hospital guild nets $50,000 at lunch. page 23

FITNESS & HEALTH 4 k Medical volunteers needed k Medicare to limit drug access? LAW & MONEY k Palm Springs loses Follies k Money advice from the pros

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PLUS BEACON BITS & MORE See KRAFT NABISCO, page 26


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CV Beacon distribution doubles in 2 years 700 locations in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta and Indio. Our complimentary publication, focusing on topics for people over 50, is found every month at all the major supermarkets, at Walgreens, at senior centers, among other locations. More and more readers — now more than MA Lic #171

It’s been a great two years. Two years and three months, to be exact. The Coachella Valley Beacon first saw the light of day in January 2012. At that time, we were off to a promising beginning, and 20,000 copies of the Beacon were distributed at 350 locations. Now I’m happy to report that the Beacon is shining even brighter. It’s distributed at more than

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40,000 readers in the Coachella Valley — are wares. Speakers from a variety of profesfinding more and more interesting articles in sions, entertainers and generous giveaways the Beacon. Articles written by made the Expo experience a some of the most respected huge success. Plans are alwriters in the desert. Articles ready underway for our Nodealing with Fitness & Health, vember Expo to be held at the Law & Money, Leisure & Classic Club in Palm Desert. Travel and Art & Style, the subWhat else? Just this. We’d jects that affect the dynamics of like to hear from you. We welour life. come your letters to the editor, We also made available last your comments and suggesmonth a complimentary Sentions. We’d like to know which iors Resources Guide. It’s a FROM THE Beacon features you like best. comprehensive, easy-to-read PUBLISHER And we’d like to know what we compilation of everything im- By Michael Brachman might do to make the Beacon portant to those 50-plus in the even more to your liking. valley. It’s been an exciting time since our first I’d also like to mention a highlight of 2013 issue debuted in January 2012. And I look — the Coachella Valley Beacon 50+ Expo, forward, with your interest and your input, the first such Expo held on the West Coast. to making this year the best year yet for the More than 50 exhibitors showcased their Beacon.

Letters to the editor Readers are encouraged to share their opinion on any matter addressed in the Coachella Valley Beacon as well as on political and social issues of the day. Mail your Letter to the Editor to The Coachella Valley Beacon, 1001 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Ste 217, Palm Springs, CA 92263 or e-mail to mb@otmedia.net. Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification.

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The Coachella Valley Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to informing, serving and entertaining the citizens of the Coachella Valley area, and is independently owned and operated by On-Target Media, Inc. under authority of the Beacon Newspapers, Inc. Other Beacon editions serve Howard County, Md. and Baltimore, Md., as well as Greater Washington, D.C. Subscriptions are available via third-class mail ($16), prepaid with order. Send subscription order to the office listed below. Publication of advertising contained herein does not necessarily constitute endorsement. Signed columns represent the opinions of the writers, and not necessarily the opinion of the publisher.

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Health Fitness &

BACK TO SQUARE ONE Back pain is often overtreated; exercise and OTC drugs may help most CONFUSED WITH BOOZE Men risk a faster mental decline as they age if they are heavy drinkers TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING High doses of antioxidant vitamins may actually raise cancer risk ACCIDENT RATE DRIVEN DOWN Older drivers today are less likely to cause crashes than a generation ago

Indio free medical clinic needs volunteers the-art clinic in Indio. Patients are seen for a variety of health concerns. Diabetes. Arthritis. High blood pressure. Dentistry. Colds and flu. Prescription assistance.

Many volunteers needed “We’re now averaging about 500 to 600 patient visits a month,” said Loretta Moss, community liaison director, “so we’re in constant need of volunteers.” Volunteers are asked to commit to working at least four hours a month. To serve in a professional capacity, the only requirement is a valid, unrestricted license to practice in California. Malpractice insurance is provided by the clinic.

“The value of the volunteer time is fast approaching $1 million,” said Executive Director Bruce Yeager. “That says a great deal about the dedication of our volunteers. We continue to have an urgent need for physicians and dentists. Getting dentists to volunteer is harder than — well, harder than pulling teeth.”

“The clinic has given me the opportunity to do what I went into medicine to do,” said Dr. Roy M. Pitkin.” And that’s to take care of patients — without the unpleasant distractions that seem to plague the private practice of medicine nowadays.” See VOLUNTEERS, page 5

COURTESY PHOTO

By John Annarino When I entered the clinic, the first thing that caught my eye was a 20-foot banner saying in big bold letters: THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS! How very appropriate. Because it’s the volunteers — the physicians, dentists, nurses, hygienists, translators — who enable the clinic to do the work it does. And that’s to provide no-cost primary medical and dental care to Coachella Valley residents who can’t afford the medical help they need. Three years ago, working in a small, temporary facility, the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine began providing such care. Today CVVIM serves from a state-of-

Started in 2010 in rented facilities, the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine clinic opened in a county-funded building in February 2013. The clinic treats low-income, uninsured patients.


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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — M A R C H 2 0 1 4

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Medicare may limit access to some drugs By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar In a move that some fear could compromise care for Medicare recipients, the Obama administration is proposing to remove special protections that guarantee seniors access to a wide selection of three types of drugs. The three classes of drugs — widely used antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs that suppress the immune system to prevent the rejection of a transplanted organ — have enjoyed special “protected” status since the launch of the Medicare pre-

scription benefit in 2006. That has meant that the private insurance plans that deliver prescription benefits to seniors and those with disabilities must cover “all or substantially all” medications in the class, allowing the broadest possible access. The plans can charge more for costlier drugs, but they can’t just close their lists of approved drugs, or formularies, to protected medications. In a proposal published in the Federal Register, the administration called for removing

Volunteers

port of concerned healthcare and public officials, he opened the temporary facility in Indio while building the state-of-the-art operation that opened in January 2013. “It’s everyone’s hope,” said Moss, “that someday a free clinic for preventive medicine is unnecessary. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to do all we can for all the people who need our help. Our patients can count on the very best of care. And our volunteers can count on — as the big banner says — our thanks.”

From page 4 The clinic is a non-profit organization, relying exclusively on grants and the generosity of individuals for funding. Outside the well-equipped examination and dental rooms a plaque bears, in appreciation, the name of the donor. Volunteers in Medicine began in 1994 when retired physician Jack McConnell established a clinic staffed by retired physicians to provide healthcare to the underserved population in Hilton Head, S.C. His concept of clinical services provided exclusively by volunteers spread rapidly across the country. Now there are 96 free clinics in 26 states. Dr. Ron Hare saw the need for a free clinic in the Coachella Valley. With the sup-

protected status from antidepressants, antipsychotics, and immunosuppressant drugs. The proposal said that status it is no longer needed to guarantee access, would save millions of dollars for taxpayers and beneficiaries alike, and could help deal with the problem of improperly prescribed antipsychotics drugs in nursing homes.

Patient advocates alarmed

tially limit access to critically needed medications for millions of people. “We are disturbed by this,” said Andrew Sperling, legislative advocacy director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “This is a key protection. It’s a cornerstone of what has made the benefit work for people with mental illness.” Sperling said that patients with mental health issues often have to try a variety of

But advocates for patients are strongly criticizing the idea, saying it could poten-

See MEDICARE DRUGS, page 8

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Back pain often overdiagnosed, overtreated By Daniel DeNoon What doctors call “routine” back pain can really, really hurt. Surprisingly, the best treatment is usually quite conservative —over-thecounter pain relievers, ice and heat, and gentle exercise. Yet for decades, many doctors have

been ordering more and more unnecessary tests, narcotics and referrals for surgery. “Most routine back pain will improve on its own with conservative therapy in three months, often shorter than that,” said Dr. Bruce E. Landon, professor of health are

policy at Harvard Medical School. “Even more importantly, when we do more aggressive things — such as injections, imaging, and surgery — the long-term outcomes don’t change at all. These things have very little impact on what is going on, and they have the potential to make things worse.” The trend of overdiagnosis and overtreatment is getting worse, according to a new study by Landon and his colleagues. They analyzed nationally representative data from 1999 through 2010 on nearly 24,000 outpatient visits for acute, new onset or chronic flare-up back pain to see if these people were treated according to established, evidence-based guidelines. Endorsed by both U.S. and international experts, these guidelines: • Call for treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen and naproxen) or acetaminophen

(Tylenol and generic). • Call for referral to physical therapy when appropriate. • Advise against early referral for imaging (such as MRI and CT scans) except in rare cases where “red flags” suggest something other than routine back pain. • Advise against prescribing narcotics. • Advise against early referral to other physicians for injections or surgery.

Guidelines often ignored The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, revealed that doctors were increasingly ignoring these guidelines. During the study period: • Use of NSAIDS and acetaminophen went down, from 36.9 percent of visits in 19992000 to 24.5 percent of visits in 2009-2010. • Prescriptions for narcotic pain relievers went up, from 19.3 percent of visits in 19992000 to 29.1 percent of visits in 2009-2010. • Referrals to physical therapy remained low at 20 percent of visits. • Referral to other physicians went up, from 6.8 percent of visits in 1999-2000 to 14 percent of visits in 2009-2010. • Referrals for CT or MRI scans increased from 7.2 percent of visits in 19992000 to 11.3 percent of visits in 2009-2010. “It is hard to not do anything aggressive, especially when you are having a lot of pain,” Landon said. “So people ask for these more advanced things and, unfortunately, doctors are often willing to prescribe them because that’s the path of least resistance.” This path of least resistance for primary care providers is a treasure trove for surgeons, specialists and pain clinics. In the United States, healthcare for back pain adds up to about $86 billion each year. When people with routine back pain are referred for MRI imaging, they’re eight times more likely to have surgery. When people with back pain ask for offguideline treatments, it takes time to understand their expectations and to explain how conservative treatment is better suited to their situation. Doctors may not feel they have that kind of time, noted Dr. John Mafi, chief medical resident at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass., and first author of the study. “It is hard to reason with people when they’re in a lot of pain,” he said. “I’m in favor of the honesty route. I tell people with firsttime back pain that narcotics don’t necessarily help and, frankly, they are a risk. Instead of reaching for the narcotics, I suggest that if they start with the acetaminophen or ibuprofen and get rest and use ice, the vast majority of the time this will get better on its own.” Landon noted that it takes five or 10 minutes to explain things as Mafi suggests, but it takes only 10 seconds to order a test or write a prescription. “The way our healthcare system is set up right now makes it hard to do the right thing,” Landon said. “Orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and pain medicine doctors See BACK PAIN, page 8


C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — M A R C H 2 0 1 4

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Medicare drugs From page 5 drugs before they find the right one for their condition. He also questioned whether the change

would help crack down on the problem of improperly prescribed antipsychotics, saying it amounted to a blunt instrument. The National Kidney Foundation also voiced worries. Legislative policy director Tonya Saffer said transplant patients often de-

M A R C H 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

pend on combinations of medication, so having the broadest possible choice is crucial. “Covering all immunosuppressant drugs is very important for the patient, and very important to protect the transplanted organ from rejection,” Saffer said. The proposal could lead to “patients having to go through multiple channels to try and get a drug,” which would put patients at risk, she added.

Cancer and HIV drugs unchanged In the proposal, the administration said the new policy was developed after careful consultation with a broad range of experts. The three other types of drugs that have protected status — for cancer, HIV/AIDS and preventing seizures — would remain protected. If adopted in the coming months, the new policy could take effect as early as 2015. The administration estimates it could save taxpayers a total of $720 million by 2019. Beneficiaries may also be able to save. That’s because the drug plans can drive a harder bargain for manufacturer discounts

when a drug is not protected. “The circumstances that existed when this policy was originally implemented have changed dramatically in the more than seven years the program has been in operation,” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in its proposal. “We are concerned that requiring essentially open coverage of certain classes and categories of drugs presents both financial disadvantages and patient welfare concerns ... as a result of increased drug prices and overutilization,” the proposal added. A leading industry analyst said the proposal would represent a significant change for Medicare’s prescription benefit, which is highly popular with beneficiaries. “It is a weakening of a patient protection,” said Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalare Health, a market analysis firm. “I’m not sure that Medicare saves money from this kind of a change,” he added. “Other elements of the program may have a cost increase if people are not using medications in the right way.” — AP

B E AC ON B I T S

Mar. 22

RAT PACK REDUX

Relive the sounds of Frank, Dean and Sammy in a celebrity tribute concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at the Indian Wells Theater, Cal State San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus, 37-500 Cook St., Palm Desert. $35-$40. (760) 341-6909, www.IWtheater.com.


C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — M A R C H 2 0 1 4

Health Shorts Heavy drinking ages men Middle-aged men risk a faster mental decline as they age if they’ve been drinking heavily for years, new research suggests. The study of about 5,000 British civil servants found that, over a decade, the added

Back pain From page 6 get paid for doing things, not for counseling.”

What to do for back pain If you have a first-time bout with low back pain, or are in the midst of another go-round with it, here’s what Dr. Jeffrey N. Katz, professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, recommends in “Low Back Pain,” a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School: Cold and heat. At the beginning of the flare-up, start with ice or cold packs. After 48 hours, switch to gentle heat. Rest. If you’re in severe pain when sitting or standing, bed rest can be helpful. But limit it to a few hours at a time, for no more than a couple of days.

decline was the equivalent of about two extra years of aging (for a combined measure of mental abilities like reasoning) and about six years for memory. The heavy drinkers’ abilities were compared to those of men who drank moderately or abstained. It’s no surprise that heavy alcohol consumption can affect the brain, but the study focuses on an age range that has received much less attention from alcohol researchers than the elderly and college students. Researchers found no such effect in women, but the study included too few fe-

Exercise. An exercise program can help the healing process during an acute flare-up, prevent repeat episodes of back pain, and improve function if you have chronic low back pain. Work with your doctor or physical therapist to develop a suitable exercise plan. Medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or an NSAID like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, are usually all that’s needed to relieve acute low back pain. They work best when taken on a regular schedule, rather than after the pain flares up. If these strategies don’t work, talk with your doctor about more advanced options for treating low back pain. Daniel DeNoon is executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. © 2014 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

male heavy drinkers to test the effect of drinking the same amount as in men, said Severine Sabia, a study author from University College London. She said it was not possible to identify a specific minimum level of consumption at which the risk begins in men. Her study used data from over 20 years. Using questionnaires, researchers calculated the men’s average daily intake of alcohol for the decade up to when they were an average of 56 years old. Then, they tracked decline in mental abilities over the following decade from tests administered every five years. Accelerated decline was seen for the

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heaviest-drinking group, which included 469 men with a wide range of alcohol intake. The minimum amount was the equivalent of about 13 ounces of wine a day or about 30 ounces of beer. The maximum was about three times that. — AP

New drug for Type 2 diabetes The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new diabetes drug from BrisSee HEALTH SHORTS, page 11


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M A R C H 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Accident rates decline for older drivers By Joan Lowy Safety researchers expressed concern a decade ago that traffic accidents would increase as the nation’s aging population swelled the number of older drivers on the road. Now, they say they’ve been proved wrong. Today’s drivers aged 70 and older are less likely to be involved in crashes than previous generations, and are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash, according to a study released last month by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That’s because vehicles are getting safer, and seniors are generally getting healthier, the institute said. The marked shift began taking hold in the mid-1990s and indicates that the growing

ranks of aging drivers, as baby boomers head into their retirement years, aren’t making U.S. roads deadlier.

Fatality rates drop generally Traffic fatalities overall in the U.S. have declined to levels not seen since the late 1940s, and accident rates have come down for other drivers as well. But since 1997, older drivers have enjoyed bigger declines than middle-age drivers (those 35 to 54) as measured by fatal crash rates per driver, and per vehicle miles driven. From 1997 to 2012, fatal crash rates per licensed driver fell 42 percent for older drivers and 30 percent for middle-age ones, the study found. Looking at vehicle miles trav-

eled, fatal crash rates fell 39 percent for older drivers and 26 percent for middle-age ones from 1995 to 2008. The greatest rate of decline was among drivers age 80 and over, nearly twice that of middle-age drivers and drivers ages 70 to 74. “This should help ease fears that aging baby boomers are a safety threat,” said Anne McCartt, the institute’s senior vice president for research and co-author of the study. “No matter how we looked at the fatal crash data for this age group — by licensed drivers or miles driven — the fatal crash involvement rates for drivers 70 and older declined, and did so at a faster pace than the rates for drivers ages 35 to 54,” she said in a report on the study’s results.

Elders driving more, too At the same time, older drivers are putting more miles on the odometer than they used to, although they’re still driving fewer miles a year than middle-aged drivers. This is especially true for drivers 75 and older, who lifted their average annual mileage by more than 50 percent from 1995 to 2008. “The fact that older drivers increased their average mileage… may indicate that they are

remaining physically and mentally comfortable with driving tasks,” the institute said. When older drivers reduce the number of trips they take, it’s often because they sense their driving skills are eroding. They compensate by driving less at night, during rush hour, in bad weather, or over long distances. By 2050, the number of people in the U.S. age 70 and older is expected to reach 64 million, or about 16 percent of the population. In 2012, there were 29 million people in the U.S. age 70 and over, or 9 percent of the population. “The main point is that these 70- to 80year-olds are really different than their predecessors,” said Alan Pisarski, author of the authoritative “Commuting in America” series of reports on driving trends. “They learned to drive in a very different era. They are far more comfortable driving in freeway situations. This matters immensely for the future, because we are seeing dramatic increases in older workers staying in the labor force and continuing to work and commute well past 65.” For more information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, see www.iihs.org. — AP

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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — M A R C H 2 0 1 4

Health shorts From page 9 tol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca that uses a novel approach to reduce blood sugar. Farxiga is a once-a-day tablet designed to help diabetes patients eliminate excess sugar via their urine. That differs from older drugs that decrease the amount of sugar absorbed from food and stored in the liver. The drug is the second product approved in the U.S. from the new class of medicines known as SGLT2 drugs. Last March, the FDA approved Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana, which also works by eliminating excess sugar through patients’ urine. The agency cleared Farxiga tablets for patients with type 2 diabetes. The approval marks a comeback for the drug, which was rejected last year after studies raised concerns about links to bladder cancer and liver toxicity. Ten cases of bladder cancer were found in patients taking the drug in clinical trials, so Farxiga’s label warns against using it in patients with the disease. A panel of FDA advisers said that the uptick in cancers was likely a statistical fluke, and not related to the drug. But the FDA is requiring Bristol and AstraZeneca to track rates of bladder cancer in patients enrolled in a long-term follow up study. The companies will also monitor rates of heart disease, a frequent safety issue with newer diabetes medications. The most common side effects associated with Farxiga included fungal and urinary tract infections. The drug can be used as a stand-alone drug or in combination with other common diabetes treatments, such as insulin and metformin. — AP

Antioxidant supplements may carry risks Antioxidant vitamins are widely assumed to be cancer fighters, even though research in smokers has found high doses may actually raise their risk of tumors. Now a new study may help explain the paradox. Swedish scientists gave antioxidants to mice that had early-stage lung can-

BEACON BITS

Mar. 10+

CLASSES FOR JOY OF LEARNING

Spring quarter Osher Institute classes at the Palm Desert campus of Cal State San Bernardino range from art and politics to photography and religion to film noir and the criminal legal system and more. For a $150 per quarter fee members can take up to five classes at the campus, 37-500 Cook St., Palm Desert, or at Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 341-2883, Ext. 14428, cel.csusb.edu/osher.html.

cer, and watched the tumors multiply and become aggressive enough that the animals died twice as fast as untreated mice. The reason: The extra vitamins apparently blocked one of the body’s key cancer-fighting mechanisms, the researchers reported. The scientists stressed that they can’t make general health recommendations based on studies in mice, but said their work backs up existing cautions about antioxidant use. “You can walk around with an undiagnosed lung tumor for a long time,” said study co-author Martin Bergo of the University of Gothenburg. For someone at high risk, such as a former smoker, taking extra antioxidants “could speed up the growth of that tumor.” Antioxidants are compounds that help protect cells from certain types of damage, and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables certainly are healthy. The question is the health effect of extra-high doses in pill form. Studies in people have shown mixed re-

sults, but haven’t proven that vitamin supplements prevent cancer. A few have suggested the possibility of harm. One study in the 1990s found beta-carotene increased the risk of lung cancer in smokers. Nor are smokers the only concern: A 2011 study found Vitamin E supplements increased men’s risk of prostate cancer. As for people who already have cancer, the National Cancer Institute says: “Until more is known about the effects of antioxidant supplements in cancer patients, these supplements should be used with caution.” But biologically, scientists couldn’t explain why antioxidants might harm. The re-

11

port in the journal Science Translational Medicine is a first step to do so. The research doesn’t examine whether antioxidants might help prevent tumors from forming in the first place — only what happens if cancer already has begun. The researchers gave Vitamin E, in a range of supplement doses, or an antioxidant drug named N-acetylcysteine to mice engineered to have lung cancer. The antioxidants did prevent some cell damage. But doing so also prevented a wellknown tumor-suppressing gene named p53 from getting the signal to do its job. — AP

B E AC ON B I T S

Apr. 2+

YOGA FOR HEALTH

Seminars and workshops on therapeutic yoga will be offered from 4 to 4:50 p.m. every Wednesday, April 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at Joslyn Center, 73-750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. Cost for the classes taught by the Bodden Institute is $30 Joslyn members, $35 for non members. Registration is required at (760) 464-4718 or (760 340-3220.


12

M A R C H 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

PHOTO BY MARK DAVIDSON

Money Law &

The money-losing Fabulous Palm Springs Follies will dance their last show on May 18.

The Palm Springs Follies is going out on top By Jamie Lee Pricer The curtain goes down May 18 on the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies after a 23year run at the historic Plaza Theatre in downtown Palm Springs. Appropriately named The Last Hurrah this season, the vaudeville show starring performers who lived in the golden age of Broadway was credited with saving slumping business downtown when it opened. The genius of creators Riff Markowitz and Mary Jardin, the glitz and glam review has brought nearly 3 million visitors to stroll, shop and dine in downtown Palm Springs and to see the three-hour show in the one-time movie theatre that is now an official city historical site.

But for Follies folks it’s time to move on. The Follies is expensive, and the show’s cash reserves are depleted, said Greg Purdy, senior communications manager for the Follies. Even with ticket prices that top out at $95, the Follies is losing money, said Markowitz. It takes $1 million to produce each new version of the Follies. Plus, there are 122 employees — including the performers who are all between 54 and 83 years old, 9,000 square feet of office space, a warehouse packed to the rafters with props and costumes, music licensing, utilities and the challenge of making a 77-year-old movie house work as a Broadway-Caliber performance space with none of the labor-sav-

ing efficiencies of modern theaters. “The loss of the Follies is a bad thing. It will affect all small businesses around here,” said Lutfa Mobarak, owner of Palm Springs Fudge and Chocolates, about one block south of the Plaza Theatre. Noting the trickle-down effect of the Follies visitors who eat lunch or dinner at nearby restaurants, she said “when the restaurants are busy, we are busy. “There’s going to be a void downtown; it’s going to hurt downtown,” said a sales associate at Good Gauze, a Follies’ neighbor in The Plaza.

ness. The final season features some of the greatest numbers over the last 22 seasons, and shows are typically sold out a week in advance, said Purdy. The audience is about half newcomers and about half repeat guests coming to see one last show. Markowitz performs in the show, and it turned into much more than he ever thought it would. The 14-hour days had taken a toll. “Many folks don’t realize, though, that the Follies is 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., six-days-aweek, 11 or more months of the year. And it’s now time to be with family, grandchildren, friends...and my dog.”

Nostalgia pays off See FOLLIES, page 15

Closing has been good for Follies busi-

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M A R C H 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — M A R C H 2 0 1 4

15

Money-saving strategies from the pros We asked a variety of experts to share tips for staving off a tax audit, buying auto coverage, investing a windfall, reading the stock market, saving money on tech products, and checking credit reports.

Tax audits Frank Degen, immediate past president of the National Association of Enrolled Agents [tax professionals licensed to practice before the IRS]: What’s the most common reason

Follies From page 12

What’s ahead? Markowitz said he wants “this historic house that has contributed so much to downtown to continue to be a theatrical and creative focal point in the decades ahead.” Indeed, when the doors close on the Follies after their final season, the city of Palm Springs hopes this historical theater won’t stay empty for long. “I am very confident it will not be a hole in our downtown. It will actually be a vibrant new production, new venue, new space for someone to use,” said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet. For now, most businesses have taken a wait and see attitude while the city determines pos-

your clients are audited, and how can taxpayers avoid that fate? Only about 1 percent of taxpayers are audited. What triggers an audit is generally something on the tax return that’s out of the ordinary. For example, if you have a side business and file a Schedule C, the IRS will flag large losses, particularly if they offset other income. On Schedule A, large charitable contributions could be a red flag, because now you have to have a receipt for every item. I don’t sible future uses that will bring visitors to Palm Springs. It might return to its original role as a movie house; the Palm Springs International Film Festival has expressed interest in adding the theatre to its venue list. The Follies may be gone, but certainly won’t be forgotten. For one, the Palm Springs Historical Society with possible help from College of the Desert History Club interns plans to compile oral histories of people associated with the longest-running show in Palm Springs. The fabulous Palm Springs Follies is performed at the Plaza Theatre, 128 S. Palm Canyon Drive at 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., typically Tuesday through Saturday. The last is show May 18. Tickets: $29-$95. Information: (760) 3270225, www.psfollies.com

“Dad Couldn’t Remember How To Get Home.” An esti tiimate ted 5.2 millionn Am ted A mer eriican anss ha havve A Alz lzhheiimer’’s ddiisea ease. Th The number b of A of Ame meri rica ican ans ns with Alzheiime mer’ r s has more than douubled since 1980. The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease will continue to grow — by 2050 the number of individuals with Alzheimer’s is projected to exceed 13.8 million. Half of all nursing home residents have Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder. A person with Alzheimer’s disease will live an average of eight years and as many as 20 years or more from the onset of symptoms. The average cost for nursing home care is over $83,950 per year but can exceed $97,820.

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ask to see every receipt for charitable contributions, but I will specifically ask a client if he or she has receipts for all contributions. Unreimbursed business expenses are another item you see people get flagged on. If your preparer isn’t asking serious questions about these items, you need a new preparer.

Car insurance Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America: Name the biggest mistake people

make when shopping for car insurance. People do not shop. When I was Texas insurance commissioner 20 years ago, I invited 25 people to our office with their auto insurance policies, and I gave each of them our buyer’s guide and a phone. I asked them to make some calls and report back in one hour. The average savings was $125. I suggest you get your state insurance See PRO TIPS, page 16


16

Law & Money | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

Pro tips From page 15 department’s auto insurance buyer’s guide, find the example closest to your situation, and look at the premiums. Select the six lowest-priced insurers in your area. Then go to the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org/cis) and get the complaint ratio for the insurers. Drop the two with the highest ratios and get quotes from the remaining four.

How to handle a windfall Sheryl Garrett, founder, the Garrett Planning Network: If I won $500,000 in the lottery tomorrow, what should I do with the money? First, make sure money has been set aside to pay income taxes, which may be up to $200,000, depending on your situation. Then pay off all your consumer debt. With the remainder, invest in your ability to earn money — for example, tuition and

possibly time off to get an education. Once you have adequate cash reserves, invest the balance for retirement in low-cost, tax-efficient index funds and exchange-traded funds, and leave it alone. Investments in yourself and your retirement last a lifetime.

M A R C H 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

mergers and acquisitions. You often see an inverted yield curve, which is when short-term rates are higher than longer-term yields. And you typically see excessive enthusiasm among individual investors.

Tech deals Stock market risk Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist for Charles Schwab: How do you know when the stock market has topped out? If there were any one thing, we’d all be very wealthy. There’s no bell that rings. But there are warning signs of a pullback, things we’ve seen in the past that suggest an elevated risk. One is that interest rates, after adjusting for inflation, are rising. This is the only sign that you could argue is in place right now, and the reason why it’s happening now is that inflation has been falling — you could even argue that inflation-adjusted rates are going up for a good reason, not a bad reason. Also, you tend to see a significant pickup in initial public offerings and a real surge in

Retirement isn’t an end. It’s just the beginning. A long and successful career should be followed by a long and happy retirement. But it won’t happen on its own. You have to be sure you’re investing properly to help you reach it, and then follow a solid strategy both now and through your retirement years. As a Financial Advisor, I have the experience and tools to help you develop a strategy that is right for you, to adjust your investments as needed and to manage your wealth through all the potential changes to come. Call to arrange an appointment today and let us help you keep your wealth working for you.

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Louis Ramirez, senior features writer at Dealnews.com. Where can you find the best deals on tech products? You’d be amazed at how much money you can save by doing a Google search. When you’re out shopping, get out your smart phone and compare prices. Find out whether the store you’re visiting will match prices from other stores. And never buy accessories — a cable for your TV, a case for your phone, a memory card for your camera — in a brick-and-mortar store. Accessories are always cheaper online, at sites such as Amazon.com, Monoprice.com and Rakuten.com. If you’re not a tech fiend, buy last year’s model to save money. A product will often fall in price when a new version comes out, and the differences are usually so subtle that you won’t miss them. If you’re an early adopter, you can sell your used gadgets to Amazon.com or Gazelle.com to get some extra cash to buy a new product. If you’re going to pay full price for something, look for bundles to sweeten the deal. You may be able to get a video game or a

gift card included when you buy a new Xbox One or PS4 gaming console. Don’t buy a new device directly from Apple — you’ll pay full retail price. A lot of other retailers have deals on Apple products. Walmart sold the 16GB iPad Air at a $20 discount the minute it came out. But consider buying refurbished items from Apple. They come with a one-year warranty.

Credit reports Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education for Credit.com How often do you check your credit reports? I get my credit reports from each of the three big agencies once a year free through AnnualCreditReport.com. I usually check all of my reports at the same time. The first time you check your credit reports, I highly recommend pulling all three because the agencies don’t share information with one another, and you’ll want to spot any problems right away. After that, it’s fine to wait a year until your reports become free again and then check a different report every four months or so. I recently found a mistake on my TransUnion report, which I’m disputing. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com. ©2014 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — M A R C H 2 0 1 4

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

17

Changes that may affect your tax returns By Carole Feldman Higher-income Americans are likely to feel the biggest hits from tax law changes when they file their federal returns next month. Taxpayers also will have a harder time taking medical deductions. But other changes for the 2013 tax year may benefit you. The Alternative Minimum Tax has been patched — permanently — to prevent more middle-income people from being drawn in, and there’s a simpler way to compute the home office deduction. Also, tax rate tables and the standard deduction have been adjusted for inflation, as has the maximum contribution to retirement accounts, including 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts.

Higher-income taxpayers The tax legislation passed at the start of 2013 permanently extended the Bush-era tax cuts for most people, but also added a top marginal tax rate of 39.6 percent for those at higher incomes — $400,000 for single filers, $450,000 for married couples filing jointly, and $425,000 for heads of household. On top of that, higher-income taxpayers could see their itemized deductions and personal exemptions phased out and pay higher capital gains taxes — 20 percent for some taxpayers. And there are new taxes on high earners to help pay for healthcare reform. There are different income thresholds for each of these new taxes.

An additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax, for example, kicks in on earnings over $250,000 for married couples filing jointly and $200,000 for singles and heads of household. Same for a 3.8 percent tax on investment income. But the phase-out of personal exemptions and deductions doesn’t begin until $300,000 for married couples filing jointly and $250,000 for singles. Taxpayers who didn’t plan could find themselves with big tax bills come April 15

— and perhaps penalties for under-withholding. Confused? “The complexities of the tax code are only affecting those of us trying to read it,” National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said in an interview. Tax software makes a lot of those complexities invisible to most people. As a result, taxpayers also might not realize they’re being helped by a wide array of See TAX RETURNS, page 18


18

Law & Money | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

Tax returns From page 17 deductions and credits. “They have no idea of the benefits they are getting through the tax code,” she said. One simplification: Many investors will find it easier to report stock sales if the 1099-B forms they receive contain key details of the sale and the correct basis for computing gains and losses.

Who’s filing The IRS processed more than 147 million tax returns in 2013, down slightly from the previous year. More than 109 million taxpayers received refunds that averaged $2,744, also slightly less than in 2012. The upward trend of electronic filing continued, with more than 83 percent of returns being filed online. The biggest jump, 4.6 percent, was among people who used software programs to do their own taxes. The IRS is continuing to offer its Free

File option, which is available to taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $58,000 or less. These taxpayers can use brand-name software to file their taxes at no cost. Some states also participate. The agency also has an option for taxpayers of all incomes — Free File Fillable Forms — which does basic calculations but does not offer the guidance that a software package would. For the 2013 tax year, the personal exemption is $3,900. The standard deduction is $12,200 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $6,100 for singles, and $8,950 for heads of household. Many credits and deductions were extended for 2013, including several for education. Among them: the American Opportunity Credit of up to $2,500 per student for tuition and fees, and deductions for student loan interest and tuition-related expenses. Many of these are phased out at higher income levels. Schoolteachers will still be able to deduct up to $250 in out-of-pocket expenses for

M A R C H 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

books or other supplies on their 2013 returns, but not thereafter.

Medical and home office deductions Taxpayers may continue to deduct their medical expenses, but it will be more difficult for many to qualify. The threshold for deducting medical expenses now stands at 10 percent of adjusted gross income, up from 7.5 percent. There’s an exception, though, for those older than 65. For them, the old rate is grandfathered in until 2017. Among the other changes for 2013, some taxpayers who work at home will now have a simplified option for taking a home office deduction. “You can claim this deduction for the business use of a part of your home only if you use that part of your home regularly and exclusively,” the IRS says. So, if you sit at your kitchen table and check work email, it doesn’t qualify.

The IRS said that for tax year 2011, the most recent year for which numbers are available, more than 3.3 million people claimed nearly $10 billion in home office deductions using Schedule C. Most taxpayers claiming the deduction are self-employed, according to the IRS. Until this year, you had to figure actual expenses for a home office, according to Barbara Weltman, a contributing editor to J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2014. “Starting with 2013 returns, if you’re eligible for the deduction, you can take a standard deduction of $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet,” she said. The maximum deduction using this method is $1,500. The IRS says people who take the simplified option will have to fill out one line on Schedule C, as opposed to a 43-line form. Weltman likened the simplified home office deduction to the IRS deduction for business use of your car. “You can do your actual costs or the IRS mileage rates.” The standard mileage rate for business use of a car in 2013 is 56.5 cents a mile. — AP

BEACON BITS

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INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE

FREE MOVIE, DISCUSSION

Inocente, the Academy Award-winning documentary short subject about a 15-year-old homeless girl who takes control of her destiny, will continue the annual free Palm Desert Public Art Documentary Film Series at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 20 at the University of California, Palm Desert campus auditorium, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Drive. Featured speaker Matt D’Arrigo, founder and CEO of the arts nonprofit A Reason to Survive and a participant in the film, will lead a discussion. Reservations suggested at (760) 837-1603, palmdesert.ucr.edu/programs/event s.html.

Mar. 21+

FOOD FAN ALERT

More than 80 wines and champagnes, renowned chefs, tastings, 50 restaurants, seminars — what more could a foodie want? It’s all at the 3-day, Friday-Sunday, March 21-23, Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert under the big white tent on El Paseo at Larkspur Lane. $25-$150. (760) 656-0841, palmdesertfoodandwine.com.


C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — M A R C H 2 0 1 4

Say you saw it in the Beacon

Travel

19

Leisure &

Cruise news for 2014. See stories on pages 20 and 21.

Pasadena for a city fix, shopping and eating By Jorie Parr Fond as we are of the peaceful Coachella Valley, sometimes we just need a city fix. And

less than two hours away is Pasadena, so much an easier destination than Los Angeles. A slick way to go is west on Interstate 10 to Redlands, then switch off to the 210, leaving the L.A. drivers to outmaneuver themselves. Once arrived, there’s art and shopping and eating. What fun. Our incentive this trip was to see “Picturing Mexico – Alfredo Ramos Martinez in California,” an intriguing exhibit if you like 1930s art with a Mexican cast. This artist isn’t known as one of Los Tres Grandes — Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros — but he’s close. The show is up through April 20 at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Upstairs in the museum galleries, you’ll never believe the luck. The daughter of Ramos Martinez was there with an en-

An interior view of the exemplary boutique Koi in South Pasadena.

tourage of family and friends from Los Angeles. “That painting was over our mantelpiece,” she said, rolling on in her wheelchair. Others told us stories about the artist, who before starting a painting fell to his knees in prayer. (Creative people will understand this.)

Shop till you drop This museum isn’t open until noon, so shopping time came before and after. Old Town Pasadena has its share of upscale stores, but hey, there’s the joy of fast fashion. We’re talking cheap thrills at Zara, H&M and Urban Outfitters, close to each other on Colorado Boulevard. Around the corner on DeLacey stands, one is tempted to say, a magnificent Forever 21, in a 1931 art deco build-

ing formerly occupied by Saks Fifth Avenue. No trip to Pasadena would be complete without a look-through of the Folk Tree. Especially appropriate this day because it specializes in Mexican art and crafts. We usually lunch next door at the Happy Trails Garden Café. You order your food (ingenious salads) then carry it through to the back garden. A stunning centenarian camphor tree shades the whole area. Also in that 200 block of S. Fair Oaks Ave. is the clubby Central Park grill, in a one-time flower warehouse. Celebrity portraits line the exposed brick walls. The friendly staff serves tasty fare like short See PASADENA, page 20


20

Leisure & Travel | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

M A R C H 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

New ships and attractions for 2014 cruises By Beth J. Harpaz A couple of eye-popping new ships, the ever-growing popularity of river cruising, and efforts to restore consumer confidence are among the headlines in cruise news as 2014 unfolds. But don’t expect ships to keep getting

bigger. Instead, look for theme park-style attractions and new offerings in dining and entertainment. Here are some details. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents 95 percent of cruise capacity worldwide with 63 member cruise lines, forecasts 21.7 million guests will

cruise this year, up from 21.3 million in 2013. The Caribbean remains the world’s most popular cruise destination, included on 37 percent of global cruise itineraries, followed by a 19 percent share for the Mediterranean.

Better, not bigger More than two dozen cruise ships will launch in 2014 and 2015, but the race to make every vessel bigger than the last is subsiding from several years ago, when Royal Caribbean’s Allure and Oasis set records with capacities of more than 6,000 passengers apiece. “I think the size of the ships — Allure and Oasis — is as big as it gets,” said CLIA president Christine Duffy in an interview. Instead, Duffy says, the new emphasis is “on more bells and whistles.” Two of 2014’s new ships are sure to turn heads. The colorful exterior of Norwegian

Cruise Line’s ship Norwegian Getaway, which debuted this winter, features a mermaid cavorting amid turquoise and yellow swirls. It was designed by Miami-based Cuban-American artist David Le Batard, also known as “LEBO.” Getaway will homeport in Miami, and is a sister ship to Norwegian Breakaway — a New York-themed ship that debuted in 2013. Getaway carries 3,969 passengers, has 18 decks, and two unique offerings: the Illusionarium — part restaurant, part magic show — and the “Grammy Experience at Sea,” with performances by Grammy winners and nominees, plus exhibits of Grammy-related artifacts. The most-anticipated new ship of 2014 is Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, with dazzling first-at-sea attractions — simulated skydiving, bumper cars, and an observation capsule called the North Star. The capsule, modeled on the London Eye, offers a bird’s-eye view 300 feet above the water. The ship debuts in November. See CRUISES, page 22

Pasadena From page 19 ribs and key lime pie (from a family recipe). Another popular lunch alternative back on Colorado is the chi chi Mi Piace for mod Italian food and atmosphere.

Stopping in South Pasadena Returning home, it’s easy to swing into the nearby treasure town of South Pasadena. If it happens to be snack time, head for 1001 Mission and La Monarca, a Mexican bakery with a monarch butterfly theme. In the panaderia style you take a tray and tongs to the showcase and pick your goodies. I chose something that looked like a brioche with the (dough) ball on top; Gordon, crazy about the sweet taquitos, had several different fruit flavors. La Monarca looks out on the tracks with an occasional silver Metro Rail streaming by. A stroll around the leafy neighborhood is rather fascinating, with shops, salons, restaurants. At the other end of Mission Street, at the corner of Fair Oaks Boulevard, check out the circa 1915 drugstore, the Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain. The tin ceilings and honeycomb tile floor haven’t changed. And you can still get an ice cream soda or have a prescription filled. But brace for the best part of the excursion, fashionistas. It’s Koi, a boutique down the way at 1007 Fair Oaks. Beautifully designed, it houses interesting clothes, shoes and jewelry. Gordon found me a smashing pair of sandal/boots, natural buck with silver toes marked down to $80. They have another sale in July or August, and I’m going back.

Information: Visitor information: ci.pasadena.ca.us Pasadena Museum of California Art: Pmcaonline.org


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Taking cruises that stimulate the mind Want to hear a history professor bring ancient Greece to life or learn how to make a mean shrimp scampi? Look for cruises with great enrichment programs. The Crystal Cruises Creative Learning Institute lets you use your time to sharpen your mind or your skill set. Passengers can take a series of seminars ranging from personal wellness sessions led by Cleveland Clinic doctors to painting and sculpture classes. Or, through the Crystal Visions program, you can listen to lectures from well-

known authors, politicians, scientists and others. (Hugh Downs and James Carville have been on past lineups.) The Conversations program, from the Seabourn cruise line, hosts experts who make presentations and mingle with passengers. Some are knowledgeable about a particular cruise’s destinations and focus their talks accordingly. On a 19-day Baltic Sea cruise in May, for example, an anthropologist will be on board. Crystal and Seabourn are luxury cruise

lines, and you’ll pay a premium for the experience. Prices start at $10,000 per person for the Baltic Sea cruise. Booking a 12-day segment of a 2016 Crystal cruise of the Pacific that includes Creative Learning Institute classes recently started at $4,395 per passenger. But you don’t have to be on a high-end ship with an intensive enrichment program to feed your brain — or your stomach. Holland America features cooking classes through its Culinary Arts Center, such as

demonstrations of how to make jerk chicken on a Caribbean cruise. And prices for Holland America cruises aren’t as lofty as those for the luxury lines. Many are available for less than $1,000. Princess Cruises’ ScholarShip@Sea program includes lectures, wine tastings, and art-history presentations (extra charges may apply for certain activities). — By Lisa Gerstner and Susannah Snider ©2014 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CRYSTAL CRUISES

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Cruises From page 20

Restoring confidence The cruise industry has had a rough few years, beginning with the January 2012 shipwreck of the Costa Concordia, which killed 32 people. In September 2013, the Concordia was finally pulled upright in a complicated engineering feat, but the vessel is still in the waters off the coast of Italy, and its captain remains on trial. The bad news continued last year when Carnival had several mishaps, with passengers stranded at sea, ships towed back to port, and cancelled trips. The negative publicity depressed prices and revenue for the company. The incidents even changed the way travelers book cruises. The percentage of cruises booked online had been increasing fast until last year, according to a study re-

leased in December by PhoCusWright. After the Carnival mishaps, “both cruise lines and agents spent more time on the phone winning over tentative travelers and upselling all they could,” according to PhoCusWright. Online cruise bookings jumped 28 percent in 2011 and 26 percent in 2012, but increased just 6 percent in 2013. To restore consumer confidence, the cruise industry has taken a number of steps, including publishing statistics for crimes that take place on ships, and issuing a passenger bill of rights guaranteeing sanitary conditions, medical care, and refunds in the event of a major power failure. Carnival is undertaking a $300 million program to add emergency generators to ships, upgrade fire safety, and improve engine rooms. The changes will create redundancies so that if one power source fails, others will be available.

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Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of CruiseCritic.com, said river cruises are “just exploding with new ship launches by Viking, Uniworld, Avalon, AmaWaterways and others.” Viking Cruises christened 10 new river ships last year and launches a dozen more this year. American Cruise Lines has commissioned four new riverboats. And the newly refurbished American Empress makes its maiden voyage in April on the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake rivers. More cruise lines are banning smoking on balconies in addition to cabins. After all, if you’re a nonsmoker, you don’t want smoke from the neighboring verandah blowing back into your room. Disney, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Crystal are among the lines that no longer permit balcony smoking; Cunard will join them later this year. But most ships still offer some designated smoking areas onboard, which may include decks, casinos and select clubs.

Food, glorious food Cruise lines keep expanding culinary of-

ferings, with more celebrity chef-designed menus and variety, from ethnic food to vegan and gluten-free dishes. Specialty restaurants also continue to be added, some charging extra and some covered by the basic cruise price. Norwegian’s Getaway and Breakaway feature menus from Geoffrey Zakarian and bakeries by “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro. Crystal Cruises’ Serenity has an onboard herb garden where chefs can harvest fresh ingredients. Carnival is introducing a new contemporary upscale restaurant, the American Table, on two ships. Oceania Cruises offers more than 20 classes in its Bon Appetit Culinary Center onboard the Marina and Riviera ships, from regional cuisines to pasta-making. New apps under development will allow guests to keep track of events onboard and stay in touch with each other via text, just like they do on land, without “sitting there dreading that roaming charge.” The improvements won’t be felt for awhile, though: “We’re in our early innings, but there’s a lot more to come,” Berra said. — AP

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Sherri Steinhauer says one of her favorite memories is playing a practice round with Dinah Shore in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. See the continuation of the cover story on page 26.

Sculptor Georgesco in a lighter mood gallerist Dimitri Halkidis envisions as “an old-school salon.” A comprehensive exhibition that will include some of the Desert Hot Springs artist’s huge stainless steel works is planned for 2015. Meanwhile, “This is a chance for people to meet with Christopher and see what he’s been doing. No one’s seen these [wood pieces] yet. The finishing and execution are mind-blowing.” For Laurie Weitz, to be the curator amounts to something of a dream. As a college girl in the ’80s she admired the Santa Monica/Venice light and space artists, Georgesco among them. Several years ago, See SCULPTOR, page 25

PHOTO BY GORDON PAR

By Jorie Parr Christopher Georgesco, renowned for his massive stainless steel sculptures installed from Tokyo to Bucharest, is turning to wood. Smaller, lighter, portable pieces that hang on the wall. It’s an opportunity for new collectors to acquire a Georgesco at more affordable price points. A collection of about 20 will debut at Gallery 446 at an opening on March 23. From March 24 until April 9 the show can be viewed by all at the 446 Indian Canyon Rd. address. Reflecting the burgeoning art scene in Palm Springs, the gallery in the Donald Wexler-designed building recently doubled its space. The Georgesco solo show will be mounted in the clean, white addition which

Sculptor Christopher Georgesco is shown with his new work. He says, “I keep the ideas I had in cardboard studies for finished pieces. I’m interested in outer space —straight lines or curves.”


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M A R C H 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Hospital guild nets $50,000 at annual lunch to continue medical research and care. The event honored Desert Guild founders, Dr. Jane Woolley and the Honorable Shirley Pettis Thompson. “These two visionary women had a goal to build a support base for the hundreds of Coachella Valley children who seek treatment for serious inpatient and outpatient medical issues at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital each year,” said Desert Guild President Joyce Engel. The luncheon theme, “Backed with love

. . .Packed with care,” referenced the backpack centerpieces at each table, filled with items for some of the patients who often go home with nothing, said event chairwoman Nancy Volk. “Due to their home and health situations, these children with minimal belongings are often placed in foster homes upon discharge from the hospital.”

New shopping options A shopping boutique, larger than last years’ with a broader range of goods, featured acclaimed New York fashion designer, Cullen Meyer, who showcased his handmade scarves. New to the shopping arena this year was See BIG HEARTS, page 26

PHOTO BY KATE PORTER

By Madeline Zuckerman The Desert Guild Chapter of Big Hearts for Little Hearts of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) hosted its annual luncheon and boutique fundraiser recently at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, with a record 350 guests. The event raised $50,000 to provide equipment for the hospital’s Pediatric Oncology Unit, and the guild announced it will fund an Endowed Pediatric Chair at LLUCH

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Joyce Engel, president of the Desert Guild Chapter of Big Hearts for Little Hearts of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (left), joins honoree Dr. Jane Woolley (center) and event chairwoman Nancy Volk at the charity’s annual luncheon.

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Sculptor From page 23 excited to see his sculpture at a gallery here, she was motivated to support and encourage Georgesco. Laurie and her husband Larry Weitz subsequently donated his “Triangulation” to the Palm Springs Art Museum. It’s situated on the small bridge in the sculpture garden outside the café. It was Laurie Weitz’ idea that Georgesco put a 10-inch high cardboard maquette in a recent group show. He shrugged and went along with it. Guess who bought it? No less a collector than philanthropist Donna MacMillan, major contributor to PSAM.

A visit to Georgesco’s studio The Beacon visited the Georgesco studio

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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — M A R C H 2 0 1 4

in Desert Hot Springs, his home base since 1995. He gestured toward the new wooden beauties. He says a vacation last year on the Greek island of Santorini inspired the hues. “White [architecture], yellow sun, blue sky, gray clouds.” Georgesco remembers that in New York in the ‘80s, one of his prominent patrons, playwright Edward Albee, took him to see a Joel Shapiro sculpture show. Georgesco was struck by the freedom he encountered. His reaction was, “It feels monumental on a small scale. But you can put it in a brief case.” Now he can put his own art in a tube, so to speak, and carry it off on an airplane to galleries in Amsterdam. He has connections in Holland, the home land of his wife, Maria Verstappen. He marvels that he was throwing away the preludes to his gigantic works, the card-

board models. “Picasso saved everything.” And there are advantages to working off the wall. “They can be pointed. They don’t need a pedestal. And…they offer more than a painting. They have six sides.” Furthermore, the sculptor has control over positioning. To grasp what Georgesco calls “the delineated inner space,” the portals, it’s important that the correct side be in front.” One more thing: with summer coming on, the artist can work inside.

More affordable works The bottom line is that an art lover, who might only have been to admire a Georgesco

from afar, can find one in the $1,600-$3,200 range, contrasted to $14,000 up for the steel structures. Or then again, a buyer who might want to transport a Georgesco to another home won’t need a truck to do it. Small or large, wood or steel, they all emanate from the same creative force. The son of a prominent modernist architect, the late Haralamb Georgescu, Christopher says “I hope to keep the family name going with my work.” The seasoned artist had his first show at 20. He thinks that now, four decades later, “I’ve had enough of art world politics.” He’s happy to be dealing with friends he likes and trusts.

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Kraft Nabisco From page 1 in the area. It is great for tennis and biking, but also a great place to shop and dine.

Inspired by the Kraft The Kraft was the deal maker for Nicole Castrale, who started hitting golf balls at age 10 and moved to the Coachella Valley with her family when she was in the eighth grade. “I think it was the first LPGA event I ever attended. My golf coach took me just as a spectator,” she says, recalling how she was impressed to see all the players inside the ropes, like one of her idols, Julie Inkster. Fifteen years old at the time, Castrale says “I couldn’t believe how many fans were there.” It made a lasting impression. “That’s when I first realized it’s what I wanted to do professionally. It’s kind of neat it happened at the Kraft,” she says. Admitting she doesn’t have the best of records at the Kraft, Castrale looks forward

to the major. “I’m hoping to improve that because I love that golf course. It has so much history. I know 2014 will be good. I’m looking forward to having a good week” Castrale agrees with the consensus that the course is challenging and tells how she’s going to look at it in April. “I think the thing at Kraft is a lot of greens,” she says. “You have to hit a lot of fairways. It’s very demanding, so your short game has to be good. Chances are you are going to miss fairways, and you’ll have to wedge out. So you really have to make sure your wedge numbers are good to be able to save par. “That, and come the weekend, the course always plays quicker. The greens are going to be fast and firm. It’s definitely going to be a test of a short game.” Now, a little over 20 years after her family moved to the desert, Castrale is married with a toddler daughter and says she loves the desert. “It’s home. My parents live here, and we have a great set up. You don’t

M A R C H 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

have to get on the freeway to get anywhere. It’s just so easy. “We really have great weather nine months of the year. The three months it’s really warm, we are traveling on tour, and if we are home, we practice in the morning.

Steinhauer on record 2007, made her fourth appearance on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team 1992, won the du Mauier Classic 1989, posted a career low score of 64 at the Women’s Kemper Open. She tied that several times.

Neumann on record 2004, captured 13th career victory at the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship 1986, was a member of the European Solheim Cup Team 1988, captured the U.S. Women’s Open Title to become only the 11th LPGA player to win the Open as her first LPGA victory

Castrale on record 2013, made 13 cuts in 18 events with two top-10 finishes 2009, was a member of the victorious U.S. Solheim Cup Team 2007, became the sixth Rolex First-Time Winner of the season at the Gin Tribute hosted by ANNIKA

If you go What: 2014 Kraft Nabisco LPGA Championship When: April 1-6 Where: Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage Who’s playing: Pick up a daily pairing sheet guide at the gate to find out when players tee off and the order of the groups. Food & drinks: Concession stands are located throughout the tournament grounds. Autographs: Don’t bother players during their rounds. Wait for them at the autograph tent behind the 18th green. You should bring: Sunscreen, hats, comfortable shoes, binoculars You can bring: Small beach-type lawn chairs, golf stools, cameras only on Monday through Wednesday You can’t bring: Coolers, backpacks, large bags, memorabilia, pagers and cameras Thursday through Sunday Tickets: $25-$35 daily grounds, children 17 and under free when accompanied by a paying adult Information: (760) 324-4546, www.kncgolf.com

Big hearts From page 24 a Children’s Boutique with sales benefiting the Desert Guild. The Desert Guild Chapter of Big Hearts for Little Hearts, established 12 years ago, has raised $1.5 million to provide medical equipment for the hospital, pharmacies for both the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and comfortable family waiting rooms. Last year, LLUCH served nearly 100 oncology inpatients and over 600 outpatient cases from the Coachella Valley. More than 30 percent of children transported to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of the hospital are desert community residents. Event media sponsors included The Coachella Valley Beacon, Money Talk Radio 1200, CBS Local 2, Fox, ABC TV, Telemundo and CW Palm Springs. Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation sponsored patient families who attended the luncheon.

For more information: President Joyce Engel, (760) 413-4469 or www.bigheartsforlittlehearts.org

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March 2014 | Coachella Valley Beacon  

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