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Going, going, gone at auction

JANUARY 2012

I N S I D E …

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By Barbara Ruben In 1963, Enid Liess was on the hunt for a piece of artwork to punch up her new apartment. At a fundraising auction at her temple, the bidding went past her budget for a modern art painting that caught her eye. But a friend stepped in to make the winning bid of $27.50 for the painting called “The Statesman” — which resembled a Cubist George Washington wearing a sideways baseball cap — and presented it to Liess as a gift. It wasn’t until several weeks later that Liess read about up and coming modernist Roy Lichtenstein in Time magazine and pulled out a magnifying glass to discover his signature on her recently purchased painting. Fast forward nearly half a century when Liess, undergoing treatment for breast cancer, decided to retire from a career in education and sell the painting. Liess, who is 74 and lives in Annadale, Va., brought the Lichtenstein to Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church, where owner Paul Quinn told her it would likely fetch $40,000 to $60,000 in today’s market. “Bidding opened at $20,000,” Quinn recalled. “It rose rather slowly but steadily to $40,000, which is where she set her minimum price. Then it kind of paused and then it went up,” he recalled. “A member of the family was sitting next to me. When it crossed $60,000 he smiled. When it crossed $72,000 I knew we had set a record for the period [of Lichtenstein’s artwork]….Tears were coming down from his eyes when it crossed $100,000.” The painting ultimately fetched $128,700. That’s just one of the stories of a meteoric rise in value that have some people scrambling through their attics and basements in case they are housing similar riches. Virginia Weschler, of Weschler’s auction house in downtown Washington, likes to recount the story of a find in a local home. Auctioneer Tom Weschler was going through the house for pieces to sell at auction when he eyed a table all but obscured by the television sitting on it. During auction, the de facto TV stand — an 18th century piece — sold for $50,000. Auction houses also sometimes make

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LEISURE & TRAVEL

A watery wonderland in the Everglades; plus, historic and trendy Krakow, Poland, and whether the euro’s fall is a boon or a worry for travelers page 40

ARTS & STYLE

Each year, Matthew (left), David and Paul Quinn of Quinn’s Auction Galleries auction off tens of thousands of items, ranging from valuable artwork to old furniture, for people looking to downsize and obtain cash by shedding possessions. Auction houses, estate sellers and Internet auctions offer options to this end, but potential sellers need to understand how these work before putting their items up for sale.

literally priceless discoveries. In November, Daniel Sanders, President of Four Sales in Alexandria, Va., found a Civil War grave maker in a home in Clinton, Md. After a little research into its origins, he returned it to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Military Cemetery in Washington, D.C. After all, he noted, selling grave stones is not only unethical, it’s illegal.

Reasons to sell at auction Sellers come to auction houses for a variety of reasons: They may be downsizing to a retirement community and want to sell a lifetime of possessions. Or they may have inherited old pieces of furniture and

artwork that aren’t to their tastes. Some part with their goods because they need the cash. “I tell people that all of the things are emotionally valuable, but not all are monetarily valuable,” Quinn said. That’s his way of not getting people’s hopes up for a windfall. “Sometimes it’s not always good news,” said Stephanie Kenyon, with Bethesdabased Sloans and Kenyon. “Families bring in jewelry that’s been treasured for years and years…only to discover they didn’t have a fabulous diamond, but a very nice piece of glass.” See AUCTIONS, page 51

Kennedy Center’s homage to former Tex. Gov. Ann Richards aims for Broadway; plus, Bob Levey’s grand advice for the candidates page 46

LAW & MONEY k Stocks to own in 2012 k Be a better bond buyer FITNESS & HEALTH k A pill that lessens wrinkles k The best brain games

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Of rats and men Scientists have long experimented on trapped in a smaller plastic cage. The free mice and rats to test new drugs and treat- rats learned how to release their fellow imments for human illnesses. prisoned rats, and repeatedly I’ve always imagined that did so. there must be many similariFurthermore, when anothties between our species — at er cage containing chocolate least on a cellular level or in chips was placed in the same organ systems — for that to area, the rats often freed their make sense. But I haven’t been fellows first, then opened the much bothered by the fact that treat cage and proceeded to these physical similarities exist share the chocolate with the because I subscribe to the noformer captive. tion that we humans are part FROM THE My first reaction to scienbeast/part divine. tists ascribing what I have PUBLISHER So, if experimentation on By Stuart P. Rosenthal long considered uniquely rats could help us develop human traits or moral behavcures for human diseases, I could accept ior to rats is to get a little touchy. After all, I the notion of some kinship with rats. know plenty of people who probably think But I’m still coming to terms with the twice before offering to share their chococonclusions of the latest experiments, pub- late chips! (No, honey, I don’t mean you.) lished last month in the journal Science, But then I read a quote from Jeffrey S. which you may have read about. Mogil, a McGill University neuroscientist Researchers at the University of Chica- whose experiments apparently demongo believe they’ve proven that rats (partic- strated that rats feel each other’s pain. (He ularly female ones) feel empathy for the calls it “emotional contagion.”) suffering of other rats. Furthermore, they When asked by the Washington Post appear to have shown that rats behave al- whether a rat frees a trapped comrade to truistically in coming to the aid of their fel- relieve its own stress or the stress of the low creatures, even sharing treats (choco- other animal, Mogil replied, “It’s more late chips) with them. likely to be the former. But even if it is the In the experiments, free rats were former, I’m not sure that’s so different placed in an area with another rat they from humans.” were familiar with, but the latter was Well, I took even more umbrage at that

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– until I thought about it and discussed it with my wife. Isn’t the point of a moral education to make people feel uncomfortable about doing immoral things, or about not doing the right thing when they could but don’t want to? We want our children to have an internal compass that makes them emotionally inclined to act as they should and to feel bad when they don’t. So is it less moral to take an action to help another because NOT taking the action causes us stress? In the case of the rats, Peggy Mason, one of the researchers, was quoted as saying she believed the rats were acting in a “sub-cortical” fashion. That is, rats show empathy in more of a reflexive manner than a thoughtful or moral one. The underlying idea is that empathic behavior supports the survival of the species and thus gets passed down through evolutionary processes. Maybe that’s how we humans also developed. Is empathy hard-wired or learned? In many issues of the Beacon, we write

about volunteers who devote hours, weeks and years of their lives to helping others. Some do this throughout their lives; others find it a way to make their retirement years more meaningful. But nearly everyone we’ve ever written about will say at some point in the interview, “I get at least as much — or more — out of volunteering as do those I help.” People do good things for others because it feels good. It’s nice to be appreciated, yes. But it even feels rewarding to do good when it’s not directly or obviously rewarded by others. It feels good inside. This may be because of our genes, because of our education, or both. Perhaps further experiments will help us decide. In the meantime, there’s one conclusion we don’t need researchers to corroborate: that it’s nice to reward oneself with a few chocolate chips now and then.

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 barbara@thebeaconnewspapers.com. Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification. Dear Editor: Malcolm Ritter’s December article on the secrets of longevity is interesting, but I think those who research the reasons for longevity overlook a significant contributing factor: attitude. When I was a child, my nickname was “Smiles” because I was always in a good mood even though I was from a very poor family living on “the wrong side of the tracks.” I am a happy, healthy 85 now and am still smiling. My goal is to live to be 120, and my doctor says there is no reason why I can’t do it. I also read the editor’s article about changes in Medicare and letters criticizing that article. I understand that there may be a need to make changes in that program, but I find it annoying that conservatives in Congress want to make sharp cutbacks in Medicare while refusing to increase taxes on the very wealthy and not eliminating taxpayer-supported subsidies to big oil companies and agricultural conglomerates. Gordon F. Brown Bethesda, Md. Note from the Editor: The next few letters concern last month’s article “Rethinking benefits of prostate screening.” In addition to printing these letters, which are from individuals whose lives have been saved by prostate screening, we also print another article on the topic (see page 18 of this issue), “Early tests not perfect for cancer screening.” The subject is complex; readers should speak with their own doctors about their particular situation.

Dear Editor: It was with regret that I read your December article about prostate screening. It began with two cases in which patients suffered infection and or died to paint a negative agenda against taking simple PSA blood tests. As an attorney and a cancer survivor who was confronted with similar articles, I present my case as an incentive for men to pursue PSA testing. My gastroenterologist had me take a [biannual] PSA blood test. In 1998, my PSA…rose slightly above normal. He referred me to a urologist who performed a sonogram and a prostate biopsy (six samples). The results were “two specks of cancer that were not enough to grade.” The urologist suggested I return in six to eight months for another biopsy. I requested immediate surgery. [After my prostate was removed, pathologists] reported that it was loaded with cancer, and had I waited six or eight months the cancer would have penetrated the wall and metastasized. I do not urge surgery for everyone, since a patient’s age, medical condition, type of cancer and emotional makeup are key in making the decision. [But] I definitely recommend that every man by the age of 40 have a PSA blood test to establish a baseline and have follow-up tests to identify any radical escalation. [As for fear of complications,] patients should See LETTERS TO EDITOR, page 52


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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Money Law &

BE A BETTER BOND BUYER What to focus on and beware of when buying and selling bonds, including interest and tax rates, yields, safety and more SOCIAL SECURITY Qs AND As The Social Security Administration answers reader questions on retirement age, taxes, SSI and more TAKING THE CREDIT Not happy with your bank? Credit unions may offer lower fees and credit card interest rates and more personal service

Stocks and mutual funds to own now By Kathy Kristof With debt woes slamming Europe, firms that sell mainly in the U.S. and in emerging nations look especially attractive. Here are a selection of stocks and funds considered to be smart picks for 2012 by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Chevron (symbol CVX, $97). A spike in oil prices last summer helped the company report blockbuster third-quarter earnings. At today’s lower oil prices, analysts believe Chevron’s earnings will drop about 7 percent in 2012. But even at that level, the stock sells at bargain-basement prices and pays an annual dividend of $3.24 per share that’s easily supported by the cash it generates (the stock yields 3.5 percent). Microsoft (MSFT, $25). Value-oriented stock pickers are now pouring money into this company, drawn by its great cashgenerating ability and the prospects for Windows 8 — the upcoming version of Microsoft’s personal-computer operating system, which will contain features aimed at smartphone and tablet users. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s gaming and business-services units are vibrant. The shares sell for 9 times estimated year-ahead profits and yield 3.3 percent. Dover Corp. (DOV, $53). Knowles

Electronics, a unit of this little-known conglomerate based in Downers Grove, Ill., makes the tiny microphones used in cellphones and tablets from Apple, Nokia and Sony Ericsson. But that’s not all. Refrigerated display cases in grocery and convenience stores are made by Hill Phoenix, another of Dover’s 33 subsidiaries. Better yet, the company is increasingly integrating related businesses, cutting costs and cross-marketing, which should boost profit margins. The stock sells for 11 times estimated 2012 profits and yields 2.5 percent. Schnitzer Steel Industries (SCHN, $43). The company has been able to grow rapidly by selling recycled scrap to businesses in developing nations, such as China, Malaysia and Thailand. Meanwhile, the company has been investing in technology to cut costs and improve efficiency. With analysts forecasting annualized earnings growth of 15 percent over the next five years, and the stock selling at just 10 times estimated year-ahead profits, Schnitzer looks like a steal. Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT, $77). Lockheed is the lead contractor on a multiyear contract for F-35 fighter jets that could be worth some $382 billion, and the Department of Defense said it’s now will-

ing to let the company compete for India’s $11 billion fighter-jet contract, too. The company, based in Bethesda, Md., also has a lucrative satellite business that can help sustain growth when defense spending slows. Its stock sells for just 10 times estimated 2012 earnings and yields a robust 5.3 percent. Express Scripts (ESRX). This company, a pharmacy-benefit manager, is positioned for gangbuster growth thanks to an aging population and increasing drug sales. Earnings for the company, which also owns 60,000 pharmacies, have increased 28.4 percent annualized for the past five years and are projected to grow 17.3 percent a year for the next five years.

Mutual fund choices These three funds are tops in their categories. Dividend payers: Vanguard Dividend Growth (VDIGX). No matter how the market moves, manager Don Kilbride sticks to his investing approach. He hunts down undervalued companies with growing dividends, producing what he calls a high-quality portfolio that currently delivers a 2 percent yield. This year, that quality helped keep the fund even through early October, despite the lashing that affected

Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. Low-minimum funds: Amana Trust Income (AMANX). If you’re looking to tap into the stock market with a low-minimum, top-quality fund, this is it. This largecompany stock fund requires a minimum investment of $250, or just $100 if it’s in a retirement account. Each additional investment can be as low as $25. That hasn’t hurt its performance: It gained 4.2 percent annualized over five years, which beat the S&P 500 by an average of five percentage points per year. One-stop funds: Vanguard Wellington (VWELX). A fund that offers both growth and relative safety with stocks and bonds in a single portfolio can be a tonic in a tumbling market. Over the past 10 years, the venerable Wellington fund gained an annualized 6.0 percent, outpacing 96 percent of its balanced-fund peers. But more important, the fund shed just 11.9 percent from late April to early October, while the broader market dropped 13.5 percent. Wellington has a 2.9 percent yield. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. For more on this and similar money topics, visit www.Kiplinger.com. © 2011 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

A primer on risks and rewards of bonds By Mark Jewell Baby boomers fully embraced the stock market by riding its ups and downs throughout their peak income years. But now that the oldest boomers are turning 65, their focus has turned toward ensuring a steady income from their investments. And they’re likely to find the answer is to put money in bonds rather than stocks, as recent market volatility shows. Consider that bonds have made stock returns look puny in recent years. Broadly diversified bond mutual funds have provided investors an average annualized return of nearly 5.6 percent over the past five years. That’s better than all of the domestic stock fund categories that Morningstar tracks. With retirement just around the corner for such a sizeable population, it’s understandable that investors have deposited a net

$670 billion into bond mutual funds since January 2009, while consistently pulling their money out of stock funds. Fidelity Investments said its clients alone have added $100 billion in new cash to bond investments over the past three years. But do the stocksavvy boomers and others who have flocked to fixed-income investments really understand bond investing, and the potential risks and rewards?

their bond basics. As a result, for example, Fidelity upgraded its online resources for bond investors in September, and Nuveen Investments made a similar move in November. It’s a recognition that bonds are more complex than stocks, with more moving parts that influence investment returns — yield, price, and interest rates, for starters. Interest rates are perhaps the most critical risk for bond investors now. Short-term rates are near zero, and have nowhere to go but up. When they eventually rise, if the economic recovery really gets going, expect to

If the economic recovery really gets going, expect to see lower bond returns and possibly losses.

A steep learning curve Many fund companies believe there’s a pressing need for investors to bone up on

see lower bond returns and possibly losses. The economy is growing so slowly that interest rates aren’t likely to spike in the short run. Still, any increase would be unwelcome for bond investors. “It’s a phenomenon that bond fund investors haven’t faced in a very long time,” said analyst Loren Fox of the fund industry consultancy Strategic Insight. “Some will be surprised and disappointed when it happens.” Indeed, investors have become accustomed to declining rates for the better part of 30 years.

Bond basics Below are key points investors should know about bonds, and a snapshot of the potential risks that investors face: See BOND PRIMER, page 6


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Savings Plan. The retirement savers’ credit lowers your tax bill dollar for dollar, and it is in addition to any tax benefits you already get for contributing to the retirement plan, such as tax-deductible IRA contributions or pretax contributions to a 401(k) or other employer plan. You can even claim the tax credit if you contribute to a Roth IRA or a Roth account at work. (Roths offer no upfront tax deductions but provide tax-free income in retirement.) The lower your income, the higher the credit. If you are at the top of the income limit, you can cut your tax bill by $200. At the lowest income levels, the credit is worth $1,000 ($2,000 for married couples filing jointly). The income limits will increase slightly in 2012, with the credit disappearing when your income tops $28,750 if you are single, $43,125 for heads of household, and $57,500 for married couples filing jointly. © 2011 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

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By Kimberly Lankford The retirement savers’ tax credit, officially known as the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit, is frequently overlooked. Yet this tax credit can reduce your tax bill by up to $1,000. It is designed to encourage lower-income workers to save for retirement, but it can also benefit those who lose their job or retire partway through the year. To claim the credit for 2011, your adjusted gross income must be $28,250 or less if you’re single, $42,375 or less if you file your tax return as head of a household, or $56,500 or less if you are married filing jointly In addition, you must be at least 18 years old, you cannot have been a full-time student during the calendar year, and you cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. The credit is worth 10 to 50 percent of the first $2,000 you contribute for the year to a retirement-savings plan, such as an IRA or any employer-based plan, including a 401(k), 403(b), 457 or the federal Thrift

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Bond primer From page 4 Definition: At the most basic level, bond investors are lending their cash — to a company in the case of corporate bonds, or to government in the case of U.S. Treasurys or municipal bonds. In contrast, stock investors hold an ownership stake in a company, however small. Bonds are considered safer than stocks because there’s typically a low risk that the borrower won’t repay the loan when it’s due, or default by failing to make scheduled interest payments. In contrast, the market’s view of a company’s profit prospects will vary widely over time, which makes stock prices volatile. Yield: Bonds pay fixed returns. The yield is the amount an investor receives for holding a bond until the date when it ma-

tures — or principal is repaid — expressed as a percentage. Interest is paid regularly to investors through coupon payments. The coupon is the annual rate of interest divided by the purchase price — meaning a bond selling for $1,000 with a 5 percent coupon rate offers a 5 percent current yield. Price: Unless a bond is held to maturity, the return investors receive is also a function of price changes. For example, that bond that yielded 5 percent at a price of $1,000 would yield 10 percent at a price of just $500. As a bond’s price falls, its yield rises, and vice versa. Prices change because investors continually process new information about the risks they face from factors such as interest rates, inflation and credit risks (the potential for a default). If investors can buy newly issued bonds paying higher interest

Gifts that Give Back

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

than previously issued bonds, the value of the older bonds declines. On the flip side, an older bond will rise in price if yields for newly issued bonds are lower.

Individual bonds vs. funds: Investing in individual bonds offers some certainty, if See BOND PRIMER, page 7

How to be a better bond buyer By Jeffrey R. Kosnett If you’re ready to purchase bonds, follow these six rules of thumb: Taxes are critical. Your tax bracket determines whether tax-free municipal or taxable bonds are better. To find the taxable-equivalent yield (TEY) of a taxfree bond, divide its yield by 1 minus your federal tax rate (expressed as a decimal). So, if you’re in, say, the 35-percent tax bracket and a municipal bond pays 3 percent, you divide 3 by (1-.35), which is .65, to find its TEY is 4.6 percent. So buy the tax-free bond unless you can get at least 4.6 percent from a similar taxable bond. Figuring TEY is trickier when state taxes come into play. An online Morgan Stanley calculator at www.morganstanleyindividual.com/markets/bondcenter/TEYCalculator will do the work for you. New bonds versus oldies. You generally pay face value for a new offering, and the sales charges are baked into the interest rate. To build a complete bond portfolio, though, you’ll need to choose among issues trading in the secondary market to stagger interest-payment dates and maturities. Don’t pay more than 100 cents per dollar of principal if the bond may be called, or redeemed, anytime soon for face value. Focus on yield. The most useful figure is yield to maturity. That’s what you’ll earn from the bond over its life, including interest payments and changes in principal value should you

buy the bond at a price other than par, or face value. You can compare the yield to maturity of any bonds, whether taxable or tax-free, high-quality or junk. Get checks regularly. Most bonds pay interest twice a year, six months apart. Buy 12 different bonds spread over time, and look forward to 24 paychecks a year. Sweet! Get a blank spreadsheet and start with January, February and so on. Then find appropriate bonds from sources such as Fidelity and Schwab and fill in your calendar. Think safety. In a recession, a bond rated double-A is likely to hold its value better than one with a rating of doubleB or lower (junk-bond territory). More important than the rating are the purpose and backer of an individual bond. With municipals, the surest bets are essential-service revenue bonds, which pay you from school taxes, bridge tolls, or water and sewer fees. With corporate bonds, look for companies with relatively little debt compared with equity. When you should sell. Most people who buy bonds plan to hold to maturity. The exceptions? If the issuer is in financial trouble or becomes embroiled in a scandal. Or if inflation, the enemy of bond investors, or interest rates threaten to spiral up. Jeffrey R. Kosnett is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. © 2011 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Did you know? You may qualify for assistance in paying your home phone bill. Discounts for basic telephone service are available to eligible District of Columbia low-income residents.

Make a gift to Holy Cross Hospital and receive an income tax deduction along with fixed payments for life for you or someone you love. Charitable gift annuity rates now range from 5.3% to 9.5%.

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Verizon Washington, D.C. Lifeline Plans: Verizon Washington, D.C.’s Lifeline service, known as “Economy II,” offers reduced rates on Verizon’s monthly telephone bill and one-time discounts on the cost of installing phone service. Additionally, toll blocking is available to Economy II customers at no charge. Economy II Service*: $3.00 per month for unlimited local calling. Value-added services are not included (e.g., Call Waiting, Caller ID). No connection charges apply. Also, customers will not be charged for the federal subscriber line charge. Economy II customers who are 65 years of age or older can have this service at a further reduced rate of $1.00 per month. • Full terms and rates for these services, including terms of eligibility, are as set forth in federal and in Verizon’s tariffs on file with the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia. Rates as stated here are effective as of September 1, 2011. But, the rates and other terms are subject to change in the future.

Link-Up America Link-Up America Link-Up America is for District residents who are eligible for social service assistance. New customers or customers who move to a new address may qualify for a 50 percent reduction in service connection charges.

Contact DDOE at 311 to apply To learn more about the Lifeline program, visit www.lifelinesupport.org.


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Bond primer From page 6 the investor holds them until maturity. Investors receive pre-determined interest payments along with repayment of principal, provided the company or government issuing the bond makes good on its obligations. But it’s not easy for an individual investor to research whether a bond is attractively priced relative to its credit risks and other potential pitfalls. Investing in a bond mutual fund, rather than an individual bond, means an investor faces less risk from the possibility of a default. Bond funds typically hold diversified portfolios of hundreds of bonds. So if just a single bond defaults, the impact on the overall portfolio is likely to be modest. However, a fund’s returns will vary because the fund manager must continually reinvest as bonds mature. And because bond prices fluctuate, it’s possible for mu-

tual funds to lose money. That can happen when the fund generates less interest income than going market rates for newly issued bonds. Furthermore, investing in a bond fund means paying fees for professional expertise. What’s more, there’s no certainty that expertise will generate returns superior to those investors could get on their own, or by investing in a low-cost bond index fund. Risks: Bond investors now face substantial long-term risk from rising interest rates. When the Federal Reserve raises rates, returns for different types of bonds will be affected differently depending on factors such as their maturity dates. For example, one reason that 30-year Treasurys offer a higher return than Tbills maturing in a few months is that there’s a greater chance that rates will rise over the long haul, hurting returns. Longer-duration bonds pay investors more to offset that risk.

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Jan. 18

TOUGH DISCUSSIONS WITH AGING PARENTS Elder law attorney William Fralin will meet with children of aging

parents to discuss how to begin ongoing dialogue about issues like health insurance, medical problems, driving, and wills and trusts on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. at a free program at the Langston-Brown Senior Center, 2121 N. Culpeper St., Arlington, Va. Call (703) 228-6300 to register.

Inflation is also low, and the eventual likelihood of rising prices poses risks for bond investors, similar to interest rate risks. However, certain types of bonds offer

protection. The best known are Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS — a type of Treasury bond whose payout is adjusted every six months for inflation. — AP

BEACON BITS

Jan. 24

MARYLAND LEGISLATIVE FORUM

United Seniors of Maryland hosts its 35th annual legislative forum from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the Francis Scott Key Auditorium, St. John’s College, 60 College Ave., Annapolis, Md. Speakers include Thomas V. Mike Miller, president of the Maryland State Senate; Michael E. Busch, speaker of the House; and Gloria Lawlah, secretary of the Department of Aging. A $15 registration fee includes continental breakfast and box lunch. All day parking is available at the Navy Maine Corps Stadium, and a shuttle bus runs from that parking lot. For tickets online, go to http://unitedseniors.net/joinpay.htm or call Minnedore Green at (301) 565-2005.

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Social Security and Medicare Qs and As The Social Security Administration answers some common questions about Social Security and Medicare benefits. Question: I know that Social Security’s full retirement age is gradually rising to 67. But does this mean the “early” retirement age will also be going up by two years, from age 62 to 64? Answer: No. While it is true that under current law the full retirement age is gradually rising from 65 to 67, the “early” retirement age remains at 62. Keep in mind, how-

ever, that taking early retirement reduces your benefit amount. For more information about Social Security benefits, visit the website at www.socialsecurity.gov/r&m1.htm. Q: I am receiving Social Security retirement benefits, and I recently went back to work. Do I have to pay Social Security (FICA) taxes on my income? A: Yes. By law, your employer must withhold FICA taxes from your paycheck. Although you are retired, you do receive credit for those new earnings. Each year

Anyone faced with losing a beloved partner will find in Marcia Sartwell’s writing the honesty they crave. “For anyone who has grieved or is grieving: this book will help you understand yourself better.” – Donna Comarow, LCSW, author, Talking About erapy.

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cations? A: Yes, we do. You can find them at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Some of the publications available include What You Can Do Online, How Social Security Can Help You When A Family Member Dies, Apply Online For Social Security Benefits, and Your Social Security Card And Number. You can listen now at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Q: Next month I’ll turn 65 and, because of my financial situation, I thought I’d be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). But my neighbor told me I’d probably be turned down because I have a friend who said he might help support me. Is this true? A: Whether you can get SSI depends on your income and resources. If you have low income and few resources, you may be able to get SSI. If you are receiving support from your friend or from anyone else, however, that See SOCIAL SECURITY, page 10

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Do Not Go Gentle A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Living On

Social Security automatically credits the new earnings and, if your new earnings are higher than in any earlier year used to calculate your current benefit, your monthly benefit could increase. Q: How are my retirement benefits calculated? A: Your Social Security benefits are based on earnings averaged over your lifetime. Your actual earnings are first adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then we calculate your average monthly indexed earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. We apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit. This is the amount you would receive at your full retirement age. You may be able to estimate your benefit by using our Retirement Estimator which offers estimates based on your Social Security earnings. You can find the Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. Q: I prefer reading by audio book. Does Social Security have audio publi-

AVAILABLE ON

Jan. 10

CAREGIVING TAX CONCERNS Join in a telephone support group for caregivers of older adults on

Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. to learn about caregiving and basic tax issues. To register or for more information, go to www.farifaxcounty.gov/dfs/olderadultservices/caregiver.htm or call (703) 324-5484.

Ongoing

Is it time to take the next step?

ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN LEGAL RESOURCES The Asian Pacific American Legal Resources Center now offers

walk-in services to discuss legal problems every Monday from 1 to 4 p.m. at its two offices. The center offers legal assistance and civil rights advocacy to lowincome Asian Americans in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Offices are located at 1012 14th St., N.W., Suite 450, Washington, D.C. and 11141 Georgia Ave., Suite 215, Silver Spring, Md. For more information, call

If you have been considering a retirement community, find out why Asbury Methodist Village is the smart choice. At Asbury, all this can be yours—beautiful living arrangements, renowned services and a reputation for quality.

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Social Security

Jan. 12

From page 8

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY?

Deb Powers with the Arlington Office of Emergency Management will discuss how to get information in an emergency, respond to specific situations and how to get started in making an emergency plan on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. at a free program at the Walter Reed Senior Center, 2909 S. 16th St., Arlington, Va. Call (703) 228-0955 to register.

Jan. 11

income will be considered when making a decision on your SSI eligibility and amount. Support includes any food or shelter that is given to you or is received by you because someone else pays for it. So if your friend helps support you, it could have an effect on whether you get SSI or on the amount you receive. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov and select “SSI.” Q: My dad, who is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), will be coming to live with me. Does he have to report the move to Social Security? A: Yes. An SSI beneficiary must report any change in living arrangements within 10 days after the month in which the change occurs. If the change is not reported, your dad could receive an incorrect payment or he may not receive all the money that is due. Also, your dad needs to report his new address to Social Security so that he can receive mail from us. Even if benefits are paid by direct deposit, we need to be able to get in touch with him. He can report the change by telephone, mail or in person at any Social Security office. Keep in mind that failing to report a change to Social Security could result in

ARLINGTON LEGISLATIVE REVIEW

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE ) Arlington Chapter 7 will hold its monthly general meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at Culpepper Garden Senior Center (basement multi purpose room), 4435 N. Pershing Dr., Arlington, Va. A social begins at 12:30 p.m. with refreshments, followed by guest speaker Mary Haynes, incoming chair of the Arlington County Board. Questions? Call Bill Braswell at (703) 241-5530.

Jan.+

PREPARE TAX RETURNS

Volunteers are needed to assist eligible residents with free income tax preparation through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). VITA volunteers work 16 or more hours a week during tax season, from late January to mid-April, as tax preparers, greeters, screeners, interpreters and resource navigators, with flexible hours at locations in East Silver Spring/Takoma Park, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Wheaton, Md. Free training is provided on-site and online. Volunteers who successfully complete the training will receive certification as a tax preparer by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To volunteer, call (240) 777-1123 or, go to http://volunteer.truist.com/mcvc/org/opp/10494470271.html or email VITA@montgomerycountymd.gov.

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incorrect payments that may have to be paid back, or in a penalty deducted from SSI benefits. Just call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can get more information in the booklet Understanding SSI, at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi. Q: If I retire and start getting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, will my Medicare coverage begin then, too? A: No. Medicare benefits based on retirement do not begin until a person is age 65. If you retire at age 62, you may be able to continue to have medical insurance coverage through your employer or purchase it from an insurance company until you reach age 65 and become eligible for Medicare. For more information about who can get Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov. Q: Do I automatically get Medicare benefits if I’m eligible for disability benefits? A: After you have received disability benefits for 24 months, we will automatically enroll you in Medicare. We start counting the 24 months from the month you were entitled to receive disability, not the month when you received your first benefit payment. Sometimes you can get State Medicaid in the meantime. There are exceptions to this rule. People with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and chronic renal disease may be able to get Medicare earlier.

Ongoing

VOLUNTEER ON THE NATIONAL MALL

The Trust for the National Mall is recruiting the inaugural class of National Mall Docents as part of the National Park Service’s Volunteers in the Parks (VIP) program. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work directly with National Park Service personnel and to develop their public speaking skills by interacting with visitors from all over the world. They will receive training on National Mall history, the Trust for the National Mall, tour management, National Mall attractions, and local flora and fauna. Volunteers will walk the National Mall in pairs speaking with visitors and locals alike. For more information or to apply, visit: www.nationalmall.org/volunteer.

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11

Mad at bank fees? Look at credit unions By Candice Choi Last fall, capping a year that saw banks reducing perks and hiking fees, Bank of America said it would soon start charging customers a $5 monthly fee to make debit card purchases. Customers started fuming about taking their business elsewhere and began to seek banking alternatives. Though the announced charge was soon rescinded, among the beneficiaries of all the negative publicity were credit unions. The country’s largest credit union, the Navy Federal Credit Union, said new account openings in the weekend after Bank of America’s announcement were 23 percent higher than normal. The Credit Union National Association and National Association of Federal Credit Unions said many members reported an uptick in inquiries and account openings. And their respective websites that help users locate credit unions, www.ASmarterChoice.org and www.CULookup.com, both saw a surge in traffic. Still, the potential inconvenience and a fear of change have a tendency to keep even disgruntled bank customers from making good on their threats to leave. That’s despite the numerous online banks, small community banks, and nonprofit,

member-owned credit unions eager to welcome new customers.

How they work For those curious about what exactly a credit union can and can’t offer, here’s the rundown: To start, there are more than 7,000 credit unions in the country, so the fees and level of service will vary greatly. But don’t be overwhelmed; each credit union caters to a specific group, such as company employees, university workers, and students or residents of a certain region. Most credit unions also let immediate family members of the target group join. So, chances are that you’ll be eligible to join at least one, but narrowing down a long list of possibilities likely won’t be a problem. Joining means you’ll need to buy a share in the credit union. The typical share value is $5 to $20, according to the Credit Union National Association, a trade group. That money is deposited into a savings account and represents your ownership interest; the money is returned if you decide to leave. About a third of credit unions also charge a one-time joining fee. The median

all your finances in one place, that might be a deal breaker. If you’re switching from a major national bank, also be sure the credit union you’re considering has a physical presence you can take advantage of. Credit unions often See CREDIT UNIONS, page 13

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fee is just $1, but it could be as high as $50. Once you home in on a credit union you can join, be sure it offers the services you want. For example, only about half of credit unions offer credit cards. Portfolio management, small business and other services tend to be more common at banks as well. So if you like having

ARE YOU THE NEXT MS. SENIOR VIRGINIA? The search is underway for women 60+ years of age to represent Vir-

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ginia in the national Ms. Senior America Pageant. The Virginia Pageant will take place in May, but the deadline to enter is March 23. The competition consists of an interview, talent presentation, modeling an evening gown, and presenting a statement on one’s philosophy of life and (optional) community service. Contestants must be U.S. citizens who have lived in Virginia for a minimum of six months. For more information, call (703) 549-7012 or email annmariep@comcast.net.

Jan. 10

LEARN HOW TO USE FACEBOOK Learn how to start using Facebook, explore features and get answers to questions at a free workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 7

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Credit unions

unions. Three-quarters of the top 50 credit unions offered free checking with no strings attached. The trend in the banking industry, by contrast, has been to increasingly require customers to meet certain conditions to qualify for fee waivers. Just 45 percent of banks offered free checking with no strings attached this year. That’s down from 65 percent last year and 76 percent two years ago, according to Bankrate.com. The survey on credit unions also found that nearly half do not require a minimum balance to open an account. Fees rose modestly from last year as well. Bounced check fees are up by about a dollar at $26. At banks, the average overdraft fee was $31. The nonprofit status of credit unions means that the fees and rates on credit cards, mortgages and other consumer loans in general tend to be lower. This is in great part because the interest rates they can charge are capped. In most cases, the cap is 18 percent, according to the Credit Union National Association. To get a sense of how the cap affects rates, consider that last year, credit union members were charged interest rates of 10 to 17 percent, according to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts. At banks, customers were charged between 13 and 21 percent.

From page 11 participate in a “shared network” of branches. That means members of one credit union can drop in at locations of other credit unions around the country to make deposits or withdrawals. But the options still may not be as expansive as the branch network of a national bank. Many credit unions are also part of ATM networks. The Navy Federal Credit Union, for example, lets members make free withdrawals at about 45,000 ATMs. Even if your credit union doesn’t have a big presence, many members say the sacrifice is worth the more personalized service they get in return. For example, it may be more likely that you’re connected to a live person right away when calling customer service. Over time, you may even become familiar with the employees who handle specific matters.

Lower fees and rates Beyond their more intimate feel, however, the main attraction of credit unions for many is the lower fees and rates. A study last year by Bankrate.com, for example, found that free checking is alive and well at the nation’s largest credit

current bank. And the specific rate you’re offered from either banks or credit unions will vary depending on your credit profile. It should also be noted that most credit cards offered by credit unions don’t come with rewards programs. So if your main reason for using a credit card is to earn points, you might be better off with a bank. — AP

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Jan. 13

MEET THE AUTHOR

The Village at Rockville will host author Allison Leotta on Friday, Jan. 13 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Leotta, a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, will discuss and sign her latest book, Law of Attraction. This event is free and open to the public. It will be held at 9701 Veirs Dr. in Rockville, Md. For more information, call (301) 354-8447.

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There was also a big difference in penalty rates. The typical penalty rate at banks was 30 percent; at credit unions, it was 18 percent. Of course, rates on credit cards, mortgages and other loans won’t always be lower at credit unions. It could be that the particular credit union you’re considering doesn’t offer rates as competitive as your

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Health Fitness &

SCREENING CANCER TESTS Cancer screenings can be a mixed bag; some remain controversial BRAIN GAMES Sharpen memory and cognitive skills with workouts on your computer REPORT CARDS FOR DOCS Medicare data will be available to rate doctors’ experience and abilities IF GRANNY IS THE NANNY Setting expectations and establishing routines help when care is shared

Study suggests pill reduces deep wrinkles By Andy Coghlan Beauty may be no more than skin-deep, but many of us think that leaves plenty of room for improvement. So a new dietary treatment that promises to shrink wrinkles from inside the skin is news. The makers of the three-a-day capsules say they use blends of natural food extracts to activate genes that improve skin tone — and early results suggest they may be on the right track. If the results stand up to scrutiny, the capsules will be the first anti-wrinkle treatment to show evidence of combating wrinkling from the deeper layers of skin. But they will not be the first to win scientific backing — some skin creams have been shown in peer-reviewed journals to help reduce wrinkles, according to an article in the British Journal of Dermatology. Independent researchers said that the preliminary results are intriguing and commended the team developing the capsules for conducting a double-blind trial — testing them against a placebo with neither researchers nor recipients knowing until afterwards who had received what. They say they will be skeptical, however, until a peer-reviewed journal has published the results in full, and acknowledge

that attempts to erase the signs of aging don’t sit well with everyone. The “gene food” treatment is the work of John Casey’s team at the laboratories of Unilever in Sharnbrook, UK. The multinational food, cosmetics and household products company commissioned four separate research groups to test the capsules, and 480 women in the UK, France and Germany who’ve passed menopause took part in the trials.

Proof of wrinkle reduction Results show that in 14 weeks, “crow’s feet” wrinkles by the corner of the eye became on average 10 percent shallower in recipients of the capsules, shrinking by 30 percent in the best responders. The wrinkles of women who received a placebo did not change significantly in depth. In one of the two French studies, researchers also took 4-millimeter-deep biopsies from 110 women before and after treatment to study the production of collagen — a protein that’s a key structural component of skin. Antibodies that stain tissue red where new collagen is produced revealed that after treatment a fifth of recipients had significantly more fresh collagen in the deep-

est skin layer — the dermis — than those who had received a placebo. More sensitive tests will be needed to ascertain any differences in the remaining biopsies, said Casey. Partial results were presented at the Society for Investigative Dermatology meeting in Atlanta, Ga. Casey said that the full data will now be sent to journals for peer review. So how do these capsules work? As women age and estrogen production drops off toward menopause, enzymes called proteases become more active, reducing the sponginess of skin by clearing away collagen faster than it can be replaced. An estrogen receptor that aids the generation of collagen also becomes less active. The two effects combine to make skin less pliable and more wrinkly. Casey’s team used skin cultures and gene activity tests to ascertain the effect of certain natural food extracts on “master” genes, which orchestrate the behavior of lots of other genes — in this case, those involved in collagen synthesis. The blend that activated these genes most strongly included vitamins C and E plus isoflavones from soya, lycopene from tomatoes, and omega-3 polyunsaturated acids from fish oil.

Preliminary results from Unilever suggest that activating the master genes raises the activity of several other genes that make proteins vital for good skin tone, such as elastin, decorin and several anti-inflammatory molecules.

Already available in spas Unilever launched the product in October at 44 spas it co-owns in the United Kingdom, Spain and Canada. It doesn’t need approval to sell the capsules from these countries’ regulatory authorities because the extracts they contain are already in use and the company does not claim that the capsules benefit health. Although long-term tests have not been carried out, Gail Jenkins, another member of the team, recommends taking three capsules per day for at least three months. At this dose, she said, adverse side effects are unlikely. If a person stopped taking the capsules, the normal aging process would probably restore deeper wrinkles. When New Scientist magazine sent the preliminary data to independent dermatologists, they gave a guarded welcome. “The data are somewhat sparse, but See ANTI-WRINKLE PILL, page 17

Benefits attributed to pomegranate juice By Joyce Hendley There are many good reasons to pick up a pomegranate: the bright red fruits are festive, seasonal, pack tons of antioxidants and, a new study suggests, may help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease.

May reduce arthritis pain In a recent study from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, researchers gave mice either a daily dose of pomegranate extract or water, in addition to their regular food. Ten days later, the mice were chemically induced to develop rheumatoid arthritis. After six weeks, all the water-treated mice developed arthritis, but only twothirds of the pomegranate-treated mice did. When the pomegranate drinkers did develop arthritis, it tended to set in later and with much less severity. What’s more, the pomegranate-treated

mice had significantly lower levels of inflammatory compounds in their joint fluids, suggesting that the antioxidant polyphenols in pomegranate juice might short-circuit the inflammatory process that causes pain and swelling in rheumatoid arthritis. Most studies link pomegranate’s benefits to its powerful punch of polyphenols — including anthocyanins (found in blue, purple and deep-red foods) and tannins (also found in wine and tea). In a study published last year, researchers found that, compared with other antioxidant-rich beverages including blueberry juice, cranberry juice and red wine, “pomegranate [juice] naturally has the highest antioxidant capacity,” reported Dr. David Heber, study collaborator and director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.

Healthier heart, prostate and more Arthritis is just the latest in a long list of

conditions for which pomegranate juice shows therapeutic potential. Research suggests the fruit has benefits for the heart. Studies have shown it may help to reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries and lower blood pressure. Other work found that when men with prostate cancer drank a cup of pomegranate juice daily, the increase in their levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a marker of disease progress, slowed. Still more preliminary studies hint that pomegranate juice may help manage diabetes and erectile dysfunction. Critics point out that much of this research, including the recent study out of Case Western, has been funded by PomWonderful — the leading pomegranate juice brand — which has poured some $25 million into clinical research involving the fruit. But others point out that the results — much of them published in reputable,

peer-reviewed journals — speak for themselves. Bottom line: It’s still too early to recommend drinking pomegranate juice to alleviate arthritis symptoms. But a cup a day of 100 percent juice delivers plenty of antioxidants that may provide other health benefits. Check with your doctor first, however, as pomegranate juice may interact with some medications, including statins. Don’t forget fresh pomegranates — in season now. Although you don’t get as many tannins eating the seeds as drinking the juice, you will get a bit of fiber and abundant punicic acid, a polyunsaturated heart-healthy oil. EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at www.eatingwell.com. © 2011 Eating Well, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2

Health Shorts Train your mind to fight Parkinson’s How well can you control your thoughts? Mind-control training could improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Deep brain stimulation, which involves implanting electrodes in the brain, helps alleviate problems with movement experienced by people with Parkinson’s disease. “If putting in an electrode works, we thought training brains to self-regulate might work as well,” said David Linden at Cardiff University, UK. To find out, Linden’s team asked 10 people with Parkinson’s to think about moving while having their brains scanned by a functional MRI machine (to show brain activity) for 45 minutes. Five were given real-time neurofeedback showing how well they activated a brain region that controls movement. Each participant was then told to practice such thoughts at home. Two months later, movement problems including rigidity and tremor had improved by 37 percent in the group that received

feedback compared with no change in the rest, the Journal of Neuroscience reported. “Sending signals to brain areas normally deprived of input could be reshaping neural networks,” said Linden. — New Scientist

Blood vessel camera probes for clots The movie Fantastic Voyage had a miniaturized submarine sent into a VIP’s bloodstream to destroy a life-threatening clot. A new probe is hot on the fictional microsub’s tail fins: it can pass through arteries to spot the most dangerous clots and deposits. Existing probes are essentially cameras that can travel inside arteries. Doctors must spot deposits and judge whether they’re likely to come loose and block an artery. The new probe, developed by Guillermo Tearney at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, also detects molecules that mark out the most harmful clots and fatty plaques. To test the probe, Tearney’s team first fed rabbits a diet that generated arterial deposits. They then injected them with a fluorescent chemical that tags the danger-

A pill that fights fear

the recovery time of patients suffering from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and phobias. Sounds magical, but it might not be far off. Researchers at Emory University have developed a drug that could accelerate relief from emotional trauma. The drug contains a compound that mimics brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a naturally occurring protein that speeds learning, memory and fear processes. After a traumatizing experience, rats injected with the compound quickly returned to normal, unlike untreated rats, who took much longer to heal, an American Journal of Psychiatry study found. For humans, this could translate to

Imagine a pill that dramatically speeds

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Jan. 24+

sign molecules. The probe carries a detector for the fluorescent light, which revealed bright areas on artery walls where the tags had found their targets. The team was able to detect a protein that causes clots to form, and an enzyme found in the most dangerous plaques, according to the study reported in Nature Medicine. In principle, any molecule could be detected, said Tearney. And just as in the movie, lasers to zap suspicious lesions could be added. — New Scientist

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HOARDING SUPPORT GROUP Join JSSA’s new monthly support group for family members of

hoarders. It meets the fourth Tuesday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 6123 Montrose Rd., Rockville, Md. The next meeting will be Jan. 24. The group is facil-

BIG-CITY AMENITIES.

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15

Friendship Retirement Community in Roanoke, Virginia, is only four hours south of D.C. and offers a change of pace that’s easy on the wallet. Whether it’s scenic mountains and lakes, lower cost of living or being able to travel by air or road to visit friends and family, get the best out of life with all the amenities Friendship and Roanoke have to offer with no buy-ins or long-term commitments. Learn more by visiting www.friendship.us/roanoke or calling (800) 237-2710. www.friendship.us/roanoke

Friendship does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age in admission, treatment, or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment. For further information about this policy, contact the Corporate Compliance Officer (540) 265-2222.


16

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Health shorts From page 15 quicker results from therapy for fear-related conditions. Instead of just alleviating symptoms, this treatment — which may be available in a decade — would spark the same brain activities that occur naturally in trauma recovery. Timing would be key to a therapy enhancer developed from the compound, researcher Kerry Ressler said. The drug would intensify sufferers’ emotional memory at the time of psychotherapy. Taking it right before a session would ensure that

the therapist could help the patient process and alleviate her fears. — Psychology Today

Spice in curry may protect brain cells, enhance memory Curry is the collective term for a huge variety of stews popular in India. There’s no one invariable ingredient, but the spice most common to curry is turmeric — a bright yel-

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

low powder ground from the dried root of a ginger-type plant native to Southeast Asia. The most distinctive component of turmeric is the powerful polyphenol antioxidant curcumin. It’s thought to explain why India has an unusually low rate of Alzheimer’s disease. Used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, curcumin has antibacterial and antiinflammatory effects and is now the subject of research for its ability to fight cancer, limit stroke damage in neurons, and generally safeguard the brain. Many labs are turning out synthetic

variants of curcumin to enhance its biological availability. Recently scientists at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., created a synthetic derivative that actually reverses the effects of ischemic stroke and traumatic brain injury at the behavioral as well as molecular level in animals. Researchers report that it maintains cell-signaling pathways required for nerve cell survival, and reverses movement and memory deficits following brain injury by conserving neural connections. In normal animals, it actually enhances memory. — Psychology Today

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Jan. 8

The Ostomy Support Group of Northern Virginia, a volunteer-based health organization, will hold its next monthly meeting on Sunday, Jan. 8, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. This meeting will feature ostomy tips, hints and tricks learned over time by support group members. Admission is free, but table-ready treats are welcome. The meeting will be held at Inova Fairfax Hospital, 3300 Gallows Rd., Falls Church, Va. in the Physicians Conference Center near the blue parking garage. For more information, call (703) 802-3457 or see www.osgnv.org.

Jan. 31

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OSTOMY SUPPORT GROUP

ADVANCES IN BREAST CANCER RESEARCH

Oncologist Carolyn Hendricks will discuss the latest developments in breast cancer research, treatment and quality of life issues at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts on Tuesday, Jan. 31 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. A $15 donation is requested. The center is located at 1632 U St., N.W., Washington, D.C. RSVP is appreciated by calling (202) 483-8600 or going to http://bit.ly/smithcenter.

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Anti-wrinkle pill From page 14 they do appear to have done a pretty comprehensive study,” said Christopher Griffiths, professor of dermatology at the University of Manchester, UK, and co-author of a 2009 study confirming that an antiaging cream produced by Boots, a British pharmacy chain, had anti-wrinkle effects. Griffiths said he would be “unconvinced” until he had seen all the data, but was intrigued by the apparent repair of deep rather than superficial wrinkles. “I know of no other study that has shown this before,” he said. A likely explanation, said Casey, is that creams penetrate only the top layer of skin — the epi-

dermis. The contents of the capsules, by contrast, reach the dermis, stimulating the production of collagen in deeper layers. Nichola Rumsay, of the Center for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England in Bristol, said that antiwrinkle capsules are more psychologically benign than facial surgery, but they still reinforce the message that wrinkles are bad. “We should be accepting wrinkles gracefully. Someone should develop a pill to stop people worrying about their appearance,” she said. “That would make people a lot happier.” © 2011, New Scientist Magazine. Reed Business Information Ltd. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Jan. 20

COUPLES AFFECTED BY CANCER Social workers will facilitate a couples’ discussion about the can-

cer experience, including difficulty with communication and emotional intimacy. The program isn’t all serious; be prepared to laugh and have a little fun. Pizza and beverages will be served at this free program on Friday, Jan. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. It will be held at Hope Connections for Cancer Support, 5430 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 100, Bethesda, Md. RSVP required by calling (301) 493-5002.

Mar. 10

WOMEN’S HEALTH SYMPOSIUM The George Washington University Hospital Women’s Board, Inc. will hold its symposium “Woman to Woman: Mind, Body and

Spirit” on Saturday, March 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Early registration is recommended for this free program, which features lectures and screenings. It will be held at the university’s Marvin Center, 800 21st St., N.W., Washington, D.C. To register, email gwuhwb@gmail.com or call (301) 893-4443.

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Jan. 28

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GRIEF WORKSHOP

Haven of Northern Virginia is offering a free community workshop, “Journey through Grief.” It will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. at 4606 Ravensworth Rd., Annandale, Va. The snow date is Saturday, Feb. 4. Registration is required. For registration and more information, call (703) 941-7000.

Jan. 29

THE CIVIL WAR IN FREDERICKSBURG

Fredericksburg, Va., was the site of a devastating battle early in the war, followed by three years of fighting in the surrounding countryside. Civil War historian Ed Bearss leads this tour to explore the city’s dramatic past on Sunday, Jan. 29. The Smithsonian Associates trip leaves at 8 a.m. from the Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C St., S.W., Washington, D.C. and from the Horner Road commuter lot bus shelter (I-95 Exit 158B) at 8:25 a.m. The trip returns at 6:30 p.m. The cost for Smithsonian Resident members is $115 and $161 for general admission.

Feb. 10

RICHMOND FLOWER SHOW

Step out of the winter blues and into a home and garden showplace blooming with inspiration at the Maymont Flower and Garden Show in Richmond, Va. Attractions include display gardens, lecture series, marketplace and home show. The Fairfax County Recreation trip departs at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10 from Green Spring Garden Park, 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, Va. The trip returns at 5:45 p.m. The cost is $85 for Fairfax County residents and $100 for non-residents. For more information, call (703) 222-4664.

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Thursday, February 2, 2 – 4 pm The Residences at Thomas Circle* RSVP: 202-628-3844 Learn about the new developments in cardiovascular disease treatment. * 1330 Massachusetts Ave, NW Presenter: Shawn Howell, MD

Thursday, February 16, 2 – 4 pm Learn about aggressive medical therapies and minimally invasive techniques to treat chronic diseases and related complications that threaten the legs. Presenter: Richard Neville, MD

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Thursday, February 9, 2 – 4 pm Learn more about the evaluation and diagnosis of sleep disorders, including insomnia, snoring, narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Presenter: Philip Zapanta, MD

D.C. Smiles Thursday, March 22, 2 – 4 pm Learn about new innovations in dental implants. Discuss myths, realities and what consumers must know. Presenter: Lawrence D. Singer, DMD, PC

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All seminars are held in the GW Hospital Auditorium. (Unless otherwise indicated) Physicians are on the medical staff of The George Washington University Hospital but, with limited exceptions, are independent practioners who are not agents or employees of The George Washington University Hospital.


18

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Cancer screenings not always lifesavers By Lauran Neergaard It turns out that catching cancer early isn’t always as important as believed. Some tumors are too slow-growing to ever threaten your life. Some are so aggressive that finding them early doesn’t make much difference. And today’s treatments are much better for those somewhere in the middle. Those complexities are changing the longtime mantra that cancer screening will save your life. In reality, it depends on the type of cancer, the test, and who gets checked when. “We can find cancer early. We can reduce the burden of the disease. But along the way, we’re learning our tests are not as

perfect as we’d like,” said the American Cancer Society’s Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, a longtime screening proponent. “We’re learning that we’re now finding cancer that would in fact never cause harm.” So cancer specialists are struggling to find a new balance: to quit over-promising the power of early detection and to help people understand that the tests themselves have risks — while not scaring away those who really need it.

Which tests are questionable? Least controversial are cervical and colorectal cancer screenings. They can spot pre-cancerous growths that are fairly easy to remove, although even some of those

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tests can be used too frequently. More serious questions surround other cancers — like which men, if any, should get a PSA blood test to check for prostate cancer, and whether women should start mammograms in their 40s or wait until they’re 50. Also in question is whether doctors will be able to head off another looming controversy: Just which smokers and exsmokers should get a pricey CT scan that can detect lung cancer but also is prone to false alarms? A recent study found the scans could save some lives. But guidelines aren’t due out until early next year that would decide who is at enough risk to outweigh the test’s potential harm — such as a risky, invasive biopsy to tell if a suspicious spot is cancer or just an old smoking scar.

Screening for breast cancer Today, guidelines for how to handle some of the most common cancer screenings conflict. And, they’re written for the average patient when many people may need a more customized decision, according to Dr. Jeanne Mandelblatt of Georgetown University. She has studied breast cancer risk for a government panel that recommends most women not begin screening for the disease until age 50. Consider this, she said: The average woman has a 3 percent lifetime risk of dying of breast cancer, a low risk for a disease that women find so scary. But the chances of getting breast cancer do gradually increase with age and other circumSee CANCER SCREENINGS, page 20

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Jan. 27+

MAN OF LA MANCHA

Inspired by the masterpiece Don Quixote, the musical Man of La Mancha mixes tragedy, romance, comedy and adventure. Performances by the McLean Players will be held at the McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre, 1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean, Va., on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from Jan 27 to Feb 11. Tickets, which cost $15, are available at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/853825. For more info, call (703) 790-9223.

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Jan. 10+

PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN THEATER

Olney Theatre Center and the National Players present John Steinbeck’s classic story Of Mice and Men and William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew for two “pay-what-youcan” performances. Of Mice and Men will be performed on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m., and The Taming of the Shrew on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets on a pay-what-you-can basis will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m. the night of the performance in the lobby, and seating is first come, first served. For additional information, visit the Olney Theatre Center’s website at www.olneytheatrecenter.org or call the box office at (301) 924-3400. The theater is located at 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. in Olney, Md.

Meet Author Allison Leotta Friday, January 13 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Ongoing

SINGERS WANTED

Join the Celebration Singers, a women’s show choir performing at various community sites in Northern Virginia. Practice during the day on Wednesdays in Burke, Va. For further details, contact Sue Boltz at (703) 768-7499.

Sin

ce 19 Solving the Care 95 Management Puzzle

Book Discussion & Signing

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2

Digestive Health Corner Sponsored by Capital Digestive Care

Relief from heartburn Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease 3. Use with care any medications that (GERD) occurs when acid, normally pro- may cause inflammation of your stomach duced by your stomach, and/or esophagus. These intravels backwards (refluxclude aspirin, anti-inflammatoes) into your esophagus. ry medications such as IbuproSymptoms typically manifen (Advil, Motrin) or Naproxfest as heartburn, a burning en (Aleve, Naprosyn), medicasensation in your chest or tions for osteoporosis such as upper abdomen, but not alAlendronate (Fosamax), Ibanways. Some people experidronate (Boniva), Risedronate ence stomach or chest pain, (Actonel) as well as certain andifficulty swallowing, or tibiotics. even respiratory symptoms What if dietar y and By Lawrence A. including a sore throat, lifestyle modification aren’t Bassin, MD cough, or wheezing. working? If left untreated, more serious compliSometimes eating sensibly and maincations, such as Barrett’s esophagus, a taining a healthy lifestyle just aren’t condition which predisposes a patient to enough and use of medication may be esophageal cancer, may develop. necessary. Understanding how different How can I get relief from my symp- medications work, and when to take toms? them, may offer further relief from Modifying certain dietary and symptoms as well as limit your exposure lifestyle habits will ease symptoms. Start to unnecessary medication. by following a few simple rules. Traditional Antacids (Tums, Ro1. Limit or avoid anything that is acidic laids, Maalox, Mylanta . . .): They immeor makes you burp. Examples include or- diately decrease the acidity in your ange juice, tomato sauce, coffee, alcohol, esophagus and stomach and provide carbonated beverages and chocolate. some symptom relief. Unfortunately the 2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle — avoid effect is gone in 30 minutes or so. eating before lying down or going to bed, H2 Blockers (Ranitidine, Famotidine, Cimetidine): Doctor trick — notice watch your weight, and do not smoke.

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the “tidine” ending. Available over the counter, as well as in stronger strengths by prescription, they work within 30 minutes and last up to 12 hours. Proton Pump Inhibitors (Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Pantoprazole . . .): Notice the “prazole” ending. Also available over the counter, and by prescription, they are the most effective class of medications at suppressing production of stomach acid. They work within a few hours, and generally provide protection for a full day. For the best results, take them 30 minutes before eating your first meal of the day. Taking them with food or after a meal will lessen their effectiveness. When should I see a doctor? While most symptoms can be treated appropriately using the above strategies, you don’t want to ignore your body’s signals of impending doom. Red flags to watch out for: • Symptoms that don’t go away with medication • Daily use or need of medication several times a week • Escalating or long duration of symptoms • Chest pain • Unintentional weight loss • Difficulty swallowing • Seeing blood or having black colored bowel movements Your physician will help you gain insight into your gastrointestinal problems, personalize a treatment plan, and ensure that you are not at risk for cancer, or develop other life threatening complications such as an ulcer.

Additional tests, such as an upper endoscopy, may be recommended in order to assess the current state of the lining of your stomach and esophagus. During an upper endoscopy, your physician will insert an endoscope (a small flexible tube with a camera at its tip) through your mouth and down your esophagus to look for abnormalities inside your upper digestive tract (the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum). For most, acid reflux is something easily managed with a bit of common sense. For others, better insight into the cause of acid reflux, as well as understanding what options are available for treatment, goes a long way towards controlling symptoms and limiting the risk of complications of GERD. For more information about heartburn and GERD, visit our website at www.capitaldigestivecare.com or request a free information kit at info@capitaldigestivecare.com or (240) 485-5207. Capital Digestive Care has 16 offices conveniently located throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area, including, Montgomery, Howard, Prince George’s and Frederick counties. Lawrence A. Bassin, MD is a board certified physician specializing in Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Born and raised in Montgomery County, he completed his fellowship in Gastroenterology at Yale University before returning to the Washington area. Dr. Bassin sees patients in the Rockville office of the Digestive Disease Consultants division of Capital Digestive Care.

19


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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Cancer screenings

BEACON BITS

Jan. 12+

From page 18

A FOOL’S SHAKESPEARE Faction of Fools Theatre Company presents a comedic rendering of

Romeo and Juliet at Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint, 916 G St., N.W., Washington, D.C. The production incorporates physical humor and acrobatics. Performances will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., and on Sundays at 3 p.m. from Jan. 12 to Feb. 4. Tickets are $25. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 1-800-838-3006 or see www.factionoffools.org.

Jan. 8

CELEBRATE GREENBELT’S 75TH ANNIVERSARY “Greenbelt’s 75th Anniversary Kickoff : An Artful Afternoon”

includes a comic opera performance, a public art dedication, hands-on crafts and more. The free event will take place Sunday, Jan. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Greenbelt Community Center, 15 Crescent Rd., Greenbelt, Md. For more information, see www.greenbeltmd.gov/arts or call (301) 397-2208.

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stances. So if you’re 40 and have several risk factors — like dense breasts and close relatives with the disease — then you have the same risk as an average 50-year-old, not an average 40-year-old, and might consider earlier mammograms, Mandelblatt said. Few primary-care doctors have the time to go into that kind of detailed explanation. Adding to the confusion are testimonials from cancer survivors that a screening saved their lives. Dartmouth researchers recently studied how often that’s true for mammograms, and estimated that about 13 percent of women in their 50s whose breast cancer is detected by the tests survive as a result. What else plays a role? Treatments have dramatically improved in recent years, saving more lives. Also, increasingly powerful mammograms are detecting more low-risk tumors — the kind that probably wouldn’t have threatened a woman’s life in the first place. Still, mammograms are “not perfect, but they’re the best we have,” cautioned Mandelblatt. She thinks the Dartmouth estimate is somewhat low.

Prostate cancer screening PSA tests for prostate cancer are a

much tougher call. In October, a government panel recommended an end to routine PSA screenings, a step further than other major medical groups that urge men to weigh the pros and cons and decide for themselves. But the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found limited, if any, evidence that screening average men improves survival. That’s largely because so many men are diagnosed with slow-growing tumors that never would have killed them; still, they have treatments that can cause incontinence, impotence or even lead to death. “We really — underline the word ‘really’ — have to pull back the messaging on prostate cancer,” said the cancer society’s Lichtenfeld, who himself isn’t sure of the test’s net worth. PSA testing took off on the basis of “blind faith” that they would work, not science, he said. What really worries Lichtenfeld is that ever more powerful cancer screenings are being developed before doctors have a way to tell exactly which early tumors should be removed. “We have cells in our body that are abnormal all the time, and our bodies deal with it,” he noted. “Our technology takes us further and further down the early-detection path, and we need to sort through all this.” — AP

Dr. Allen J. Moien Call to set up your appointment today

301-441-8632

BEACON BITS

Jan. 29

SINGLE SENIORS BRUNCH A “Single Seniors’ Champagne Brunch” open to the public will be

If no answer, please leave a message.

held at noon on Sunday, Jan. 29 in the Campaign Room at the Ft. Myer Officers’

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Club, 214 Jackson, Arlington, Va. Meet other singles, dine, socialize and hear music from Madagascar. Present a photo ID to enter at the Wright Gate, at end of N. Meade St. adjacent to Iwo Jima Memorial, or the Hatfield Gate on Washington Blvd. Free parking. Brunches are held the last Sunday of each month. For reservations, call Seena King at (301) 530-4884.

Jan. 25

WORLD WAR II BOOK AUTHOR Local author Brooke C. Stoddard talks about his book The World in Balance: The Perilous Months of June - October 1940 on

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2

What’s so special about Brooke Grove Retirement Village? Just ask our Cottage residents…

“We have lived here for nearly three years and are still delighted and grateful at the courtesy, competence and good humor of the staff. They are so good-natured and respectful of our curmudgeonly opinions!” – Brenda Palley

“We love being free from the work required by a house of this size through the efforts of your maintenance, landscaping and housecleaning crews, yet we can enjoy using our creative natures in directing the plantings and other features that reveal our personal lifestyles.” – Dr. John and Beatrice Nasou

*All individuals pictured are residents or staff members of Brooke Grove.

“Your staff is wonderful and takes good care of us. The meals are outstanding. Our small community is friendly, caring and willing to help one another as needed. I feel happy, safe and know that I am very lucky to be here at Brooke Grove.” – Betty Farrell

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Please mail this coupon to: Brooke Grove Retirement Village, Attn: Community Relations, 18100 Slade School Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860.


22

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Affordable Senior Communities Discover how great senior living is at one of our affordable apartment communities. Many of our communities feature 24-hour emergency maintenance, full activities programs, spacious floor plans, affordable rents, caring and dedicated staff, and much more. We are conveniently located near shopping, including grocery stores and pharmacies. Let us help you live life to the fullest. Call or visit our web site to view these communities:

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Harvard docs answer readers’ questions By Dr. Samuel Z. Goldhaber and Dr. Celeste Robb-Nicholson Q. My 61-year-old mother plans to take a long airplane trip. Her legs usually become swollen when she flies a long distance. Should she wear elastic stockings or take any other precautions so she doesn’t develop a blood clot in her legs? A. Developing mild swelling in the feet, ankles and lower legs is common during long-haul flights. Sitting still is the culprit — blood and fluid pool in the lower extremities because they aren’t aided in their return to the heart by contractions of the leg muscles. When the swelling occurs in both legs, it is benign, though annoying (especially when it’s difficult to put your shoes back on at the end of the flight). Swelling in one leg, however, may be worth further evaluation. Wearing below-the-knee vascular compression stockings that exert a small amount of pressure (20 to 30 millimeters of mercury) can prevent or diminish the swelling. Inseat exercises, involving contraction of the calf muscles or wiggling the feet up and down in rapid repetition, may be helpful in promoting circulation from the legs. The big worry on a long flight is the development of a blood clot, also known as deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). Such a clot can cause long-lasting problems in the affected leg. And if the clot breaks away and lodges in an artery in the lungs (this is called pulmonary embolism), it can cause chest pain and breathing problems. A large embolism can cause sudden death. The best way to prevent DVT is to stay well hydrated. Drink enough non-alcoholic bever-

ages (water and Diet Coke are my two favorites) to require frequent trips to the toilet. Getting up to go to the lavatory also increases circulation in the lower legs and exercises the calf muscles. Alcohol, which dehydrates, should be limited or avoided entirely. Some clinicians advocate taking aspirin or even an injection of low molecular weight heparin. This is usually unnecessary unless a person has had a DVT in the past. Have your mother check with her doctor before she takes either of these steps. Q. I’m 75 years old and healthy. My doctor is still recommending annual Pap tests for me. I have no history of any problems in this area and have had normal Pap tests for years. Is this necessary at my age? A. If you’ve had routine normal Pap tests up to now, you’re unlikely to need further screening, as your risk for cervical cancer is very low. The three organizations that set guidelines for cervical cancer screening generally agree on this matter. The American Cancer Society recommends that Pap test screening be discontinued at age 70 in women who’ve had at least three normal Pap tests in the past 10 years and are not at increased risk for cervical cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says that women at average risk for cervical cancer can stop Pap test screening at age 65. And according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women at average risk can stop screening between the ages of 65 and 70. This guideline doesn’t apply if a woman has tested positive for human papilloSee HARVARD Q & A, page 24

5999 Emerson Street Bladensburg, MD 20710

301-779-6196 Rent based on income

Mrs. Philippines Home for Seniors, Inc. 18889 Waring Station Road Germantown, MD 20874

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2

23

Computer games can help you stay sharp By Jim Miller Can you recommend some good brain-fitness computer games that are designed to help seniors keep their minds sharp? I love to play solitaire on my computer, but I’m interested in expanding to some other games that can benefit my mind and memory. — Forgetful Frank Dear Frank: There are actually a handful of great brain-training websites and computer software products on the market today that are backed by research and proven to help boomers and seniors improve their memory, slow age-related mental decline, and even build a stronger brain. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that

these games will prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Here are the best options to consider:

Web-based workouts If you’re interested in exercising your brain but don’t want to spend a lot of money, brain-training websites are a good place to start. While there are many sites that offer games that claim to sharpen the mind, the most valid and highly rated one is Lumosity.com, which currently boasts around 15 million users. Developed by neuroscience researchers from Stanford University and UC San Francisco, Lumosity offers more than 35 games and exercises aimed at increasing alertness, sharpening memory skills, im-

BEACON BITS

Jan. 12+

proving concentration and speeding up thinking. The games are fun and engaging, and in each game, as your skill improves, the tasks become progressively more difficult, to keep you challenged. The costs: $14.95 a month or about $80 for a one-year subscription. Lumosity even offers mobile apps for smart phone users so you can train wherever you are. Another good site to check out (but not of the quality of Lumosity) is Cognifit.com. This site starts with a brain fitness assessment that lets you know where your stronger areas are and where you could use some extra training. Cognifit offers around 20 games that are free to play, or you can pay $4.95 for each of their two advanced games for memory and concentration training.

See COMPUTER GAMES, page 25

set for

ences to 1960s Baltimore. Shows will be held at various times from Thursday, Jan. 12 through Sunday, Jan. 16. at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, 603 Edmonston Dr., Rockville, Md. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors. For tickets and more information, call (240) 314-8690.

HELP IMMIGRANTS LEARN ENGLISH The Literacy Council of Montgomery County will hold an information session for volunteers interested in helping adults learn to

read, write or speak English on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m. The session will be repeated on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 a.m. Once volunteers have completed the orientation, they can select a two-part training session that fits their schedules. No foreign language skills are necessary. Tutors work one-on-one or with small groups, and typically meet with students in libraries or community centers at mutually convenient times. For details, call (301) 610-0030, email info@literacycouncilmcmd.org or visit www.literacycouncilmcmd.org.

Recover, Rehabilitate, Regain after surgery, hospitalization, stroke or other life-changing condition Choose Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare. Our unique “Rehab Village” provides practical experience to bring you back home strong, safe and healthy. • 24 Hour Skilled Nursing Care • Physical, Occupational, Speech and Outpatient Therapy • 24 Hour Respiratory care for Ventilator and Tracheotomy Weaning • Wound Care and IV Therapy

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Greater Washington Area Age 55+ Free electronic hearing tests will be given from Monday, January 16 - Friday, January 20 at select locations in Maryland and Northern Virginia. Tests have been arranged for anyone who suspects they are losing their hearing. Such persons generally say they can hear but cannot understand words. Testing with the latest computerized equipment will indicate if you can be helped. Everyone, especially adults over 55, should have an electronic hearing test at least once a year. If there is a hearing problem, hearing tests may reveal that newly developed methods of correction will help, even for those who have been told in the past that a hearing aid would not help them. If you suspect you have hearing loss, call for a free hearing test appointment. Our licensed specialists are trained in the latest auditory testing methods and will be the first ones to tell you if you don’t need a hearing aid. If you do have a hearing loss, we will explain your results and provide you with a list of options.

Free hearing tests available only at a location listed below. One week only: Monday, January 16 - Friday, January 20.

Beltone Hearing Aid Centers Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Evenings and Saturday by appointment Bethesda, MD

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In addition to the websites, there are also a number of computer software braintraining products that you can purchase and use on your home computer. Some of the best are made by Posit Science (positscience.com, 866-599-6463), which sells three types of brain-training software including “Brain Fitness,” which speeds up and sharpens the auditory system of the brain for faster thinking, sharper focus and better memory; “InSight” which targets visual processing to improve how your brain takes in, reacts to, and remembers what you see; and “DriveSharp” which strengthens the cognitive skills es-

Free Hearing Tests

HAIRSPRAY The Musical Theater Center presents Hairspray, transporting audi-

Jan. 4+

Home computer products

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Benefits of hearing aids vary by type and degree of hearing loss, noise environment, accuracy of hearing evaluation and proper fit. Beltone Hearing Care Centers are independently owned and operated. Participation may vary by location.


24

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Pythons’ hearts may hold clues for health By Lauran Neergaard You don’t think of pythons as big-hearted toward their fellow creatures. They’re better known for the bulge in their bodies after swallowing one of those critters whole. But the snakes’ hearts balloon in size as they’re digesting. And now scientists are studying them for clues about human heart health. The expanded python heart appears remarkably similar to the larger-than-normal

hearts of Olympic-caliber athletes. Colorado researchers report they’ve figured out how the snakes make it happen. “It’s this amazing biology,” said Leslie Leinwand, a molecular biologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, whose team reports the findings in the journal Science. “They’re not swelling up. They’re building [heart] muscle.”

Implications for humans Reptile biologists have long studied the

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weird digestion of these snakes, especially the huge Burmese pythons that can go nearly a year between meals with no apparent ill effects. When they swallow that next rat or bird — or in some cases deer — something extraordinary happens. Their metabolism ratchets up more than 40-fold, and their organs immediately start growing in size to get the digesting done. The heart alone grows a startling 40 percent or more within three days. Leinwand, who studies human heart disease, stumbled across that description and saw implications for people. An enlarged human heart usually is caused by chronic high blood pressure or other ailments that leave it flabby and unable to pump well. But months and years of vigorous exercise give some well-conditioned athletes larger, muscular hearts — similar to how python hearts change during digestion.

So Leinwand’s team — led by a graduate student who initially was frightened of snakes — ordered a box of pythons and began testing what happens to their hearts. The first surprise: A digesting python’s blood gets so full of fat it looks milky. A type of fat called triglycerides increased 50-fold within a day. In people, high triglyceride levels are very dangerous. But the python heart was burning those fats so rapidly for fuel that they didn’t have time to clog anything up, Leinwand said. The second surprise: A key enzyme that protects the heart from damage increased in python blood right after it ate, while a heart-damaging compound was repressed. Then the team found that a specific combination of three fatty acids in the blood helped promote the healthy heart growth. If they injected fasting pythons with that

Harvard Q & A

for cervical cancer (for example, because of a past history of the disease). In any of these circumstances, a woman should work with her clinician to develop an individualized screening program. © 2011 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

From page 22 mavirus (the sexually transmitted virus associated with cervical cancer), or has been exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero, or is HIV-positive or immune-compromised or otherwise at increased risk

See PYTHONS, page 25

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Pythons From page 24 mixture, those snakes’ hearts grew the same way that a fed python’s does.

Possible human applications But did it only work for snakes? Lead researcher Cecilia Riquelme dropped some plasma from a fed python into a lab dish containing the heart cells of rats — and they grew bigger, too. Sure enough, injecting living mice made their hearts grow in an apparently healthy way as well. Now the question is whether that kind of growth could be spurred in a mammal with heart disease, something Leinwand’s team is starting to test in mice with human-like heart trouble. They also want to know how the python heart quickly shrinks back to its original

Computer games From page 23 sential for safe driving. All software is available in PC and Mac versions. The only downside is the price. You can buy the Brain Fitness and InSight software together for $690, or individually for $395 each. The DriveSharp software costs $89. Another excellent option is Dakim BrainFitness Software (dakim.com, 1-800856-5502), which costs $249 and is designed specifically for adults over 60, as well as for seniors with memory loss. And for non-computer users, Diakim offers a touch-screen console for $2,349 that’s preloaded with BrainFitness software. Just plug it in, and you’re ready to go.

No computer needed If you don’t want to rely on a computer for playing brain-boosting games, consider

size when digestion’s done. The experiments are “very, very cool indeed,” said James Hicks, a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, who has long studied pythons’ extreme metabolism and wants to see more such comparisons. If the same underlying heart signals work in animals as divergent as snakes and mice, “this may reveal a common universal mechanism that can be used for improving cardiac function in all vertebrates, including humans,” Hicks wrote in an email. “Only further studies and time will tell, but this paper is very exciting.” The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and a Boulder biotechnology company that Leinwand co-founded, Hiberna Corp., that aims to develop drugs based on extreme animal biology. — AP

electronic games like Brain Age, Brain Age 2 (see www.brainage.com), and Big Brain Academy (www.bigbrainacademy.com). Made by Nintendo, these games cost around $20 each, but to play them you’ll need to purchase a hand-held Nintendo DS Lite game unit which runs around $100. You can buy these products online at www.amazon.com or at retail chains like Walmart, Target and BestBuy. There are also dozens of mind-challenging books and puzzles you can purchase that can help too, such as Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises by Lawrence Katz and Manning Rubin, and The Big Book of Mind Bending Puzzles by Terry Stickels. Check your local book store, or visit Amazon to find them. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior book. Send your questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.SavvySenior.org.

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BEACON BITS

Jan. 14

BROADWAY NIGHT Hayfield Secondary School choral and instrumental students belt

out Broadway tunes in their annual event featuring Broadway song and dance tunes. The event includes a complimentary dessert buffet. The performance is Saturday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. in the Rebecca S. Wilburn Auditorium, Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria, Va. Ticket sales begin at 7 p.m. Adult tickets are $10, while student and senior tickets are $7. For more information, call (703) 626-7685.

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RETAIL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED The Village at Rockville, 9701 Veirs Dr., Rockville, seeks volunteers to serve in its store on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday from

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Medicare data will be used to rate doctors By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar Picking a specialist for a delicate medical procedure like a heart bypass could get a lot easier in the not-too-distant future. The government announced in December that Medicare will finally allow its extensive claims database to be used by employers, insurance companies and consumer groups to produce report cards on local doctors — and improve current ratings of hospitals. By analyzing masses of billing records, experts can glean such critical information as how often a doctor has performed a particular procedure, and get a general sense of problems such as preventable complications. Doctors will be individually identifiable

through the Medicare files, but personal data on their patients will remain confidential. Compiled in an easily understood format and released to the public, medical report cards could become a powerful tool for promoting quality care.

Helping inform consumers “There is tremendous variation in how well doctors do, and most of us as patients don’t know that. We make our choices blind,” said David Lansky, president of the Pacific Business Group on Health. “This is the beginning of a process to give us the information to make informed decisions.” His nonprofit represents 50 large employers that provide coverage for more than 3 million people.

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Medicare acting administrator Marilyn Tavenner called the new policy “a giant step forward in making our healthcare system more transparent and promoting increased competition, accountability, quality and lower costs.” But some consumer groups said Medicare is still putting limitations on their access. Early efforts to rate physicians using limited private insurance data have thus far focused on primary care doctors, but Medicare’s rich information could provide the numbers to start rating specialists as well, Lansky said. Consumers will see the first performance reports by late 2012, said a Medicare spokesman. Medicare officials say they expect nonprofit research groups to jump at the chance to use the data. With 47 million beneficiaries and virtually every doctor and hospital in the country participating, Medicare’s database is considered the mother lode of healthcare information. Tapping it has largely been forbidden because of a decades-old court ruling that releasing the information would violate the privacy of doctors. Insurance companies tried filling with their own claims data, but their files are nowhere near as comprehensive as Medicare’s Following appeals from lawmakers of both parties on Capitol Hill, President Barack

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Obama’s healthcare overhaul changed federal law to explicitly authorize release of the information. Medicare followed through in regulations issued in December. Employer groups welcomed the new policy. “There is pent-up demand for this data because everyone wants to be a more informed, intelligent consumer, especially as healthcare costs are still rising,” said Maria Ghazal, policy director at the Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs of major companies providing coverage to some 35 million employees, retirees and family members. Companies will use the data analyses in their annual updates to their insurance plans. But Ghazal said they also want to put report cards directly in the hands of workers. “We want to make it understandable and usable by our employees,” said Ghazal. Early ratings efforts using insurance company data have lacked sufficient statistical power to rank specialists. The numbers of cases of cancer and serious heart problems in the younger, working-age population simply weren’t big enough. The Medicare data could change that, since older people are more prone to chronic illnesses. “If you want to look at heart disease or See RATE DOCTORS, page 27

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THE PLACE TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON AREA CLINICAL TRIALS

How does acupuncture reduce back pain?

All participants will be given both sham acupuncture treatments and the real thing during a total of eight visits spaced over 17 days. Blood will be drawn and analyzed at scheduled intervals. Each visit will last 1 ½ to two hours. At the first study visit, participants will give a medical history and complete two questionnaires about their low back pain. They will also spend 30 minutes lying down on a bed, relaxing quietly. The next visits will occur every two to three days for the next two weeks. Participants will receive 30 minutes of either

• H E A LT H S T U DY I N F O • H E A LT H S T U DY I N F O • H E A LT H S T U DY I N F O

H E A LT H S T U D Y I N F O • H E A LT H S T U DY I N F O

Fake and real acupuncture given

Rate doctors From page 26 cancer, suddenly you have more data to look at each doctor with,” said Lansky. “It’s the power of numbers.”

Doctors fought data’s release Doctors groups fought for years to prevent release of the Medicare data. The American Medical Association argued it could be misleading to untrained consumers. For example, a surgeon who has lots of patients who develop complications may actually be a top practitioner who takes cases that others less skilled would turn away. Lately the medical groups shifted to putting conditions on the use of the data, with some success. For example, Medicare’s

rule gives individual providers the right to review their information before it is publicly released, and 60 days to challenge it. Some consumer groups said that particular restriction will make it difficult for them to produce ratings. Unlike employer associations, they don’t have economic leverage over doctors. Consumers Union’s Health Ratings Center is currently rating hospitals and some medical providers. But Lisa McGiffert, director of the group’s patient safety campaign, said Medicare’s review requirement may be too cumbersome for a group like hers. “These kinds of caveats will lead to fewer users of the data, and fewer communicators to the public,” she said. “There’s this protectionism about doctors’ information that we need to get beyond.” — AP

COPD OR EMPHYSEMA? If you are at least 40 years of age, current or ex-smoker, with COPD, you may be eligible to participate in a 26 week research study of an investigational medication for COPD. s#OMPENSATIONFORTIMEANDTRAVELMAYBEPROVIDED s-ETRO!CCESSIBLE s0ARKINGATNOCHARGE Please contact Kim at (301) 962-1610 or iaaresearchkimberlly@yahoo.com if interested.

blood samples for testing. At every visit, participants will complete questionnaires about lower back pain. While no compensation is offered for participating in the study, all study visits and acupuncture treatments are free. For more information or to volunteer, call the National Institute of Health’s Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office at 1-800411-1222 or email prpl@mail.cc.nih.gov. Refer to the study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01376375.

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Colorectal Cancer Screening Clinical Research Study Do you qualify for the study? Be a part of an important cancer research study! • Are you between the ages of 50 and 84 (inclusive)? • Are you scheduled for or do you need to schedule for a colonoscopy? • Are you at average risk for colorectal cancer? • Are you willing to provide a stool sample and undergo a screening colonoscopy within 90 days of enrollment? • Has it been at least nine years since your last colonoscopy? Or have you never had a colonoscopy? The primary goal of the Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Screening Test for the Detection of Colorectal Advanced Adenomatous Polyps and Cancer (DeeP-C) study is to determine the ability of the Exact Sciences CRC screening test to detect colorectal cancer and pre-cancer. Qualified participants may be eligible for compensation. A take-home collection kit will be provided if you qualify for the study. Once you provide the stool sample, you call a toll-free number. You will be asked a series of questions related to the stool collection process, and a courier will be scheduled to pick up your sample. Once your stool collection process is complete, you will need to schedule a screening colonoscopy, as instructed by your physician, within 90 days of enrollment. To learn more about this colorectal cancer screening study, call:

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sham or standard acupuncture. Sham acupuncture will mimic the standard procedure, but no needles will be used. The standard procedure will be performed in the same location. A licensed, experienced acupuncturist will insert small disposable needles into acupuncture sites on the back, arms and legs. Those in the study will not know whether they are receiving the sham or the standard acupuncture procedure. At some visits, participants will provide

H E A LT H S T U D Y I N F O • H E A LT H S T U DY I N F O

Who can participate?

people over the age of 18 who have never used acupuncture or had back surgery to participate in this clinical trial in Bethesda, Md. Participants must have been diagnosed with chronic lower back pain from three to 12 months ago. Participants also cannot be receiving physical therapy, heat therapy, ultrasound, spinal manipulation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, biofeedback or anticonvulsants for their back pain.

By Barbara Ruben Some back pain sufferers have found relief using acupuncture for a problem whose severity can range from nagging to incapacitating. Scientists know that the strategically placed thin needles used in acupuncture can reduce pain. In a 2011 Annals of Internal Medicine article, University of Maryland Medical Center researchers analyzed dozens of studies from around the world on acupuncture for low back pain, finding that “acupuncture is clearly effective in providing considerable pain relief.” While doctors know acupuncture can reduce inflammation, they have never studied what happens on a chemical level to alleviate pain. In a study taking place now at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (part of the National Institutes of Health), researchers are looking at blood samples for changes in different chemicals related to inflammation and pain.

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Making it work when granny is the nanny By Ellen Gibson Rosa Feddersen and her husband bought their dream retirement home on a lake in Oklahoma City five years ago. He, a pilot for U.S. Airways, was nearing the end of his career, and the area had everything the couple wanted. But when they learned their first grandchild was on the way in 2009, their agenda changed. After pleas from their daughter, they moved back to Pennsylvania to help with the baby. Their daughter and son-in-law are both surgeons, and Feddersen sometimes watches her granddaughter, Nora, 70 hours a week. While it’s a lot of work, she said the arrangement seems to be working for everyone. One reason: When it comes to taking care of baby, parents and grandparents try to stay out of each other’s way. “When I’m watching her, they pretty much understand that what I say goes,” Feddersen said. “But when they’re home, I totally back off.” That kind of mutual trust is essential to a successful childcare arrangement with grandparents, said Lawrence Balter, a child psychologist and parenting expert who is also a professor emeritus at New York University. Sharing childrearing duties is almost never simple. “Both generations are going to have their ideal way of doing things,” he said. “You have to be able to navigate and find a happy medium.”

More cared for by grandparents More and more families are finding themselves in these murky waters. According to the most recent Census data, 30 percent of pre-school children with employed mothers are cared for by a grand-

parent, while 21 percent attend a daycare center. And the economic woes of the past few years have led parents to seek more help from relatives, said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C. In addition to being a money-saving option — the average cost of center-based daycare is approaching $12,000 a year — letting grandparents take care of the kids has other benefits, Butts said. Children learn about their family history and are cared for by adults who love them, while parents can have more flexible schedules. As for the grandparents, a 2007 study by Linda Waite, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, found that grandmothers who babysit 200 to 500 hours per year exercise more and get depressed less often. But these arrangements can also be tricky because there isn’t the same clearly defined code of conduct that would apply with a professional daycare provider.

Tips for sharing care Balter shares these tips for ensuring that the entire family remains healthy and happy. Set clear expectations. Determine how many hours each week the grandparent will care for the child, during what times, and at whose house. Then do your best to stick to the plan. Also, if there’s compensation involved, decide on the amount in advance. Is the grandparent expected to do any chores during the day? Make sure everyone agrees. Establish routines. Work together to create a rough schedule for the children’s day, including naptimes and meals. This is a good opportunity for mom or dad to fold in more detailed requests — for instance, if there are certain foods they do or do not want the child to eat.

Don’t be critical. Remember, you’re on the same team. Instead of a parent saying, “My daughter doesn’t go to bed because you’re getting her overexcited after dinner,” try phrasing it without accusation: “Let’s run through the schedule and see what we can do so she’ll be calmer at night.” This advice applies to grandparents, too. If you notice the parents doing something ineffective, instead of correcting them, try offering gentle suggestions, such as, “When you were a kid, we did it this way and it seemed to work.” Don’t obsess over consistency. While it’s important for an individual caregiver to be consistent, it’s fine if mom and grandma don’t have exactly the same rules.

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Eating between meals can be a good idea Q: I’m confused by conflicting advice about whether snacking helps or hurts weight control and health. What do you suggest? A: Snacks can promote good health when you choose foods that fill nutritional gaps. For example, if you have trouble including enough fruit, dietary fiber and calcium-rich foods (such as dairy products and soymilk) in your meals, snacks offer a great chance to do so. However, for many people, “snack food” means food low in nutrients and concentrated in calories. For weight control the key point seems to be how snacking affects total calorie consumption. If you’re not hungry between meals, there’s no reason to eat more than three

times a day. Research does show though, that eating less than three times a day seems to make appetite control for weight management more difficult. And eating more than six times a day makes it difficult to keep calories low enough to support a healthy weight except for athletes with extremely high calorie needs. However, within the range of eating three to six times a day, impact on weight varies. Controlled studies do not support the idea that more frequent eating will boost metabolism so you burn more calories, as is often claimed. But some people find that snacks help them control their appetite better and avoid overeating at the next meal. For example, a snack can prevent or resolve cravings that can stem from low blood

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sugar, especially among obese people. ed sources If you snack when you are hungry and choose foods and portions that keep total calories appropriate for your needs, it may help weight control. Depending on how active you are, whether you’re trying to change or maintain weight, and whether you snack once or three times a day, for typical adults a healthy snack may be NUTRITION 100 to 250 calories. That’s a target easily ex- WISE ceeded by typical snacks and By Karen Collins, sugary or other high calorie MS, RD, CDM drinks. Instead, if you snack, choose lower calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as whole fruit, a small handful of nuts, or a half sandwich that can fill and fuel you for several hours. Q: Can cooking with more herbs and spices really add a significant amount of antioxidants to food? A: Yes. Research has shown for some time that herbs and spices are concentrat-

Granny nanny From page 29 That said, for many parents, it’s tempting to micromanage, but don’t expect grandparents to report everything that happens during the day. Trust that as long as kids are loved and kept safe, they will be OK. Schedule regular check-ins. Plan to sit down once every few months to discuss how things are going. In the chaos of dropoff and pick-up, there won’t be much time to compare notes or share concerns. During these check-in sessions, be honest about what’s working for you and make

of natural compounds that are strong antioxidants. Now a small preliminary study shows that blood antioxidant levels increased after people ate a meal with large amounts of added herbs and spices. This study used a mixture of rosemary, oregano, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic, paprika and turmeric. These herbs and spices are among those with the most research documenting the content of their protective compounds. The amount of herbs and spices added up to more than six teaspoons per person, which is substantially more than most of us typically use in cooking, but it did not reduce enjoyment of the meal’s flavor. And as an additional benefit, blood triglycerides and insulin increased less following the meal with herbs and spices See SNACKING, page 31

any necessary adjustments. For Feddersen, when the hours spent babysitting got to be too much, the family decided to send the toddler to a daycare center a couple of days a week. Now grandma has some free time to sleep in and get her nails done, and granddaughter is learning valuable socialization skills. Feddersen has declared that her nanny stint will be up when her daughter’s fellowship ends. But she said she wouldn’t trade the time she’s spent with Nora. “We took a three-year detour to help out, but I really think it’s given her a good start in life,” she said. — AP


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A simple, classic meal of beans with pasta This classic Italian dish is easy to prepare and a healthy complement to a variety of dishes. Cannellini beans are one of many types of beans or legumes. Some familiar legumes include kidney, pinto and garbanzo beans. Legumes provide significant amounts of protein and fiber and are low in fat. The white beans in this recipe are popular in Italy, especially in Tuscany, but also are prized worldwide for their taste and nutritional value. The herbs in this dish dress up the milder flavors of the beans and pasta. Basil provides a slight sweetness — although some think it gives off a subtle anise-like aroma — and the rosemary adds its piney resinous taste. The overall result is typical

Italian — a clean yet distinctive and pleasing combination. Add a piece of roasted chicken (even cold leftovers work well), and perhaps some sautéed spinach, and you have a balanced meal. For the spinach, simply mince a couple cloves of garlic and cook over mediumhigh heat in a little olive oil until softened. Then toss in a handful of fresh spinach for each serving. Stir it gently as it wilts. In a matter of minutes, you will have a light but satisfying meal combination of White Bean Pasta, roasted chicken and sautéed greens.

Snacking

Antioxidant content of some fresh herbs may decrease when they are dried, but analysis shows that dried herbs generally remain excellent source of antioxidant compounds. The American Institute for Cancer Research offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon.–Fri. Courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research. Questions for this column may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., N.W., Washington, DC 20009. Collins cannot respond to questions personally.

From page 30 than following the same meal without these flavorings. Other research shows that cooking meat with even a small amount of rosemary or turmeric can reduce formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that are linked to colon cancer. And cooking with a spice blend can reduce formation in meat of a compound believed to damage blood vessel walls and DNA.

White Bean Pasta

small whole-wheat pasta) 2 (16 oz.) cans no salt added cannellini beans (rinse and drain if salt added) 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. butter 1 large onion, sliced very thin 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine 1/4 tsp. dried basil Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (1 tsp. dried may be substituted) Cherry tomatoes or red pepper slices, optional Cook pasta according to package directions, but halfway through cooking time (about 5-6 minutes) add beans to the water.

While pasta and beans are cooking together, warm oil and butter in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, rosemary and basil. Sauté until onions are lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. When pasta is al dente, drain and transfer to large warm serving bowl. Add browned onion mixture. Toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Garnish with tomatoes or red pepper if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 ser vings of ¾ cup. Per ser ving: 305 calories, 5 g. total fat (1.5 g. saturated fat), 51 g. carbohydrate, 14 g. protein, 7 g. dietar y fiber, 68 mg. sodium.

1/2 lb. whole-wheat ditalini (or use any

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

For better memory, get these B vitamins Dear Pharmacist: I understand you believe B vitamins can improve memory. Can you explain? — C.K. Dear C.K.: Most people know that ginkgo, vinpocetine, Eleuthero and Acetyl L-carnitine support memory function, but they don’t usually consider the B vitamins brain food like I do. The best Bs to support memory are vitamin B6, B9 (folate), B2 (riboflavin) and B12. The reason these serve your memory is because they reduce homocysteine, an amino acid that your body creates as it breaks down protein. Too much homocysteine, and you’ll constantly forget things. I believe that reducing homocysteine with B

vitamins is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to preserve memory. Studies back me. As far back as 2002, physicians had the data to prove that homocysteine levels correlate with dementia and Alzheimer’s risk. The higher the homocysteine, the more damage to your brain. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. A few years later, the 2005 Framingham Offspring Study printed in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that high homocysteine levels impacted memory. The study participants were, on average, 61 years old. What would’ve been the outcome for those folks had someone told them to improve B vitamin status when

they were in their mid-40s? Your medicine steals your probiotics as What about you? A simple blood test can well, and you need those to manufacture determine your homocysteine certain B vitamins in your GI level. High levels also happen tract. So, any drug that steals to be associated with heart atprobiotics (or B2, B6, B12 or tack, stroke, blood clots and folate) can raise your homoatherosclerosis. cysteine level and therefore If you have high homocyscontribute to memory loss. teine, I recommend suppleThere are hundreds of menting with vitamin B6 (pyridrugs, including antacids, aciddoxine), B12 (methylcobalblocking (reflux) medications, amin), B2 (riboflavin) and B9 menopausal hormones, birth (folate). These are the only control pills, antibiotics, blood things that reduce homocys- DEAR pressure drugs and steroids PHARMACIST teine well. You can also simplify that alter B vitamin levels. By Suzy Cohen everything by taking a B comTalk with your doctor about plex vitamin. a blood test to determine your Here’s more perspective: According to homocysteine level, and then ask if you can the Framingham study, homocysteine lev- take a B vitamin, because there are a handels higher than 10 micromoles per liter in- ful of meds that interact. creased the risk of dementia by 75 perYou can also eat your Bs in green and cent! Levels higher than 14 double your leafy vegetables. B complex supplements risk for Alzheimer’s disease. are sold nationwide. Just FYI, the Rotterdam study found This information is opinion only. It is not that men or women with the highest ho- intended to treat, cure or diagnose your conmocysteine levels almost doubled their dition. Consult with your doctor before using risk of fracture. Ouch! any new drug or supplement. Medicine raises homocysteine indirectSuzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist ly, too. If you’ve read my Drug Mugger and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist book, you’d know there are hundreds of and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To medications that deplete B vitamins. contact her, visit www.dearpharmacist.com.

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When money complicates family matters Dear Solutions: sincerely loving to him so he’ll trust you. My cousin inherited a large sum of Approach him on the basis of protecting money, and it’s very aggrahis assets for himself by makvating to the rest of the ing pre-nuptial agreements family because of what he and using a good lawyer when does with it. necessary. Offer him love and He’s about to get married understanding instead of critifor the fourth time. Each cism, and then he may listen marriage has ended in dito all of you. vorce and a very big settleDear Solutions: ment for the wife. We’re a My cousin who makes a close family, and everyone is lot more money than I do disgusted with him. spent a lot of time helping SOLUTIONS Also, he’s in his 60s, and me to learn how to use my By Helen Oxenberg, the women he marries keep computer. We went out to MSW, ACSW getting younger. He has no dinner recently, and I wantchildren, and we would like ed to pay for him, but he to convince him to help some of our wouldn’t let me. children instead of giving his money He says he doesn’t have to be repaid away the way he’s been doing. for doing a favor. My wife says I should What do you think is the best way to stop pushing to buy something for him approach him on this? and just thank him and let it go. — Alice I’m uncomfortable with this. Any sugDear Alice: gestions? He’s a philanthropist. He’s just giving to — Charles his favorite charity — ex-wives! The man is Dear Charles: looking for love, and evidently feels unable You took his favor and now you want to to get it without the promise of a big reward. take away his generosity and make it an Don’t approach him on the basis of giv- even exchange. That’s how it feels to him. ing to your favorite charity — your chilHowever, if you want to make yourself feel dren. He can do what he wants with his better don’t take him to a restaurant where money. The best the family can do is be there’s an obvious exchange of money. Invite

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him to your home for a nice dinner, preferably with a couple of other family members so he won’t see it as payback. If you or your wife don’t cook, bring in some simple food. The feeling you want to project is that you enjoy his company, favors or no favors. Dear Solutions: My daughter has just broken off a long relationship with her boyfriend. I think she’s right to do this because no matter how much she cares for him as a friend, she just never has had the kind of feelings she wants for someone she would marry. Now the boyfriend, who’s devastated, has called me and wants to meet with me. I know he thinks I can talk

her into staying with him. How should I handle this? I don’t want to turn him down coldly. — Her Mom Dear Her Mom: “Her Mom” really says it all. As her mom you’re not going to go against her wishes. So ask your daughter first how she would feel about your meeting with him just to be nice and understanding of his hurt. If she says OK, agree to have lunch with him. But make it clear that you can’t and won’t interfere with her decisions. © Helen Oxenberg, 2012. Send questions to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915. Email the author at helox72@comcast.net. To inquire about reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.

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Careers Volunteers &

Does your organization use senior volunteers or do you employ a number of seniors? If so and you’d like to be considered for a story in our Volunteers & Careers section, please send an email to info@thebeaconnewspapers.com.

Resources help fill driving need for rides By Barbara Ruben Thousands of older adults in the Washington have difficulty getting to doctor appointments or the grocery store because they no longer drive. Perhaps a close call has made driving too daunting, vision has declined, or other conditions have made driving dangerous for them. Fortunately, a network of volunteers, discounted taxi services and public transportation can help people still find a ride when they need one. But navigating the choices can be overwhelming. That’s where a new hotline and website called Reach A Ride can help. Created by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, Reach A

Ride provides information in English and Spanish about specialized transportation options for people with disabilities, older adults, low-income commuters and those with limited English proficiency, along with links to programs and services. ReachARide.org is the first website of its kind that addresses transportation needs for residents throughout the greater Washington area. The service also has a toll-free hotline number: 1-855-732-2427. “In this region alone, there are approximately 550,000 persons with a disability; 520,000 over the age of 65; 510,000 with limited English proficiency; and 810,000 living in low-income earning households,” said District of Columbia Councilmember

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Volunteers step in One organization using volunteer drivers is the American Cancer Society. Its Road to Recovery program matches volunteers from throughout the Washington area with cancer patients needing rides to medical appointments. Delores Browder, of Temple Hills, Md., signed up as a volunteer driver as soon as

she retired from the Federal Communications Commission last January. “People with cancer need all the help they can get, including transportation to treatment, and they’re so grateful for Road to Recovery,” said Browder, 63. “One thing I’ve learned is that even family members very often can’t provide all the help needed. Some of the patients I drive feel bad that I’m having to take them to treatment when they have family. “But it’s hard for family members to get off work so many times a week. And not being at work sometimes means no pay for them, so it’s just not possible. I’m happy to be able to provide the service.” See TRANSPORTATION, page 35

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35

Retirees looking to become entrepreneurs One of the Steve Jobs stories circulating wants to change the world. in the wake of the legendary Apple But a growing share of start-ups are founder’s death is the line he coming from older entrepreused to convince PepsiCo’s neurs these days — and John Sculley to join Apple many of them want to change Computer: “Do you want to world, too. sell sugar water for the rest of Entrepreneurs age 55 to 64 your life, or come with me and represent a rising share of change the world?” start-up activity, according to Jobs embodied the spirit of the Kauffman Index of Entrecreative entrepreneurship — preneurial Activity, accounting and the Apple stor y began for 23 percent of new entreprewhen he was in his early 20s, RETIRE SMART neurs in 2010, up from 14.5 perin a Silicon Valley garage. By Mark Miller cent in 1996. That’s the image that comes And a new study reveals that to mind when most of us think of busi- 25 million Americans age 44 to 70 hope to ness start-ups — a kid in blue jeans who start businesses or nonprofit ventures in the

Transportation From page 34 The American Cancer Society provides free training for volunteer Road to Recovery drivers. Requirements for volunteering include a good driving record, a valid driver’s license, auto insurance and a vehicle that is in good working condition. For more information on becoming a Road to Recovery volunteer, or to receive services, call 1-800-227-2345. To volunteer in Northern Virginia, call Brenda SilviaTorma at (703) 938-5550. Volunteers with the Senior Connection help provide transportation and other services for older adults in Montgomery County. Volunteers assist those ages 62 and older to maintain their independence and stay in their own homes. Services include escorted transportation to medical appointments, as well as errand and shopping assistance. To either volunteer or obtain transportation services, call (301) 962-0892 or go to http://seniorconnectionmc.org. Fairfax County’s Volunteer Solutions is seeking volunteers to transport older residents on trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, library and other errands throughout that county. Volunteers are matched with clients who live in or near their neighborhoods. They arrange schedules for their weekly or bi-weekly meetings. Mileage reimbursement is available. To volunteer or learn more, contact Volunteer Solutions at (703) 324-5406, email DFSAAAvolunteer@fairfaxcounty.gov, or visit www.fair-

next five to 10 years. More than 12 million of the aspiring entrepreneurs (48 percent) want to be “encore entrepreneurs” — a phrase coined by Civic Ventures, the think tank focused on midlife career reinvention and founder of the Encore Careers campaign.

Role models to emulate Civic Ventures throws a big spotlight on the trend every year with the Purpose Prize — a sort of Oscars for social entrepreneurs. Now in its sixth year, the award recognizes older career trailblazers who’ve demonstrated creative and effective work tackling social problems. Each prize winner receives $100,000, which most often is reinvested in their enterprises. This year’s award winners include a San

Francisco-area screenwriter who adopted two daughters from China in her 50s, then found a way to partner with the Chinese government in efforts to transform the care of 800,000 orphans there; an Oregon woman who produces and distributes lowcost, safe, fuel-efficient cook stoves in Latin America; and a Santa Fe, New Mexico architect working to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions in buildings. Another Purpose Prize winner this year is a 71-year-old entrepreneur who took on the daunting challenge of trying to restore the economy of Detroit by building a successful business incubator for entrepreneurs called TechTown. See ENTREPRENEURS, page 37

faxcounty.gov/dfs/olderadultservices/volunteer-solutions.htm. If you don’t relish driving in Washington’s infamous traffic, you can still help seniors in need of a ride by volunteering for the Jewish Council for the Aging’s Connect-aRide information and referral service. Volunteers are trained to provide free information about rides in Montgomery, Arlington and Fairfax Counties. For more information, call (301) 738-3252 or (703) 323-6494.

Reduced-rate rides Beyond free rides offered by volunteers, there are some low-cost ways to get around. Persons with disabilities who are unable to take Metro buses and trains may qualify for MetroAccess, which provides door-todoor shared ride transportation in vans that can accommodate wheelchairs. MetroAccess fares are two times the fastest comparable Metro fare, with a maximum fare of $7 per one-way trip. For more information, call (301) 5625360 or see www.wmata.com/accessibility/metroaccess_service. The D.C. Office on Aging operates the Washington Elderly Handicapped Transportation Service. Arrangements are made to transport seniors to medical appointments, dialysis sessions, appointments with public benefits agencies, banks, and the like. To use the service, riders must contact the Lead Agencies that serve the ward where they live. The main number for the service is (202) 715-7649. See TRANSPORTATION, page 37

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2

Entrepreneurs From page 35 Randal Charlton has had a long, colorful career — ranging from tending dairy cows for a Saudi sheik to starting a jazz club in Florida — with plenty of ups and downs. As a lifelong entrepreneur, he has bought and sold 14 different companies. Charlton built TechTown by raising $24 million from foundations and government, and gathering together an impressive array of resources for training and start-up funding. He recruited a small army of start-ups that have created a total of more than 1,800 local jobs — and not only in high-tech industries. “There’s an absence of everything from grocery stories to dry cleaners and taxi services in the city,” Charlton said. “We

Transportation From page 35

Taxi discounts Sometimes taxis can be the easiest way to get from point A to point B. But cabs are the most expensive option. That’s why there are numerous discount programs for seniors. Regency Taxi offers completely free rides for Montgomery County residents age 70 and older. Seniors must provide proof of age. “The economy was really bad. A lot of our clients in Montgomery County couldn’t afford to pay to get to their doctors or run everyday errands like buying groceries. I came up with the idea to give anyone, age 70 and over, a free ride if needed,” said Regency Taxi President David Mohebbi, who started the “senior citizen bailout” program in 2008. To reserve a ride, call (301) 9909000 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. The Montgomery County Call ‘N’ Ride Program provides taxi rides for low-income residents at least 67 years old or who have a disability. They may purchase up to two $60 coupon books a month at discounts based on income. For example, someone with an annual income between $17,000 and $20,000 would pay $20 for $60 worth of coupons. For information about eligibility for the Call ‘N’ Ride program, call (301) 948-5409. District residents may also participate in a Call ‘N’ Ride taxi discount coupon program, but it has different requirements. District participants need only be at least 60. The amount of the discount is based on

need to provide services to a broad range of entrepreneurs.” TechTown has been home to 250 companies, and more than 2,200 entrepreneurs have graduated from its training programs. Charlton recently transitioned to a new role heading up a program focused specifically on helping Detroit adults over age 50 transition to new careers, entrepreneurship and volunteer service. The idea for BOOM! The New Economy began to germinate after Charlton noticed the outsized number of older adults attending TechTown conferences and entrepreneur training.

Seven tips for newbies When I asked Charlton for his top tips to would-be 50-plus entrepreneurs, he walked me through a seven-point plan of advice based on his own numerous and

a sliding fee scale, depending on income. For more information, call (202) 715-7652. Virginia offers several discount taxi services as well. Seniors-On-The-Go! in Fairfax County offers those age 65 or older coupon books for $33 worth of taxi rides for $20. This program is limited to individuals with an annual income of $40,000 or less for a single person; $50,000 or less for a couple. Call the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services at (703) 877-5800. Super Senior Taxi coupons are available for Arlington residents age 70 and older. They pay $10 for a coupon book worth $20. For details, call the Arlington County Aging and Disability Services Division at (703) 228-1700. In addition, taxicab companies serving Arlington offer a 10 percent discount to older passengers and to persons with disabilities. Blue Top Cab Company offers a discount to passengers 55 and above who request the discount of the driver at the time of the trip. Call Blue Top at (703) 243-8294. Red Top and Yellow Cab companies sell coupon books that are used as fare and turned in at the time of the ride at a 10 percent discount for passengers 65 and above. For information or to purchase discount books, call (703) 525-0900. Alexandria residents who are at least 60 years old can take $2 Senior Taxi rides to medical appointments, grocery stores and pharmacies within city limits. The price is $2.50 for medical office visits within five miles of city limits. Make your reservation by calling (703) 836-4414, extension 15.

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colorful life experiences: • Get fit and keep fit. Running a business requires physical and mental fitness. • Focus on skill sets. Think about finding work tied to your actual strengths, rather than your former title. • Plan an exit as you enter. If you are partnering with others, think about how you can set up your business so that you have a “pre-nup” that allows you after a few years to pass the business along, and therefore get some value out of it. • Mitigate risk. Stabilizing your personal expenses is one way to do this. Charlton said he was “ruthless when setting up my own business at age 60. I had no credit card debt, rented a small apartment, and then built a small house later on, when I could afford it. I still drive a 10year-old car. I made sure that, if the busi-

37

ness went south, I wouldn’t be left with a lot of personal debt.” • Leverage everything and anyone who offers help. “Universities, economic development agencies, states and cities have an incredible number of services that they want to offer to small businesses to help create jobs,” he said. “The challenge is identifying them.” • Network, network, network. “Forget resumes. If you send out enough resumes you will need anti-depressants quickly. Most jobs are obtained by knowing people who know people.” • Get in the game. “Don’t stand on the outside waiting for a plum job to come along. Volunteer or work as an intern.” Mark Miller is the author of The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security. © 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OFFICE ON AGING

Spotlight On Aging VOLUME XXVII, ISSUE 1

A newsletter for D.C. Seniors

January 2012

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE By Dr. John M. Thompson

Happy New Year! As we embark on a new year, I would like to focus on a familiar topic — awareness. The D.C. Office on Aging is committed to fostering an ongoing dialogue with the District’s seniors, caregivers and our colleagues who serve you to increase our level of awareness of the issues that are important to seniors so that we might better serve you. In the process, we will keep you informed of our progress and will continue to keep you abreast of the latest information and local developments in our senior service network to engender knowledge and to keep you healthy and safe. As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is power,” and we will continue to take an active role in ensuring that you are empowered in your everyday lives. Last month, I had a chance to attend many holiday parties hosted by our community-based partnering organizations. It warms my heart to see how our colleagues are truly serving the District’s seniors, persons with disabilities and family caregivers. I also had an opportunity to facilitate the roundtable discussion with the executive director at our Senior Wellness Centers located in Wards 4, 5, 7 and 8. (I look forward to conducting the same style meeting at the Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center this month.) As I expressed to the seniors at these roundtable discussions, the purpose of these meetings is to hear directly from you on what improvements are needed at the centers and within the Office on Aging, and what we are doing well so that we can adopt such practices across the District. The takeaways from these meetings have been tremendous, as my staff truly understands that my objective for our agency is to be transparent, accountable and to follow through in a timely manner on all concerns identified by the roundtable participants. We will produce the meeting notes and deliver on action items from each of our visits. I look forward to continuing these meetings on a quarterly basis so that our agency does not miss the mark in meeting seniors’ needs and addressing their concerns. Beyond the roundtable meetings, the Commissioners, D.C. Office on Aging Staff, and I visited a couple of congregate meal sites to investigate complaints regarding the quality of the food. In order to address this issue, we held an open forum where we invited the food vendors to hear the concerns directly from the seniors. The vendors are reviewing all concerns and recommendations from the seniors. All stakeholders will convene for a follow-up meeting in 30 days to assess the progress of the food quality. We anticipate that the necessary changes will be made to the food well before that time. I would be remiss if I did not thank my staff and Commissioners Arguelles, Thorne, Swanda, Campbell and Foy for accompanying me on the numerous visits. I look forward to our other commissioners participating in these very important and engaging meetings. On another topic, you may recall on the evening news in December that an 85-year-old woman was carjacked in front of her home in Northeast D.C. one morning while she was scraping ice from her car windshield and warming up her vehicle. See DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE, page 39

Laura Griffin, 99 was recently honored by the “Seniors Do Exercise Program” at Fort Lincoln. She is the oldest member, and missed her birthday celebration in June because of an illness. She was awarded the Presidential Champion Award from President Barack Obama and birthday greetings from Mayor Vincent C. Gray. She is pictured here with Dr. John Thompson, executive director D.C. Office on Aging, and Bob King, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the area.

Annual Mayor’s Senior Holiday Celebration More than 3,300 seniors attended the 14th Annual Mayor’s Senior Holiday Celebration at the D.C. Armory. The event was presented by the D.C. Office on Aging and Family Matters of Greater Washington with support from AARP. ATDI Inspirational Choir and Moroccan Ensemble perform Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” as part of the Annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration. The group uses various forms of art, including music and drama, as part of its therapy for persons with mental, physical and intellectual disabilities at its day treatment program for adults.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray is pictured with Councilmember Yvette Alexander, Ward 7. Mayor Gray, introduced as the fifth member of the musical group the , addressed the crowd, wishing everyone happy holidays. Councilmember Vincent C. Orange also attended the event between Council sessions.


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D.C. OFFICE

ON

39

AGING NEWSLETTER

Community Calendar Carly.Skidmore@dc.gov or call 202-724-2229 for more information.

January events 3rd+ Iona’s fitness classes start up again beginning the first week of January. Arts classes begin the third week of January. Fitness classes include anti-aging bone-strengthening, yoga, beginning and advanced tai chi, qi gong, and classes on strength, balance and posture. Arts classes include memoir writing, laughter yoga and handmade books. Classes generally run for six to eight sessions, and cost $10 per session. For a complete calendar with dates and times of classes, all held at Iona at 4125 Albemarle St., N.W., visit www.iona.org or call 202-895-9448 and select option 4.

16th Honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and participate in the MLK National Day of Service on Jan.16. Serve DC will partner with We Feed Our People, a District-based nonprofit that is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk and inneed members of the community. Visit the MLK Day of Service projects page on www.serve.dc.gov to find a way to help in your neighborhood. Contact

17th • 11 a.m. Seabury Resources for Aging will hold a glaucoma awareness program at Ft. Lincoln I, 2855 Bladensburg Rd., N.E. For more information, call Vivian Grayton at 202-529-8701.

19th and 26th • 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The Gallery at Iona presents the works of three accomplished senior artists: artist in residence George Smith-Shomari, printmaker and painter, and special guest artists Varda Avnisan and Jill Tanenbaum, glass artists. The gallery exhibition of all three artists’ works opens on Thursday, Jan. 19. The gallery’s hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a free Lunch & Learn to meet Avnisan and Tanenbaum on Jan. 19, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Bring your own lunch. A free Lunch & Learn with Smith-Shomari, will be on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Make a reservation by calling 202-895-9407.

The District is Seeking Centenarians The D.C. Office on Aging is looking for persons age 100 and older to honor at a special luncheon for centenarians later this year. If you know of someone who should be included, call the Office

Director’s message From page 38 Although this senior is doing really well and her car was returned to her by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), I would like to remind you to be vigilant neighbors. I encourage you to call MPD when you see unfamiliar faces or suspicious activities in your neighborhood. It only takes a minute to call 911, which could prevent a life-altering event from happening to you or your neighbors.

on Aging at 202-724-5626 to make sure they are registered. Please provide us their name, birth date and contact information so that we may invite them to the event.

Lastly, but certainly not least, we are making great strides with establishing new senior villages. We plan to release a survey tool by mid-February to assess the needs of our low- to moderate-income seniors residing east of the river. The survey tool will also solicit volunteer participation from businesses and individuals interested in donating their time in assisting our seniors. We look forward to your participation in this survey process! I pray that each one of you has a very prosperous 2012!

SPOTLIGHT ON AGING Spotlight On Aging is published by the Information Office of the D.C. Office on Aging for D.C. senior residents. Advertising contained in the Beacon is not endorsed by the D.C. Office on Aging or by the publisher. 500 K St., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002 202-724-5622 • www.dcoa.dc.gov Dr. John M. Thompson, Executive Director Darlene Nowlin, Editor Adrian R. Reed, Photographer The D.C. Office on Aging does not discriminate against anyone based on actual or perceived: race,

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

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

27th Seabur y Resources for Aging participants will deliver handmade items to a homeless shelter in Ward 5. For details, call Vivian Grayton at 202529-8701.

February event 15th • 9 a.m. to noon Train to become an ambassador for the D.C. Office on Aging. Let your family, friends, neighbors or others know how the Office on Aging can assist them through the many programs, services and resources that are available. Training will be held at the DCOA office, 500 K St., N.E. Call 202-724-5622 for more information.

Ongoing Seabury Ward 5 Aging Services emergency food pantry offers free food to Ward 5 residents age 60 and older on a case-by-case basis. The food is distributed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Call Vivian Grayton at 202-529-8701.

Preparing for Winter Emergencies Now is the time to prepare for possible winter emergencies. Once you learn of a cold or winter weather alert, such as a winter storm warning, listen to the broadcast media about the weather conditions. Seniors are urged to follow certain protective measures, including: staying in warm places, wearing several layers of dry clothing, wearing a windproof outer layer, rescheduling appointments if possible, and storing canned goods and prescription medicines in case you cannot get out to a store. See www.72hours.dc.gov for information on preparing for emergencies and save these phone numbers:

IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE • Emergency Assistance 911 In a life-threatening situation, call 911 for Police, Fire and ambulance services. There is a charge for DC ambulance transportation to heathcare facilities. Medicare Part A recipients can be reimbursed. • Hypothermia/Shelter Hotline (202) 399-7093 or (800) 5357252 The hotline offers assistance to persons in need of overnight shelter, and support for those living in the streets. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE • DC Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (202) 442-9557

If the heat system is not working in your rental apartment building, notify the property management. If you do not receive a response, you can call the Housing Inspections Office for assistance during business hours. On weekends and after hours, call the Office of Emergency Management at (202) 7276161. • DC Call Center (202) 311 To report public streets that need snow and ice clearing and removal. Also, the main number for DC residents to report a problem or violation, offer feedback to the Mayor, or obtain government information. • Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (202) 727-6161 This office can give you information about shelters, where to get blankets, heaters and oil, and whom to contact for other assistance. Also for non-medical emergency assistance and service information on holidays, weekends and after hours. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. • D.C. Office on Aging (202) 724-5626 The Information and Assistance Office can link seniors with needed services and provide general information on keeping warm. The Office is open Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. • D.C. Energy Of fice Hotline (202) 673-6750


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Travel Leisure &

Krakow, Poland is becoming an eastern European hot spot. See story on page 42.

The Everglades: One watery wonderland

Who’s watching whom? On a recent visit to Everglades National

Park, as I walked just a few inches above water level along the Anhinga Trail boardwalk, I stopped to study a hunched-over greenback heron. I suddenly realized that I was also being watched. In the grayish-brown muck five feet away, a dark leathery crown barely poked out, and two large, half-emerged shiny orbs just above the waterline were eyeing me. The “keeper of the Everglades,” a Florida alligator, was lurking, camouflaged in the shallows. Once endangered, “today they are too numerous to count,” Christiana Admiral, a National Park Service interpreter told me later. The typical male is seven feet long. To casual observers, alligators seem lethargic, but they can move fast both in water and on land. In the visitor center’s “Gators in Motion” video, I had learned that during courtship males bellow, nuzzle females, and then both submerge to mate. Recalling that we had also been cautioned that “they eat anything,” I didn’t linger. Ambling on, I spotted a big brown bird with wings splayed apart, seemingly frozen in time. It was an anhinga, and except for an occasional blink of the eye, it was sitting perfectly still on a branch drying its wings. Known as “snakebirds,” anhingas swim underwater, spear fish and perch to dry out, an iconic pose in these wetlands. Moving further, I spotted a thin white “tube” reaching upward amid the millions of sawgrass blades. It was a great egret

© CHRISTIAN DE GRANDMAISON/DREAMSTIME.COM

By Glenda C. Booth A sheet of water once flowed from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes near Orlando to Lake Okeechobee and then across the southern tip of Florida through ponds, sloughs, wetlands, hummocks and forests. Once covering almost 3 million acres, the Everglades was perceived by many during Florida’s early boom years as a worthless swamp interfering with agriculture and other development. So, human engineering was brought to bear, “improving” south Florida with canals, dams and elaborate drainage systems that severely interrupted and diverted the historic flow of water. In large part thanks to Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a journalist and tireless conservation advocate during the 1900s, the Everglades are now viewed as a national natural treasure. In 2000, Congress approved a 30-year plan to restore some of the original Everglades. Today, the ecosystem encompasses 1.3 million acres of sawgrass prairie stretching across South Florida. The largest subtropical ecosystem in the U.S., it now boasts 350 species of birds, 300 of fish, 40 of mammals, 50 of reptiles, 17 of amphibians and 1,000 of plants. This is also the only place where alligators and crocodiles co-exist.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

A great egret strides through a swamp filled with cypress trees in Florida’s Everglades National Park. Preservation efforts have helped turn the 1.3 million acre ecosystem into a nature-loving tourist’s dream.

Visitors skim across the Everglades’ “river of grass” in an airboat in search of crocodiles, herons, egrets and other species of the abundant wildlife found in the national park.

awaiting its prey. Around the bend, a great blue heron crouched silently, transfixed on the water. These bluish-gray, 46-inch wading birds patiently stand motionless for a long time waiting for a snack to zip by. The Everglades, North America’s unique “river of grass,” is deceptive. At first glance, all seems quiet, at rest. But it’s not. It is a mesmerizing liquid land where you should slowly imbibe the serenity and study subtle movements and gentle nuances, from the microscopic to the menacing. Tony Iallonardo, a resident of Arlington, Va., described his October visit like this: “I was told not to expect grand vistas like the Tetons or Yosemite. The Everglades require you to move slowly and look closely. Then the beauty opens itself up to you. “What’s most special is the abundance of wildlife. It’s all around you all the time — under your feet, above your head and everywhere in between. “Alligators, diamondback rattlers, other snakes, lizards, a bear cub and hundreds of egrets and herons. We had many moments when we were all alone with the wildlife and our beautiful surroundings.”

Multiple entrances and paths There are three entrances to Everglades National Park: the Ernest F. Coe

Visitor Center near Homestead on the southeast, Shark Valley at the northeast corner, and Everglades City at the northwest corner. Driving to the Coe entrance, 35 miles south of Miami, and from there along the 37-mile road to Flamingo, Fla., is an excellent one or two-day introduction to all that is the Everglades. Off this road are several easy trails where you can get close-up looks at wood storks, ibises and turtles. Unusual plants, like mangroves and moonvines that bloom at night, also abound. On the Gumbo Limbo Trail, I explored a typical hardwood hummock, lush with subtropical plants, including orchids and bromeliads, and secretive animals, such as the Florida tree snail and the Key Largo wood rat. (The gumbo limbo tree is known as the tourist tree because its bark peels like the sunburned skin of a tourist.) The Pa-hay-okee Overlook’s one-quarter mile boardwalk took me to an observation tower for a panoramic view. On the West Lake Trail, a half-mile loop, I watched birds flit around in a forest of salt-tolerant mangrove trees perched on their abovewater roots arched like a birdcage. On my drive to Flamingo, I sampled most See EVERGLADES, page 41


Everglades From page 40 of the park’s ecosystems — freshwater sloughs, marl prairies, cypress and mangrove forests and marine estuaries. During low tide, the mud flats host throngs of birds, including pelicans, cormorants, herons, roseate spoonbills, egrets, mangrove cuckoos and black skimmers. At the road’s end, I had hoped for sightings of a saltwater crocodile or manatee, both of which rangers say are common, but they were not visible on the drizzly day of my visit. Crocodile numbers have rebounded to around 1,500, according to park authorities. Flamingo has boat, kayak and canoe rentals, snacks, an informative visitor center and free ranger-guided programs. Taking another approach, from the Shark Valley entrance off the Tamiami Trail (Highway 41), 25 miles west of the Florida Turnpike, there’s a two-hour, openair tram tour led by naturalists to a 50-foot observation tower. Or you can rent a bike to explore the 15-mile trail or walk several trails from the visitor center. Alternatively, at the Everglades City entrance, 78 miles west of Miami, the National Park Service rents kayaks, canoes and camping equipment. Many visitors go there for canoe or boat trips in the maze of mangroves and waterways through the Ten Thousand Islands. Some say Everglades City, a fishing town, is reminiscent of “old Florida” — pre-Disney World, strip malls and condos. In the U.S., if you say Florida, many Americans think “Miami Vice,” Disney World or the Daytona 500. A Dutch visitor told me, “In the Netherlands, if you say ‘Florida,’ people think ‘Everglades.’” You will, too, after your immersion into this watery wonderland.

Planning your trip Before you go, look at the National Park Service’s website www.nps.gov/ever and

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talk to staff (call (305) 242-7700), especially if you plan to paddle or camp. Thoroughly research your options ahead of time so you can take into consideration weather, tides, mosquitoes (very pesky in summer), water levels and other factors. Even a one-day visit walking the trails is well worth it. Besides the park, there are touristy, kitschy amusements nearby like alligator and snake shows and airboat rides. Be forewarned: Airboats with their jet engines are very noisy and scare wildlife away, but it is a common way to get out on the water. Everglades Wilderness Charters offers guided fishing and camping trips (www.evergladeswildernesscharters.com). En route to the Coe entrance, don’t miss Robert Is Here Fruit Stand, a cornucopia of tropical fruits, jams, milkshakes and Key lime pies. For 38 years, visitors have stopped for the Key lime milkshakes. There is no lodging in the park itself. A new lodge will open in Flamingo in 2013. There are several campgrounds. Study the Everglades website for services and rules. Homestead, 15 minutes from the Coe Visitor Center, has many motels listed with the Homestead/Florida City Chamber of Commerce at www.chamberinaction.com. For a taste of old Florida, try the Grove Inn Country Guesthouse in Redlands, five minutes north of Homestead. I felt like I was on the set of The Night of the Iguana, listening to subtropical critters in the lush garden of bromeliads and lemon trees buffering a central courtyard. The inn houses refugees during hurricanes because of its solid, 1950s concrete construction. Check www.groveinn.com or call 1-877-247-6572.

When to visit When is the best time to go? There is no easy answer. June to October brings heat, storms, mosquitoes galore and fewer visitors than other times. You may see colorful lubber grasshoppers, female alligators building nests, and loggerhead turtles laying eggs. Birds like white-crowned pigeons, black-

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whiskered vireos and gray kingbirds migrate from the tropics to nest in the summer. Wet areas are flooded and the cypress trees green up. The young hatch by September. Fall brings bird migration, including thousands of barn swallows, bobolinks, warblers and peregrine falcons. Alligator hatchlings scramble about. December to April, the dry season, is the most popular, but it is often crowded. “It’s almost like going through the zoo,” Hayley Crowell, a National Park Service ranger, told me. The crocs are easier to see, there are

more ranger-led walks, and there are fewer mosquitoes. As some of the Everglades’ watery environs evaporate, wading birds gather around alligator holes where fish congregate. Wood storks nest and their young fledge in February or March. Flying to Miami is the fastest way to access the Everglades. American Airlines has flights in mid-January from BaltimoreWashington and National Airports for around $189 roundtrip. Once there, you’ll need to rent a car at the airport. Glenda C. Booth is a travel writer based in Alexandria, Va.

Upcoming Trips for 2012

Dinner Theater Trips: March 4 March 31 June 3 September 22 October 21 November 10

“Putnam County Spelling Bee” (Dutch Apple) “9 to 5” (Dutch Apple) “Nunsense” (Allenberry) “American Icons” (American Music Theatre) “The Color Purple” (Toby’s–Columbia) “The 39 Steps” (Allenberry)

Multi-Day Trips: April 29–May 1 Historic Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown May 20–22 The Gardens of the Brandywine Valley (Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, “Wyeth Museum”) June 23–29 Northern Michigan (Mackinac Island, Sault Ste. Marie, Frankenmuth) July 22–28 Montreal and Quebec August 28–29 “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway September 8–15 Canadian Maritimes Cruise–Princess October 11–13 Blackwater Falls and Trains of WV

… and other day trips and multi-day tours Call us for details about these and our other fun-filled trips planned for 2012

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Krakow, Poland: Historic and now trendy By Caryn Rousseau With crowds of tourists and a collegetown atmosphere, Krakow — once the capital of Poland — has become a European hot spot. The center of it all is the centuries-old main square in the Old Town, or Stare Miasto, where brick streets are filled with restaurants, coffee shops, trendy boutiques and sidewalk cafes. Midnight feels like noon as crowds crawl late into the night, when many establishments turn bar, pub, disco or dance club. The sound of singing rises up from cellars filled with party-goers. Krakow, a city of about 800,000 on the banks of the Vistula River in southern Poland, attracts about 7 million tourists a

year. The city also boasts two dozen universities with nearly 210,000 students. The mix translates into a youthful, fun energy in the formerly communist country. In the evening, visitors to the square will find history meeting the 21st century as hip-hop dancers perform in front of the landmark statue of poet Adam Mickiewicz while an older man plays an accordion under the city gate.

Shopping in the main square The large, long Sukiennice building takes up the middle of the main market square. Inside, shoppers move from stall to stall down a hallway, deciding among carved wooden boxes, amber jewelry and other tourist trinkets.

Delicious Kosher,* Fresh, Pre-Packaged Meals Salads • Sandwiches • Entrees • Desserts Available at Magruder’s in Kemp Mill and locations throughout the DC area

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The building is also home to the Rynek Underground Museum, where visitors can view centuries-old archaeological ruins of Krakow. On the northeast corner of the square, a bugler emerges every hour, on the hour (yes, even in the middle of the night) from the nearly 270-foot tall tower of St. Mary’s Church. When he’s done, he waves to crowds below. Visitors can climb the tower stairs for an aerial view of the square or tour the stunning inside of the church. The buildings just around the square are filled with sidewalk restaurants where diners can watch other tourists take horse and buggy rides or hear an opera singer perform “Ave Maria” for pocket change. Prices for entry to most attractions are reasonable. Poland is not on the euro, and the U.S. dollar is worth roughly three Polish zloty. While Krakow has all the trappings of a

touristy European city, a unique vibe sets it apart. Nuns wearing full habits ride their bicycles through the square as Polish families play with their children near large, artistic sculptures. At night, groups of young people hop from bar to bar or wait in long lines for large, cheesy loaves of take-out pizza bread called zapiekanka.

Pierogi and parks Food is plentiful and hardy in the Old Town. There are many Polish restaurants where tourists can sample pierogi, bigos, kielbasa and other traditional dishes. But there are also trendier cafes, Italian eateries, and take-out pizza, gelato and kebob counters for a quick bite. Cheapest and most popular for a snack are the blue carts that sell rings of freshSee KRAKOW, page 43

BEACON BITS

Feb. 26

WHISTLE A HAPPY TUNE

Take a trip to see the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia, Md. with Montgomery County Recreation Dept on Sunday, Feb. 26. Enjoy a lunch buffet before the performance. The $78 price includes transportation, buffet and the show. The trip leaves at 9:30 a.m. from Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton, Md. Return at 3:30 p.m. For more information, call (240) 777-4933.

Jan. 25

TRIP TO WALMART AND WEGMAN’S

Leave your car in the garage and forget winter road worries as you travel with Arlington seniors to these out-of-the-way shopping destinations. The trip takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and leaves from two senior centers at 9:15 a.m., returning at 1:15 p.m. The cost is $10 for Arlington residents and $13 for non-residents. Call (703) 228-4748 for more information.

Jan. 25

SKI AT WHITETAIL

The Montgomery County Senior Outdoor Adventures in Recreation (SOAR) program will travel to Whitetail Mountain Resort in Mercersburg, Pa., on Wednesday, Jan. 25, leaving at 8:30 a.m. and returning at 4:30 p.m. Transportation for the trip is $25. The lift ticket and equipment fee are paid directly to Whitetail upon arrival. For more information or to register, call (240) 777-6870.

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From page 42 baked bread dough covered in poppy seeds, cheese or sesame seeds. Bakeries every few streets sell pastries filled with chocolate, apples, strawberries and cheese, huge loaves of bread and small Polish cookies. The Old Town is surrounded by green space called the Planty, which tour guides explain was once the city moat. Now it’s filled with trees, statues, a walking path, gardens and fountains. Along the north side of the Planty is St. Florian’s Gate, where local artists fill a stone city wall with paintings for sale. A tram runs in a circle outside the Planty and then branches out into the city. Several tourist attractions sit just outside the Old Town, including Wawel Hill, which can be described as the heart of Poland. It’s where the country’s kings, queens and other dignitaries are buried in Wawel Cathedral. Tours are available of Wawel Castle and outside, near the Vistula River, a tall statue of a dragon actually breathes fire — a favorite with children. Those looking for a more authentic shopping experience can head to the Stary Kleparz, a flea market-like space where vendors sell fresh vegetables, sausages, kitchen items, clothing, jewelry and flowers.

Krakow is just south, within walking distance, of the Old Town. Tourists can see several synagogues, a Jewish cemetery and traditional restaurants. Nowa Huta: The communists built Nowa Huta as an ideal workers’ city, with a steel mill, apartment blocks and, at one time, a statue of Lenin. Tours are available or get there via tram. Wieliczka Salt Mine: This UNESCO Heritage Site is about eight miles southeast of Krakow. Visitors can see cavernous rooms filled with intricately carved statues, altars, even chandeliers, all made of salt. Zakopane: Poles flock to this resort town in the Tatra Mountains about 65 miles south of Krakow. During the winter there’s skiing and sledding; summer offers hiking and swimming. Trams take groups to the top of mountains for stunning views, and shoppers crowd the market and boutiques along Krupowki Street. For information on hotels and other tourist attractions, see the city of Krakow’s

official site, www.krakow. pl/english, the Krakow Informer at www.krakowpoland.com/a/KrakowTourism,cif, and Explore Krakow at www.explorekrakow.com. The least expensive flight from the Washington area in mid-January is $779 on Lufthansa from Dulles International Airport. — AP

© DEYMOS/DREAMSTIME.COM

Krakow

Street artists display their paintings in Krakow’s bustling Main City Square. St. Mary’s Church rises in the background. Poland’s former capital has become a popular tourist spot, known for its mix of traditional and trendy restaurants and nightlife.

Your New Lifestyle Begins Here

Side trips to consider Several side trips are worth a look if there’s time on your itinerary: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum: This site of Nazi concentration and extermination camps, where an estimated 2 million people (mostly Jews) were killed in gas chambers during World War II, is about 40 miles west of Krakow. Tours are available in many languages. Kazimierz: The Jewish quarter of

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Away! The Phillips Collection Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard Thursday, Feb. 16, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. $35 per person, includes transportation, entrance to the museum and the tour.

2012 Philadelphia Flower Show Hawaii: Islands of Aloha Monday, March 5, 6:45 a.m.-8 p.m. $132 per person includes deluxe motor coach transportation, tickets to the flower show, morning snack and a driver’s tip.

The National Gallery of Art Colorful Realm of Living Beings Scrolls from the Imperial Collection of Japan Thursday, March 29, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. $30 per person includes transportation McLean Community Center 1234 Ingleside Ave. McLean VA 22101 703-790-0123/TTY: 711 www.mcleancenter.org

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The euro: neither a windfall nor a worry By Ed Perkins Today’s media are full of reports on the “crisis” in the euro currency. The euro is the common currency among 17 European countries — including all the big ones other than the UK — and what happens to it influences almost all U.S. visitors to any of those countries. The upside for visitors is that European travel costs for U.S. and Canadian visitors are somewhat less than in recent months. Current exchange rates are around $1.30 US; the U.S. dollar rate is down from an alltime high around $1.60 in the summer of 2008, and down about 10 percent from $1.45 last summer. If I could predict future currency values accurately, I would have long since retired as a billionaire trader, but futures traders expect the rates to remain about flat through 2012.

Modest savings for U.S. visitors Certainly, in the short term your dollars will go further than the past summer, but don’t get carried away celebrating. You’re most likely to notice the change in hotel and restaurant prices and the costs of local transportation, although even there, price hikes may well erase at least some of the modest advantage. Shopping? Don’t expect to find Europe a shoppers’ paradise in 2012. Other than some

handicrafts, one-of, and special sales items, European retail prices tend to be higher than those in the U.S. for identical merchandise. That’s because (1) most European countries slap a value-added tax (VAT) on most purchases that the U.S. does not — a tax that’s much higher than typical U.S. taxes — and (2) the U.S. retail system generally adds less markup over factory costs than the somewhat less efficient European systems. Overall, I haven’t been big on European shopping for several decades, and I’m not changing because the euro has dropped a bit. If you’re looking for a bigger drop, think Switzerland, where the franc, at $1.08 US, is down a healthy 24 percent from last summer’s high. That reduces Switzerland from unaffordable to just exorbitant. At around $1.56 US, on the other hand, the British pound is down only 6 percent. As with the euro, those drops are good news for visitors, but hardly a reason to rush to the airport.

Vacation property bargains According to the sources I follow, the one European purchase on which you can find a bargain is vacation property. I’ve seen several reports of huge drops in property values. If you’ve ever wanted a cottage in some idyllic European countryside or an apartment in the middle of a sophisticated

city, now might be a good time to look. But that price drop doesn’t have much to do with recent changes in currency exchange rates: Instead, Europe, like the U.S., has suffered a big drop in housing prices generally, and that is likely to last quite a while. The worry for American visitors, if any, is the possibility that the European countries will be unable to reach the deals necessary to “save” the euro. I’ve seen very little about what might happen if the deals fail, other than that economies and securities markets on both sides of the Atlantic (as well as the Pacific) are likely to face “chaos.” Learned journals are full of such terms as “collapse,” “destruction,” and even “civil war,” with precious few details. As for any

U.S. visitors who might get caught in a “crisis,” I’m pretty sure you could get out reasonably intact — physically and economically — but your plans could easily be derailed. For now, all I can suggest is that you keep your eye on the economic news and be ready with some sort of Plan B for your vacation if the worst happens. Despite long-term worries, 2012 could be a good year to visit Europe. But the main reason to go remains the same as it has always been — great places to see and exciting things to do; stuff to buy, not so much. Look for the experience, not the exchange rates. Send e-mail to Ed Perkins at eperkins@mind.net. © Tribune Media Services

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Style Arts &

Antiques and art are sold to the highest bidder at local auction houses. See cover story continued on p. 51.

Ann Richards portrayal aims for Broadway

The road to becoming governor Ann Richards started out as Dorothy Ann Willis, born to modest circumstances in the barren stretches of Texas near Waco in 1933. But she got herself through col-

lege, married and raised a family, and then immersed herself in politics. She burst onto the national scene in 1988 while serving as a strikingly successful Texas State Treasurer. That summer, she delivered a colorful and powerful keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention that nominated Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis to run against Vice President George H.W. Bush for president. It was a strong speech, remembered for her gentle, yet lacerating barbs, drawled in her Texas twang. “I’m delighted to be here with you this evening, because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like,” was one of her gentler gibes at the Connecticut-born patrician. That was followed by the instantly iconic, “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” Two years later, this divorced, 10-yearssober alcoholic, outspoken and decidedly liberal woman was elected governor of Texas — arguably the nation’s most macho state and certainly one of the most

PHOTO BY DIGITALEGACY

By Michael Toscano The Kennedy Center is gambling with its production of Ann, the one-woman show about the late Texas governor, Ann Richards. Gambling, first, that fading memories of the outspoken Richards will attract enough folks to make an anticipated spring opening on Broadway feasible. And gambling, second, that a one-woman show will have the drawing power to sustain a run. If memory of the late Ann Richards alone won’t fill seats, perhaps the vivacious and moving performance from star and playwright Holland Taylor will. Taylor turns in a marvelously nuanced and effective performance that is thoroughly captivating, even if one has never heard of Ann Richards. And if the show attracts some of the people who do remember, and were drawn to, that remarkable woman, then maybe this undertaking will succeed.

Emmy-award winning actress Holland Taylor wrote and stars in the one-woman show, Ann, portraying former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. It is now on stage at the Kennedy Center, aiming for a spring debut on Broadway.

conservative. Are you wondering how that happened? Emmy Award-winning actor Holland Taylor certainly was. So much so, that when Richards died in 2006, Taylor felt compelled to understand what made Richards such a force to be reckoned with, and how she captivated so many people. A TV, film and stage actor, Taylor is currently best known for her work on the popular TV sitcom Two and a Half Men. (Your friendly reviewer remembers her most

fondly as a fearsome, yet sultry, judge with a creative sensual life on “The Practice,” where she earned her Emmy.) So Taylor pored over the details of Richards’ life for three years, interviewing friends and family, and studying Richards’ personal and public papers.

A conservative liberal The result is a remarkable portrait of a viSee ANN RICHARDS, page 48


WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2

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Some grand advice for the candidates Call me crazy (many have), but I am ac- like the environment, public transportation and universal healthcare. They want to tually looking forward to Campaign 2012. leave behind a better world. As I write, the Iowa cauThey will vote for politicians cuses are just over the horiwho help them achieve that, not zon. Election Day is only a for pols who promise the moon short 11 months away. and might deliver a couple of asMy heart is beginning to teroids. beat a little faster. It’s time to Just in case any candidates play for keeps. are listening, I’d like to introBut it’s also time to beduce four senior citizens I’ve moan what is about to hapchatted with recently. All are pen for the umpty-umpth north of 70. All have voted in campaign in a row. Voters every presidential election since over the age of 55 will be mis- HOW I SEE IT at least 1964. All are old enough cast, misunderstood, misrep- By Bob Levey resented and mistreated. I can pretty much write the script: Candidates will pander to older voters by assuming that they’re selfish. They’ll tell seniors what they think seniors want to hear. No new taxes. No cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. No additional taxes on estates. No changes to 401K and IRA policies. And probably a couple of chickens in every pot for good measure. The assumption is that seniors are interested only in themselves — that they are sitting smugly in their rocking chairs and saying, “I deserve everything because I’ve lived longer than everyone else. Gimme, gimme, gimme.” In fact, senior citizens are much more generous and outer-directed than that. They are deeply invested in “young issues”

to be selfish and turned-in if they choose — but they don’t choose. Say hello to Grandma One. She’s 77 and lives in Pennsylvania — one of the legendary “swing states.” She’s a widow, but comfortable. She doesn’t expect any more or any less than anyone else gets at the public trough. But what she does want is more subsidies for higher education. She says her vote will turn on that issue. “My grandson goes to Penn State,” she told me. “It will cost him almost $175,000 to get his degree. That’s totally nuts. We can send millions of dollars overseas in foreign aid, but he can’t get an interest-free loan?” Does that sound like a Selfish Senior? Say hello to Grandpa One. He’s nearing 90. He has played it by the book all his life — run a business, raise a family, go to church, pay his taxes. And what does he say about Campaign

See puzzles on p. 54. More at our website.

2012? He wants a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons. “I’m not going to die from a nuclear weapon,” he told me. “I’m going to die in my sleep. But my grandchildren deserve a chance not to be blown to pieces.” Does that sound like a Selfish Senior? Let’s meet Grandma Two. She’s 80. She “married well,” as they used to say back in the day. When her husband died, he left her millions. The stock market has taken a gouge out of that nest egg, and her fast-lane spending habits have taken another. But Grandma Two says she thinks she should pay more — that’s right, more — in taxes. Her vote will turn on this issue, she says. “I’m so tired of presidential candidates who talk all about American traditions and aren’t willing to pay for them,” she told me. “It’s obvious we need to tax rich people more. They can start with me.” Gosh, imagine that. A senior who isn’t all about her own bank account above all else. And finally, please shake hands with Grandpa Two. He’s 75. His only son adopted two children a few years ago, one from Southeast Asia, one from Croatia. The kids have multiple birth defects and learning disabilities. The son can’t afford the doctors and tutors his children need. So Grandpa is paying the tab.

But Grandpa says he doesn’t want or expect a tax break for the thousands he has ladled out to help his grandchildren. “Where is it written that the public should support these young people?” he asks. “This was a private decision made by my son, and I’ve made a private decision to underwrite it. “I don’t want a president who panders to me and says that the federal government should pay to undo every bad break that’s ever happened to anybody.” So there we are, Mr. President and all the would-be presidents. A gaggle of seniors who care about the future and are willing to sacrifice to achieve it. A group of voters who don’t want to be talked down to or massaged via phony messages. If any of you candidates still see seniors as a shuffleboard-playing collection of the bitter and the old, take another look at the above. Many, many seniors care more about the future than they do about themselves. Yes, indeed, they vote — in larger proportions than other age groups. And what they value is not handouts, or gumdrops, or calculated appeals to self-interest. They value honesty and forward-looking policies. They’re listening — hard. Are you? Bob Levey is a national award-winning columnist.

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Ann Richards From page 46 brant and driven woman. In her public life, Ann Richards utilized hard-headed business sense by streamlining state government and its regulatory agencies to better serve both

corporations and people, which helped revitalize the state’s economy and saved billions in government spending. Yet she also devoted herself to traditional liberal concerns, such as the plight of poor families and children and, as a former teacher herself, education and school fi-

Our Mission: To secure the well-being of Montgomery County Seniors through the shared strength of diverse organizations and individuals.

Professionals working with seniors are invited to our Monthly GROWS meetings on the first Thursday of the month at 8:15 a.m. usually at Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton, Md.

March 1: Networking Extravaganza! Schweinhaut Center, 8 to 11 a.m. Registration required. Visit growsmc.org or call (301) 765-3325.

J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

nance. Gun control, helping minorities move into mainstream Texas life and government, equal rights and opportunity for women, and other socially liberal issues rounded out her portfolio. And all this was accomplished as she maintained her down-to-earth style in which she usually said exactly what was on her mind. In full disclosure, I spent time with Ann Richards and quickly became fond of her. In the 1988 campaign, I traveled with Democratic vice presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen, the senior U.S. senator from Texas, who later became secretary of the treasury. The popular Bentsen was simultaneously running to retain his Senate seat that year, and the Dukakis campaign thought the ticket might hat least have a chance at the Lone Star State’s hefty cache of electoral votes. The Boston-Austin combo worked once before, after all, for John F. Kennedy and his running mate, Lyndon B. Johnson. Whenever Bentsen landed in Texas for campaign stops, Richards was usually there to greet him. I spent many hours in her company, listening, laughing and learning. Thus, it was astounding to meet her again onstage at the Eisenhower Theater, some five years after her death from esophageal cancer. Taylor, who once successfully portrayed Nancy Reagan, looks very much like Richards here, capturing her stiff-shouldered, slightly hunched movement (Richards suffered from osteoporosis), generous hand gestures, and, of course, the whipped, bouffant white hair.

Becoming Ann Taylor met Richards once, at a long, private dinner during the then-ex-Governor’s years in New York as a speaker, corporate advisor, and campaigner for Democratic candidates and causes. She recreates that Texas twang perfectly, along with Richards’ withering sense of timing and bawdy humor. Her voice is smoother, without Richards’ slightly reedy rasp, but the effect is, nonetheless, astonishing. Also central to the portrayal is the way she manages to combine Richards’ two sides — the steely tough politician, and the sensitive and vulnerable woman who was mother to four children (and most everyone else who came into her orbit). Directed by Benjamin Klein, the twohour, two-act play opens with a video in which Taylor recreates a “news clip” from the electrifying 1988 speech. The first part of act two has her talking directly to the Kennedy Center audience, as if we are the students at a college graduation ceremony. This allows Taylor to hopscotch through Richards’ challenging early life, later moving into the ornately detailed gov-

ernor’s office, where she fields telephone calls, works on paperwork, barks at staff members, and even mends a fraying state flag while conducting business. The scenes in the office are both the best and the weakest of the play. It is here where we see Richards in action and learn how her dedication to making government fair and responsive manifested itself, and how her personal life informed her public decision-making. We see the real woman, kicking off her shoes and padding about barefoot while counseling President Clinton, or weighing life or death as a Texas inmate faces electrocution. Unfortunately, the office scene in the first act also stretches on a bit too long, getting into some deep weeds that should be trimmed back to keep the focus on the woman, not the issues. But the second act springs back to life with full energy and charges toward an emotion-packed conclusion. Writer Taylor has to touch on politics, of course, but this is not a political play. It is the story of a remarkable woman who happened to rise in a man’s world, survive “drunk school,” as she called it, and changed many lives for the better. The name of the man who denied the otherwise popular Richards a second term (over the issue of gun control, many believe) is George W. Bush, but it is never uttered onstage. There are no cheap or easy shots here, and those who don’t share Richards’ political views will not be uncomfortable in her recreated presence. That is Taylor’s gift to us as a playwright, just as it was Richards’ gift to those who knew her in life. Warmth (and occasionally her ire), was applied equally to all. Ann is a worthy homage to a woman who might well have been the first female president, with a few minor twists in timing and fate. With earlier try-out productions in Austin and Chicago, it’s likely the Kennedy Center version will be what Taylor will take to New York. With luck, Taylor’s star power will draw attention. Ann Richards deserves to be remembered by those who admired her, and she deserves to be introduced to those who do not know her. And this show does that, gently but firmly and, most important of all, entertainingly. Ann continues through Jan. 15 in the Eisenhower Theater of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St,, N.W. in Washington D.C. Tickets range from $54 to $95. They are on sale at the Kennedy Center Box Office, by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600, or online at www.kennedy-center.org/tickets. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with matinee shows at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Michael Toscano is the Beacon’s theater critic.

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Join the NSO for an extraordinary season in the Concert Hall.

2011–2012 Season

January & February Concerts

Leila Josefowicz

Ingrid Fliter

Jörg Widmann

Hannu Lintu, conductor Leila Josefowicz, violin DEBUSSY/MATTHEWS: Five Préludes STEVEN MACKEY: Beautiful Passing SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 5

Thu., Jan. 12 at 7 | Fri., Jan. 13 at 8 | Sat., Jan. 14 at 8 AfterWords: Thu., Jan. 12 performance followed by a free discussion with Hannu Lintu, Leila Josefowicz, and NSO Director of Artistic Planning Nigel Boon.

James Gaffigan, conductor Ingrid Fliter, piano MOZART: Divertimento in D major SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto GLANERT: Fluss ohne Ufer (NSO co-commission—US premiere) MOZART: Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”

Thu., Jan. 19 at 7 | Fri., Jan. 20 at 8 | Sat., Jan. 21 at 8 The Blue Series is sponsored by United Technologies Corporation.

Christoph Eschenbach, conductor Jörg Widmann, clarinet Christa Schönfeldinger, glass harmonica WIDMANN: Armonica MOZART: Clarinet Concerto SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 9 “The Great”

Thu., Jan. 26 at 7 | Sat., Jan. 28 at 8 | Sun., Jan. 29 at 3 AfterWords: Thu., Jan. 26 performance followed by a free discussion with Christoph Eschenbach, special guests, and NSO Director of Artistic Planning Nigel Boon.

Christa Schönfeldinger

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

Christoph Eschenbach, conductor R. STRAUSS: Metamorphosen BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”

Thu., Feb. 2 at 7 | Fri., Feb. 3 at 8 | Sat., Feb. 4 at 8

Christoph Eschenbach, conductor Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin SHOSTAKOVICH: Violin Concerto No. 1 BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 9

Thu., Feb. 9 at 7 | Fri., Feb. 10 at 8 | Sat., Feb. 11 at 8 AfterWords: Thu., Feb. 9 performance followed by a free discussion with Christoph Eschenbach, Nadja SalernoSonnenberg, and NSO Director of Artistic Planning Nigel Boon. The Blue Series is sponsored by United Technologies Corporation.

Herbert Blomstedt, conductor BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4 R. STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben

Thu., Feb. 16 at 7 | Sat., Feb. 18 at 8 | Sun., Feb. 19 at 3

David and Alice Rubenstein are the Presenting Underwriters of the NSO. The NSO Music Director Chair is generously endowed by Roger and Vicki Sant. General Dynamics is the proud sponsor of the National Symphony Orchestra Classical Season. The Beacon Newspaper is the proud media partner of the NSO.

Tickets from $20 at the Box Office or charge by phone (202) 467-4600 Order online at nationalsymphony.org | Groups (202) 416-8400 | TTY (202) 416-8524 The Kennedy Center welcomes patrons with disabilities.


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Auctions From page 1 “On the other hand, there are other people who have something that their grandmother always wore on Christmas and Easter, and she loved it because she had gotten it from her mother, and it turns out to be a very valuable piece of jewelry,” she said. Most local auction houses separate out the most valuable items to sell at a higher-end auction or, like Four Sales, work with a New York-based behemoth like Sotheby’s. They auction off less valuable pieces at lower-end auctions, where bidding might start out at $5. Auctioneers often start the bidding at about half the price of what the auction house feels an item is worth. The seller can place a “reserve” on an item, meaning that if bidding doesn’t reach a set minimum price, the item will not be sold. By the way, all auctions aren’t necessarily called by nearly unintelligible, fast-talking auctioneers, where an errant scratch of the nose or pat of the hair might mistakenly signal a bid, as happened on an episode of “I Love Lucy.” Auctions are fast-paced, though. On average, Quinn’s sells an item during an auction every 28 seconds. Auction houses charge a commission on what they sell. Quinn’s, for instance, has a 10 to 30 percent sliding scale commission on each piece sold. And those who purchase an item at auction pay a surcharge called a buyer’s premium, which can be 15 percent or more.

A changing climate

Estate sale or auction? Many companies offer both estate sales and auction services. In estate sales, the entire contents of a house are priced and sold. “The estate sale provides for the sale of a broader range of items,” said Four Sales’ Sanders. “Where the auctions fit into our business model is where you don’t have either enough volume or enough value.” For example, Sanders said he needs a minimum of 700 to 900 items worth a total of at least $10,000 to hold an estate sale. If a home has fewer, more valuable pieces, an auction would be the way to go, he recommended. “Is there a threshold of what we’ll take to auction? There sure is. I’m not going to take a box of Tupperware to auction,” he quipped. Quinn’s will also sell an entire estate, often combining an estate sale and auction. “I tell people all the time, ‘I cannot promise you how much I will make you. But I can promise you I can find a home for all of your things, and I will get as much money as I can. We will not leave it on the street.’ People find that comforting,” Quinn said. Part of the process involves some handholding. “I just want people to be aware that in some ways downsizing is giving up a part of your life. It’s a very wrenching experience. It’s something that is hard to do, and people shouldn’t rush through it too quickly,” Weschler said. “On the other hand, you can’t hold onto the past forever, and sometimes moving into new furnishings, meeting new people, a new location, that can rejuvenate people as well.” She noted this was the case for her mother, who recently moved to Riderwood, a retirement community in Silver Spring, Md.

Tips from the pros While the majority of auction and estate sales companies are on the up and up, there are a few bad apples in the bunch. “I’ve heard horror stories about estate sales where people were promised certain things, that the house was going to be left clean and empty, and all that happened is someone came in and sold the very best stuff for a pittance, and they’re left with a house full of junk,” Sanders said.

Sanders recommends working with companies with a long history of auctions or estate sales, rather than what he calls “90-day wonders” that spring up to make a quick buck and then go out of business. Check for complaints on the Better Business Bureau’s website at www.bbb.org. And get a contract with every detail about commissions and fees put in writing. If you’re selling items you haven’t had appraised, Paul Quinn recommends being careful in dealing with potential buyers. “If someone walks into your house and says, ‘That’s a funny painting. What do you want for that?’ And then he pulls out cash to negotiate a deal, I tell people you probably want another opinion.” Matthew Quinn added, “They know it’s a $10,000 painting. They ask the client what they want for it, and the client says $200, and they say OK. There’s a belief there’s

nothing unethical about that. ‘I asked what they wanted and I gave it to them.’” Weschler agreed that sellers need to take responsibility for researching the potential value of their goods. “I think they need to talk to several people to ensure the values they’re hearing are realistic. People can’t hold onto the values of things that they recall from the good old days,” she said. But overall, auctions can be good for both buyers and sellers, Quinn said. “I’m finding there are young people who come along who are touched by finding things that were in grandma’s house. There is some connection with the young with that which went on before,” he said. “So you do have sort of that interconnectedness of generations. Working here is a kind of graduate level course in the anthropology of living.”

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By Barbara Ruben In 1963, Enid Liess was on the hunt for a piece of artwork to punch up her new apartment. At a fundraising auction at her temple, the bidding went past her budget for a modern art painting that caught her eye. But a friend stepped in to make the winning bid of $27.50 for the painting called “The Statesman” — which resembled a Cubist George Washington wearing a sideways baseball cap — and presented it to Liess as a gift. It wasn’t until several weeks later that Liess read about up and coming modernist Roy Lichtenstein in Time magazine and pulled out a magnifying glass to discover his signature on her recently purchased painting. Fast forward nearly half a century when Liess, undergoing treatment for breast cancer, decided to retire from a career in education and sell the painting. Liess, who is 74 and lives in Annadale, Va., brought the Lichtenstein to Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church, where owner Paul Quinn told her it would likely fetch $40,000 to $60,000 in today’s market. “Bidding opened at $20,000,” Quinn recalled. “It rose rather slowly but steadily to $40,000, which is where she set her minimum price. Then it kind of paused and then it went up,” he recalled. “A member of the family was sitting next to me. When it crossed Each year, Matthew (left), David and Paul $60,000 he Quinn of Quinn’s Auction off tens smiled. When it crossed Galleries auction $72,000 I knew people of thousands of items, ranging from valuable artwork to old furniture, looking to downsize we had set a record for for and obtain cash by shedding the period [of es, estate sellers possessions. Auction and Internet Lichtenstein’s artwork]….Tea housrs were need to understand how these auctions offer options to this end, but potential sellers coming down from his work before putting their items up for sale. eyes when it crossed $100,000.” literally priceless discoveries. The painting ultimately fetched In Novem- artwork that $128,700. ber, Daniel aren’t to their tastes. Some Sanders, President of That’s just one of the stories Four part with their of a meteoric Sales goods because they need in Alexandria, Va., found rise in value that have some a Civil War the cash. people scram- grave maker in a home in Clinton, bling through their attics Md. and basements in After “I tell people that all of the a little research into its origins, things are emocase they are housing similar he re- tionally valuable, riches. turned it to St. Elizabeth’s but not all are monetarily Virginia Weschler, of Weschler’s Hospital Mili- valuable,” auction tary Cemetery Quinn said. That’s his way house in downtown Washington, in Washington, D.C. After of not getting people’s hopes up likes to all, he noted, for a windfall. recount the story of a find selling grave stones is not in a local home. only “Sometimes it’s not always unethical, it’s illegal. good news,” Auctioneer Tom Weschler was going said Stephanie Kenyon, with Bethesdathrough the house for pieces to sell at auc- Reasons based Sloans and Kenyon. “Families bring to sell at auction tion when he eyed a table all but obscured in jewelry that’s been treasured Sellers come to auction by the television sitting for years houses for a va- and years…only on it. During auc- riety to discover they didn’t of reasons: They may be tion, the de facto TV stand downsizing — an 18th cen- to a have a fabulous diamond, retirement community and but a very nice tury piece — sold for $50,000. want to sell piece of glass.” a lifetime of possessions. Auction houses also sometimes Or they may make have inherited old pieces of furniture and

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PHOTO BY FRANK KLEIN

Interest in live auctions has skyrocketed due to the popularity of online auction sites such as eBay, and TV shows like PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow,” where items are appraised, and the cable show “Storage Wars,” where entire contents of storage units are auctioned off to the high bidder practically sight unseen. Matthew Quinn, Paul Quinn’s son, who appears on the PBS program, said that the economic downturn has played a role in how auctions function today. More young people are discovering auctions as a way to pick up inexpensive furnishings for a first home, he noted. At the same time, more people are divesting themselves of years of accumulated possessions for needed cash to pay the bills. But that doesn’t mean everything people want to sell is going to be snatched up. “There appears to be almost a sea change in taste,” said Virginia Weschler, whose company has sold pieces from the estates of such local luminaries as Katharine Graham. “The furniture that was desirable for so many years, the beautiful Federal furniture, the lovely Georgian furniture, doesn’t meet current tastes the way it used to. “The curse in the antique world is brown furniture. Everyone is looking at nice light-colored mid-century pieces. It has affected values enormously,” she said. A trend toward smaller houses also means that people don’t want as many items of furniture cluttering up their homes.

“Things that were very easy to sell 25 years ago, rocking chairs or tea carts, aren’t selling. People in their 20s or 30s don’t want something that looks ‘grandmotherly,’” said Kenyon, whose auction house has sold the estates of the late astrologist Jeanne Dixon and Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. “They don’t want something that looks fussy, like cut crystal. When I started out, collectors were bidding madly for it,” she recalled. But some pieces will sell no matter the economic climate. “Certain art will always maintain its value. I think there’s something that’s part of our human nature to be attracted to things that are beautiful and decorative,” said Weschler, whose company recently sold a painting of a Venetian canal scene for $700,000 when it was expected to bring only $10,000 to $20,000.

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A watery wonderland in the Everglades; plus, historic and trendy Krakow, Poland, and whether the euro’s fall is a worry for travelers

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Kennedy Center’s homage to former Tex. Gov. Ann Richards aims for Broadway; plus, Bob Levey’s grand advice for the candidates page 46

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Had it not been for this important screening, I would have never known I had an issue. Every man should be screened by this harmless blood test. From there each man can have the opportunity to discuss next steps with his physician if they are faced with the same news that I was. Every man’s situation will be different. In my case, my aggressive form of cancer was treated with both surgery and radiation, but had I not had the PSA screening test, I would have never known or would have only found out at a time when treatment would have been too late. Stepping off my soapbox, I’m celebrating my currently cancer-free life and lacing up my sneakers for a five-mile run. Jeff Salino Springfield, Va. Dear Editor: I read your article [on prostate screening] with mixed emotions. I regret that the spin of your article more accurately represents the Health and Human Services position of “Units” versus patients. I heartily recommend that your publication include the positions of US Too, to cite only one organization that heartily asserts a more balanced position on men’s health versus simply stating the minority of negative, unanticipated consequences of biopsies. Had I followed the position of the urologist I was seeing, I would not have had a biopsy 6 years ago, and the results would have been far less favorable by now. Jim Shirey Washington, D.C. Dear Editor: Angela Ferguson has been the resident manager at the Colony House at 940 Farragut St., N.W. for two years. Along with her bubbling and warm personality, she and her staff, daughters and friends have catered and served Thanksgiving dinner to the residents both years. The residents get to dance, socialize, and have a free dinner with others (something that otherwise would not be possible). Ms. Ferguson also planned a Christmas including seniors from Barney Neighborhood House at our community room. The residents want to say a special “Thank you.” My mother has been a resident at the Colony House for 15 years and I have been a resident for five months. Ms. Ferguson’s efficiency and kindness warrant mentioning. Her humbleness and sincerity cannot be matched. She is quite a beacon of light to all of us. Diann Ellerbe Washington, D.C.

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CLASSIFIEDS The Beacon prints classified advertising under the following headings: Business & Employment Opportunities; Caregivers; Computer Services; Entertainment; For Sale; For Sale/Rent: Real Estate; Free; Health; Home/Handyman Services; Miscellaneous; Personals; Personal Services; Vacation Opportunities; and Wanted. For submission guidelines and deadlines, see the box below. CAVEAT EMPTOR! The Beacon does not knowingly accept obscene, offensive, harmful, or fraudulent advertising. However, we do not investigate any advertisers or their products and cannot accept responsibility for the integrity of either. Respondents to classified advertising should always use caution and their best judgment.

Business & Employment Opportunities INSIDE SUBSCRIPTION SALES for 50year-old business news service near Silver Spring Metro. Mature staff. Part-time weekdays. $10/hour + commission to 35%. 301-5886380 x 134 or jobs@cdpublications.com. SENIORS! SELL YOUR UNWANTED LIFE INSURANCE! State licensed. Call Toll Free: 877-282-4360 or visit www.AtAge60.com for a FREE evaluation. MYSTERY SHOPPERS! Earn up to $150 daily. Get paid to shop pt/ft. Call now 1-888-750-0193. WORK ON JET ENGINES - Train for hands on Aviation Career. FAA approved program. Financial aid if qualified - Job placement assistance. Call AIM (866)453-6204 or visit www.fixjets.com.

Caregivers HOME HEALTH CARE SERVICES Home staffing 24 hours a day for skilled nursing, assisted living, companionship, light housekeeping, errands and shopping. Quality care. Licensed & insured. Satebi Health Care, INC. (SHC) 301-503-9771. VERY RELIABLE, compassionate, aide, 20 years experience, available now. Mon-Sun FT/PT, Live I/O. CNA, GNA, MedTech licensed. Very punctual and caring. Please call 240-5502584. CHEVY CHASE HOME CARE – reliable certified caregivers at time of illness, infirmity, loneliness. Personal assistance, ALL AGES, 4- to 24-hour shifts, homes, hospitals, nursing homes. MD, DC, No. VA. Tel.: 202-374-1240. www.ChChHomecare.com. POSITION WANTED Certified aide with 20 years’ experience seeks position to care for sick or elderly, Monday through Friday days, nights, or weekends. References available. Call 301442- 9324. Own car. A LADY DESIRES to be a respiratory aide for elderly on the weekend/evening hours, live in/out. My name is Shirley Bonner & you can give me a call at 202-387-3155 anytime after 3 pm. Thank you.

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Caregivers

For Sale/Rent: Real Estate

Home/Handyman Services

UCARE AGENCY A licensed home health care agency providing certified and qualified caregivers: Home health aide, homemakers, companions, escorts, personal care attendant (PCA). 4 to 24 hour shifts. For your aging loved ones. Please call today and get 10% discount. telephone: 240-632-9420 or 240-476-1180.

LEISURE WORLD® - $299,000. 3BR 2FB “L” in “Vantage Point”. Corner unit with 3 exposures, table space kitchen with window, enclosed balcony. One of the largest models in LW. 1720 sq ft. Stan Moffson 301-928-3463.

MICHAELS HAULING Clean-outs, scrap & debris removal yard waste, etc. Mulch, dirt & stone delivery, lite dump truck, 20’ trailer & bobcat. Fully insured. 240-388-1898.

Computer Services COMPUTER LESSONS – Personal Computer training at your home. Email, Internet, general computer use, and more. Learn at your own pace with gentle and patient tutor. We also fix computers, setup your new computer and troubleshoot. Working with Seniors since 1996. Ask about your Senior discount. Call David, 301762-2570, COMPUTERTUTOR. PROBLEM WITH YOUR PC/MAC OR NETWORK? Computer Systems Engineer will come to you with help. HOME. BUSINESS. Call: D. Guisset at 301-642-4526. FREE COMPUTER CLASSES for older adults age60+: Classes are offered continuously at the Hyattsville & New Carrollton Libraries in PG County. Call 301-405-0366 TODAY.

Entertainment PUT THE MUSIC YOU LOVE BACK IN YOUR LIFE! Enjoy live jazz and swing on the first Friday of the month at Hollywood East Café, Westfield Wheaton Shopping Mall, 7 to 10 p.m. Listen to the Night & Day Combo perform the classic standard songs of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, from Cole Porter, Gershwin, et al. Great music, great food, no cover charge! http://nightanddaymusic.com/clubpage.html.

For Sale/Rent: Real Estate LEISURE WORLD® - $379,000. 3BR 2FB “J” Model in Turnberry with expanded table space kitchen, wood floors in living area, golf course view, Garage space. 1496 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $92,000. 2BR 2FB “E” in the Greens. Table space kitchen, convenient to elevator, well maintained, 990 sq ft, Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $79,500. 1 BR 1-1/2 BA “Elizabeth” model. Recently renovated, New Appliances, custom window treatments, view of trees. 1308 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - 309,000. 3BR 2-1/2 BA “M” in “Fairways”. Upgraded kitchen with Corian counters and extra pantry, separate dining room. Enclosed balcony, garage parking. 1530 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors 301-9283463. LEISURE WORLD® - $275,000. 3BR 2FB modified “Cabot” with 1 car garage. All New Kitchen conversion, expanded dining and living room, 1530 sq. ft, Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $99,000. 2BR 2FB “Riviera” model. 2nd floor apt with updated kitchen, enclosed balcony and covered carport. 1412 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $159,000. 3BR 2FB “Capri” villa. Updated kitchen, open balcony, huge space. 1415 sq. ft. Stan Moffson, 301-928-3463.

ANSWERS TO SCRABBLE

ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD H T T P A S E A G E A R R S W A G E A S A C S P S I C E A A S H O M A N Y A D O F A B I I M B L A S Y E

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A R C T A B S E T S T T A R E V L A M A R M A G E A R M U S T M E R G L I E U A N L P U E S T

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LEISURE WORLD® - $349,900. 3BR 2FB “Barstow” model patio home with 2 car garage, separate dining room and table space kitchen, Sunroom addition. 1320 sq ft. Stan Moffson 301928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $194,900. 2BR 2FB. RARE “Q” model in “Turnberry Courts. Golf course views from table space kitchen and enclosed balcony, close to elevator, garage parking + golf cart space. 1111 sq ft. Stan Moffson 301-928-3463. REAL ESTATE WANTED Sell your house ‘as is’ for a fair price on the date of your choice! WE buy houses! Call for 24 hour recorded info 1-800858-8753 box 3933 or www.reihouse.com or direct 1-800-998-9317. LOOKING TO TAKE THE LEAP? I’ll take you on a tour of the community, show you floor plans, discuss campus amenities, & offer how to best coordinate your move. I will preview units & contact you with a match. I also offer exceptional service selling your home. I’m a Seniors Specialist, Buyer Broker, Top 1% of Agents Nationwide, and a Leisure World resident! You can see my current listings on page 34. Contact me: 301-580-5556, SueHeyman@aol.com, www.SueHeyman.com, Weichert, Realtors. CONTEMPLATING A MOVE TO AN ACTIVE ADULT COMMUNITY? Located at Georgia Ave and Norbeck Rd. NEW or RESALE properties: hi-rises, garden apartments, ramblers, or townhouses. We have properties and amenities you can enjoy: golf, pools, wood working shop, tennis, fitness center, model train club, restaurants, travel agency, theater groups, etc. Come for a tour with Marilyn C and Larry. We have detailed information. Call Marilyn Chmielewski or Larry Kotzker 301598-4222 ext 108 or 104, Weichert Realtors or home 301-438-3259 Marilyn C, 301-452-1498 Larry.

Miscellaneous CELL PHONE SAVINGS. I have used several cell phone services and this is the best! Plans from $20 – $59.99 per month. www.myfreewireless2.com or 1-800-438-2704. ATTEND COLLEGE ONLINE from Home. *Medical, *Business, *Criminal Justice. Job placement assistance. Computer available. Financial Aid if qualified. Call 800-494-3586 www.CenturaOnline.com. 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 WILL TYPE YOUR MEMOIRS, manuscripts, etc. For info and rates, call 703-671-1854. WOW! GREAT HAIRCUT at a great price! Professional family hair salon conveniently located in Bethesda, MD. State board certified. Call 240-432-7211. FOR ALL OF YOUR MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS. Dialysis Center, Non-Emergency Hospital Trips, Hospital Discharge, Doctor Appointments, Rehabilitation & More. We have 4x4 SUVs for Winter Trips. Med Choice Transportation. 703-839-9999. www.MedChoiceTransportation.com. VAN MAN – For your driving needs. Shopping, appointments, pick-up and deliver – airport van. Call Mike 301-565-4051. MOTHER WILL DRIVE YOU to your appointments, do your shopping, clean your house, cooking, personal assistant. Do you need to plan an event? Also does Elder Care. Honest, reasonable rate, and references provided. 240-595-7467.

NON-SMOKING, NON-DRINKING SENIOR, looking for same to share 4BR, 3BA house in the Riggs Parks area of Washington. Call 202629-4096.

PUPPY/DOG TRAINING Trainer with references will have your canine heel, sit, stay, come, plus help with many other goals you may have. Call Doug, 301-237-8878.

***FREE FORECLOSURE LISTINGS*** OVER 400,000 properties nationwide. Low down payment. Call now 800-250-2043.

WIGS AND MORE BY LISA: Wash, style, cut color and sale of wigs and hair pieces by licensed and experienced hair stylist. Pickup and delivery to your home. Call LISA at 240-381-7841.

For Sale Personals PARKLAWN GARDEN OF LIFE ETERNAL Block 9 Lot 56. 1 burial space for 2 individuals near the column burial. Parklawn will sell a lot to you for $5,665.50. I will sell this lot to you for $4,500.00. Call 301-362-0439. MOUNT COMFORT CEMETERY, Old Kings Highway, Alexandria, Virginia. Double depth lawn crypt site with two vaults Garden of Devotion site 823. Private shaded back right side of cemetery. Current valued $6,250 asking only $4,000. 703-998-9237. STEEL BUILDINGS: 5 only 2 (25x28), 30x40, 40x60, 50x100. Selling For Balance Owed! Free Delivery! 1-800-462-7930x252.

FEMALE WOULD LIKE TO FIND more heterosexual girlfriends to add to my circle of already lovely ones. Several friends have moved (4) and others have passed away (7 of them). For fun, mutual activities, dinners, movies, good conversation, and good listening skills and lots of phone talk. Bobbie, 301-439-0833.

Classifieds cont. on p. 55.

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING RATES Deadlines and Payments: Ad text and payment is due by the 20th of each month. Note: Only ads received and prepaid by the deadline will be included in the next month’s issue. Please type or print your ad carefully. Include a number where you can be reached in the event of a question. Payment is due with ad. We do not accept ads by phone or fax, nor do we accept credit cards. Private Party Text Ads: For individuals seeking to buy or sell particular items, or place a personal ad. Each ad is $15 for 25 words, 25 cents for each additional word. Business Text Ads: For parties engaged in an ongoing business enterprise. Each ad is $35 for 25 words, 50 cents for each additional word. Note: Each real estate listing counts as one commercial ad. Send your classified ad with check or money order, payable to the Beacon, to:

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


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Jumbles: RE-ARM TRILL PLOWED  BAFFLE Answer: He left the restaurant when the hostess said he had a -- "WAIT" PROBLEM


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Wanted

Wanted

I WANT LOVE AS BIG AS AN OCEAN in perpetual motion. I want a man who is exceptionally attentive, affectionate with a loving and open heart. I seek a man who is kind, gentle, caring , down to earth, a great cuddler, supportive, a good conversationalist and good listener, best friend, honest, single, not romantically involved, emotionally stable, well groomed, easy going, funny but with a serious side, loyal, trustworthy and a non-smoker. You must keep your promises – to break a promise is to injure a relationship and it would end ours. You need not be wealthy, but generous, you need to be emotionally available and supportive thru good times and difficult ones. Age unimportant. ME – Very attractive ex-model and professional (55+) female. Early retired widow. I like to do all the usual dating things. A real plus if you bring me flowers occasionally. Please don’t answer this ad unless you have most of all qualities as outlined. You must be positively willing and able to spend a great, great, great deal of time with me in a committed relationship. Bobbie, 301-4390833.

STAMP COLLECTIONS, AUTOGRAPHS purchased/appraised – U.S., worldwide, covers, paper memorabilia. Stamps are my specialty – highest price paid! Appraisals. Phone Alex, 301309-6637. Stampex1@gmail.com.

$$OLD GUITARS WANTED$$ Gibson, Fender, Martin, Gretsch. 1920’s to 1980’s. Top Dollar paid. Toll Free: 1-866-433-8277. CASH FOR CARS, Any Make or Model! Free Towing. Sell it TODAY. Instant offer: 1-800-864-5784.

WANTED JAPANESE MOTORCYCLES KAWASAKI 1970-1980 Z1-900, KZ900, KZ 1000, H2-750, H1-500, S1-250, S2-250, S2-350, S3-400 CASH. 1-800-772-1142, 1-310-721-0726 usa@classicrunners.com.

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.

TOP CASH FOR CARS, Any Car/Truck, Running or Not. Call for INSTANT offer: 1-800-4546951.

WANTS TO PURCHASE MINERALS and other oil and gas interests. Send details to P.O. Box 13557 Denver, Co. 80201.

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

YEARBOOKS “Up to $15 paid for high school yearbooks1900-1988. yearbookusa@yahoo.com or 972-768-1338.”

Vacation Opportunities

HIGHEST CASH PAID FOR ANTIQUES, ESTATES. FREE evaluations and house calls. We pay the most for your valuable treasures because we get the most money on eBay – the worldwide Internet. Serving entire metro area – Maryland, Washington, DC, Northern Virginia. Buying the following items – furniture, art, paintings, silver, gold, old coins, jewelry, vintage wristwatches, military items, including guns, rifles, swords, daggers, knives, musical instruments, guitars, violins, banjos, old toys, dolls, trains, old golf clubs, baseball, football, tennis equipment and memorabilia, old fishing, tools, books, photographs, comic books. I am a resident of Silver Spring. 20 years experience. Please call Tom 240-476-3441. Thank you.

BEST AIRFARE TO ASIA. We are China Tour Specialists. Serving the Washington D.C. Metro Area; Phone 703-992-8990; email witspeter@yahoo.com; Website www.chinawidetravel.com.

CASH FOR JEWELRY: Buying jewelry, diamonds, gold, platinum, silver, watches, coins, flatware, etc. We make house calls. Ask for Tom. Call anytime 301-654-8678 or 301-654-0838.

RENT MY TIMESHARE $700.00 – Sleeps 6 – week 30 of 2012. St. Martins Netherlands Antilles. Call 202-582-5571 for specifics. Charles Hill.

HIGHEST CASH PAID FOR ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES. Compare my price before you sell! Serving entire metro area. Call for a free consultation, and professional service. I will purchase one piece or your entire estate. Including Furniture, Artwork, Glassware, Jewelry, Rugs, Costume, Gold and Silver, Watches, Sterling Items, Flatware, Lladro & Hummel Figurines, All Military Items, Guns, Swords, Helmets, Bayonets, Medals, Scout Items, Clocks, Music Boxes, Toys, Baseball Memorabilia, Trains, All String Instruments, Including Guitars, Banjos, Mandolins, Fishing Rods and Reels, Lures, Historical Items, American tools, Posters, Outside Iron Furniture. I am a very reputable dealer with two locations in Silver Spring and Bowie, MD. Please call Christopher Keller 301408-4751 or 301-262-1299. Thank you.

Volunteer Opportunities COLUMBIA LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND, a nonprofit organization serving people of all ages in the Washington metropolitan area who are blind and visually impaired, is recruiting adult volunteers to serve as Readers and Friendly Visitors. Participants in the Readers & Friendly Visitors program are adult volunteers who are matched one-on-one with blind or visually impaired adults. Volunteers arrange weekly meetings with clients at their homes to assist with activities, such as reading mail, grocery shopping or running errands. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Jocelyn Hunter at 202-4546422 or jhunter@clb.org to attend a n upcoming orientation. SHARE YOUR TIME AND EXPERTISE with staff and residents working together to build a strong, vibrant affordable housing community in Alexandria, VA. Join the team as a volunteer Community Garden Coordinator, Character Development Program Assistant or Marketing Designer. Adults with time and interest in direct service needed Monday and Wednesday afternoons, 3:30 – 6:00 pm. Volunteers who prefer a flexible schedule and opportunity to work from home also needed. Contact Marcia Rose Fuoss, CPDC Director of Volunteer Engagement, mfuoss@cpdc.org or 202-855-9573. Learn more about the Stony Brook community at www.alexenvironment.org/3/archives/10-2011/1.html.

Wanted MILITARY ITEMS WANTED: Collector seeks to purchase military uniforms; flight jackets, patches, insignia, medals, etc. from the Civil War through Vietnam. Especially seeking U.S. Army Air Corps, USMC, Airborne, and German/Japanese/Italian items from WWII. ALSO BUYING old Boy Scout, Airline Items, Toys, Lighters. Call Dan (202) 841-3062. FINE ANTIQUES, PAINTINGS AND QUALITY VINTAGE FURNISHINGS wanted by a serious capable buyer. I am very well educated [law degree] knowledgeable [over 40 years in the antique business] and have the finances and wherewithal to handle virtually any situation. If you have a special item, collection or important estate I would like to hear from you. I pay great prices for great things in all categories from Oriental rugs to Tiffany objects, from rare clocks to firearms, from silver and gold to classic cars. If it is wonderful, I am interested. No phony promises or messy consignments. References gladly furnished. Please call Jake Lenihan 301-279-8834. Thank you.

HIGHEST CASH PAID FOR ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES Call me first! Furniture, China, Hummels, Sports, Glass, Paintings, Gold, Silver Flatware, Costume & High-end Jewelry, Music Instruments, Hunting, Fishing Items, Military Items, Guns, Swords, Helmets, Wind-up Watches, Art, Clocks, Dolls, Music Boxes, Old Toys, Bronzes, Lamps, ETC. Please call Mike Keller 301-731-0982 or 301-742-5031. NO TEXTING PLEASE. ESTATE BUY-OUTS / CLEAN-OUTS FROM BASEMENT-GARAGE-ATTIC-STORAGE UNITS. ELECTRONICS, RECORD COLLECTIONS, TUBES, HI-FI SPEAKERS, ACCUMULATIONS. CASH PAYMENT, PROMPT REMOVAL. PLEASE CALL 240-478-1100. WANTED: ELECTRONICS, radio tubes, ham radios, huge old loud speakers, tube HiFi, stereo amps, earliest computers ever made, vinyl records, professional musical instruments, scientific curiosities, early electronic books, magazines, engineers, physicists, scientist, accumulations. 202-527-9501, vcvdc@msn.com. WE PAY CASH for antique furniture, quality used furniture, early American art, pottery, silver, glassware, paintings, etc. Single items to entire estates. Call Reggie or Phyllis at DC 202726-4427, MD 301-332-4697. WANTED: OLDER VIOLINS, GUITARS, BANJOS, MANDOLINS, ETC. Musician/collector will pay cash for older string instruments. Jack (301) 279-2158. BUYING: OLD BASEBALL CARDS AND NON-SPORT CARDS. Anything and everything before 1973. Any quantity and quality. We don’t cherry pick the best and leave the rest. We buy it all!! BASEBALL CARDS: Topps, Bowman, Fleer, Goudeys, Tobacco Cards, Odd Ball items, ETC. NON-SPORTS CARDS: 3 Stooges, Casper, Zorro, Hogan’s Heroes, Gilligan’s Island, Batman, Superman, Green Hornet, Brady Bunch, Kung Fu, ETC. You get the idea. Check the Garage, Basement & Attic. Check the closet and under the bed for that old shoe box. Then please call me with confidence. Jim, 240-400-1572.

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

Wishbone: The Lucky Break The custom of making a wish by pulling and breaking a denuded chicken or turkey wishbone (the sternum or breast bone) — with the person holding the larger half presumed to get his or her wish — began at least 2,500 years ago with the Romans who adopted the custom from the Etruscans. For various reasons, chickens were considered fortune tellers. When a chicken was killed, the sacred breast bone was dried and merely stroking an unbroken bone was believed to make wishes come true. Having people pull on either side until the bone broke added an element of competition to the ritual. The English adopted this superstition from the Romans, and the Pilgrims brought the custom to the New World, where they changed it to a turkey bone. The term “lucky break” derives from this ritual. Prepared for The Beacon Newspapers by Wizard Communications©. All rights reserved. Want to have a word/phrase or ritual/custom researched? Contact jpozga@verizon.net.

BEACON BITS

Jan. 17+

JOIN THE ENCORE CHORALE

Open house rehearsals will be held for two of the Encore Chorale groups for singers age 55+. On Tuesday, Jan. 17, a rehearsal will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Woodlands Retirement Community, 4320 Forest Hill Dr., Fairfax, Va. On Wednesday, Jan. 18, a rehearsal will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Messiah United Methodist Church, 6215 Rolling Rd., Springfield, Va. For more information and other locations, as well as fees for joining the groups, call (301) 261-5747 or email Jeanne.kelly@encorecreativity.org.

Jan. 7

FREE PIANO CONCERT

A Tchaikovsky concert by internationally acclaimed pianist Alexander Paley will be presented on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. Sponsored by the Washington Conservatory of Music, the concert will be performed at Westmoreland Congregational UCC Church, One Westmoreland Circle at Massachusetts and Western Aves. in Bethesda, Md. Free, but goodwill contributions accepted. For more information on this and other concerts, see www.washingtonconservatory.org or call (301) 320-2770.

Feb. 3

ORGAN CONCERT

Attend a pops organ concert with Tim Smith’s transcription of Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals,” complete with Ogden Nash poems read by a celebrity guest. Also performed will be James Hewitt’s “Battle of Trenton” with supertitles. The concert will be held on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 3600 Russell Rd., Alexandria, Va. There is an optional goodwill offering. For more information, call (703) 549-1980 or see www.gracealex.org.


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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

January 2012 DC Beacon Edition  

January 2012 DC Beacon Edition

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