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The Howard County

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More than 30,000 readers throughout Howard County

Cycling for health, camaraderie

5 0 SEPTEMBER 2013

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PHOTO BY CRAIG GOTSCHALL

By Robert Friedman Mike Walker, 66, who had three stents placed in his arteries after a heart attack in 2011, is back on his bike, pedaling up and down Howard County hills with the approval of his cardiologist. Irene MacDonald, 67, who hadn’t been biking for “a long, long time,” usually brings up the rear as she and her friends do their cycling loops, but is more than pleased with the “carefree feeling” of the wind blowing, if not through her helmeted hair, on and around the rest of her. Saul Zuckman, 73, has not let his type 2 diabetes put the brakes on his cycling. Among other pedaling feats, he was a member of an eight-person team, all its members with type 2 diabetes, who took part three years ago in a cross-country biking race from San Diego to Annapolis.

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New group gets rolling All of these cyclists are members — and in Zuckman’s case, a founder and leader — of Howard County’s first bicycling program developed for older adults. The program, called Cycle2Health (C2H), got underway the first week of May and is expected to be wheeling into November, when the bikes will brake for the winter. The Office on Aging, which is coordinating the C2H program, calls it the county government’s “first, non-competitive, peerled bicycling club [that] offers adults of all ages and riding abilities the opportunity to experience the benefits of exercise while exploring the natural beauty and sights of Howard County.” Fully behind the program is County Executive Ken Ulman, who calls cycling, “the perfect exercise for all age groups. It’s good for the heart and good for the muscles,” he enthused. “It helps build stamina and improves cardio-vascular stamina.” Also, as a clean mode of transportation, biking helps preserve the environment, the county leader noted. C2H bicycling club rides take place once a week on Thursdays, leaving at different times in the morning from one of the seven senior centers in the county. Beginners and experienced bikers traverse different bike loops, ride leader John Sargeant said. There is an approximately

ARTS & STYLE Saul Zuckman (left) and Jose Luis Puchol-Salva, who lead rides for the Howard County Office on Aging’s new bicycling program Cycle2Health, prepare to pedal. Program members bike around the county each Thursday on rides that range from 10 to 25 miles.

10-mile loop for the novices, while frequent pedalers could travel up to 25 miles over steeper hills and dales in Howard County. Registration for the program — and information about the upcoming rides, where they start from, where they go to, and their degrees of difficulty — are posted online weekly at the group’s website, www.howardcountyaging.org/Cycle2Health.

All fitness levels welcome Sargeant emphasized that you don’t have to be ready for the Tour de France to join the C2H riders. He said about 15 to 20 percent of the 65 or so participants who signed up for the program in its first months hadn’t been biking for many years.

The median age of the Cycle2Healthers is 68, said Sargeant, and almost all the participants are retirees ranging in age from their mid-50s to 70s. There are about three men for every two women in the program. Sargeant, 66, a retired physical therapist, pointed out that cycling is, in fact, a tip-top way for seniors to get and keep in shape. Among other things, there is “very low impact on the joints. The only real risk is falling.” Participant Irene MacDonald, who started out as a queasy rider, noted that the group and its leaders were “very welcoming and very appreciative of my efSee CYCLING, page 11

Joan Rivers still lets ‘em have it at 80; plus, comedy, drama and Dracula in Howard County’s upcoming theater season, and a pun-filled Nunsense on stage at Toby’s page 29 FITNESS & HEALTH 4 k Growing custom-made organs k Losing height? What to do about it THE SENIOR CONNECTION 18 k Howard County Office on Aging newsletter LAW & MONEY 20 k Mid-year review of mutual funds k Beware of pension “advances” PLUS CROSSWORD, BEACON BITS, CLASSIFIEDS & MORE


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Facing an empty nest In a few weeks, our two children, Jere- ty to be an “only child” for the first time in my and Tova, will be off to school. For the her life. I feel we have come to know her past 15 years, my wife, Judy, much better these past few and I have rather looked foryears, as she’s grown into a ward to the fall, when we young lady and shared so could send our kids back to much with us about her school for most of the day thoughts and concerns while after a busy summer spent progressing through high juggling their schedules and school. ours. But this fall will be differThings started to change ent for us, as she, too, goes when Jeremy graduated from off to her gap year experihigh school three years ago. ence, and Jeremy returns to That fall he left the country FROM THE college. to spend his “gap year” living PUBLISHER Judy and I have been anticand studying in Israel for By Stuart P. Rosenthal ipating this moment for some nine months. time, of course. First, our Tova more than filled the resulting gap friends who’ve already reached this stage in our lives, as she relished the opportuni- have enthusiastically anointed us “empty-

BEACON BITS

Sept. 21

COLUMBIA BIKEABOUT

The Columbia Association’s annual Columbia BikeAbout is calling for volunteers to assist with traffic control, registration, and as guides along the 10-mile route beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Lake Elkhorn in Columbia. For more information about volunteering, call Jeannette Lichtenwalner at (410) 715-6781 or email Columbia.Archives@ColumbiaAssociation.org. To sign up to ride in this year’s event, visit BikeAbout.Eventbrite.com.

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The Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to inform, serve, and entertain the citizens of Howard County, Md. and is privately owned. Other editions serve Greater Baltimore, Md., Greater Washington DC, and Greater Palm Springs, Calif. Subscriptions are available via third-class mail ($12), prepaid with order. Maryland residents add 6 percent for sales tax. Send subscription order to the office listed below. Publication of advertising contained herein does not necessarily constitute endorsement. Signed columns represent the opinions of the writers, and not necessarily the opinion of the publisher. • Publisher/Editor ....................Stuart P. Rosenthal • Associate Publisher..............Judith K. Rosenthal • Vice President, Operations........Gordon Hasenei • Director of Sales ................................Alan Spiegel • Assistant Operations Manager ..........Roger King • Managing Editor............................Barbara Ruben • Graphic Designer ..............................Kyle Gregory • Advertising Representatives ........Doug Hallock, ................................................ Steve Levin, Jill Joseph • Publishing Assistant ....................Rebekah Sewell

The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915 (410) 248-9101 • Email: info@thebeaconnewspapers.com Submissions: The Beacon welcomes reader contributions. Deadline for editorial and advertising is the 1st of the month preceding the month of publication. See page 35 for classified advertising details. Please mail or email all submissions.

© Copyright 2013 The Beacon Newspapers, Inc.

nesters” ever since word of Tova’s impending graduation reached them. We’ve also had a weekend here and there when Tova was away with friends, and we got a glimpse of life in our home without children. I think it’s fair to say we saw the upside on those occasions, even as we very much noticed the unusual quiet that descended on the house. Among other subtle changes were the unusual feeling of being able to carry on a conversation until its conclusion (or until one of our phones rang), and the ability to eat dinner whenever we felt like it, rather than at a pre-set family time. In fact, the ability to be spontaneous in just about anything was starting to dawn on us as another benefit. We realized, however, that this meant we also would need to refamiliarize ourselves with the mode of our early marriage, where it was “just us.” We would not be exactly the same people we had been 21 years ago, if only due to the many shared experiences we now had to drawn on. But there would likely be another honeymoon of sorts — in several senses of the term: Not only a carefree opportunity to enjoy our newfound privacy, but also a slightly uncomfortable period of getting (re)acquainted and learning about each

other (and how we might have changed over the years). In short, it presents us with an opportunity and a challenge, like so much in life. No doubt, many of our readers have faced the empty nest situation, or will do so eventually. If you have any words of advice for us, or stories you’d like to tell us and your fellow Beacon readers, please send us a note or email. We’d like to hear what you have to say.

Save the date The Beacon’s annual 50+Expo will take place this year at a new location: in downtown Silver Spring at the Silver Spring Civic Center. In addition to the change in venue, we will also be adding an Arts & Crafts Fair to take place on Veteran’s Plaza, just outside the Civic Center, during the Expo. Mark your calendar for Sunday, Oct. 13 from noon to 4 p.m. and prepare for a free and enjoyable afternoon of speakers, exercise demonstrations, informative exhibits, health screenings, flu shots, giveaways and door prizes. More details to come next month.

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: In July’s “From the Publisher” column, “What’s private anymore?” publisher Stuart Rosenthal said that people “voluntarily” use store loyalty cards. I would dare you to go into any chain store that has a “loyalty card” program and try to purchase any item at the advertised sale price without using said card. You will quickly and sometimes quite rudely learn how “voluntary” these cards are. Personally, I find this corporate snooping much more disturbing than the government surveillance. The government is trying to keep us safe from terrorists. The corporate surveillance is meant to get inside our heads and deeper into our wallets. As you state in your article, they “... track every purchase we make... keeping close tabs on our every movement – where we drive and when, what we read and listen to, where we shop and what we spend.” Each one of these data-points is like a pixel on a television screen. By themselves they don’t mean much, but when databases are exchanged between corporations and all of this data is put together, it paints a picture of our habits such that

“The Man” knows your habits better than you do. Such intimate knowledge allows big business to manipulate and control people’s behavior without most of the people ever realizing that they are being manipulated and controlled. I take great offense to store “loyalty” cards and, wherever possible, refuse to shop in stores that have them. Fortunately, there are still a few grocery stores locally where I can pay cash for my food and not be subjected to this data mining. The website www.nocards.org is an excellent source of information regarding store “loyalty” data-mining schemes and why they don’t really save anyone money. I would encourage anyone interested in privacy issues to visit this website. Phillip Couslin Glen Burnie Dear Editor: I saw your editorial “What’s private anymore?” in the July issue and read with considerable interest. I had just read a rather technical discussion about the use of data by the NSA that See LETTERS TO EDITOR, page 35


H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

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Health Fitness &

SLATHER ON THAT SUNSCREEN New research shows that sunscreen can slow aging of your skin NATURAL ARTHRITIS REMEDIES Try glucosamine, MSM and bromelain to relieve arthritis symptoms STUDYING DIABETES DRUGS Volunteer to help compare effectiveness of popular diabetes drugs STOP SHRINKING Take some simple steps to minimize losing height as you age

Lab-grown organs may solve shortages By Malcolm Ritter By the time 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan finally got a lung transplant in June, she’d been waiting for months, and her parents had sued to give her a better shot at surgery. Her cystic fibrosis was threatening her life, and her case spurred a debate on how to allocate donor organs. Lungs and other organs for transplant are scarce. But what if there were another way? What if you could grow a custom-made organ in a lab? It sounds incredible. But just a threehour drive from the Philadelphia hospital where Sarah got her transplant, another little girl is benefiting from just that sort of technology. Two years ago, Angela Irizarry of Lewisburg, Pa., needed a crucial blood vessel. So, over 12 hours one day, doctors took

bone marrow from Angela and extracted certain cells, seeded them onto a 5-inchlong biodegradable tube, incubated them for two hours, and then implanted the graft into Angela to grow into a blood vessel. Today the 5-year-old sings, dances and dreams of becoming a firefighter — and a doctor.

Custom-made organs Growing lungs and other complex organs for transplant is still in the future, but scientists are working toward that goal. In North Carolina, a 3-D printer builds prototype kidneys. Instead of depositing ink, the printer puts down a gel-like biodegradable scaffold plus a mixture of cells to build a kidney layer by layer. In several labs, scientists study how to build on the internal scaffolding of hearts, lungs, livers and kidneys of people and

pigs to make custom-made implants. Here’s the dream scenario: A patient donates cells, either from a biopsy or maybe just a blood draw. A lab uses them, or cells made from them, to seed onto a scaffold that’s shaped like the organ he needs. Then, said Dr. Harald Ott of Massachusetts General Hospital, “we can regenerate an organ that will not be rejected (and can be) grown on demand and transplanted surgically, similar to a donor organ.” That won’t happen anytime soon for solid organs like lungs or livers. But as Angela Irizarry’s case shows, simpler body parts are already being put into patients as researchers explore the possibilities of the field. This summer, a girl in Peoria, Ill., got an experimental windpipe that used a synthetic scaffold covered in stem cells from her own bone marrow. More than a dozen patients have had similar operations.

Dozens of people are thriving with experimental bladders made from their own cells, as are more than a dozen who have urethras made from their own bladder tissue. A Swedish girl who got a vein made with her marrow cells to bypass a liver vein blockage in 2011 is still doing well, her surgeon said. In some cases the idea has even become standard practice. Surgeons can use a patient’s own cells, processed in a lab, to repair cartilage in the knee. Burn victims are treated with lab-grown skin. Researchers have also shown that cells grown on a biodegradeable scaffolding can act as beacons that summon cells from the recipient’s body, said William Wagner, director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. See BUILDING ORGANS, page 7

Where to find reliable medical info online Dear Savvy Senior: What are the best websites for finding reliable health information on the Internet? I usually do a Google search on a symptom, drug or health condition when I want to research something, but with so much information out there, I’m not sure what I can trust. — Untrusting Senior Dear Untrusting: You’re wise not to believe everything you read, especially when it comes to health and medical information on the web. To help you sort through the online clutter and locate reliable, trustworthy medical information, here are a few tips to follow, along with some top-rated sites you can always turn to with confidence.

How to verify As a general rule, health and medical information websites sponsored by the U.S. government, not-for-profit health or medical organizations, and university medical centers are the most reliable resources on the Internet. Sites supported by drug or insurance companies, who may be trying to sell you their products, are usually not your best option. To find out who’s sponsoring a site and

where the information came from, click on the “About Us” tab on the site’s home page. Look for the red and blue “HONcode” seal at the bottom of each page, which means the site has credible information and is certified by the Health On the Net Foundation. Be aware, however, that government-sponsored health sites don’t have the seal. Also, check the date the information was published to make sure it’s current: good health and medical information changes all the time. And if you’re doing research online before going to see a doctor, print your findings out on paper, including the address of the site you got your information from, so you can review it together.

Top health sites While there are dozens of great websites that provide reliable, trustworthy, unbiased health and medical information, here are two of the best all-purpose sites that are easy to use. Medlineplus.gov: Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and managed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine,

MedlinePlus provides information on more than 900 diseases and conditions in their “Health Topics” section, as well as links to other trusted resources. It also provides a directory of hospitals, clinics and healthcare providers, a medical encyclopedia and medical dictionary, tutorials on common conditions, tests and treatments, extensive information on prescription drugs, supplements and herbs, and links to thousands of clinical trials. It even offers a senior specific health site (www.nihseniorhealth.gov) that makes age-related health information easier to get. MayoClinic.com: Owned by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, this site is produced by more than 3,300 physicians, scientists and researchers from Mayo Clinic, and provides in-depth, easy-to-understand information on hundreds of diseases and conditions, drugs and supplements, tests and procedures. It also offers a nifty “Symptom Checker” tool and “First-Aid Guide” for fast answers to all types of health conditions, along with medical blogs, expert answers, videos and links to additional resources.

Disease-specific sites There are also dozens of other sites dedicated to specific diseases and conditions. Here are some top-rated sites as listed by the Medical Library Association on cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Cancer: American Cancer Society (cancer.org), National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov), Association of Cancer Online Resources (www.acor.org) and Cancer Care (cancercare.org). Heart disease: American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (www.nhlbi.nih.gov) and Congenital Heart Information Network (www.tchin.org). Diabetes: American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org), National Diabetes Education Program (www.ndep.nih.gov), Joslin Diabetes Center (www.joslin. har vard.edu), and Diabetes Monitor (www.diabetesmonitor.com). Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org), Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (www.alzinfo.org), and Alzheimers.gov. Send your questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior book.


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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

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There are plenty of challenges with this organ-building approach. One is getting the right cells to build the organ. Cells from the patient’s own organ might not be available or usable. So Laura Niklason of Yale and others are exploring genetic reprogramming so that, say, blood or skin cells could be turned into appropriate cells for organgrowing. Others look to stem cells from bone marrow or body fat that could be nudged into becoming the right kinds of cells for particular organs. In the near term, organs might instead be built with donor cells stored in a lab, and the organ recipient would still need anti-rejection drugs. How long until doctors start testing solid organs in people? Ott hopes to see human studies on some lab-grown organ in five to 10 years. Wagner calls that very optimistic and thinks 15 to 20 years is more realistic. Niklason also forecasts two decades for the first human study of a lung that will work long-term. But LaMattina figures five to 10 years might be about right for human studies of his specialty, the liver. “I’m an optimist,” he added. “You have to be an optimist in this job.” — AP

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Finding cells that work

F R E E

So far, the lab-grown parts implanted in people have involved fairly simple structures — basically sheets, tubes and hollow containers, noted Anthony Atala of Wake Forest University, whose lab also has made scaffolds for noses and ears. Solid internal organs like livers, hearts and kidneys are far more complex to make. His pioneering lab at Wake Forest is using a 3-D printer to make miniature prototype kidneys, some as small as a half dollar, and other structures for research. Atala expects it will take many years before printed organs find their way into patients. Another organ-building strategy used by Atala and maybe half a dozen other labs starts with an organ, washes its cells off the inert scaffolding that holds cells together, and then plants that scaffolding with new cells. “It’s almost like taking an apartment building, moving everybody out ... and then really trying to repopulate that apartment building with different cells,” said Dr. John LaMattina of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He’s using the approach to build livers. It’s the repopulating part that’s the most challenging, he adds. One goal of that process is humanizing pig organs for transplant, by replacing their cells with human ones. “I believe the future is ... a pig matrix covered with your own cells,” said Doris Taylor of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. She reported creating a rudi-

3-D “printing” of body parts

I N F O R M AT I O N

Sometimes that works out fine, but other times it can lead to scarring or inflammation instead, he said. Controlling what happens when an engineered implant interacts with the body is a key challenge, he said.

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From page 4

mentary beating rat heart in 2008 with the cell-replacement technique and is now applying it to a variety of organs. Cell replacement has also worked for kidneys. Ott recently reported that labmade kidneys in rats didn’t perform as well as regular kidneys. But, he said, just a “good enough organ” could get somebody off dialysis. He has just started testing the approach with transplants in pigs. Ott is also working to grow human cells on human and pig heart scaffolds for study in the laboratory.

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Building organs

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Health Shorts Sunscreen slows aging of skin New research provides some of the strongest evidence to date that near-daily sunscreen use can slow the aging of your skin. Skin stretches and recoils thanks to elastic fibers supporting it. UV rays damage that elasticity, something scientists previously have measured using biopsies of the tissue just under the skin’s top layer. With enough damage, the skin on top starts to sag and wrinkle. Ultraviolet rays that spur wrinkles and other signs of aging can quietly build up damage pretty much anytime you’re in the sun — a lunchtime stroll, school recess, walking the dog — and they even penetrate car windows. Researchers in sunny Australia found that even if you’re already middle-aged, it’s not too late to start rubbing some sunscreen on — and not just at the beach or pool. The study of 900 people under 55 compared those randomly assigned to use sunscreen daily to those who used it when they deemed it necessary. Daily sunscreen use was tough — participants did cheat a little. But after 4½

years, those who used sunscreen regularly had younger-looking hands, with 24 percent less skin aging than those who used sunscreen only some of the time. Both young adults and the middle-aged experienced skin-saving effects, concluded the study, financed by Australia’s government and published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. More importantly, less sun-caused aging decreases the risk of skin cancer in the long term. The news comes just as tougher Food and Drug Administration rules for U.S. sunscreens are taking effect. For the first time, they ensure that sunscreens labeled “broad-spectrum” protect against both the ultraviolet-B rays that cause sunburn and those deeper-penetrating ultraviolet-A rays that are linked to premature wrinkles and skin cancers.

New Medicare mail order program Medicare instituted a major change in July that could save diabetics money and time when they buy crucial supplies to test their blood sugar — but it also may cause some confusion as patients figure out the new system. On July 1, Medicare opened a national mail-order program that dramatically drops the prices the government pays for

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those products, but patients will have to use one of 18 designated suppliers. The goal is to save taxpayers money, but seniors should see their copays drop, too. Don’t care about the convenience of mail delivery? Beneficiaries also can get the new lower price at drugstores enrolled in the Medicare program. It’s the biggest expansion yet of a larger, and somewhat controversial, initiative that’s predicted to save taxpayers nearly $26 billion over the next decade by cracking down on waste and fraud in the medical equipment industry. Diabetics aren’t the only Medicare patients affected. Patients who rent home

oxygen gear and hospital beds, or who need power wheelchairs, walkers and certain other equipment, will also see changes in their suppliers and lower prices as a pilot test of this so-called competitive bidding program expanded from nine metro areas to a total of 100 on July 1. The Washington and Baltimore areas are part of that expansion. Medicare is supposed to apply the lower pricing nationally by 2016. (The change doesn’t apply to Medicare Advantage patients.) To find a valid supplier, check the list at www.medicare.gov/supplier or call 1-800MEDICARE. Some companies operate under multiple names. — AP

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Sept. 12

FOOD ALLERGIES WALK

The sixth annual Greater Baltimore FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) Walk will be held at Meadowbrook Park on Sunday, Sept. 22, with registration from 9:30 a.m. until the start of the walk at 10:30 a.m. The park is located at 5001 Meadowbrook Ln., Ellicott City. The walk raises funds to assist the 15 million people nationally affected by food allergies. For more information, visit www.foodallergy.org or call (816) 718-3466.

Ongoing

CELEBRATE NATIONAL YOGA MONTH

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated September as the month to build awareness of the health benefits of practicing yoga. For a list of celebrations, including some free lessons and community gatherings throughout the Howard County area, visit www.yogamonth.org or www.yogahealthfoundation.org.


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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

Exciting retirement living, coming to Ellicott City!

BREAKING

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Living Well Series Resumes with Fall Seminars Slade School Road on BGRV’s Sandy Spring, Maryland, campus. Each seminar will be preceded by a complimentary light supper beginning at 6:30 p.m. BGRV Chaplain Bill Neely will take the podium on September 18 to discuss “Improving Relationships through Communication.” An accomplished speaker, communicator and support group facilitator, Mr. Neely will examine the role and power of verbal and nonverbal communication in each individual’s past, present and future. Leta Blank, program director of the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program, will present “Medicare 2014: What You Need to Know ❒ Reserve my seat for the September 18 “Improving Relationships to Get the Best Benefits” through Communication” seminar. on Wednesday, October 30. ❒ Reserve my seat for the October 30 “Medicare 2014” seminar. Discover the answers to ❒ Reserve my seat for the November 13 “Dad's Still Driving and questions such as: “What Other Dilemmas Facing Adult Children” seminar. does Medicare A and B cover? How does Medicare Name: Part D work? Do I need Address: Part C? What state and City, State, Zip: federal programs am I Daytime Phone: eligible for? Medicare HB9/13 Please mail this coupon to: Brooke Grove Retirement Village, doesn’t pay for everything, Attn: Community Relations, 18100 Slade School Road, so what else do I need?” Sandy Spring, MD 20860 On Wednesday, Phone: 301-260-2320 November 13, Barbara Fax: 301-924-1200. Web: www.bgf.org Kane and Linda Hill of

Brooke Grove Retirement Village (BGRV) will resume its Living Well Community Seminar Series in September, according to Director of Marketing Toni Davis. Designed to help participants navigate a variety of healthcare and personal challenges, each of these free, monthly presentations will be held from 7 to 8:15 p.m. in the terrace level conference room of Brooke Grove Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, located at 18131

Aging Network Services will focus on “Dad’s Still Driving and Other Dilemmas Facing Adult Children.” If you have a father who won’t give up driving, a mother who has trouble managing her daily affairs but resists all your suggestions, or you don’t know whether to hire home helpers or move your loved one into assisted living, these professional social workers can offer you guidance as well as tips on coping with the stress of caregiving. For further information or reservations, contact Ms. Davis at 301-388-7209 or tdavis@bgf.org by the Monday prior to each seminar.


H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

Cycling From page 1 forts. The people heading these rides are very understanding of someone like me,” she said. “They know I’ve taken up riding for the challenge and for health.” Studies conducted at Purdue University have shown that regular cycling can lower your risk of heart disease by 50 percent. In some good news for men (and their partners), Harvard University researchers have found that men 50 and older who cycle at least three hours a week have a 30 percent lower risk of impotence than those who do little or no exercise. Columbia resident Zuckman, who got the program rolling in May with fellow biker Jose Puchol-Salva, certainly understands the health benefits. He said he started serious cycling about 30 years ago to lose weight and to control his diabetes. He has found, he said, that it is easier to control his diabetes during the warmer months when he cycles regularly, than in the winter, when he needs “a lot more medication.”

Cross country for a cause In 2010, Zuckman took part in the annual biking event, “Race Across America.” For seven days, he and his seven teammates took turns relay racing around-theclock across America. Each team member went full speed ahead for about 40 minutes at a time before being spelled to rest, ride and attempt to catch about 4½ hours of nighttime sleep in the accompanying air-conditioned SUV. The riders had a 29-person support team that Zuckman said included, among others, cooks, navigators and massage therapists. A pharmaceutical company that produces insulin to treat diabetes sponsored the riders. “Sometimes we switched to four-man teams, so that some of us could get a longer rest period,” said Zuckman, who noted “the biggest challenge was sleep deprivation.” At the finish line, Zuckman, then 70 and the eldest biker not only on his team but of the 403 bikers in the race, felt “exhausted and elated.” While that event was a major endeavor

BEACON BITS

Sept. 4

CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH CLASSES

A small group setting for practicing speaking and understanding English as a second language will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 4 and subsequent Wednesdays at 7:45 p.m. at the Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. For further information, call (410) 313-1950.

that required serious training, almost anyone can gain enjoyment and benefit from the weekly C2H rides. “I just want to encourage more seniors to get involved in the program,” Zuckman said. “Give it a try.”

Social benefits, too Mike and Kelley O’Rourke have done just that. Mike, 71, a retired electric engineer, said that along with the health and fitness benefits, he and Kelley, 77, have found the cycle excursions “a good way to meet other people our age.” He added: “We realize as we get older we have to get out and get those creaky bones moving. And we found a wonderful group of people doing the same.” Participants must provide their own bikes, which should be in working order. Free bike checks are offered to C2H bikers at Princeton Sports and Race Pace in Columbia. The program puts the accent on safety, with special “safety rodeo” and skills enhancement practice sessions. Helmets are

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

mandatory, gloves and eye protection are highly recommended, and spare tubes, air pumps and tire-changing tools should be brought along. Water bottles, snacks and

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sun protection are also recommended. For further information about C2H, or to join the group, call Jennifer Lee at (410) 313-5940.


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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Get stronger: no gym equipment needed Q: What is this “bodyweight strength training” I am hearing about? A: Bodyweight strength training is exercise that uses your own body weight for resistance to work your muscles, instead of weights or resistance bands. For example, you can strengthen your arms with exercises like push-ups (standing and pushing against the wall, or regular or bentknee on the floor) and chair dips. You can strengthen leg muscles by getting up and down from a sitting or squatting

position, depending on your current level of fitness and balance. Other leg-strengthening exercises that use only body weight include leg raises, wall-sits and lunges. You can strengthen your abdominal muscles with sit-ups, which can be done in many different variations to focus on different areas of your “abs,” as well as exercises such as “planks” and “bridges.” By changing how far you work against your body weight and how long you hold the resistance, variations of these exercises can

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be used by people who have been sedenHowever, bacteria in our digestive tract tary and have little strength, as well as by may convert these compounds to others people who already have dethat our bodies do absorb. For veloped good muscle strength example, ellagitannins and elfrom regular exercise. lagic acid are converted to You can find examples of urolithins, which can be abthese bodyweight strength sorbed and do seem to offer training exercises and instrucantioxidant, anti-inflammatory tions from several trustworthy and direct anti-cancer effects. websites, such as the American Further research is underCouncil on Exercise’s workout way. guide in three phases (www.acMeanwhile, strawberries efitness.org/article/3159) and are an excellent source of vithe Senior Health section of the NUTRITION tamin C. One cup provides NIH website (http://nihse- WISE enough to meet current recBy Karen Collins, niorhealth.gov/exerciseforoldommendations for a whole eradults). You might also find it MS, RD, CDM day — and we know that eathelpful to get personal instrucing strawberries increases tion on how to do these exercises and adapt blood levels of vitamin C and total antioxithem as you grow stronger by meeting for dants. even a few sessions with a qualified trainer Besides, strawberries are a good source at a YMCA or other fitness center in your of dietary fiber and allow us to eat a hungercommunity. satisfying portion of something sweet with Q: I’ve heard that strawberries have few calories. They definitely have a place as a lot of natural antioxidant com- part of eating habits to promote good health. pounds, but also that people can’t reThe American Institute for Cancter Really absorb them. What’s the story? search offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800A: Strawberries do contain multiple 843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday phytochemicals (natural plant com- through Friday. This free service allows you pounds), including flavonoids such as an- to ask questions about diet, nutrition and thocyanins (which provide the red color), cancer. A registered dietitian will return catechins and quercetin, as well as ellagi- your call, usually within three business days. tannins and ellagic acid. Courtesy of the American Institute for Research suggests that our blood absorbs Cancer Research. Questions for this column from the digestive tract only a small propor- may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., tion of certain strawberry phytochemicals, N.W. Washington, DC 20009. Collins canincluding anthocyanins and ellagic acid. not respond to questions personally.

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13

Ways to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis Dear Pharmacist: Also consider these: I take ibuprofen and hydrocodone MSM: This is a sulfur-based compound for the pain of osteoarthrithat is actually a by-product of tis. Glucosamine helps, but DMSO (DMSO is applied topeven after six months, I’m ically to joints, but it’s intendstill stiff and riddled with ed for vet purposes. The FDA pain. What else can I do? doesn’t like humans using it, — D.Y. even though many of you do.) Dear D.Y.: Anyway, MSM, an oral supYou’re not alone, 27 million plement, is sold at health food Americans live with osstores and does wonders for teoarthritis (OA), and the afjoint pain. fliction worsens over time. Bromelain: This pineapDEAR Left untreated, it can comple extract gets mixed rePHARMACIST pletely disable you, so it’s views. One study found it to By Suzy Cohen good that you are doing somebe as effective as diclofenac, a thing. prescription anti-inflammatoI like glucosamine. I prefer “glu- ry. I personally like this and frequently reccosamine sulfate” over other forms, be- ommend it. cause it provides sulfur to the body... sulDevil’s claw: Slightly more exotic, fur, not to be confused with sulfa, a drug devil’s claw is so named because of its that many people are allergic to. OA always involves pro-inflammatory cytokines; you’ve heard me mention those before. Cytokines are pain-causing chemicals. Cytokines aren’t bad until your body pumps them out in excess, and that’s exactly what happens with OA. It’s also what you need to reduce to control pain and improve range of motion. Ibuprofen reduces the cytokines called prostaglandins and IL-1B. You want that. Glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans, and that is a component of joint cartilage.

BEACON BITS

Aug. 28

ASK THE PHARMACIST

Bring questions about your current medications to discuss with pharmacist Don Hamilton on Monday, August 26 at 11 a.m. at the Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. For more information, call (410) 313-1421.

Sept. 8

VOLUNTEER FOR POLICE RUNNING EVENTS

Volunteers are needed for the Howard County Police Foundation’s Police Pace 5K Race and 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk on Sunday morning, Sept. 8 at Centennial Park, 10000 Rte. 108, Ellicott City. Volunteers will help set up, serve as race marshals and provide water to the runners at the water stations. Persons interested in volunteering should call Cpl. Kris Knutson at (443) 864-6329 or email kknutson@howardcountymd.gov. To participate in the Police Pace run, register online at www.policepace.com.

hooked fruit. A 2011 study from Phytotherapy Research concluded that the herb could block the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In another study, devil’s claw performed as well as the prescription drug Vioxx (it’s now off the market; Celebrex, which is safer, does remain). The point is that devil’s claw is strong; it interacts with other medicines, so ask your doctor if it’s right for you. Boswellia: A resin from a tree. A 2013 study from the Journal of Head and Neck Pain studied the biological active ingredients in boswellia (pentacyclic triterpene acids) for their potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Boswellic acid is another major active ingredient. This is (in my mind) Mother Nature’s ibuprofen. This may sound obvious but take pressure off your joints. Extra weight does no

favor to your painful knees and hip joints. You may have to start gently with yoga, or tai chi, but keep those joints moving. And, finally, consider ramping up your immunity. Some forms of arthritis are due to infections, either fungal, viral or bacterial. Compounds in green tea reduce the cytokine called TNF alpha, often high in those with arthritic conditions. One cup of green (or matcha) tea could beat up germs and improve immunity. The L-theanine it contains is relaxing, too. Drink it daily. This information is opinion only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Consult with your doctor before using any new drug or supplement. Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To contact her, visit www.dearpharmacist.com.

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Target Pharmacies are not located in all Target stores, hours vary by location, services of pharmacist may not be available at all times when Target stores are open. Free translation services available. Š2013 Target Brands, Inc. The Bullseye Design and Target are registered trademarks of Target Brands, Inc. 222498

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

Health Studies Page

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THE PLACE TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON AREA CLINICAL TRIALS

Study compares popular diabetes drugs The National Institutes of Health is looking for volunteers to take part in a study to compare the long-term benefits and risks of four widely used diabetes drugs in combination with metformin, the most common firstline medication for treating type 2 diabetes. The project is called the Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study, or GRADE for short. If metformin is not enough to help manage type 2 diabetes, a patient’s doctor may add one of several other drugs to lower glucose (blood sugar). But while shortterm studies have shown the efficacy of different drugs when used with metformin, there have been no long-term studies of which combination works best and has fewer side effects. “Type 2 diabetes progresses slowly, over a long period of time,” said Dr. Barbara Linder, the GRADE project officer at the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “This study will help us understand how different combinations of medications affect the disease over time, and ultimately help physicians make better choices for their patients’ long-term care.”

Long-term study The study will compare drug effects on glucose levels, adverse effects, diabetes complications and quality of life over an average of nearly five years. GRADE aims to enroll about 5,000 patients nationwide. It is being conducted at two locations in Baltimore — the University of Maryland Baltimore and the Balti-

more VA Medical Center — and at one location in Hyattsville, the MedStar Health Research Institute. Investigators are seeking people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last five years. They may be on metformin, but not on any other diabetes medication. During the study, all participants will take metformin, along with a second medication randomly assigned from among four classes of medications, all approved for use with metformin by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Three of the classes of medications increase insulin levels. They are: sulfonylurea, which increases insulin levels directly; DPP-4 inhibitor, which indirectly increases insulin levels by increasing the effect of a naturally occurring intestinal hormone; and GLP-1 agonist, which increases the amount of insulin released in response to nutrients. The fourth type of medication is a long-acting insulin. No patients will be assigned a placebo, a pill without active ingredients. Participants will have their diabetes medications managed free of charge through the study, including at least four medical visits per year, but will receive other healthcare through their own providers. “What differentiates GRADE from previous studies is that it will perform a head-tohead comprehensive comparison of the most commonly used drugs over a long period of time,” said Dr. David M. Nathan, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Nathan and John Lachin, of the George Washington University in Wash-

ington, D.C., are co-principal investigators. “In addition to determining which medications control blood glucose levels most effectively over time, we hope to examine individual factors that are associated with better or worse response to the different medications,” Nathan said. “This should provide understanding of how to personal-

ize the treatment of diabetes.” For more information on the study at both the University of Maryland Baltimore and the Baltimore VA Medical Center, contact Camille Paul at (410) 7061724 or cpaul@medicine.umaryland.edu. Lear n more about the study at https://grade.bsc.gwu.edu.

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Too attentive and non-attentive husbands Dear Solutions: My husband is a very touchy feely guy. He uses his hands a lot when he talks, and if anyone has a sad thing to tell him, he instinctively puts his arm on that person’s shoulder, etc. All this would be nice but meaningless, except that there’s this single woman who always manages to get up close and next to him to start telling him her woes. We meet socially with her and others ver y often, and each time she hangs on to him the whole time. His arm goes on her shoulder while she talks on and on just to him. I know her confiding in him is her way of flirting with him, and he’s flattered. But I’m annoyed and embarrassed. I’d like to say something to her without being completely nasty, but what? —H

Dear H: How about “Would you please take your shoulder off of my husband’s arm!” No? Right. That might embarrass you even more, and embarrass him too. Never mind her. Tell him how it makes you feel when he spends the whole time with his arm around her. Of course, he is an independent adult and can decide how he acts. But for the sake of his marriage, he’d better recognize that you’re very touchy about his feely. Dear Solutions: My husband is still working. I am recently retired. When we both worked, we didn’t have a lot of time to communicate much, but now I look forward to him coming home and sharing the day’s information over dinner. Instead, as soon as he sits down, he grabs the newspaper and reads it while he eats. If I ask him a question to try to start a conversation, he gives as

short an answer as possible and goes Please let me know how it works out so right back to the paper. I won’t have to look at the “separation and It’s true, as he says, that divorce” announcements. he leaves very early before Dear Solutions: we get the paper, but I’m I’m a young senior, and I writing to you for some sugdecided to go back to school gestion before I...whatever. to get an advanced degree — Angry and start a new career. Dear Angry: My older brother is alAssuming that you have always putting me down. He ready tried to be reasonable lives a kind of laid-back with him before you...whatevlifestyle and can’t underer, I have two suggestions: stand why I work so hard. SOLUTIONS 1. Gather at least three weeks He accuses me of being By Helen Oxenberg, of thick newspapers and pile materialistic and not having MSW, ACSW them up in back of his plate so the “right” values. I’m upset he can’t see over them. and never know what to say Attach a big sign to the front of the pile to him. Any suggestions? saying, “When you get to the last paper in — Jennie this pile please turn to the “Separations Dear Jennie: and Divorce” announcements. I’m sure He may put you down, but he can’t keep you will recognize our names.” Or: you there unless you volunteer for the po2. Sit down with him at another quiet sition! time, and don’t accuse him of anything. Tell him calmly that people can have difJust tell him sincerely how his behavior ferent values and still love each other, and makes you feel abandoned, hurt and ig- that you respect his and hope he’ll respect nored. Say how you looked forward to hav- yours. Period. ing this special time — dinner time — to © Helen Oxenberg, 2013. Questions to be be together and share the meal and the considered for this column may be sent to: day with him since you retired. Assure The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, him that if he wants to go to a comfortable MD 20915. You may also email the author chair and read after dinner, you will re- at helox72@comcast.net. To inquire about spect that and not disturb him. reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.

BEACON BITS

Aug. 27

BRAIN FITNESS Robin Zahor, R.N. will address new techniques to help keep the

brain healthy and in good shape in a talk on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 10 a.m. at the Elkridge Senior Center, 8640 Washington Blvd., Elkridge. For more information, call (410) 313-5192.

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

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Take steps now to prevent losing height By Dr. Howard LeWine Q: I’m 68 years old. I used to be 5foot-6-inches tall. I just visited my doctor, and my height was just over 5foot-4. Will I continue to shrink? What can I do to help stop it? A: Starting at about age 40, people typically lose about half an inch each decade. And the decline usually speeds up after the 70th birthday. So now is a good time for you to be asking this question. The two main causes of height loss are osteoporosis and bad posture. As we get older, our bones become less dense and more brittle, and they’re more likely to fracture because of osteoporosis.

Compression fractures one culprit When a hip or wrist bone weakened by osteoporosis breaks, it’s usually the kind of crack we have in mind when we picture a broken bone. But fractures of the bones that make up our spine (vertebrae) are different. Osteoporotic vertebrae get easily crushed. It’s like a cardboard box that has had too much weight put on it. These compression fractures often occur without any known trauma or injury. And usually there are no symptoms. Sometimes there can be a more sudden vertebral collapse. This can be very painful.

All types of vertebral compression fractures result in loss of height. You can decrease the risk of losing more height the same way you prevent or treat osteoporosis. Eat a calcium rich diet and be sure to get enough vitamin D. I recommend 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. Healthy bones require daily exercise, such as walking and/or weight training. Putting “pressure” stimulates new bone growth and prevents bone loss. If you haven’t had a bone density test yet, it’s time to get one. You may need drug therapy for osteoporosis.

Stand up straight Bad posture may be even more of a factor in height loss associated with age. Back muscles, like all muscles, get weaker with age. Ligaments get stretched and muscles get trained to be in a bent-over position. Flabby abdominal muscles don’t help. Some simple “core” exercises can help you stand up straighter. For example, lie on your stomach, and then lift your head and shoulders for several seconds. You can either keep your arms by your side or stretch them out like “Superman.” Let your head down, and then repeat the lift. Tighter “abs” can help your posture by counteracting tired back muscles. Modified sit-ups (crunches) are a good way to start. Lie

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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VOLUME 3, NO. 9 • SEPTEMBER 2013

A Message from the Administrator By Dayna Brown, Office on Aging Administrator

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters. Every individual can — and should — take steps to prepare for emergencies by evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs. It’s especially important for older adults to have a plan in the event you find yourself without electricity, water service, or access to a supermarket, medical facility, or local services for several days. Be informed — visit www.Ready.gov/seniors to learn how to develop an emergency plan to help you make it on your own for at least three days. Here are some points to consider: Build an emergency kit with your unique needs in mind. What will you need to maintain your health, safety and independence? Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers to aid you in an emergency, and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment. Lastly, make arrangements to get to a shelter should the need arise. In Howard County, senior centers are often used as emergency shelters or cooling centers for those without power or water. September is also National Senior Center Month, which celebrates the central role senior centers play in our communities, in good times as . well as during emergencies. The 2013 theme, Senior . Centers: Experts at Living Well, spotlights all that centers have to offer: active aging activities, low-cost . . health and fitness programs, opportunities for social interaction, resources for information and assistance, and much more. Stop in and see for yourself! Being prepared for an emergency is easier if you are also active and involved in your community. Your local senior center can help. To find one near you, visit www.howardcountyaging.org or call Maryland Access Point (MAP) at 410-313-5980.

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“Kick Off to Health� Comes to The Bain Center .

Mark your calendars to attend Kick-Off to Health...A Wellness Event for Men on Tuesday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bain Center in Columbia. Men of all ages are encouraged to attend the first-ever wellness event coordinated by the Office on Aging just for men, to heighten their awareness and be proactive about their health, in particular prostate health. Admission is free and onsite parking is available. The program will include a first-person tale of survival from Gary Scher, a prostate cancer survivor who will share insights about his journey back to health and the challenges he faced with his illness along the way. Next up is “Prostate‌Knowing Your Numbers,â€? presented by Kevin B. Blumenthal, M.D., of Central Maryland Urology Associates (CMUA), who will focus his discussion on the importance of getting tested and early detection. Also on the agenda

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is “Below the Belt,� presented by Kevin Billups, M.D., of John Hopkins Medicine to explore strategies for optimal sexual health. A morning strength training demo will feature Phil Hicks from the Columbia Association, and free health screenings and information will be offered throughout the day in the lobby. These include “Ask the Pharmacist�; blood pressure, visual acuity, glaucoma screening and body mass index (BMI); general health and nutrition education; plus seated massages and reflexology. A variety of vendors and exhibitors will also be on hand to offer guidance and answer questions. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and a raffle for a “Men’s Favorites� gift basket will be held. For more information, call 410-313-7213, visit www.howardcountyaging.org, or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HoCoCitizen.

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County Department of . . .The Senior . Connection . . is published . . monthly by the Howard . . . Citizen Services’ Office on Aging. We welcome your comments and suggestions. To contact us, or to join our email subscriber list, email seniorconnection@howardcountymd.gov with ‘subscribe’ in the subject box.

Howard County Office on Aging

6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046

410-313-6410

www.howardcountyaging.org • www.Facebook.com/HoCoCitizen

Dayna Brown, Administrator

Advertising contained in the Beacon is not endorsed by the Howard County Office on Aging or by the publisher.


H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

Say you saw it in the Beacon

Coming Events The Senior Connection

Wednesday, Sept. 4, 7 p.m. – Paws4Comfort Pet Evaluations, The Bain Center Volunteer with your pet! To find out how, attend our free monthly pet evaluation or contact Ingrid Gleysteen at 410-313-7461 or email igleysteen@howardcountymd.gov. Pets must be at least one year old, and have lived with you for at least six months.

Thursdays, Sept. 5 to Oct. 10, 1 to 3:30 p.m. – Living Well: Take Charge of Your Health, North Laurel 50+ Center Learn to manage health conditions, deal with pain & fatigue, develop healthy eating habits and plan a fitness program. Cost: $28 for six weeks. For more information or to register, call 410-3130380. Also offered at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County, 10710 Charter Drive in Columbia on Fridays, starting Sept. 6, and at the Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd. in Ellicott City on Tuesdays, starting Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call 410-313-5980 to register for these sessions. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. – SPRING Low-Vision Groups present Dr. Nicole Ross, Optometrist, The Bain Center Dr. Ross will discuss chronic visual impairment and the services provided at the Wilmer Institute. All are welcome; call Elaine Widom, 410-313-7283, to register.

Thursday, Sept. 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – KASA’s Annual Vivian Reid Thrift Sale, The Bain Center Browse through gently used and new clothing, jewelry, toys and household items, or shop for handcrafted items. Food will be available for purchase; all proceeds benefit the Vivian Reid Fund, which provides emergency assistance to older adults in need. Call 410-313-7213 for more info.

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Kick-Off to Health… A Wellness Event for Men, The Bain Center Designed to encourage men to be proactive about their health, the event will feature interactive exhibitors, free health screenings and seminars, exercise demos and more. Free admission; call 410-313-7213 for more information.

Thursday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m. – NIH Ocular Presentation, Ellicott City Senior Center Learn about eye diseases and disorders such as retinal detachments, vein occlusions, age-related macular degeneration, how uncontrolled diabetes can affect your sight, and more. Free; call 410-313-1400 for details.

Friday, Sept. 20, 6 to 8 p.m. – Celebrate National Senior Center Month, The Bain Center Enjoy a musical evening of Pop, R&B, and Contemporary Music with Dr. Phil Butts & the Sunset Band. Make this your “Date Night” as you enjoy hors d’oeuvres and other refreshments. Tables for four or more can be reserved. Cost: $5; sure to sell out so get your tickets now!

Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 24 – 26, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – ECSC Council Book and Bake Sale, Ellicott City Senior Center Join us in support of our annual fundraiser, featuring great books at bargain prices and sweet treats to buy and eat. Call 410-313-1400 for details.

Monday through Friday, Sept. 23 – 27 – Active Aging Week Celebration, Glenwood 50+ Center Join us for a week of fun and great food to celebrate Active Aging, including a waffle and smoothie bar, a crab cake luncheon, plus health and wellness exhibits, a coat drive, giveaways and free drawings. Call 410-313-5440 for a complete schedule. Tuesdays, starting Sept. 24, 11 a.m. to noon – Brain Stretch, East Columbia 50+ Center Join in activities to improve your memory, problem solving attention, critical thinking and more, offered by The Loyola Clinical Centers, Departments of Speech Pathology/Audiology. Call 410-313-7680 to register. Tuesday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m. – Travel Chatter, East Columbia 50+ Center If you love to travel, or want to share a great travel experience, join our monthly meetings on travelrelated topics. Call 410-313-7680 for details. Wednesday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Bluegrass & BBQ, North Laurel 50+ Center Enjoy an afternoon of great BBQ, with live music by the Savage Bluegrass Band. Cost: $8 per person; includes food and entertainment. Call 410-313-0380 for reservations by Sept. 20.

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Red Binder Workshop, East Columbia 50+ Center It’s National Emergency Preparedness Month! Let us help you organize all your important documents and medical information in one place: a sleek red binder! Cost: $5; call 410-313-7680 to register.

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Thursday, Sept. 26, 9:30 a.m. to noon – Emergency Preparedness Event, North Laurel 50+ Center Learn how to prepare, plan for and stay informed during emergencies. Emergency management personnel will be onsite to answer questions concerning family preparedness. For more information, call 410-313-0380.

Thursday, Sept. 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – SPRING Luncheon: Café de Paris, 8808 Centre Park Drive, Columbia, Md. Visit a little of Paris at our next luncheon! Entrée choices include Pan-Seared Salmon, Grilled Angus Rib Eye and Fettuccini Primavera, all with salad and dessert. Cost is $22/person; call Elaine Widom, 410-313-7283, to register by Sept. 20.

Friday, Sept. 27, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Atlantic City Taj Mahal Casino Trip, Elkridge Senior Center For just $35/person you’ll enjoy $25 in free slots play! Transportation is included in the price of the trip. Join us! Call 410-313-5192 for details.

Friday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 15th Annual 50+EXPO, Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Lane, Columbia, Md. Celebrate 15 years of healthy aging at the 50+EXPO, with more than 150 vendors and exhibitors, a health fair, seminars and workshops, flu shots and diabetes screenings, as well as living green ideas, live entertainment and food. For details, call 410-313-5980 or like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HoCo50PlusEXPO.

Saturday, Nov. 9, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. – 2nd Annual Caregiver Workshop, North Laurel Community Center Join us to learn more about Howard County resources for caregivers; legal issues; managing stress and challenging behaviors; long-term care planning; and more. Free; continental breakfast and lunch included. Call 410-313-5980 for more information.

Friday, October 18, 2013 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Wilde Lake High School 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia, MD

Celebrating 15 years of Healthy Aging! Over 150 Exhibitors • Healthy Aging Seminars • Life-Enriching Workshops Health Fair • Flu & Pneumonia Vaccines • Ideas & Demonstrations for Living Green PLUS All Day Entertainment & Food in the 50+ Cafe!

50+EXPO Parking is at the Mall in Columbia by Sears with FREE Shuttle Service to the EXPO Front Door! For more info call: 410-313-5980 www.howardcountyaging.org

Find us on

Facebook at www.facebook.com/HoCo50PlusEXPO

If you need this publication in an alternate format, please call 410-313-5980. To request a sign language interpreter or other accommodations to attend this event, please call 410-313-6400 by October 11.

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Money Law &

PAYING DOWN DEBT Get more benefit out of low-yield savings accounts by using them to pay off high-interest credit bills AVOID PENSION “ADVANCES” Military and federal retirees are being targeted for pricey pension advances that are really illegal loans at extremely high interest rates

Mid-year fund review: winners and losers By Stan Choe If you have money in a bond mutual fund, you’ve probably felt some pain when you opened your mid-year account statement. After years of steady returns, many bond mutual funds have suffered losses this year. Some of the sharpest drops are in funds that buy Treasury bonds, and it could be a rude awakening for investors lulled into thinking Treasur ys were among the safest investments. A look at how other mutual-fund categories performed during the first half of 2013 shows other clear losers, as well as winners. Mid-year is often a time when investors check on their portfolios, but it’s important to only make adjustments that are in line with your investment goals. “While performance can give you a guide as to how a fund or ETF has done, it’s not gospel,” said Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF and mutual fund research at S&P Capital IQ. “You should not chase performance. You should use it as one of the tools to help you sort through the investment universe.”

Long-term bonds sink Among the biggest losers of the first half of 2013: mutual funds that own longterm government bonds, such as 30year Treasurys. They lost an average of 11.9 percent through August 8, according to Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch indexes. That follows returns for the category of 3.9 percent in 2012, 32.9 percent in 2011 and 11.7 percent in 2010. Demand for bonds has declined because of concerns that the Federal Reserve may ease up on its bond-buying economic stimulus program. Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the central bank may slow its purchases later this year and halt them altogether by mid-2014, if circumstances warrant. The drop in demand has forced prices down for bonds. The price decline has been more than enough to wipe out the regular interest payments that bonds make. When a bond’s price falls, its yield rises, and a 30-year Treasury bond yielded 3.67 percent on August 12. That’s up from a low of 2.83 percent on May 1. “You don’t need a big move in bonds to eliminate a whole year’s worth of in-

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come,” said Mark Spellman, manager for the Value Line Income and Growth fund, which has a four-star rating from Morningstar. Long-term bond funds are hurt even more by interest rate increases than short- or intermediate-term bond funds. That’s because 30-year bonds are locked into the lower rates for longer periods, making them less attractive. Intermediate-term government bond mutual funds have lost 3.1 percent so far this year, and short-term government bond funds have lost 1.1 percent, fractions of the losses for long-term government bond funds. Here’s a look at other winners and losers among mutual-fund categories in the first half of 2013:

Stock fund winners Healthcare stock funds. This group returned 20.9 percent, more than any other categor y. Hospital stocks have risen on expectations that the healthcare overhaul will mean more patients have insurance coverage, leading to bigger profits. Biotechnology stocks, meanwhile, have surged on excitement about drugs in development. Diversified U.S. stock funds. The U.S. economy looks to be in better shape than others in Europe and the developing world. Home prices are rising, the consumer confidence index hit its highest level in June since January 2008, and

employers added an average of 189,000 jobs monthly through the year’s first five months. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index of big U.S. stocks hit a record high on May 21, before giving up some of its gains on worries that the Federal Reserve will trim its stimulus. As an example, the average U.S. large-cap value mutual fund returned 14.4 percent, versus a 2.1 percent return for funds that invest in similar stocks outside the United States. Japanese stock funds. Investors are hopeful that the latest attempt at stimulus by the Bank of Japan will jolt the world’s third-largest economy. The stimulus has caused the value of the yen to fall 11.3 percent against the dollar so far this year. That helps Japanese exporters by making their cars and electronics more affordable to customers buying in other currencies. Japanese stock mutual funds returned an average of 14.8 percent, although their gains have come down over the last month on concerns about whether the stimulus is aggressive enough.

Fund category losers Emerging-market funds. Funds that invest in stocks or bonds from China, Indonesia and other developing economies have been hit hard by worries about a pullback by the Federal Reserve. See FUND REVIEW, page 22


H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

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Protecting bonds when interest rates rise When investors look back at the spring tion risk measures the sensitivity of a of 2013, they may say it was the moment bond’s price to a one percent change in interest rates. when the bond market finally The higher a bond’s (or a shifted and a new trend of interest rates bond fund’s) duration, the higher greater its sensitivity to interemerged. It appears that the est rate changes. This means long-awaited reversal of the that fluctuations in price, bond market has begun. whether positive or negative, In early May, the yield of will be more pronounced. the 10-year Treasury hovered Short-term bonds generalat just above 1.6 percent. ly have shorter durations and While that wasn’t the all-time low (which was 1.379 percent RETIRE SMART are less sensitive to movements in interest rates than in July 2012), it was pretty By Jill Schlesinger longer-term bonds. The reaclose. We have all known that bond yields son is that bonds with longer maturities would have to rise, eventually. We’ve are locked in at a lower rate for a longer peknown that at some point the fear of the fi- riod of time. For those of you who own individual nancial crisis would recede, the economic recovery would become self-sustaining, bonds, the price fluctuations that occur beand the Fed would stop purchasing fore your bonds reach maturity may be unnerving, but if you hold them to matubonds. Whenever that occurred, the 30-year rity, you can expect to receive the face bull market in bonds would come to an value of the bond. If you own a bond fund, it may be scary end, pushing down prices and increasing to see the net asset value (NAV) of the yields. Many bond market moves look benign fund drop when rates increase. To soothe in the rear-view mirror, but they can feel you a bit, remember that when NAV falls, pretty dramatic in real time. The rise in 10- the bonds within the fund should continue year yields, from 1.62 percent at the begin- to make the stated interest payments. As the bonds within the fund mature or ning of May to a two-year high of 2.74 percent on Aug. 1, might not seem like a big are sold, they can be replaced with highdeal — just over a 1 percent, right? But it’s er-yielding bonds, which could create important to realize that it’s a 60 percent more income for you in the future. Additionally, if you are reinvesting interest and move in just three months! dividends back into the fund, you may Bonds are losing value benefit from purchasing shares at lower What does that kind of move mean for prices. your portfolio? It means that many of your bond positions have lost value, because as Best bond moves interest rates rise, the price of bonds To help protect your portfolio against drops. The magnitude of your hit is partial- the eventual rise in interest rates, you may ly tied to the duration of the holding. Dura- be tempted to sell all of your bonds. But of

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course that would be market timing, and you are not going to fall for that, are you? Here are some alternatives to a wholesale dismissal of the fixed income asset class: Lower your duration: This can be as easy as moving from a longer-term bond into a shorter one. Of course, when you go shorter, you will give up yield. It may be worth it for you to make a little less current income in exchange for diminished volatility in your portfolio. Use corporate bonds: Corporate bonds are less sensitive to interest-rate risk than government bonds. This does not mean that corporate bonds will avoid losses in a rising interest rate environment, but the declines are usually less than those for Treasuries. Explore floating-rate notes: Floatingrate loan funds invest in non-investmentgrade bank loans whose coupons “float” based on the prevailing interest rate market,

which allows them to reduce duration risk. Keep extra cash on hand: Cash, the ultimate fixed asset, can provide you with a unique opportunity in a rising interest rate market: the ability to purchase higher yielding securities on your own timetable. So even if this truly is the turnaround in the bond market that we’ve all been waiting for, there’s no reason to be afraid. Just pay closer attention to your bond holdings, and know how to protect yourself from rising rates! Jill Schlesinger, CFP, is the Emmy-nominated, Senior Business Analyst for CBS News. A former options trader and CIO of an investment advisory firm, Jill covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the Web and her blog, “Jill on Money.” She welcomes comments and questions at askjill@jillonmoney.com. © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Use low-yield savings to pay down debt A large part of the mail I receive is related If you are paying 18 percent on an annual to poor returns from the safest investments. basis on a credit card, you should not have Returns from Treasury bills, a significant amount of savings money-market instruments and in any investment earning less short-term savings accounts than 1 percent. If you were to are lower than 1 percent. use that investment capital inInvestors want to know stead to reduce the outstandhow to earn higher income ing balance on a card, you without risking capital. You would effectively “earn” 18 can’t obtain high income withpercent rather than 1 percent. out some risk. However, there When you make a new purare ways to get a better return chase using a credit card that alon low-earning assets. ready carries a balance, you are Many people have out- THE SAVINGS taking a new loan out at the preGAME standing liabilities with highvailing interest rate of the card. By Elliot Raphaelson er interest rates than those If you are unable to pay the outnow being earned on conserstanding balance on a credit vative investments. One obvious example card, you should use a different card for is a credit card. More than 40 percent of which you can pay the balance in full. This consumers do not pay their balance in full way you will not be paying interest on new at month’s end on at least one credit card. purchases.

Look at liabilities and assets

No-interest debt isn’t always best

I taught courses in personal financial planning at the college level for almost 20 years to students with diverse backgrounds. As the first assignment, I asked the students to prepare a personal balance sheet listing all their assets and liabilities, and to indicate the annual return on each asset and the interest rate for each liability. The students found it to be a worthwhile exercise. You also may find it useful. The exercise will identify any outstanding liabilities that you should be paying off because the interest rates are greater than the income you are earning on some of your assets. Some examples of such liabilities in addition to credit cards are: mortgages, home equity loans, student loans and loans on whole life insurance policies. Review any transactions you have entered into that will become liabilities in the future.

For example, many individuals facing large healthcare bills select a plan that allows them to repay them interest-free over one to two years. Similar offers are made for large expenditures for furniture and electronic equipment. These offers are worthwhile if the bills are paid in full by the end of the interestfree period. Unfortunately, after that time, interest rates on an unpaid balance can be as high as 29 percent (computed from the start of the loan). My advice to anybody entering into such agreements is to make every effort to allocate your income so that you can pay the balance in full by the deadline and avoid interest charges. Even when interest rates on your liabilities aren’t so staggering, it makes sense to shift investment funds to debt service. For example, assume you are paying 6 percent on your mortgage and that you have substantial investments earning less than 1 percent interest. If there is no penalty for doing so, why not pre-pay some of your mortgage? Effectively, you will be earning 6 percent instead of 1 percent. I am not recommending that you channel all available funds to debt service. You should maintain a reserve fund for emergencies. However, unless you’re one of the few Americans who is debt free, you probably have some high-interest liabilities you can pay down early. It may be your best investment. © 2013 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Fund review From page 20 For years, investors took advantage of the low interest rates promoted by the Fed’s stimulus to borrow dollars and plow them into higher-yielding investments from emerging markets, said Alec Young, global equity strategist for S&P Capital IQ. But now that expectations for stimulus are waning, so is demand for emerging-market stocks and bonds. Emerging-market funds have also been hurt by worries about slowing economic growth in China. Emerging-market stock mutual funds lost 10.2 percent in 2013 through July, while emergingmarket bond funds fell 8.5 percent. Precious-metals funds. The price of gold has tumbled through 2013, with losses accelerating in the second quarter. Gold in July hit its lowest settlement price since August 2010, and that has hurt mutual funds that hold the metal or shares of mining companies. Precious-metals funds lost an average of 49.9 percent. Investors buy gold when they’re worried about inflation, and some investors expected the Federal Reserve’s stimulus to cause a spike in prices. But inflation has remained modest, which has dulled the appeal for gold. —AP


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

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Medicare supplement insurance policies are underwritten by Omaha Insurance Company, Mutual of Omaha Plaza, Omaha, NE 68175. Neither Omaha Insurance Company nor its Medicare supplement insurance policies are connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. Policy forms: NM20, NM21, NM22, NM23, NM24, NM25 or state equivalent. In OK: NM20-24231, NM23-24232, NM24-24233. In TX: NM20-24234, NM23-24235, NM24-24236. In PA: NM20-24138, NM21-24140, NM22-24141, NM23-24142, NM24-24143, NM25-24139. In VA: NM2024239, NM23-24240, NM24-24241. Not all policy forms may be available in every state. For costs and further details of the coverage, including exclusions and limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force, see your agent or write to the company. An outline of coverage is available upon request. In some states, Medicare supplement insurance policies are available to those eligible for Medicare due to a disability, regardless of age. In MD: Medicare supplement Plans A are available to those eligible under the age of 65. In TX: If you receive Medicare benefits because of a disability, you may apply for a Medicare supplement Plan A; regardless of your age. IMPORTANT NOTICE – “A CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO HEALTH INSURANCE FOR PEOPLE ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE” MAY BE OBTAINED FROM YOUR LOCAL SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE OR FROM OMAHA INSURANCE COMPANY. OH residents: Omaha Insurance Company, its Medicare supplement insurance policies and its licensed insurance agents are not connected with, endorsed by, affiliate with or sponsored by the federal or state government, the social security administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services or the federal Medicare program. You have the right to obtain a copy of the NAIC Health & Human Services Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare. Licensed insurance agents are authorized to sell this Medicare supplement insurance policy on behalf of Omaha Insurance Company. This information may be verified by contacting the Ohio Department of Insurance at 50 W Town St, 3rd Floor, Suite 300, Columbus, OH 43215 or call 1-800-688-1526. This is a solicitation of insurance and a licensed agent may contact you by telephone to provide additional information. NC141

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Avoid offers of pension loans, advances By Elliot Raphaelson Shut out by conventional lenders, people with low incomes or bad credit have long been targeted by high-cost operators offering payday loans, car title loans and the like. In the past few years, a new and insidious player has come into this field offering pension “advances.” Also known as pension loans — although they are not usually advertised as loans — these advances are marketed to individuals who have rights to a lifetime pension but who need immediate cash. The sellers of this product offer immediate cash, in return for which the pension holder must give up his or her rights to some or all of the pension, generally for a certain number of years. Such agreements usually

result in extremely high interest payments, in some cases over 100 percent per year.

Military and federal retirees This product is being marketed to all retirees, but prime targets include ex-military personnel and federal employees. It is illegal for the holder of a federal pension to assign or sell it, but this has not stopped the sellers of this product from marketing it. It’s why they term it an “advance” and not a loan. One of the major problems for the general public is that no federal regulator has yet taken the steps to prevent the marketing of this product. Hopefully, steps will be taken in the future. However, until this happens, it is important for the public to understand this product — and avoid it like the plague.

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I contacted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to determine whether it had any immediate plans to prevent such loans. The bureau responded with a prior statement from Richard Cordray, its director: “We are concerned about military pension buyout schemes. Military retirees are offered lumpsum cash payments in return for surrendering their rights to their pension payouts. These schemes are usually very bad deals for the retirees. We want to collect information on all these kinds of financial practices.” Although Cordray’s statement singled out military pensions, the danger applies to all pensions. The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), a nonprofit advocacy group, has played an active role going after the organizations offering this onerous product. NCLC has sued these companies, arguing that the transactions associated with these products were illegal for two reasons: (1) their exorbitant interest rates and (2) the illegality of assigning a military pension. NCLC has prevailed in court against pension lenders, but, unfortunately, winning a judgment does not necessarily mean that a plaintiff will be able to collect on it. The unscrupulous companies who lost in court have chosen bankruptcy as a way to avoid paying compensation.

Just say no What does this mean for you? If you own a pension, do not enter into any agreement with an organization offering this product. If you have a short-term cash flow problem, pursue other alternatives. If you must borrow money, borrow it from a financial organization that is regulated by either state or federal authorities. State and federal regulators offer consumers protection and limits on the interest rates they can be charged on loans. What if you have already entered into an agreement and have signed over your pension rights in exchange for immediate cash? According to NCLC, most of these agreements can be successfully challenged in court. You should definitely obtain legal advice. You may be able to get low-cost (or even free) legal advice from attorneys in your area. Contact your local bar association to determine whether there are elder care attorneys or legal aid attorneys who can assist you either free or at nominal cost. You may be able to get assistance from your state attorney general. In addition, you should provide information to or file complaints with the CFPB. © 2013 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.


H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

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Leisure &

Picture-perfect Mackinac Island, Mich., doesn’t allow motor vehicles. See story on page 27.

Myrtle Beach, S.C. and the Grand Strand Quiet havens with history Some towns along the Grand Strand resemble Myrtle Beach in miniature, while others attract visitors who prefer quieter havens. Georgetown, at the southern end of the Strand, already was a major sea port for the colonies when it was officially founded in 1729. Behind today’s commercial and industrial façade is a residential area of oak tree-canopied streets and gracious homes, a number of them pre-Revolutionary. Georgetown also is home to the Rice Museum, whose exhibits relate the story of the rice culture that evolved in South Carolina and brought extreme wealth to many planters. I found particularly interesting a collection of hand-written bookkeeping ledgers from the time when rice was king. Pawley’s Island, several miles further north, became a pre-Civil War summer retreat for wealthy planters. Some of their homes are identified by markers that trace their history. The setting retains vestiges of the laid-back atmosphere that presentday residents prefer — and which they refer to as “arrogantly shabby.” In sharp contrast to Pawley’s Island is Murrell’s Inlet, which earns its reputation as the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina.” Fresh fish, crabs, oysters and clams are pulled from the surrounding waters, and fishing boats and pleasure craft keep the 1,400-foot-long boardwalk bustling. Aptly called the Marsh Walk, it overlooks

PHOTO © JAMES BOSSERT | DREAMSTIME.COM

By Victor Block When I told a friend I was going to Myrtle Beach, S.C., he asked if I was taking golf clubs because of the 100-plus courses there. After I reminded him that I don’t play golf, he inquired, “So you’re going there to relax on the beach, right?” Wrong! Most of the 15 million or so people who visit the Myrtle Beach area each year do go to golf and soak up the sun. The destination is best known for its excellent golf courses and 60-mile stretch of inviting soft sand beaches. It didn’t take long for me to discover that it also has history-rich towns, reminders of southern plantation life, and intriguing cultural tidbits, any of which alone would be reason enough to go there. Myrtle Beach sits near the middle of the “Grand Strand,” a name that was coined by a newspaper columnist to describe a dozen towns strung out along South Carolina’s Atlantic coastline. Each community has its own appealing features and unique story to tell. Myrtle Beach is at the heart of the action, with the greatest concentration of hotels, restaurants, shopping and nightlife. The activity is centered along the 1.2-mile oceanfront boardwalk, much of which is lined by shops, fast food eateries and arcades. Overlooking the scene is the SkyWheel, a giant-sized Ferris wheel that soars 187 feet into the air, with glass-enclosed gondola cars that provide a bird’s-eye view over the surroundings.

PHOTO BY VICTOR BLOCK

The plantation home at Hopsewee rice plantation in Georgetown, S.C., is one of the oldest in the nation open to visitors. The home, on the banks of the N. Santee River, has been owned by only five families since it was built in the 1730s, including a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

An aerial view of Myrtle Beach, S.C., shows a small portion of the area’s 60-milelong sandy beach visited by more than 15 million people a year.

salt water wetlands and provides glimpses of an outdoor aviary of pelicans, egrets and other migratory and resident birds. Life of another kind frequents the restaurants that line the walkway and vie for attention with colorful names like Drunken Jack’s, Dead Dog Saloon and Creek Ratz.

African-American history Perched near the northern end of the Strand, Atlantic Beach has close ties to one of the more intriguing historical stories of the region. In the early 1930s, Atlantic Beach became a vacation destination for AfricanAmerican families, and was called the “Black Pearl.” Many residents of that community, like those in other parts of the Grand Strand, are descendants of the Gullah-Geechee people who retain their unique and fascinating culture. When early plantation owners realized that the area’s climate and “lowcountry” tidal rivers are perfect for growing rice, they instigated an influx of slaves from west African countries, which were collectively known as “the rice coast,” where the crop had been grown for centuries. The Africans’ knowledge of rice cultivation was largely responsible for the success of planters in coastal regions of the southeastern states. Isolated at plantations and rural sea island communities that sprung up around them, the slaves developed a unique lan-

guage and clung to their African cultural traditions. That included their rituals, religious beliefs, arts and crafts, food and other facets of their lifestyle. Many descendants of those slaves still live near where their ancestors did, in a narrow band stretching from the coastline of North Carolina to Florida, and about 30 miles inland. For reasons unknown, people in the northern section of this area are known as Gullah, while those further south are called Geechee. In 2006, Congress passed a law establishing the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, to recognize the important contributions to our country’s history and traditions of those people. Visitors to the Grand Strand are surrounded by reminders of this fascinating story, some of which are encountered in surprising ways and places. For example, a green on the golf course at the Barefoot Resort is nestled against the recreated ruins of a plantation home, and the Willowbrook course is laid out on land that once comprised two rice plantations.

Visiting gardens and plantations Brookgreen Gardens, a designated National Historic Landmark, also has a close connection with Gullah history. It encompasses four former rice-growing estates inSee MYRTLE BEACH, page 26


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Myrtle Beach From page 25 cluding Brookgreen Plantation, which was built by slaves in the 18th century. Today, the expansive lawns serve as a showcase of gardens, nature and art, including one of the largest and most outstanding collections of American figurative sculpture in the world. The Lowcountry Trail, one of several that meander about the sprawling complex, leads past a restored rice field and the remains of several plantation buildings. Occasional programs are held to introduce visitors to various aspects of the Gullah-Geechee history and culture. While not as grand as the setting at Brookgreen Gardens, the rice plantation named Hopsewee (pronounced HOP-suhwee) has other claims to fame. Built between 1735 and 1740, the graceful home is among the oldest preservations in the country open to the public. Preservation is the correct word because the house has not been added to or restored, only maintained. The original owner, Thomas Lynch, Sr., was an early leader in the American Revolution, and his son was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In the shadow of the house stand two original cabins that served as home to slaves who worked in the rice fields. Another chapter in the history of slavery is recounted at Freewoods Farm, which was the center of a community established

by freed slaves at the end of the Civil War. The 40-acre spread is the only living history museum in the country that recreates life on farms owned by African-Americans during their first decades of freedom. Observing farm workers busy at their chores, it’s easy to imagine yourself transported back in time. The land is tilled using mules pulling plows, crops are harvested by hand, and syrup and soap are made the time-consuming way they were over a century ago. The sight of subsistence farmers toiling in fields provides a stark contrast to the stately plantation homes surrounded by lovely lawns and Spanish moss-draped oak trees. So, now you have an idea of what awaits visitors to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand: Occasional touches of honky-tonk tourist attractions co-existing with a casual, laid-back island lifestyle to which traditionalists cling with a kind of stubborn pride. Throw in a dose of fascinating, little-known history and, oh yes, those stretches of broad sandy beaches and some 100 golf courses, and you’ve got something for everyone.

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

ing at $404 from BWI. Visitors to the Grand Strand face a welcome, if challenging, choice of both places to stay and eat. Accommodations range from more than 425 hotels and elegant golf resorts to mom-and-pop motels and rustic cottages. I found the all-suite Island Vista, perched at the ocean’s edge in a quiet residential neighborhood, to combine a number of attractions. It fronts one of the more desirable stretches of beach in the area and also offers both indoor and outdoor swimming pools and Jacuzzis, a lazy river and even a waterfall. Fully equipped kitchens provide a budget-stretching alternative to restaurant meals. Rates after Aug. 24 fall to $124. For more information, log onto islandvista.com or call (855) 732-6250. At many of the 1,000-plus full-service restaurants in the area, seafood is the main attraction, augmented by Carolina coastal cuisine and southern touches like barbeque. Many hungry locals and visitors alike get their seafood fix at Mr. Fish, which “has been wheeling and dealing seafood on

the Grand Strand for over 30 years.” And with good reason! Prices are reasonable, and many entrees are large enough to share. A huge bowl of crab soup, almost a meal itself, costs $7, and local clams go for $10 a dozen. Fish platters with two side dishes are a steal at $9. Diners with room for dessert have a choice of coconut grit and pecan grit pie for $6. For more information, log onto mrfish.com or call (843) 839-3474. At Murrell’s Inlet, I headed for the restaurant from which the most noise and laugher were emanating and joined the fun and food at Drunken Jack’s. The view of wetlands, fishing boats and resident bird life, the jovial waitstaff and good food were worth the menu prices. Best sellers are platters that include shrimp, flounder, chicken or another entree, plus salad bar and one side, which begin at $17.95. For more information, log onto drunkenjacks.com or call (843) 651-2044. For more information about Myrtle Beach, log onto www.visitmyrtlebeach.com or call 1-800-356-3016.

BEACON BITS If you go Myrtle Beacon is 470 miles south of Columbia. Spirit Airlines offers flights for $133 roundtrip from BWI Airport in midSeptember. While the airline has very low prices, watch out for fees. Passengers even have to pay for carry-on bags. U.S. Airlines has non-stop flights start-

Aug. 24

SAVE MONEY AND SUPPORT A CAUSE

The nonprofit group Food on the 15th is participating in the Macy’s Shop for a Cause charity fundraiser. Buy a $5 coupon from the group, which entitles the purchaser to receive 25 percent off most regular, sale and clearance items on Saturday, Aug. 24 at any Macy’s. Food on the 15th delivers free food to seniors in need. To purchase a coupon or for more information, email Julie at foodonthe15th@gmail.com.

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

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Victorian charm (without cars) in Michigan By Anick Jesdanun Producers of the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time didn’t need to build elaborate sets to depict the tale of a playwright who travels back to 1912 to find romance. They simply filmed on Mackinac (pronounced: Mackinaw) Island, a Great Lakes enclave that retains its Victorian-era charm thanks to its ban on motor vehicles. Motor vehicles have been banned on the island since the start of the 20th century, after an automobile frightened some of the horses. These days, people still travel by horse-drawn carriage, as well as by bike and on foot. Mackinac Island, located off the Straits of Mackinac separating Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, about 300 miles north of Detroit, was an important outpost in the region’s fur trade, but that gave way to fishing and eventually tourism. Among the main attractions: the Grand Hotel, a 385-room luxury hotel that played a central role in Somewhere in Time. In fact, fans of the movie, many in period costumes, descend on the island and the hotel every fall for a weekend of reenactments and a screening. You get reminders of a bygone era before even leaving the mainland by ferry. Crews cart overnight luggage onto the ferry, the way full-service porters used to

at train stations and hotels. The Grand Hotel stands out as your ferr y approaches the island. Closer to the dock, you pass a pair of quaint lighthouses, including one featured in the movie. Once you’re on the island, you have plenty of options. Head to the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center for an orientation. About 80 percent of the island is controlled by the state park, but staff there can also point you to other things to do, too.

Stroll through history Native Americans were the first settlers on the island. Europeans missionaries came to the area in the 1670s, followed by fur traders. The British moved operations from the mainland to the island in 1780 as protection from Americans in revolt. So important was the outpost that the British didn’t cede the island until 1796, well after Americans won the Revolutionary War. The British got Mackinac Island back briefly after a surprise attack at the start of the War of 1812. Through those years, the island’s military center was Fort Mackinac, built on top of a hill a short walk from the main village.

For $11, visitors can stroll through Fort Mackinac. You can witness demonstrations of old-style guns and a cannon — be sure to heed the demonstrators’ advice to cover your ears. You can also see some of the buildings once used for distributing supplies, housing soldiers and more. During the summer months, the admission also gets you into historic buildings in the main village, including a blacksmith shop and the former site of American Fur Co.

Getting around sans car Despite the lack of motor vehicles, Mackinac Island has a state highway running some eight miles around the island. You can walk or run it — consider the Mackinac Island Eight-Mile Road Race in September. You can also rent bikes. If eight miles is too much, there are shorter hikes you can take, including ones to natural stone formations such as Arch See MACKINAC ISLAND, page 28

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From page 27 Rock and Sugar Loaf. There are more than 60 miles of trails to choose from throughout the 1,800-acre state park. In fact, Mackinac was the second national park created after Yellowstone. But with the closure of Fort Mackinac, the park didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have caretakers in the form of U.S. soldiers. The state took it over in 1895. The Grand Hotel is such a draw among tourists that non-guests must pay a $10 admission fee. That allows you to shop, dine or browse an art gallery inside and lets

you walk through the flower gardens in front of the hotel. Check out the Cupola Bar on the top floor for a wonderful view of the Straits of Mackinac. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a dress code in the evening, so plan accordingly. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s free to walk along the streets downtown, where youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find shops, churches, museums and other buildings. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll also see lots of horses and carriages in lieu of cars. If you want to ride one, several companies offer tours and â&#x20AC;&#x153;taxiâ&#x20AC;? service. Tours cost $24.50 and last nearly two hours. You can get off and get on as many times as you like, so you can use it as a bus service to

get around. Expect to pay $100 or more an hour for private horse-drawn taxi service. You can also rent horses to ride yourself.

Planning your visit For more information on Mackinac Island, see http://mackinacisland.org. State park information is available at www.mackinacparks.com. Brush up on Somewhere in Time at www.somewhereintime.tv. Interstate 75 will get you to the Straits of Mackinac in about 4 1/2 hours after leaving Detroit. Ferries leave several times a day from Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula and St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula. Tickets cost about $25, though you can save money by buying online or finding a coupon at your hotel. You can also fly there. Delta offers service to Pellston, Mich., from Detroit, while Lakeshore Express flies from both Detroit and Chicago. The cheapest Delta roundtrip flight is $386 from all three Washington area airports. From Pellston, you can take a cab or shuttle to the ferry, or take a charter flight to a smaller airport on the island. As for accommodations, you can splurge for a room at the Grand Hotel. Rates start at $264 per person, per night, including full breakfast and five-course dinner. See www.grandhotel.com. You can also find several cheaper options on the island. The mainland has far more economical lodging, not far from the

Š MICHIGANNUT | DREAMSTIME.COM

Mackinac island

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Picturesque Mackinac Island, located between Michiganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s upper and lower peninsulas, allows no motorized vehicles, but horse-drawn carriages are readily available, as are bikes and horses for rent.

ferry terminals. Whether youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re at Mackinac Island for just the day or with an overnight stay, be sure to stop by one of the many shops selling fudge â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s specialty cuisine. Just leave your diet on the mainland. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;AP

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

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Joan Rivers, 80, commutes cross-country each week to co-host the TV show “Fashion Police.” See story on page 30.

A varied theater season runs the gamut

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company The curtain on Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s season will rise on Oct. 4 with a production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula at the ruins of the former Patapsco Female Institute in the historic hillside park above Ellicott City. The play, adapted by Deane Hamilton and John L. Balderston for the Broadway production, will be directed by Scott Alan Small. It will unfold at the institute’s various spooky locales with the audience trailing along.

There will be extra performances during Halloween week. The play will fold its wings on Oct. 31. Before it moves later next year into its new Baltimore home, the company will produce Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City. Sir John Falstaff, considered the bard’s greatest comedian, is a central character in the play, which delves with lots of comedy, irony and sarcasm into such relevant modern themes as love and marriage, jealousy and revenge, social class and wealth. The wives will fool with and make a fool of Falstaff from Feb. 14 to March 9 in the center’s Black Box Theater. Ian Gallanar will direct. The company will then return to the Patapsco Institute Historic Park for a June 13 to Aug. 3 summer season. The park will morph into the forest of Arden for As You Like It, the pastoral comedy in which Jacques, described as a “philosophical idler,” proclaims, “All the world’s a stage,” et al. Directing will be Patrick Kilpatrick. The park will also be the setting for the witch trials of 1692 and 1693 in Salem, Mass. in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, written in 1953 as a parable of the communist witch hunts then being conducted by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Ty Hallmark will direct the modern American classic. As You Like It and The Crucible will run in repertory.

PHOTO BY TERESA CASTRACANE PHOTOGRAPHY

By Robert Friedman Vampires, transvestites, alleged witches, Shakespeare’s comic creation Sir John Falstaff and French revolutionaries will appear on the stages of Howard County this theater season. The revolutionaries already are rising up nightly, as intrepid police inspector Javert tries to track down loaf-of-bread thief Jean Valjean in Toby’s Dinner Theater’s presentation of Les Miserables. The Les Mis performers will be manning (and womaning) the barricades at the Columbia theater through Nov. 10. Miracle on 34th Street, which involves Macy’s department store Santa Claus and those who do and don’t believe in the white bushy bearded fellow, will be staged at Toby’s for the holidays, from Nov. 15 to Jan. 6. Comedic chaos will follow with Monty Python’s Spamalot, from Jan. 10, 2014 to sometime in March.

Michael P. Sullivan takes the title role in Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of Dracula, running from Oct. 4 to 31. It is a “moveable theatre” event, with the audience accompanying the actors as they perform various scenes among the ruins of the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park.

Rep Stage Rep Stage, Howard County’s other major theater company, will kick off its 21st season on Sept. 11 with A Young Lady of Property, a long one-act play that ex-

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Joan Rivers: staying fashionable at 80 “This gown is so feminine, so silver — it’s the Anderson Cooper of dresses!” Hear her skewer a baggy, dizzyingly hued Alexander McQueen jumpsuit worn by actress Marion Cotillard at a Crash Magazine party: “The pattern looks like Precious sat on somebody’s butterfly collection.” Sure, it’s “Police” brutality, but Rivers and her “Joan Rangers” are never less than arresting.

Resisted TV show at first At first, Rivers resisted the urge to do the show. “I remember, I was in Vegas on a treadmill — cause you STILL try! — saying to my agent and (daughter) Melissa, ‘cause Melissa’s exec-producing, ‘You’re crazy! I’m not gonna do this! I’m not gonna commute!’” from New York to Los Angeles. Her mind was changed. “We do the jokes, and we tell the truth, too,” Rivers sums up proudly. “E! told me, `Whatever you want to say, you say.’ We’re having so much fun! And our lawyers are so dear.” During an interview in her New York home, she presides from an ottoman in the den of her vast Upper East Side Manhattan digs, a spread whose unabashed spectacle she dubs “Louis XIV meets Fred and Ginger.” (Astaire and Rogers, of course.)

1998-2013

It’s 9 a.m. and Rivers, having apologized for being “only half-dressed,” has presented herself in stocking feet and a chic, floor-length black-velvet caftan (part of her Joan Rivers Collection, she notes; she also markets her own jewelry collection). She said her interest in fashion reaches back to her girlhood, when, still in school in New York, she had a job as a fashion coordinator at a department store chain, then another job where she assisted with the creation of Lord & Taylor’s legendary Fifth Av- Joan Rivers (left), who turned 80 this summer, co-hosts enue window displays the E! network show “Fashion Police.” Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, is executive producer. Rivers commutes every Thursday night. “If I hadn’t gotten into between New York and Los Angeles to work on the show. show business,” said ture and the dress is free, do you REALLY Rivers, “I would have gone into fashion.” Not that any celeb should get her knick- care if Joan Rivers says you shouldn’t wear ers in a twist over fashion feedback from a peplum?” she chuckled. “I don’t think any loose-lipped comedian — or so said Julia Roberts sits up at night thinking, ‘She Rivers, anyway. See JOAN RIVERS, page 31 “When you’re making $20 million a picPHOTO BY DAN HALLMAN/INVISION/AP

By Frazier Moore “I’m having a great time,” Joan Rivers crowed before offering a brisk self-appraisal: “Everything is working, my mind is fine. “The only time I play the age card is on planes when I’m trying to put a bag above the seat: ‘I am 80 years old! Would someone PLEASE help me?!’” She turned 80 in June, a milestone that prompted the E! network to stage a Joan Rivers “takeover” that month. Its regular one-hour edition of “Fashion Police” (airing Fridays at 10 p.m.) was a black-tie birthday salute, preceded nightly by special half-hour guest appearances by celebrities and even victims of past fashion slams. Rivers, who tapes the show in Los Angeles, marvels at the success of “Fashion Police,” which, since premiering three years ago, has only tightened its grip in the culture as a wicked hybrid of style and snark. Rivers is well-served by her co-hosts Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos, all of whom can deliver shrewd analysis as well as piercing gibes at red-carpet infractions. But “Fashion Police” is perfectly tailored to the comedic skills of Rivers as demonstrated by her 46-years-and-counting in show biz. Hear her hail Uma Thurman, sheathed in Versace at the Cannes Film Festival:

Friday, October 18, 2013 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Wilde Lake High School 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia, MD

Celebrating 15 years of Healthy Aging! Over 150 Exhibitors • Healthy Aging Seminars • Life-Enriching Workshops Health Fair • Flu & Pneumonia Vaccines • Ideas & Demonstrations for Living Green PLUS All Day Entertainment & Food in the 50+ Cafe!

50+EXPO Parking is at the Mall in Columbia by Sears with FREE Shuttle Service to the EXPO Front Door! PLATINUM LEVEL SPONSORS:

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Arts & Style

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

Joan Rivers From page 30 said WHAT?!’”

From actress to comedienne To say what she has to say about couture catastrophes, Rivers is happy to hop a plane for the year-round weekly tapings of “Fashion Police.” It’s just one piece of her on-the-go schedule that has seen no letup for decades and has its roots in her show-biz obsession as a child growing up in Brooklyn: She wanted to be an actress. Only by chance did her definitive role become playing a comedian. Comedy was a way to pay the bills while she auditioned for dramatic parts. “Somebody said, ‘You can make six dollars standing up in a club,”‘ she explained,

Theater From page 29 and movie dramas as The Trip to Bountiful and Tender Mercies, and won an Academy Award for his screen adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. The 1976 drama will run through Sept. 29 at the Studio Theater in Columbia. Michael Stebbins will direct. The company’s second offering of its new season will be I Am My Own Wife, the 2004 Tony Award-winning play that also

“and I said, ‘Here I go!’ It was better than typing all day.” In the early 1960s, comedy was a maledominated game where the only women comics she could look to were Totie Fields and Phyllis Diller. But after several years of struggle, she landed a spot on “The Tonight Show” where host Johnny Carson gave her his blessing, saying she was destined to be a star. A half-century later, Rivers’ drive is undiminished. She never settles down. The previous weekend she played three nights at Las Vegas’ Venetian Resort. She had then planned to go on to California. But she raced back East on a sad mission after getting a call. Barbara Waxler, her ailing older sister in Ardmore, Pa., had taken a turn for the worse. Flying into Philadelphia, Rivers reached her in her final hours. garnered a Pulitzer Prize for its author, Doug Wright. The one-man play examines the true-life story of German antiquarian Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, born Lothar Berfelde, who killed his tyrannical father when he was a teenager and survived the Nazi and Communist regimes in East Berlin as a transgender person. Tony Tsendeas will direct the drama, which will run Oct. 30 through Nov. 17 at the Studio Theater. The Piano Teacher, playwright Julia

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Except maybe the jokes she creates, tests and continuously fine-tunes. The jokes never stop. They can’t. “The trouble with me is, I make jokes too often,” she said. “I’m making jokes at

my sister’s shivah. I was making jokes yesterday at the funeral home. That’s how I get through life. Life is SO difficult — everybody’s been through something! But you laugh at it, it becomes smaller.” Even the terror of aging — Rivers has always mocked it, not only with her self-directed jokes but also with her never-secret rounds of plastic surgery. “But I have never wanted to be a day less than I am,” she insisted. “People say, ‘I wish I were 30 again.’ Nahhh! I’m very happy HERE. It’s great. It gets better and better. And then, of course, we die,” she quipped, chuckling and looking unconcerned. How long does she plan to keep working? “Forever,” said Rivers. This time, she’s not joking. Read more about Rivers at www.joan.co. — AP

Cho’s suspenseful tale of how reminiscences can hide awful truths, runs from Feb. 5 to 23 at Howard County Community College’s Smith Theater in Columbia. The 2007 drama, described as an intense mystery, will be directed by Kasi Campbell, who won a Helen Hayes Award for best director in 2004. Rep Stage will round out its season with a production of The Fantasticks, billed as the world’s longest running musical, having run 42 years off-Broadway in New York with 17,162 performances.

The 1960 parable about love catapulted Tom Jones, who wrote the book and lyrics, and Harvey Schmidt, who composed the music, into the Broadway Hall of Fame. The play has been produced throughout the U.S. and in at least 67 other countries. The Studio Theater production will be directed by Nancy Tarr Hart. The musical direction will be under the baton of Ross Scott Rawlings, while Helen Hayes Awardwinner Ilona Kessell will choreograph the deceptively simple play about a boy, a girl, two fathers and a wall.

“Aunt Joan is the head of the family now,” said Rivers. “Look out! We’re having pink flowers at the funeral!” Rivers is no stranger to loss, including the suicide of her husband-producer-manager, Edgar Rosenberg, in 1987. Nor has her career, despite its towering heights, been immune to cruel setbacks, including her latenight talk show that launched the Fox network in 1986 but lasted less than a year. “You never relax and say, ‘Well, here I am!’” declared Rivers. “You always think, ‘Is this gonna be OK?’ I have never, in 46 years, taken anything for granted.”

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Nunsense a none-too-sophisticated show By Dan Collins If you like puns, particularly those that come at the expense of the Catholic Church and the Sisters religious, Nunsense, now playing at Toby’s of Baltimore, is the musical for you. Nunsense has its roots in a 1980s line of greeting cards that featured nuns making sharp, sarcastic comments. The cards became so popular that creator Dan Goggin decided to carry the idea into a cabaret, and later, a full-blown off-Broadway musical that ran for nearly 3,700 performances. You certainly don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate the humor of Nunsense, but if you are, you’re sure to find something that will especially resonate. As the Reverend Mother Sister Mary Regina, for example, Kristen Jepperson gets her Sisters’ attention by snapping a metal clicker. “Brings back memories, doesn’t it?” she asks.

Sure does, as many audience members would know. (At Catholic schools, sisters would use such clickers as a warning signal: one click might mean “put your books away”; two clicks, “a test is about to begin,” etc.)

A Maryland-centric rendering The plot of Nunsense is all stuff and nonsense, some of it rather macabre. The premise of the play involves the death of 51 nuns of the Little Sisters of Dundalk after the convent cook, the never-seen Sister Julia (“Child of God,” cast crosses selves), accidentally poisons most of the order with tainted fish soup. Thanks to monies the Sisters had raised through a line of greeting cards (wink, wink), they had sufficient funds to bury all the Sisters…except four, since the Mother Superior decided to splurge on a Blue-Ray player. (This item was updated for modern audiences. In the original version, it was a VCR.)

Now they’ve got four dead Sisters in Sr. Julia’s freezer, and the Maryland health inspector is breathing down their necks; where will they find the funds to send their compatriots to their final reward? Why, by puttin’ on a show! The stage is set…not for Nunsense, but for the Mt. St. Helen’s School student production of Grease (or Lubricant as Sister Regina says). Putting the Little Sisters in a high school allows for a comic moment when high-toptennis-shoe-wearing Sister Robert Anne (Marcia Franklin) presents Mother Superior with a “bag she found in a student’s locker.” Soon the good Sister discovers the high of “Rush” (“Hmm, must be for someone in a hurry!”) and is “huffing” away. In her “altered” (or should that be, “altared,” state), she begins spouting every “nun-oriented” pun imaginable, including a nod to ‘80s movies like Flash-

dance (Flashnun anyone?). It’s an example everyone in the cast follows, with bad jokes like, “How do you make holy water? You boil the hell out of it,” an obligatory penguin allusion, and a salute to “nuns in film” with clips from Star Wars, Psycho, and even the Bo Derek film, 10, with the nuns making cameos in rather…interesting ways. Between all the mayhem, there’s music and song. You know you’re in for a “pun” evening as the first act kicks off with the cast performance of “Nunsense is Habit Forming.” (Sisters wear a habit, get it?)

High-energy performances Kudos in particular to Franklin, who demonstrates skills a la a balloon animals artist, only using her wimple. When she finally gets her moment to shine (“I Just See NUNSENSE, page 33

BEACON BITS

You’re on top of your medications.

Sept. 2

JOIN THE FABULOUS 50+ PLAYERS

The Fabulous 50+ Players will hold its first rehearsal for shows to be performed at county senior centers this fall on Monday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.

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

at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Rd., Ellicott City. For more information, call Dan Vellucci at (410) 313-2787 or email grantsandprojects@hocoarts.org.

FROM PAGE 34 ANSWERS TO SCRABBLE

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ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Arts & Style

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

Nunsense From page 32 Want to Be a Star”), she proves to have quite a nice voice. For pure power, though, you can’t beat Elizabeth Rayca as Sister Mary Amnesia (who lost her memory due to a crucifix dropped on her head) whom, I expect, if she gave full volume at her highest range would have shattered every glass in the house. Performing with a nun puppet called Sister Mary Annette (marionette, get it?), Sister Amnesia finally regains her memory with, “I Could’ve Gone to Nashville,” recall-

she isn’t making bad puns. That soup that killed her fellow Sisters? “It was kinda like the Last Supper! That’s a little convent humor.” Nunsense at Toby’s is a two-act production that runs, with intermission, about two hours, and features 19 songs and a variety of dance moves, including the expected nuns-kicking-like-Rockettes chorus line. Director Mark Minnick does an excellent job with choreography as these nuns spin, jump, slide and sail across the stage, all while wearing sensible black leather shoes (except for the be-sneakered Sister Robert Anne, but she’s from the tough streets of Brooklyn).

ing her aspirations to be, of all things, a country Western star. Sister Amnesia was not alone; seems that most of her fellow nuns had yearned to be something else before they took their vows: Mother Superior puts on the show-stopping number, “Turn Up the Spotlight,” complete with giant red feather fans, recalling her circus days with her high-wire-act parents; Sister Mary Leo (Maria Rizzo) had visions of being a ballerina (“Soup’s On, The Dying Nun Ballet”), and Sister Hubert (Melissa Fortson) wouldn’t mind a new name from the Bishop and the title of Mother Superior, when PHOTO BY KIRSTINE CHRISTIANSEN

In Toby’s Dinner Theatre’s production of the pun-filled Nunsense, Sister Amnesia, played by Elizabeth Rayca Haas, shares a moment with puppet Sister Mary Annette (think “marionette”), whose name is one of the show’s many plays on words.

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Lighting and sound were adequate, though there were a few times when the cast’s volume seemed to be too much for their headset microphones to bear. The result was that less-than-delightful electronic squeal that makes it feel like a nun just boxed your ears for chewing gum. Fortunately, this occurred only a couple times in the first act and was quickly rectified. Nunsense runs through Aug. 25 at Toby’s of Baltimore, 5625 O’Donnell Street. Tickets range from $51.50 to $53.50, including dinner. For reservations and more information, visit www.tobysdinnertheatre.com or call (410) 649-1660.

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BEACON BITS

Oct. 1

DEADLINE FOR EXHIBIT PROPOSALS The Howard County Arts Council is seeking works in varied disci-

plines for exhibits in the 2014-15 gallery season, with a deadline of Tuesday, Oct. 1

Coalition of Geriatric Services

for receiving proposals. Both artists and curators are encouraged to apply. For more

We’re a coalition of nonprofits, agencies, businesses and professionals who come together to advocate for and help older adults.

information, visit www.hocoarts.org or call (410) 313-2787.

September Meeting

Older adults throughout the region are reading the Beacon every month

Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 Time: 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Location: Heartlands Senior Living Village 3004 North Ridge Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043

Speaker: Dr. William Mansbach, PHD Topic: Alzheimer’s

Learn more by calling (410) 997-0610 or visit www.cogsmd.org. Thank you to our 2013 Executive Members PLATINUM MEMBERS Howard County General Hospital – Johns Hopkins Medicine • The Beacon Newspapers

Shouldn’t your ad be here?

GOLD MEMBERS Being There Senior Care • Gary L. Kaufman Funeral Home at Meadowridge Memorial Park Howard County Office on Aging • Visiting Angels

SILVER MEMBERS American Remodeling Group • Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr, LLP • Deborah L. Herman, CPA Ellicott City Health & Rehabilitation Center (Communicare) • Ellicott City Pharmacy • EMA-Copper Ridge

BRONZE MEMBERS

For advertising rates, call Alan at (301) 949-9766 or email alan@thebeaconnewspapers.com

Earl Wilkinson, M.D., ENT • Gentiva Health Services • Home Instead Senior Care HomeWatch Caregivers • Lighthouse Senior Living at Ellicott City • Professional Healthcare Resources, Inc. Sterling-Ashton-Schwab-Witzke Funeral Home of Catonsville, Inc. • The Bob Lucido Team Trevor Barringer JD/MBA • Whaley Financial Services • Witzke Funeral Homes Inc. of Columbia Wood Builders Collaborative

PATRON MEMBERS Alzheimer’s Association – Greater MD Chapter • Brighton Gardens of Columbia Brooke Grove Retirement Village • Chesapeake Bay Aquatic & Physical Therapy • Craig Witzke Funeral Care Elizabeth Cooney Care Network • Home With You • Ivy Manor Normandy, Inc. Morningside House of Ellicott City •Progressive Care at Home Right At Home – In Home Care & Assistance


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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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Puzzle Page

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

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1. Use a Clue weapon 5. Part of the NBA 9. Horror flick released two years after Jaws 13. Follower of show or kiss 14. Maliciousness 15. Like some TV housewives 16. Woodstock costar with Jimi and Janis 17. Mole sauce source 18. Plant holder holder 19. Start of a sign at the swamp’s edge 22. ___ chance 23. Writer Chekhov 24. Turn-___ (centerfold info) 25. The beginning of recorded HISTORY 26. Shortest Papal name 28. A drink with jam and bread 31. Ingredient in Fettuccine Carbonara 34. Standard for thinness 36. Mums’ time to shine 37. More of the swamp sign 40. End of the swamp sign 41. Praiseful poems 42. Chill out in the hot sun 43. Drones and drakes 44. Enthusiasm 45. Create a group of nuts 46. Biol. or chem. 48. Spells HORSE first 51. She sent the Three Little Pigs out into the world 54. Prepare to leave the swamp 58. Stone of some scorpios 59. Tempo-setter for a marching band 60. Common add-on for 1-800-FLOWERS 61. Caesar’s complaint 62. Pumpkin enthusiast 63. State flower of Tennessee 64. “What ___ he want from me?” 65. See 39 Down 66. “___ we forget...”

1. Moses’ group of assistants 2. ___ firma 3. Distribute 4. 21st century diary 5. Like long distance lovers 6. Pervert 7. Rust-resistant 8. It puts the “no” in “no vacancy” 9. First name of the Third Man 10. Address a software problem 11. Match a bet 12. Team up with 14. Copies, digitally 20. Redden the town 21. Comment from a baby, maybe 25. Engine cover 27. One of eight Eng. kings 29. Napoleon’s home for 300 days 30. “Jeopardy!” host Trebek 31. After Bed, but before Beyond 32. Solarcaine ingredient 33. Yearbook signer 34. Mars 35. Homophone of “heir” 36. Show one’s muscles 38. Garden tool 39. Mutton stuff, with 65 Across 44. Brothers, on CBS’s Simon & Simon 45. About 39 inches 47. Slightly better than average 49. Address the congress 50. Scatter 51. House of Horrors goal 52. Sanctuary 53. Seize control from 54. The Yankee Clipper (with name slightly clipped) 55. ___ no good 56. Medicinal qtys. 57. Worse than bad

Answers on page 32.

Answer: The cowboys said the gunslinger was an artist because he knew -- HOW TO "DRAW" Jumbles: LOWLY SHOWY JABBER UNLOAD


H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3

CLASSIFIEDS The Beacon prints classified advertising under the following headings: Business & Employment Opportunities; Caregivers; Computer Services; Entertainment; For Sale; For Sale/Rent: Real Estate; Free; Health; Home/ Handyman Services; Miscellaneous; Personals; Personal Services; Vacation Opportunities; and Wanted. For submission guidelines and deadlines, see the box on the right. CAVEAT EMPTOR! The Beacon does not knowingly accept obscene, offensive, harmful, or fraudulent advertising. However, we do not investigate any advertisers or their products and cannot accept responsibility for the integrity of either. Respondents to classified advertising should always use caution and their best judgment. EMPLOYMENT & REAL ESTATE ADS: We will not knowingly or intentionally accept advertising in violation of federal, state, and local laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status or handicap in connection with employment or the sale or rental of real estate.

For Sale PRIDE JAZZY SELECT 6 Ultra Power Wheelchair with charger unit. Power elevating pan seat with synergy cushion. Like new – never used. $1,000 or best offer. 410-4655647. 2 SALVADOR DALI woodblock prints from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Signed and framed. Asking $900 for the pair. Can email pictures if desired. Call Steve 410-913-1653.

Home & Handyman Services BASEMENT OR FOUNDATION PROBLEMS? LEVELIFT SYSTEMS, INC. offers honest, professional, no-pressure inspection, consultation & repair quotes for owner-occupied homes with settling, cracking & buckling basement walls. Our 23-year-old Jessup, Maryland-based firm has a spotless record with Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau and Maryland State Home Improvement Commission. Ask for Paul. Office: 301-3693400. Cell: 410-365-7346. Paulm@levelift.com. MHIC #45110. REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE – reasonable rates. Experienced longtime local resident. Carpentry projects, deck repair, closets, shelving, painting, etc. No job too small. MHIC # 23585. Call, 410-707-8874. HANDYMAN MATTERS will help you stay safe in your own home. Professional, Reliable Skilled Craftsmen. Grab Bar Installation, Bathroom Modifications and your to-do list! 410-549-9696. MHIC # 89094. SANFORD & SON HAULING Trash removal, house & estate clean-outs, garage clean-outs, yard work & cleanups, demolition, shed removal. 410-746-5090. Free Estimates. Insured. Call 7 days a week 7am - 7pm.

Letters to editor From page 2 had appeared on the Washington Post oped page. The author, a man with legal training and senior legal and political responsibilities, made very similar arguments to those which you stated so clearly and elegantly. I have parallel and related discussions with my small set of friends. There are several important points: (1) We have abandoned privacy in fact, if not in theory, with the rise and sophistication of technology. (2) We are facing a struggle that is asym-

More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

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Personal Services ESTATE SPECIALIST Experts in estate clean-outs and preparing your house for sale. Trash removal, house cleanouts, light moving, demolition, yard work, cleaning. 410-746-5090. Free estimates. Insured. Call 7 days 7am 7pm. FUNERALS & CREMATION – Parkview Funeral Home & Cremation Service by Brent Francis, P.A. Family Owned & Operated “Celebrating Life.” Traditional burial, cremation, memorial services, pre-planning, affordable options for all budgets. 7527 Harford Rd. (2 blocks south of Taylor Ave.), 410-444-4683. www.parkviewfh.com.

Wanted VINYL RECORDS WANTED from 1950 through 1985. Jazz, Rock-n-Roll, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae and Disco. 33 1/3 LPs, 45s or 78s, Larger collections of at least 100 items wanted. Please call John, 301-5966201. CASH BUYER for old costume jewelry, pocket and wristwatches (any condition). Also buying watch maker tools and parts, train sets and accessories, old toys, old glassware & coins. 410-655-0412. BUYING OLD BASEBALL CARD COLLECTIONS Baseball Card Outlet at 7502 Eastern Ave near Eastpoint Mall is always in the market for buying vintage sports card collections & memorabilia from 1975 & older. 410-284-4440 Open daily at 10AM. WE BUY OLD AND NEW COINS, Jewelry, Silver and Gold, Paper Money too. Watches, Clocks and Parts, Military Badges and Patches Old and New. Call Greg, 717-658-7954. 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. OLD AND NEW WE BUY Sterling Silver Flatware, Tea Sets or Single Pieces., Furniture, Tools, Cameras, Good Glassware, Artwork Too. Toys From Trains to Hotwheels, Action Figures to Star Wars. Call Greg, 717-6587954. MILITARY ITEMS Collector seeks: helmets, weapons, knives, swords, bayonets, webgear, uniforms, inert ordnance, ETC. From 1875 to 1960, US, German, Britain, Japan, France, Russian. Please call Fred 301-9100783, Thank you. Also Lionel Trains.

Thanks for reading!

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

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

The Beacon, Howard County Classified Dept. P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915-2227 BEACON BITS AGING IN PLACE FORUM

Sept. 12

The Howard County Citizens Association (HCCA), in conjunction with the Coordinating Center and the League of Women Voters of Howard County, will sponsor a free “Question and Answer Fall Forum on Aging Successfully in the Community” on Thursday, Sept. 12 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Miller Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. The forum provides an opportunity to address some of the questions residents may have regarding putting together a successful plan for aging in place in Howard County. A full agenda with additional details and participants is posted on the HCCA website at http://howardcountyhcca.org/aging-in-place.

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September 2013 Howard County Beacon Edition