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VOL.9, NO.1




More than 100,000 readers throughout Greater Baltimore

Crafting a new career in politics

The business side of crafts In 1981, when she started the Rosen Group, she also established the Buyers Market of American Craft, which remains one of the top trade shows in America, connecting artists with galleries, craft shops and retailers. Through the years she has also authored a book, Crafting as a Business, addressing business start-up topics for artists; produced a documentary, “Crafting an American Style,” tracing the evolution of crafts from their functional origins to their contemporary status as works of art; and created two magazines that she still


I N S I D E …


By Carol Sorgen Wendy Rosen is “completely surprised” at how her life has evolved over the past three decades. In her 57 years, the former graphic designer-turned advertising executive-turned successful business owner has, along the way, also become a publisher, the founder of a trade association — and now a candidate for a U.S. Congressional seat from Maryland’s First District. It was at the age of 25, after selling advertising for the (now defunct) News American, as well as Baltimore magazine and the Towson Times, that Rosen first realized she loved helping small businesses solve their problems. The idea for her own business came about when she was attending an art fair and suggested to several of the exhibitors that they could promote their work at the show by having a hospitality suite. “They didn’t even know what [a hospitality suite] was!” said Rosen during an interview in her office at the Mill Centre. (Rosen helped develop this former Civil War mill in the Jones Falls Valley into a complex of offices and artists’ studios.) From that conversation close to 30 years ago, the Rosen Group was born. Through workshops, visits to art schools and skillbuilding programs, the service offers business planning tools to help artists sell their works to art dealers, museum stores and upscale retailers nationwide, “not just in their own neighborhood.” Today, the company serves about 2,000 artists and micro-manufacturers (startups who produce handmade items) throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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Visiting Confucius’ home town in China; plus, how to become an airport VIP on the cheap page 22

ARTS & STYLE Wendy Rosen has devoted her multi-faceted career to helping American artists sell their works, to improving the market for U.S.-made crafts, and to advocating that legislators and consumers buy American. Her growing concern about global trade has now led her to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

publishes — AmericanStyle and NICHE. Even as Rosen was encouraging artists to take steps to grow their own businesses, she came to realize that she also wanted to advocate on their behalf to create new market opportunities for American-made products. At the same time, she felt it important to inform legislators and consumers about the importance of buying American. That became the impetus behind founding the American Made Alliance, a nonprofit trade association supporting the start-up and growth of micro-enterprise in the professional craft sector. Some of the association’s accomplishments in 2011 include: meeting with the staffs of legislators involved in the Made in

the USA movement, sponsoring an Arts Advocacy Day, partnering with the American Sustainable Business Council to brief the White House on sustainable business and domestic policy issues, and reviewing and reporting on the retail practices of gift stores that don’t “sell American,” including shops at the Grand Canyon and the Smithsonian.

On her soapbox But despite her efforts, it was Rosen’s growing disillusionment with the lack of jobs, the reliance on foreign goods and manufacturers, and what she calls the “obstructionist” Congress that has led this former See POLITICAL CAREER, page 21

The Lion King roars back into Baltimore; plus, where to find lifelong learning classes, and Linda Lavin talks about her busy career and new CD page 26

LAW & MONEY k Five retiree money mistakes k Fast food stocks on upswing


FITNESS & HEALTH 10 k “Super broccoli” to the rescue k An app for better vision VOLUNTEERS & CAREERS k Cooking up a career





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Of rats and men Scientists have long experimented on late chips) with them. mice and rats to test new drugs and treatIn the experiments, free rats were ments for human illnesses. placed in an area with anothI’ve always imagined that er rat they were familiar with, there must be many similaribut the latter was trapped in a ties between our species — at smaller plastic cage. The free least on a cellular level or in rats learned how to release organ systems — for that to their fellow imprisoned rats, make sense. But I haven’t and repeatedly did so. been much bothered by the Furthermore, when anothfact that these physical similarer cage containing chocolate ities exist because I subscribe chips was placed in the same to the notion that we humans FROM THE area, the rats often freed their PUBLISHER are part beast/part divine. fellows first, then opened the So, if experimentation on By Stuart P. Rosenthal treat cage and proceeded to rats could help us develop share the chocolate with the cures for human diseases, I could accept former captive. the notion of some kinship with rats. My first reaction to scientists ascribing But I’m still coming to terms with the what I have long considered uniquely conclusions of the latest experiments, pub- human traits or moral behavior to rats is to lished last month in the journal Science, get a little touchy. After all, I know plenty which you may have read about. of people who probably think twice before Researchers at the University of Chica- offering to share their chocolate chips! go believe they’ve proven that rats (partic- (No, honey, I don’t mean you.) ularly female ones) feel empathy for the But then I read a quote from Jeffrey S. suffering of other rats. Furthermore, they Mogil, a McGill University neuroscientist appear to have shown that rats behave al- whose experiments apparently demontruistically in coming to the aid of their fel- strated that rats feel each other’s pain. (He low creatures, even sharing treats (choco- calls it “emotional contagion.”)

Beacon The






When asked by the Washington Post whether a rat frees a trapped comrade to relieve its own stress or the stress of the other animal, Mogil replied, “It’s more likely to be the former. But even if it is the former, I’m not sure that’s so different from humans.” Well, I took even more umbrage at that – until I thought about it and discussed it with my wife. Isn’t the point of a moral education to make people feel uncomfortable about doing immoral things, or about not doing the right thing when they could but don’t want to? We want our children to have an internal compass that makes them emotionally inclined to act as they should and to feel bad when they don’t. So is it less moral to take an action to help another because NOT taking the action causes us stress? In the case of the rats, Peggy Mason, one of the researchers, was quoted as saying she believed the rats were acting in a “sub-cortical” fashion. That is, rats show empathy in more of a reflexive manner than a thoughtful or moral one. The underlying idea is that empathic behavior supports the survival of the species and thus gets passed down through evolu-

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

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

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The Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to inform, serve, and entertain the citizens of the Greater Baltimore area, and is privately owned. Other editions serve Howard County and Greater Washington. Subscriptions are available via third-class mail ($12), prepaid with order. MD residents add 6 percent for sales tax. Send subscription order to the office listed below. Publication of advertising contained herein does not necessarily constitute endorsement. Signed columns represent the opinions of the writers, and not necessarily the opinion of the publisher.

Dear Editor: A few years ago I wrote an article that appeared in the Beacon about the prostate cancer surgery I had in 1998 at the age of 49. I would like your readers to know again the importance of keeping a check on the prostate area after surgery. Because of increased PSA readings, I discovered about a year ago that prostate cancer had returned. My urologist is keeping a watchful eye on my readings and is suggesting hormone therapy to slow the growth of the cancer. He is very hopeful about my condition improving as well.

• Publisher/Editor ....................Stuart P. Rosenthal • Associate Publisher..............Judith K. Rosenthal

Thank God for His guidance and the urologist Dr. Gutow at Good Samaritan Hospital, a very fine doctor who really cares about each and every patient. He listens patiently to any concerns or issues I may have at each appointment. Men, please keep a check on your prostate by having PSA tests done as often as your doctor thinks is necessary. I would suggest that all men beyond age 40 maintain good prostate health screenings. It’s worth the time and effort. Take it from me. Dr. Timothy M. Modlin Parkville

• Vice President, Operations........Gordon Hasenei


• Director of Sales ................................Alan Spiegel • Assistant Operations Manager ..........Roger King

2010 Outstanding Publication Award

• Managing Editor............................Barbara Ruben

June. 24

SENIOR LEGISLATIVE FORUM The 35th Annual United Seniors of Maryland Senior Legislative

• Contributing Editor ..........................Carol Sorgen • Graphic Designer ..............................Kyle Gregory • Advertising Representatives ............Ron Manno, ........................................................................Steve Levin

The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915 (410) 248-9101 • Email: Submissions:

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Rally will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 24 in Annapolis. Government officials will address senior issues, followed by visits with Baltimore county delegates and senators. Registration is $15, which includes continental breakfast and box lunch. For tickets or more information, call (301) 565-2005. BCASCO, the Baltimore County Association of Senior Citizens Organizations, will be providing transportation from several county locations for $30 (which includes the registration fee). For more information, contact Beth Wiseman at (410) 484-6866.


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The questions below are designed to help us better understand how the economic downtown has affected our readers. Please take a moment to answer all questions and return this page to the Beacon. All completed surveys will be entered into a random drawing to win $100 cash.

Note: We do not sell reader information to third parties. Your answers are kept in strict confidence and you will not be contacted. Thank you!

Please take a few moments to complete and return this survey, in which we ask how the economic turmoil of recent months has affected you.

❒ I have withdrawn extra funds from my

While some of these question are sensitive, we assure you that your answer will be kept strictly confidential and not associated with your name.

3. MEDICAL CARE (Check all that apply, if any)

Also, we never sell reader information to third parties. We ask for your name and address so we can notify you if you win.

would have visited ❒ I have not purchased medicine I otherwise would have purchased ❒ I have not hired home healthcare or personal assistance I otherwise would have hired ❒ I have not purchased or retained Medigap insurance I otherwise would have bought ❒ I have let (or am considering letting) my term life insurance expire ❒ I have let (or am considering letting) my long-term care insurance expire

Thank you for your participation!

Please indicate which of the following actions you have taken in the PAST six months in response to economic conditions: 1. HOUSING (Check all that apply, if any)

❒ I have put my house on the market or sold it ❒ I have taken my house off the market ❒ I have started looking for a new house or apartment ❒ I have stopped looking for a new house or apartment ❒ I have remodeled/renovated my present home or have decided to do so ❒ I have postponed plans to remodel/renovate my present home ❒ I have moved (or decided to move) to a retirement community ❒ I have decided not to move to a retirement community at this time ❒ I am considering moving (or have moved) in with extended family ❒ I am considering moving (or have applied) to subsidized housing

2. INVESTMENTS (Check all that apply, if any)

❒ I have purchased stocks whose price has fallen ❒ I have sold stocks whose price has fallen ❒ I have transferred funds from my bank to another institution ❒ I have purchased new CDs ❒ I have cashed out or not renewed CDs ❒ I have purchased bonds ❒ I have sold bonds ❒ I have contributed extra funds to my retirement accounts (IRAs, etc.)

retirement accounts

❒ I have not gone to doctors I otherwise

Please indicate which of the following purchases you expect to make in the COMING six months: 4. HOME RELATED (Check all that apply, if any)

❒ furniture ❒ major appliance ❒ carpet or flooring ❒ window treatments ❒ home renovations ❒ home cleaning service ❒ lawn care or landscaping ❒ yard fence ❒ asphalt or concrete driveway 5. ENTERTAINMENT RELATED (Check all that apply, if any)

❒ theatre or concert tickets ❒ sporting event tickets ❒ day trip ❒ multi-day vacation ❒ cruise ❒ fancy restaurant meal ❒ flat-screen television ❒ satellite dish ❒ expanded cable service ❒ stereo ❒ iPod or MP3 player ❒ smartphone ❒ hi-speed Internet service 6. OTHER (Check all that apply, if any)

❒ new car ❒ used car ❒ toys for grandchildren ❒ computer ❒ cell phone ❒ PDA (Blackberry, Treo, etc.) ❒ health club membership ❒ home gym equipment/treadmill

Please help us by answering the following personal questions. Your answers will be kept confidential and will NOT be associated with your name. We do not sell any information about our readers. a. Your age

❒ Under 50 ❒ 50-64 ❒ 65-75 ❒ 75+ b. Your gender

❒ Male ❒ Female c. Your approximate annual income:

❒ Under $30,000 ❒ $30,000-$49,999 ❒ $50,000-$75,000 ❒ Over $75,000 d. If you own (or are paying a mortgage on) your home or apartment, what do you believe is its current fair market value?

❒ Under $199,999 ❒ $200-$399,999 ❒ $400-$599,999 ❒ Over $600,000 Please provide your name, zip code, and telephone number or e-mail address so we may contact you if you win the drawing. Name: Zip Code: Telephone: E-mail address:

Complete this page in full and mail to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915





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FINANCIAL ADVICE ABOUNDS There are many reliable sources of financial information and useful advice. You just need to know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. We offer suggestions for investments, insurance and estate planning WHITHER SOCIAL SECURITY? A public trustee of Social Security and Medicare answers reader questions about the program and its future

Five big money mistakes retirees make By David Pitt For retirees to maintain their desired lifestyle without a paycheck — possibly for decades — they need a solid financial plan. They also need to steer clear of serious mistakes that could compromise their future income. Here’s a look at some common pitfalls retirees encounter, and ways to step around them to avoid financial disaster. 1. Helping children too much Problem: Retirees with children or grandchildren are often too willing to help out financially; sometimes at the risk of their own well-being. Even though many baby boomers worked to put themselves through college and the experience developed good financial skills, they don’t want their kids to struggle as much, said Wayne Copelin, president of Copelin Financial Advisors in Sugar Land, Texas. If you try to tell parents that it’s a mistake to bail adult children out of credit card debt or help them with other financial mistakes, they get very mad, said Copelin. Solution: Don’t underestimate your

longevity. Make sure you have enough money to last the rest of your life by laying out a financial plan. With a plan in hand, you can then determine how much you can afford to spend on children and grandchildren. If you don’t take this step, you could very well run out of money and need to turn to your children for help. Also be very careful about co-signing loans, because any default or late payments can hurt your credit rating. What’s more, be aware that significant gifts could be considered taxable — this year’s limit on taxfree gifts is $13,000 per person. Read the IRS rules at 2. Underestimating healthcare costs Problem: One of the biggest pitfalls facing the retirees of the next few decades is unanticipated and unplanned healthcare costs. According to various experts, a healthy couple in their mid-60s will need around $300,000 to cover healthcare in retirement. A couple in their mid-50s should plan on spending around $500,000 in out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Most retirees will not have saved any-

where near that amount. The average 401(k) account balance for 55-year-old workers contributing for at least 10 years is $234,000, according to Fidelity Investments. Solution: One way to be prepared is to purchase long-term care insurance, which can help cover the cost of home care or nursing home care, should the need arise. Couples in their 50s and in good health likely can buy a policy for an annual premium of around $2,500 if they shop for the best rates. Waiting until their 60s to buy can be expensive, with premiums rising to as much as $4,000 to $5,000 a year. To look at options for long-term care planning, check out this site provided by the federal government:—Site/index.aspx. 3. Taking Social Security benefits too soon Problem: No one knows exactly how long they’ll live, and these days it’s very common to outlive our own expectations. About one in four 65-year-olds today will live past 90. One in 10 will live past 95. It’s difficult to know how much to set aside for retirement. It’s equally difficult to

know whether to take Social Security as soon as one is eligible or wait a few years and get a fatter check. Solution: A worker at the full retirement age of 66 will be entitled to a monthly Social Security benefit of $1,000. That’s reduced to $750 a month if benefits begin at 62, the earliest one can begin to draw checks. However, the same worker waiting until age 70 will get $1,320 a month. Deciding when to take benefits depends on age, health, how long you’ll keep working, how much is saved and other factors. The Social Security Administration offers a benefits calculator at: /oact/anypia/index.html. 4. Failing to ask for guidance Problem: Trying to handle retirement savings and investments without help. Solution: Many retirees and those nearing retirement who manage their own money often micromanage their accounts by watching the market’s movement every day. They tend to pull money out when they get scared and keep it out until too late, See MONEY MISTAKES, page 5

Big returns from fast food in slow market By Mark Jewell Step into the McDonald’s in Port Chester, N.Y. on a Saturday, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Jon Burnham dining on the cheap with his wife. They’re McDonald’s regulars. “Where else can two people go and have a really nice lunch or dinner for $10?” Burnham asked. He knows how to spot a value, after more than five decades in the financial services industry and 16 years as a mutual fund manager. The economy is in a tough spot, and Burnham expects consumers will continue to embrace low-cost menus at fast-food chains. He’s a particularly strong believer in McDonald’s stock, one of the top five holdings in his fund. Its shares are trading at an all-time high, up 22 percent in a year when the stock market has edged up just 2 percent. That’s one reason why Burnham Fund (BURHX) has outperformed 94 percent of its large-

blend stock category peers this year, returning more than 3 percent. A bigger contributor is Burnham’s second-biggest holding, Chipotle Mexican Grill. Its shares have surged 62 percent this year, lifted by sales that are rising at a faster pace than at more established chains. The sizzling results for restaurant chains extend beyond those two names. Strong performers include Panera Bread and Starbucks, both up 34 percent; Tim Hortons, 22 percent; Wendy’s, 12 percent, and Yum Brands, 11 percent.

But will gains continue? Unfortunately, investors looking to spice up returns by adding those names to their portfolios now may find their potential is limited because the stocks have performed so well recently. Industry profits are being constrained by rising costs for ingredients such as beef and coffee, which have triggered price increases at several chains. Still their menu prices

remain low enough that the chains hold appeal at a time when many consumers are wary of spending too much to eat out. Fund managers investing in fast food say they’re also drawn by the relative simplicity of the chains’ business models. And many chains have expanded into fastgrowing emerging markets like China. Fast-food chains offer relatively predictable growth prospects at a time when the outlook for economic growth in the U.S. and Europe is dim, said Ron Rohn, comanager of the John Hancock Global Leaders Growth Fund (USGLX), whose top holding is Yum Brands, owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Restaurant stocks to consider Below we look at three top fast-food stocks, and perspectives from managers at funds with big stakes in them: 1. McDonald’s Corp. The biggest burger chain is an industry bellwether, with more than 33,000 loca-

tions. With a market value of $95 billion, McDonald’s is a widely held stock, and one of the 30 names that make up the Dow Jones industrial average. McDonald’s increased its third-quarter dividend by 15 percent, and expects to return about $6 billion to shareholders this year through dividends and share repurchases. It has raised its payout each year since paying its first dividend in 1976. The current dividend yield is about 3 percent. McDonald’s has been repositioning itself as a health-conscious option, adding salads and oatmeal. Earnings have risen for nine consecutive quarters, capped by a 9 percent third-quarter gain. But the company hinted that it may need to raise menu prices for the third time this year to help offset higher ingredient costs. The stock is the top holding at the Two Oaks Diversified Growth Fund (TWOAX), whose manager argues McDonald’s is in See FAST FOOD, page 5

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Fast food From page 4

gling U.S. business, particularly at Taco Bell. But Yum is faring well overseas, where it gets two-thirds of its operating profit. Nearly half comes from emerging markets like China. This year, the company expects to open 1,500 restaurants, maintaining last year’s pace of about four new restaurants each day outside the U.S. 3. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. The chain of nearly 1,200 restaurants has expanded rapidly, employing a fast-casual service model, and emphasizing fresh, healthy ingredients in its burritos and tacos. It targets middle-class consumers willing to pay $8 to $10 a meal. The 18-year-old company remains primarily a U.S. chain, but recently expanded beyond Mexican fare with new ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen locations. Its stock debuted in 2006 at $45 a share. The company doesn’t pay a dividend. Shares now trade for about $340, making the stock unusually expensive relative to the earnings the company generates.

Chipotle’s price-to-earnings ratio of 53 is about triple the average P/E of stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. McDonald’s P/E is about 18, and Yum’s is 21. One reason Chipotle’s stock is priced so richly is the company’s strong growth. Sales at restaurants open at least a year rose 11.3 percent in the third quarter, more than twice the 4.4 percent figure at McDonald’s U.S. locations. Burnham said Chipotle’s management has a knack for adding restaurants in ideal

locations, and the chain’s emphasis on natural and high-quality ingredients is clearly a hit with consumers. He’s happy to hold onto the stock, which makes up about 7 percent of his fund’s portfolio. But he worries that any broad setback in the stock market could cause investors to start selling growth stocks like Chipotle, in favor of safer names. “I think of McDonald’s as a core holding,” Burnham said. “But Chipotle needs to be watched, because it’s not so cheap.” — AP


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good position to offset those costs. Blake Todd points to the chain’s expanded beverage lineup, including fancy coffee drinks. Beverages are typically sold at higher profit margins than burgers, and ingredient costs are lower, helping to insulate McDonald’s from spiking commodity prices, Todd said. He also credits McDonald’s for adapting to local tastes overseas, where menus vary widely from those here. The U.S. now accounts for just 31 percent of McDonald’s revenue. 2. Yum Brands Inc. Yum’s KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bill chains give the company a diversified approach. Yum has more than 38,000 restaurants worldwide. With a $25 billion market cap, the stock’s dividend yield is about 2.1 percent. The company recently said that it expects sales to drop in the fourth quarter in its strug-

Also it’s a mistake to assume that total expenses will decline in retirement. With more leisure time expenses can rise, and medical costs will certainly increase. This means that it would be a mistake for retirees to invest solely in fixed-income securities. Instead they need to continue to maintain a diversified portfolio, with a strategy that gradually limits their risk of losses as they get older. — AP

missing any chance for recovery when the market picks up. This happened to millions of retirement savers as the market collapsed in 2008. Many 401(k) accountholders lost a third of their money. The reverse is also true, as many put their investments on auto pilot and give

annuity products, is important. 5. Investing too conservatively Problem: Retirees want to protect their savings from losses, but also need to be sure their money is working for them. Investment returns are a vital part of their balance sheet. Solution: Retirement can last for decades. It’s important to recognize that inflation will cause expenses to rise over time, all while retirees are living on a fixed income.


From page 4

them no attention at all. A financial planner can help make sure a portfolio is properly diversified and that risk is adequately reduced as retirement approaches. With such low interest rates today, it’s difficult to make any money in cash investments. So a strategy of using bonds with varying maturities, mixing in dividend paying stocks and looking at newly designed


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Good financial advice is readily available Regardless of how well educated you passed a comprehensive examination and are, it’s unlikely that you can plan your must stay up-to-date in several subject areas. Some CFPs sell finanfamily’s financial future withcial products on commission, out some professional advice. so their efforts may be someMuch of what you need to what biased. do to manage, protect and Others are fee-only planpass on your wealth — things ners. They sell no products like investing, buying insurand generally charge you for ance and drawing up a will — an initial plan, and bill hourly can be done cheaply and in a after that. Such planners are straightforward manner. more likely to recommend But you’ll be much better off if you seek guidance products such as no-load funds where your competency is THE SAVINGS and low-load insurance that limited, especially when your GAME will be cost-effective for you. By Elliot Raphaelson needs are complex. If you have a significant portfolio, you will find that Do-it-yourself investing many of the major no-load funds will proConsider the example of investing. If you vide you with planners at low (or no) cost. have the time, and are willing to put in the effort, you can be your own financial plan- For life insurance ner. As a basic guide, I recommend Making As with investments, there are ways to the Most of Your Money Now by Jane Bryant reduce commissions when buying certain Quinn (Simon and Shuster, 2009). kinds of life insurance. So-called “low-load” To stay up-to-date, I recommend read- policies are available for universal, variable ing the Wall Street Journal, Money Maga- universal, and second-to-die insurance. zine, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magaLow-load policies provide you with largzine and Barron’s newspaper. er cash values in the early years of the polThere are many excellent blogs and icy. Accordingly, investment values and websites, too, including those run by in- death benefits accrue much faster, and vestment firms, such as and these policies have low (or no) surrender Vanguard has videos charges. Life insurance is a complex subject, and and articles that discuss the issues surrounding all the major investment options. you really need to educate yourself before you shop for a policy. Here again I recomFinding a professional mend Jane Bryant Quinn’s book. Of course, if you have no interest in You will also find a great deal of informabeing your own financial planner, you can tion on the Internet, including at the webhire one. However, it is important to check sites of the Insurance Information Institute references and to use one who has the ( proper credentials, because anyone can and the LIFE Foundation (www.lifehapclaim to be a “financial planner.” The latter site A certified financial planner (CFP) has has a great calculator for helping you de-


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termine the ideal amount of coverage. James Hunt, an actuary, former insurance commissioner and noted consumer advocate, offers a great service at a nominal fee evaluating prospective policies for consumers (visit his site at After you decide what type of policy you want, comparison shop via phone or the Internet. Using the same parameters, you can determine which policy is best by comparing the cash value after specific time frames. Some highly rated companies offering low-load policies directly are Ameritas Advisers (, TIAA-CREF ( and (if you or certain family members have a military background) USAA Life Insurance Co. ( If your life insurance needs are complex, consider using a chartered life underwriter, who is more qualified than the average agent.

For health or LTC insurance If you require health, disability or longterm care insurance, you’re best off contacting a health insurance agent or your local Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP). SHIP offices are part of a nationwide network supported by the Older Americans Act, and offer one-on-one advice from

well-educated volunteers. For an appointment with your local SHIP office, call the appropriate number: Baltimore City (410) 396-2273 Baltimore County (410) 887-2594 Anne Arundel County (410) 222-4257

Estate planning advice As for wills, if your estate plans are straightforward, you can use any competent attorney. A straightforward will is one in which you leave all of your assets to your spouse, and vice versa. If your spouse predeceases you, all assets when you die go to your children. You also want to make sure your spouse’s name is specified on all beneficiary forms for your retirement plans. If your estate plans are more complex, use an attorney who specializes in estate planning. Some examples: You are being married for the second time, and both partners have children from previous marriages; you wish to set up a trust for a family member who is handicapped; you are leaving assets to minors, and you want to select a trustee to allocate funds to them; or you believe your spouse needs assistance handling money, and you prefer a trustee to invest the proceeds from your estate and alSee FINANCIAL ADVICE, page 8


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Answering your Social Security questions Editor’s Note: The following questions and answers are drawn from remarks made by Dr. Charles Blahous, public trustee of Social Security & Medicare, at the Beacon 50+Expo in November. 1. What do the public trustees of Social Security do? There are two public trustees, and their positions were created by Congress as part of the last major rescue of Social Security in 1983, when the program was on the brink of insolvency, literally months away from not being able to send out the checks. Last-minute, bipartisan agreement saved the program. There had been concern over the previous several years that the financial projections made by the government trustees — cabinet secretaries from Treasury, Labor, Health & Human Services and the Commissioner of Social Security — had been too rosy, forcing legislators back time and again to solve financial problems. So Congress created the public trustee positions to oversee projections, sign off on them as reasonable, and increase public confidence in the projections. 2. Why do we have a pending short-

fall in Social Security’s ability to pay benefits? Isn’t it a self-financing system? If each generation paid enough payroll taxes to fund its own benefits, or if that generation’s benefits were limited to its tax contributions plus earnings, there would be no shortfall. But that’s not how Social Security was set up. The first generation to receive Social Security was given benefits while only making very small contributions, and the amount of benefits was not limited to the value of those contributions. As a result, the vast majority of their benefits had to be paid for by the next generation of workers. And the system has continued to operate that way ever since: Current workers pay for most of the benefits received by current retirees. Now that can continue to work if, and only if, the ratio of workers to beneficiaries never declines below the level required to sustain the previously established benefit and tax formulas. The huge boomer generation now entering retirement didn’t have as many children as their parents did, so there will not be enough workers to maintain this arrangement.

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We used to have the payroll taxes of three or more workers to support each individual receiving Social Security. That ratio is now declining below three, and in 20 years there will be only two workers paying taxes per beneficiary. In addition to the change in fertility patterns, today’s retirees live much longer than people used to, and hence collect more years of benefits. Keep in mind that Social Security is based on two different — and unrelated — formulas set down in law: One formula determines the taxes you pay while working; another formula determines the benefits you receive based on lifetime earnings. Because of the demographic changes mentioned above as well as some benefit expansions made in the 1970s, the benefits currently promised by the benefit formula well exceed the taxes generated by the tax formula. Hence, our growing shortfall. 3. Is there any reason to rush to make changes to Social Security? Yes. Those who are either on Social Security or on the verge of it should definitely want Congress to fix the problems as soon as possible. I believe that some senior advocacy organizations who are taking to airwaves with a “hands off Social Security” message are doing a terrible disservice. Deferring reforms for much longer would bring

about the worst possible outcome for their members. For example, if we were to defer changes until 2036, the year the Social Security Trust Fund is currently estimated to run out, across-the-board benefit cuts of 23 percent of benefits would be required. These cuts in benefits would not only affect new retirees in 2036, but everyone, including the poorest of the poor and those who’d been on the rolls for decades. Suppose you wanted to protect the benefits of those already in retirement in 2036 and confine changes to those newly coming on the rolls then? By that point, even completely eliminating benefits for all new beneficiaries wouldn’t solve the problem! On other hand, if we act sometime in the next few years, we can protect people currently in retirement, those on the verge of retirement, those with low incomes, and even allow benefits to rise relative to inflation going forward. 4. Does Social Security contribute to our current or future federal deficits? Yes, both. This year’s tab for Social Security is $738 billion. Income from current payroll taxes plus taxes paid on Social Security benefits by wealthier retirees totals only $587 billion. So, this year’s Social Security payments are adding $151 billion to

Financial advice

You should have a face-to-face meeting with any professional you consider using, and he or she should be willing to meet with you initially without charging a fee. Elliot Raphaelson welcomes your questions and comments at © 2011 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

From page 7 locate the funds to your beneficiary. Before hiring a professional in any of these fields, remember: Always check references. Don’t hesitate to ask friends for recommendations.


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Social Security From page 8 our unified deficit. The gap is especially large this year because of the recession (which has lowered employment and hence payroll tax collections) and because the administration and Congress cut payroll taxes this year by 2 percent as a stimulus measure. (President Obama proposes to continue and even expand this payroll tax cut next year.) The payroll tax cut constitutes $105 billion of this year’s $151 billion shortfall, and it is being paid for from general accounts because the administration and Congress agreed to cover its cost that way. But even if payroll taxes hadn’t been cut, required benefits payments would (and did) exceed incoming cash revenues by $46 billion this year. While it’s true that there are sufficient revenues due Social Security from interest on its Trust Fund assets to cover that part of the shortfall, the government is currently able to make these payments only by issuing new debt, also adding to the current federal deficit. These annual needs for cashing in Trust Fund assets will continue to occur and, indeed, rise sharply in coming years, increasing deficits further and ultimately outstripping the Trust Fund entirely. 5. Wasn’t the Trust Fund established to collect surplus revenues over the past few decades so money would be available to cover pending shortfalls now and in the future? That’s a very common misconception, but not true. Neither the Greenspan Com-

mission, whose work ultimately led to the 1983 Social Security reforms, nor Congress had any intention to set payroll tax rates higher than necessary to meet benefit obligations in the near-term. The goal had been to balance revenues and benefits over the 75 years following 1983, without careful attention to the flow of annual revenues and expenditures. But it became clear within a very short while after the 1983 legislation that the longterm “balance” it created was actually unbalanced on an annual basis: revenues would run substantially ahead of expenditures in the early years, before the deficits we are now experiencing would arise in later years. At that point, members of Congress, including Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (who had served on the Greenspan Commission), proposed to scale back the payroll tax rates to eliminate the unintended surpluses, noting that there was no effective way to “save” them for the future. Congress as a whole, as well as the first Bush Administration, however, did not want to revisit the 1983 agreement, nor to deprive the government of access to the surplus payroll tax revenue that was then arriving. The federal government was thus able to spend those surpluses, with the result that it is now in no better financial position to redeem the Trust Fund debt than it would have been if the surpluses had never existed. 6. But isn’t it true that the higher payroll taxes paid by workers since 1983 have effectively pre-funded their benefits, making it unfair to change the Social Security benefit formula prior to 2036, when the Trust Fund

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assets run out? Actually, the fairest way to reform Social Security would be to do so as quickly as possible. The reason that the Trust Funds are projected to last until 2036 is not because baby boomers have pre-funded a quartercentury’s worth of benefit payments. Actually, the Trust Funds are never projected to hold enough assets to fund more than about three and a half years’ worth of payments, and that’s about how much they hold today. Furthermore, most of those assets today are interest that was credited on the unsaved surplus; not surplus dollars themselves. From now through 2036, more than four-fifths of the funds to finance benefit payments will be derived from taxes coming in from younger workers. So postponing reforms means the least fair solutions. If current benefit schedules are left in place, for example, those now entering Social Security will lose roughly 4 percent of their lifetime wage income to Social Security, even if they receive all benefits now scheduled for them. If you want the fairest relative treatment of different generations, the inevitable changes should begin soon, be phased in gradually, and affect the largest number of participants. The more that you postpone them, the more that you excuse some generations from contributing


Dr. Charles Blahous, one of the two public trustees of Social Security and Medicare, believes postponing necessary adjustments to Social Security will hurt both present and future retirees.

anything to the resolution, and you load up all of the adverse effects on the generations that already stand to be treated the worst. The most important thing, however, is to get the problem solved soon, even if it’s not my favored solution or yours. The longer we go without a solution, the uglier the eventual solution will look.



Health Fitness &

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING Concerns are growing about overuse of vitamin supplements GARLIC CAN BE TRICKY How to maximize garlic’s anti-cancer properties in your cooking RINGING IN THE NEW EAR? Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause tinnitus PARKINSON’S STUDY Researchers seek patients to test promising treatment methods

‘Super broccoli’ said to lower cholesterol By Maria Cheng Popeye might want to consider switching to broccoli. British scientists unveiled a new breed of the vegetable that exper ts say packs a big nutritional punch. The new broccoli was specially grown to contain two to three times the normal amount of glucoraphanin — a nutrient believed to help ward off heart disease. Glucoraphanin works by breaking down fat in the body, preventing it from clogging the arteries. It is found in significant amounts only in broccoli. “Vegetables are a medicine cabinet already,” said Richard Mithen, who led the team of scientists who developed the new broccoli at the Institute for Food Research in Norwich, England,. “When you eat this broccoli, you get a reduction in cholesterol in your blood stream,” he told Associated Press Television. An AP reporter who tasted the new broccoli found it was the same as regular broccoli. Scientists, however, said it should taste slightly sweeter because it contains less sulphur.

broccoli,” Mithen and colleagues crossbred a traditional British broccoli with a wild, bitter Sicilian variety that has no flowery head, but a big dose of glucoraphanin. After 14 years, the enhanced hybrid was produced, which has been granted a patent by European authorities. No genetic modification was used. It’s been on sale as Beneforte in select stores in California and Texas for the last year, and hit British shelves this month. Later this fall, the broccoli will be rolled out across the U.S. The super vegetable is part of an increasing tendency among producers to inject extra nutrients into foods — ranging from calcium-enriched orange juice, to fortified sugary cereals, and milk with added omega 3 fatty acids. In Britain, the new broccoli is sold as part of a line of vegetables that includes mushrooms with extra vitamin D, as well as tomatoes and potatoes with added selenium. Not enough data exists to know if anyone could overdose on glucoraphanin, but vitamin D and selenium in very high quantities can be toxic.

Not genetically modified

Clinical trials underway

To create the vegetable, sold as “super

Mithen and colleagues are conducting

human trials comparing the heart health of people eating the super broccoli to those who eat regular broccoli or no broccoli. They plan to submit the data to the European Food Safety Agency next year so they can claim in advertisements that the broccoli has proven health benefits. “There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to [glucoraphanin and related compounds] as the most important preventive agents for [heart attacks] and certain cancers, so it’s a reasonable thing to do,” said Lars Ove Dragsted, a professor in the department of human nutrition at the University of Copenhagen. Dragsted, who previously sat on panels at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, where he examined the link between vegetables and cancer, said glucoraphanin is a mildly toxic compound used by plants to fight insects. In humans, glucoraphanin may stimulate our bodies’ natural chemical defenses, potentially making the body stronger at removing dangerous compounds, he said. Other experts said eating foods packed with extra nutrients would probably only have a minimal impact compared with other lifestyle choices, like not smoking and exercising.

“Eating this new broccoli is not going to counteract your bad habits,” said Glenys Jones, a nutritionist at Britain’s Medical Research Council. She doubted whether adding the nutrients in broccoli to more popular foods would work to improve people’s overall health. “If you added this to a burger, people might think it’s then a healthy food and eat more burgers, whereas this is not something they should be eating more of,” Jones said. She also thought the super broccoli’s U.K. price — it costs about a third more than regular broccoli — might discourage penny-pinching customers. But that wasn’t enough to deter Suzanne Johnson, a 43-year-old mother of two young children in London. “I’m very concerned about the food they eat and would happily pay a bit more to buy something that has an added benefit,” Johnson said. But for her children, taste is ultimately more important than any nutritional value. “Broccoli is one of the vegetables they actually like, so I’m glad it’s the one [scientists] have been working on,” she said. “This wouldn’t work [for us] if it had been mushrooms or asparagus.” — AP

New drug cuts deaths after a heart attack By Marilynn Marchione People recovering from a heart attack or severe chest pain are much less likely to suffer another heart-related problem or to die from one if they take a new blood-thinning drug along with standard anti-clotting medicines, a large study finds. But this benefit had a cost: a greater risk of serious bleeding, usually in the digestive tract. Still, some doctors said the drug, Xarelto, could become a new standard of care for up to a million Americans hospitalized each year for these conditions. A low dose of the drug substantially cut the risk of dying of any cause during the study. “Mortality trumps everything,” so a drug that improves survival is a win, said Dr. Paul Armstrong of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He had no role in the study, discussed at

a recent American Heart Association conference in Florida and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was sponsored by the drug’s makers — Johnson & Johnson and Bayer Healthcare — and some researchers work or consult for the companies.

Older blood thinners differ Xarelto is approved now at higher doses for preventing strokes in people with a common heart rhythm problem and for preventing blood clots after joint surgeries. It works in a different way than aspirin and older blood thinners do. Dr. C. Michael Gibson of Harvard Medical School led a study testing it in 15,500 patients around the world who were leaving the hospital after a heart attack or severe chest pain from clogged arteries. All were prescribed aspirin and an older

blood thinner. One-third also received a low dose of Xarelto, and one-third got a higher dose. After about a year on average, nearly 11 percent of those on just the usual medicines had suffered a heart attack, heart-related death or a stroke versus less than 9 percent of those on either dose of Xarelto. The lower dose proved better and safer. Fewer than 3 percent of those getting Xarelto died of any cause during the study, compared with 4.5 percent of those getting just the usual medicines. That translates to a 32 percent lower risk with Xarelto. “Our study group has been going for 27 years and we’ve not seen that” magnitude of benefit from a drug like this, said Dr. Eugene Braunwald of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the study’s chairman. To prevent a single heart-related death, heart attack or stroke, only 56 people would need to be treated for two years

with a low dose of the drug, Gibson said. However, serious bleeding was nearly four times more common with Xarelto, including bleeding in the head, a potentially disabling side effect. Fatal bleeding was no greater with Xarelto, however. “There’s a trade-off” between thinning the blood to prevent clots and raising the risk of bleeding, said Dr. Roger Blumenthal, preventive cardiology chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

An expensive option Cost is another issue. Usual care for these patients is changing with newer drugs that have come on the market since this study started. One — ticagrelor, sold as Brilinta in the U.S. and other brands elsewhere — also See HEART DRUG, page 11


Health Shorts Training program may improve vision Early next year, a company called Ucansi will launch GlassesOff — a computer program that could help older people shed their reading glasses for at least part of the time, and may allow others to carry on reading without optical aids for years longer than would otherwise be possible. The software helps people compensate for deterioration in their eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects by training the brain to process the resulting blurred images. As we age, the lenses in our eyes become less elastic, so they can’t readily adjust to focus on nearby objects. Known as presbyopia, the condition is almost ubiquitous among people in their early 50s and above. In addition to the obvious reading problems, symptoms include tired eyes and headaches. The software trains users to detect patterns called Gabor patches. In a typical training session, the user fixates on a white circle, which then gives way to a rapid succession of images. Some are blank, but others show varied, blurry gray

Heart drug From page 10 proved beneficial for similar patients taking just aspirin instead of pricier additional medicines used in the Xarelto study. Xarelto’s makers will seek approval to sell it to people like those in this study by the end of the year, a Johnson & Johnson spokesman said. A price has not been set, but the higher doses sold now for other purposes run more than $7 a day. The good results with Xarelto contrast with the disappointing ones from an experimental blood thinner by Merck & Co., vorapaxar. The drug flopped in a key late-

patches at different places on the screen, one of which will appear where the circle was. Users must determine when in the sequence the pattern appeared at the target position. As they become better at the task, the software adapts to alter the orientation of the patterns, place them closer to the target, or speed up the sequence. Tests of the software run at the University of California-Berkeley found that after 40 training sessions, volunteers averaging 51 years of age were able to read more than two lines further down an optical chart, corresponding to a reduction in “eye age” from 50.5 to 41.9 years. In addition, their newspaper reading speed increased by about 4 seconds per sentence. As expected, there were no differences in the eyes’ ability to focus after the training. “Every single change is in the brain,” said Uri Polat of Tel Aviv University in Israel, co-founder of Ucansi. Although the experiments were run using a PC, Ucansi’s first product will be an iPhone app because of the convenience of the device and its high-quality screen. The cost of the app is expected to be around $95, covering an initial training period of about three months during which users will train for 15 minutes, three times a week. After that there will be a small monthly fee for less-intensive “maintenance” training. Given that our eyes eventually lose their

stage study aimed at preventing heart attacks, strokes and other problems in people similar to those in the study of Xarelto — hospitalized for a heart attack or severe chest pain from clogged arteries. Vorapaxar gave no significant benefit when added to standard medicines in a study of 13,000 patients around the world. It also raised the risk of serious bleeding. Merck’s senior vice president of cardiovascular research, Dr. Michael Mendelsohn, said results due out early next year from another large study testing vorapaxar in different types of patients will tell more about that drug’s potential. — AP

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ability to focus on close objects, the app is unlikely to be a panacea for presbyopia. But Lee Duffner, an opthalmologist in Hollywood, Florida, who serves as a clinical expert for the American Academy of Opthalmology, suggests that it might delay the need to adopt reading glasses. — New Scientist Magazine

not switch rates. “If they are progressing fast then they will continue to do so,” said Komarova. “The course of progression is predefined from the start.” What causes the difference is unclear, although it could be due to genetic factors, such as genes for tau proteins that have been associated with the development of Alzheimer’s, Komarova said. A person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s could now compare the timing of the first stage of degeneration against Komarova’s dataset to work out which group they belong to. The discovery should also help to design more efficient clinical trials, as the number of fast and slow patients in placebo and treatment groups would affect the outcome. — New Scientist Magazine

Alzheimer’s can progress quickly or slowly People with Alzheimer’s disease seem to lose their cognitive functions either quickly or slowly and not deviate from this path throughout the whole of their illness. The finding could help people to understand how quickly they might deteriorate, as well as improve the design of trials for future treatments. Craig Thalhauser and Nathalia Komarova, at the University of California-Irvine, used a computer algorithm to analyze clinical data gathered over 23 years from almost 650 people with Alzheimer’s. The model showed that there are two distinct types of progression — quick and slow — through each stage of the disease. The average rate of progression through any one stage was up to two years faster for the quick group than the slow group. The model also showed that people do

No link between cellphones and cancer Danish researchers can offer some reassurance if you’re concerned about your cellphone: Don’t worry. Your device is probably safe. The biggest study ever to examine the possible connection between cellphones and cancer found no evidence of any link, suggesting that billions of people who are See HEALTH SHORTS, page 12



Regency Crest is an extraordinarily carefree community because of the convenient lifestyle enjoyed by those who live here. We go the extra mile to provide our residents with distinctive amenities and service that cannot be found in ordinary active adult communities.

Jan. 11



Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) will hold a bariatric

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surgery information session on Jan. 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Civiletti Conference Center on the GBMC campus in Towson. Admission is free. Call (443) 849-2000 or visit to register.

Jan. 12

COMPLIMENTARY MEDICINE FOR LUNG CANCER “Living with Lung Cancer: Complementary Practices and Healing Touch: Managing Cancer Side Effects and Symptoms” will be pre-

sented by St. Joseph Medical Center as part of its monthly Dinner Series for Patients and Caregivers. The session will be held on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Multidisciplinary Conference Room in the Cancer Institute on Osler Dr. in Towson. For more information, call (410) 427-2011 or visit



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Concerns grow over vitamin supplements By Marilynn Marchione Two recent studies raised gnawing worries about the safety of vitamin supplements and a host of questions: Should anyone be taking them? Which ones are most risky? And if you do take them, how can you pick the safest ones? Vitamins have long had a “health halo.” Many people think they’re good for you and at worst might simply be unnecessary. The industry calls them an insurance policy against bad eating.

But our foods are increasingly pumped full of them already. Even junk foods and drinks often are fortified with nutrients to give them a healthier profile. As a result, the risk is rising that we’re getting too much. Add a supplement and you may exceed the upper limit. “We’re finding out they’re not as harmless as the industry might have us believe,” said David Schardt, a nutritionist at the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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In October, a study of nearly 40,000 older women found a slightly higher risk of death among those taking dietary supplements — including multivitamins, folic acid, iron and copper. It was just an observational study, though, not a rigorous test. Another study found that men taking high doses of vitamin E (400 units a day) for five years had a slightly increased risk of prostate cancer.

Popular, despite little evidence As many as one-third of Americans take vitamins and nearly half of people 50 and older take multivitamins, surveys suggest. Americans spent $9.6 billion on vitamins last year, up from $7.2 billion in 2005, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Multivitamins top the list, at nearly $5 billion in sales. Yet there is no clear evidence that multivitamins lower the risk of cancer, heart disease or any other chronic health problems. No government agency recommends them generally, “regardless of the quality of a person’s diet,” according to a fact sheet from the federal Office of Dietary Supplements. And vitamins aren’t required to undergo the strict testing required of U.S.-approved prescription medicines.

Health shorts From page 11

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

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

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

rarely more than a few inches from their phones have no special health concerns. The Danish study of more than 350,000 people concluded there was no difference in cancer rates between people who had used a cellphone for about a decade and those who did not have a cellphone. Cellphone users were also no more likely to get a tumor in the part of the brain closest to where phones are usually held against the head. The study was paid for by the government’s Danish Strategic Research Council. “Our study provides little evidence for a causal association, but we cannot rule out a small to moderate increase in risk for subgroups of heavy users,” said Patrizia

Some fads, such as the antioxidant craze over vitamins A and E and beta-carotene, backfired when studies found they generated more, not fewer, health risks. And studies that find more disease in people with too little of a certain vitamin can be misleading: Correcting a deficiency so you have the right daily amount is different from supplementing beyond recommended levels. The best way to get vitamins is to eat foods that naturally contain them, said Jody Engel, a nutritionist with Office of Dietary Supplements. “Foods provide more than just vitamins and minerals, such as fiber and other ingredients that may have positive health effects.” Schardt adds: “It’s virtually impossible to overdose on the nutrients in food.”

Who needs supplements? The following groups may need more of certain nutrients and should talk with their doctors about whether supplementation is called for: • People over age 50 and vegans — may need vitamin B12. “As we get older, a numSee VITAMINS, page 13

Frei, of the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the paper’s authors. The advocacy group MobileWise, which believes cellphones pose a health risk, said the study wasn’t long enough to consider the long-term risk, since brain tumors can take decades to develop. Cellphones send signals to nearby towers via radio waves, a form of energy similar to microwaves. But the radiation produced by cellphones cannot directly damage DNA and is different from stronger types of radiation, such as X-rays or ultraviolet light. At very high levels, radio frequency waves from cellphones can heat up body tissue, but that is not believed to damage human cells. — AP



MANAGE YOUR DIABETES St. Joseph Medical Center offers monthly programs for those

managing diabetes or caring for someone with the disease. These workshops are held the first Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m. on the St. Joseph medical campus at 7601 Osler Dr. in Towson. To register, call (410) 337-1382 or visit

— Dr. Stuart Goldman

Stuart Goldman, DPM


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

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

H elP F orYour F eet.C oM


SUPPORT FOR BREAST CANCER PATIENTS Mercy Medical Center sponsors Arm in Arm, a breast cancer survivor support group dedicated to promoting the physical and emo-

tional well-being of women with breast cancer by providing friendship, support and understanding. Nurses and allied health professionals from the Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy support this effort. To learn more, visit or call (410) 332-9000.

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Vitamins From page 12 ber of us no longer produce enough acid in the stomach to extract the B12 in food,” Schardt said. • Postmenopausal women — should discuss calcium and vitamin D to protect bones. • Women planning on pregnancy — folate, or folic acid, can prevent birth defects. • Pregnant women — may need extra iron. • Breastfed infants and possibly other infants — may need vitamin D. In fact, Vitamin D is a nutrient many of us may need to supplement. Last fall, the Institute of Medicine, a panel of scientists who advise the government, raised the recommended amount but also warned against overdoing it. People ages 1 to 70 should get 600 international units a day. Those over 70 need 800 units. And if you do need a supplement, beware: Quality varies., a company that tests supplements and publishes ratings for subscribers, has found a high rate of problems in the 3,000 products it has tested since 1999. “One out of 4 either doesn’t contain what it claims, or has some other problems, such as contamination, or the pills won’t break apart properly,” said company president Dr. Tod Cooperman.

For example, one gummy bear calcium product had 250 percent of the amount of vitamin D claimed on the label. Another liquid product made with rose hips had just over half the amount of vitamin C listed. “Price is not necessarily linked to quality,” he said. “The quality doesn’t really relate to where you’re buying it. “I know many people are surprised by that or don’t want to believe it, but that is the case,” Cooperman said. “We find good and bad products in every venue.” Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council, suggests looking for “seals of approval” or certifications of quality from groups that spot-test supplements, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and the Natural Products Association (NPA).

Some tips from experts • Keep it simple. The more ingredients there are in a supplement combo, the more chance that one of them will not be the right amount, Cooperman said. • Consider a supplement combo tailored to your gender and age, the Office of Dietary Supplements suggests. Multivitamins often contain little iron, and ones for seniors contain more calcium and vitamin D than products aimed at younger adults. • Take vitamin D with dinner. A study found significantly more absorption of that nutrient when it was consumed at the largest meal, which tends to have more fat,

than at breakfast, Cooperman said. • Watch out for vitamin K — it promotes clotting and can interfere with common heart medicines and blood thinners such as warfarin, sold as Coumadin and other brands. • Current and former smokers are advised to avoid multivitamins with lots of beta-carotene or vitamin A. Two studies have tied them to increased risk of lung cancer in smokers. • For cancer patients, “vitamins C and E might reduce the effectiveness of certain types of chemotherapy,” Engel said.

• People having surgery should know that some vitamins can affect bleeding and response to anesthesia. • Ask your doctor before taking any supplement. More information is available at these websites: For Vitamin facts: http:// and FAQs:— Information/ODS—Frequently—Asked— Questions.aspx — AP


Jan. 13


BCASCO, the Baltimore County Association of Senior Citizens Organizations, will present “A Conversation with Scam and Fraud Experts” on Friday, Jan. 13 at the Towson United Methodist Church, Dulaney Valley Road and Hampton Lane, Beltway Exit 27B, from 9:45 a.m. to noon. Attendees are invited to bring their questions and issues. For more information, contact Beth Wiseman at (410) 484-6866.

Dec. 25


Join the Jewish Museum of Maryland for all things Chinese as it celebrates the winter holiday season at its annual Dec. 25th family event. Play mah-jong, make Chinese lanterns and origami, enjoy Chinese treats, and view the museum’s exhibit “Chosen Food: Cuisine, Culture and American Jewish Identity.” The cost is $10 for museum members and $15 for non-members. The museum is located at 15 Lloyd St. RSVP to Ilene DackmanAlon, (410) 732-6400, ext. 214; or email


Baltimore Eye Doctor Helps Legally Blind to See Again Diplomat in Low Vision Care trains Dr. Thomas Azman to help those with age-related macular degeneration with reading and driving. By Elena Lombardi Freelance Writer

Donald Paquette, 72, a former assessor from Anaheim, California, thought that his driving days were over. “I could not read the street signs soon enough and I couldn’t pass the vision test at the DMV office.” Gonzalo Garcia, 74, Albuquerque, New Mexico, wanted to be able to read and write more easily. He wanted to see the nails and screws when he tried to use them in home repairs. He wanted see his grandchildren singing in the church choir. But he thought those days were over when he was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. California optometrist, Dr. Richard J. Shuldiner and Baltimore optometrist Dr. Thomas Azman are using miniaturized binoculars or telescopes to help people who have lost vision from macular degeneration or other eye conditions. “Some of my patients consider us

Hank Frese wearing Bioptic Telescope Driving Glasses

the last stop for people who have vision loss.” said Dr. Azman, a low vision optometrist who has just completed training with Dr. Shuldiner in California. “Amazing!” says Donald. “I can read the street signs twice as far as I did before and even see the television better!” Macular degeneration is the most common eye disease among the senior population. As many as 25% of those over 65 have some degree of degeneration. The macula is one small part of the entire retina, but it is the most sensitive and gives us sharp images. When it degenerates, macular degeneration leaves a blind spot right


in the center of vision, which makes it impossible to recognize faces, read a book, or pass the drivers vision test. The experts do not know what causes macular degeneration. But major factors include UV light from the sun, smoking, aging, and improper nutrition. Vitamins can help. The results of two studies, AREDS and LAST demonstrated a lowered risk of progression by about 25% when treated with a high-dose combination of vitamins. Dr. Azman advises patients on the best nutritional supplements during the low vision evaluation. Nine out of ten people who have macular degeneration have the dry type. There is no medical treatment except for vitamins. The wet type involves the leakage of fluid or blood from the blood vessels behind the macula. Injections of Leucentis or Avastin are very effective in preventing the vessels from leaking. “Our job is to figure out anything and everything possible to keep a person functioning,” says Dr. Azman. “Whether it’s driving, reading, watching television, seeing faces, playing bridge… we work with whatever is on the persons “wish list.”

Even if it’s driving. Maryland and California are two of many states that allow the use of telescopic glasses for safer driving. Hank Frese, 69, a former High School Principal from La Palma, California saw Dr. Shuldiner last August. “I could not read the street signs soon enough when driving, and I could not read my morning paper.” Bioptic Telescopic glasses were prescribed to read signs and see traffic lights farther away. As Hank puts it, “These telescope glasses not only allow me to read signs from a farther distance, but makes driving much easier. I’ve also used them to watch television so I don’t have to sit so close. I don’t know why I waited two years to do this; I should have come sooner” “Telescopic glasses start at around $1500”, says Dr. Azman, “and low vision prismatic reading glasses start at $500. A small price to pay for better vision and increased independence.” If you or someone you care about is struggling with vision loss, call Dr. Thomas Azman for a free telephone interview. You can reach Dr. Azman by dialing (410) 561-8050.


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How to get garlic’s anti-cancer benefits Q: Does garlic powder or prechopped garlic in oil protect against cancer as well as fresh garlic? A: Garlic probably reduces risk of colorectal and stomach cancers, according to a landmark report from the American Institute for Cancer Research. Researchers are working to understand how and which of the many substances in garlic provide the cancer protective benefits. At present, it is not clear whether all

forms of garlic provide the same benefits as the whole food or even how much garlic is needed for cancer protection. Allicin, and the compounds that are formed from it when the bulb is chopped or crushed, may be the substances that play a role in cancer protection. According to the World Health Organization, about 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder provides about the same level of allicin as one clove of fresh garlic.



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The Maryland Community Services Locator website,, is an interactive online directory that helps community members locate services that provide assistance with substance abuse, short-term housing, job readiness, adult education, health/mental health, emergency food assistance, family assistance, victim services and more. For more information, call (301) 405-9796 or visit the website.

Yes, small amounts of calorie savings The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, however, suggests that fresh throughout the day do add up to produce garlic could provide signifiweight loss. But the question cantly more allicin. you need to answer is how I cannot locate any informaoften you have room for treats tion about levels of allicin in with 200 or more calories; if pre-chopped garlic sold in jars it’s not often, then the differof oil, but one protective comence in calories will not pound formed from allicin is amount to much. fat soluble, so it may leach Here’s another example: into the oil. If you discard the one sugar-free Oreo cookie is oil, you may lose some of the 50 calories; one regular Oreo benefit. is 60 calories. The sugar-free When you use fresh garlic, NUTRITION Oreo label lists two cookies remember that your home WISE per serving (100 calories); “processing” is significant, By Karen Collins, regular Oreos list a threetoo. Before you cook garlic, MS, RD, CDM cookie serving with 160 calochop or press it and let it sit ries. The bottom line is that away from the heat for at least 10 minutes you cut more calories by eating fewer while you prepare the rest of your meal’s cookies than you do by choosing sugaringredients. Heat prevents the protective free cookies. compounds from forming, but they will You don’t need to cut out all sweets in form if the chopped garlic is allowed to sit order to lose weight, so focus on choosing for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. sweets less often and give up on the idea of Q: If I switch to sugar-free cookies searching for something you can eat by and candy, will it help me lose weight? the box without paying a penalty. When A: Switching the type of cookies and you do have sweets, savor a small portion: candies you get will probably lead to little that’s the true calorie-saving secret. if any weight loss. These products almost The American Institute for Cancer Realways use, at least partly, a sweetener search offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800known as a sugar alcohol, such as maltitol. 843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday These sugar alcohols provide about half through Friday. This free service allows you the calories of sugar; still a significant to ask questions about diet, nutrition and amount in sweets. cancer. A registered dietitian will return Besides, most sugar-free sweets contain your call, usually within three business days. significant calories from fat and refined Courtesy of the American Institute for grains. For example, a 1.5 ounce bar of Go- Cancer Research. Questions for this column diva dark chocolate provides 230 calories may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., in its regular form, and 210 calories in its N.W., Washington, DC 20009. Collins cansugar-free version. not respond to questions personally.


Dec. 27+

HOLIDAY TRAIN GARDEN DELIGHTS The final days of the Holiday Train Garden run from Tuesday, Dec.


27 to Friday, Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fire Museum of Maryland, 1301 York Rd. in Lutherville. Call (410) 321-7500 or visit for hours and ticket prices.

Jan. 16

MLK PARADE The 12th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade will be held on Monday, Jan. 16 at noon. The event honors not only Dr. King, but

others continuing his legacy. The event steps off at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Eutaw St., proceeds south on MLK Blvd. and disbands at Baltimore St. Visit for more information.

He’s Always Been An Individual. Why Should His Home Care Be Any Different? We help to keep his independent spirit strong. Comfort Keepers® provides compassionate in-home care that helps seniors live happy, fulfilling lives in the comfort of their own homes.

Jan. 19

First shift FREE. Call for details.

410-339-7056 © 2010 CK Franchising, Inc. Each office independently owned and operated.

W W W. C O M F O R T K E E P E R S . C O M

Join the Woodlawn Book Club on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. for a discussion of Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. The library is




located at 1811 Woodlawn Dr. Visit for more information on this and other library events.

Jan. 8

THE LION KING ROARS The Essex Senior Center invites you to join them on a trip to the Hippodrome Theater to see The Lion King on Sunday, Jan. 8.

Tickets are $115. Call (410) 687-5113 for reservations.

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Remedies to try for ‘ringing in the ears’ Dear Pharmacist: n’t yield to simple remedies, see your docWhat can be done to relieve the dis- tor for an evaluation. comfort of tinnitus? The Look in your medicine cabcrackling, buzzing and popinet. There’s a surprisingly ping in my ear drives me to long list of prescription and distraction. over-the-counter drugs that I’ve tried several comhave been tied to tinnitus: mercially available prodNon-steroidal anti-inflammaucts from the health food tories (NSAIDs), loop diuretstore, all without relief so ics (like furosemide), and far. What do you suggest? many antibiotics, anti-depresL.J. sant drugs and salicylates Dear L.J.: (like aspirin). When you hear buzzing, DEAR Auditory-related side efclanging, whooshing, musical PHARMACIST fects from one of these might tones, humming, ringing, or By Suzy Cohen develop all of a sudden, even if even jack hammering — while no one around you does — you have tinnitus, and it can drive you absolutely bonkers. I don’t have it, but I can’t stand the noise even when my neighbor fires up his leaf blower for 20 minutes. Among the celebrities who have confessed to bouts of tinnitus are Eric Clapton, David Letterman and Steve Martin. The internal racket can be caused from exposure to sudden or chronic loud noises, free radical damage, age-related hearing loss, medication side effects, ear wax and a number of diseases. That’s just for starters. All I can do here is give you some information about options. If your tinnitus does-

you’ve been taking the drug a long time. Discuss this possibility with your doctor and pharmacist. In cases of reversible tinnitus, sometimes switching medications brings relief. Stress ramps up the noise! Consider biofeedback to learn how to relax. Studies suggest that biofeedback training could help you find your internal “control knob� and turn down the volume. Deficiencies of specific nutrients — such as zinc, coenzyme Q10, and vitamins D and B12 — can sometimes affect hearing health. Also, magnesium, a mineral found in spinach and leafy greens, has been shown repeatedly to support auditory mechanisms, improve hearing loss and

ease tinnitus. As we speak, the Mayo Clinic is conducting a clinical trial to verify this. And an Israeli study long ago found that military personnel with tinnitus were often short on B12. Those of Asian descent seem to have good grip on this condition. Chinese medicine doctors use acupuncture and a variety of herbals to deal with tinnitus. These treatments vary considerably, but could be very effective. I keep up with Korean news because my 24-Hour Pharmacist book is published in this language. A recent study concluded that two compounds: Bojungikgitang and banhabaekchulchonmatang significantly improve tinnitus. But American health food stores are going to screech and whine if you ask them to order that stuff, so don’t even bother. A few studies support the herbal supple-

ment gingko biloba, which may help by improving blood flow and scavenging free radical toxins. Other herbs worth looking into include black cohosh root and vinpocetine which improve blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Goldenseal could help too, and also mullein herb which addresses inflammation.

Did you know? People with pale skin (who burn easily) appear to be more likely to be deficient in vitamin D. 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


Jan. 8

SENIOR BOX OFFICE TRAVELS TO KENNEDY CENTER See Billy Elliot at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with

lunch on your own on this trip on Sunday, Jan. 8. Tickets for this Senior Box Office-sponsored trip are $130. Call (410) 882-3797 for reservations.



MALL WALKING Franklin Square Hospital Center sponsors an ongoing senior well-

ness walk at White Marsh Mall and Eastpoint Mall every Thursday from 9 to 10 a.m. The walks are led by a certified exercise instructor. Free blood pressure screening is also provided. Call (410) 931-7100 for more information.

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Not-yet-relatives already making trouble Dear Solutions: My children are scattered around the country, but they all come home at Christmas for the one intimate family dinner I make each year. My son, divorced, has a new girlfriend who is invited. But the girlfriend wants me to include a couple and their baby because they are important friends of hers, and they’re going to be in town around Christmas. I don’t know them, and I don’t have extra

room for others. There are friends of mine whom I’d like to invite, but I don’t because I like to have just the family. My son says she told him if she was married to him, I would invite her friends. I’m making two big turkeys, so there’ll be enough food, but that’s not the point. I feel as if I’m being manipulated by her. Do you think I’m wrong? — Mable

Diabetes Research Study 50-80 year old men & women with type 2 diabetes are needed to participate in an exercise research study at the University of Maryland/Baltimore VA Medical Center. Call 410-605-7179. Mention code: EPC-DM.

Exercise Research Study Healthy men & women 50-80 years old are needed to participate in an exercise research study at the University of Maryland/Baltimore VA Medical Center. Participation involves medical evaluations, blood draws, fitness tests, and 2 weeks of exercise sessions. Compensation for your time is provided. Call 410-605-7179. Mention code: EPC-X.

Learn how to make Every time you use the phone. If any disability makes it difficult for you to use the telephone, you may qualify for FREE assistive telephone equipment through the Maryland Accessible Telecommunications program.

Even though you may be able to carry on a conversation with someone in person, you may have difficulty communicating by standard telephone. The Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program, a service of Maryland Relay, provides assistive telecommunications equipment — free of charge — to people who qualify. Training on how to use the equipment is available.

Dear Mable: Dear Solutions: Don’t let this turkey gobble you up! This I’m in a second marriage. My husis your dinner party, and you band, who’s retired, goes to are entitled to do it your way. visit his children and You certainly don’t have to ingrandchildren almost every vite people you don’t know. Sunday because they live Is your real concern that nearby. I go with him once your son won’t come? Tell in a while, but mostly I them both how much everyone don’t because I love to in the family wants them there, have that day to myself. and you hope she’ll make He doesn’t object, but arrangements with her friends other people say it’s not before and after that day. Stand right, and I’m not showing SOLUTIONS firm now or you’ll always be him respect by not going By Helen Oxenberg, vulnerable to others’ demands. with him. MSW, ACSW Dear Solutions: So now I feel guilty every My darling daughter, time Sunday comes around. whom I love very much, has just sug- I guess people think I’m cold. Are they gested something I’m ver y uneasy right? about. I’m a senior but I’m healthy — Alice and active and think I’ll hang around Dear Alice: for a while longer. Wrapping yourself in the guilt quilt will My daughter called and wants to not make you feel warm. The only person come over and pick out the jewelry that you should concern yourself with is your she wants me to leave her when I die! husband, and he doesn’t object. I’ll bet he Although I’ll probably leave some things likes to have that day to himself, too. to my daughter-in-law, I was intending Don’t worry about what other people to leave my only daughter most of the say. Just smile and say, “That’s our stuff anyway. arrangement” or say nothing. When SunI’m taken aback. She says it will be day comes around, kiss your husband, easier in the long run if things are wish him a good day — and enjoy yourself! spelled out now. Isn’t this premature? Dear Solutions: — Phoebe I have nothing to do, and I think I Dear Phoebe: could be a subject for your column. Even though your daughter is jumping I’d like to talk to you and discuss your the gun, you should invite her to come to column, so please call me. look at the jewelry. But while she is there, — John open up a discussion about some more seri- Dear John: ous issues. I would be happy to read any questions People need to think about, plan and dis- you may have, but I cannot call you. cuss with their adult children what their You, however, can become a write-in wishes are for end-of-life treatment, espe- and tell me why you have nothing to do. Is cially while they’re still healthy. this a problem for you? I’d guess it is or Do you have a living will, also called an you wouldn’t have mentioned it. advance directive, spelling out what kind So, start by doing something. Go directof medical intervention you would accept? ly to the post office. Do not pass up an opHave you written down for her what type portunity to deal with your problems. of funeral you’d like, where your important © Helen Oxenberg, 2011. Questions to be papers are, etc.? considered for this column may be sent to: Instead of being angry or annoyed at The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, your daughter, thank her for this opportu- MD 20915. You may also email the author nity to help her come to terms with the re- at To inquire about ality of life and death issues. reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.


Mar. 19+

SAIL THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN Cruise on The Enchantment of the Seas to the Dominican

To learn more about the free equipment, including hands-free phones, amplified phones, voice activated phones and more, simply call Maryland Relay Customer Service at 1-800-552-7724. You may also visit our website, Click on Free Equipment for more information on how to apply

Republic, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Tortola with the Pikesville Senior center from Monday, March 19 through Saturday, March 31. Call (410) 484-5285 for more details and pricing.

Dec. 27

COUNTDOWN TO NEW YEAR’S EVE Bring in the New Year with friends at the Edgemere Senior Center. The event on Tuesday, Dec. 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

includes finger foods, hats, tiaras, blowers and music. The center is located at 6600 N. Point Rd. The party costs $5. Make your reservation in advance by calling (410) 887-7530.

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Health Studies Page



Memory study seeks Parkinson’s patients Parkinson’s disease affects about 1 million people in the United States and Canada. Most people begin to develop symptoms in their late 50s or early 60s, although the condition can occur in younger people. Parkinson’s disease affects the brain’s ability to produce dopamine — the neurotransmitter that permits brain cells responsible for motor control to communicate. Physical symptoms include tremor, muscle rigidity and slowness of movement. There are also non-motor symptoms, such as changes in memory ability, sleep disturbances and depressed mood. Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center have launched a study of exercise and computerized memory training to see if those activities may help people with Parkinson’s disease avoid memory changes. The type of memory that will be examined is known as “executive function,” which allows people to take in information and use it in a new way. Many Parkinson’s patients develop problems with executive function, which can prevent them from working and may eventually require a caregiver to take over more of the complex tasks of daily living.

Can computers and treadmills help? “Studies of normal aging show that memory and executive function can be improved with exercise, such as walking several days a week,” said Dr. Karen Anderson, principal investigator and an assistant

professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She added, “We want to see if exercise can slow or reverse some of these memory changes in Parkinson’s patients. We will also investigate whether a computer game designed to improve executive function may make a difference as well. “The other question is, what happens when you put these two interventions together — if there is memory improvement, will it be even better [with both] than with one of the interventions? Or is it more efficient to do just one or the other?”

Participating in the study The researchers plan to enroll about 90 patients between the ages of 40 and 90. They will be randomly divided into three groups: exercisers walking on a treadmill, memory game players, and those doing both exercise and memory games. Participants in each group will receive a memory assessment at the beginning of the study. They will come in three times a week for their training for three months and will then be tested again. Three months after that, the researchers will test the participants again to see if there may be longer-term benefits to the training. “Parkinson’s patients are eager to know if there is anything they can do to give them greater control over their condition,” said Dr. Lisa Shulman, a professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and co-director of the Maryland Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center.

“Mobility and memory are the two key components to preserve independence. If these treatment strategies are found to be effective, we will learn important new approaches to delaying disability,” she said. The treadmill training will take place at the Baltimore VA Medical Center in the Maryland Exercise and Robotics Center of Excellence — a gym facility with specialized equipment for people with physical limitations or balance issues. For safety, participants will wear a safety harness while walking on the treadmill. Experi-

enced exercise physiologists will supervise each training session. The computerized memory training game will take place both at the VA and University of Maryland School of Medicine. The researchers have conducted similar studies in stroke patients. That research found that regular exercise on a treadmill can improve stroke patients’ walking ability even years after they’ve had a stroke. Parkinson’s patients interested in enrolling in the exercise and memory study may call (443) 827-0677.

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

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

Knee arthritis pain?


Jan. 10


Join the Parkville Senior Center as members travel to the Delaware Park Casino on Tuesday, Jan. 10. A ticket costs $27, but includes $30 free play. Call (410) 882-6087.

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

• Health evaluation • Balance, step, strength, and/or flexibility exercises • Compensation for your time If interested call: 410-605-7179 & Mention code: LIFT at

Volunteers are needed for a research study conducted at Johns Hopkins Bayview To study sleep in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. To participate, you must be 50 years or older. Both good and poor sleepers are needed. Parking, and tests are provided at no cost. Compensation is provided.

Call 410-550-7906

Baltimore VA/University of Maryland Gerontology Recruitment Line

and/or visit the website at

*You must be at least 65 years old and in good health *Participants will be seen at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and University of Maryland School of Medicine *You will attend approximately 41 visits for 1 to 4 hours each per visit


Principal Investigator: Michael T. Smith, Ph.D. Protocol NA_000118021

Approved 08/24/2009


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



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How much will Medicare cost you in 2012? By Jim Miller New Medicare premium, deductible and co-pay charges for 2012 were all announced recently, and the news was actually pretty good. Here’s a breakdown of what retirees can expect to pay for Medicare starting in January. For most Medicare beneficiaries who enrolled in 2009 or earlier, your monthly premiums for Part B (which covers doctor visits and outpatient care) will increase only $3.50 to $99.90 in 2012. That’s much less than was predicted by the government earlier in the year. The increase is the first in four years for most people with Medicare, mainly because of the federal law that freezes Part B premiums when there’s no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which was the case in 2010 and 2011. But, Social Security recently announced a 3.6 percent COLA for 2012. That 3.6 percent increase will boost monthly Social Security checks by an average of about $43 for retirees next year. So, even after your Part B premiums get deducted from your Social Security checks, you’ll still have about $40 more every month.

Some premium prices drop The news for younger retirees is even better. Medicare Part B beneficiaries who enrolled in 2010 and have been paying $110.50 per month, and those that enrolled this year who are currently paying $115.40 per month, will see their Part B premiums go down to $99.90. And for high-income beneficiaries, who’ve been paying higher Part B premiums because their annual incomes are more than $85,000 (or $170,000 for joint filers), they too, will see their monthly Part B premiums drop in 2012. Here’s a breakdown of what they will pay next year based on their income level: • Individuals with incomes of $85,000 to $107,000, or married couples filing joint tax returns with incomes of $170,000 to

$214,000 will pay $139.90 per person per month for Part B. That’s a $21.60 monthly reduction from this year’s premium. • Individuals earning $107,000 to $160,000, or married couples with incomes of $214,000 to $320,000, will pay $199.80 – a $30.90 monthly reduction. • Individuals with incomes of $160,000 to $214,000, or couples with incomes of $320,000 to $428,000, will pay $259.70 – a $40.20 monthly reduction. • Individuals earning over $214,000 or couples above $428,000 will pay $319.70 each per month for Part B. That’s $49.40 less per month than this year. Other Medicare changes you need to know about that will affect all beneficiaries includes the Part B deductible, which will be $140 in 2012, a decrease of $22. And the deductible for Part A, which covers inpatient hospital care, will rise by $24, to $1,156 next year. For more information on all the Medicare premiums and coinsurance rates for 2012, see or call 1-800-633-4227.

ductibles. To find out if you qualify, contact your local Medicaid office (call 1-800-6334227 for local numbers). Send your senior questions to: Savvy Sen-


Jan. 4

Celebrate 2012 a few days after the year begins with Essex Senior Center. The event on Wednesday, Jan. 4 starts with an appetizer station from 4 to 4:30 p.m. plus a champagne toast. The dinner menu prepared by the chef from Riverview Rehab and Health Center includes shrimp scampi, tossed salad, chicken and sausage jambalaya, and peaches flambé over ice cream. Tickets are limited and must be purchased by Dec. 30. Tickets are $12 for members and $15 for guests. The center is located at 600 Dorsey Ave., Baltimore. For more information, contact Ben Hoffman at (410) 887-0267.

Gentle Foot Care in Your Home Diabetic foot exams Corns/calluses Wound/infection care Toenail fungus Dr. Richard Rosenblatt DPM

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Jan. 8


Help with premiums If you’re a high-income beneficiary and your income has fallen since 2010 (the tax year used to determine your 2012 premiums), you may be able to reduce or eliminate your Medicare Part B premium surcharge. To qualify, your income loss must be tied to a life-changing event, such as a marriage or divorce, a job loss or reduced work hours (including retirement), loss of income from income-producing property, or cuts in pension benefits. To learn more, see And for lower-income retirees who are having a difficult time paying their Medicare costs, help is available through Medicare Savings Programs. These are Medicaid-administered programs that pay Part B premiums and, depending on your finances, may even pick up the tab on your copayments and de-

ior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior book.

AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS This delightful family opera will be presented at St. John the

Evangelist Catholic Church, 13305 Long Green Pike, Hydes on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. The ticket cost is $10, or $25 for the entire family. Reserve your seats at (410) 592-6206 or

Jan. 6

BONE DENSITY SCREENING Find out if you are at risk for osteoporosis by participating in a

free bone density screening at Essex Senior Center on Friday, Jan. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon. The center is located at 600 Dorsey Ave. Make your appointment at the


Oak Crest



front desk or call (410) 887-0267. 7699350

Assisted Living t Dementia Care t Nursing Care Inpatient & Outpatient Rehab


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

A passion for food leads to a new career An early focus on food Bunjon’s passion for food was originally inculcated by her family during her childhood. Growing up, Bunjon recalled, her family would come to the table for dinner and share their news of the day. “There were no smartphones, no texting, no TV,” she said. “It was just all of us eating together. And this, to me, was an expression of love.” As a young single woman, Bunjon enjoyed trying out new recipes on friends and neighbors. “It’s no fun cooking for just one,” she said. Eventually — inspired by a similar club she read about elsewhere — she founded the Epicurean Club, which organized cooking classes in local restaurant kitchens. (The club operated for about 13 years.) After winding down her successful corporate PR career, Bunjon decided it was time for a change. “I wasn’t planning on retiring,” she said, “but with the house and the cars paid off, no kids and no debt, I thought it would be a good time to leave the security of a regular paycheck.” With her reinvented career as a business owner, Bunjon keeps a whirlwind of a schedule but couldn’t be happier. “At my age, I should be doing the things I love to do, not the things I ‘should’ be doing,” she said. One of those things, as we said, is cooking for others. So, twice a week she travels to Washington, D.C., at the break of dawn, to put in a full day as a kitchen assistant for a friend who prepares meals for visiting

scholars at the Cent e r f o r H e l l e ni c Studies. Bunjon will set up for lunch, prep the salad, cook or wash dishes…whatever is asked of her. “It’s not glamorous, but my friend is a great cook, so I eat well!” Bunjon also enjoys sharing her culinar y skills and knowledge with others. She serves as a board member for the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation, as a mentor to high school students studying for careers in the food industry at the Carver Center for the Arts and Dara Bunjon has parlayed her love of food into a home-based business. Among her activities are an award-winning blog, a Technology, and as a cookbook and mentoring culinary students. member of the national public relaWhy food’s a popular business tions committee for Women Chefs and To Bunjon, it is not surprising that so Restaurateurs. many people harbor fantasies of working “There are many great causes to be in- in the food business. Food pulls people tovolved with,” said Bunjon, “but most of my gether, Bunjon believes. “It’s something charities are food-related. My motivation is See FOOD, page 21 making sure that nobody’s plate is empty.” PHOTO BY VINCE LUPO – DIRECTION ONE

By Carol Sorgen Dara Bunjon is the first to admit that neither she nor her home would make the centerpiece of a style magazine. (“I’m a fashion don’t!” she laughed.) But what she does guarantee is that if you came to her home, you’d eat some really great food. Food has not only been a lifelong passion for the 64-year-old Pikesville resident, but has also fueled both her career and her charitable efforts. Professionally, Bunjon’s culinary endeavors have included being a regular cooking personality on WBAL-TV’s early news in Baltimore, serving as president of the Epicurean Club of Maryland, and working as marketing and public relations director for Vanns Spices. Then about six years ago, she gave the corporate world the heave-ho and started her own home-based business: Dara Does It — Creative Solutions for the Food Industry. Bunjon now applies her broad range of culinary skills as a food stylist on behalf of chefs and cookbook authors. She also plans culinary events and implements public relations and marketing activities for restaurateurs and food-related businesses. In addition, she is a contributing writer to Foodservice Monthly and, has written for numerous lifestyle publications, maintains an award-winning food-related blog called Dining Dish (she just posted her 1000th entry), and co-authored her first cookbook, Yum! Tasty Recipes from Culinary Greats.


Cars, boats, furniture, antiques, tools, appliances Everything and anything is sold on

Radio Flea Market Heard every Sunday, 6:30-8 a.m. on 680 WCBM


VOLUNTEER AT THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The mission of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce is to

promote, grow and sustain a diverse and healthy business community that will enrich the quality of life and enhance prosperity in the Baltimore region. To see how you can help, call (410) 825-6299 or visit


HELP WITH FOOD DONATIONS Volunteers at Eastern Interfaith sort, pack and distribute food to those in need in the Essex area. Through donations from local churches,

companies and the federal government, the group distributes more than 20,000 tons of food annually to more than 2,800 residents. The pantry is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Call (410) 391-6181 to volunteer.

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Political career From page 1 Republican to throw her proverbial hat in the ring and run for Congress as a Democrat. She is contesting the 1st Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Andy Harris. The district encompasses the Eastern Shore as well as parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford Counties. Rosen lives in Cockeysville. Though she has previously worked on political campaigns, Rosen has never run for office herself. Her opponent first successfully ran for office in 1998, but Rosen isn’t fazed by his experience. To the contrary. “I think the time has come to think twice about those who are

‘career politicians’ or lawyers,” said Rosen. (Harris himself is a physician.) To Rosen’s way of thinking, this is not the best training for coming up with creative and resourceful solutions for many of the challenges facing the country today. One issue Rosen is particularly vocal about is the need for enforcement of trade laws. She said that in today’s global economy, domestic manufacturers have to compete in a marketplace where most gifts, housewares, jewelry and accessories are marked with removable paper stickers — instead of permanent and indelible labels that indicate country of origin. She said that a law written more than 80 years ago — but all too often not enforced — requires permanent labels. Many retailers remove these stickers, leaving con-

sumers in the dark about where the products they are buying are actually made. “The injury is magnified when these labeling practices are used on imports that mimic the designs of American and Native American artisans,” she said. She believes that country-of-origin fraud has destroyed livelihoods by flooding markets with imports made to look like handmade baskets, Christmas ornaments, perfume bottles, paperweights and folk art. “Passed off as authentic, these deceptively labeled imports crowd domestic, locally produced, handmade and tribalmade goods off the shelves, driving the [authentic] makers out of business,” said Rosen. “If every consumer would spend just $3


more a day on something made in the U.S., we would see the creation of millions of jobs,” said Rosen, who is a strong proponent of buying local or searching for Americanmade goods on sites such as and From her kitchen table start-up 30 years ago, Rosen never would have foreseen entering the political arena. “I was never motivated to run for office before,” she said. “I thought I could get more accomplished doing what I was doing.” But whereas Rosen once believed that it was better to work outside the system to create change, she now thinks that change has to come from within. “We need some ‘right-brained’ people in Congress,” she said. “We need more creative solutions.”


Food From page 20 we can all relate to and we can all talk about.” There are numerous avenues into the food industry — from becoming a personal chef, to catering, to developing a product line and selling items online or through local stores. “The door is wide open if you have the skills and are passionate about what you do,” said Bunjon. She adds that it’s not necessary to know every detail about running a business. “Surround yourself with a good team that includes people who can support you,” she advised. “You don’t have to do everything yourself.” Still, she’s quick to point out that if you think you’re going to become a celebrity chef with your own TV show on the Food

Network, you should know from the outset the chances of that happening are slim! To really get to know the food business, Bunjon suggests asking a local restaurant if you can volunteer in its kitchen. “It’s challenging and physically demanding,” she said, “but you’ll get a great education.” One of the perks of Bunjon’s work is having the opportunity to meet some of the country’s most prominent chefs and dine in some of the poshest restaurants. But these days, Bunjon is just as happy to be at home with a pot of chicken stock or pasta sauce simmering on the stove, or eating at one of Baltimore’s local ethnic restaurants. “I’m all about back-to-basics now,” she said. “Nothing pleases me more than a simple boiled lobster or a bowl of soup. Simple food is really the best.”


Jan. 10+



VOLUNTEER WITH RAILROAD MUSEUM The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station is the

oldest surviving railroad station in America. Greeters, docents and interpreters greet visitors, present public programs and interpret museum exhibits and collections. The station is a living history site and volunteers are invited to dress in period clothing. The museum is located at 2711 Maryland Ave., Ellicott City. To learn more, call (410) 461-1945 or visit

Senior Apartments LIVE WELL FOR LESS Roland View Towers

Become an outreach volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association. Choose one of the following dates: Tuesday, Jan. 10, 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 12, 9 to 11 a.m., or Thursday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Training will take place at 1850 York Rd., Suite D, in Timonium. For more information, call (410) 561-9099 and ask for Sally Drumm.


HELP OUT AT THE HOSPITAL The Emergency Department at Northwest Hospital is looking for volunteers to support staff and provide customer services to pa-

tients and their families. Weekday and weekend hours are available. Training will be provided. The hospital is located at 5401 Old Court Rd., Randallstown. For more information, call (410) 521-5911.


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HISTORY BUFFS WANTED The Ballestone Preservation Society was founded to preserve the Ballestone-Stansbury House and the collection of American Decora-

tive Arts displayed in its recreated period rooms. Volunteers are dedicated to keeping the house open and to planning events. The house is located at 1935 Back River Neck Rd. Call (410) 686-5821 or visit

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You don’t have to be a VIP to take advantage of airport VIP lounges. See story on page 24.

Reasons to go to — or revisit — China generation. Automobiles now clog the streets of cities that were built when bicycles were the primary mode of transportation. Signs lining highways that once touted the benefits of socialism have been replaced by advertisements for designer clothes, luxury condominiums and the latest electronic gadgets. Vendors sell dumplings, noodles and other traditional street food off rickety wooden carts parked in front of KFC, McDonald’s and other imported fast food restaurants.


By Victor Block Throughout the city of Qufu (pronounced Chew-foo), China, numerous statues and posters depicting Confucius gaze out at the scene. If those portrayals were to come to life, they might frown at what is taking place in the birthplace of the venerated philosopher and teacher. Brought up in poverty some 2,500 years ago, Kong Fuzi — the Chinese name which from “Confucius” evolved — stressed that no laws or moral guidelines should be broken in the quest for wealth. Based on that counsel, some of his followers came to regard profit itself as immoral. Given current developments, that certainly isn’t true of most Chinese people today. As the nation evolved over the past 30 years from a state-controlled socialist economy to a partly capitalistic one — or, as the Chinese government puts it, “a socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics” — a dash for cash has become the goal of many, especially the younger

A land of contrasts


Even in the face of these and other changes, the “old” China lies beneath the veneer of rapidly expanding cities, and continues to keep many smaller towns and villages in the countryside firmly in its grasp. After all, it’s not easy to erase 5,000 years of history in a few decades. To my wife Fyllis and me, it is largely these and countless other contrasts that keep drawing us back to China, most recently for our ninth visit over the past 23 years. Anyone planning a trip to that fascinating country should consider including Shandong Province in their itinerary. Shandong, a coastal province, lies between Beijing (342 miles north of Qufu) and Shanghai (492 miles south of Qufu). Innumerable vestiges of China’s long history, which make Shandong Province a virtual museum of the country’s past, mingle with evidence of its frenzied transformation into a modern society. Some of Mother Nature’s most magnificent accomplishments compete for attention with myriad manmade treasures. In an area not much larger than Maryland, Residents of the small village of Hanqiao in China’s Shandong Province shuck corn, which will then be made into D.C. and Virginia combread. bined, visitors may enjoy

Germans occupied the city of Qingdao for 15 years, starting in the late 19th century, building houses with red-tiled roofs and establishing the brewery that makes Tsingtao beer. Qingdao was the host city for the 2008 Olympics sailing regatta.

much of what China has to offer, including attractions that should be included on any “must-see” list.

Confucius’ home town The life and teachings of Confucius serve as a magnet for tourists from all of China and the world. Americans whose familiarity with him is confined to sayings in fortune cookies may be surprised to learn that he was the author of what today is known as the Golden Rule. Among teachings he shared with his students was the admonition, “Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.” Exploring the city of Qufu immerses visitors in the life of the sage. The Temple of Confucius, originally built about the time of Kong Fuzi’s death, which most sources date to 479 B.C., occupies the site of the modest three-room home where his family lived. It has been expanded over hundreds of years to include 466 rooms and pavilions that sprawl over 46 acres. The adjacent Confucian Family Mansion, begun in 1038 A.D., is almost as vast. Now comprising 152 buildings, it has served as home to senior male heirs. The third major Confucian site is the largest family cemetery in the world, where the tombs of more than 100,000 descendants of Confucius surround his sim-

ple grave site. Thousands of ancient trees give the site a forest-like appearance. As the capital and transportation hub of Shandong Province, Jinan (Dze-nahn) is one logical starting point for a tour. Overseas visitors to this part of China usually fly to the capital city Beijing, then take one of the frequent domestic flights or highspeed trains to Jinan. Jinan is a large, bustling city perched in a valley near the Yellow Sea. Its major claim to fame is its reputation as a “City of Springs,” with more than 100 natural pools, many embellished with gardens and pavilions. In keeping with the Chinese propensity for colorful names, they include Five Dragon, Black Tiger and Racing Horses springs. A few hours outside Jinan is Mount Tai, a major destination for Chinese visitors as well as those from abroad. For at least 3,000 years, it has been a place of worship in both the Taoist and Buddhist religions. Many ancient emperors came to offer sacrifices at the mountain’s Jade Emperor Peak and Sun Viewing Peak. The latter, as its name implies, is a popular spot from which to watch the first rays of the morning sun. A treasure-trove of elaborate ancient pavilions, towers and stone inscripSee CHINA, page 23

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China From page 22 tions carved on cliffs cover the 5,069-foot high mountain. In my opinion, a number of other cities throughout Shandong Province have more to offer. For example, in addition to the famous beer that is produced in Qingdao (Ching-dow) and sold as Tsingtao, that city is known for an unexpected collection of buildings in German-style architecture. The bright red tiled roofs and half-timbered exteriors stand out from the surrounding Chinese-style structures. That juxtaposition resulted from 15 years of occupation of the port city by Germany beginning in 1898, not long after which (1903) the uninvited guests established the brewery. Given its location overlooking the Yellow Sea, Qingdao was the site of the sailing events during the 2008 Olympics held in China. The Olympic Sailing Center includes a museum devoted to that occasion. Wine, rather than beer, is the focus in and around Yantai (Yan-tie), known as “the city of grape wine.” While archaeological findings indicate that wine was used for sacrificial ceremonies in China as long as 9,000 years ago, modern production began in 1892, when the Changyu Pioneer Wine Company was established in Yantai. During the past 30 years, a number of other wine makers have found conditions for growing grapes around Yantai, and elsewhere in Shandong Province, to be beneficial. The growth of China’s middle class during the past three decades has provided a domestic market for locally made wine. Of approximately 500 wineries in the country, about 140 are located in Shandong Province. A number of them offer opportunities for tours and tastings. The Changyu Wine Culture Museum in Yantai is one popular stop. Even after taking more than our share of winery tours over the years, Fyllis and I found much of interest there. Never before had we descended to a wine cellar that was constructed more than 100 years ago, seen such an extensive display of primitive vessels used in ancient wine making, or observed almost eerily lifelike dioramas portraying such wine production activities as making aging oak barrels and cutting bark from cork trees to seal the bottles.

Village life As elsewhere in China, evidence of the nation’s split personality is everywhere throughout Shandong Province. In cities, modern office and condominium skyscrapers stretch as far as the eye can see. Members of the “millennial generation” sporting the latest fashions in trendy clothing are as glued to their cell phones as their counterparts in the United States. Yet, travel just a short distance outside any metropolitan area, and you also travel back in time. In many villages, tiny houses line narrow, labyrinthine dirt streets, and

people carry heavy loads on shoulder yokes as generations of their forebears did. In nearby farm fields, men and women till the soil with basic implements not very different from those used centuries ago. It was not far from Yantai that Fyllis and I delved into a sampling of such village life. Speeding over a six-lane divided highway toward our next destination, we spotted a tiny hamlet not far off the road and asked our guide if we could go there. Soon we were strolling through the narrow lanes of Hanqiao (Han-kwee-au), snapping pictures and nodding to villagers who stared at us with curiosity. Men and women of all ages were working in the streets, preparing corn to be made into meal for bread. Several people were breaking up tree branches that would become fuel during winter. A teenage boy tended a cabbage patch planted in a narrow strip of soil beside his modest house. Throughout China, in villages like Han-

qiao, life is little changed from decades ago and sometimes longer. Introductions to intriguing historical tidbits stretching much further back in time are available at a number of outstanding museums that proliferate in cities, towns and more isolated venues. We came upon one museum that is as interesting for its location as for what’s on display. The collection at the Museum of Ancient Chariots between Qufu and Yantai includes replicas of ancient horse-drawn carts that were used for tasks ranging from hauling crops and fighting wars to transporting emperors and other dignitaries. We found intriguing a camel-driving chariot of the type used in the Liao Dynasty (907-1125 A.D.), and oversize carts that were pulled by elephants brought from India. The star of the collection is a line of halfburied chariots, each attached to the skeleton of a horse by a harness. We learned that the chariots and horses, which had been drugged and buried alive, were placed

there some 2,600 years ago to transport a deceased dignitary to the next world. When workers constructing a highway dug into the burial chamber, the archaeological discovery was left intact and the road was completed above it. The loud rumble of cars and trucks passing overhead was a bit unnerving, until I was assured that the ceiling of the underground museum was adequately reinforced. With a history of pottery making dating back 8,000 years, it’s fitting that Shandong Province is home to a Museum of Pottery and Porcelain. Highlights include displays of very fine chinaware pieces that are as much works of art as functional items. Even more appealing to Fyllis and me was a whimsical collection of more than 3,000 clay pieces, stretching over 90 feet in length, depicting people engaged in every aspect of pottery making as it was done a century ago. The display also included jugSee CHINA, page 24

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Become an airport VIP at a sensible price For most of us, big airports are among the world’s most hostile environments. Crowds, noise, long lines, inadequate seating, and garbled announcements are the norm. Fortunately, even occasional travelers can avail themselves of the road warriors’ refuges: VIP airline lounges. Mostly, you’ll have to pay, but an oasis of calm can be worth a few bucks. Most large airlines maintain a chain of VIP lounges at their more important airports. Typically, they feature a quiet environment with comfortable seating. Most now offer drinks and snacks free of charge. For entertainment, they provide lots of magazines and newspapers, several TVs, computers with printer, and WiFi Inter-

net access. If you need help, most are staffed with agents who can arrange seat assignments, upgrades, cope with missed connections, and such — typically, more quickly than agents on the outside can. Most lounges are on the “air side” of security, near the sponsor airline’s terminal or gate area, but a few are “land side” as well.

Memberships and day passes If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably already know about the lounge programs of the big three domestic airlines. They pitch annual memberships, which provide unlimited access to lounges in their own system plus those of any lines

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belonging to their major alliance. • Priority Pass ( The drawback here is a very stiff yearly is the largest independent airport club opfee — typically $400 to $500 a eration, with more than 600 year for an individual and an participating lounges at more additional $200 or $300 for a than 300 airports worldwide, spouse. The fees are high including many in the U.S. enough to discourage once-orSome are airline-run lounges; twice-a-year vacation travelothers are independent VIP ers. Most large foreign lines centers. feature similar programs, also Priority Pass offers three at high prices. membership options: $99 a Smaller lines — including year plus $27 per visit; $249 Alaska, Hawaiian, Frontier per year, including 10 visits; TRAVEL TIPS and Virgin America — operate and $399 per year for unlimitBy Ed Perkins ed use; guests of members alsmall-scale lounge programs at somewhat lower fees, but even those are ways pay $27 for entry. • American Express Platinum Card propretty stiff. Fortunately, you don’t have to pony up vides no-charge access for you and up to $500 to get into a lounge for just one or two two guests at participating worldwide airtrips. Most of the big U.S. lines sell one- port lounges operated by American, Delta day membership passes for $40 to $50 a and US Airways on the day of flight when pop. You can buy them online or at the you’re ticketed on the airline, with locadoor. Some lines even let you pay with fre- tions in most big U.S. airports. This card quent flyer miles. also offers no-extra-charge enrollment in You’ll also see them advertised on eBay the top level of Priority Pass. or Craigslist. As I’m writing this, eBay is • Premium credit cards from Continenlisting one-day passes for Delta ($14.99 tal and United (soon to be combined) include admission to the combined lines’ bid) and United ($27.99 “buy it now.”) In addition, many airport-run lounge lounge clubs. • Diners Club gets you and guests into clubs around the world offer one-time access. Several websites, including UK-based more than 250 airport lounges around the Lounge Pass ( and world, but for a fee of around $30 each time. Obviously, if you’re really keeping costs TripExtras (, provide search functions listing to a minimum, a lounge club is an extravaairport lounges available on a one-time gance. But for many of you, finding added personal service plus peace, quiet and basis at major airports around the world. Participating lounges are a mix of air- comfort is well worth the cost. Try it once line and independent locations. Typical for yourself. Send e-mail to Ed Perkins at fees are in the range of $30 (officially Perkins’ new book for priced in pounds) per visit. small business and independent professionCredit card perks als, Business Travel When It’s Your Money, For many of you, however, a premium is now available through www.mybusicredit card or an independent program or may be the more useful approach: © Tribune Media Services

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A more open culture American tourists are welcome in China, and those who have been there before are likely to experience a new openness on the part of many people. While expressing love for their country and the same sense of patriotism common in the Unites States, several of the men and women whom we met felt free to voice some criticism of their government. We even heard some gentle jokes about their nation’s leaders.

In addition, some newspapers and magazines now print stories about protests throughout the country, as well as government officials who have been caught and punished for corruption — a freedom in journalism that was unheard of only a few years ago. The best way to visit China is on a group or individual guided tour, with Englishspeaking guides, accommodations and other arrangements provided. For more information or help planning a trip, log onto, or call Night Hawk Travel, which specializes in tourism to Shandong Province, at (800) 420-8858. Victor Block is a Washington, D.C.-based travel writer.

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Linda Lavin is busy off-Broadway and beyond. See story on page 29.

The Lion King roars back into Baltimore By Carol Sorgen Disney’s dazzling musical The Lion King is in residence at the Hippodrome Theatre until Jan. 8. I can understand how the many youngsters in the audience opening night might never have seen the stage production before, but I’m not sure how I have managed to miss it all these years. All I can say is, better late than never. And whether you have seen it before or not, it is well worth a look. Brilliantly colored African garb, lifelike masks and jaw-dropping puppetry create magic on the stage and bring the savannah to life. The score features music by Elton John and Tim Rice with music that blends

American popular song with African rhythms. Songs include the popular, Oscar-winning “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and “The Circle of Life.”

Journey to the throne For the handful of people who may not be familiar with either the Broadway musical or the movie on which it is based, the simple plot revolves around Simba, son of Mufasa, the Lion King. Mufasa’s brother, Scar, resents Simba, since he has replaced him as next in line for the throne. Time passes, and Scar has been plotting the deaths of his brother and nephew. Scar orchestrates a stampede and manages to kill Mufasa. He convinces Simba that Mu-




fasa’s death was Simba’s fault and urges him to run away and never return. Scar orders that Simba be killed, but the hyenas charged with the task decide to let him go instead. The remaining animals in the Prideland mourn the loss of their king and believe that Simba has been killed as well. Scar appoints himself ruler of the land. In the meantime, Simba, convinced that he is responsible for his father’s death, runs away, eventually finding a new home with Timon, a wisecracking meerkat, and Pumbaa, a big-hearted warthog. In the ensuing years, Scar’s heartless rule leads to devastation of the animals’ land, with starvation just around the corner. Simba’s childhood friend, Nala, now a young lioness herself, runs away from Scar’s rule (and his intentions of making her his bride), and stumbles across Simba. When they recognize each other, she tells him he must return and assume his rightful position as king. Still feeling guilty over his father’s death, Simba at first refuses, but eventually follows Nala back to his homeland. A battle with Scar ensues, Scar dies, and Simba assumes the throne. This being based on a Disney film that preceded the Broadway production, neither the simplicity of the story nor the happy ending can hardly be a surprise. But if the fairy tale plot is easy enough for a child to follow, it also carries enough messages of love, hope and perseverance

in the face of despair to resonate with audiences of any age. Though Baltimore audiences may not be familiar with the show’s actors, that’s not a cause for concern. The performers are uniformly strong, from J. Anthony Crane as the devious Scar to Dionne Randolph as the great warrior Mufasa, Jelani Remy as the lion prince Simba, and Syndee Winters as the loyal lioness Nala.

Special effects star But it is the costumes and stagecraft that makes The Lion King such a spectacular...well, spectacle without ever trying to deceive the audience. There is no attempt to cover up the wheels and cogs that make it all happen. The actors who control the puppets and wear the masks atop their heads are fully seen. In short, the audience is invited to blend the animal with the human. As Julie Taymor, director of the original production, explained, “When the human spirit visibly animates an object, we experience a special, almost life-giving connection. We become engaged by both the method of storytelling as well as the story itself.” From the gasps of admiration from the wide-eyed kids to the almost as unbelieving adults, it is evident that The Lion King has lost none of its mesmerizing appeal See LION KING, page 27



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In the stage musical The Lion King, actors wear masks atop their heads, blending human and animal. The Disney spectacle based on the movie of the same name continues at the Hippodrome through Jan. 8.

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Lifelong learning classes from A to Z By Carol Sorgen If the winter doldrums are setting in, it may be time to stretch both your legs and your mind at any of a number of continuing education programs offered around town. From aerobics to zoology, there is sure to be something to pique your interest. Here are just a few to consider. Call those of interest for more details, including topics, dates, times and fees. Osher Lifelong Learning The mission of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Towson University is to offer adults 50 and older opportunities for continued learning, along with programs and activities for social and cultural enrichment in a congenial and supportive environment. Courses are offered in such areas as the fine arts, movies, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, languages, current events, and a book club. Attend a preview of the classes on Jan. 19, at Goucher College, Merrick Lecture Hall, 1021 Dulaney Valley Rd. Check in begins at 9:30 a.m., and the free program is from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information or to make a reservation, call (410) 704-3688. To get more general information about Osher, call (410) 704-3535, email, or visit Renaissance Institute at Notre Dame

of Maryland University The Renaissance Institute is an active group of men and women 50 and over who are interested in pursuing lifelong learning and intellectual growth. Courses include public affairs, literature, writing, history, philosophy, music, art, languages, t’ai chi, film, science, computers, water aerobics, dance and acting, and more. For more information, call Linda Kuehn at (410) 532-5351, email, or visit Kaleidoscope Lifelong Learning at Roland Park Country School The goal of Kaleidoscope is to foster a lifelong love of learning. More than 100 Kaleidoscope programs with more than 1,000 participants are held each semester in the fall, spring and summer. Programs include book talks; local, regional and international travel; creative pursuits; technology; culinary arts; personal development; and more. For more information, call (410) 323-5500 ext. 309 or visit Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) The School for Professional and Continuing Studies at this renowned art school offers a wide range of fine arts and design courses, as well as professional development opportunities for creative professionals. Continuing study classes are offered in the

Lion King

favor and catch it this time around. You won’t be sorry. Ticket prices start at $25 and are available at the Hippodrome Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster outlets, by calling Ticketmaster at (410) 547-7328), or online at For a complete listing of performance dates and times, log on to

From page 26 since it first opened on Broadway in 1997 and earned six Tony Awards. The play has also earned more than 70 other major arts awards and it’s easy to see why. The Lion King last played in Baltimore in 2005. If you missed it then, do yourself a






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fields of photography; drawing, painting and general fine arts; ceramics, fibers and sculpture; printmaking; and jewelry (there is also a jewelry certificate course). To learn more, call (410) 669-9200 or visit Continuing Education at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) Life enrichment classes for all ages run the gamut from arts to boating, fitness, outdoor activities, crafts, health and wellness, hobbies, languages and more. There is a separate division for seniors, with courses offered in such areas as the arts, computer, history/politics, and humanities and culture. For more information, call (443) 840-4700 or visit Women’s Institute of Torah The Rebbetzin Frieda K. Hirmes Women’s Institute of Torah (WIT) provides continuing education courses and programs to the women of the Baltimore Jewish community. Courses and programs are designed to enhance personal knowledge and enrich one’s Jewish experience. Special lectures and a book club are also offered. For more information, call (410) 358-2545, email, or visit www.witbalti- Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies The Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS) is a non-profit organization that concentrates on disarming religious hatred and establishing models of interfaith understanding. Founded in 1987 by an interfaith coalition of laity and clergy, the ICJS offers a variety of educational programs that highlight the distinctiveness of the Christian and Jewish traditions and confront the misunderstandings that have evolved in the communities. To learn more, contact Mary Krastel at or (410) 494-7161, or visit Odyssey Non-Credit Liberal Arts Programs at Johns Hopkins University Odyssey has a wide selection of courses, workshops and lecture series delivered by JHU faculty and community experts. Personal enrichment programs are offered in fields ranging from science to art, writing to photography. For more information, call (410) 516-4842, email, or visit


Dec. 29


Magician Mike Rose entertains members of Jacksonville Senior Center and their guests on Thursday, Dec. 29 at 11 a.m. The center is located at 3605A Sweet Air Rd., Phoenix, Md. For more information, call Barbara Franke at (410) 887-8208.



Local film director and photographer David Simpson has opened an art gallery inside Greetings & Readings of Hunt Valley. The street-front gallery space will feature local artists, including Simpson, who has published the best-selling book, Loch Raven Photography. For more information, visit


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Linda Lavin on her busy career, new CD

A meaty starring role In the dark comedy The Lyons, Lavin played the mother of a family grappling with the impending death of its patriarch. It is a central role, one not offered by Follies or Other Desert Cities, and it deeply moved Lavin. “I love a short run [the play closed in late November], and I love being in on something at the beginning. So this offer, when it came, was a perfect time,” she said. “Nicky’s play offered more meat on the bones, and it was something I absolutely had to do.” Decision made, she had to walk away from Follies, in which she was singing the iconic song “Broadway Baby,” and from Baitz’s play, in which she played a lefty alcoholic. Her part in the Sondheim musical was given to Jayne Houdyshell, and Judith

Light took her part in the play for Broadway. Lavin said Light is a wonderful actress who will do “great justice” to the role she left. As for Follies, Lavin calls it like doing a beloved rock show. “It’s The Rocky Horror Show of Broadway,” she said. “The shows are much bigger than my participation.” Mark Brokaw, who directed Lavin in The Lyons, was happy to have her. “It’s a fantastic role with great range, and [we were] so happy to have her because she is a serious actress with fantastic comic chops.”

A CD of favorite songs When the discussion veers to her new album, Lavin brightens even more. Backed by a jazz band, she sings 12 favorite songs, including “Two for the Road,” “It Might As Well Be Spring” and “You’ve Got Possibilities.” “Look at me,” she said, beaming. “I’m like a child about it.” [Lavin celebrates the release of the album with a concert at Birdland jazz club in New York City on December 5, where she will be joined by three of her co-stars from The Lyons.] With Lavin’s twist on standards, the CD boasts two notable additions: liner notes by Hal Prince, whom she calls her first mentor, and drumming by Steve Bakunas, who happens to be Lavin’s husband. Prince gave Lavin her first big break while directing the Broadway musical It’s a Bird ... It’s a Plane ... It’s Superman. She went on to earn a Tony nomination in Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers in 1969, and the Tony for another Simon play in 1987, Broadway Bound. In between, she starred in “Alice,” singing the theme song and becoming an icon for working moms. She and Bakunas, an artist, musician and her third husband, have been together for 13 years and make their home in Wilmington, N.C., where they converted an old automotive garage into the 50-seat Red Barn Studio Theatre. It opened in 2007 and their productions include Doubt by John Patrick Shanley, Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet, Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire, and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife by Charles Busch, in which Lavin also starred on Broadway.




From page 30.




Lavin in recent years has been at Lincoln Center in Paul Rudnick’s comedy The New Century, and earned a Tony nomination last year for her role in Donald Margulies’ Collected Stories. She has also been refining her concert show Songs & Confessions of a One-Time Waitress. Lavin said she’s finally re-emerging after struggling with too few roles offered to women over 40. She quotes a verse from Sondheim: “First you’re another sloe-eyed vamp/Then someone’s mother/Then you’re camp.” She has not gotten to camp, but she has played Jennifer Lopez’s grandmother in The Back-Up Plan. When she is asked for

a es ift! k a g M at e gr

guidance from up-and-coming actresses, Lavin stresses one thing. “I won’t give advice — I don’t believe in it. I believe in experience and sharing that,” she said. “I say that what happened for me was that work brings work. As long as it wasn’t morally reprehensible to me, I did it.” Now she is in the enviable position of having to turn down work. “I think it’s really, really good fortune and the fact that there are writers out there who know the value of women and what women have to say,” she said. “I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m happy to eat it up while it’s here.” — AP

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Linda Lavin, who recently starred in the off-Broadway play The Lyons, has also recently released a CD of her favorite jazz songs. Last year, she performed in the Kennedy Center’s production of Follies.




By Mark Kennedy Linda Lavin was in two well-received productions last season that are on Broadway this fall: Follies at the Kennedy Center and Other Desert Cities at Lincoln Center. So which one is she doing in New York? Neither. Lavin instead took a strong part in Nick Silver’s new play The Lyons, which opened off-Broadway in October at the Vineyard Theater. “There’re absolutely no regrets. This is a great part. I don’t know when I’ve been this satisfied with one role,” Lavin said over a breakfast of yogurt and fresh fruit. “I’ve never gotten final closure like I do with this character.” Lavin, 74, is these days basking in a burst of renewed attention, decades after the Golden Globe- and Tony Award-winning actress put on a paper hat to play a waitress in Mel’s Diner on the long-running TV sit-com “Alice” (1976-1985). “That’s just the most amazing thing for me. I’m being invited to all these parties at this stage in my life and my career,” she said. “I’m feeling very, very lucky.” Besides the Stephen Sondheim musical and Jon Baitz’s play about a dysfunctional family wrestling with a deep secret, Lavin has finished a movie, the coming Wanderlust with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, and has just released her first CD, “Possibilities.”



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Crossword Puzzle Daily crosswords can be found on our website: Click on Puzzles Plus Udder Nonsense by Stephen Sherr 1














19 22 27





36 40


37 42















Across 1. Car sticker stat. 4. Gently removes tears 8. Brainstorm 12. 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, for example 13. Vogue rival 14. Ivy League school 15. Norse god of war 16. Lanky 17. Cherished 18. Dairy farmer’s conclusion to “To err is human” 21. Duke ___ 22. Competed in a marathon 23. Excessively 26. Mayberry ___ 27. Future milk and cream producers 31. Competitor to Google 32. Catches a glimpse of 33. Clearasil target 36. Play about Capote 38. The Sun ___ Rises 39. Comments by 10 Down 42. Alders and others 45. She never missed a day of giving milk 47. Orthodontist’s org. 50. 1960’s radical grp. 51. Mai ___ 52. Hammy actor 54. Knew about Holsteins 58. Sing like Bing 60. Juicy gossip 61. Sufferer of 33 Across, often 62. Guns and butter 63. Confederate, Robert ___ 64. “Como ___ usted?” 65. Neither neighbors 66. Blonde-ified 67. Numbered rd.












51 54











31 33




Scrabble answers on p. 29.


2. Prepared (as a pump) 3. Columbus’s birthplace 4. Barbarous barberess 5. Pub potables 6. Spill the beans 7. Spanish teacher, often 8. Monopoly token 9. Fit together 10. Lamb’s ma 11. Ampersand meaning 12. Go on a car trip 14. Window covers 19. Killer whale 20. Weathercock 24. Bullfight shouts 25. “There’s the respect that makes calamity ___ long life” (Hamlet) 28. Movie studio area 29. Specialty 30. Tax savin’ mavens 31. Once around the sun 33. Basics 34. Oaf 35. PBS show, since 1975 37. Coffee server 40. Rams’ opponents in Super Bowl XXXIV 41. Prepare for a bout 43. Removed a DVD 44. Author Bombeck 46. Teased 47. Bear witness 48. Computer key 49. Hockey hall 53. The weasel complains “Its always one tting or tte ___” 55. Long, long times 56. Opposite of dry, to a cosmetologist 57. On the house 58. Anderson Cooper’s channel 59. Tigger’s pal

1. Pyramid schemer

Answers on page 29.

Jumble Answers Jumbles: LYING INLET REBUKE BEHIND Answer: The scouts gathered wood because they had a "BURNING" NEED


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

Wishbone: The Lucky Break

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


Jan. 20


Have fun remembering the lyrics and music from all those old TV shows, from the ‘50s through the ‘80s. The shows might not have been very good, but the songs and music are now classics. The free event at the Cockeysville Senior Center, 10535 York Rd., Cockeysville, takes place on Friday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. and is open to the community. Call (410) 887-7694 for more information.



The Baltimore Museum of Art hosts this exhibit called “Interior Worlds” of 13 works by acclaimed international contemporary German photographer Candida Hoffer. Visit or call (410) 3967101 for more information. The BMA is located on Art Museum Drive.



The Evergreen Museum and Library of Johns Hopkins University hosts the exhibit “Intimate Earth: The Art of Louise Wheatley,” through Jan. 12. The exhibit includes drawings, prints, reliefs and micro tapestries by the Maryland artist. The museum is located at 4545 N. Charles St. For more information, call (410) 516-0341 or visit


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Simple navigation, so you never get lost!

designed for SENIORS Big Bright Screen One-touch “zoom” magnification No bulky tower

Have you ever said to yourself “I’d love to connection. Then you’ll see the get a computer, if only I could figure out screen. This is a completely new how to use it.” Well, you’re not alone. operating system, without the Computers were supposed to make our cluttered look of the normal computer lives simpler, but they’ve gotten so screen. The “buttons” on the screen are complicated that they are not worth the easy to see and easy to understand. All you trouble. With all of the “pointing and do is touch one of them, from the Web, clicking” and “dragging and dropping” Email, Calendar to Games– you name it… you’re lucky if you can figure out where and a new screen opens up. It’s so easy to you are. Plus, you are constantly worrying use you won’t have to ask your children or about viruses, spam and freeze-ups. If this grandchildren for help. Until now the sounds familiar, we have great I just wanted to tell firstSTREET that I am very people who news for you. There is finally a having a great time on my WOW Computer. could benefit computer that’s designed for I am learning something new everyday. I am simplicity and ease of use. It’s 79 years old and cannot believe that I am most from Email, the WOW Computer, and it was typing and sending e-mails to all my friends and the Internet now. My daughter and granddaughter are are the ones designed with you in mind. This computer is easy-to-use, so excited now that I have a computer. They that have had worry-free and literally puts the use computers on their jobs everyday, but the hardest time they cannot believe what you can do on world at your fingertips. From this computer. It is wonderful... Thanks. accessing it. Now, thanks to the the moment you open the – Johnnie E., Ellijay, Ga WOW Computer, box, you’ll realize how different the WOW Computer is. The components countless older Americans are discovering are all connected; all you do is plug it into the wonderful world of the Internet every an outlet and your high-speed Internet day. Isn’t it time you took part? Call now, …”surf” the internet Get current weather & news.

…send and receive emails, and video chat Keep up with family and friends.

and a patient, knowledgeable product expert will tell you how you can try it in your home for 30 days. Call today.

Call now for our special introductory price! Please mention promotional code 43854.


…play games online hundreds to choose from!

80199 Copyright © 2011 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All rights reserved.


January 2012 Baltimore Beacon Edition  

January 2012 Baltimore Beacon Edition

January 2012 Baltimore Beacon Edition  

January 2012 Baltimore Beacon Edition