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The Howard County



VOL.1, NO.4




More than 25,000 readers throughout Howard County

Awards honor those who give

Publisher recognized The Commission on Aging’s Benchmark Award for Business went to Mary McGraw, who founded and edited Generations, a monthly publication for seniors, caregivers, and the organizations that provide services to support their needs. The Office on Aging’s monthly publication “The Senior Connection” was inserted in Generations for many years. After a 10-year run, McGraw ceased publishing Generations earlier this year, but the award citation noted that “its legacy continues to serve as a benchmark for other community publications serving the 50-plus population.” Following several successful years in Howard County, Generations expanded

5 0 JULY 2011

I N S I D E …


By Anne Ball The sound of the lilting singing of nearly a dozen women strumming their own accompaniment on Korean chromaharps filled Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church. Meanwhile, other older Korean-Americans displayed their paintings and photographs in the church hall, while another group showed off their newfound computer prowess. During a ceremony in June, these enrollees in the Bethel Senior Academy celebrated completion of a year’s work in a variety of subjects offered by this continuing education program for older Korean-Americans. Inaugurated in 2002 with seven subjects and 56 participants, the Academy now offers a 24-subject curriculum and enrolls more than 200 participants each semester. Without access to the program, many of them would be isolated and disconnected due to language and cultural barriers. The program was just one of five honorees at the second annual Howard County Commission on Aging Recognition Awards that promote successful aging in the county. Other winners included Mary McGraw, founder and editor of the Howard Countybased Generations newspaper; Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Tau Pi chapter, whose members bring live music to older adults in the county; Don Nicholson, for his work with the homeless communities of Howard County and Baltimore City; and his wife, Sue Nicholson, a potter who organizes Empty Bowls, the annual event to benefit the county’s homeless.


VO L U N T E E R S & C A R E E R S

Oprah showers gifts and recognition on nonprofit founded by Ellicott City resident page 24

ARTS & STYLE Rev. Sung-Ki Lim teaches students computer skills at the Bethel Senior Academy, a program for older adults offered by the Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church in Ellicott City. More than 24 subjects are taught at the continuing education program. The Academy was one of five honorees recognized at the annual Howard County Commission on Aging Recognition Awards.

Get your fill of live theater this summer; plus, a mid-life author laments the passing of her formerly hot life, and Dick Van Dyke writes his memoirs page 26

into Anne Arundel County, and each paper served a circulation of close to 14,000 in each county, McGraw recalled. “I decided to stop publishing the paper for a number of reasons,” McGraw said. “Although I was able to sustain profitability during the start of the recession in 2008 to 2010, I didn’t foresee the economy recovering. Newspapers were on a fast slide downhill. “My brother ‘TJ’ McGraw, the editor, wanted to retire. I needed to find new offices, and my long-standing printer closed their doors. It seemed the handwriting was on the wall,” she concluded with a laugh. After Generations closed, the Beacon began publishing a Howard County edition, which

also includes “The Senior Connection.” (Copies are available at the same sites where Generations was distributed as well as others.) McGraw continues to live in the Ellicott City area and remains active in a number of civic organizations in the county. She is also doing community outreach for the Elizabeth Cooney Care Network in Baltimore, a nursing referral service for individuals, families and facilities.

Music for a cause Another honoree was the Tau Pi chapter of Omega Psi Phi, a service fraternity See AWARD WINNERS, page 25

FITNESS & HEALTH k Why we cry k Popular drugs going generic


THE SENIOR CONNECTION 16 k Howard County Office on Aging newsletter LAW & MONEY k Index funds gain ground k An upside to pricey gas?




J U L Y 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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Getting to know you I want to sincerely thank you for reading again on the facing page). But we’d really this issue of the Beacon. like to hear from more of you. This is only our fourth Why, you ask? month to publish a Howard Well, two reasons, really. County edition of the Beacon, First, it helps us tailor our conand we have been so pleased tent more appropriately when to see that more than 12,000 we know what interests our copies have been picked up readers and better understand each month from our 290 who you are. That’s why we free distribution sites ask what you think of our artithroughout the county. cles and sections, and what As a result, we are increasother topics interest you. ing our circulation to 14,000 FROM THE But we also are surveying copies this month. We thank PUBLISHER you about the purchases you you for the warm welcome By Stuart P. Rosenthal expect to make, how often and your eagerness to read you eat out and travel, and our publication. about your education and income. Some We have also begun to get feedback readers don’t like to supply such personal from some of you — such as suggestions information, and we understand that. of other locations to leave free copies, topIt’s important to us, however, because ics for feature stories, and letters to the ed- as a free publication, we rely on paid aditor with compliments and constructive vertising to underwrite the substantial criticism. costs we incur to write, edit, print and disA few of you have also completed and tribute thousands of copies of the Beacon returned the survey form we have printed each month. in the past two issues (and that we repeat You see, advertising constitutes our

Beacon The






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The Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to inform, serve, and entertain the citizens of Howard County, and is privately owned. Subscriptions are available via third-class mail ($12), prepaid with order. Maryland residents add 6 percent for sales tax. Send subscription order to the office listed below.

only source of revenue. When you tell us what your purchasing habits are and the types of items you are interested in buying, not only can we attract more advertising revenue, we can more easily seek out appropriate advertisers for you. After all, we want you to find the ads here to be for products and services you will find pertinent and helpful. When you find what you’re looking for in the Beacon, and our advertisers find willing customers there, too, our paper can survive and grow. And as we grow, the quantity and quality of information you find in the Beacon will also grow. So if you haven’t already done so, we ask that you please take a moment to complete the survey on page 3 and mail it back to us. All replies will be entered into a random drawing for $100 (and your odds of winning are probably considerably higher than for most raffles or drawings you may have entered). By the way, the information you share will be kept completely confidential. We also do not associate your answers with your personal information or share your

P.S. Congratulations to the following survey respondents who won tickets to see Ben Vereen in our May reader survey drawing: James Hunter of Clarksville, Rosa Whyte of Ellicott City, Ronald Hausman of Baltimore, Don Wallace of Glenwood, and Evelynne Corbi of Elkridge.

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. BEACON BITS

June 22+

STROKE SUPPORT GROUP The Stroke Survivors Support Group of Howard County General

Hospital meets the fourth Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Beginning with the June 22 session, the location is changing to the hospital’s Bolduc

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.

Family Outpatient Center at the hospital, 10710 Charter Dr., Suite 100, Columbia. For more information or to register, call the stroke program coordinator at (410) 884-4641.

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


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

ONLINE RESOURCE DIRECTORY The Maryland Community Services Locator website,, is an interactive online directory that helps com-

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

munity members locate services that provide assistance with substance abuse,

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

particular responses with any third parties or advertisers. We only aggregate all replies into general statistics. One more thing: whenever you do call one of our advertisers, or stop by their location, please let them know you saw their ad in the Beacon. It’s often difficult for advertisers to know if their print advertising works because they are reluctant to ask customers how they heard of them. So please save them the trouble, and take the initiative: thank our advertisers for using the Beacon. And in turn, we thank you for reading, for returning our survey, and for letting us know how we can do our job better.

2010 Outstanding Publication Award

short-term housing, job readiness, adult education, health/mental health, emer-

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

gency food assistance, family assistance, victim services and more. For more in-

• Graphic Designer ..............................Kyle Gregory

formation, call (301) 405-9796 or visit the website.

• Advertising Representatives ............Ron Manno, ............................................Doug Hallock, Steve Levin • Intern....................................................Emily Hatton


AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE U.S. CAPITOL "From Freedom’s Shadow: African Americans & the United States Capitol" will be on display at the Benjamin Banneker Museum

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

through November. The free exhibit depicts the journey of African Americans from

Submissions: The Beacon welcomes reader contributions. Deadline for editorial and advertising is

slavery to freedom and political representation in the U.S. Capitol. The museum is

the 1st of the month preceding the month of publication. See page 31 for classified advertising details. Please mail or e-mail all submissions.

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located at 300 Oella Ave. and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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J U L Y 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Health Fitness &

SLEEP MORE TO WEIGH LESS Get seven hours of sleep or more each night to help control your weight CALCIUM CONCERNS A recent study found supplements can raise the risk of heart attacks STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES Gardening can help reduce pain, lower blood pressure and burn calories NEVER HAD CHILDREN? UMBC researchers want to interview women over 65 without children

Why we cry: studying a most human trait We expect babies and children to cry, but U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s well-chronicled weepiness is a reminder that adults (including menfolk) shed plenty of tears, too. Grief, personal conflict, and feelings of inadequacy are among the main reasons, but grown-ups also fill buckets at weddings, graduations and reunions because they are so happy. Having a good cry every now and then may not be a bad idea. But crying too easily — or for no apparent reason — can be a symptom of brain damage from a neurological condition like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) or multiple strokes. Crying is a big topic in scientific research today. Here’s a quick rundown on three areas of investigation.

Crying and tears Other animals whimper in distress, but humans are believed to be the only species wired so that strong emotions provoke the

shedding of tears. Dr. William H. Frey II, an Alzheimer’s researcher in St. Paul, Minn., who has studied tears as a sideline, reported in the early 1980s that tears provoked by emotion contain higher levels of proteins and the mineral manganese than the normal teary fluid that protects and lubricates our eyes. Earlier this year, Israeli researchers reported results in the journal Science that suggested tears are capable of sending chemical signals. They conducted an experiment that involved having men sniff both women’s tears (collected from women who watched sad movies) and a saline solution. They couldn’t distinguish between them by smell, but other tests showed that the men reacted differently to a whiff of the real tears. Their testosterone levels dipped, and brain scans showed less activity in areas associated with sexual arousal. The researchers’ theory: women’s tears may counteract men’s aggressive tendencies. Others, including Darwin himself, have

speculated on the role of tears in evolution and natural selection. Tears, it has been said, are a clear signal of vulnerability, so they may have helped create emotional bonds that kept human communities together and therefore conferred some reproductive advantages.

Crying to feel better Strong emotions bring on crying, but crying also often seems to release built-up stress and tension. The notion that crying may have a beneficial cathartic effect goes back to the Greeks and Romans, and Freud wrote about a large part of an emotion disappearing if it’s expressed. Numerous surveys and questionnairebased studies show people believe they feel better after crying — and not just in this country. Half of the respondents in a large international study (4,200 young adults from 30 countries) reported that they felt better mentally after crying, compared with how they felt beforehand. About 40 percent felt

the same, and the remaining 10 percent felt worse. However, when researchers have studied crying in a laboratory setting, using sad movies to elicit tears (they call them tearjerkers for a reason), they’ve found just the opposite: Criers feel worse, not better, than noncriers exposed to the same stimulus. There are any number of explanations for the inconsistency. People may feel bad right after crying, when lab measurements are made, but better about the episode as time goes on, particularly if beliefs about the benefits of “having a good cry” are widely held. But perhaps the best and most obvious explanation for the discrepancy is that crying outside a lab setting is often done in a social context, and if other people respond with comforting words and gestures, we end up with some psychological reward for our tears. Indeed, in the international survey, See TEARS, page 5

Popular brand-name drugs going generic Dear Savvy Senior: I’ve heard that the drug Lipitor and a few other popular brand name medications will soon be available in cheaper generic form. What can you tell me? — Frugal Senior Dear Frugal: It’s true. Generics for Lipitor and a slew of other brand name drugs will soon be coming down the pipeline, and the savings to consumers will be significant. Here’s what you should know. Over the next two years, the patents of many top-selling brand name drugs will be expiring, clearing the path for lower-cost generics to take their place. One of the biggest is the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor, which earned the pharmaceutical company Pfizer more than $5.3 billion in U.S. sales last year. The patent for Lipitor ends in November, so starting on Nov. 30, 2011, generic manufacturer Ranbaxy Laboratories will have the exclusive right to sell Lipitor’s generic (Atorvastatin) in the U.S. for six months. At that point, other generic drug makers can enter the market to sell it.

Antacids, blood thinners and more immediately. Pharmaceutical companies or pharmacist or look it up online at sites Some other prominent drugs whose patents expire this year include: Protonix, the popular antacid drug that went off patent in January and is now offered in the generic format Pantoprazole; Concerta, the ADD and ADHA medicine whose patent ended in May; Levaquin, the antibiotic drug whose patent expires this month; and Zyprexa, an antipsychotic drug prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which comes off patent in October. In 2012, some popular drugs set to lose their patents include: Plavix, the anticlot/blood thinning drug prescribed to prevent heart attack and stroke; the asthma and allergy drug Singulair; Seroquel which is used to treat a variety of mental health issues, from depression to bipolar disorder to schizophrenia; the type 2 diabetes medication Actos, and Enbrel, which is prescribed for arthritis and psoriasis. It is, however, important to note that the expiration of some of these drug patents doesn’t guarantee that less-expensive generic drugs will become available

have methods they can employ to extend a patent and stave off generic competition. When a brand name drug does finally come off patent, its generic substitute is usually only about 30 percent cheaper at first. But as more generic drug makers star t manufacturing it, the costs can drop by as much as 90 percent. On average, generic drugs are about 70 percent less expensive than brand name medications.

How generics differ from brands According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, generic drugs contain the same active ingredients, dosage and quality as their brand name counterparts. The differences lie in the name (generic drugs are usually called by their chemical names), shape and color (U.S. trademark laws don’t allow generics to look exactly like the brand-name drugs). If you’re currently taking an expensive brand name drug, and aren’t sure if it’s available in generic form, ask your doctor

like If there’s not a generic counterpart for a particular drug you take, find out if there’s a generic option available in the same class of medications that would work for you. For example, some people who take Lipitor opt for the less-expensive Simvastatin, the generic form of Zocor. Both Lipitor and Zocor lower cholesterol. Many chains like Walmart, Target, Costco, Kmart, CVS, Walgreens and Kroger sell hundreds of generics for as little as $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply. Savvy Tip: If you’re having a hard time affording your medications, there are drug assistance programs offered through pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and charitable organizations that may be able to help you. See to find them. Send your questions to: Savvy Senior, 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.

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1

The Senior Peer Resources, Individuals, Networks & Groups Peer Support Program (SPRING) is offering an eight-week bereavement support group

for anyone bereaved in the range of two to 18 months. Fee is $10 for the entire series, which begins Thursday July 7, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Glenwood Senior Center, 2400 Route 97, Cooksville. Pre-registration is required at (410) 313-

★ 7/11 HC

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Arnold Eppel, Executive Director 4730 Atrium Court | Owings Mills, MD (410)363-0330 |


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July 7+





Depression makes people sad, so it’s presumed that depressed people cry more than those who aren’t depressed. There’s also an abiding belief that more severe bouts with depression can have just the opposite effect and rob people of their capacity to cry. Neither proposition seems farfetched, but researchers who have scoured the


Crying and depression

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about 40 percent of the respondents were comforted when they cried, and as one might expect, that response was associated with a feel-good cry. Of course, the reaction isn’t always positive. And crying can bring on shame. Many people hold back their tears until they’re alone. In the international survey, 35 percent of the respondents reported crying alone and 31 percent with one other person present. Several years ago, Dutch researchers reported that the heart rates of 60 study subjects increased as they watched cryeliciting movies, but then subsided after they started to cry. It seems that there’s a handoff from fight-or-flight arousal to parasympathetic calming, which is certainly how many of us experience crying.


From page 4

published studies say there’s actually little evidence to support them. A small study conducted several years ago to begin filling the void suggests, though, that the conventional wisdom may not be too far off the mark (although it is just one small study). The 44 study subjects with mood disorders (dysthymia, adjustment disorder with depressed mood, major depressive disorder) were, in fact, more prone to crying than 132 people in a comparison group. At the same time, the researchers found that an inability to cry was associated with severe depression. Many of the standardized questionnaires used to measure depression have questions about crying. Some researchers have raised the interesting question whether relying on crying as a sign of depression results in an underestimation of depression among men (who don’t, John Boehner notwithstanding, cry as often as women). Rather than weep, depressed men may become aggressive and irritable. Yet, at least in this one small study, the gender imbalance seemed to even out, and men and women with mood disorders were equally prone to crying. © 2011 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.





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Health Shorts Saving vision, saving money A much cheaper drug has proved just as good as a $2,000 monthly shot at treating a common eye disorder that can lead to blindness, a long-awaited study has found. It also shows that patients can be treated less often, sparing them a lot of pain and expense. The results are expected to lead many doctors and patients to turn away from the pricier Lucentis and instead use $50 shots of Avastin for an age-related condition called wet macular degeneration. The disease occurs when abnormal blood vessel

growth damages the part of the retina responsible for central vision. Vision improvement after one year was the same for those given Avastin or Lucentis, the 1,200-patient study found. The results are a blow to Roche’s Genentech unit, which sells both medicines. Avastin (ah-VAS-tin) is a cancer drug that doctors have used for many years to treat the eye disease even though it is not approved for that purpose. Genentech had been developing Lucentis (loo-SEN-tis) specifically for the eye disease and won approval for it in 2006. A company spokesman said that the company had no plans to seek approval to sell Avastin for eye use or to lower the price of Lucentis. Yet the results are a boon for patients and insurers — mostly Medicare — because nothing prevents use of the cheaper

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J U L Y 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Avastin, eye specialists said. Doctors who use it for the eye disease must get a pharmacist to prepare lower doses for injection rather than the intravenous way it’s used for cancer. “It’s always good news for patients when there are more than one option for a condition. It’s good news for the country. Now we have potential for significant savings at a time when the cost of healthcare is skyrocketing,” said Dr. Paul Sternberg, chairman of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute. He had no role in the study, whose results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A safer technique for angioplasty The first big study of doing balloon angioplasty to clear heart arteries through an arm instead of a leg found complications were fewer with the arm method. At hospitals that did this more often, the rate of deaths, heart attacks and other problems was lower, too. The arm method is common in India, Israel, Europe and Canada, but less than 5 percent of U.S. cases are done this way. The study involved more than 7,000 people in 32 countries getting an angiogram — a diagnostic test to look for blockages — followed by angioplasty to open any clogs found. The procedure usually involves poking a tube through a leg artery near the groin and feeding it up to the heart, inflating a tiny balloon to flatten a blockage in a heart artery and placing a mesh tube called a stent to prop the artery open.

But patients can suffer major bleeding requiring transfusions or surgery, so doctors are trying this through an artery in the wrist instead. It’s harder for doctors to do but easier on patients, who spend just a couple hours wearing a wrist band to control bleeding afterward instead of a day or more off their feet in a hospital. The study assigned patients to get one method or the other. Survival and success rates were similar — about 4 percent of each group died or had a heart attack, stroke or major bleeding in the following month. But significantly fewer of these problems occurred in people treated with the arm method after major heart attacks, and in hospitals that did the arm method more often. “The more you do, the better you get,” and the better patients fare, said the study’s leader, Dr. Sanjit Jolly of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Another recent study found that bypass surgery did not improve survival for heart failure patients who already were taking medicines to control risks like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The study involved 1,200 heart failure patients in 22 countries, mostly men around 60 years old. Most had suffered a heart attack in the past. All were taking medicines they should for heart risks, and half were assigned to also get bypass surgery. Doctors assumed bypass would cut deaths by 25 percent. But after nearly five years, about the same number in each group had died. — AP

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Get enough sleep to keep healthy weight Q: Is it true that getting more sleep body tissue like muscle and bone that occur might help me lose weight? as we age. Most studies involve those over A: If you are already getting age 65, but some include adequate sleep (seven to nine adults over 55. hours a night), getting more This does not require huge sleep will probably not affect amounts of meat or protein your weight. However, if like supplements, however. The many people, you are currentlong-time standard protein recly getting less sleep than that, ommendation for adults has more sleep might help. been this formula: your body Studies show that adults weight in pounds divided by who get less sleep (six hours a three (thus, a 160 pound adult night or less in most studies) needs 53 grams of protein). are about 55 percent more NUTRITION Quite a few studies in reWISE likely to be obese. cent years suggest that older These associations (which By Karen Collins, adults lose less muscle, and have also been shown for youth) MS, RD, CDM may actually gain muscle betdon’t show cause and effect. ter, if along with strengthHowever, a few studies that followed people training exercise, they consume protein over 10 or more years do provide some evi- equal to their weight in pounds divided by dence that getting less than six or seven two. (So a person who weighs 160 pounds hours of sleep a night is linked with greater likelihood of weight gain. In one study, overweight people were put on a controlled low-calorie diet during two weeks of spending only five-and-a-half hours in bed nightly. Although they lost the same amount of weight as when they spent eightand-and-half hours in bed nightly, they lost less body fat and dropped 60 percent more lean body tissue. Results like this are preliminary, but we do know that loss of lean body tissue makes maintenance of weight loss more difficult. Too little sleep may lead to weight gain by making us too tired to be physically active or more likely to turn to sweets and other foods to perk up our energy. Additionally, spending less time sleeping leaves more time available for eating and that can mean consuming more calories than you need. Furthermore, limited but growing research suggests that people who get less sleep tend to show changes in two hormones that can lead to increased appetite. Q: Do older adults need extra protein to avoid losing muscle? If so, how much is enough? A: Research suggests that older adults may need somewhat more protein than younger adults to avoid the loss of lean

may do well to target 80 grams of protein per day.) Studies do not show any further benefit in maintaining or gaining muscle with protein consumption beyond that amount. U.S. dietary surveys suggest that average protein consumption of adults ages 51-70 generally meets that target. However, about one in four over 70 may be getting less than the minimum, and another 25 percent of adults over 50 may be getting less than the proposed higher target. You can reach this higher level of protein with five to six ounces a day of lean poultry, fish or meat plus three servings of dairy products or dairy alternatives as part of a balanced diet that provides smaller amounts of protein from whole grains, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and perhaps some eggs, too. Those who prefer to omit or minimize

meat or dairy products need to include multiple servings of vegetarian sources of protein. Some research suggests that protein may be more efficiently used when it is spread out through the day. As important as protein seems to be, research also emphasizes the vital role that resistance (strength-training) exercise has in avoiding lean tissue loss. The American Institute for Cancer Research offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will return your call, usually within three business days. Courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research. Questions for this column may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., N.W., Washington, DC 20009. Collins cannot respond to questions personally.


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options to increase comfort and mobility in a program presented by Dr. Joseph Layug, M.D. from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 29 at Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, Suite 1000, Medical Pavilion, 10740 Charter Dr., Columbia. For more information or to register, call (410) 740-7601, or register online at

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J U L Y 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Need calcium? Get it from food, not pills Dear Pharmacist: calcium supplements at the start of the faIs it safe for me to take calcium sup- mous Women’s Health Initiative trial. They plements? You said on pored over the data and found Facebook that they might that women who were already increase heart problems. taking calcium and vitamin D Why is that? supplements at the start of — N.L. the trial did not have any Dear N.L.: greater risk of heart attack. My post was based on the In contrast, women who April 2011 research published began taking calcium and viin the British Medical Journal tamin D supplements during (BMJ) that found a higher the trial did have an increased risk of cardiovascular events risk of heart attack. (think heart attack or stroke) DEAR The scientists suspect the PHARMACIST in older women who took caltrouble occurs because of the By Suzy Cohen cium supplements. abrupt change in blood calciCalcium is suggested for um levels, rather than total inpost-menopausal women in order to main- take of calcium. That said, high blood levtain or build bone strength. els of calcium have been linked to hardenRecently, researchers looked at data ing of the arteries (calcification), which from 16,718 women who were not taking may partially explain their findings.

Data from 13 different trials (involving a total of 29,000 people) consistently points to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, uncannily associated with calcium supplements (with or without vitamin D). This is a hot topic, as some physicians feel strongly that calcium is the master mineral of bone health. I think we need a good study to determine what is going on. The BMJ study refers to supplements and it raises the question as to what kind of calcium supplements are to blame? Are certain forms better than others? This was not teased out. For the time being, if you are at risk for cardiovascular complications or stroke, my suggestion is that you avoid calcium supplements. Get your calcium from food because it is highly bio-available (usable by your body) and has not been shown to cause calcification.

Also, food-derived calcium improves estrogen balance, which protects bone mass. There are many sources of high-calcium foods. Eat lots of leafy greens, such as Swiss Chard, kale, kelp, spinach, lettuce and broccoli. Tahini’s good too. I’m not a huge fan of dairy, but this is certainly another option. Don’t forget the obvious: weight-bearing exercise will also strengthen your bones and reduce your risk of osteoporosis. If you happen to take a bisphosphonate bone-building medication (Boniva, Actonel or Fosamax), it can reduce blood levels of calcium. Also, if you have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you may have trouble absorbing calcium from food. In both cases, you may need more calcium to make up the difference. Calcium is to be appreciated not feared. But take supplements only if you are deficient. Refer to my Drug Mugger book to see if you take a medicine that depletes it. 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


June 30

BRAIN FITNESS Instructor Robin

Azhor leads some simple brain exercises to stimulate your mind and keep it sharp — while having fun, too. Fee is $4 per person. The program will be held on Thursday, June 30 at Elkridge Senior Center, 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge. For more information, call (410) 313-5192.

July 11+

LEARN CPR Learn adult/child/ infant CPR and earn

a two-year American Heart Association completion card on Monday, July 11 or Tuesday, July 26 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. There is a $48 fee. Classes at Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, Suite 1000, Medical Pavilion, 10740 Charter Dr., Columbia. For more information or to register, call (410) 7407601, or register online at

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1

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Remember Your Loved Ones Protect ose You Love Most. Have you ever wished you could free your family from the painful burden of arranging a funeral? You can. Preplan it all now and give them peace of mind, knowing everything is prepared. e cost is less than you’d think. Preplanning can help to protect you from inflation by securing today’s prices for goods and services. For your family, preplanning allows them to spend their time supporting one another, sharing memories and celebrating the life that you lived. It lifts the burden of decision-making from their shoulders. Prearranging your funeral or cremation service is a decision only you can make, but it is a decision that affects the people you love. One of the best ways to pre-plan may be to sit down and put your thoughts in writing. e Personal Planning Guide offered by Meadowridge Memorial Park is clear, concise, easy to complete and offered free of charge. is guide is a “fill-in-theblank” final arrangement planner that takes you, step by step, through the recording of your wishes.

To obtain a free copy of the Personal Planning Guide call 410-796-1144. Gary L. Kaufman Funeral home at Meadowridge Memorial Park is a licensed funeral establishment in the state of Maryland.

Please send me a Complimentary Personal Planning Guide To learn more about preplanning, please complete and mail this form below. Name: Address:

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Stop to smell roses in your own garden By Ruth Kling Every morning, I walk through my garden checking on the vegetables, herbs and flowers. There is always something new to see: a flower turned into a pea pod, a bud forming on a rose, weeds seemingly growing several inches over night. No matter what, I always have a sense of well being even if I never feel that I have quite caught up with all of the gardening chores I need to do. It is gratifying to learn that this sense of well being has a basis in science. Gardening is one of the healthiest endeavors one can undertake. Simply looking at a garden or nature can help patients heal after surgery. Roger S. Ulrich, of Texas A & M University, has noted that patients feel less pain and therefore require less pain medication if they can view or sit in a garden. Other studies show bending down to smell roses or planting seeds reduces blood pressure. A study done in Sweden with 160

postoperative heart patients suggests that those patients experienced less anxiety when they looked at a photo of a garden as opposed to one of abstract art or nothing. So if looking at a garden can make you feel better, imagine what actually engaging in gardening can do for you.

Mind and body benefits Gardening is good for the body as well as the soul. It burns up calories. Heavy digging, spading and turning compost burns up 435 calories an hour. Lighter tasks, such as dead heading roses or watering, burn fewer calories, yet still provide some exercise, plus that sense of accomplishment that is an important aspect of physical labor. So dig potatoes — instead of becoming one, sitting on the couch. While the act of digging is a healthy, calorie burning activity, just being around loose soil — which contains beneficial microbes that assist plants with absorbing


July 21


Learn common sense steps to maintain your health at this free program sponsored by SPRING on Thursday, July 21, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at East Columbia Senior Center, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Register by July 19 at (410) 313-7466 or

nutrients and fighting disease — may also be good for humans. One study suggests that digging in soil releases some healthy microbes that, when inhaled, actually give one a sense of well being. Healthy soil is not difficult to nurture. Plenty of organic material, including compost and manure, will do the trick. Avoid pesticides, herbicides and just about any toxic chemical to keep your soil healthy. This applies to container gardens as well as those in the ground. Pesticides and herbicides not only kill unwanted pests and weeds, they kill beneficial insects, microbes and helpful fungi. A pesticide cannot tell the difference between a bee and a stink bug nor can an herbicide distinguish between a weed and a pansy. Then there is the environmental toll of chemicals on humans, pets and the watershed. It is obvious what the benefits of growing one’s own vegetables are: you know exactly where those carrots and spinach have been and what has gone into the soil they grow in. Even if you only have containers to plant in, lettuce and some herbs are very easy to grow, and if you have enough sun, tomatoes can be grown just about anywhere. Another important aspect of gardening is social. One can plant, dig and harvest by oneself, of course. Yet gardening will in-

evitably lead one to exchange ideas with other gardeners, share produce, and even perhaps brag a bit now and then. Even better is sharing your garden with others, especially children. It is amazing how quickly a child who seems to have a computer game device permanently attached to their hand will eventually drop it to see what is happening in the garden. Gardening is a self imposed mini-vacation from stress. It is just about impossible to feel the pressures of a hectic modern lifestyle in the garden (unless, of course, you insist on bringing your smart phone along with you).

Garden tips for early summer Prune azaleas just after the blooms fade, but before the next year’s buds are formed. Dead head roses as they finish blooming to encourage more flowers. Try to water tomatoes steadily. Overwatering after drought causes cracked fruit and leads to blossom end rot. Snip off the suckers between the main stem of the tomato and branches to keep the plant more manageable. Ruth Kling blogs about gardening at E-mail your questions for future columns to or write Gardening Column, The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915-2227.


Columbia’s Village Centers Courtyard Concert Series 2011 DORSEY’S SEARCH VILLAGE CENTER THURSDAYS 6-8 PM


6/30 The Richard Walton Group Contemporary Jazz 7/7 Ellis Woodward Trio – Summer Covers and Originals 7/14 The Mudbugs - Authentic Cajun and Zydeco Band 7/21 The Taters – Roots Pop Rock 7/28 Kinderman – Kids Show!

7/1 7/8 7/15 7/22 7/29

HARPER’S CHOICE VILLAGE CENTER FRIDAYS 6-8 PM 7/8 Lone Mountain – Blue Grass & Country 7/22 The Sidleys – R&B, Rock

BG & The Mojo Hands – Blues, Swing Gary and the Groove – Goodtime Rock ‘n Roll Marshall Booze and the McBooze Band - R&B Orlando Phillips – Caribbean & Island The Chappel Trio – Blues Rock

RIVER HILL VILLAGE CENTER FRIDAYS 6-8 PM 7/1 7/8 7/15 7/22 7/29

Naked Blue – Folk Rock Dave Chappel Band – Blues Rock Turner, Dean of Magic - Magician Andrew McKnight - Folk Swingin’ Swamies – Jazz, Latin, R&B, Soul

The Courtyard Concerts are sponsored by the village center merchants. For a complete event schedule visit our website at

From left: Debby Lazas Miller, Au.D., Cheryl Krissoff, M.S., CCC-A, Ron Kaplan, Au.D., and Catherine DiSanti, Au.D. (Au.D. = Doctor of Audiology)

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1


Why am I already tired of retirement? Dear Not Sure: Dear Solutions: foot all through your marriage! won’t want to insult them or have to put on an Tacky to you, titillating to others — act if she knows about it. I keep reading about men having trou- Dear Solutions: ble with retirement, so I My daughter is getting maybe. Say nothing. Your daughter will surIt’s one evening. They care about her and vive it even if she finds it offensive. never thought a woman married soon. Good friends it’s their version of fun. Stay mum, mom! What she won’t survive so well is the emwould have problems, too. and relatives gave her a taste© Helen Oxenberg, 2011. Questions to be barrassment of having her mother interfere. considered for this column may be sent to The My husband is still workful, lovely bridal shower. ing, but I took early retireNow, though, her col- These are people she works with, and she Beacon, or e-mail ment because I thought I’d leagues at work are planning BEACON BITS feel great about leaving a job to surprise her by taking her AGE WELL EXERCISE CLASSES that I really didn’t like. to a bachelorette party at a Take 16 fun, easy-to-follow, low-impact exercise classes for just Instead, I miss the people male strip club. I took a mes$32. For more information, call (410) 313-5192. Classes are held I worked with. The women I sage for my daughter when Tuesday and Thursday, 9 to 10 a.m. at the Elkridge Senior Center, 6540 meet now are just playing she wasn’t home, and that SOLUTIONS Washington Blvd., Elkridge. Call (410) 313-5192 for more information. tennis or golf or cards. It all person told me about it in seBy Helen Oxenberg, seems meaningless to me. cret. LAUGHTER CLUB I couldn’t wait to get away MSW, ACSW I’m sure my daughter will This weekly class features laughter exercises and group sharing to from that job, so what’s not appreciate this tacky kind lift enthusiasm, morale and motivation. There is a $2 instructor fee wrong with me? of entertainment, but I don’t know if I each week. The class is held 9 to 9:40 a.m. Mondays at The Bain —Tired of Retirement should warn her about it because it’s Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. For information, call (410) 313-7213. Dear Tired: supposed to be a surprise. Nothing’s wrong except your expecta— Not Sure tions. You have to figure out what you want for your life now. You didn’t plan. You just slipped into this new phase without realizing that the job gave you structure and status and an image of yourself that you don’t have now. Get involved in activities that are important and meaningful to you. Spend some of your time volunteering. Everybody needs help — abandoned children, the elderly, hospitals, etc. Take a course in something you really want to learn, or take a part-time job. But before you retire again, give yourself a better present by planning your future. Dear Solutions: My problem is about a senior (my mother-in-law to be), so I’m asking for your advice. My fiancé and I are getting married in a couple of months. His mother is a successful decorator who charges a lot for her services. We’ve gotten a very nice apartment. My future mother-in-law now says as Regency Crest is an extraordinarily carefree community because of the her wedding gift she will give us her services as a decorator free, and will get convenient lifestyle enjoyed by those who live here. We go the extra mile to wholesale prices on the furniture she provide our residents with distinctive amenities and service that cannot be picks out for us. I want to decorate my apartment myfound in ordinary active adult communities. self and pick out my own things, but I don’t want to insult her. I don’t want to start out on the wrong foot with her. COMMUNITY AMENITIES Should I ask my fiancé to speak to her about this? • Beautiful club room with theater • Movie theater — The Bride and demonstration kitchen • Billiards room Dear Bride: • Wellness center • Business center No. Don’t put your wrong foot in his • Indoor saltwater pool • Incredible courtyard and mouth! You can only balance this by standing • Yoga studio and classes meditation garden with on your own two feet. • Cooking Classes, and many koi pond and gazebo Invite your future mother-in-law to lunch more planned activities and talk honestly to her. Tell her how much 3305 Oak West Drive you appreciate her generous offer. Tell her Ellicott City, MD 21043 you’ve looked forward all your life to doing PLANNED ACTIVITIES SUCH AS WATER AEROBICS, this first home yourself even if you make misRESIDENT MIXERS, COOKING CLASSES, ZUMBA, takes. Ask her if you can just ask for her advice MOVIE NIGHTS, BBQ’S AND MANY MORE! when you feel stuck. If you don’t start out with an open and honest relationship, you Directions: We are located at the corner of Rt. 40 and Rogers Avenue. may find yourself tripping over that wrong






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Health Studies Page

J U L Y 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N


Women without children needed for study By Carol Sorgen Although older people are often portrayed in popular culture as grandparents, as many as 15 to 20 percent of people over the age of 65 in the United States have never had children of their own. By 2030, the percentage of adults between the ages of 70 and 85 without children is expected to exceed 30 percent. Social scientists are particularly interested in studying women without children because of the notable changes that have occurred in the social lives of both women and elders. The advent of the women’s movement, general improvements in the lives and health of older adults, changes in the forms and meanings of family, access

to new forms of support, and an increased sense of independence and power for many women have been some markers of these changes. Given the growing percentage of older adults who don’t have children, researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) have launched a multi-year study focused specifically on the meaning of being childless among older women. Sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, the purpose of the study is to gather the perspectives of women who don’t have children on a variety of issues, including their life story, their views of older age, and events and people that have been im-

portant in their lives.

Join the conversation The UMBC research team is looking for volunteers throughout the Baltimore/Washington region to participate in this research. To be eligible, you must be 65 or older, female and have no biological children of your own. Participants complete three conversation-like interviews in their home, or a location of their choice. Participants receive a $100 honorarium upon completing the third interview. All information is kept confidential. To date, 140 women have participated. Researchers are hoping to enroll a total of


410.505.5594 SHINGLES (Herpes Zoster) You may be eligible if you: ■ are a healthy adult 50 years of age or older ■ have never had shingles or received a shingles vaccination Compensation available for time and travel

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200 women. Although the parent-child relationship has been found to be especially important in late life, little is known about how childless older women view and cope with the challenges of aging (e.g., health and caregiving needs, views of generativity and self-concept) without filial support. The researchers hope that the study will make the lives of older childless women more accessible, and their issues, problems and strengths more visible, including their preferences and need for healthcare and caregiving services.

Myths about childlessness According to UMBC Principal Investigator Dr. Kate de Medeiros, there are several myths and misconceptions about people who do not have children. “In the first place, many people wrongly assume that those who do not have children — especially women — are somehow unhappy or unfulfilled,” said de Medeiros. To the contrary, she reports, there is a growing body of scientific literature that indicates the opposite, depending on whether childlessness was by choice or by circumstance. Another misperception is that inability to conceive a child is the major reason for childlessness in women. While this may be true for some women, marital status, career choices and personal decisions to not have a family are cited as other reasons for childlessness. Of special interest in the study are women’s views on “generativity,” or the many ways that people invest their time and energies into the well-being of future generations through activities such as volunteering, keeping a family history, teaching a skill to others, or other actions meant to help guide younger people. If you are interested in participating in the study, call Amanda Mosby at (410) 4555935 or e-mail




Two free post-stroke exercise programs are offered three times a

If you would like more information about this study, please call 410.505.5594. We will answer any questions and set

week at Howard County senior center locations for persons whose strokes occurred at least six months

up your appointment. Thank you for considering volunteering for a clinical

ago. One program focuses on seated exercise, while the other targets balance and walking. For more informa-

research study.

tion, call Jessica Hammers at (410) 605-7000, ext. 4842.

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Easy strawberry pie to welcome summer Will we ever accept fruit for dessert as contentedly as Europeans do? In Italy, where a bowl of fruit usually sits on the dining room table or nearby, I am content reaching for a juicy pear or an orange after dinner. Sitting and sharing conversation while everyone peels their selection and eats it leisurely is probably part of the satisfaction. Perhaps this supports findings that socializing at mealtime contributes to wellbeing as much as serving healthy food. Returning home, though, I find myself quickly craving desserts that are somehow an occasion. It could be something simple, like a sliced orange sprinkled with candied ginger, or cantaloupe slices drizzled with blueberry syrup made from jam warmed with apple juice. It may be due to the often disappointing taste of commercially grown fruit, but I need an embellishment, something extra, that little Martha touch, to be satisfied. Local strawberries are in season now, joining the usual abundance of giant, glowing fruit from California or Florida. After a friend reminded me of the strawberry socials our grandparents enjoyed, and the luscious shortcake both our mothers served, a buttery biscuit soaking up the

juice of halved berries, I resolved to use fresh berries in an equally seductive strawberry delight. Spotting a whole-wheat graham cracker piecrust at the natural food store, I also reached for cream cheese and sour cream —reduced fat, of course — and a jar of strawberry fruit spread. Lining the crust with a blend of the cheese and cream, I then tossed fresh strawberries with melted fruit spread and heaped them into the pie shell, creating this jewel-bright, blissful result.

tops of strawberries. Halve largest, prettiest ones and place in bowl. Cut remaining berries lengthwise in quarters and place in another bowl. Melt fruit spread in bowl in microwave, or in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Mix in lemon juice, if desired, and divide hot fruit spread between the two bowls of berries. Using fork, toss until fruit is coated and glistening. Spoon quartered fruit into the center of pie over cheese, turning most pieces cut

side down as you spread them out. Arrange larger halves in circle around edge of pie, with flat side facing rim of crust and points toward the center of the pie. Spoon on any fruit spread remaining in bowls to fill in open spaces. Serve pie within 1 hour. Per serving: 262 calories, 11 g. total fat (3.5 g. saturated fat), 39 g. carbohydrate, 3 g. protein, 2 g. dietary fiber, 219 mg. sodium. — Courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research

Strawberry and Cheese Refrigerator Pie Serves 8 1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker piecrust, preferably whole-wheat 4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream 2 Tbsp. extra-fine sugar 1 tsp. grated lemon zest 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 lb. strawberries 1/2 cup strawberry fruit spread 1 tsp. lemon juice, optional Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place crust on baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely. This can be done 8 hours ahead. Place cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla in small bowl. Blend until combined and smooth, using hand mixer on medium speed or wooden spoon. Spread cheese mixture evenly over bottom of piecrust. Refrigerate until set, 1 to 2 hours. Just before serving, cut off

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Heart Failure? Symptoms can include: Shortness of breath Swelling in your legs Inability to sleep flat at night If you have been told you have heart failure, you may be eligible to participate in a 24-month outpatient study at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. This research study uses non-invasive imaging to measure the strength of your heart muscle and your heart’s ability to pump blood through the body.

You may qualify if you: • Have been given a diagnosis of heart failure from a physician • Are able to undergo an MRI and CT Scan You may not qualify if you: • Have implantable devices such as a pacemaker, defibrillator, or heart pump • Have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction)

Research is conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. There is no cost to participate. Study participation may be compensated. The Clinical Center, America’s research hospital, is located on the Metro red line.

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Finally, a cell phone that’s… a phone!

“Well, I finally did it. I finally decided to enter the digital age and get a cell phone. My kids have been bugging me, my book group made fun of me, and the last straw was when my car broke down, and I was stuck by the highway for an hour before someone stopped to help. But when I went to the cell phone store, I almost changed my mind. The phones are so small I can’t see the numbers, much less push the right one. They all have cameras, computers and a “global-positioning” something or other that’s supposed to spot me from space. Goodness, all I want to do is to be able to talk to my grandkids! The people at the store weren’t much help. They couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want a phone the size of a postage stamp. And the rate plans! They were complicated, confusing, and expensive… and the contract lasted for two years! I’d almost given up when a friend told me about her new Jitterbug phone. Now, I have the convenience and safety of being able to stay in touch… with a phone I can actually use.” The cell phone that’s right for me. Sometimes I think the people who designed this phone and the rate plans had me in mind. The phone fits easily in my pocket, and flips open to reach from my mouth to my ear. The display is large and backlit, so I can actually see who is calling. With a push of a button I can amplify the volume, and if I don’t know a number, I can simply push “0” for a friendly, helpful operator that will look it up and even dial it for me. The Jitterbug also reduces background noise,

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1


Device kills cancer cells, not healthy ones By Matthew Perrone The Food and Drug Administration approved its first-of-a-kind treatment that fights cancerous brain tumors using electrical energy fields. The FDA approved the device, made by Novocure, for patients with aggressive brain tumors that have returned after treatment with chemotherapy and other interventions. Patients with recurring brain cancer usually live only a few months. Studies showed that people using the device lived about as long as those taking chemotherapy, roughly six months. However, patients using the device had significantly fewer side effects. For decades, doctors have treated cancer with three methods: drugs, radiation or surgery. Novocure’s NovoTTF device represents a fourth approach.

Disrupts tumor growth The portable device uses electric fields to disrupt the division of cancer cells that allows tumors to grow and spread. The electric fields have little effect on healthy cells because they divide at a much slower rate, if at all, compared with cancer cells. “The reason why this is so exciting is that we now have FDA approval of a totally new type of treatment for cancer,� said Dr. Herb Engelhard, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Illinois

in Chicago. Engelhard helped conduct the study of NovoTTF, but received no compensation from the company. “All of us as investigators were skeptical at first, but I have seen the scans and I believe this is killing cancer cells in patients,� Engelhard said. The NovoTTF is a six-pound device that patients carry with them in a small bag. The electrical current is sent from the device to four electrodes attached to the patient’s shaved head. A panel of outside advisers to the FDA narrowly voted 7-6 in favor of the effectiveness of the device in March. The FDA is not required to follow such recommendations, although it often does.

Improves quality of life A 237-patient study failed to show a survival benefit for patients using the device, compared with those taking chemotherapy. Patients in both groups lived just over six months, on average. However, those in the device group reported higher quality of life and did not have the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, diarrhea and infection. “This is as effective, or better than, anything that’s ever been tried after standard treatment has failed. And while you’re on it, you don’t have any side effects from the treatment,� said Al Musella, founder of the



CONCERNED ABOUT FALLING? “A Matter of Balance,� an eight-week series offered at Howard

County Senior centers, is an award-winning program that has been proven to help reduce participants’ concerns about falls. For information, contact Maryland

Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research and Information in Hewlett, New York. Musella‘s father and sister-in-law died of brain cancer. The FDA approved the device specifically for a tumor type known as glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Five-year survival for the disease is just 2 percent for patients over 45 years old, according to the American Cancer Society. About 19,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with brain cancer each year,


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according to the National Cancer Institute. Standard treatment is six weeks of highdose radiation along with a chemotherapy pill, and then additional chemotherapy for at least six months or until the tumor stops responding. Novocure is a privately held company based in Portsmouth, N.H. and Haifa, Israel, where the NovoTTF device was invented. The company is testing its device in other types of cancer, including nonsmall cell lung cancer. — AP

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VOLUME 1, NO. 4 • JULY 2011


A Message from Sue Vaeth Howard County Office on Aging Administrator

July is National Safety Month, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk a bit about our own personal safety. My dad was Superintendent of Safety for the Post Office when I was growing up, so I got a good dose of preparedness information from him – from seat belts (before they were standard on cars) to fire safety and beyond. These days, I’ve taken it to a new level and have an emergency “kit�. It took me a while to gather, but each time I went grocery shopping, I’d buy one or two items for my stockpile. My next step is to make a family plan as recommended at While Howard County is not subject to the horrific kinds of natural disasters that we’ve seen around the country and the world recently, we cannot be complacent that we are immune from disasters – both large and small. What are your emergency plans? Emergency preparedness is not the only safety concern. As we age, we are more susceptible to falls. The Office on Aging offers fall prevention classes called A Matter of Balance. You can also find a list of common sense things you can do today to reduce your risk of falls elsewhere on this page.

Howard County Senior Centers

THE BAIN CENTER 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia / 410-313-7213 EAST COLUMBIA 50+ CENTER 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia / 410-313-7680 ELKRIDGE SENIOR CENTER 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge / 410-313-5192 ELLICOTT CITY SENIOR CENTER 9401 Frederick Road, Ellicott City / 410-313-1400 GLENWOOD 50+ CENTER 2400 Route 97, Cooksville / 410-313-5440 LONGWOOD SENIOR CENTER 6150 Foreland Garth, Columbia / 410-313-7217 NORTH LAUREL 50+ CENTER 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel / 410-313-0380 ELLICOTT CITY SENIOR CENTER PLUS 9401 Frederick Road, Ellicott City / 410-313-1425 GLENWOOD SENIOR CENTER PLUS 2400 Route 97, Cooksville / 410-313-5442 NORTH LAUREL SENIOR CENTER PLUS 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel / 410-313-7218


Reduce Your Fall Risk

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls each year. ese ďŹ ve tips can help decrease your risk of falling: Wear sensible shoes. Try wearing a sturdy shoe with a non-skid sole while indoors and outdoors. Proper shoe ďŹ t is critical. Be sure to have your feet re-measured each time you purchase a new pair. Improve the lighting in your home. Not only are uorescent bulbs brighter, they are also cheaper. Get regular vision and health checkups. Certain health conditions may cause (or require medication that causes) dizziness, numbness, or fatigue. Add strength training to your exercise routine. If you have questions about how to begin a strength training program, please contact Jennifer Lee, Exercise Specialist, through Maryland Access Point of Howard County (MAP), 410-313-5980.

Remove home hazards. Make your home safer by reducing tripping hazards and adding assistive devices like grab bars or railings where needed. A full home fall prevention checklist is available at: If you want to equip your home with assistive devices, please visit for more information about the OďŹƒce on Aging’s Aging in Place and Fall Prevention programs. The Senior Connection is published monthly by the Howard County Office on Aging, Department of Citizen Services. We welcome your comments and suggestions. To contact us, or to join our email subscriber list, email with ‘subscribe’ in the subject box. The Senior Connection from Howard County Office on Aging 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046 410-313-6410 | Sue Vaeth, Administrator Advertising contained in the Beacon is not endorsed by the Howard County Office on Aging or by the publisher.

Don’t miss out on the 2011

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Wilde Lake High School 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia presented by

For more information, call 410-313-6410 or online at

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Coming Events

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1

Wed., July 6, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Independence Day Party, Elkridge Senior Center Enjoy a wonderful Flag Presentation by the American Legion. Learn about the flag’s history, then enjoy a homemade summer lunch. Cost: $4 per person. Call (410) 313-5192 to register.

Wed., July 6, 11 a.m. – What to Expect from Medicare, KiwanisWallas Rec Center, 10481 Frederick Road, Ellicott City Learn how Medicare works, what the benefits are, and how it relates to supplemental health insurance. Information on the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage and free Medicare card lamination will also be available. Free, call (410) 313-7391 to register; sponsored by the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Thursday, July 14, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – SPRING Luncheon at the Peking Chef, 6420 Freetown Road, Columbia Join SPRING for lunch at the Peking Chef in the Hickory Ridge Village Center and enjoy a scrumptious family style menu. Cost is $17.50 per person, including gratuity. HT Ride is available. For more information or to register, call Elaine Widom, (410) 313-7283 by July 8.

Wed., July 13, 11 a.m. – Genealogy: Immigration Records, Ellicott City Senior Center Genealogist Bill Amos presents a power point seminar focusing on the information which can be found in immigration records, passenger lists and naturalization documents. Following the seminar, there will be time to ask questions, and try out from noon to 12:30 p.m. Sign up at the Front Desk or call (410) 313-1400 to reserve your seat. Free.

Wed., July 13, 10:30 a.m. to noon – Just Bead it, Elkridge Senior Center Make a beautiful craft with beads, to use as a gift or keep it for yourself! Cost: $6 per craft. Thursday, July 14, 11 a.m. to noon – Barbershop Quartet, The Bain Center Enjoy Barbershop harmony presented by the Surprise Quartet, featuring music to represent the different chapters of life: love songs, show tunes, inspirational and just plain fun music. Please call (410) 313-7213 to reserve your seat. Free. Fridays, July 15, August 19 and Sept. 16, 10:30 a.m. to noon – Beads & More, North Laurel 50+ Center Join Cindy Patarini, of Cindy’s Craft

Food Safety Tips for Summer

The Senior Connection

Corner to create jewelry and unique home art objects. Cost is $23, which includes all materials. For information or to register, call Edith Bennett (410) 313-0388.

Monday, July 18, 10:30 a.m. to noon – Junk Food Day, Elkridge Senior Center Learn about the history of junk food, enjoy junk food snacks, and find out if it is really “junk” or not — you may be surprised! Cost: $3 per person; call (410) 313-5192 to register.

Tuesday, July 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s “Connecting with the Community Party”, The Bain Center Stop by and meet the brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and enjoy live music, entertainment, and the chance to win some great door prizes. Lunch is available for a nominal lunch donation. Please call (410) 313-7213 to reserve your seat.

Wed., July 20, 11 a.m. – Why Medicare Isn’t Enough, Kiwanis-Wallas Rec Center, 10481 Frederick Road, Ellicott City Learn about gaps in Medicare coverage, and the ways to cover them. Get your questions answered, find out if you have the insurance package that best suits your needs, and get information about Medicare Supplement Policies (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C). Free, call (410)313-7391 to register; sponsored by SHIP. Thursday, July 21, 11 a.m. – Brain Fitness: Use It or Lose It, Ellicott City Senior Center Robin Zahor, R.N., B.S.N., teaches us how to keep our mind sharp and our brain in tip top form as we age. Learn stimulating brain exercises which can help improve your memory retention in a fun and thought-provoking atmosphere. Sign up at the Front Desk or call (410) 313-1400 to reserve your seat. Tuesday, August 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Summertime Fun at the Howard County Fair, Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship Don’t miss Senior Day at the Howard County Fair, featuring free all day admission, entertainment and activities for fairgoers age 62 and up. Stop by the Activity Building to enjoy vocal performances by Senior Idols Sterling Dorn and Louis Redd, island music by the Orlando Phillips band, free bingo and prizes, exercise demos, informational exhibits, and more! For more information, call (410) 313-6448.

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By Rona Martiyan, MD, RD, LDN, Office on Aging Nutritionist As summer approaches, consider food safety as you plan picnics and outdoor events. Today, our food supply comes from all over the world, we eat out or have food delivered more than ever before, and we buy more prepared foods at grocery stores. This means that more people are handling our food, increasing our risk of foodborne illness. It is important to remember also that, as we age, we are more susceptible to food-borne illness. The US Food and Drug Administration identified the 10 riskiest foods, foods which have caused thousands of illnesses and some deaths. So, as we approach the warmer months we should pay particular attention to the following foods: • Leafy greens • Eggs • Fresh tuna • Oysters • Potatoes • Cheese • Ice Cream • Tomatoes • Sprouts • Berries


These foods may be connected with salmonella, E coli, and/or Nor virus. The primary culprits for food contamination, however, are handling by infected workers, improper cleaning of work surfaces, and improper cooking/holding temperatures. Consumers have the power to Fight BAC!® and to keep food safe from harmful bacteria. It’s as easy as following these four simple steps (visit for details): Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often. Separate: Don’t crosscontaminate! Cook: Cook to proper temperature. Chill: Refrigerate promptly.. Electronic artwork is available via our web site:

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6600 Cradlerock Way • Columbia, MD

Thursdays, July 28, August 4, 11, 18, 25, & September 1 from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

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10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100 • Columbia, MD

Tuesdays, August 9, 16, 23, 30, Sept. 6, 13 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Learn techniques to cope with the frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation often associated with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Also, learn exercises to maintain and improve strength, flexibility and endurance, and how to communicate more effectively with family, friends and health professionals. The class and accompanying materials cost $28. If you are interested, contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) at 410-313-5980.


J U L Y 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Money Law &

FOR YOUR FINANCIAL BOOKSHELF Look for these new books on money misperceptions, new post-meltdown financial rules, and how economic principles can help your marriage DON’T CUT MEDICARE Most Americans are not convinced that Medicare must be cut to balance the federal budget, according to a recent poll

Investors see upside to expensive gasoline By Mark Jewell Think positive. The pain you’re feeling at the pump from $4-a-gallon gas may become a little easier to bear once you receive your next quarterly mutual fund statement. Chances are your fund portfolio holds big oil names that have been reporting Texassized profits and boosting dividends paid to their investors. Exxon Mobil, for example, is the biggest component in the Standard & Poor’s 500, the most widely tracked benchmark among index funds anchoring many 401(k) plans and retirement accounts. Exxon earned nearly $11 billion in the first quarter, its biggest profit in more than two years. Exxon and rival Chevron are increasing their quarterly dividends, boosting returns for investors. Combined, Exxon and Chevron make up about 4.6 percent of the S&P 500. If your portfolio includes a specialized fund that focuses on energy stocks, you’ve got even more reason to consider the bright side of rising oil prices. Energy stock funds have returned an average 26 percent over the last 12 months, the thirdbest performance among Morningstar’s

21 domestic fund categories. That tops the S&P 500’s nearly 17 percent return. What’s more, the top performer among all funds is an energy fund. Integrity Williston Basin/Mid North America Stock (ICPAX) has returned 63 percent, thanks to sizzling gains from the energy exploration and oilfield services companies it favors.

Think twice before investing Such eye-popping numbers make these funds tempting. But be careful if you’re considering a specialized fund whose returns are closely tied to swings in energy prices. “The initial knee-jerk reaction to jump in might not be warranted, because most investors already have plenty of exposure to energy in their portfolios,” said Rob Wherry, a Morningstar analyst who tracks energy funds. “It’s important to check what you’ve got in your portfolio first.” Energy stocks account for nearly 15 percent of the holdings in funds tracking the S&P 500, so that’s a good threshold for assessing your portfolio’s energy exposure. Yet 15 percent may be too high for some risk-averse investors. It’s not just energy

stocks that leave an investor exposed to energy price swings. Price changes can also make or break the bottom lines of other companies, including airlines and petrochemical makers. Also, beware any recently hot area of the market, because strong gains often precede a crash. Witness what happened in 2008. Oil climbed to a record $147 a barrel in the summer, then tumbled below $40 in the winter as economic news worsened and the globe’s thirst for oil tailed off. Energy funds lost an average 51 percent that year, compared with the S&P 500’s 37 percent loss.

Drilling and extraction may prosper As for oil’s recent surge, managers of two top energy funds don’t expect a repeat of 2008. They’re cautious, because it’s hard to predict whether the war in Libya and Mideast political instability will continue to generate enough uncertainty over the supply of oil to prop up prices. But they expect costly oil and expensive gas won’t go away anytime soon, based on supply-and-demand fundamentals. “Oil is finite in quantity, and once you pull a barrel out of the ground, it’s gone

forever,” said Bob Walstad, co-manager of Integrity Williston Basin/Mid North America Stock, the fund that’s beaten all others over the past 12 months. Amid rising oil demand, global production has been stretched for decades, Walstad said: “We’ve got years of drilling just to catch up.” Walstad co-manages the $319 million fund from Minot, N.D., in the heart of the Williston Basin. The region, stretching across the Dakotas and Montana and into southern Canada, is experiencing a boom in exploration and production of oil extracted from shale deposits. Walstad’s fund changed its name and investment mission in 2008 to capitalize on the boom. Many of his fund’s favorite stocks are oilfield services companies: Top holding Baker Hughes is up 52 percent in the past 12 months, and No. 3 holding Lufkin Industries has more than doubled. Dan Rice, co-manager of BlackRock Energy & Resources (SSGRX), said the strengthening global economy makes him See ENERGY STOCKS, page 21

Managed funds losing out to index rivals By Mark Jewell Pay a fund manager above-average fees, and it’s reasonable to expect you’ll have a better than 50-50 chance of beating the stock market. Yet the latest numbers show a majority of managers aren’t keeping up their end of the deal. It’s a key reason why investors have been pulling cash out of managed funds at a rapid clip in recent years. It’s even happening to big mutual funds that have delivered above-market returns. A few ugly numbers: • Over the past five years, nearly 58 percent of managed U.S. stock funds failed to beat a broad measure of the market, the Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500. That’s according to S&P’s ninth annual scorecard of managed fund-vs.-index performance. • Investors pulled a net $323 billion from managed stock funds over the past four years, according to Morningstar. That’s about 10 percent of the assets those funds hold.

Index funds are different animals. Their investors expect to match performance of the market segment the fund tracks. Index funds typically charge less than managed funds, because they don’t have to pay investment-picking pros. It’s an approach that continues to gain momentum, 35 years after Vanguard launched the first index fund. Investors have deposited a net $108 billion into U.S. stock index funds over the past four years. Index funds still trail managed funds. Only $1 of every $4 that individuals invest in U.S. stock funds is in index funds. That suggests most investors continue to believe managers are more likely than not to earn their higher fees. That puzzles Srikant Dash, a managing director at S&P, who said plenty of managers can beat the market for two or three years. But their numbers drop off sharply over five years. Dash said that five-year dropoff is the only thing that’s consistent from S&P’s analysis of

more than a decade of fund returns.

Better returns with index funds In S&P’s latest scorecard, managed funds trailed nearly across the board, regardless of the types of stocks they invest in. In 16 of 17 fund categories, average fiveyear returns trailed those of comparable S&P market indexes. The lone exception: large-cap value funds. S&P evaluates category returns based on simple averages. Fund manager performance looks better when the returns are asset-weighted, meaning bigger funds count more toward the average than smaller ones. This method aims to reflect where investors put most of their money. Market-beating returns, however, don’t necessarily protect a managed fund from losing investors. Here are examples of stock funds that have had investors withdraw huge sums, despite beating the S&P 500 from 2007 through 2010. • Fidelity Blue Chip Growth (FBGRX).

This nearly $15 billion large-cap growth fund delivered an average annual return of 4.5 percent over that four-year period, versus the S&P 500’s average annual loss of 0.8 percent. Yet it suffered nearly $9 billion in net withdrawals over those years, according to Morningstar. • Putnam Voyager (PVOYX). This $5.2 billion large-cap growth fund has seen $6 billion exit, despite returning an average 7 percent. • Calamos Growth (CVGRX): More than $8 billion has flowed out of this $9.4 billion large-cap growth fund, despite its 2.9 percent average return. The biggest downsizing was the nearly $25 billion pulled from American Funds Washington Mutual (AWHSX), now a $53 billion fund. It averaged an annual loss of 1.6 percent. On the other end of the spectrum, the largest amount of new money, unsurprisingly, belongs to an index fund: Vanguard See MANAGED FUNDS, page 19

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1


Social Security stops mailing statements By Mark Miller What age should you file for Social Security benefits? It’s one of the most critical decisions you’ll make that affects longterm retirement security. One of the best decision-making tools to help with that decision is the annual benefit projection that we all receive in the mail from the Social Security Administration (SSA). But the SSA is about to stop mailing out those statements to save money in Washington’s current budget-cutting environment. The agency will save $30 million by suspending mailings for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends in September, and an additional $60 million next year by restricting mailings to workers 60 and older.

Statements for those over 60 Statements usually are sent out about three months before your birthday. The suspension started in April, which means everyone with birthdays in July and later won’t get a paper statement this year. Next year, the SSA intends to resume sending statements to Americans over age 60; it’s working on an online download option for everyone else. Personally, I’m OK with online access to just about everything — it’s greener and saves money. But the paper Social Security statement provides a valuable annual reminder of what you can expect and how benefits are calculated.

Managed funds From page 18 Total Stock Market (VTSMX). Some $56 billion has come in, to boost its asset total to $164 billion. Its four-year return is essentially flat, at 0.02 percent.

Will managed funds improve? Many fund managers argue that their prospects will improve in coming months, and perhaps years. They predict the market will enter a new phase where their stock-picking expertise stands a better chance of making a difference than during the last four years of volatile markets. That’s because managers like Bob Doll expect that the recent gains in the stock market will start to flatten out: “That’s

Most importantly, the statement includes a projection of your benefits based on varying retirement ages. That drives home the point that you get the maximum monthly payout by waiting, if at all possible, at least until the age when your full benefits are available — the so-called full retirement age (FRA). Monthly benefit payments are 8 percent higher for every year you wait up until age 70. That can really add up over time. If you wait until age 70 to claim benefits, your monthly income will be about 76 percent higher than it would be if you had claimed benefits at age 62, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance. And for married couples, if the higher earner is the man, it’s especially important for him to wait to file as long as possible. Women usually outlive men; Social Security’s survivor benefit allows a widowed spouse to receive 100 percent of her husband’s benefits. The SSA also is shelving plans to open eight new hearing offices to handle the backlog of disability claims, which has soared during the recession. Each disability claim is reviewed by an examiner. Filings have jumped from 2.6 million annual claims in fiscal 2005 to 3.0 million in FY 2009 and 3.2 million FY 2010. The claims process is complex and waiting times are long, averaging 800 to 900 days in many

when active managers tend to do better.” As the lead manager of a group of largecap funds run by asset-management giant BlackRock, Doll said that there are still potential breakout stocks that will post above-market returns. Managers can offer their research and analysis to help investors who want to do more than simply go along for the ride, as they would with index funds. Still, Dash said S&P’s findings don’t support that. Over the last decade, a majority of fund managers have lagged the market during periods when stocks meandered, as well as during stretches when they sharply rose or fell. “It doesn’t matter, if the market is going up, down or sideways,” Dash said. — AP


July 7

cities and sometimes as long as 1,400 days. The SSA had been making progress clearing the backlog early this year, but that progress likely will stop with the latest budget cuts. SSA doesn’t expect the cuts to impact turnaround time for retirement benefit applications, which can be filed online (, by phone (1-800-772-1213), or in person at

your local Social Security office. For now, you can get an estimate of your benefits using the SSA’s excellent online Retirement Estimator tool ( estimator/), which pulls up your personal benefits and allows you to do what-if scenarios for filing at different ages. Or, drop by your local Social Security office — before they decide to shut it down. © 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


July 6

HOW TO SELECT A FINANCIAL PLANNER Take part in a discussion of the financial planning process and se-

lection of a planner presented by Stanette Robinson, MBA, CPA on Wednesday, July 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. It will take place at the Howard County Library Central Branch, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. For more information, call (410) 313-7800.

OPTIMIZE YOUR NEST EGG For 16 years, I have specialized in helping older adults protect their wealth for themselves and their families. Let me help you:

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Visit the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum in Sterling, Va. Thursday, July 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fee is $45. The trip is sponsored by Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks. For more information or to register, call (410) 313-7279.

July 11


Take a trip to New York City to sites affected on September 11, 2001. The trip will take place Monday, July 11 from 6 a.m. to midnight and will be repeated in August and September. The fee for this trip is $135. It is sponsored by Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks. For more information or to register, call (410) 313-7279.




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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1

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Books offer do-it-yourself financial advice Consider adding these recently released financial books to your shelf or e-reader (all are available as e-books). Look for more suggestions in upcoming issues. Debunkery: Learn It, Do It, and Profit From It — Seeing Through Wall Street’s Money-Killing Myths Author: Ken Fisher Price: $27.95 Summar y: Debunkery is the seventh book by Ken Fisher, the founder and CEO of Fisher Investments, a money management firm overseeing more than $32 billion. In his latest work, Fisher attacks common myths and misperceptions, and shows readers how to analyze and discredit them. He divides the discussion into five sections: Basic Bunk to Make You Broke; Wall Street “Wisdom”; Everyone Knows; History Lessons; and It’s a Great Big World! Each of the 50 chapters is dedicated to one misperception and is typically only three to five pages long. The short discussions enable you to pick and choose what’s most interesting for your financial situation. Quote: “Once you intuitively accept that 1) lots of commonly accepted investing wisdom isn’t wise, and 2) you will still make mistakes anyway but can aim to lower your error rate and improve your results, actually doing debunkery can be easy. Simple really!” Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc. The Wall Street Journal Guide to the New Rules of Personal Finance Author: Dave Kansas Price: $16.99 (paperback) Summar y: It makes sense that we

should be acting differently about our money in the wake of the financial crisis. Some time-tested lessons of personal finance still hold true: saving, budgeting and avoiding over-borrowing and overspending. But Kansas makes a persuasive case that we need a new way of thinking to replace others that failed us, such as overreliance on the stock market and real estate. One new rule is to really embrace thrift and abhor loading up on debt. As this veteran personal finance writer puts it, debt is deadly and credit cards are cursed objects. Another is that diversification really matters, not just in stocks but in retirement planning — IRAs, insurance plans and savings accounts in addition to 401(k)s. When it comes to investing, be where the action is going to be: international markets and commodities such as oil, gold, wood and other natural resources. Other chapters focus on debt reduction, spending smarter on your home, and other important topics. If the lessons aren’t all brand new, the focus and priorities are. In plain language and Kansas offers wise advice that points out a clear path to a stable financial future for those who follow it. Quote: “The New Rules aren’t simply quick fixes to financial problems. Instead they’re about learning how to save, invest, and plan better, and they require discipline, prudence, and taking personal responsibility for your financial future. They’re also about understanding that financial strategy is about more than money.” Publisher: HarperCollins.

Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes Authors: Paula Szuchman, Jenny Anderson. Price: $26 Summary: Forget the flowers and romantic getaways. If you want a happy marriage, think like an economist. That’s the premise of this new release by Wall Street Journal editor Paula Szuchman and New York Times reporter Jenny Anderson. The authors have fun with their theory by taking 10 economic principles and explaining how they can be used to avoid the common pitfalls of marriage. In the opening chapter, for example, the authors invoke Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations in arguing for a division of labor based on skill sets, rather than automatically splitting chores 50-50. Another chapter titled “Moral Hazard, Or the Too-Big-to-Fail Mar-

riage” discusses how the emotional safety of marriage can lead spouses to take each other for granted and wear away at a relationship. And in “Trade-Offs, Or the Art of Getting Over It,” Szuchman and Anderson encourage examining spats through a costbenefit analysis rather than letting minor grievances fester. On their own, marriage and economic theory aren’t exactly fertile ground for lighthearted reading. But by bringing them together, Spousonomics injects some levity into both. Quote: “At its core, economics is way simpler than all that. It’s the study of how people, companies and societies allocate scarce resources. Which happens to be the same puzzle you and your spouse are perpetually trying to solve: how to spend your limited time, energy, money and libido in ways that keep you smiling and your marriage thriving.” Publisher: Random House — AP

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Energy stocks From page 18 confident that energy stocks will continue delivering strong returns. “I think I can make 20 to 30 percent returns for a number of years,” Rice said of his $2 billion fund, one of two Morningstar analyst picks in the energy stock fund category. The fund is up 31 percent over the past 12 months. Long-term investors have enjoyed an average 18.4 percent annualized return over 10 years. That places it in the top 4 per-

cent of its category over that time period. Rice currently favors coal and natural gas stocks, like Massey Energy, a coal miner that’s the fund’s current top holding. He’s keeping more than 75 percent of his portfolio in small- to mid-sized companies, which are more likely to post stronger gains in a rising market than bigger ones. However, he acknowledges that approach invites more risk. When stocks decline, the smaller names are likely to fall harder than the big ones. — AP


July 13+

JUST BEAD IT Make something beautiful with beads on the second Wednesday

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ters. It meets the second and fourth Wednesday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. at

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the Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center, 3300 Norbetts Way, Ellicott City. For more


information, call (410) 313-7311.


Law & Money | More at

J U L Y 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Voters say don’t make cuts to Medicare By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Stephen Ohlemacher Combined, Social Security and Medicare account for about a third of all government spending, a share that will only grow as the baby boom generation retires. But most Americans say they don’t believe Medicare has to be cut to balance the federal budget, and ditto for Social Security, a new poll shows. The Associated Press-GfK poll suggests that arguments for overhauling the massive benefit programs to pare government debt have failed to sway the public. The debate is unlikely to be resolved before next year’s elections for president and Congress. Americans worry about the future of the retirement safety net, the poll found, and 3 out of 5 say the two programs are vital to their basic financial security as they age. That helps explain why the Republican Medicare privatization plan flopped, and why President Barack Obama’s Medicare cuts to finance his healthcare law contributed to Democrats losing control of the House in last year’s elections.

A serious budget problem Economic experts say the cost of retirement programs for an aging society is the most serious budget problem facing the nation. The trustees who oversee Social

Security and Medicare recently warned the programs are “not sustainable’’ over the long run under current financing. Nearly every solution for Social Security is politically toxic, because the choices involve cutting benefits or raising taxes. Medicare is even harder to fix because the cost of modern medicine is going up faster than the overall cost of living, outpacing economic growth as well as tax revenues. “Medicare is an incredibly complex area,’’ said former Sen. Judd Gregg, RN.H., who used to chair the Budget Committee. “It’s a matrix that is almost incomprehensible. “Unlike Social Security, which has four or five moving parts, Medicare has hundreds of thousands. There is no single approach to Medicare, whereas with Social Security everyone knows where the problem is.’’ That’s not what the public sees, however. “It’s more a matter of bungling, and lack of oversight, and waste and fraud, and padding of the bureaucracy,’’ said Carolyn Rodgers, who lives near Memphis, Tenn., and is still working as a legal assistant at 74. “There is no reason why even Medicare, if it had been handled right, couldn’t have been solvent.’’ In the recent poll, 54 percent said it’s possible to balance the budget without cutting spending for Medicare, and 59 per-

cent said the same about Social Security. Taking both programs together, 48 percent said the government could balance the budget without cutting either one. Democrats and political independents were far more likely than Republicans to say that neither program will have to be cut. The recession cost millions their jobs and sent retirement savings accounts into a nosedive. It may also have underscored the value of government programs. Social Security kept sending monthly benefits to 55 million recipients, like clockwork; Medicare went on paying for everything from wheelchairs to heart operations. Overall, 70 percent in the poll said Social Security is “extremely’’ or “very’’ important to their financial security in retirement, and 72 percent said so for Medicare. Sixty-two percent said that both programs are extremely or very important. The sentiment was a lot stronger among those 65 and older. Eighty-four percent of those said both programs are central to their financial security. Compare that to adults under 30, just starting out. Just under half, or 46 percent, said they believed both Social Security and Medicare would be extremely or very important to their financial security in retirement.

Rising costs may force change Numbers tell the story. As healthcare goes up, the value of Medicare benefits is catching up to Social Security’s. A twoearner couple with average wages retiring in 1980 would have expected to receive healthcare worth $132,000 through Medicare over their remaining lifetimes, and $446,000, or about three times more, in Social Security payments. For a similar couple who retired last year, the Medicare benefit will be worth $343,000,

Do you provide a product or service of interest to people over 50? (And today, what business doesn’t?)

compared to Social Security payments totaling $539,000, less than twice as much. These numbers, from economists at the nonpartisan Urban Institute, are adjusted for inflation to allow direct comparison. For low-income single retirees and some couples, the value of expected Medicare benefits already exceeds that of Social Security. The poll found a deep current of pessimism about the future of Social Security and Medicare. As much as Americans say the programs are indispensable, only 35 percent say it’s extremely or very likely that Social Security will be there to pay benefits through their entire retirement. For Medicare, it was 36 percent. Again, there’s a sharp difference between what the public believes and what experts say. Most experts say the programs will be there for generations to come. But they may look very different than they do today, and Americans should take note. “Do they have a basis for worrying that these programs are going to pay them much less than they’re currently promising?’’ asked economist Charles Blahous. “Yes, absolutely. “Do they have a basis for being concerned that the programs may have to be structurally changed in order to survive? The answer to that is yes, too.’’ A trustee of Social Security and Medicare, Blahous served as an economic adviser to President George W. Bush. The Associated Press-GfK poll was conducted in May and involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,001 adults nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. To see complete poll results online, go to — AP


July 15

ARTSCAPE CELEBRATION IN CHARM CITY Baltimore’s Bolton Hill and Mount Royal neighborhoods host over

150 artists, crafters and entertainers, with live music and an international menu of food and beverages. Take a trip to visit the annual ArtScape festival on Friday, July 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reach hundreds of thousands of customers throughout the Greater Washington area by advertising in

July 21

PHILADELPHIA HISTORIC SHIP TOUR Tour the Moshulu, the largest four-mast sailing ship still afloat, followed by filet and crab cake meal at one the city’s best restau-

rants located on the ship on Thursday, July 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The trip costs $87 and is sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation The Howard County


& Parks. For more information or to register, call (410) 313-7279.

The VOL.1, NO.4





More than 25,000 readers


throughout Howard County

Awards honor those who give PHOTO BY CHRIS M YERS

By Anne Ball The sound of the lilting singing of nearly a dozen women strumming their own accompaniment on Korean chromaharps filled Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church. Meanwhile, other older Korean-America ns displayed their paintings and photographs in the church hall, while another group showed off their newfound computer prowess. During a ceremony in June, these enrollees in the Bethel Senior Academy celebrated completion of a year’s work in a variety of subjects offered by this continuing education program for older Korean-American s. Inaugurated in 2002 with seven subjects and 56 participants, the Academy now offers a 24-subject curriculum and enrolls more than 200 participants each semester. Without access to the program, many of them would be isolated and disconnected due to language and cultural barriers. The program was just one of five honorees at the second annual Howard County Commission on Aging Recognition Awards that promote successful aging in the county. Other winners included Mary McGraw, founder and editor of the Howard Countybased Generations newspaper; Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Tau Pi chapter, whose members bring live music to older adults in the county; Don Nicholson, for his work with the homeless communities of Howard County and Baltimore City; and his wife, Sue Nicholson, a potter who organizes Empty Bowls, the annual event to benefit Rev. Sung-Ki Lim teaches students computer the county’s homeless. skills at the Bethel program for older adults Senior

For demographic information and advertising rates, call Alan at

(410) 248-9101.

Publisher recognized

Academy, a offered by the Bethel Korean Presbyterian City. More than 24 Church in Ellicott subjects are taught at the continuing education The Academy was one program. of five honorees recognized

Commission on Aging at the annual Howard The Commission on Aging’s Recognition Awards. County Benchmark Award for Business went to Mary McGraw, into Anne Arundel County, and who founded and edited each paper also includes Generations, a served “The Senior Connection.” a circulation of close to monthly publication for 14,000 in (Copies are seniors, caregivers, each available at the same sites county, McGraw recalled. and the organizations that where provide services Generations was distributed “I decided to stop publishing as well as others.) to support their needs. the paper The Office on for a number McGraw continues to live of reasons,” McGraw said. in the Ellicott Aging’s monthly publication “Al- City area and remains “The Senior though I active in a number was able to sustain profitability Connection” was inserted dur- of civic organizations in Generations for ing the in the county. She is start of the recession in 2008 many years. to 2010, also doing community I didn’t foresee the economy outreach for the After a 10-year run, McGraw recovering. Elizabeth ceased Newspapers were Cooney Care Network publishing Generations on a fast slide downhill. in Baltiearlier this year, more, a nursing referral “My brother ‘TJ’ McGraw, service for indibut the award citation noted the editor, viduals, families that “its lega- wanted and facilities. to retire. I needed to find cy continues to serve as new ofa benchmark for fices, and my long-standing printer other community publications closed Music for a serving the their doors. cause It seemed the handwriting 50-plus population.” was Another honoree was the on the wall,” she concluded Tau Pi chapter Following several successful with a laugh. of Omega Psi Phi, a years in After Generations closed, service fraternity Howard County, Generations the Beacon began expanded publishing a Howard County edition, which

See AWARD WINNERS , page 25

5 0 JULY 2011

I N S I D E …

July 28

PENNSYLVANIA OPRY TOUR Enjoy a variety show at the Star Theatre in Mercersburg, Pa.,


Oprah showers gifts and recognition on nonprofit founded by Ellicott City resident

which includes “The Malt Shop Music of the Fabulous Fifties” plus

page 24

a Hank Williams tribute. Lunch before the show is at John Allison Public House in ARTS & STYLE

Get your fill of live theater this summer; plus, a mid-life author laments the passing of her formerly hot life, and Dick Van Dyke writes his memoirs page 26 FITNESS & HEALTH k Why we cry k Popular drugs going generic


THE SENIOR CONNECTION 16 k Howard County Office on Aging newsletter LAW & MONEY k Index funds gain ground k An upside to pricey gas?



Greencastle. The trip is on Thursday, July 28 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The trip costs $99 and is sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks. For more information or to register, call (410) 313-7279.

More at | Law & Money

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1


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Does your organization use senior volunteers or do you employ a number of seniors?

Careers Volunteers &

If so and you’d like to be considered for a story in our Volunteers & Careers section, please send an e-mail to

Local volunteers recount day with Oprah well as to tell them about available community resources. Volunteers also help with Better BedRest’s annual fundraising event, which raises money to assist those on bed rest who are in financial difficulty because they can’t work. Elizabeth Neighoff is one of Reisfeld’s volunteers, who herself spent six months on bed rest while pregnant. After moving back to Maryland from New York, Neighoff heard about Better BedRest and knew she wanted to get involved. “People don’t understand unless they have been through the same thing,” said Neighoff, who like Reisfeld is an Ellicott City resident. “They think you’re lazy or on vacation!”

C GS Coalition of Geriatric Services

Presents The 6th Annual

FallFest 2011 Friday, November 4th Elkridge Furnace Inn • 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. Featuring a Fabulous Silent Auction, Entertainment by Frank & Trish Curreri and Dinner All Proceeds Benefit Neighbor Ride and the Howard County Office Aging’s Vivian Reid Community Fund Early Bird Tickets are $55 through July 2011 – $65 August 1st Tickets are on sale at For more information contact COGS at Make a Difference in the Life of a Senior – Support FallFest 2011 COGS Sponsors It is with great pride and pleasure that we recognize the following organizations and individuals for their commitment and support of the Coalition of Geriatric Services:

Platinum Sponsor Howard County General Hospital – A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine

Gold Sponsors Being There Senior Care Howard County Office on Aging Visiting Angels

Silver Sponsors Bayada Nurses

Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr, LLP Dr. Dan Storch Deborah Herman, CPA Ellicott City Health & Rehab – A Communicare Health Facility Gary L. Kaufman Funeral Home at Meadowridge Memorial Park The Beacon Bronze Sponsors Felinton Elder Law and Estate Planning Centers

Gentiva Health Services Homewatch Caregivers MedOptions Morningside House of Ellicott City Professional Healthcare Resources/PHR Somerford Place Transitions Healthcare Vantage House Retirement Community Earl Wilkinson, M.D., ENT.

Brought to Oprah’s attention


By Carol Sorgen When Joanie Reisfeld was pregnant more than 20 years ago, she had to endure complete bed rest for two and a half months until her son Zach was born at 30 weeks, weighing just 2 lb., 10 oz. It was a period of tremendous emotional and physical stress. So in 1993, the veteran teacher of blind children and part–time realtor founded Better BedRest, Inc., an advocacy, public awareness and volunteer-driven nonprofit that provides support and information to pregnant women who are prescribed bed rest by their physicians or midwives. Volunteers phone women on bed rest to offer advice and suggestions for coping as

Neighoff felt so inspired by Reisfeld’s efforts on behalf of pregnant women that, when she saw a “call for heroes” on Oprah Winfrey’s website last fall, she dashed off an e-mail extolling the virtues of Reisfeld and talking about the many women Reisfeld’s organization has helped through the years. “I promptly forgot about it,” said Neighoff of her e-mail. “I didn’t give it a second thought.” Until this past November, that is, when a representative from the “Oprah” show e-mailed Neighoff asking if she and Reisfeld could come to Chicago and be in the studio audience the following week. The two women were excited about having the opportunity to see a taping of a show during Oprah’s final season. They also hoped it Joanie Reisfeld (left), founder of Better BedRest, would bring awareness to the issue stands with volunteer Elizabeth Neighoff after a recent Oprah taping. At the show, the two were they both feel so passionate about. It wasn’t until Neighoff’s sister surprised to be recognized as “heroes” on Oprah’s annual “favorite things” episode. mentioned that November was usually when Oprah aired her muchommended them — were showered with anticipated “favorite things” show that the gifts, ranging from iPads to Ugg boots to two began to think there might be more to Coach pocketbooks, cashmere lounging the invitation than just being recognized outfits, jewelry, gift cards, food…and a for their volunteer efforts. newly designed Volkswagen Beetle, due Still, Oprah’s producers did everything out this September. they could to throw the audience off, even Because it was a special show, it contintelling them that the morning’s earlier tap- ues to air on Oprah’s OWN network. A clip ing had indeed been the “favorite things” is also available on YouTube at episode and apologizing that they were there to see Oprah’s “favorite people” show, “It was a humbling and overwhelming featuring Dr. Oz, Suze Orman and Dr. Phil. experience,” said Reisfeld, adding that the “We were a bit deflated for a moment,” gratitude she receives from the women Neighoff recalled, “but then told ourselves helped by Better BedRest is all the thanks that, really, the best thing was just being she ever really needed. there and meeting Oprah. (Indeed, “What all the volunteers do is amazing Neighoff said that after the birth of her child in and of itself,” she added. “And what Elizand her wedding, meeting Oprah has been abeth did [by recommending me] was the best thing that has happened in her life.) both unexpected and unbelievable.” The producers did such a good job of Reisfeld, who — like Oprah — is 57 fooling the audience that when Oprah (they were born a week apart) has long came out and eventually gave up the gag, been an Oprah fan. Through the years she “we all went wild,” said both Reisfeld and has watched the show and read O, Oprah’s Neighoff. eponymous magazine. “I’m still trying to make sense of it all,” she said. “I sent Gifts galore Oprah a thank you note, but, what do you The wild ride continued for the next say to someone who gives you all this?” hour as the studio audience — entirely made up of “heroes” and those who recSee OPRAH, page 25

More at | Volunteers & Careers

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1

Award winners From page 1 founded 100 years ago at Howard University and now with more than 700 chapters around the world. The Tau Pi chapter, based in central Maryland, focuses on the needs of seniors and youth in Howard County, and was recognized for bringing live music to seniors at the Bain Center since 1995. In addition, their annual Gospel Extravaganza has raised more than $20,000 for the Vivian L. Reid Community Fund, which provides emergency financial assistance to Howard County seniors in need. “We usually schedule our big Gospel Extravaganza sometime during or right around Black History Month,” explained Eric Clark, the chapter’s “basileus,” or leader, who accepted the award on behalf of the group. The event draws gospel singers from local churches and area universities. This year’s extravaganza included a dance troupe from Morgan State and a gospel choir from McDaniel College in Carroll County. “We bring in steel bands, too — the whole range of music,” Clark said. “But that’s not all. We also do a Christmas in July event at the Bain Center with a luncheon for seniors, a raffle for some gifts. It’s a lot of fun, and our brothers really enjoy doing that, too.” The Tau Pi chapter was presented with the Phyllis B. Madachy Legacy Award, named in honor of the former administrator of the Howard County Office on Aging (1995-2006). In 2006, Madachy joined the administration of County Executive Ken Ulman as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, retiring from that post in 2009. Madachy’s work and writings in the aging field on the national level has brought attention and accolades to many Howard County programs.

Our Daily Bread soup kitchen. A resident of Columbia and a retired federal government employee, Don’s award was in the civic engagement category. The excellence in the arts award went to Sue Nicholson, a potter, who similarly serves the needy, tying her efforts in with her artistry. Several years ago, she originated the now-annual Empty Bowls dinner with fellow Howard County potters. Guests eat their meal out of hand-crafted bowls, and then purchase their bowl to raise money for charity. Sue, a long-time Columbia resident, crafted 20 bowls herself for the first dinner. The idea was based on the Empty Bowls project created in 1990 by John Hartom, a Michigan high school art teacher, who developed a program for students to produce bowls in class for a faculty lunch. At the end of the meal, each guest kept the bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The concept has since been adopt-

ed by schools and organizations around the country. Proceeds from Howard County’s program go to feed the homeless at Grassroots and to support Meals on Wheels and the AIDS Alliance. In presenting this year’s awards to the honorees, County Executive Ken Ulman

said, “It is important that we recognize the efforts of these exceptional award winners who give so generously of their time to fill a community need. “I also want to commend the Commission on Aging for making this an annual event and for their continued commitment to Howard County’s seniors.”


June 27


Bring in your medications, and a pharmacist will teach you more about the prescription drugs you’re taking in a free program on Monday, June 27 from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, Suite 1000, Medical Pavilion, 10740 Charter Dr., Columbia. For more information or to register, call (410) 740-7601, or register online at

June 27


Learn new information about recycling and how to enhance your ”green” behaviors. The seminar is on Monday, June 27, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, Medical Pavilion, Suite 1000, 10740 Charter Dr., Columbia. For more information, call (410) 740-7601.

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Helping the homeless Husband and wife Don and Sue Nicholson have shied from publicity about their awards, declining to be interviewed for this article. Don has spent more than 20 years working with the county’s homeless at Grassroots — a crisis intervention center and shelter — and as cook and meal server at


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Oprah From page 24 Neighoff herself has been no less inspired, first by Reisfeld, and then by the entire Oprah experience. “When something so unexpectedly joyous can happen to you,” she said, “you come away with a sense of hope and a desire to give even more than you have received.” For more information on Better BedRest, or to volunteer, call (410) 7407662, email, or visit

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J U L Y 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

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Style Arts &

Dick Van Dyke writes a book about his lucky — and funny — life. See story on page 29.

Getting your fill of live theatre this summer

In our own backyard Cole Porter’s musical romp across the Atlantic in Anything Goes at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia continues through August 28. When the S.S. American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention head out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love. But sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise. and some good old-fashioned blackmail. Peppering this hilariously bumpy ride are some of musical theater’s most memorable standards, including “I Get a Kick out of You,” “It’s De-lovely,” and, of course, “Anything Goes.” Tuesday through Saturday evenings, doors open at 6 p.m. for the all-you-can-eat buffet dinner, and the show starts at 8 p.m.

On Sunday evenings, doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner, with a 7 p.m. show time. For Wednesday and Sunday matinees, doors open at 10:30 a.m. for brunch, and the show begins at 12:30 p.m. Prices, which include the meal and show (alcoholic beverages are extra), range from $47 to $52 for adults and are $33.50 for children. The theater is located at 5900 Symphony Woods Drive, Columbia. For more information, call (410) 730-8311. Now celebrating its ninth year at the ruins at Patapsco Female Institute (PFI) Historic Park in Ellicott City (3691 Sarah’s Lane), Chesapeake Shakespeare Company presents two popular plays in repertory, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) through July 24. In The Complete Works, three of CSC’s comic actors — Scott Graham, Frank Mormon and John Miller — perform a twohour comic version of Shakespeare’s greatest hits. Pre-show entertainment includes musicians, jugglers and stage combat demonstrations. The gates open 90 minutes before show time for picnicking. Tickets can be purchased

Are you online? So are we! Visit our all-new website: You’ll find topical articles, as well as blogs, recipes, useful links, reader forums, games, puzzles and event listings. Also –


By Carol Sorgen While many area theaters are dark for the summer, there are still opportunities for you to get your fill of comedy, drama and musicals over the next several months. Here are a few local and regional offerings that are worth considering.

Evangelist turned nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, played by Cathy Mundy, stars in Toby’s Dinner Theatre’s production of Anything Goes, featuring the music of Cole Porter.

online at or by calling (410) 313-8661. Tickets range from $15 to $36.

Visit or call (443) 840-2787 for more information. The theater is located at 7201 Rossville Blvd.

In Baltimore

Further afield

Baltimore’s Run of the Mill Theater will present BMORE 1-ACTS, a collection of four one-act plays by local authors. Henry’s Holiday, by Julie Lewis, runs from July 1-3; Empires Fall, by Mark Scharf, also from July 1-3; A Girl Called Alice, by Kimberley Lynne, from July 7-10, and Sphere: The Thelonius Monk Story, by Max Garner, from July 7-10 as well. Performances July 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 are at 8 p.m., and July 3 and 10 at 7 p.m. There will also be a 3 p.m. matinee on July 2. Tickets are $15 at the door or online at The theater is located at LOF/t (Load of Fun Theater) at 120 W. North Ave. Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre at Community College of Baltimore CountyEssex has a full slate of shows for its 2011 season: From June 17-July 3 is the familyfriendly production of The Secret Garden; June 24-July 3 is Over the River and Through the Woods; July 8-17, Disney’s Camp Rock; July 22-Aug. 7, Hairspray; and July 29-Aug. 7, The Edge of Darkness. Tickets range from $24-$36.

A perennial favorite for residents and visitors alike, Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre has two popular shows on tap for the summer. Featuring your favorite songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s, The Marvelous Wonderettes is a trip down memory lane to the 1958 Springfield High School prom. It runs from June 30 to July 24. The 2011 season will close with the Baltimore-based musical Hairspray, which inspired a major motion picture and won eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It runs Aug. 4 to Sept. 4. Curtain time for all performances is 8:30 p.m. Each show has performances Thursday through Sunday. Call the box office at (410) 268-9212 for more information. Tickets are $18 each. The theater is located at 143 Compromise St. At Olney Theatre Center, Opus, by Michael Hollinger, runs on the Mainstage through July 3. In the play, a nationally televised performance at the White House See LIVE THEATRE, page 27

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — J U L Y 2 0 1 1

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When no longer ‘hot,’ boomers like to fret By Carol Sorgen When did you first realize that you had suddenly morphed into someone else? When you were walking with your daughter and noticed that she was the one getting all the looks? When your son trounced you in basketball…again and again? When your staff stopped inviting you to lunch? For magazine writer/editor Stephanie Dolgoff, the “lightbulb moment” occurred when a man on a train asked her for the time. “Eight-forty,” she replied tersely, trying to fend off what she thought was coming next. But then…”Nothing. Nada. Bubkes,” she writes in her amusing memoir/exploration of growing older, My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young (soon to be a television series, as well). “He may have said, ‘Thanks.’ I don’t remember…Apparently, the sexy stubbly guy who asked me for the time simply needed to know the time. He wanted information, not to have sex with me. Imagine!”

An awakening awareness In that moment (though there had been others prior to that, she admits, but she just didn’t want to face up to them), it all became “blindingly clear.” She was no long who she always thought she was — the young woman whose attractiveness, in both looks and personality, was an intrinsic part of how she navigated the world. But when Sexy Train Guy turned a blind eye to her charms, Dolgoff realized she was no longer “all that.” “I didn’t feel like

Live theatre From page 26 looms, and a world renowned string quartet is missing its volatile fourth player. Opus explores the intimate balance between these extraordinary individuals as their ambitions and passions are ignited by the pressure to perform. From July 27-Aug. 21, also on the Mainstage, Grease will bring you back to the days of drive-ins, rock ‘n roll and high

me anymore because I wasn’t me, at least not the me I had always been.” That “me” included a glamorous job in New York magazine publishing, a string of romances before settling down with her husband (whom she met on the subway), and having twin daughters. Turning her observational skills to this newfound stage in her life, Dolgoff began a blog,, where she and other women she calls “Formerlys” (as in “formerly hot,” a moniker that gets a bit tiresome when used throughout the book), can compare notes on who they were then, who they are now, and the plusses and minuses of both. The book isn’t all about looks, though Dolgoff is the first to admit that her appearance still matters to her — though not quite as much as it once did. “To shapewear or not to shapewear,” that is the question; i.e., how much discomfort are you willing to endure in exchange for looking smoother and thinner. Dolgoff writes that, for the most part, the Spanx stay in the drawer and she has opted for slightly looser clothing that still looks good but also enables her to digest her food. Careers, relationships, popular culture, aging parents and more are all tackled in the book.

Looking at the upside While Dolgoff has plenty to say about the downsides of growing older, she also sees the upsides. You no longer feel the

school romance. Tickets range from $26 to $54; patrons 65 and older receive $5 off (excludes Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees; subject to availability). Olney Theatre Center is located at 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. For more information, call (301) 924-3400 or visit The well-regarded Contemporar y American Theater Festival returns once again to West Virginia’s Shepherd University in Shepherdstown from July 8-31, with

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need to be out and about till all hours of the morning (of course, you don’t really have the time or energy for it anyway, she points out). Your friends won’t accuse you of being a stick-in-the-mud because, let’s face it, they’re stuck in the same muck you are. Whether in your personal or professional life, your self-esteem no longer is dependent on other people’s opinions of you. And then there’s the matter of shoes. “I now realize you need your feet to function,” writes Dolgoff. So, after years of tottering and limping on four-inch heels, it’s flats for her — ”a small fashion sacrifice to make in exchange for being able to walk.” While Dolgoff is just shy of her mid-40s and asserts that she’s not old (just older), and not even middle-aged yet (though that may be debatable), the issues she is confronting will probably ring true for most baby boomers. And while many of these issues challenge “formerly hot” men as well, the book will appeal primarily to a female audience. Dolgoff admits that some of her older blog followers have chided her on her seeming obsession with leaving her youth behind. “All that frettin’ is terribly unattractive,” one woman in her 50s wrote on her blog. And maybe, she says, when she has well and truly crossed the line into middle-age, and then old age, she too will look back and think how silly it all was. On the other hand, people experience life changes in different ways — some

more acutely than others — and Dolgoff thinks the shift in her life is worthy of the “magnifying glass” she has been applying to it. But once she passes through the “Formerly” stage, Dolgoff hopes that all the positives she has come to appreciate at this time in her life — the groundedness, the confidence, the social ease and peace of mind — will outweigh some of the panic of the unknown. My formerly Hot Life, published 2010 by Ballantine Books, is available at bookstores and online (hardback and e-book versions).

new works in repertory by playwrights David Mamet, Kyle Bradstreet, Sam Shepard, Tracy Thorne and Lucy Thurber. The festival is well known for presenting

thought-provoking new plays. This year’s dramas focus on sex, race, friendship and family. For more information, call 1-800999-2283 or visit

Stephanie Dolgoff’s recent book, My Formerly Hot Life, humorously expresses the angst felt by boomer women who are coming to terms with advancing middle age.


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Dick Van Dyke’s lucky life and funny times

Inspired by his kids But what about the years of setbacks and struggles before he scored his first big success, starring in the 1960 Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie? Van Dyke credits his tenacity to his four kids — Chris, Barry, Stacy and Carrie — who are now grown and “truly admirable people. “ “I had to keep working in order to support them,” he explained, flashing his familiar grin. “I never had a lot of drive, not much vision or goals. It was them that kept me going. And God.” Van Dyke grew up in Danville, Ill., a small town in America’s heartland, the son of a stenographer and a salesman for the Sunshine Cookie Co. (He had a younger brother, Jerry, who followed him into show business and is best known from the

1990s sitcom “Coach.”) His involvement in the high school drama club led to a job as an announcer on a Danville radio station. Then, in his early 20s, Van Dyke hooked up with a former chum, Phil Erickson, who needed a partner for his comedy duo. It already had a booking in California. Van Dyke signed on without even asking what he was supposed to do. Their act called for the pair to comically mime records, and the Merry Mutes weathered obstacles and money shortages, as well as car troubles that seemed to put every crucial audition and club date in peril. Meanwhile, Van Dyke brought his fiancée, Margie, from Danville to Los Angeles, where they were married before an audience of millions on the radio program “Bride and Groom.” That gave the moneystrapped lovebirds a cost-free way to get hitched, with a honeymoon thrown in. A year later, in 1949, the Merry Mutes (and the newlyweds) moved to Atlanta, where club bookings awaited, as well as local TV gigs for Van Dyke. Then in 1955 he set off for New York, where he had been hired for the “CBS Morning Show” alongside anchor Walter Cronkite. But within a year, Van Dyke was reassigned to a grab bag of other shows. Then CBS let him go. Van Dyke’s prospects brightened when he was cast in Bye Bye Birdie. The director wasn’t put off when Van Dyke cautioned him, “I can’t really dance.” The director soon proved him wrong. And Van Dyke won himself a Tony.

In luck with two Marys In January 1961 came an audition for Carl Reiner, who was cooking up a series based on his own life as a comedy writer and family man. Van Dyke’s eponymous sitcom, on which he was paired with an effervescent unknown named Mary Tyler Moore, premiered that October. Van Dyke depicts those five seasons as a creative lovefest for all concerned, during which he and Moore shared a chaste but palpable crush. He said he stays in touch with her to this day, describing her warmly as “a wonderful gal.” The 1964 Mary Poppins brought him another made-in-heaven pairing, as he played a Cockney chimney sweep to Julie





From page 30.








Andrews’ flying nanny. By then, Van Dyke had proved himself not only as an actor, singer and dancer, but also as affable everyguy with equal skill for light comedy and rubber-jointed slapstick. “When I was a kid, I loved all the silent comedians — Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Chaplin,” he said. “And I used to imitate them. I’d go to see a Buster Keaton movie and come home and try things out I’d seen. I learned to do pratfalls when I was very young.” As he speaks, Van Dyke seems youthful still. The full head of hair is silver, but the blue eyes are clear and bright, and his smile retains its boyishness. He is slightly stooped, but “a month ago I had spinal surgery,” he said. “I’m still recovering from it. I had pinched nerves.” With all those prat- Dick Van Dyke’s new memoir doesn’t dish dirt, but falls, “I beat myself up pretty does describe his battle with alcoholism. good.” Though avoiding self-pity, Van Dyke — 30s, I finally discovered that a martini lowin his book and in conversation — doesn’t ered my inhibitions a little bit and made shy from discussing obstacles that clut- me a little more sociable and garrulous, tered his path. His battle with alcoholism, and I found myself hooked on it. I would go home and drink too many. I got worfor example. “I worked nightclubs all through my 20s See YAN DYKE, page 31 and I was a teetotaler,” he said. “But in my AP PHOTO/DAMIAN DOVARGANES

By Frazier Moore Dick Van Dyke looks back and marvels. The way he sizes up his 85-and-counting years is summarized by the title of his new memoir, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: dumb luck. Luckily, he had a lot of talent, too. Van Dyke writes proudly of his roles in one of television’s most beloved sitcoms (“The Dick Van Dyke Show”) as well as a classic film musical (Mary Poppins). But he characterizes those hits, along with the rest of his career, as lucky breaks that fell into his lap. So don’t come to this breezy but heartfelt book expecting Van Dyke to crow about his many accomplishments. Or bellyache about the low points. Or dish dirt: In his preface, he posts a consumer alert that “there is nothing salacious here.” He makes good on that promise. The book’s very creation seems a surprise to him, judging from a recent interview. “It never occurred to me to write a book,” he said. “My life seemed kind of pedestrian to me. I auditioned for a few things, but for the most part, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, just going with the flow.” He paused. Reconsidered. “So it is a kind of interesting story from that standpoint,” he conceded, as if trying to rationalize telling it.

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Puzzle Page

Crossword Puzzle Daily crosswords can be found on our website: Click on Puzzles Plus An Army of One Across by Stephen Sherr 1










27 31











34 36 41 46









50 52





56 62














Scrabble answers on p. 29.







21 24









Answer: How he tried to sell the instrument BY "TRUMPETING" IT Jumbles: MANGY AFIRE PURITY GIMLET


1. This puzzle’s theme 6. Thin cigarette 10. The Santa Maria, for example 14. Minimal requirement to make borscht 15. Decline 16. Female lobsters 17. Words on an unwelcoming sign 20. Gal, portrayed by Rita Hayworth 21. Staff 22. Ram’s ma’am 23. “What’s up ___?” 24. Public shouting matches 27. “Pride ___ ...” 29. His theme song was “Puffin’ Billy” from 1955 to 1974 33. Attentive 34. Sailers’ greetings 35. Toe total, typically 36. Camden Yards’ homerun street 38. Run up a tab 41. Many mannequins 43. Extra on L.A. Law 45. A new kitchen, perhaps 50. Leaves out 51. “Say good night, ___” 52. Go bad 53. Rascal 56. Printer’s expense 57. Pwr. plant regulator 60. Its 10,000th episode was broadcast April 17, 2002 64. Drive the getaway car 65. Needle-nose pliers, for example 66. Mozart specialty 67. Senate votes 68. Rock ending (in NYC) 69. Before midnight

Down 1. Criminal charges 2. Start of a magic word 3. It is used to write “Diamond” for autograph collectors

4. Actor Costner, briefly 5. Ogle 6. Nation with five Gold Medals at the 2010 Winter Olympics 7. Seatbelt location 8. Pertaining to, briefly 9. Persian pronouncement 10. Pronoun for 10 and 22 Across 11. Sheepdog 12. Completely 13. From 1960, the American Film Institute’s #1 thriller 18. Author Morrison 19. Sue or Lee 25. Midpt. 26. Participating in a roller derby 28. Grp. with members from Canada to Chile 29. Heathcliff or Garfield 30. Barley brew 31. Solver’s shout 32. “Act ___!” 36. Act human 37. Take advantage of 38. Provided guidance to a newcomer 39. Court 40. West end 41. Viewer of 29 Across 42. “Dear Madam ___” 43. Bonanza 44. Urologist’s diagnosis (abbrev.) 45. Arthurian sorceress 46. It’s magnified on a slide 47. Small bus 48. American League bird 49. FedEx vehicles 54. Sock’s partner 55. Storyline 58. ___ avis 59. Ali, once 61. Aliens, for short 62. All the rage 63. Wall St. debut

Answers on page 29.

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July 8+

ART EN PLEIN AIR IN ELLICOTT CITY On Saturday, July 8, artists will take to the streets to paint in the

open air (en plein air) all day on Main Street in Ellicott City’s historic district. An exhibit of some of the finished pieces and other juried artwork will be on display July 11 through Aug. 26 at the Howard County Center for the Arts. Details at Co-sponsored by the Howard County Arts Council, Howard County Tourism and Howard County Public Schools.

July 26

LIBRETTO & LUNCH Spend a day learning about and listening to Faust, considered the crown jewel of French romantic opera. The first two acts are in the

morning, followed by lunch and the epilogue in the afternoon. The class lasts from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $11. Register at (410) 313-7213. The Bain Center is located at 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia.

Van Dyke From page 29 ried.” (He has been sober for years.) His marriage came unraveled as he and his wife grew apart. They were divorced in 1984 after a long separation. By that time, he had begun a relationship that lasted nearly 35 years with Michelle Triola (well-known as the excompanion of actor Lee Marvin, whom she sued for what was dubbed “palimony”). She died of cancer two years ago. After the mid-1960s, Van Dyke’s career was laden with short-lived TV shows and “a lot of really bad movies” — Van Dyke laughs in gratitude that no one remembers them.

Recent TV and stage work Even so, the 1990s signaled an unexpected show-biz comeback with “Diagnosis Murder,” his best-received project in decades. In that lighthearted mystery series, Van Dyke

played physician-sleuth Dr. Mark Sloan, while his son Barry co-starred as an LAPD detective. It aired on CBS through 2001. Today he stays as busy he wants to, he said. He performs favorite songs in a quartet called The Vantastix. And he just finished a brief run in Los Angeles in an adaptation of The Sunshine Boys, joining 79-yearold brother Jerry Van Dyke as two aged exvaudevillians who reunite for a TV special despite their longtime feud. Now there is talk — especially from Jerry — of bringing this comedy to Broadway. How about it, Dick? “Well, yeah,” he agreed, while voicing concerns about doing eight performances a week — and about continuing to work with his brother. “I have trouble, because he breaks me up. My brother just kills me, and I can’t keep a straight face.” A man who can’t stop laughing. Some luck! — AP



EXPERIENCED FREELANCE FEATURE WRITER NEEDED for the Beacon’s Howard County edition. Must have newspaper

feature writing experience and be proficient in eliciting insightful quotes and colorful anecdotes. E-mail your resume and three feature writing samples or urls to


ENTER YOUR WORKS IN JURIED EXHIBIT The Howard County Arts Council is calling for submissions for Art HoCo 2011 to open in November. Visual artists who live, work or

study in Howard County are eligible to apply. Details are at Entry forms may be downloaded from the website, picked up in person at the Howard County Center for the Arts, or obtained through the mail by calling (410) 313-2787. Deadline for submissions is 5 p.m., Friday, August 26.


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

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July 2011 Howard County Beacon Edition  

July 2011 Howard County Beacon Edition