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Collections that spur memories

FEBRUARY 2014

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By Carol Sorgen Collectors are an odd lot. From the quirky — airsickness bags (unused, we assume) — to the valuable — antique Chinese porcelain — there’s no telling what can capture our passion. It’s easier to be a collector these days (which some say takes the fun out of it) because with only a keystroke and a credit card our computers allow us to buy whatever our hearts desire and our pocketbooks allow. But then there are the collectors whose treasured objects reflect a lifetime’s interest that have brought them both joy in their acquisition and contentment in the memories they bring.

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Warm(er) winter destinations beckon; plus, a safari to Botswana’s Okavango Delta page 21

A life of theater memories Take Manny Velder. The 86-year-old retired Towson University educator has, he estimated, “a couple of thousand” theatrical Playbills, dating back to the first production he ever saw, The Cherry Orchard, starring the renowned actress Eva Le Gallienne at Baltimore’s legendary Ford’s Theatre. Velder was just 12 or 13 at the time, and he recalled, “I didn’t understand a word of it, but I was enchanted.” Velder’s not sure what inspired him to start saving Playbills, but from that moment on, until just a few years ago, every time he went to a play, the Playbill came home with him. Today the hallway in his Charles Village condominium is lined with a selection of the framed magazines, and the remainder can be found in five filing cabinet drawers. Velder finally stopped collecting because “I just ran out of space.” The collection reflects a lifetime of avid theater-going, seeing performances in Baltimore, Washington, New York, London and more. Velder remembers traveling to London every year, seeing as many as 40 plays in one visit. Among the highlights of both his Playbill collection and his memories are performances by actresses Julie Harris, Katherine Hepburn and Shirley Booth. He has been fortunate to see original Broadway productions for many famous shows, including The Glass Menagerie and (his favorite musical) West Side Story, along with their many revivals. “I was only 17 when I saw Glass

Theater buff Manny Velder has collected Playbills since he was a boy, and his collection now numbers in the thousands. From dolls to farm memorabilia, collectors enjoy the thrill of the chase and keeping memories alive.

Menagerie, with Laurette Taylor, for the first time,” Velder recalled, “but I’ve seen it eight to 10 times since then.” Also included among his favorite plays are Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire. And while he didn’t attend many opening nights of Broadway productions, “by accident” Velder was on hand for the memorable opening of The King and I on March 29, 1951, starring Yul Brynner. (Brynner went on to star in the 1956 film and many subsequent revivals, and became indelibly linked to that role.) Though Velder has stopped adding to his Playbill collection, he continues to attend the theater as often as he can, with subscriptions to Everyman Theatre and Center Stage in Baltimore, and Arena Stage and the Shake-

speare Theatre Company in Washington. Velder doubts that his collection is worth much monetarily (though a quick look on the Internet showed Playbills selling for $5 on up…multiply by several thousand and, well, you do the math). But money was never the point. “The theater has always been an escape,” he said. “It takes me to another world and another atmosphere,” Velder said.

Hello dolly For 96-year-old Margie Warres, whose residence in the North Oaks Retirement Community in Pikesville is a tableau of the worldwide travels she and her late husSee COLLECTORS, page 29

ARTS & STYLE

Peabody conference explores music’s effect on the brain; plus Billy Crystal still leaves audiences laughing. page 26

FITNESS & HEALTH 3 k Gene therapy kicks cancer k Guard against winter heart attacks LAW & MONEY 13 k 2014 stock outlook k Get a decent return on savings VOLUNTEERS & CAREERS 18 k Teaching adults the three Rs PLUS CROSSWORD, BEACON BITS, CLASSIFIEDS & MORE


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FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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The power in numbers Among the truest truisms are the state- enough to cost them their livelihood and ments: “there is power in numbers,” and ostracize them from society. “the pen is mightier than the At the time, these were the sword.” opinions of the majority, and History offers ample exthe majority believed in the amples. The problem is that rightness of their beliefs. those examples may illusBut when we look back on trate successes by what we these times, we rightly feel (or others) might consider ashamed that our country good or moral causes, as well could have been so backward, as successes by what we (or so prejudiced, so caught up in others) might consider bad mass hysteria. or immoral causes. We might say to ourselves Not so long ago in this FROM THE that we would never have succountry, there were substan- PUBLISHER cumbed, even under the most tial numbers of Americans By Stuart P. Rosenthal intense peer pressure, to join who shared racist attitudes, the lynch mobs, reject friends propagated ugly beliefs and acted on them. for their political beliefs, or remain in the For years, black, Asian, Catholic and country clubs and schools that kept others Jewish Americans were kept out of many out due to their ethnicity or their religion. desirable neighborhoods, private schools Some of us would go further and say, and clubs, and workplaces. were something like this to happen again, Those who were gay were terrified to be we would stand up and fight — with words known as such, and remained in the closet and possibly even our fists — to defend their whole lives out of fear of losing their those who were being so unfairly attacked jobs and even their friends and family. for their ancestry, their religion or their Americans have also been persecuted beliefs. for their political beliefs. Even the barest After all, we might add, America was suggestion that someone was a card-carry- founded on the principles of tolerance, ing member of the Communist Party was freedom of speech and religion, and belief

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in the inherent dignity of all humankind. Are you with me? If so, you might not realize you’re being set up. For my intent in this column is not simply to point out how much more enlightened we Americans are today than our ancestors, but also to suggest that perhaps, as the tables have turned, we may actually be reenacting some of the biases, injustices and hypocrisy of our forebears in the name of enlightenment. While our culture has come a long way since the prejudices I mentioned above were commonly expressed and accepted, let’s take as a given that not everyone has internalized contemporary mores. Some were raised with prejudicial attitudes and haven’t moved beyond them. Some realize times and attitudes have changed, but aren’t so happy about it. Others have really come to accept current views, but when asked about the past, will admit to having had prejudices in the past. And some are fundamentalist believers who take the Bible at face value, even when that conflicts with modern notions of rights. When some of these attitudes come to light nowadays, especially when the people are famous or rich or both, the public reaction can be furious, and the result can almost instantly cost people their reputations and their livelihoods. While I understand the logic of denying prejudiced national figures a bully pulpit, I worry that we are becoming less and less

tolerant even of each other within our communities. It seems to me that a significant number of Americans are developing a reflexive rush to judge, dehumanize and penalize those whose beliefs they consider offensive, and to refuse to accept even penitent apologies. Are these not the very behaviors of those in the past whom we claim to so despise? We see online lynching of reputations, mass hysteria against, and stereotyping of, groups and political parties based on the behavior of individuals. We may think we have come a long way from the backwardness of the past, but in some ways, we have just become those we used to hate. If we truly believe in freedom of thought and freedom of religion, we should be able to live with differences of opinion and belief, as long as everyone’s rights are respected. And when we think someone’s beliefs are backward, we have the right to try to educate them and change their attitudes. It may take time and effort, and it may, in some cases, not succeed. But if we believe in human dignity — that of others as well as our own —- we must agree to treat each other with basic respect.

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

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Feb. 7

MONUMENTAL MOVIE SCREENING The Edward A. Myerberg Senior Center invites you to an early

screening of The Monuments Men on Friday, Feb. 7 at the Pikes Theatre, 921 Reisterstown Rd. Admission is $20 per seat to benefit the center, which provides educational and recreational programming and social services for older adults. Based on the book by Robert M. Edsel and directed by George Clooney, the film follows an unlikely World War II platoon tasked with rescuing art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. A light breakfast will be served at 9 a.m. with the movie showing beginning at 10 a.m. For more information and reservations, contact Jennifer Steinhurst at (410) 358-6856 or Jennifer@myerberg.org.

Feb. 12

WOMAN’S CLUB FUNDRAISER On Wednesday, Feb. 12, the Woman’s Club of Perry Hall will hold a fund raiser at the Italian Sensation, 8911 Belair Rd.,

www.italiansensation.com. Visit for lunch, dinner or takeout and tell them you are supporting the Woman’s Club of Perry Hall. Funds raised will help with various charities, community activities, and a scholarship to a graduating Perry Hall High School female who intends to enroll at a community college.


BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

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IN A NUTSHELL Nut eaters live longer, with less heart disease and cancer, and are thinner WINTER HEART ATTACKS Cold temps, snow shoveling and weight increase winter heart attack risk BUBBLING WITH BENEFITS Fermented foods, from pickles to cheese, have many health benefits KNEE QUANDRY How to decide if surgery or rehab is best for a torn knee ligament

First successful gene therapy for cancer By Marilynn Marchione In one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years, doctors are reporting unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients’ blood cells into soldiers that seek and destroy cancer. A few patients with one type of leukemia were given this one-time, experimental therapy several years ago, and some remain cancer-free today. Now, at least six research groups have treated more than 120 patients with many types of blood and bone marrow cancers, with stunning results. “It’s really exciting,” said Dr. Janis Abkowitz, blood diseases chief at the University of Washington in Seattle and president of the American Society of Hematology. “You can take a cell that belongs to a patient and engineer it to be an attack cell.” In one study, all five adults and 19 of 22 children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) had a complete remission, meaning no cancer could be found after treatment, although a few have relapsed since then. These were gravely ill patients who were out of options. Some had tried multiple

bone marrow transplants and up to 10 types of chemotherapy or other treatments. Cancer was so advanced in 8-year-old Emily Whitehead of Philipsburg, Pa., that doctors said her major organs would fail within days. She was the first child given the gene therapy, and shows no sign of cancer today, nearly two years later. To watch a video about her treatment, see http://bit.ly/VxB0dL. Doctors say this has the potential to become the first gene therapy approved in the United States, and the first for cancer worldwide. Only one gene therapy is approved in Europe, for a rare metabolic disease.

What’s involved The treatment involves filtering patients’ blood to remove millions of white blood cells, called T-cells, altering them in the lab to contain a gene that targets cancer, and returning them to the patient in infusions over three days. “What we are giving essentially is a living drug” — permanently altered cells that multiply in the body into an army to fight the cancer, said Dr. David Porter, a University of

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Pennsylvania scientist who led one study. Several drug and biotech companies are developing these therapies. Penn has patented its method and licensed it to Switzerland-based Novartis AG. The company is building a research center on the Penn campus in Philadelphia and plans a clinical trial next year that could lead to federal approval of the treatment as soon as 2016. Talking with the researchers, “there is a sense of making history...a sense of doing something very unique,” said Hervé Hoppenot, president of Novartis Oncology, the division leading the work. Lee Greenberger, chief scientific officer of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, agreed. “From our vantage point, this looks like a major advance,” he said. “We are seeing powerful responses... and time will tell how enduring these remissions turn out to be.” The group has given $15 million to various researchers testing this approach. Nearly 49,000 new cases of leukemia, 70,000 cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 22,000 cases of myeloma are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2014.

Many patients are successfully treated with chemotherapy or bone marrow or stem cell transplants, but transplants are risky, and donors can’t always be found. So far, gene therapy has been tried on people who were in danger of dying because other treatments failed. The gene therapy must be made individually for each patient, and lab costs now are about $25,000, without a profit margin. That’s still less than many drugs to treat these diseases and far less than a transplant. The treatment can cause severe flu-like symptoms and other side effects, but these have been reversible and temporary, doctors say.

Many success stories Penn doctors have treated the most cases so far — 59. Of the first 14 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), four had complete remissions, four had partial ones, and the rest did not respond. However, some partial responders continue to see their cancer shrink a year after treatment. See GENE THERAPY, page 5


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FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

To live longer and be slimmer, eat nuts By Marilynn Marchione Sometimes you feel like a nut, and that’s a good thing. Regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease — in fact, were less likely to die of any cause — during a 30-year Harvard study. Nuts have long been called hearthealthy, and the study is the largest ever done on whether eating them affects mortality. Researchers tracked 119,000 men and women and found that those who ate nuts roughly every day were 20 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who never ate nuts. Eating nuts less often lowered the death risk, too, in direct proportion to consumption.

The risk of dying of heart disease dropped 29 percent and the risk of dying of cancer fell 11 percent among those who had nuts seven or more times a week compared with people who never ate them. The benefits were seen from peanuts as well as from pistachios, almonds, walnuts and other tree nuts. The researchers did not look at how the nuts were prepared — oiled or salted, raw or roasted.

Weight control benefits, too A bonus: Nut eaters stayed slimmer. “There’s a general perception that if you eat more nuts, you’re going to get fat. Our results show the opposite,” said Dr. Ying Bao of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

She led the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation sponsored the study, but the nut group had no role in designing it or reporting the results. Researchers don’t know why nuts may boost health. It could be that their unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and other nutrients lower cholesterol and inflammation and reduce other problems, as earlier studies seemed to show. Observational studies like this one can’t prove cause and effect, only suggest a connection. Research on diets is especially tough, because it can be difficult to single out the effects of any one food.

People who eat more nuts may eat them on salads, for example, and some of the benefit may come from the leafy greens, said Dr. Robert Eckel, a University of Colorado cardiologist and former president of the American Heart Association. Dr. Ralph Sacco, a University of Miami neurologist who also is a former heart association president, agreed. “Sometimes when you eat nuts you eat less of something else like potato chips,” so the benefit may come from avoiding an unhealthy food, Sacco said. The Harvard group has long been known for solid science on diets. Its findings build on a major study earlier this See NUTS, page 7

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“That’s very unique to this kind of therapy” and gives hope the treatment may still purge the cancer, said Porter. Another 18 CLL patients were treated, and half have responded so far. Penn doctors also treated 27 ALL patients. All five adults and 19 of the 22 children had complete remissions — an “extraordinarily high” success rate, said Dr. Stephan Grupp at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Six have since relapsed, though, and doctors are pondering a second gene therapy attempt. At the National Cancer Institute, Dr. James Kochenderfer and others have treated 11 patients with lymphoma and four with CLL, starting roughly two years ago. Six had complete remissions, six had partial ones, one has stable disease, and it’s too soon to tell for the rest. Ten other patients were given gene therapy to try to kill leukemia or lymphoma remaining after bone marrow transplants. These patients got infusions of gene-treated blood cells from their trans-

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plant donors instead of using their own blood cells. One had a complete remission and three others had significant reduction of their disease. “They’ve had every treatment known to man. To get any responses is really encouraging,” Kochenderfer said. The cancer institute is working with a Los Angeles biotech firm, Kite Pharma Inc., on its gene therapy approach. Patients are encouraged that relatively few have relapsed. “We’re still nervous every day because they can’t tell us what’s going to happen tomorrow,” said Tom Whitehead, father of 8year-old Emily. Doug Olson, 67, a scientist for a medical device maker, shows no sign of cancer since gene therapy in September 2010 for CLL he had had since 1996. “Within one month he was in complete remission. That was just completely unexpected,” said Porter, his doctor at Penn. Olson ran his first half-marathon last January and no longer worries about how long his remission will last. “I decided I’m cured. I’m not going to let that hang over my head anymore,” he said. — AP

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FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

Guard against wintertime heart attacks By Jim Miller Dear Savvy Senior: I had a mild heart attack about six months ago. My doctor told me I need to be extra careful during the winter, when recurring heart attacks are more common. Is this true? How can the seasons affect your heart? — Leery Senior Dear Leery: Everyone knows winter is cold and flu season, but most people don’t know that it’s also the prime season for heart attacks, as well, especially if you already have heart disease or have suffered a previous heart attack. In the U.S., the risk of having a heart attack during the winter months is twice as

high as it is during the summertime. Why? There are a number of factors, and they’re not all linked to cold weather. Even people who live in warm climates have an increased risk. Here are the areas you need to pay extra attention to this winter: Cold temperatures: When a person gets cold, the body responds by constricting the blood vessels to help the body maintain heat. This causes blood pressure to go up and makes the heart work harder. Cold temperatures can also increase levels of certain proteins that can thicken the blood and increase the risk for blood clots. So stay warm this winter. And when you do have to go outside, make sure you bun-

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dle up in layers, with gloves and a hat. Place a scarf over your mouth and nose to warm up the air before you breathe it in. Snow shoveling: Studies have shown that heart attack rates jump dramatically in the first few days after a major snowstorm, usually a result of snow shoveling. Shoveling snow is a very strenuous activity that raises blood pressure and stresses the heart. Combine those factors with the cold temperatures, and the risks of heart attack surge. If your sidewalk or driveway needs shoveling this winter, hire a kid from the neighborhood to do it for you or use a snow blower. If you must shovel, push rather than lift the snow as much as possible. Stay warm and take frequent breaks. New Year’s resolutions: Every January, millions of people join gyms or start exercise programs as part of their New Year’s resolution to get in shape. Many overexert themselves too quickly. If you’re starting a new exercise program this winter, take the time to talk to your doctor about what types of exercise may be appropriate for you, and how much. Winter weight gain: People tend to eat and drink more, and therefore to gain more weight, during the holiday season and winter months. This is hard on the heart and risky for someone with heart disease. So

keep a watchful eye on your diet this winter and avoid binging on fatty foods and alcohol. Shorter days: Less daylight in the winter months can cause many people to develop “seasonal affective disorder” or SAD, a wintertime depression that can stress the heart. Studies have also looked at heart attack patients and found they usually have lower levels of vitamin D (which your body produces when exposed to sunlight) than people with healthy hearts. To boost your vitamin D this winter, consider taking a supplement that contains between 1,000 and 2,000 international units (IU) per day. And to find treatments for SAD, visit the Center for Environmental Therapeutics website at cet.org. Flu season: Studies show that people who get flu shots have a lower heart attack risk. It’s known that the inflammatory reaction set off by a flu infection can increase blood clotting, which can lead to heart attacks in vulnerable people. So, if you haven’t already done so, get a flu shot for protection. See www.flushot.healthmap.org to find a vaccination site nearby. Send your questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior book.


BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

Nuts From page 4 year — a rigorous experiment that found a Mediterranean-style diet supplemented with nuts cuts the chance of heart-related problems, especially strokes, in older people at high risk of them.

Many studies agree Many previous studies tie nut consumption to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and other maladies. In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration said a fistful of nuts a day as part of a low-fat diet may reduce the risk of heart disease. The heart association recommends four servings of unsalted, unoiled nuts a week, and warns against eating too many, since they are dense in calories. The new research combines two studies that started in the 1980s on 76,464 female nurses and 42,498 male health professionals. They filled out surveys on food and

lifestyle habits every two to four years, including how often they ate a serving (1 ounce) of nuts. Study participants who often ate nuts were healthier — they weighed less, exercised more and were less likely to smoke, among other things. After taking these and other things into account, researchers still saw a strong benefit from nuts. Compared with people who never ate nuts, those who had them less than once a week reduced their risk of death 7 percent; once a week, 11 percent; two to four times a week, 13 percent; and seven or more times a week, 20 percent. “I’m very confident” the observations reflect a true benefit, Bao said. “We did so many analyses, very sophisticated ones,” to eliminate other possible explanations. For example, they did separate analyses on smokers and non-smokers, heavy and light exercisers, and people with and without diabetes, and saw a consistent benefit from nuts.

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HEALTH EDUCATION SERIES Riverview Pharmacy will sponsor a three-month health education

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At a heart association conference in November, Penny Kris-Etheron, a Pennsylvania State University nutrition scientist, reviewed previous studies on this topic. “We’re seeing benefits of nut consumption on cardiovascular disease as well as body weight and diabetes,” said Kris-

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Etherton, who has consulted for nut makers and also served on many scientific panels on dietary guidelines. “We don’t know exactly what it is” about nuts that boosts health or which ones are best, she said. “I tell people to eat mixed nuts.” — AP


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FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

Is surgery or rehab best for bum knee? By Dr. Diane Dahm Dear Mayo Clinic: I am 60 years old and tore my ACL. Should I have surgery to fix it, or is it OK to just let it heal on its own? Answer: No matter what your age, the decision about how best to treat an injured anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, should be based on the type of activity you’d like to be able to do after treatment, as well as the stability of your knee overall. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that

connect one bone to another. Your ACL is one of two ligaments that cross in the middle of the knee that connect your thighbone, or femur, to your shinbone, or tibia. The ACL also helps keep your knee joint stable. When the ACL is torn, it often results in knee pain and swelling. After an ACL injury, some people also have instability in the knee, or a feeling that the knee is “giving way” when they attempt to turn quickly or pivot on it. The purpose of treatment for an ACL in-

jury is to reduce the pain and swelling, restore normal knee movement, strengthen the muscles around the joint, and allow return to full activity. For some people, that can be achieved with physical rehabilitation alone.

from another part of your knee or leg. Or a graft from a deceased donor may be an option. If you decide to have surgery, talk to your surgeon about which choice is best for you.

Surgery OK at any age Rehab vs. surgery Rehabilitation usually involves doing exercises to regain full knee motion, as well as muscle-strengthening and stability exercises. You may need to use a knee brace for certain activities. Rehabilitation without surgery usually works best for people who have a less active lifestyle and whose knee stability steadily improves with rehabilitation. If you want to participate in activities such as skiing, singles tennis, hiking on uneven terrain — or other sports that require pivoting, cutting, jumping or twisting — then surgery followed by rehabilitation is more likely to be necessary to fix the ACL and ensure stability in your knee. Also, if your knee continues to give way even after you have gone through rehabilitation, then you may require surgery to improve long-term knee stability. A torn ACL can’t be sewn back together. Instead, during surgery the ligament is replaced with a piece of tissue called a graft. That graft may be a tendon or ligament

If you’re in good health, age typically is not a factor in whether or not to have ACL surgery. Research has shown that with this surgery, older patients can achieve results similar to those in younger patients, without a significant increase in the risk of complications. A final item to note is that, while ACL surgery typically provides improved knee stability, it does not always provide significant pain relief. If chronic knee pain is your only symptom, it may not be coming from the ACL tear. Rather, it’s more likely to be related to another knee condition, such as a meniscus tear or arthritis. As you consider the best course of action, talk to your doctor about what you hope to achieve with ACL treatment. Your level of activity and knee stability should guide you as you make your decision. — Diane Dahm, M.D., Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. © 2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All Rights Reserved. Distributed By Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

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Fermented foods bubble with benefits By Lori Zanteson Most of us aren’t likely to recognize the long list of fermented foods in our lives, though we’d never want to be without them. Pickles, sauerkraut, cheese, coffee, soy sauce, bread and, of course, beer and wine, are but a few of the foods transformed by microorganisms and elevated in flavor, preservation or health benefits as a result. Fermented foods have a history that reaches every corner of the globe and goes back many thousands of years. Out of necessity, people used fermentation to preserve food during lean times when vegetables weren’t available, or to prepare for times when cows weren’t giving milk. Today, fermented foods have become staples in every culture — from soy sauce

in Japan to kefir in Eastern Europe.

What is fermentation? Fermented foods are those produced or preserved by microorganisms, such as yeast or bacteria, which occur naturally in the environment or may be introduced to foods to hasten fermentation. Fermentation generally describes the conversion of natural sugars found in foods into acids, gases or alcohol, using yeast. But it’s also widely used to make sour foods, such as pickles and yogurt, through the use of lactobacillus bacteria. Through fermentation, juice turns to wine, grains become beer, and vegetable sugars become acids that naturally preserve cabbage as kimchi and cucumbers as pickles.

Eating fermented foods introduces beneficial bacteria called probiotics into the gut, which help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. A healthy gut is more receptive to the absorption of food nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Research shows that probiotics may lead to improved digestive health, immune function and, according to preliminary research, may even help reduce allergies and aid in weight loss. [See “The right bacteria may help fight obesity,” December 2013 Beacon.]

Fermentation begins the process of breaking down food. When milk is fermented — as in the case of yogurt — the lactose (natural milk sugar) is broken down, making it more digestible for people who have difficulty tolerating lactose. During the fermentation of vegetables, such as with Korean kimchi, enzymes help to break down the food, easing the absorption of nutrients. See FERMENTED FOODS, page 11

BEACON BITS

Feb. 22

CELEBRITY CHEF ALTON BROWN COMES TO TOWN Food Network star Alton Brown comes to town with his Edible

Inevitable Tour, a 90-minute multi-media show that features food experimentation, stand-up comedy and music. Brown will appear at the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mt. Royal Ave., on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45-$150. Call (410) 900-1150 or go online at www.lyricoperahouse.com.

What can you do now, to save on your winter energy bills? Colder temperatures make your heating system work harder to keep your home feeling comfortable—and your energy bills may show it. What can you do now to make a difference?

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FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

Health Studies Page

THE PLACE TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON AREA CLINICAL TRIALS

Can antibiotics control aortic aneurysms? By Carol Sorgen An abdominal aortic aneurysm is the result of an abnormally enlarged or bulging aorta (the blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs). The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but risk factors for developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm include genetic factors, emphysema, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking.

While anyone can develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm, it is most often seen in males over the age of 60 who have one or more risk factors. The larger the aneurysm, the more likely it is to rupture, which is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgery. The University of Maryland Medical Center, collaborating with the National Institute on Aging, is currently conducting a

non-invasive clinical trial to determine if the antibiotic doxycycline will inhibit the growth of small abdominal aortic aneurysms over a 24-month observation period in comparison to a placebo-treated control group. One reason for trying antibiotics to slow aneurysms is that the growth of aneurysms are often accompanied by a secondary infection within the aortic wall. Taking care of the infection may also improve the outlook for the aneurysm.

Recruiting those 55+

Diabetes Research Study 50-80 year old men & women with Type 2 Diabetes are needed to participate in an exercise research study at the University of Maryland/Baltimore VA Medical Center. Parking and compensation for your time will be provided. Call 410-605-7179. Mention code: EPC-DM.

Two hundred forty-eight patients diagnosed with an aneurysm will be randomized to placebo or doxycycline, and their aneurysms followed for change in diameter at six-month intervals using CT imaging. Men and women 55 and older are being recruited. Those receiving the antibiotic doxycycline (also known as doxycycline hyclate, Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa and Atridox) will take 100 mg. capsules twice a day for a period of two years. Those receiving the placebo will take the same dosage for the same period of time, but of a similar-looking capsule that has no active ingredients. Study participants and doctors will not know which volunteers are taking which capsules. Side effects of doxycycline may include diarrhea, itching of the rectum or vagina, and sore mouth. To be eligible for the study, participants

cannot be allergic to tetracycline or have been treated in the previous six months with drugs related to tetracycline. They also cannot have stage II hypertension, in which blood pressure is greater than 160/100, or a genetic syndrome that could cause abdominal aortic aneurysms, such as Marfan’s Syndrome.

Hope is to prevent surgery Aneurysms typically develop slowly over many years and often have no symptoms. Small aneurysms are typically checked by ultrasound every six months to monitor their growth. For slow-growing aneurysms, surgery is usually not called for. Surgery is, however, recommended for patients who have aneurysms larger than two inches (5.5 cm) across, and for aneurysms that are growing quickly. The goal is to perform surgery before complications or symptoms develop. If an aneurysm expands quickly, ruptures or leaks blood along the wall of the vessel, symptoms such as severe pain in the abdomen or back may develop, along with clammy skin, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate and shock. Researchers hope that this trial will demonstrate whether doxycycline can keep aneurysms from growing to the point where they require surgery. For more information on this trial, or to see in you qualify, contact Debbie Nesbitt, RN, at (410) 605-7435 or debbie.nesbitt@va.gov.

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

WAYS TO ENHANCE FAMILY COMMUNICATION The Baltimore County Department of Aging presents a series of

Free one-to-one support for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis The Crohn’s and Colitis Advocate Program* is here for you if you have Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. Sign up and get: • Personalized support from a specially trained Patient Advocate • Educational resources and information • Useful tools to have more productive conversations with your doctor Thousands of people have taken advantage of the Crohn’s and Colitis Advocate Program. Now you can, too. Simply visit CDandUC.com to learn more and sign up. *Advocates can provide you with education and resources and offer support, but cannot provide medical advice or replace your conversations with your health care provider.

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workshops on enhancing family communication, with discussions on the many benefits of communicating with family members and tips for staying in touch. For a schedule, call (410) 887-2040 or go online to www.baltimorecountymd.gov/ Agencies/aging/healtheducation.


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

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Can our genes transmit our traumas? By Quinn Eastman Trauma can scar people so indelibly that their children are affected. History provides examples of generations who were traumatized by war and starvation bearing children with altered physiology. Now researchers at Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University have found an instance of animals passing on more specific information about a traumatic experience to their offspring. That information comes not through social communication, but through inheritance. Researchers have found that when a mouse learns to become afraid of a certain odor, his or her pups will be more sensitive to that odor, even though the pups have never encountered it. The results were published in last month’s Nature Neuroscience. “Knowing how the experiences of parents influence their descendants helps us to understand psychiatric disorders that may have a trans-generational basis, and possibly to design therapeutic strategies,” said senior author Dr. Kerry Ressler, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory School of Medicine. Ressler is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-supported investigator at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Fermented foods From page 9

Faux fermented foods Plentiful as foods are that we think of as fermented — olives, pickles and sauerkraut — chances are they’re not fermented. Courtesy of today’s large-scale and fast manufacturing practices, fermented foods are no longer the norm. Pickles, for example, are most likely processed in vinegar and calcium chloride before they’re cooked at high heat and pasteurized, killing off naturally-occurring bacteria. Most foods in supermarkets are pasteurized for health and safety purposes. Though there is concern over contamination of fermented foods, the process creates an environment that’s unfriendly to

at Emory University, and worked with doctoral fellow Brian Dias on the mouse study.

Trained to fear The researchers trained mice to become afraid of an odor by pairing exposure to the scent with a mild electric shock. They then measured how much the animal startled in response to a loud noise at baseline, and in conjunction with presentation of the odor. Surprisingly, they found that the adult offspring of the sensitized mice also startled more in response to the particular odor that one parent had learned to fear, even when the offspring had never experienced the odor before. In addition, they were more able to detect small amounts of that particular odor. Smell-sensitized offspring were not more anxious in general. In separate experiments not involving odors, the mice were not more afraid to explore the bright, elevated areas of a maze. Researchers took advantage of previous study on the biology of odor detection. Scientists knew that the chemical acetophenone, which smells somewhat like cherry blossoms, activates a particular set of cells in the nose and a particular “odorant receptor” gene in those cells. food-borne pathogens. There has never been a documented case of food poisoning from eating them, with the exception of home-brewed kombucha tea, which has been involved in some cases of serious illness related to unsanitary conditions. While fermented dairy products are readily found in supermarkets, a variety of more exotic fermented products are showing up in health food stores. Check labels for the words, “contains live cultures” to be sure you’re getting authentic fermented foods. Beware that these items may carry a higher price. Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-8295384. www.EnvironmentalNutrition.com. © 2014 Belvoir Media Group Distributed. By Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Brain cells affected Both the parent mouse who had been sensitized to a smell and his or her pups had more space in the smell-processing part of their brains, called the olfactory bulb, devoted to the odor to which they are sensitive. Both mothers and fathers were found to

pass on a learned sensitivity to an odor, although mothers can’t do it with fostered pups, showing that the sensitivity is not transmitted by social interaction. Future mothers receive their odor-shock training before (and not during) conception and pregnancy. See TRAUMAS, page 12

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Traumas From page 11 The inheritance takes place even if the mice are conceived by in vitro fertilization, and the sensitivity continues to appear in the second generation, i.e., “grandchil-

FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

dren.” This indicates that, somehow, information about the experience connected with the odor is being transmitted via the sperm or eggs. The DNA from the sperm of smell-sensitized father mice is altered. This is an example of an “epigenetic” alteration, found

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not in the letter-by-letter sequence of the DNA, but in its packaging or chemical modifications. In mice taught to fear acetophenone, the odorant receptor gene that responds to acetophenone has a changed pattern of methylation: a chemical modification of DNA that tunes the activity of genes. However, it’s not clear whether the changes in that gene are enough to make the difference in an animal’s odor sensitivity. “While the sequence of the gene encoding the receptor that responds to the odor is unchanged, the way that gene is regulated may be affected,” Ressler said.

Many questions remain “There is some evidence that some of the generalized effects of diet and hormone changes, as well as trauma, can be transmitted epigenetically. The difference here is that the odor-sensitivity-learning process is affecting the nervous system —

and apparently, reproductive cells, too — in such a specific way.” What the researchers don’t know yet: • Are these effects reversible – if sensitized parents later learn not to be afraid of an odor, will effects still be seen in their pups? • Does it only happen with odors? Could mice trained to be afraid of a particular sound, for example, pass on a sensitivity to that sound? • Do all the sperm or egg cells bear epigenetic marks conveying odor sensitivity? • How does information about odor exposure reach the sperm or eggs? “We are really just scratching the surface at this point,” Dias said. “Our next goal must be to buffer descendant generations from these effects. Such interventions could form the core of a treatment to prevent the development of neuropsychiatric disorders with roots in ancestral trauma.” — Emory University

BEACON BITS

Jan.

ADDRESSING ISSUES OF LOSS Having the courage to move on after a loss can be a difficult chal-

lenge. Loss can be a sudden change in health and abilities, retirement, leaving your home, or the death of a spouse, sibling or close friend. Throughout 2014, Baltimore City Health Department, Office of Aging and CARE Services will offer discussions on 12 topics within its 13 senior centers to help you address these challenges. The first topic will be Hospice 101, and upcoming programs will be held on Jan. 21 at Sandtown, 1601 Baker St., from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; Jan. 23 at Greenmount, 425 E. Federal St., from 10 to 11 a.m.; Jan. 24 at Myerberg, 3101 Fallstaff Rd., from 11 a.m. to noon; and Jan. 28 at Harford, 4920 Harford

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

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BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

Say you saw it in the Beacon

13

SAVINGS SUGGESTIONS Where to stash your cash, from CDs to short-term bond funds, for when you’ll need it over 10 years

Money Law &

DEADLY SINS OF INVESTING Don’t follow the herd when buying stocks or give in to fear when selling DOLLAR STORE DUDS Why you shouldn’t buy paper products, batteries, electronics or tools at a dollar store

Don’t bet on a great stock market in 2014 By Steve Rothwell Don’t bet your shirt on a repeat performance. That’s the message from some of the biggest U.S. investment firms as the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 for the first time at the end of 2013, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index had its best year since 1997, with a gain of 29.6 percent. Although investment professionals remain optimistic, investors shouldn’t expect such outsized gains will be repeated in 2014. The S&P 500, the Dow and other stock indexes have risen steadily as the Federal Reserve has maintained its economic stimulus to keep long-term interest rates low, and the economy has continued to strengthen. Although economic growth hasn’t been spectacular, it has been strong enough to enable companies to keep increasing their earnings. We asked professionals at three big money managers — T. Rowe Price, Franklin Templeton and BlackRock — for their thoughts on how the stock market will shape up this year.

The outlook for stocks Another double-digit gain is not out of the question. Many of the tail winds for the stock market are still in place, but they may start to weaken. Corporate earnings are strong, but profit margins could be peaking. Interest rates are still low compared to historical levels, but will likely rise gradually, particularly when the Fed starts to pull back on its bond-buying stimulus program, as it recently indicated. However, the biggest challenge to the stock market is that valuations have risen so much this year, said Larry Puglia, portfolio manager of T. Rowe Price’s Blue Chip Growth fund. That is to say, investors have been willing to pay more for a company’s future earnings, pushing up prices. The priceearnings ratio for S&P 500 companies has risen to 15 from 12.5 at the start of last year, according to FactSet. “We still find selected stocks attractive and think that the market’s OK, but I would be surprised if the market....was able to duplicate the type of gains we’ve had [in 2013],” said Puglia. He still thinks stocks

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could rise as much as 10 percent in 2014. Conrad Hermann, a portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton said that statistics show that when the market logs an annual gain of 20 percent or more, it has been followed by another year of gains on two out of three occasions — for an average gain of 11.5 percent the next year.

The best industry to invest in Technology companies are the big favorite. The tech industry should benefit from rising spending in an improving global economy, said BlackRock’s chief investSee STOCK MARKET, page 14

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FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

Beware of the deadly sins of investing By Kathy Kristof You’ve probably heard of the seven deadly sins. Well, the investing world has its own set of deadly sins. To be a better investor, you’d do well to recognize the following missteps and learn how to overcome them.

Following the herd Following the herd works when you shop for a product. A car or washing machine that’s performed well in the past is likely to excel in the future. The opposite is often true in finance. What’s hot today is likely to be cold tomorrow, and vice versa. “If you expect investment performance to repeat, you are likely to be disappoint-

Stock market From page 13 ment strategist Russ Koesterich. He also said that technology stocks are typically less sensitive to rising interest rates than other industry groups. Many tech stocks don’t pay a dividend, making them less sensitive to higher bond yields, and with strong new products they should grow profits. That suggests if interest rates climb, tech stocks should per-

ed,” said Fran Kinniry, a strategist at the Vanguard funds. In fact, the herd tends to gather the most strength right before the investment it is chasing goes off a cliff. Ill-timed moves in and out of funds, sectors and markets go a long way toward explaining why the performance of fund investors is decidedly poorer than the reported results of their funds. Redemption: Follow rules, not herds, suggested Bill Allen, vice-president of the private client advisory group at Charles Schwab. These rules can be as simple as refusing to buy or sell in response to news reports, or making sure you invest the same amount every month. Resisting the urge to follow the crowd can prevent you from committing the sin

form better than the overall market. Tech companies are also less richly priced than some other parts of the market, while still offering good growth prospects. Those in the S&P 500 are trading at 14.4 times their projected earnings over the next 12 months. That makes them less expensive than healthcare stocks, which are priced at 16.7 times expected earnings, and industrial companies, which are valued at 16.1 times earnings.

of buying high and selling low.

Giving in to fear Avoiding losses is Warren Buffett’s first rule of investing. Since the 2008-’09 stock market meltdown, however, many investors have taken the Oracle’s advice to an extreme and abandoned stocks for the seeming safety of such things as bonds, bank accounts and money market funds. But what the typical investor sees as risk is merely volatility — normal day-today swings in the market. Although volatility can be frightening, the real danger lies in being too afraid of risk: You lose buying power — permanently. For example, suppose you invest in a Treasury security or bank account that

Reduction of Fed stimulus Investors were obsessed with the Fed all last year, and the stock market’s biggest setbacks have come when they thought that policymakers were poised to cut back on economic stimulus. The S&P 500 dropped in only two months last year, June and August. In both months, investors sold stocks on concern that the Fed was about to stop its stimulus. Instead, the central bank surprised investors in September by continuing its

pays 0.5 percent annually. With inflation at 2 percent today, you’ll actually lose 1.5 percent per year in buying power. The loss will be greater if inflation reverts to its long-term average of 3 percent per year. Redemption: Put the stock market’s dayto-day volatility out of your mind and focus on the long term. Since 1926, U.S. stocks, as measured by Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, have returned nearly 10 percent a year. Even if you had invested in the market at the March 2000 peak and held on through two horrific bear markets, you would have earned 3.4 percent annualized — not great, but not disastrous, either. Kathy Kristof is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. © 2013 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

stimulus, and investors got more accustomed to the idea that the Fed’s efforts must end at some point. Then the announcement came late last month that the Fed would indeed gradually pull back its buying of bonds, and the market reacted positively, setting new highs. That suggests investors have come to see the end of stimulus as a sign that the economy is continuing to improve. Fed See STOCK MARKET, page 15

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

15

Where to get a decent return on savings By Jeffrey R. Kosnett If you took out a certificate of deposit a few years ago, when banks were still paying respectable interest rates, you might have thought of it as an investment. But now, with rates as low as they are, think of the money as savings. And the way to manage savings is to earmark the money for when you’re going to need it: immediately, in a few years, or perhaps not for 10 years or more. That will point you toward the best place to put the money now.

Cash reserve Your current bank is almost certain to offer so little in interest that it makes

Stock market From page 14 policymakers also stressed that the end of stimulus will not necessarily be immediately followed by higher interest rates. Puglia of T. Rowe Price called it “a positive signal to the market that the economy can stand on its own two feet and doesn’t need this super aggressive Federal Reserve action.”

The biggest risks Unsurprisingly, the dysfunction in Washington is still at the forefront of investors’ minds. The 16-day partial government shutdown in October hurt consumer

sense to open, or add to, a deposit account at an online bank. Although a yield of about 1 percent may not seem like much, you’ll have instant access to the money — without fees, and with Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protection. If six-month or one-year CD rates begin to outpace what the online savings account pays, you can put some money into shortterm CDs every three or six months.

Three to five years Many people take out CDs to make sure they’ll have cash at a specified time — say, when it’s time to pay tuition. Although we don’t know what interest rates will be in 2017 and beyond, we see no profit in lock-

confidence and crimped economic growth. A repeat of that political wrangling this year, when the debt limit comes up, would likely hurt the economy again. Stocks are also vulnerable to a sharp rise in interest rates. The market’s rally from its lows in March 2009 has been underpinned by low interest rates, which have made stock market returns more attractive. If bond yields were to rise suddenly, the economy would suffer. The Fed’s policy is predicated on buying bonds to hold down interest rates. If investors get nervous as the central bank cuts its bond purchases, removing a support for the market, bond yields could jump as investors dump bonds.

ing in a CD yield today. As long as the Federal Reserve restrains the cost of credit, you can comfortably house the money in a short-term, low-risk, low-cost bond fund. We like Vanguard Short-Term Investment-Grade (symbol VFSTX, current yield 1.6 percent) and Baird Aggregate Bond (BAGSX, 2.9 percent). You maintain overnight access to the money (so it still counts as savings), and you should be able to realize a total return of 3 to 5 percent.

If you already have cash in the bank or some other super safe place, we suggest you move part or most of the CD proceeds

into exchange-traded funds or stock or balanced funds that pay 2 to 4 percent in interest or dividends. You can reinvest the investment income as you receive it, a plan that lets you buy some fund shares when they are cheap and others when they are not so cheap. All the while, watch those bank rates. If you get a chance to buy a CD that yields more than, say, a fund that follows Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index (currently about 2 percent), you may want to go back to the bank, especially if you have other money, such as an IRA, in the stock market. Jeffrey R. Kosnett is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. © 2013 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

“If interest rates were to (go) back up dramatically, that would probably be a bad thing,” said Franklin Templeton’s Hermann, who manages the Franklin Flex Cap

Growth fund. “We’re still in a very fragile economy and we don’t want to suddenly tilt into another recession.” — AP

Longer than five years

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17

Items you shouldn’t buy at dollar stores By Cameron Huddleston If you want to save money on everyday items, dollar stores can be a great place to shop. And, contrary to popular belief, the quality of most items at national dollarstore chains is good, said Jeff Yeager, author of four popular books on frugal living, including his latest, How to Retire the Cheapskate Way. However, Yeager and other money-saving experts say that there are some items that you should avoid buying, either because you can find them for less elsewhere, or the quality is inferior to competitors’ merchandise. Here are eight common purchases to skip at dollar stores: • Batteries. Cheap batteries may be

prone to leakage, said money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, and they may not run your gadgets as long as pricier brands. Many dollar stores sell carbon-zinc batteries, which are less efficient and have a shorter shelf life than the alkaline variety. • Electronics. Consumer Reports found in 2012 that some dollar-store electronics and extension cords may lack labels from the UL that vouch for their safety. Others may have fake labels, and those can be difficult to detect. • Foil and plastic wrap. There’s a reason these items are so inexpensive at dollar stores: The quality is inferior, said Yeager, who shops frequently at dollar stores but avoids foil and plastic wrap products. • Knives. Knives sold at dollar stores

tend to be of poor quality, Woroch said. And these aren’t items you want to have fall apart while you’re using them. • Paper goods. Napkins, paper towels and toilet paper at dollar stores don’t do the job as well as the products sold at grocery stores and big-box retailers. If you buy napkins or paper towels that are so flimsy you have to use five to do the job of one, Yeager said, that’s not a good value. • Tools. Yeager said that hammers, screwdrivers and other tools he has bought at dollar stores have broken easily. As an avid do-it-yourselfer, he recommends buying the best tools you can afford because they’ll last longer and make the job you’re tackling easier.

• Toys. Most toys from the dollar store break easily, said Andrew Schrage, coowner of the personal finance blog Money Crashers. Even if you’re spending only a dollar, it’s just not money well spent, he said. • Vitamins. Consumer Reports research in 2012 found that off-brand multivitamins at dollar stores didn’t always have the amount of nutrients claimed on the label. You may be better off buying storebrand vitamins at Rite Aid, Walgreens or CVS. Cameron Huddleston is an online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and the author of Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, $18.95). © 2013 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

BEACON BITS

Jan. 21

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD IN ANNAPOLIS

The 36th annual United Seniors of Maryland Legislative Forum will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Francis Scott Key Auditorium, St. John’s College, 60 College Ave., Annapolis. Gov. Martin O’Malley has been invited, and the guest speaker is Md. Comptroller Peter Franchot. There will be two town hall meetings with the President of the Senate, as well as the Minority Leader of the Senate, Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Delegates. There will be an opportunity to caucus with your senators and delegates. Dept. of Aging Secretary Gloria Lawlah will speak at lunch, and there will be a legislative update. The $15 ticket includes registration, United Seniors of Maryland membership, breakfast and a box lunch. Register online at www.unitedseniors.net.

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FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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

Careers Volunteers &

If you do and you’d like to be considered for a story in our Volunteers & Careers section, please send an email to info@thebeaconnewspapers.com.

Helping adults reach their education goals ued, “it makes my day.”

From ESOL to GED Founded in 1988 by Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Baltimore Reads seeks to improve the quality of life for educationally disadvantaged adults. Adult literacy programs, for example, provide instruction to students whose reading levels are below a fifth-grade level, while ESOL programs range from beginning through advanced levels for non-native English speakers, in addition to civics lessons that emphasize the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship and help students adapt to living in the United States. Various specialized GED preparation programs are also available for students so they can choose the best option for their lifestyle and skill level. Fast-track programs for those who merely need to “brush up” their skills are offered, along with other more comprehensive options such as “The Watch Me Get My GED Program,” intended for young parents. Online GED preparation classes are available as well. Classes are free except for a $20 annual activity fee.

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In 1992, Baltimore Reads also established a Book Bank that collects new or gently used children’s books and distributes them for free to teachers, libraries and disadvantaged families in Baltimore. The organization also participates in various city-wide literacy events, believing that an educated community is a stronger community. “We as individuals, and the community as a whole, benefit when people can get jobs, for both their economic and general betterment,” said Zadek. “The lack of the GED (or a high school diploma) often means limited mobility in their jobs, or in seeking a better job.”

Many kinds of volunteers needed

PHOTO COURTESY OF BALTIMORE READS

By Jennifer Waldera As the most tenured volunteer at the nonprofit organization Baltimore Reads, for the past 15 years retired surgeon Robert Zadek has spent three days a week, three hours a day, tutoring adult students in the math skills necessary to pass their GED exams. While Baltimore Reads offers a variety of learning services, Zadek, who is 85, finds that math is particularly challenging for many students. “When tutoring, it’s often a ‘slog’ getting started,” Zadek said, adding that word problems are a particular obstacle. “It is often just a matter of the student reading the question properly so that the words can be converted into a math problem that can be solved,” Zadek observed. Through the years, Zadek, formerly the chief of orthopedic surgery at Sinai Hospital, has enjoyed developing close relationships with the learners he tutors and said that the most fulfilling part of his volunteer work is “participating with the students as they gain competence and pass their GEDs. “When I see the light go on,” he contin-

Robert Zadek has tutored students at Baltimore Reads for 15 years. Adult learners can gain English language skills, prepare for the GED and get help learning to read from the organization.

Currently, Baltimore Reads is looking for academic or administrative volunteers to serve as tutors, teachers’ assistants and ESOL conversation partners, as well as in other academic/instructional volunteer or administrative support positions. Long-term volunteer commitments for a minimum of three hours per week for each academic session are especially sought. Classes are held at various locations throughout the city. Book Bank volunteer opportunities are available on Saturdays at the Baltimore

Reads’ Book Bank at 501 N. Calvert St. from 9 a.m. to noon. Baltimore Reads Event Crew volunteers are also needed at the many city festivals and neighborhood or community fairs such as Artscape, Baltimore Book Festival and Grade “A” Night at the National Aquarium. For more information on volunteer opportunities with Baltimore Reads, visit www.baltimorereads.org, email volunteers@baltimorereads.org or call (410) 752-3595, ext. 1106.


BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Volunteers & Careers

19

Older workers feel discriminated against By Matt Sedensky When Charlie Worboys lost his job, he feared searching for a new one at his age might be tough. Six years later, at 65, he’s still looking. Luanne Lynch, 57, was laid off three times in the past decade, and previous layoffs brought jobs with a lower salary. This time, she can’t even get that. They’re not alone. A new poll by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds many people over 50 reporting great difficulty finding work, and feeling that their age is a factor. After Worboys was laid off, and his hunt for another teaching job was fruitless, he sought counseling positions. When those

leads dried up, he applied for jobs in juvenile detention centers, in sales and elsewhere. He finally settled for part-time work, all the while still scouring online listings and sending out applications each week. “They’re looking for the younger person,� he said. “They look at the number 65, and they don’t bother to look behind it.� The AP-NORC Center poll found 55 percent of those 50 and older who have sought a job in the past five years characterized their search as difficult, and 43 percent thought employers were concerned about their age. Further, most in the poll reported finding few available jobs (69 percent), few

that paid well (63 percent) or that offered adequate benefits (53 percent). About a third were told they were overqualified.

Some good news, too Still, some companies are welcoming older workers: 43 percent of job seekers surveyed found a high demand for their skills, and 31 percent said there was a high demand for their experience. And once on the job, older workers were far more likely to report benefits re-

lated to their age — 60 percent said colleagues had come to them for advice more often, and 42 percent said they felt as if they were receiving more respect in the company. Of course, people of all ages have been frustrated by the job market in recent years. In fact, the unemployment rate for those 55 and older was 4.9 percent in November — lower than the 7.0 percent rate See OLDER WORKERS, page 20

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

BECOME AN EMPLOYMENT MENTOR FOR REFUGEES

The International Rescue Committee of Baltimore is a non-profit refugee resettlement agency dedicated to working with legally admitted refugees to assist them in rebuilding lives and reuniting families in the greater Baltimore area. Employment mentors work one-on-one with newly-arrived refugee or asylum individuals to help them prepare for their first job in the U.S and overcome barriers in the employment process. Responsibilities include providing mentees with job search support, job leads and job search skills training. A commitment of two hours per week for three to five months is requested. For more information, call (410) 327-1885 or visit www.rescue.org/us-program/us-baltimore-md.

HOME VISITS TO FRAIL ELDERLY

Through the Baltimore County Home Team, volunteers provide services to seniors to help them remain in their own homes. Services include: friendly visiting once a week, telephone visiting, running errands, escort trips for medical appointments, shopping and limited handyman service. Volunteers, who are asked to make a six-month commitment of approximately one hour a week, are matched with people in their neighborhoods. The program, which operates through the Baltimore County senior center network, provides ongoing training and recognition to volunteers. Visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov and click on “volunteer opportunities.�

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20

Volunteers & Careers | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

Older workers From page 19 among all ages. By comparison, unemployment among those age 20-24 was 11.6 percent, and among those 25-54, 6.2 percent. But long-term unemployment has been rampant among the oldest job seekers. Unemployed people aged 45 to 54 were out of work 45 weeks on average, those 55 to 64 were jobless for 57 weeks, and those 65 and older average 51 weeks. Younger workers were unemployed for shorter periods of time. Sixty-three percent of those who searched for a job cited financial need, and 19 percent said it was because they were laid off. Far smaller numbers searched because they wanted to change careers, find a better salary or benefits, escape unhappiness at a prior job, or simply get out of the house. Lynch, of San Gabriel, Calif., hated taking a step down after the earlier layoffs,

but this time only one interview has come from 70-some applications. “It’s starting at the bottom,” she said. “And frankly, I’m getting too old to be starting at the bottom.” Bob Gershberg, a corporate recruiter in St. Petersburg, Fla., said unemployed people, regardless of age, have had trouble getting rehired. But he said older workers have faced an added layer of skepticism from employers. “They’ll say, ‘Give me the young guy. Give me the up-and-comer. Someone with fire in the belly,’” he said. “But there’s always been a bias against the unemployed. They say, ‘If she was so good, why’d she get cut?’”

Employer concerns Sharon Hulce, who runs a recruitment firm in Appleton, Wis., said she’s found some employers are concerned that applicants in their late 50s or 60s may not stick around for the long haul.

FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

And Kerry Hannon, who authored Great Jobs for Everyone 50-plus, said managers may be leery of a lengthy resume from someone they can’t afford, salarywise. “They’ll look at your background and just figure you’ll be insulted,” she said. About 4 in 10 who have been on the job market said they felt they lacked the right skills or felt too old for the available jobs. Many reported trying to improve their skill set (20 percent) or present themselves with a fresher resume or interview approach (15 percent) to make themselves more marketable. Bret Lane, 53, of San Diego, was out of work for 22 months until finding a job last summer through Platform to Employment, a training program. He lost count of how many jobs he had applied for — it was easily in the hundreds. Once, after seeing applications would be taken for a janitorial job paying $14 hourly, he got up at 3 a.m. to get an early start. There were already 400 others in line.

Join us for Lunch! at Atrium Village

“I wasn’t getting any interviews. I wasn’t getting in front of any decision makers,” he said. “People in our age group are very discriminated against.” One in five respondents in the AP-NORC Center poll said they personally experienced prejudice or discrimination in the job market or at work because of their age. That doubles to 40 percent among those who have sought a job in the last five years. Faye Smith, 69, of Dallas, Ga., said she needed to find work after losing much of her savings in the downturn, but felt the hesitance of employers when they saw the dates on her resume. “You could tell when they found out the age,” she said. “There’s a change in their face and demeanor.” The AP-NORC Center survey involved landline and cell phone interviews in English and Spanish with 1,024 people aged 50 and older nationwide. Results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. — AP

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

DELIVER MEALS TO THE HOMEBOUND

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland At Atrium Village, we of fer a

seeks delivery volunteers Monday

continuum of care. Let us take

through Friday to deliver hot meals to

the work and the worry out of

homebound seniors and disabled indi-

your daily routine so you can

viduals. You may volunteer once a

enjo y l i fe’s plea su r es. We’l l

week, once a month, or whenever

light up your life with cheerful f ac e s , spa ci ou s apa r t ment s ,

your schedule permits. Delivery hours

chef-prepared meals, an active

vary but generally range from 11 a.m.

lifest yle, and a helping hand

to 1 p.m. Contact Volunteer Services

always there when you need one.

at volunteer@mowcm.org for more information.

Valentine’s Day Lunch at Atrium Village THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13 12:30PM

Enjoy a sweetheart lunch prepared by our Executive Chef and be seranaded by the fabulous Cameo Quartet.

Ongoing

SINAI SEEKS VOLUNTEERS Sinai Hospital is look-

ing for volunteers for the gift shop and throughout the hospital. Flexible times are available. For more information, call (410) 601-5023.

MONTHLY RENTAL WITH NO LARGE ENTRANCE FEE. CALL 888-840-2214 TODAY TO RSVP FOR LUNCH!

Ongoing

VOLUNTEER WITH SEASONS HOSPICE Seasons Hospice

and Palliative Care is seeking patient care volunteers at Northwest Hospital, and office volunteers to serve Baltimore City and Baltimore, I N DE P E N DE N T L I V I NG A S S I S T E D L I V I NG | M E MOR Y C A R E 4730 A T R I U M C OU R T O W I NGS M I L L S, M D 21117 W W W. S E N IOR L I F E S T Y L E .C O M

Anne Arundel, Howard and Harford Counties. Contact 1-888-523-6000 or jjordan@seasons.org for more information.


BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

Say you saw it in the Beacon

Travel

21

Leisure &

Elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions and other wildlife are abundant on a safari in Botswana. See story on page 23.

Warm(er) winter destinations beckon

Great gardens of Charleston Many people were surprised when a leading European guidebook listed Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and Charleston’s Magnolia Gardens as the three most outstanding attractions in North America. Anyone who appreciates floral beauty might agree. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, S.C., is a fairyland of century-old camellias (in late winter) and azaleas (in spring) in a setting of unsurpassed beauty. Visitors to nearby Cypress Gardens quickly come to understand why it often is described as mysterious and enchanting, as they float along eerie dark lagoons surrounded by brooding ancient cypress trees. The blaze of color provided by plantings along the banks is intensified by reflections in the dark water. A more formal, yet no less magnificent, floral extravaganza greets visitors to the gardens at Middleton Place, America’s oldest landscaped floral display. Carefully manicured exotic shrubs and flora are set among terraced lawns, reflecting pools and a historic rice mill. Color seems to explode around visitors like a fireworks display from masses of camellias and magnolias in January and February, as well as azalea bushes, wisteria vines and flowering peach and dogwood trees come March. For more information, call 1-800-774-0006 or log onto www.explorecharleston.com.

Sun and shore in Sarasota The choice of where to warm up in Florida can be daunting because there are so many inviting alternatives. One destination that combines much of what the Sunshine State has to offer is Sarasota. Those seeking little more than a sun,

sand and sea vacation find a selection of beaches to fit almost any preference. The stretch of beaches along the western shoreline of Siesta Key has been recognized by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute for having the finest, whitest sand in the world. Lido Key is smaller in size but not variety, with three outstanding seashores that are open to the public. Longboat Key is a more private beachfront community geared primarily to people staying at its resort hotels. But these only scratch the surface of attractions in the area, whose residents take pride in its self-proclaimed role as “Florida’s Cultural Coast.” Just one example of the reason for that claim is the elegant mansion built in 1926 for John Ringling, which demonstrates that his cultural legacy matched his fame as a circus magnate. The four-story, 32-room Italian-style residence awes visitors with its lavish architectural touches, elaborate decorations and rich furnishings. The adjacent John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art houses a world-class art collection with works by the likes of Rubens and Rembrandt — a legacy left to the people of Florida by the avid collectors. Oppor tunities for encounters with Mother Nature also are close at hand. Myakka State Park offers narrated tours in what’s billed as the world’s largest airboat, along with miles of gentle hiking trails. Historic Spanish Point is home to more than 300 species of native plants, as well as resident birds and other wildlife. The veritable symphony of bird songs, calls and whistles that greets visitors to Sarasota Jungle Gardens gives new meaning to the term “surround sound.” Colorful cockatoos and multi-hued macaws vie with peacocks and pink flamingoes for preening honors. Venomous snakes and menacing-looking alligators add an ominous touch, while curious critters like hissing cockroaches and spiny hedgehogs provide a bit of humor. For more information, call 1-800-3487250 or log onto www.visitsarasota.org.

A Cajun vacation Despite its many attributes, including midwinter high temperatures that usually

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND CVB

By Victor Block The new year has begun with an outlook for weather that’s cold and peppered with that dreaded wintry mix. Basking in the sun on a Caribbean island is alluring. But in case your time for a getaway and your travel budget are limited, here are some alternatives that combine a welcome respite from frigid temperatures with the warmth of both the sun’s rays and traditional Southern hospitality.

South Padre Island, off the Gulf coast of Texas, is a 34-mile long barrier reef, drawing not just tourists for walks through the surf, but more than 300 species of birds.

hover in the 60s, New Orleans isn’t for everyone. A more laid-back warming experience awaits in Cajun Louisiana, centered in 22 of the state’s 64 “parishes.” The Cajuns trace their roots back to French-speaking Canadians who, after being ousted from their homeland in the mid-18th century, eventually settled in Louisiana. Since then they have clung proudly to their traditions and ways of life. They continue to speak French, savor spicy, palatenumbing cuisine, and translate a zest for life into a seemingly never-ending series of weekend festivals. Various attractions offer glimpses of local life and culture. The Acadian Village at Lafayette is a realistic re-creation of a 19th century settlement. The town of Martinsville is home to a museum that displays artifacts of early settlers, as well as the tomb of Emmilene Labiche — the subject of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s well-known poem “Evangeline,” which describes the uprooting and resettlement of the Acadians. Also on the must-see list for visitors are any of the hundreds of bayous that crisscross the area. They served as water highways for early pioneers and settlers, and their sluggish waters still provide some of the fish, crayfish and rice that form the basis of much Cajun cooking. For more information, call 1-800-346-

1958 or log onto www.lafayettetravel.com.

South Padre Island For those willing to travel a bit further, South Padre Island, perched on the Gulf Coast of Texas, is a favorite wintering destination for visitors from both northern areas of the Lone Star State and sun-seekers from elsewhere. There are a number of reasons why the 34-mile-long barrier reef, which has only about 5,000 permanent inhabitants, attracts as many as 1 million visitors annually. Many of them are retirees, called “winter Texans,” who seek a warm place to escape the cooler temperatures at their home further north. With its sub-tropical climate and an average winter temperature of 65 degrees, South Padre provides an appealing getaway destination. For people seeking a bit of R and R, the casual, laid-back atmosphere that pervades the island provides an enticing setting. One example of the fun-loving environment is a “proclamation” that banishes the wearing of neck ties. It calls for firsttime offenders to receive a written warning and a T-shirt, and for any scofflaws caught a second time to pay a fine equal to the price of a silk tie. Active vacationers find a long list of See WARM PLACES, page 22


22

Leisure & Travel | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

Warm places From page 21 choices. Boat trips range from eco-tours and close-up encounters with dolphin, to wildlife tours and sunset cruises. Fishermen may try to catch their dinner in bay and gulf waters. The island also is a birders’ paradise, with more than 300 species that add sound and color to the setting. For more information, call 1-800-657-

2373 or log onto www.sopadre.com. Perhaps exploring the streets of Savannah or strolling through the magnificent gardens in and around Charleston is your idea of a dream winter escape. Maybe you’d prefer to immerse yourself in the culture of Cajun Louisiana, or find out why so many sun-seekers head for South Padre Island. Whatever your choice, you’re sure to return home sufficiently refreshed to bear up under the onslaught of winter.

BEACON BITS

Feb. 5

SPEND THE DAY AT HARRAH’S CASINO Join Victory Villa Senior Center on Wednesday, Feb. 5, on this day

trip to Harrah’s Casino in Chester, Pa. Price of the trip is $25. Call (410) 6861352 to reserve a spot.

Mar. 12

VISIT THE AQUARIUM Join the Pikesville Senior Center on Wednesday, March 12, for a self-guided tour of the National Aquarium in Baltimore and lunch

at the famous Ikaros restaurant. Cost is $75 per person. Call (410) 484-5285 for information and reservations.

THE GREENS

Feb. 20

AT LOGAN FIELD

B-I-N-G-O Play bingo at Bingo World on Thursday, Feb. 20, on this excursion sponsored by Essex Senior Center. Cost includes transportation

and bingo cards. Lunch can be purchased at Bingo World. Call (410) 687-5113 for more details and reservations.

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Rooftop Restaurant


23

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Leisure & Travel

BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

Botswana’s Okavango Delta’s got game By Charmaine Noronha I’m jolted from sleep by a deep and rolling roar and what sounds like the slithering paws of a large cat trawling through my cabin. “Oh my God, I think something’s in our room,” I whisper, waking up my friend and roommate, Patricia Lawton. “I know,” she whispers back, adding a few expletives. It might sound like the start of a Maurice Sendak story, but as we lay in our dreamy cabin in the great wilderness of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, we were truly snoozing where the wild things are. Days before, when our safari began, we were told never to leave our tent at night to avoid encounters with wild animals. But what if they came to us? For several hours, Patricia and I lay still, so afraid to move that we dared not even call for help. If this creature was in our room, the only thing that separated us from the potential intruder was a flimsy mosquito net billowing around our fourposter bed. At one point it sounded like an animal was dragging our backpacks around. I cursed Patricia under my breath, thinking she had once again left the patio door to our cabin open — a massive no-no while lodging deep in the savannah. Finally I picked up the phone beside the bed, punching in random numbers since I had no directory. “Something is in our room. We need help,” I stuttered to the woman who answered. She alerted the safari staff on patrol. They discovered an elephant had been roaming around all night on the deck that lined the lodge perimeter, feasting on foliage shading our cabin.

Drenched in sweat — not from Botswana’s sweltering heat but from our anxiety — Patricia and I hugged each other and laughed, slightly embarrassed that we genuinely thought we were about to be a large cat’s meow.

A trip of wonder and drama That drama-filled last night of our safari was a fitting end to what had been a week of pure magic and wonder. We landed in Botswana, zombie-like but excited, after 48 hours with no sleep, traversing time zones on two back-to-back overnight flights plus another four flights. The safari began as soon as we got to PomPom airport in Muan, Botswana. We jumped in a 4x4 after being greeted by two guides from our safari company: andBeyond Safaris. Guide Kgosikebatho Marota asked that we call him Chief, and guide Kutlwano Mobe said he goes by Kuks. Minutes into driving deep into the savannah, we were shaken out of our bleariness by the sight of vervet monkeys swinging through tree tops, herds of impalas prancing by, and graceful woodland kingfishers with fringed, bright blue wings sweeping through the cloudless sky. As if this wasn’t enough to tickle my African-born but North American-bred fancy (I was born in Nairobi but raised in Canada), Chief beckoned us to look to the right of our jeep. “Lions came through here this morning, probably tracking the buffalo we saw yesterday. Those are their footprints,” he said, instructing the driver to follow them. We drove through the vast expanse of sun-drenched land, sprinkled with acacia trees, bulbous baobab trees and towering termite mounds, steering over and through bushes.

Hundreds of species We turned a corner and spotted a pride of six lions sprawled in the grass, lounging in the blistering afternoon sun in post-kill splendor. Their lolling yawns revealed formidable fangs and hinted at the hard work that goes into ruling such a fine kingdom. The moment was pure magic, a National Geographic episode come to life. The big cats are among more than 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds that call the delta home. This diversi-

ty —found amid the lily-speckled marshes, blue lagoons and picturesque woodlands — make this place set along the banks of the Okavango River one of Africa’s richest game-viewing destinations, albeit one of the continent’s pricier ones for tourists, as well. Conde Nast Traveler magazine recognized the Botswana government’s efforts to conserve the Okavango’s environment, See SAFARI, page 25

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Leisure & Travel

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From page 23 while balancing the needs of local people, with a 2013 World Savers Award for a sustainable destination in a developing country. Our tour company has also been working with the government to reintroduce rhinos into the delta. After hours exploring the bush, we headed back to our campsite, bathed in a tepid outdoor rain shower under a sliver of a crescent moon. Then we prepared for a Botswanian feast of seswaa — beef stew served over thick pap, a type of maize porridge. We stuffed ourselves silly and traded stories under the stars with fellow safarigoers. Tuckered out, we retreated to our luxury tents — with indoor plumbing to boot — which we slept in every night except the last, when we were in the cabins.

National Park teems with life A 5:30 a.m. wake-up call began another day of exploring, where zebras, hyenas, water buffalo, elephants and giraffe coexist and roam free. We left the wilderness of the delta to head to Chobe National Park — the third-largest game park in Botswana and one that boasts one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa, including the largest herds of elephants. It lived up to its reputation: Just after entering the gates into the lush terrain, we were greeted by a journey of giraffes munching on acacia trees that dot the plains. Our guides imparted this interesting fact: As a defense mechanism, once the acacia foliage is torn by a foraging giraffe, the plant emits an airborne gas, ethylene, alerting nearby plants to increase tannin production, which the giraffes don’t like. The animals then move upwind to dine on plants that failed to catch the drift. Our exploration and biology lessons were not limited to land. We jumped into a boat and cruised down the Okavango River, where we saw elephants frolicking

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in the water alongside their adorable offspring, glimpsed a hippo bobbing in and out of still water, and staked out a crocodile hoping to see its jaw snap. Back in the 4x4, a torrential downpour suddenly lashed us without a moment’s notice. Chief hit the gas and it was like we were in our own version of Noah’s Ark meets Life of Pi, as animals whizzed past, the wind-swept rain making it difficult for us to even open our eyes in the open-sided car. “You’re not in Canada, anymore, are you?” he shouted from his water-soaked seat. Definitely not, I thought, as water buffalo bolted by us. Drenched and slightly startled, though, there was no place I’d rather have been than this self-contained sanctuary where nearly every creature I’d read about since childhood came out to play. “Let the wild rumpus start!” I hollered back. For more information on Botswana tourism, see www.botswanatourism.co.bw.

© MRALLEN | DREAMSTIME.COM

Safari

Elephants take a drink from the Chobe River in Botswana’s Chobe National Park. The park hosts the largest herds of pachyderms in Africa, along with giraffes, lions, water buffalo and hundreds of other mammal and bird species.

Okavango Delta information is available at www.okavangodelta.com. We used andBeyond Safaries, www.and-

beyond.com. Rates vary by length of tour, time of year and other details. — AP

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Style Arts &

Comedian Billy Crystal’s new memoir is both funny and serious. See story on page 27.

Conference explores music’s effect on brain fessor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a faculty member at Peabody Conservatory. The closing performance will be given by experimental electronic music duo Matmos. According to Susan Weiss, Peabody chair of musicology, the conference will explore the relationship between music and science by examining issues of expectation, creativity, evolution, culture, language, emotion and memory through the lenses of cognitive psychology, musicology and auditory neuroscience. “There are so many connections between music and medicine,” said Weiss, who was inspired to organize this conference by a similar one she attended several years ago at Yale University. “Music not only brings us pleasure,” she went on to say, “but also helps enhance the parts of our brain that are working, compensating for — in the case of stroke victims, for example — parts of the brain that are not.”

Music and memory Music also aids in learning, and has

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been found to be especially helpful for students with learning disabilities. While memorizing a twopage poem, for example, might be difficult for almost anyone, memorizing two pages of song lyrics is easy, said Clay Kaufman, head of the Siena School in Silver Spring, which teaches college-bound students with language-based learning differences. “The music helps us all remember the words,” he explained. “So rather than simply memorizing the quadratic formula in math, by singing it to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” it becomes easy to remember.” (If you don’t need to know the quadratic formula anymore, try singing that phone num- Saxophonist Gary Thomas, chair of jazz studies at the ber you want to remem- Peabody Institute, will perform at the school’s conference, “Music, Mind, Meaning,” on Jan 30 and 31. ber.) Listening and playing music can benefit our memory and our ple, that patients listening to music before cognitive abilities, said Weiss, a claim that surgery had lower anxiety levels, and that has been anecdotal in the past but is now areas of the brain involved in movement, garnering research support. See MUSIC & MIND, page 28 Recent studies have shown, for examPHOTO COURTESY OF BALTIMORE READS

By Carol Sorgen Most of us enjoy listening to music. But did you know that what is a pleasurable pastime — whether you’re listening to Bach or Bieber — can also be a boon to our brains? The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University is going to explore just that topic at a two-day international conference on Thursday and Friday, Jan.30-31. Open to the public, “Music, Mind, Meaning” will feature both lectures and performances, including a special duo performance by Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Vijay Iyer and tenor saxophonist Gary Thomas, chair of jazz studies at Peabody, as well as a keynote address by David Huron, distinguished professor of arts and humanities at Ohio State University and author of Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation. Other lectures will be offered by music cognition scientists Aniruddh Patel, author of Music, Language and the Brain, and Isabelle Peretz, founding co-director of the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research. Additional speakers will include Charles Limb, associate pro-

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27

Billy Crystal still leaves audiences laughing

New memoir Crystal chronicles his rise to comic stardom in his new book, Still Foolin’ ‘Em, Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? The book — which set off a million-dollar bidding war among publishers that was finally won by Henry Holt and Company — is part memoir, part riffs on getting older. Crystal turned 65 last March, and as he doesn’t mind saying, he’s not all that thrilled with it. He gets right into it: “March 14, 2013, my 65th birthday. I got up that morning, padded over to the bath-

room, threw some water on my face, looked in the mirror, and my uncle Al was staring back at me. “My scream brought Janice, my wife of 42 years, running in. I kept yelling….What t h e … h a p p e n e d t o m e ? S o m e h o w, overnight it seemed, I had turned from a hip, cool baby boomer into a Diane Arbus photograph.” Crystal can’t believe not only that he’s getting older, but that it’s happening so fast. He takes some comfort in knowing that so many other boomers are along for the same ride, but “misery loves company” only goes so far. Throughout the book, Crystal tackles the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt.

When I’m 64 The inspiration for the book came from his impending 65th birthday. “All of my really dear friends who are the same age are pretty much saying the same thing, which is basically, ‘Wow. Jeez. This is really happening,” Crystal said. “You go through stages — first day of school, ‘It’s a bar mitzvah,’ ‘a wedding.’ ‘You know who died?’” If you already like Crystal, you’ll appreciate his trademark humor (which includes some raunch, but not enough to put you off if that kind of comedy bothers you). In fact, you should find yourself laughing out loud (I did!), so best to read the book alone or with someone who doesn’t mind being interrupted by some hearty chortling. The book isn’t all a chuckle a minute. Al-

PHOTO BY CHRIS PIZELLO/INVISION/AP

By Carol Sorgen Billy Crystal remembers a show in Baltimore, around 1975, when he opened for the ‘50s revival act Sha Na Na. He was an unknown comic at the time, who happened to look exactly like one of Sha Na Na’s lead singers, Johnny Contardo. “I’m introduced, and I have no billing,” Crystal told an AP reporter in a recent interview. “‘Please welcome another star of our show and an up-and-coming new comic….’ That was the ‘70s. Whenever you heard ‘up-and-coming new comic,’ it was like ‘Ugh.’ “When I hit the stage, they thought I was Johnny playing a guy named Billy Crystal, and they booed, and they hissed and so forth. And I started getting in their face, in a funny way. And I finished my set and I got a standing ovation after I walked off. And Johnny got a T-shirt that he would wear and it said, ‘No, I’m not Billy Crystal.’” It’s been a long time since Billy Crystal has been mistaken for anyone else.

Billy Crystal recently returned to Broadway with his one-man show about his father and childhood, 700 Sundays. He is also starring in a movie called Winter’s Discontent to be released next year.

ternating with his views on the runaway train of aging, Crystal offers up a memoir of his life, from doing comedy and musical acts with his two brothers to entertain his parents and extended family as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island to his years as a stand-up comic, his movie career (he gives the background of the now legendary scene with Meg Ryan in When Harry Met

Sally); his long run as host of the Academy Awards (lauded by another of the show’s long-time hosts, Johnny Carson); and his lifelong devotion to the New York Yankees (for his 60th birthday, Crystal was even allowed an at-bat during a Yankees exhibition game). See BILLY CRYSTAL, page 28

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28

Arts & Style | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

Music & mind From page 26 attention, planning and memory consistently showed activity when study participants listened to music.

Can music inspire medication? On the research horizon are explo-

Billy Crystal From page 27

Friends and family first Along the way, he talks about how he became friends with several of his idols, such as Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali; how he finally got to meet his secret crush, Sophia Loren (…”how rare it is that two former lovers — even if only one of us knew about the affair — can end up as

rations of which chemicals in the brain are stimulated in listening to and performing music, and in which parts of the brain they are active (neurochemicals can have different functions depending on which area of the brain they are associated with). Researchers hope that studying the effect of music on the brain may give a greater understanding of neurological and

psychiatric illnesses and give rise to new and more effective therapies. The Peabody conference is being supported by a grant from Hopkins’ Brain Science Institute, whose mission is to solve fundamental questions about brain development and function and use these insights to understand the mechanisms of brain disease.

“The study of music and the brain is a new field of research, but it’s one that’s growing in importance,” said Weiss. All conference events will take place in the George Peabody Library and Leith Symington Griswold Hall on the Peabody campus. There is a conference registration fee of $100. For more information, visit www.mmmbaltimore2014.org.

friends”); and his takes on topics from religion to grandparenting (Crystal and his wife are the parents of two daughters, and the grandparents of four, the youngest of whom was born on Crystal’s birthday last year). Crystal acknowledges gratefully that he has had many blessings in life. But it has not all been easy. His father, a successful jazz promoter, died of a heart attack when Crystal was just 15 and Crystal writes, “I

never felt young again.” “That’s how you start,” Crystal said, “making your parents laugh. And he was a really great mentor in looking at these really great comedians on television and saying, ‘Watch Laurel and Hardy and not The Three Stooges.’ ‘You can stay up late, even though it’s a school night.’ ‘Then you can watch Ernie Kovacs and stay up for Jack Paar because Jonathan Winters is on.’” Not everything in his career went according to plan — or to his wishes. He missed out on being on the debut of “Saturday Night Live” when his segment got cut, several of his movies bombed at the box office, and the simultaneous events of 9/11 and the death of his mother — who was just as much of a supporter as his father had been — and several other beloved family members and friends left him devastated. The thread that runs throughout the book, and his life, is Crystal’s love of family and friends. Sure, he has a number of

celebrity friends, but he still pals around with guys he knew growing up. He was devoted to his mother and his two brothers. And he counts his wife, daughters, and grandchildren as his greatest loves. In a reading he gave from the book that aired recently on television, Crystal choked up as he read, “…I keep thinking of the most heartbreaking question: Which one of us will go first….I can’t bear to think of life without Janice. I want to go first because I don’t want to miss her. That would be a pain far worse than any death… “I’d like to think there is a heaven, and it starts from the happiest day in your life. I’ll be 18 and Janice Goldfinger will walk by me in a bikini, and I will follow her, and it will start all over again. I’d really like to think that.” There are both laughter and tears in Crystal’s book, and you’ll be left thinking, “He’s not foolin’ anybody [the phrase he says to himself before every performance]. He’s a heckuva nice guy.” Additional reporting by Hillel Italie with AP

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EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY

FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON


Collectors From page 1 band took, her collection of dolls has a special place in her heart. “Everywhere we went, I bought a doll,” said Warres, the former executive director of the Central Scholarship Bureau. The dolls weren’t particularly expensive, Warres said, but they all reflect the country from which they came. Still taking pride of place among the collection is a doll that Warres didn’t purchase on her own, but received as a child from friends of her parents when she was ill. That Italian bisque doll was later joined by several hundred more dolls (many of which she’s given to other family members now). Warres and her husband Len, a radiologist, started their travels together on their honeymoon — a cruise to Nassau, Bermuda and Havana. “I think my husband was a little nervous when I started shopping [for dolls] on our very first trip,” Warres laughed. He obviously learned to live with it though, because they remained married for 72 years until his death in 2011, at the age of 99. “He was a good travel buddy,” said Warres wistfully. The dolls still at home with Warres now live in a glass-fronted cabinet in her living room, except for several that are on display in the lobby of North Oaks, the retirement community where she lives. Every doll is

in a native costume, and they span the globe, from Afghanistan to Iceland, Nepal, Turkey, Greece, Laos, to name just a few. The dolls are only part of Warres’s many collections, which include paintings by Maryland artists, Panamanian textiles, Japanese woodcarvings and more. Though Warres doesn’t travel anymore, her collections are a reminder of the many happy times she and her husband shared over more than seven decades. “We had such lovely experiences getting to know people all over the world,” she said.

Unusual farming mementos Among Emma Schramm’s numerous collections — postcards, hand-painted china, Christmas balls and nativity scenes — is one with a very personal meaning. Her 750-piece collection of pickers’ checks began with remnants from the days her grandfather owned a farm in Anne Arundel County from 1910-1940. According to the University of Maryland Archives, pickers’ checks are associated with late 19th and early 20th century life in Anne Arundel County and in Baltimore. These tokens, which may have been used as early as the 1880s and remained in use until the 1930s, were used by farmers or landowners to pay seasonal laborers (or “pickers”), most of whom were of Polish or other Eastern European descent and did not speak English. Many of the pickers lived in Baltimore and

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Arts & Style

BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

were recruited and supervised by a “rowboss,” who also acted as an interpreter. Most of the pickers were women, children, or older people who did not have other jobs in the city. The tokens they received were exchanged for cash during the picking season or exchanged for goods at nearby stores. The use of pickers’ checks was discontinued before World War II. Schramm, now 85 and a retired teacher and farmer who lives at Charlestown, first became interested in the pickers’ checks when she was approached by the Anne Arundel County Historical Society to see whether any still remained from her grandfather’s days as a farm owner. Schramm found a handful and displayed them in the sales office of the family’s turkey farm. Soon people were sending her their family’s pickers’ checks and asking her to display them as well. One thing led to another, which eventually led to the 750 token collection, now carefully organized in binders. “They used to be mounted on boards, but when I moved to Charlestown I had to start saving space,” said Schramm, noting that in her former home, the entire bottom floor was given over to her various collections. Her collecting ways have subsided somewhat, Schramm said, though a cousin who lives just down the hall from her at Charlestown and is handy with a computer keeps Schramm busy acquiring new nativity scenes (from 74 countries and counting!). For Schramm, collecting has been both

a hobby and an escape. “When you run a farm,” she explained, “you never take a vacation. Collecting has been a good way to stay interested in things. When you get older, you need to have an interest.”

FROM PAGE 30

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ACROSS 1. Nimble 5. Hubble component 9. Set one back 13. Toll booth unit 14. “Right away!” (not written all the way) 15. Hosted a party 16. Pampering locales 17. Confusing grid of streets 18. One 32,000th of a ton 19. Baby proofing instructions 22. General dir. down Peru’s coastline 23. Space enough for light to pass 24. Clock setting for TV’s Breaking Bad scenes 25. Product of the 111th Congress, but commonly called Obamacare 28. Coat, generally white 30. Noted Brazilian footballer 32. Add insult to injury 38. Post pre-school; pre post-school 39. Name that is also a retirement plan 40. End in ___ (satisfy no one) 41. Do a plumber’s job 46. Country singer McEntire 47. Name that is also a legal plan 48. Turned on a candle 49. 3-time NHL MVP 51. Nile snakes 54. Arafat’s org. 56. Say hi to Montezuma 62. Girl orphaned in a comic, play, and 3 movies 63. Tony Danza sitcom 64. Type of thermometer 65. 63 Across extras 66. Shoe shape preserver 67. Its first logo was approved by Ike in 1959 68. Downwind 69. Hankerings 70. Studied from afar

DOWN 1. The middle of a date range 2. International fair 3. Fly in the ointment 4. Personality identifiers 5. Green Bay Packers’ field 6. Jacob’s biblical twin 7. Those fanatically obsessed with rules 8. Write eight instead of 8 9. Guzzle drinks 10. Just for show 11. The Joy of ___ (religious guide) 12. Send a 139-character message 15. Exactly 20. European city with best quality of life, according to fDi Magazine 21. Baba ghanoush, and the like 25. Son of Zeus and Hera 26. Group of worshippers 27. Complete loathing 29. French dairy-producing region 31. User of statistics, according to Mark Twain 33. “Holy Toledo!” 34. Pistol stay-men (abbr.) 35. Acorn droppers 36. 4, on a Rolex 37. Boy scout’s construction 42. Moves down on a pain scale 43. Punishment unit in 12 Years a Slave 44. Newsweek declared 1984 to be their year 45. The middle of two cremes 49. Largest Cornhusker city 50. Of the kidneys 52. Inconsequential 53. Violate guidance regarding the sun 55. .6 parts per million of Earth’s atmosphere 57. Kidlet 58. Plow pullers 59. Fast food loaner 60. Sugarcoat 61. Like Adam, after expulsion

Answers on page 29.


BALTIMORE BEACON — FEBRUARY 2014

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

Financial Services ACCOUNTING, BOOKKEEPING, TAXES – conscientious CPA, 37 years experience, reasonable rates, looking for additional business, personal and eldercare clients. Call 410-653-3363. PERSONAL BOOKKEEPER – Will organize your financial records, prepare checks, balance your checkbooks. 35 years experience, references. Affordable rates. 410-404-3741.

For Sale LOUDON PARK – One cemetery plot with vault. Sells for $4,000. Asking $1,200. Call Dee at 410-325-5467. 40 POCKET WATCHES – Like new, mostly by Louis L’Amour - $30. Also: Duckpin bowling balls and bag - $20. 410-866-2373.

Say you saw it in the Beacon

For Sale BEDROOM SET – Queen-size bed, dresser, mirror, two lamp tables, two lamps (all for $900). Solid mahogany desk, book shelves, treasure chest, Viking sewing machine, etc. Call for appointment, 410-205-7640. 2 SALVADOR DALI woodblock prints from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Signed and framed. Asking $900 for the pair. Can email pictures if desired. Call Steve, 410-913-1653.

Home/Handyman Services TROCH PAINTING – Interior/Exterior, drywall repair, wallpaper removal, power washing. Locally owned, serving the Baltimore area since 1974, free estimates, licensed and insured, MHIC# 99578. Call Mark, 410-591-4168 or 443-844-9498. BALTIMORE’S BEST JUNK REMOVAL – Clean Outs: Whole House, Emergency, Attics/Basements. Furniture and Junk Removal, Yard Waste Removal, General Hauling, Construction Debris Removal. Free estimates. 10% Senior Discount. Licensed, Bonded and Insured. Call Jesse, 443-379-HAUL (4285). BASEMENT OR FOUNDATION PROBLEMS? LEVELIFT SYSTEMS, INC. offers honest, professional, no-pressure inspection, consultation & repair quotes for owner-occupied homes with settling, cracking & buckling basement walls. Our 23-yearold Jessup, Maryland-based firm has a spotless record with Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau and Maryland State Home Improvement Commission. Ask for Paul. Office: 301-369-3400. Cell: 410365-7346. Paulm@levelift.com. MHIC #45110. MIKE RUPARD – A FULL SERVICE PAINTING contractor. Interior. Exterior. “No job is too small.” 30 years experience. Free estimates. Fully-licensed and insured. 301-674-1383.

Personals DWF YOUNG 68, PETITE ITALIAN brunette very attractive, vivacious, seeking senior white male for friendship/companionship. Call Tina, 410-962-5311.

Personal Services LEARN ENGLISH – SPANISH – ITALIAN – FRENCH – PORTUGUESE Conversational. Grammatical. Private lessons. Reasonable Rates. Tutoring students. 443-352-8200.

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

The Beacon, Baltimore Classified Dept. P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915-2227 Wanted

Wanted

VINYL RECORDS WANTED from 1950 through 1985. Jazz, Rock-n-Roll, Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae and Disco. 33 1/3 LPs, 45s or 78s, Larger collections of at least 100 items wanted. Please call John, 301-596-6201.

FINE ANTIQUES, PAINTINGS AND QUALITY VINTAGE FURNISHINGS wanted by a serious capable buyer. I am very well educated [law degree] knowledgeable [over 40 years in the antique business] and have the finances and wherewithal to handle virtually any situation. If you have a special item, collection or important estate I would like to hear from you. I pay great prices for great things in all categories from oriental rugs to Tiffany objects, from rare clocks to firearms, from silver and gold to classic cars. If it is wonderful, I am interested. No phony promises or messy consignments. References gladly furnished. Please call Jake Lenihan, 301-279-8834. Thank you.

WE BUY OLD AND NEW JEWELRY, Coins, Silver and Gold, Paper Money Too. Watches, Clocks and Parts, Military Badges and Patches Old and New. Call Greg, 717-658-7954. OLD AND NEW WE BUY Sterling Silver Flatware, Tea Sets, Single Pieces, Fountain Pens, Lighters, Tools, Cameras, Glassware, Art Work. Toys From Trains to Hotwheels to Star Wars. Call Greg, 717-658-7954. CASH BUYER FOR OLD COSTUME JEWELRY – pocket and wrist watches (any condition). Also buying watchmaker tools and parts, train sets and accessories, old toys, old glassware & coins. 410-655-0412.

s a t! e ak if M at g e gr

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More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

FEBRUARY 2014 — BALTIMORE BEACON

AARP Maryland’s 2014 Legislative Session Preview: Six Need-to-Know Issues for 50+ Left to right: AARP MD State Director Hank Greenberg, Mideast Regional Vice-President Rawle Andrews, AARP MD Advocacy Director Tammy Bresnahan and AARP MD President Clarence Davis finalizing strategy during 2013 Session.

With the General Assembly set to return in early January, AARP Maryland is gearing up to ensure that important issues for older Marylanders are on the agenda. Caregiving, consumer protection, utility rate control, retirement security and elder safety are among the areas of focus. Caregivers’ Rights Today 770,000 Marylanders are taking care of a loved one. Who’s looking out for the caregivers? AARP MD will urge lawmakers to pass a Caregivers Bill of Rights that would highlight the plight of caregivers, most of whom are family members.

Earned Sick and Safe Leave For All AARP MD will support a Bill that requires employers to provide employees with earned leave and requires employers to allow for the use of that leave.

Fair Utility Costs AARP MD will continue working and fighting for reliable and affordable utilities.

Lower Income Tax Formula for Retirement Savings AARP MD will support a bill that will allow $27,000 from rollover individual retirement accounts (IRA) or annuities to remain tax-free if the contributions to that IRA or annuity consist entirely of tax-free rollover funds from an employee retirement.

Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program This proposal would create another option for small business and their employees to save for retirement.

Elder Abuser Registry Maryland needs an Abuser Registry to keep individuals safe in congregate care. Currently, hiring managers in nursing homes, assisted living and other congregate care facilities are not alerted to past convictions or infractions for elder abuse by prospective staff.

Become a Volunteer Advocate! Your opinion matters! AARP MD partners with volunteer advocates to work in Annapolis over the course of the three-month legislative session. Volunteer advocates will meet new people, may travel to Annapolis, experience the legislative process and receive training! Join our volunteer corps and share your thoughts and opinions with legislators. To volunteer or if you have questions call us at 1-866-542-8163 or email mdaarp@aarp.org

facebook.com/AARPMD @AARPMD aarp.org/MD

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February 2014 | Baltimore Beacon  

February 2014 | Baltimore Beacon Edition

February 2014 | Baltimore Beacon  

February 2014 | Baltimore Beacon Edition