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Our 10th Year!

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More than 125,000 readers throughout Greater Baltimore

Staying capable at home with age

SEPTEMBER 2013

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AP PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY

By Lauran Neergaard Alberta Hough struggles to feed herself a snack, her arms shaking badly from Parkinson’s disease. Days earlier, the 84-year-old fell while eating, sliding off her kitchen chair. The rest of Hough’s day isn’t much easier to navigate. She wobbles into a bathtub with no grab bar. Her feet catch on damaged floor tiles. Part of the banister she needs to steady herself on the stairs has pulled out of the wall. At the back door, a rickety wooden ramp no longer supports the scooter that helps her get around. The environment in which you live can be as disabling as a disease, and too often, older Americans wind up in a nursing home not because they’re super-sick but because they can’t get through their days safely at home. Now a major research project will bring handymen, occupational therapists and nurses into the homes of 800 low-income seniors in Baltimore to test if some inexpensive fix-ups and strategies for daily living can keep them independent longer, and save millions in taxpayer dollars spent on nursing home care. “Very small changes can make a big difference,” said Sarah Szanton, a Johns Hopkins University associate nursing professor who leads the project. “We’re not saying, ‘What’s your blood pressure?’ We’re focusing on function: What do they want to do?” Losing independence is a leading fear as people age. But a recent poll shows that too few comprehend the changes in lifestyle needed to offset the chronic illnesses and gradual slowdown that hit just about everyone in their 70s, 80s and beyond. Asked about their choice of living situation when they’re older, Americans 40 and over say their top priorities are a one-level home with no stairs, that’s close to their children and medical care, according to the poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Chances are, that won’t be enough. For Hough, No. 1 is feeding herself without everything tumbling off the fork. “I’m shaking all the time,” she quietly told Hopkins occupational therapist Allyson Evelyn-Gustave. Hough’s other priority is not falling, and stairs are only one of her home’s hazards.

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L E I S U R E & T R AV E L

Myrtle Beach, S.C., a pearl on the Grand Strand; plus, Victorian charm without cars on a Michigan island, and what to check off your list before you leave on vacation page 29

With the help of a Johns Hopkins University study, Hattie Watties is able to continue living in her Baltimore home of 36 years. The Capable study provides home modifications and repairs, along with nurse visits, to help determine how best to help frail, low-income seniors age in place.

Promoting independence To Hopkins’ Szanton, bridging the gap between what older adults are able to do and what their homes allow them to do is key to maintaining independence. The Capable study aims to prove how. During 10 home visits over four months, the Hopkins team is tailoring interventions — including about $1,100 in home repairs or modifications provided for free — to help low-income seniors who are having trouble caring for themselves. Drills buzzed in Hough’s house as carpenters installed a new banister and added grab bars and a raised toilet seat in the bathroom. They replaced patches of flooring to prevent trips, and prepared to tackle the ramp.

As for eating, Evelyn-Gustave recommended a little-known tool: utensils and cups that are specially weighted to counter Hough’s tremors. “It’ll be easier for you to hold,” she promised. The set of utensils costs only about $20, one of the affordable tips the study is generating. Hough’s daughter had thought the only solution was an aide to feed her mother, which the older woman hates. “I always said I wouldn’t let my mom go to a nursing home,” said Hough’s daughter Gloria J. Hawks, 66, who is determined to care for her mother in the house the two share. See CAPABLE STUDY, page 27

ARTS & STYLE

None-too sophisticated humor in Nunsense at Toby’s Dinner Theater; plus, the Rawlings Conservatory celebrates its 125th anniversary page 34

FITNESS & HEALTH 4 k Growing custom-made organs k Losing height? What to do about it LAW & MONEY 20 k Mid-year review of mutual funds k React quickly to bank errors VOLUNTEERS & CAREERS k Helping homeless men

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

BEACON BITS

Sept. 18

REMINISCE ABOUT ORIOLES HISTORY

Join the staff at New Life Healthy Living for its gala open house featuring guest speaker Bill Stetka, director of Orioles alumni, on Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. Stetka will be speaking on the topic “The Orioles: Then & Now.” He will highlight Orioles history, share memorabilia, and lead a Q&A session about the team. Dinner, music and door prizes will be offered for our guests at this free event, which will be held at 7600 Clays Ln. RSVP to Audrey Turner (410) 944-1002.

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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 for $12 or via first-class mail for $36, prepaid with order. MD residents add 6 percent for sales tax. Send subscription order to the office listed below. Publication of advertising contained herein does not necessarily constitute endorsement. Signed columns represent the opinions of the writers, and not necessarily the opinion of the publisher. • 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

The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915 (410) 248-9101 • Email: info@thebeaconnewspapers.com Submissions: The Beacon welcomes reader contributions. Deadline for editorial is the 1st of the month preceding the month of publication. Deadline for ads is the 1st of the month preceding the month of publication. See page 39 for classified advertising details. Please mail or email all submissions. © Copyright 2013 The Beacon Newspapers, Inc.

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

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

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

Letters to the editor Readers are encouraged to share their opinion on any matter addressed in the Beacon as well as on political and social issues of the day. Mail your Letter to the Editor to The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915, or e-mail to barbara@thebeaconnewspapers.com. Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification. Dear Editor: In July’s “From the Publisher” column, “What’s private anymore?” publisher Stuart Rosenthal said that people “voluntarily” use store loyalty cards. I would dare you to go into any chain store that has a “loyalty card” program and try to purchase any item at the advertised sale price without using said card. You will quickly and sometimes quite rudely learn how “voluntary” these cards are. Personally, I find this corporate snooping much more disturbing than the government surveillance. The government is trying to keep us safe from terrorists. The corporate surveillance is meant to get inside our heads and deeper into our wallets. As you state in your article, they “... track every purchase we make... keeping close tabs on our every movement – where we drive and when, what we read and listen to, where we shop and what we spend.” Each one of these data-points is like a pixel on a television screen. By themselves they don’t mean much, but when databases are exchanged between corporations and all of this data is put together,

it paints a picture of our habits such that “The Man” knows your habits better than you do. Such intimate knowledge allows big business to manipulate and control people’s behavior without most of the people ever realizing that they are being manipulated and controlled. I take great offense to store “loyalty” cards and, wherever possible, refuse to shop in stores that have them. Fortunately, there are still a few grocery stores locally where I can pay cash for my food and not be subjected to this data mining. The website www.nocards.org is an excellent source of information regarding store “loyalty” data-mining schemes and why they don’t really save anyone money. I would encourage anyone interested in privacy issues to visit this website. Phillip Couslin Glen Burnie Dear Editor: I saw your editorial “What’s private anymore?” in the July issue and read with considerable interest. See LETTERS TO EDITOR, page 39


BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

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

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Health Fitness &

ROBOTS REBUKED A popular surgical robot is under scrutiny for safety and cost concerns NO GYM NEEDED Many exercises use only your bodyweight to help build up strength STOP SHRINKING Take some simple steps to minimize losing height as you age A WHIFF OF A CURE Taste and smell disorders are usually connected, and are often treatable

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

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

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

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

imental bladders made from their own cells, as are more than a dozen who have urethras made from their own bladder tissue. A Swedish girl who got a vein made with her marrow cells to bypass a liver vein blockage in 2011 is still doing well, her surgeon said. In some cases the idea has even become standard practice. Surgeons can use a patient’s own cells, processed in a lab, to repair cartilage in the knee. Burn victims are treated with lab-grown skin. Researchers have also shown that cells grown on a biodegradeable scaffolding can act as beacons that summon cells from the recipient’s body, said William Wagner, director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. See BUILDING ORGANS, page 5

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

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

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

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

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

Disease-specific sites There are also dozens of other sites dedicated to specific diseases and conditions. Here are some top-rated sites as listed by the Medical Library Association on cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Cancer: American Cancer Society (cancer.org), National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov), Association of Cancer Online Resources (www.acor.org) and Cancer Care (cancercare.org). Heart disease: American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org), National Hear t, Lung and Blood Institute (www.nhlbi.nih.gov) and Congenital Heart Information Network (www.tchin.org). Diabetes: American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org), National Diabetes Education Program (www.ndep.nih.gov), Joslin Diabetes Center (www.joslin. har vard.edu), and Diabetes Monitor (www.diabetesmonitor.com). Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org), Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (www.alzinfo.org), and Alzheimers.gov. Send your questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior book.


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

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

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Finding cells that work F R E E

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

3-D “printing” of body parts

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

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From page 4

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

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Health Shorts Sunscreen slows aging of skin New research provides some of the strongest evidence to date that near-daily sunscreen use can slow the aging of your skin. Skin stretches and recoils thanks to elastic fibers supporting it. UV rays damage that elasticity, something scientists previously have measured using biopsies of the tissue just under the skin’s top layer.

SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

With enough damage, the skin on top starts to sag and wrinkle. Ultraviolet rays that spur wrinkles and other signs of aging can quietly build up damage pretty much anytime you’re in the sun — a lunchtime stroll, school recess, walking the dog — and they even penetrate car windows. Researchers in sunny Australia found that even if you’re already middle-aged, it’s not too late to start rubbing some sunscreen on — and not just at the beach or pool. The study of 900 people under 55 compared those randomly assigned to use sunscreen daily to those who used it when they deemed it necessary.

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

mail-order program that dramatically drops the prices the government pays for those products, but patients will have to use one of 18 designated suppliers. The goal is to save taxpayers money, but seniors should see their copays drop, too. Don’t care about the convenience of mail delivery? Beneficiaries also can get the new lower price at drugstores enrolled in the Medicare program. It’s the biggest expansion yet of a larger, and somewhat controversial, initiative that’s predicted to save taxpayers nearly $26 billion over the next decade by cracking down on waste and fraud in the medical equipment industry. Diabetics aren’t the only Medicare patients affected. Patients who rent home oxygen gear and hospital beds, or who need power wheelchairs, walkers and certain other equipment, will also see changes in their suppliers and lower prices as a pilot test of this so-called competitive bidding program expanded from nine metro areas to a total of 100 on July 1. The Washington and Baltimore areas are part of that expansion. Medicare is supposed to apply the lower pricing nationally by 2016. (The change doesn’t apply to Medicare Advantage patients.) To find a valid supplier, check the list at www.medicare.gov/supplier or call 1-800MEDICARE. Some companies operate under multiple names. — AP

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

7

How to avoid dangerous drug interactions Every day, you may go through a ritual — swallowing one or more drugs to lower your blood pressure, strengthen your bones, prevent a heart attack or stroke, relieve pain or slow the progression of other health conditions. Many older adults take five or more different prescription drugs a day. Drugs are intended to treat medical conditions and help you feel better, but they can also have side effects and interactions. An estimated 100,000 Americans ages 65 and older are hospitalized each year for adverse drug reactions, according to a 2011 study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). A more recent study in PLoS One found that about one out of every five drugs prescribed to seniors is inappropriate. It’s prescribed even though it is likely to cause side effects, and another drug is potentially just as effective or more effective. “So it’s important for people to be aware,” said Dr. Suzanne Salamon, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate chief for clinical geriatrics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass.

anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can slow the rate at which your body removes immune-suppressing drugs like cyclosporine and heart medicines such as digoxin. Mixing vitamin E with warfarin can cause excess bleeding. The risk of interactions is compounded when you go to several specialists, and each one prescribes a different drug (or drugs), without knowing what else you’re taking. In addition, as we age, our bodies metabolize medications at a slower rate. “The drug hangs around in your body longer. It accumulates in your body,” Salamon explained. So the effects from your first pill can stay with you even after you’ve taken the next dose. Several drugs require particular care when used in older adults. In the NEJM study, these were the drugs most likely to cause hospitalization: 1. Digoxin, a drug used to treat heart failure 2. Blood sugar-lowering drugs and insulin for diabetes 3. Opioid pain relievers 4. Warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner.

Dangerous drugs

Preventing harmful effects

Any drug can have side effects or interact with other medications you’re taking — even over-the-counter drugs and supplements. For example, aspirin and other nonsteroidal

How can you avoid drug interactions and side effects when you’re taking so many different pills? First, make sure your primary care doc-

tor knows exactly what you’re taking, Dr. Salamon said. “My advice is to put your pills in a bag and bring them into the doctor’s office,” she noted. Let your provider review all the drugs you’re taking, including over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and medicines that were prescribed by other doctors. Your doctor might find that some of the drugs you’ve been taking for years are potentially harmful, could interact with one another, or are entirely unnecessary.

“People will stay on pills for years and years because they were started for a particular condition and no one told them to get off,” according to Dr. Salamon. Here are 10 other ways to prevent medicine mishaps: 1. Every time you get a new prescription, ask your doctor what side effects it can cause and what to do if you experience those side effects. Don’t rely solely on package inSee DRUG INTERACTIONS, page 8

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Drug interactions From page 7 serts, which are often difficult to understand. 2. Ask how any newly prescribed drug might interact with your other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, supple-

ments and foods. 3. Have your doctor write down the directions for any new or updated prescriptions. Keep those instructions at home as a reference. 4. Ask your doctor to start you on a new medication at the lowest possible effective

SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

dose, to minimize the potential for side effects. If the drug doesn’t work, your doctor can slowly increase the dose. 5. Keep a list of your medicines and doses with you. Make a new list each time a medicine is started or stopped or the dose changes. 6. Make sure you know how and when to take your pills. Should you take them in the morning or at night? Do you have to take them at mealtimes or without food? Should your medicines be taken together or separately? 7. If you have a complicated medicine regimen, ask your doctor to help you simplify it. 8. To keep your medicines organized, use

a pillbox. Some electronic pill dispensers will remind you of when to take your pills. 9. Return to your doctor’s office periodically for medicine checks, especially if you’re taking drugs prone to causing side effects, such as warfarin. And if you do develop side effects, call your doctor for advice before stopping the drug. 10. To find out whether any of the medicines you’re taking can interact, visit http://referencemedscape.com/drug-interactionchecker. — Harvard Women’s Health Watch © 2013 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Dr. Stuart Goldman invites Fibromyalgia patients with lower extremity symptoms causing Difficulty Walking, Standing, or Sleeping for evaluation. Treatment with No Medication may provide improvement within one or two visits. How fortunate I feel to have found a doctor who could not only diagnose an underlying problem that many specialists missed, but who has been able to find a painless and rapid method of relieving the worst symptoms. – Susan, Baltimore

As a podiatrist with over 30 years experience, I have always focused on 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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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

9

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

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

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

flat on your back with knees bent. Support your head with your fingers and raise your head six inches off the floor, concentrating on pushing your lower spine down and tighten-

ing the abdominal muscles. Hold and repeat. © 2013 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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

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Have high blood pressure or diabetes? Hear out of one ear better than the other? Turn the television/radio volume up higher than those around you? Get annoyed because those around you are mumbling? Find that the voices of women and children are harder to understand than men? !Work or have worked in noisy environments? Make inappropriate responses because you have misunderstood what others are saying? !"#$%&"'#()%('*#!#*#+&%,+'(-&+%."-%/(!+%$#01'-)*.% hearing in crowded rooms (like restaurants)?

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Popular surgical robot raises concerns By Lindsey Tanner The biggest thing in operating rooms these days is a million-dollar, multi-armed robot named da Vinci. It was used in nearly 400,000 surgeries in America last year — three times as many as four years earlier.

But now the high-tech helper is under scrutiny over reports of problems, including several deaths that may be linked with it, and its high cost of use. There also have been a few disturbing, freak incidents: a robotic hand that would-

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n’t let go of tissue grasped during surgery, and a robotic arm hitting a patient in the face as she lay on the operating table. Is it time to curb the robot enthusiasm? Some doctors say yes, concerned that the “wow” factor and heavy marketing are behind the boost in use. They argue that there is not enough research showing that robotic surgery is at least as good as, or better than, conventional surgeries. Many U.S. hospitals promote robotic surgery in patient brochures, online and even on highway billboards. Their aim is partly to attract business that helps pay for the costly robot.

Commonly used for prostate surgery The da Vinci is used for operations that include removing prostates, gallbladders and wombs, repairing heart valves, shrink-

“Your roadmap to the right health care is me.”

ing stomachs and transplanting organs. The most common robotic operations include prostate removal — about 85 percent of these in the U.S. are done with the robot. Da Vinci is often used for hysterectomies, too. [See box below.] Its use has grown worldwide, but the system is most popular in the United States. “We are at the tip of the iceberg. What we thought was impossible 10 years ago is now commonplace,” said Dr. Michael Stifelman, robotic surgery chief at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. For surgeons, who control the robot while sitting at a computer screen, these operations can be less tiring. Plus robot hands don’t shake. Advocates say patients sometimes have less bleeding and often are sent home sooner than with conventional laparoscopic surgeries and operations involving large incisions. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking into a spike in reported problems. Earlier this year, the FDA began surveying surgeons using the robotic system. The agency conducts such surveys of device use routinely, but FDA spokeswoman Synim Rivers said the reason for it now “is the increase in number of reports received” about da Vinci.

A look at the problem

I’m here for you. Diane Witles, R.N., health care navigator, has been helping residents of North Oaks live independently for as long as they can since she started here 22 years ago. Like other staff, she knows everyone by name – and most of their family members as well. If someone needs medication reminders, immunizations or consultation with a physician, they turn to her. Diane is often the first to pick up on a resident’s changing health needs. Perhaps you should be living at the address where she works.

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Reports filed since early last year include at least five deaths. Whether there truly are more problems lately is uncertain. Rivers said she couldn’t quantify the increase, and that it may simply reflect more awareness among doctors and hospitals. Doctors aren’t required to report such things; device makers and hospitals are. It could also reflect wider use. Last year there were 367,000 robot-assisted surgeries versus 114,000 in 2008, according to da Vinci’s maker, Intuitive Surgical Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif. Da Vinci is the company’s only product, and it’s the only robotic system cleared for soft-tissue surgery by the FDA. Other robotic devices are approved for neurosurgery and orthopedics, among other things. A search for the company’s name in an FDA medical device database of reported problems brings up 500 events since Jan. 1, 2012. Many of those came from Intuitive Surgical. The reports include incidents that happened several years ago, and some are duplicates. There’s also no proof that any of the problems were caused by the robot, and many didn’t injure patients. Reports filed this year include: — A woman who died during a 2012 hysterectomy when the surgeon-controlled robot accidentally nicked a blood vessel. — A New York man whose colon was allegedly perforated during prostate surgery. — A robotic arm that wouldn’t let go of tissue grasped during colorectal surgery

V i s i t o u r w e b s i t e a t w w w. N o r t h O a k s LC S . c o m See ROBOTIC SURGERY, page 12


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

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

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Robotic surgery From page 10 on Jan. 14. Complications can occur with any type of surgery, and so far it’s unclear if they are more common in robotic operations. That’s part of what the FDA is trying to find out. Intuitive Surgical disputes there’s been a true increase in problems and said the rise reflects a change it made last year in the way it reports incidents. The da Vinci system “has an excellent

safety record with over 1.5 million surgeries performed globally, and total adverse event rates have remained low and in line with historical trends,” said company spokeswoman Angela Wonson. But an upcoming research paper suggests that problems linked with robotic surgery are underreported. They include cases with “catastrophic complications,” said Dr. Martin Makary, a Johns Hopkins surgeon who co-authored the paper. “The rapid adoption of robotic surgery ... has been done by and large without the

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proper evaluation,” Makary said. The da Vinci system, on the market since 2000, includes a three- or four-armed robot that surgeons operate with hand controls at a computer system several feet from the patient. They see inside the patient’s body through a tiny video camera attached to one of the long robot arms. The other arms are tipped with tiny surgical instruments. Robotic operations are similar to conventional laparoscopy, or “keyhole” surgery, which involves small incisions and camera-tipped instruments controlled by the surgeon’s hands, not a robot. Almost 1,400 U.S. hospitals — nearly 1 out of 4 — have at least one da Vinci system. Each one costs about $1.45 million, plus $100,000 or more a year in service agreements. Makary said there’s no justification for the big growth in robotic surgery, which he attributes to aggressive advertising by the manufacturer and hospitals seeking more patients. He led a study published in 2011 that found 4 in 10 hospitals promoted robotic surgery on their websites, often using wording from the manufacturer. Some of the claims exaggerated the benefits or had misleading, unproven claims, the study said. For a few select procedures that require operating in small, hard-to-reach areas, robotic surgery may offer advantages, Makary said. Those procedures include head and neck cancer surgery and rectal surgery.

Some surgeons say the robotic method also has advantages for weight-loss surgery on extremely obese patients, whose girth can make hands-on surgery challenging.

Too little training? Lawsuits in cases that didn’t turn out so well often cite inadequate surgeon training with the robot. These include a malpractice case that ended last year with a $7.5 million jury award for the family of Juan Fernandez, a Chicago man who died in 2007 after robotic spleen surgery. The lawsuit claimed Fernandez’s surgeons accidentally punctured part of his intestines, leading to a fatal infection. The surgeons argued that Fernandez had a health condition that caused the intestinal damage, but it was the first robot operation for one of the doctors, and using the device was overkill for an ordinarily straightforward surgery, said Fernandez’s attorney, Ted McNabola. McNabola said an expert witness told him it was like “using an 18-wheeler to go the market to get a quart of milk.” Company spokesman Geoff Curtis said Intuitive Surgical has physician-educators and other trainers who teach surgeons how to use the robot. But they don’t train them how to do specific procedures robotically, he said, and it’s up to hospitals and surgeons to decide “if and when a surgeon is ready to perform robotic cases.” — AP

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BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

13

Taste and smell disorders often treatable By Mick O’Hare Many people suffer from taste and smell disorders, but too often they’re sent away without treatment. With the first clinic in the United Kingdom dedicated to these conditions, Carl Philpott aims to change that. Philpott is an ear, nose and throat surgeon and director of the Smell and Taste Clinic at James Paget University Hospital in Norfolk, England. He’s a supporter of Fifth Sense, the resource organization for people with taste and smell disorders. Q: How many people are affected by taste and smell disorders? A: It’s tough to put a precise figure on it, but the best estimate is around 1 in 20. In the UK alone, this adds up to more than 3 million people. As a comparison, 1 in 30 people in the UK have some form of sight loss, and 1 in 6 have a hearing disorder. Q: Why are these senses so important? A: They are a huge part of everyday life. Eating is essential for our survival, and enjoyment of food and drink ensures this process is maintained. These senses also serve as a hazard warning system to help us avoid dangers such as gas leaks and spoiled food. Smell ensures we maintain our personal hygiene, and offers us an essential interaction with the world around us, giving pleasure from simple things such as flowers.

For many people smell also helps to recreate memories. Q: Given how disruptive it can be to lose your sense of taste or smell, why aren’t more people clamoring for treatment? A: Many are unaware that they can be treated, and others underestimate their smell loss. For example, chronic sinusitis, which is treatable, will affect 11 percent of people at some point in their lives. Since our clinic opened, we have been overwhelmed by referrals and requests for treatment. We have unleashed a torrent of people who have been waiting for an outlet; many have been suffering in silence for years. Q: What are the consequences for people with olfactory disorders? A: The tongue only detects the basic tastes of salt, sweet, bitter, sour and umami, which is a savory, hearty taste. It’s the nose that provides you with the flavor of food. Loss of smell, and with it any experience of food flavor, is quite devastating. Coming to terms with the loss of an entire sense or even two often leads to other difficulties, including depression and thoughts of suicide. Q: With the severe impact these conditions can have, why aren’t there more dedicated clinics like yours? A: There is a sense of apathy due to the relative lack of understanding of these

senses. The impact of their loss is underrated, and there is a perception that nothing can be done. In addition, a lack of interest in clinical practice means the teaching of this subject in medical schools is poor. Most medical schools allocate only a small percentage of time in their courses to the ear, nose and throat discipline. Q: And yet there are many establishments dedicated to loss of sight and hearing. Why is that?

A: The ear dominates the ear, nose and throat discipline, and although specialists should be open to treating olfaction and gustation disorders, the nose is often considered a poor and uninteresting relative. Anosmia, or the loss of the sense of smell, is not often regarded as a major treatment priority. Q: Is that because taste and smell are viewed as less essential senses? A: Yes, they are often seen that way. See SENSORY DISORDERS, page 15


14

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Health Studies Page

SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

THE PLACE TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON AREA CLINICAL TRIALS

Study compares popular diabetes drugs The National Institutes of Health is looking for volunteers to take part in a study to compare the long-term benefits and risks of four widely used diabetes drugs in combination with metformin, the most common firstline medication for treating type 2 diabetes. The project is called the Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative

Effectiveness Study, or GRADE for short. If metformin is not enough to help manage type 2 diabetes, a patient’s doctor may add one of several other drugs to lower glucose (blood sugar). But while short-term studies have shown the efficacy of different drugs when used with metformin, there have been no long-term studies of which combination

works best and has fewer side effects. “Type 2 diabetes progresses slowly, over a long period of time,” said Dr. Barbara Linder, the GRADE project officer at the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “This study will help us understand how different combinations of medications affect the disease over time, and ultimately help physicians make better choices for their patients’ long-term care.”

Long-term study The study will compare drug effects on glucose levels, adverse effects, diabetes complications and quality of life over an average of nearly five years. GRADE aims to enroll about 5,000 patients nationwide. It is being conducted at two locations in Baltimore: the University of Maryland Baltimore and the Baltimore VA Medical Center. Investigators are seeking people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last five years. They may be on metformin, but not on any other diabetes medication. During the study, all participants will take metformin, along with a second medication randomly assigned from among

four classes of medications, all approved for use with metformin by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Three of the classes of medications increase insulin levels. They are: sulfonylurea, which increases insulin levels directly; DPP-4 inhibitor, which indirectly increases insulin levels by increasing the effect of a naturally occurring intestinal hormone; and GLP-1 agonist, which increases the amount of insulin released in response to nutrients. The fourth type of medication is a long-acting insulin. No patients will be assigned a placebo, a pill without active ingredients. Participants will have their diabetes medications managed free of charge through the study, including at least four medical visits per year, but will receive other healthcare through their own providers. “What differentiates GRADE from previous studies is that it will perform a head-tohead comprehensive comparison of the most commonly used drugs over a long period of time,” said Dr. David M. Nathan, of Massachusetts General Hospital. See DIABETES STUDY, page 15


BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

Sensory disorders From page 13 People with such disorders look “normal” and can function with less obvious disability than people without sight or hearing. As a result they are most often advised to go away and try to live with the condition, leaving many struggling to cope. It is often as important to treat the associated depression, which can affect more than half of people with taste and smell disorders, as it is to combat the olfactory or gustatory loss. Q: What causes most taste and smell disorders? A: There are four most common causes, including chronic rhinosinusitis, or persistent inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages, which blocks up the nose and creates pressure and facial pain. Then there is head injury, when the brain may get bruised and the olfactory nerves injured, and the common cold virus, which can damage the cells of the olfactory epithelium, the specialized tissue that lines the inside of the nasal cavity. Finally, some cases are idiopathic, meaning they have no obvious cause. Q: How many of these can be treated or cured? A: None can be cured as such, but chronic rhinosinusitis is very treatable: more than 90 percent of patients in this category can regain their sense of smell after steroid treatment to reduce inflammation.

Diabetes study From page 14 “In addition to determining which medications control blood glucose levels most effectively over time, we hope to examine individual factors that are associated with better or worse response to the different medications,” Nathan said. “This should

In the other cases, there are medications we can use. Oral corticosteroids are always tried first, to make sure the underlying condition is not caused by inflammation from allergies, for example. Distortions of smell, or parosmias, can sometimes be treated with small doses of anti-epileptics. That’s because these distortions can be caused by the brain misinterpreting signals it receives, leading people to experience a range of things, from everyday foods tasting strange to detecting foul smells all the time. These can be very distressing and cause severe eating disorders, ruining individuals’ lives. Q: Given the lack of attention to olfactory illness, have there been many recent medical advances in treatment? A: There’s a lot of ongoing research, but unfortunately not much is translating into new treatments. Essentially that is why the clinic exists — to explore these. At the moment, I am completing a study to evaluate a spray containing sodium citrate that may temporarily reverse poor sense of smell. I am also applying for funding for further drug trials. As always, though, it’s a slow process. Q: What coping strategies do you propose for those who will never regain the sense of smell or taste? A: We advise people about issues of domestic safety, using a gas detector, for example; and personal hygiene, to be sure you wash a lot. And we talk to people about smell training, to heighten what little olfacprovide understanding of how to personalize the treatment of diabetes.” For more information on the study at both the University of Maryland Baltimore and the Baltimore VA Medical Center, contact Camille Paul at (410) 706-1724 or cpaul@medicine.umar yland.edu. Learn more about the study at https://grade.bsc.gwu.edu.

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

tion they may still possess. Q: How can people improve their sense of smell through training? A: It is about making the most of what you have. We provide suggestions for enhancing food — altering spiciness or texture, for example — to make it more enjoyable. If you can still slightly taste spices, make your food hotter using chillies. Or alter the texture: make it more creamy or crunchy. Q: What are the hardest parts of life without the sense of taste or smell? A: Anosmia sufferers really miss the enjoyment of food. Some find mealtimes to be the most dreadful moments of their lives.

15

They know they have to eat to live, but all the pleasure has gone. Many will avoid restaurants and will find social situations that involve food and drink very difficult to deal with. They feel disconnected from their environment in a way that non-anosmics do not appreciate. It’s like being invited to a concert when you can’t hear the music. Philpott’s work developing a device to measure sense of smell launched a career treating anosmia. © 2013. New Scientist Magazine. Reed Business Information Ltd. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Participate in MRI Studies of Memory The Neuroscience of Memory in Aging and Dementia Lab is seeking healthy adults for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research studies of memory and cognition. •Must be between the ages of 60-89 •2 sessions each lasting 1-2 hours •Compensation for time and travel expenses •Located at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus •Located on the JHU Homewood Campus.

For more information, contact Liz Murray at (410) 516-3813 or email jhumemorylab@gmail.com Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Yassa Protocol: NA_00046839


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SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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

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

However, bacteria in our digestive tract sistance, variations of these exercises can be used by people who have been seden- may convert these compounds to others that our bodies do absorb. tary and have little strength, For example, ellagitannins as well as by people who aland ellagic acid are convertready have developed good ed to urolithins, which can be muscle strength from regular absorbed and do seem to exercise. offer antioxidant, anti-inflamYou can find examples of matory and direct anti-cancer these bodyweight strength effects. Further research is training exercises and instrucunderway. tions from several trustworthy Meanwhile, strawberries websites, such as the American are an excellent source of viCouncil on Exercise’s workout tamin C. One cup provides guide in three phases (www.ac- NUTRITION enough to meet current recefitness.org/article/3159) and WISE By Karen Collins, ommendations for a whole the Senior Health section of the day — and we know that eatNIH website (http://nihse- MS, RD, CDM ing strawberries increases niorhealth.gov/exerciseforolderadults). You might also find it helpful to blood levels of vitamin C and total antioxiget personal instruction on how to do dants. Besides, strawberries are a good source these exercises and adapt them as you grow stronger by meeting for even a few of dietary fiber and allow us to eat a sessions with a qualified trainer at a YMCA hunger-satisfying portion of something or other fitness center in your community. sweet with few calories. They definitely Q: I’ve heard that strawberries have have a place as part of eating habits to proa lot of natural antioxidant com- mote good health. The American Institute for Cancter Repounds, but also that people can’t research offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800ally absorb them. What’s the story? A: Strawberries do contain multiple 843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday phytochemicals (natural plant com- through Friday. This free service allows you pounds), including flavonoids such as an- to ask questions about diet, nutrition and thocyanins (which provide the red color), cancer. A registered dietitian will return catechins and quercetin, as well as ellagi- your call, usually within three business days. tannins and ellagic acid. Courtesy of the American Institute for Research suggests that our blood absorbs from the digestive tract only a small Cancer Research. Questions for this column proportion of certain strawberry phyto- may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., chemicals, including anthocyanins and el- N.W. Washington, DC 20009. Collins cannot respond to questions personally. lagic acid.

To subscribe, see page 39.

STUDIES ON ANEMIA Are you 65 years or older? Have you been recently diagnosed with anemia? OR Have you had anemia in the past? en you may be interested in: “THE JOHns HOPkins registry of older adults with anemia” • Several new research studies are being designed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University specifically for older adults with anemia. • By volunteering to join our anemia registry, you will be kept up to date on anemia research studies that match your situation.

Call us at 410-550-2113 to join the Anemia Registry today! We can conduct the study in your home. No travel is required. If you choose to come to Bayview to participate, your parking will be paid.

We look forward to hearing from you! Principal Investigator: Dr. Jeremy Walston, MD. IRB application No: NA_00035307


BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

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Ways to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis Dear Pharmacist: MSM: This is a sulfur-based compound I take ibuprofen and hydrocodone that is actually a by-product of DMSO for the pain of osteoarthri(DMSO is applied topically to tis. Glucosamine helps, but joints, but it’s intended for vet even after six months, I’m purposes. The FDA doesn’t still stiff and riddled with like humans using it, even pain. What else can I do? though many of you do.) Any— D.Y. way, MSM, an oral suppleDear D.Y.: ment, is sold at health food You’re not alone, 27 million stores and does wonders for Americans live with osjoint pain. teoarthritis (OA), and the afBromelain: This pineapfliction worsens over time. Left ple extract gets mixed reDEAR untreated, it can completely views. One study found it to PHARMACIST disable you, so it’s good that be as effective as diclofenac, a By Suzy Cohen you are doing something. prescription anti-inflammatoI like glucosamine. I prefer ry. I personally like this and “glucosamine sulfate” over other forms, frequently recommend it. because it provides sulfur to the body... Devil’s claw: Slightly more exotic, devil’s sulfur, not to be confused with sulfa, a claw is so named because of its hooked fruit. drug that many people are allergic to. A 2011 study from Phytotherapy Research OA always involves pro-inflammatory cy- concluded that the herb could block the retokines; you’ve heard me mention those be- lease of pro-inflammatory cytokines. fore. Cytokines are pain-causing chemicals. In another study, devil’s claw performed Cytokines aren’t bad until your body as well as the prescription drug Vioxx (it’s pumps them out in excess, and that’s ex- now off the market; Celebrex, which is actly what happens with OA. It’s also what safer, does remain). The point is that devil’s you need to reduce to control pain and im- claw is strong; it interacts with other mediprove range of motion. cines, so ask your doctor if it’s right for you. Ibuprofen reduces the cytokines called Boswellia: A resin from a tree. A 2013 prostaglandins and IL-1B. You want that. study from the Journal of Head and Neck Glucosamine is a precursor for gly- Pain studied the biological active ingredicosaminoglycans, and that is a component ents in boswellia (pentacyclic triterpene of joint cartilage. acids) for their potent anti-inflammatory Also consider these: and analgesic properties. Boswellic acid is

Please patronize our advertisers. They keep the Beacon free!

another major active ingredient. This is (in my mind) Mother Nature’s ibuprofen. This may sound obvious but take pressure off your joints. Extra weight does no favor to your painful knees and hip joints. You may have to start gently with yoga, or tai chi, but keep those joints moving. And, finally, consider ramping up your immunity. Some forms of arthritis are due to infections, either fungal, viral or bacterial. Compounds in green tea reduce the cytokine called TNF alpha, often high in

those with arthritic conditions. One cup of green (or matcha) tea could beat up germs and improve immunity. The L-theanine it contains is relaxing, too. Drink it daily. This information is opinion only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Consult with your doctor before using any new drug or supplement. Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To contact her, visit www.dearpharmacist.com.

Have You Fallen? Seeking Men and Women to participate in a research study at the University of Maryland & Veterans Affairs of Baltimore to better understand balance and the prevention of falls in aging individuals.

you will receive: • Health evaluation • Balance, step, strength, and/or flexibility exercises • Compensation for your time If interested call: 410-605-7179 & Mention code: LIFT Baltimore VA/University of Maryland Gerontology Recruitment Line *You must be at least 65 years old and in good health *Participants will be seen at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and University of Maryland School of Medicine *You will attend approximately 41 visits for 1 to 4 hours of time per visit

CALL TODAy!


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

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014331RXX11


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

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Too attentive and non-attentive husbands Dear Solutions: sake of his marriage, he’d better recognize My husband is a very touchy-feely that you’re very touchy about his feely. guy. If anyone has a sad Dear Solutions: thing to tell him, he instincMy husband is still worktively puts his arm on that ing. I am recently retired. person’s shoulder, etc. When we both worked, we There’s this single woman didn’t have a lot of time to who always manages to get communicate much, but next to him to start telling now I look forward to him him her woes. We meet socoming home and sharing cially with her and others the day’s information over very often, and each time, dinner. his arm goes on her shoulInstead, as soon as he sits SOLUTIONS der while she talks just to down, he grabs the newspaBy Helen Oxenberg, him. per and reads it while he MSW, ACSW I know her confiding in eats. If I try to start a converhim is her way of flirting with sation, he gives a short anhim, and he’s flattered. But I’m annoyed swer and goes right back to the paper. and embarrassed. It’s true, as he says, that he leaves I’d like to say something to her with- very early before we get the paper, but out being completely nasty, but what? I’m writing to you for some suggestion — H before I...whatever. — Angry Dear H: Dear Angry: How about “Would you please take your Sit down with him at another quiet time, shoulder off of my husband’s arm!” No? and don’t accuse him of anything. Just tell Right. That might embarrass you even him sincerely how his behavior makes you more, and embarrass him too. feel abandoned, hurt and ignored. Never mind her. Tell him how it makes Say how you looked forward to having you feel when he spends the whole time this special time — dinner time — to be towith his arm around her. gether and share the meal and the day Of course, he is an independent adult with him since you retired. Assure him and can decide how he acts. But for the that if he wants to go to a comfortable

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chair and read after dinner, you will respect that and not disturb him. Please let me know how it works out. © Helen Oxenberg, 2013. Send questions to

be considered to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915. You may also email the author at helox72@comcast.net. To inquire about reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.


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SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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Money Law &

SAY NO TO PENSION “ADVANCES” Military and federal retirees are being targeted for pricey pension advances that are really illegal loans PAYING DOWN DEBT Put your low-yield savings accounts to better use by paying off high-interest credit bills DON’T IGNORE BANK ERRORS Check your bank statements regularly for mistakes and take prompt action to protect your savings

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

ital IQ. “You should not chase performance. You should use it as one of the tools to help you sort through the investment universe.”

Long-term bonds sink Among the biggest losers of the first half of 2013: mutual funds that own longterm government bonds, such as 30-year Treasurys. They lost an average of 11.9 percent through Aug. 8, according to Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch indexes. That follows returns for the category of 3.9 percent in 2012, 32.9 percent in 2011 and 11.7 percent in 2010. Demand for bonds has declined because of concerns that the Federal Reserve may ease up on its bond-buying economic stimulus program. Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the central bank may slow its purchases later this year and halt them altogether by mid-2014, if circumstances warrant. The drop in demand has forced prices

down for bonds. The price decline has been more than enough to wipe out the regular interest payments that bonds make. When a bond’s price falls, its yield rises, and a 30-year Treasury bond yielded 3.67 percent on Aug. 12. That’s up from a low of 2.83 percent on May 1. “You don’t need a big move in bonds to eliminate a whole year’s worth of income,” said Mark Spellman, manager for the Value Line Income and Growth fund, which has a four-star rating from Morningstar. Long-term bond funds are hurt even more by interest rate increases than short- or intermediate-term bond funds. That’s because 30year bonds are locked into the lower rates for longer periods, making them less attractive. Intermediate-term government bond mutual funds have lost 3.1 percent so far this year, and short-term government bond funds have lost 1.1 percent, fractions of the losses for long-term government bond funds.

Here’s a look at other winners and losers among mutual-fund categories in the first half of 2013:

Stock fund winners Healthcare stock funds. This group returned 20.9 percent, more than any other category. Hospital stocks have risen on expectations that the healthcare overhaul will mean more patients have insurance coverage, leading to bigger profits. Biotechnology stocks, meanwhile, have surged on excitement about drugs in development. Diversified U.S. stock funds. The U.S. economy looks to be in better shape than others in Europe and the developing world. Home prices are rising, the consumer confidence index hit its highest level in June since January 2008, and employers added an average of 189,000 jobs monthly through See FUND REVIEW, page 21

Protecting bonds when interest rates rise When investors look back at the spring of deal — just over a 1 percent, right? But it’s 2013, they may say it was the moment when important to realize that it’s a 60 percent the bond market finally shifted move in just nine weeks! and a new trend of higher interest rates emerged. It appears Bonds are losing value that the long-awaited reversal What does that kind of of the bond market has begun. move mean for your portfolio? In early May, the yield of the It means that many of your 10-year Treasury hovered at bond positions have lost value, just above 1.6 percent. While because as interest rates rise, that wasn’t the all-time low the price of bonds drops. The (which was 1.379 percent in magnitude of your hit is parJuly 2012), it was pretty close. RETIRE SMART tially tied to the duration of the We have all known that By Jill Schlesinger holding. Duration risk measbond yields would have to ures the sensitivity of a bond’s rise, eventually. We’ve known that at some price to a one percent change in interest point the fear of the financial crisis would rates. recede, the economic recovery would beThe higher a bond’s (or a bond fund’s) ducome self-sustaining, and the Fed would ration, the greater its sensitivity to interest stop purchasing bonds. rate changes. This means that fluctuations in Whenever that occurred, the 30-year bull price, whether positive or negative, will be market in bonds would come to an end, more pronounced. Short-term bonds generally have shorter pushing down prices and increasing yields. Many bond market moves look benign durations and are less sensitive to movein the rear-view mirror, but they can feel ments in interest rates than longer-term pretty dramatic in real time. The rise in 10- bonds. The reason is that bonds with longer year yields, from 1.62 percent at the begin- maturities are locked in at a lower rate for a ning of May to a two-year high of 2.74 per- longer period of time. cent in Aug. 1, might not seem like a big For those of you who own individual

bonds, the price fluctuations that occur before your bonds reach maturity may be unnerving, but if you hold them to maturity, you can expect to receive the face value of the bond. If you own a bond fund, it may be scary to see the net asset value (NAV) of the fund drop when rates increase. To soothe you a bit, remember that when NAV falls, the bonds within the fund should continue to make the stated interest payments. As the bonds within the fund mature or are sold, they can be replaced with higher-yielding bonds, which could create more income for you in the future. Additionally, if you are reinvesting interest and dividends back into the fund, you may benefit from purchasing shares at lower prices.

Best bond moves To help protect your portfolio against the eventual rise in interest rates, you may be tempted to sell all of your bonds. But of course that would be market timing, and you are not going to fall for that, are you? Here are some alternatives to a wholesale dismissal of the fixed income asset class: Lower your duration: This can be as

easy as moving from a longer-term bond into a shorter one. Of course, when you go shorter, you will give up yield. It may be worth it for you to make a little less current income in exchange for diminished volatility in your portfolio. Use corporate bonds: Corporate bonds are less sensitive to interest-rate risk than government bonds. This does not mean that corporate bonds will avoid losses in a rising interest rate environment, but the declines are usually less than those for Treasuries. Explore floating-rate notes: Floatingrate loan funds invest in non-investmentgrade bank loans whose coupons “float” based on the prevailing interest rate market, which allows them to reduce duration risk. Keep extra cash on hand: Cash, the ultimate fixed asset, can provide you with a unique opportunity in a rising interest rate market: the ability to purchase higher yielding securities on your own timetable. So even if this truly is the turnaround in the bond market that we’ve all been waiting for, there’s no reason to be afraid. Just pay closer attention to your bond holdings, and know how to protect yourself from rising rates! © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

Fund review From page 20 the year’s first five months. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index of big U.S. stocks hit a record high on May 21, before giving up some of its gains on worries that the Federal Reserve will trim its stimulus. As an example, the average U.S. large-cap value mutual fund returned 14.4 percent, versus a 2.1 percent return for funds that invest in similar stocks outside the United States. Japanese stock funds. Investors are hopeful that the latest attempt at stimulus by the Bank of Japan will jolt the world’s third-largest economy. The stimulus has caused the value of the yen to fall 11.3 percent against the dollar so far this year. That helps Japanese exporters by making their cars and electronics more affordable to customers buying in other currencies. Japanese stock mutual funds returned an average of 14.8 percent, although their gains have come down over the last month on concerns about whether the stimulus is aggressive enough.

Fund category losers Emerging-market funds. Funds that invest in stocks or bonds from China, Indonesia and other developing economies

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

21

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

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and Sundays. These public classes are suitable for all skill levels, and are taught by local professionals in the wellness industry. Boot camp will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays, followed by Zumba at 9:30 a.m. Yoga will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Sundays, followed by CrossFit at 9:30 a.m. Classes are held at West Shore Park in the Inner Harbor. For more information, visit www.waterfrontpartnership.org.

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Avoid offers of pension loans, advances By Elliot Raphaelson Shut out by conventional lenders, people with low incomes or bad credit have long been targeted by high-cost operators offering payday loans, car title loans and the like. In the past few years, a new and insidious player has come into this field offering pension “advances.” Also known as pension loans — although they are not usually advertised as loans — these advances are marketed to individuals who have rights to a lifetime

pension but who need immediate cash. The sellers of this product offer immediate cash, in return for which the pension holder must give up his or her rights to some or all of the pension, generally for a certain number of years. Such agreements usually result in extremely high interest payments, in some cases over 100 percent per year.

Military and federal retirees This product is being marketed to all retirees, but prime targets include ex-military

MOM STAYS SAFE & HAPPY with Assisted Living at Charlestown and Oak Crest Assisted Living at Charlestown and Oak Crest offers your loved one everything she needs to live a rewarding life. Your mom will benefit from an entire community filled with great neighbors, top-notch on-site health care and lots of fun things to do.

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personnel and federal employees. It is illegal for the holder of a federal pension to assign or sell it, but this has not stopped the sellers of this product from marketing it. It’s why they term it an “advance” and not a loan. One of the major problems for the general public is that no federal regulator has yet taken the steps to prevent the marketing of this product. Hopefully, steps will be taken in the future. However, until this happens, it is important for the public to understand this product — and avoid it like the plague. I contacted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to determine whether it had any immediate plans to prevent such loans. The bureau responded with a prior statement from Richard Cordray, its director: “We are concerned about military pension buyout schemes. Military retirees are offered lump-sum cash payments in return for surrendering their rights to their pension payouts. These schemes are usually very bad deals for the retirees. We want to collect information on all these kinds of financial practices.” Although Cordray’s statement singled out military pensions, the danger applies to all pensions. The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), a nonprofit advocacy group, has

played an active role going after the organizations offering this onerous product. NCLC has sued these companies, arguing that the transactions associated with these products were illegal for two reasons: (1) their exorbitant interest rates and (2) the illegality of assigning a military pension. NCLC has prevailed in court against pension lenders, but, unfortunately, winning a judgment does not necessarily mean that a plaintiff will be able to collect on it. The unscrupulous companies who lost in court have chosen bankruptcy as a way to avoid paying compensation.

Just say no What does this mean for you? If you own a pension, do not enter into any agreement with an organization offering this product. If you have a short-term cash flow problem, pursue other alternatives. If you must borrow money, borrow it from a financial organization that is regulated by either state or federal authorities. State and federal regulators offer consumers protection and limits on the interest rates they can be charged on loans. What if you have already entered into an agreement and have signed over your pension rights in exchange for immediate See PENSION LOANS, page 25


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

23

Use low-yield savings to pay down debt When you make a new purchase using a A large part of the mail I receive is related to poor returns from the safest invest- credit card that already carries a balance, you are taking a new loan out ments. Returns from Treasat the prevailing interest rate ury bills, money-market inof the card. If you are unable struments and short-term to pay the outstanding balsavings accounts are lower ance on a credit card, you than 1 percent. should use a different card for Investors want to know which you can pay the balance how to earn higher income in full. This way you will not without risking capital. You be paying interest on new purcan’t obtain high income withchases. out some risk. However, there are ways to get a better return THE SAVINGS on low-earning assets. Look at liabilities and GAME assets Many people have outBy Elliot Raphaelson standing liabilities with highI taught courses in personal financial planning at the coler interest rates than those now being earned on conservative invest- lege level for almost 20 years to students ments. One obvious example is a credit with diverse backgrounds. As the first ascard. More than 40 percent of consumers signment, I asked the students to prepare do not pay their balance in full at month’s a personal balance sheet listing all their assets and liabilities, and to indicate the anend on at least one credit card. If you are paying 18 percent on an annu- nual return on each asset and the interest al basis on a credit card, you should not rate for each liability. The students found it to be a worthwhile have a significant amount of savings in any investment earning less than 1 percent. If exercise. You also may find it useful. The exyou were to use that investment capital in- ercise will identify any outstanding liabilities stead to reduce the outstanding balance on that you should be paying off because the ina card, you would effectively “earn” 18 per- terest rates are greater than the income you cent rather than 1 percent. are earning on some of your assets.

No-interest debt isn’t always best For example, many individuals facing large healthcare bills select a plan that allows them to repay them interest-free over one to two years. Similar offers are made for large expenditures for furniture and electronic equipment. These offers are worthwhile if the bills are paid in full by the end of the interestfree period. Unfortunately, after that time, interest rates on an unpaid balance can be as high as 29 percent (computed from the start of the loan). My advice to anybody entering into such agreements is to make every effort to allocate your income so that you can pay

the balance in full by the deadline and avoid interest charges. Even when interest rates on your liabilities aren’t so staggering, it makes sense to shift investment funds to debt service. For example, assume you are paying 6 percent on your mortgage and that you have substantial investments earning less than 1 percent interest. If there is no penalty for doing so, why not pre-pay some of your mortgage? Effectively, you will be earning 6 percent instead of 1 percent. I am not recommending that you channel all available funds to debt service. You should maintain a reserve fund for emergencies. However, unless you’re one of the few Americans who is debt free, you probably have some high-interest liabilities you can pay down early. It may be your best investment. © 2013 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Sept. 7

Some examples of such liabilities in addition to credit cards are: mortgages, home equity loans, student loans and loans on whole life insurance policies. Review any transactions you have entered into that will become liabilities in the future.

BENEFIT TO END PROSTATE CANCER

Wheels for Prostate Cancer, to benefit ZERO-The End of Prostate Cancer, takes place on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Timonium Fairgrounds, 22 York Rd. Funds raised during this event are used to fund prostate cancer research and awareness. Admission to view vehicles and wheels is free; $15 registration to put wheels on display. The organization was founded by survivors of prostate cancer, who are committed to raising funds for prostate cancer research to help find a cure for this deadly disease. For more information about Wheels for Prostate Cancer, log onto www.wfpcr.org

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SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

Take prompt action to resolve bank errors By Anya Kamenetz Have you ever been the victim of a bank error? They can be annoying to fix, and they can get you in financial or even legal trouble if not spotted quickly. A reader writes: “One day last week, one of my granddaughters deposited four checks in an ATM. One of those checks was one I had written her. She noticed immediately that something was wrong. “The receipt for each check was correct, but the total deposited in her account was

several thousand dollars more than it should have been. She called the bank immediately. They said they would take care of it that night. They did not do that. “A couple of days later when I checked online to see if a different check had cleared the bank I was startled, mystified, absolutely dumbfounded to see minus balances and overdraft charges. (My granddaughter’s bank) had withdrawn an additional several thousand dollars from my account. “It’s been a royal headache. I went to a

credit union where I have long had a savings account and withdrew money to cover the damage to my checking account. The bank said they will eventually (why not now?!) restore the money withdrawn from my account. They will also cover overdraft fees my bank charged to cover checks presented during this time. “Might you perhaps be willing to address this subject of errors by banks and how one can protect oneself? Such errors don’t happen often, but when they do, it can be devastating.” I am happy to oblige. It’s hard to say exactly how common errors of this type are. It’s clear, however, that as paperless bank statements become more common, we review our balances less often, which may make it harder to spot errors when they occur.

How to protect yourself The real question is what to do about them, and how to protect yourself under the law from the consequences of these mistakes. Here are some principles to remember: Finders aren’t keepers. This should go without saying, but if a bank error is in your favor, you don’t get to keep the money and could be prosecuted for doing so. Speak up. Put it in writing. The Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) covers transactions involving ATMs, debit cards or point-ofsale, while the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) covers anything with credit cards or charge cards. In order to be protected See BANK ERRORS, page 25

BEACON BITS

Sept. 24

ESTATE PLANNING SEMINAR Pessin Katz Law attorney Helen M. Smith will host an estate plan-

ning and long-term care seminar at the firm’s Towson office, 901 Dulaney Valley Rd., Suite 4, on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 10 a.m. Smith will discuss trusts vs. wills, who needs a will, estate tax issues and other estate planning questions. This seminar is free, but registration is required. To register, contact Rhonda King at (410) 938-8800 or at rking@pklaw.com.


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

Bank errors From page 24 under both laws, you can’t just pick up the phone and call the bank; you must also put your complaint in writing. The letter must include your name and account number, the type of error, date and the amount of money involved, and the reason you think an error has occurred. Be sure to include any backup documentation. In the example above, if the granddaughter had been able to submit a copy of her grandmother’s original check, back and front, the complaint might have been resolved more quickly. The clock is ticking. This is why it pays to check your statements regularly: the

Pension loans From page 22 cash? According to NCLC, most of these agreements can be successfully challenged in court. You should definitely obtain legal advice. You may be able to get low-cost (or even free) legal advice from attorneys in your area. Contact your local bar association to determine whether there are elder care attorneys or legal aid attorneys who can assist you either free or at nominal cost. You may be able to get assistance from your

FCBA and ETFA generally cover you only for 60 days after an error (there may be exceptions, such as when a check is fraudulently altered after you write it). After that time period, resolution of the error is up to the bank. Once you do send in a letter, the bank has 10 days to respond. It could come up with a final decision at that point, or it could simply credit the money to your account within those 10 days and spend another 45 days to investigate. Have a backup account. As with the reader’s example, it may be a good idea to keep an account with a different bank in case of an error that causes your funds to be frozen or otherwise inaccessible, or to temporarily cover your costs before they can be reimbursed. Know when to hire a lawyer. A con-

sumer rights lawyer can help with a banking or billing dispute that goes beyond the simple formalities outlined above. Discovering errors early and acting promptly increase the chances a dispute

will be resolved to your satisfaction. Anya Kamenetz welcomes your questions at diyubook@gmail.com. © 2013 Anya Kamenetz. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

BALT. CITY BREAST CANCER SCREENS

UniversityCare at Edmondson Village and UniversityCare at Waxter Center, part of the Baltimore City’s early-detection effort for uninsured, low-income city residents, offers free clinical breast exams and mammograms, Mondays to Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. To make an appointment, city residents should call (410) 328-4673.

state attorney general. In addition, you should provide information to or file complaints with the CFPB. In short, do not enter into any agreement with any organization offering you upfront cash in exchange for your pension rights. If you have already made the mistake of entering into such an agreement, seek legal counsel to determine how to proceed. There is a high probability the contract is not valid. Don’t assume you have no options. © 2013 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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26

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SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

Careers Volunteers &

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

Mission helps homeless help themselves During one of his clinic days about a year ago, Kameen noticed something troubling about Curtis’ behavior. “He seemed blind,” Kameen recalled, basing his observation on the fact that Curtis was navigating his way around the room by placing his hands on the walls of the room as he walked. But a comprehensive eye examination revealed that Curtis, in fact, simply suffered from severe nearsightedness, a condition that he had been forced to manage without any type of vision correction.

PHOTO COURTESY OF HELPING UP MISSION

By Carol Sorgen Baltimore’s Helping Up Mission provides both help and hope to the city’s poor and homeless through programs designed to meet their individual physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. The average homeless man served by the mission has survived two decades of substance abuse and years on the streets, and comes to the Mission addicted, destitute and dysfunctional — with no realistic capacity to recover on his own. Anthony Curtis was one of those men. At 47, Curtis admitted that he had spent years engaged in actions and behaviors that were “tearing me down.” That has changed now, thanks to the efforts of the mission’s staff members, volunteers, Curtis himself, and one man in particular — Dr. Anthony J. Kameen, founder and medical director of Kameen Eye Associates. For the past 14 years, Kameen has donated his medical services and expertise to the men of the Helping Up Mission, performing free eye examinations and providing complimentary vision services for hundreds of homeless individuals.

Seeing the world anew Kameen provided Curtis with free eyeglasses, but they were thick, heavy and difficult to wear. Kameen offered to perform LASIK (vision correction) surgery on Curtis, but the mission —whose philosophy teaches men the importance of helping themselves — would not agree to the surgery, at least not right away. “My training and professional credo as a physician emphasizes healing and helping people,” said Kameen. “But in this instance, it was important to take into consideration the bigger picture of requiring

Anthony Curtis (left), who was legally blind, prepares for the LASIK surgery that restored his extremely poor vision to 20/20. The surgery was performed by Dr. Anthony J. Kameen, a volunteer with the Helping Up Mission, which provides assistance to homeless men in Baltimore.

Anthony to first graduate from the Spiritual Recovery Program, which is designed to provide a lifetime of benefits, much like successful LASIK surgery. Yet I was amazed how he was able to survive all this time without the ability to see.” On Feb. 8, Curtis passed his first crucial step toward independence — and the eventual surgery — by successfully graduating from a year-long, 12-step therapeutic program, created specifically to turn around the lives of homeless men with se-

vere drug and alcohol-related addiction issues. In that year, Curtis also completed his General Education Development (GED) certification and quit smoking at the same time. By fulfilling his Helping Up Mission obligation, Curtis was then in line to receive the life-changing benefit of better vision. “Anthony proved to me and everyone at See HOMELESS MEN, page 28


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Volunteers & Careers

BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

Capable study From page 1 The Capable project — it stands for Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders — is being closely watched by Medicaid officials in other states as a way to coordinate care and improve the functional problems that lead to pricey, and sometimes preventable, nursing home admissions. Today, it’s difficult for Medicaid patients to get these services.

Assessing and addressing needs With more than $8 million in research money from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the project goes beyond home repair for health. It starts with a full-scale assessment of each participant’s needs. In one home, a Hopkins nurse discovered that an 82-year-old woman was taking all of her 26 daily medications at once instead of staggered throughout the day, leaving her disoriented and sedentary until she became too weak to get out of bed without help. First the nurse fixed the medication schedule. Then the occupational therapist taught the woman leg-strengthening exercises, and installed $30 steel risers to make it easier for her to get in and out of bed. Add new banisters, and soon she was moving around on her own. Whether it is the cost or emotional ties, many people grow old in the same home where they spent their younger, more agile years. An AARP survey in 2010 found nearly 90 percent of seniors wanted to remain in their current home for as long as possible. Yet government figures show nearly 1 in 5 seniors living in the community have trouble with at least one activity of daily living, such as walking or bathing. Those physical limitations become more difficult with doorways too narrow for walkers, toilets that are lower than chairs, and kitchen counters too tall to sit while cooking. Plus, nearly one-third of older adults experience a fall every year, and most who are injured fall inside the home, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Simple technologies can help “You don’t think about that stuff,” said Hattie Watties, who can’t imagine leaving her Baltimore home of 36 years, which is near children and grandchildren. “You just do what you have to.” For Watties, 74, that meant climbing onto kitchen counters to reach too-high cabinets. Steep, dark stairs to the basement laundry only had a partial railing, so she threw clothes down and inched her way after them. No more: Carpenter Tyrone White lowered Watties’ cabinets to a comfortable reach, installed railings, and showed how an energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulb provided more light than a regu-

lar bulb in the dim stairway. In homes where it’s even darker, White sticks motion-sensing lights by each step to show where to aim your foot. They’re less than $15 for a two-pack and run on batteries, so no rewiring is needed. The work that perhaps has the biggest impact seen so far is a double railing for stairs that lets people rest their weight on both sides. The handymen, employed by the urban service corps Civic Works, also insist on installing carbon monoxide monitors, which have detected leaking gas stoves in some homes. Do these solutions really save money? The four-month intervention costs about $4,000 per participant, including the home modifications and specialists’ salaries. The average cost for nursing home care in the U.S. is $6,700 a month, so even a modest delay could add up fast. Szanton will track participants long term and, based on results from an earlier

pilot test of 40 high-risk seniors, hopes to delay nursing home entry by up to a year in this frail population. For families, perhaps the bigger question is how long the solutions will last. Evelyn-Gustave teaches families to brainstorm

27

options as new challenges crop up. “We can’t be there forever. They need the skill to carry on,” she said. For more information, see http://nursing.jhu.edu/faculty_research/research/p rojects/capable. — AP

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

ALL ABOARD THE COUNTY’S SHIP

Join the Medicare Volunteer Corps. Volunteers are needed to make Medicare understandable for the community by filling a variety of roles within the Baltimore County Senior Health Assistance Program (SHIP). Currently volunteers are needed to conduct online research for Medicare Prescription Part D and assist individuals in reviewing and locating the right prescription plan at the best price. For more information, email medicareinformation@baltimorecountymd.gov or contact the SHIP office at (410) 887-2059.

Ongoing

VOLUNTEER AT RONALD McDONALD HOUSE

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families, and helps to fund programs in the local area that directly improve the wellbeing of children. Numerous volunteer opportunities exist. For more information, contact Amber Rose at arose@rmhcbaltimore.org.


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Volunteers & Careers | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

Homeless men From page 26 Helping Up Mission that he was serious and motivated about improving his life,” Kameen said. “It was critical to allow the Mission to guide us through this process,

so feelings of jealousy or anger were not precipitated from other men at the Mission. It was the correct course of action.” On Feb. 21, Kameen performed successful LASIK surgery on Curtis at no charge, and indications show that he is on the path to achieving uncorrected 20/20

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

VOLUNTEER AT SEVEN OAKS

Volunteer opportunities abound at Seven Oaks Senior Center, located at 9210 Seven Courts Dr. Volunteer positions include: reception, travel, office support, nutrition program, class instructors, cooks, activity chairpersons, fitness monitors and board members. Local students can earn community service hours at Seven Oaks Senior Center. A partnership with Seven Oaks Elementary School provides opportunities to volunteer with young students through the Reading Buddies program. For more information, call (410) 887-5192 or email sevenoakssc@baltimorecountymd.gov.

Ongoing

NORTHWEST HOSPITAL STEP AEROBICS

Step it up with these step aerobics classes at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown, on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m. or 7:15 p.m. Fee is $50 for 20 classes. Pre-registration required. Call (410) 521-5968 for registration form.

SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

vision. Curtis has begun arranging for job interviews with the hope of achieving meaningful and long-term employment. “Since suffering an accident when I was 7 years old, I have been legally blind for more than 40 years,” Curtis said. “Together with earning my GED and now being able to see, I feel that there is nothing that I cannot accomplish. “I have a new mission in life – to get a great job and, someday, open up my own business. I woke up the other day and could not believe how well I was seeing. It has still not sunk in. “The turning point in my life was watching graduation last year,” Curtis continued. “It was a moving experience that motivated me. I have tried to graduate from Helping Up Mission before, but failed. “This time, I took a hard look at myself…and realized that it was not all about drugs and alcohol. It was little things. My life is now turned around. I am on cloud 9.

I cannot let myself or the people around me — like Kameen — down, who have worked so hard to help me accomplish my first set of goals.” “After two years of extremely hard work, the future seems bright for Anthony,” Kameen said. “He was the model student for Helping Up Mission and the template for what is possible.”

Many ways to volunteer Not everyone can provide free medical services as Kameen does, but for those who want to help the homeless and addicted men of Helping Up Mission — whether individuals, families, church groups, schools or corporate groups — there are many opportunities available. These include serving meals, tutoring, mentoring and discipleship, professional services (medical, legal, financial, counseling, etc.), and working at holiday banquets and other special events. Other ways to help the Mission and its guests include taking or hosting a tour for friends, family and coworkers, building awareness of the Mission in your sphere of influence — work, church or anywhere else — and fundraising through charity runs, dinner events, office collections, etc. The Helping Up Mission is located at 1029 E. Baltimore St. To get involved, call (410) 675-HELP (4357) or email outreach@helpingup.org.

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

HELP ORGANIZE VOLUNTEERS

Baltimore County Department of Aging is looking for an organized, energetic, computer savvy individual with good written and oral communication skills to serve as a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator (VMC). The VMC will develop standardized policies and procedures for volunteer recruitment and training, and lead training sessions on customer service and facility supervision for the volunteers who work in the 20 senior centers in Baltimore County. To apply, fill out the Volunteer Maryland application at www.volunteermaryland.org and send it to Jill Hall at jphall@baltimorecountymd.gov, or call (410) 887-3424.

Sept. 18+

HEALTH AND WELLNESS MEETUPS

The Baltimore Health & Wellness (H&W) Meetup is open to anyone who has an interest in taking care of their health, learning “how to,” or helping others achieve their true potential. Its mission is to share information about health and wellness in a comfortable, caring and light-hearted environment. The next meetup will be held Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. To join the group, visit www.meetup.com/Integrative-Nutrition-Meetup-Baltimore-MD.


BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

Say you saw it in the Beacon

Travel

29

Leisure &

Picture-perfect Mackinac Island, Mich., doesn’t allow motor vehicles. See story on page 31.

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

PHOTO © JAMES BOSSERT | DREAMSTIME.COM

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

PHOTO BY VICTOR BLOCK

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

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

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

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

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

Visiting gardens and plantations Brookgreen Gardens, a designated National Historic Landmark, also has a close connection with Gullah history. It encompasses four former rice-growing estates inSee MYRTLE BEACH, page 30


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Myrtle Beach From page 29 cluding Brookgreen Plantation, which was built by slaves in the 18th century. Today, the expansive lawns serve as a showcase of gardens, nature and art, including one of the largest and most outstanding collections of American figurative sculpture in the world. The Lowcountry Trail, one of several that meander about the sprawling complex, leads past a restored rice field and the remains of several plantation buildings. Occasional programs are held to introduce visitors to various aspects of the Gullah-Geechee history and culture. While not as grand as the setting at Brookgreen Gardens, the rice plantation named Hopsewee (pronounced HOP-suhwee) has other claims to fame. Built between 1735 and 1740, the graceful home is

among the oldest preservations in the country open to the public. Preservation is the correct word because the house has not been added to or restored, only maintained. The original owner, Thomas Lynch, Sr., was an early leader in the American Revolution, and his son was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In the shadow of the house stand two original cabins that served as home to slaves who worked in the rice fields. Another chapter in the history of slavery is recounted at Freewoods Farm, which was the center of a community established by freed slaves at the end of the Civil War. The 40-acre spread is the only living history museum in the country that recreates life on farms owned by African-Americans during their first decades of freedom. Observing farm workers busy at their chores, it’s easy to imagine yourself trans-

SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

ported back in time. The land is tilled using mules pulling plows, crops are harvested by hand, and syrup and soap are made the time-consuming way they were over a century ago. The sight of subsistence farmers toiling in fields provides a stark contrast to the stately plantation homes surrounded by lovely lawns and Spanish moss-draped oak trees. So, now you have an idea of what awaits visitors to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand: Occasional touches of honky-tonk tourist attractions co-existing with a casual, laid-back island lifestyle to which traditionalists cling with a kind of stubborn pride. Throw in a dose of fascinating, littleknown history and, oh yes, those stretches of broad sandy beaches and some 100 golf courses, and you’ve got something for everyone.

If you go

We Live Here. We Race Here. We Save Lives Here.

Myrtle Beacon is 480 miles south of downtown Baltimore. Spirit Airlines offers flights for $133 roundtrip from BWI Airport in mid-September. While the airline has very low prices, watch out for fees. Passengers even have to pay for carry-on bags. U.S. Airlines has non-stop flights starting at $404 from BWI. Visitors to the Grand Strand face a welcome, if challenging, choice of both places to stay and eat. Accommodations range from more than 425 hotels and elegant golf resorts to mom-and-pop motels and rustic cottages. I found the all-suite Island Vista, perched at the ocean’s edge in a quiet residential neighborhood, to combine a number of attractions. It fronts one of the more desirable stretches of beach in the area and also offers both indoor and outdoor

swimming pools and Jacuzzis, a lazy river and even a waterfall. Fully equipped kitchens provide a budget-stretching alternative to restaurant meals. Rates fall to $124 after Aug. 24. For more information, log onto islandvista.com or call (855) 732-6250. At many of the 1,000-plus full-service restaurants in the area, seafood is the main attraction, augmented by Carolina coastal cuisine and southern touches like barbeque. Many hungry locals and visitors alike get their seafood fix at Mr. Fish, which “has been wheeling and dealing seafood on the Grand Strand for over 30 years.” And with good reason! Prices are reasonable, and many entrees are large enough to share. A huge bowl of crab soup, almost a meal itself, costs $7, and local clams go for $10 a dozen. Fish platters with two side dishes are a steal at $9. Diners with room for dessert have a choice of coconut grit and pecan grit pie for $6. For more information, log onto mrfish.com or call (843) 839-3474. At Murrell’s Inlet, I headed for the restaurant from which the most noise and laugher were emanating and joined the fun and food at Drunken Jack’s. The view of wetlands, fishing boats and resident bird life, the jovial waitstaff and good food were worth the menu prices. Best sellers are platters that include shrimp, flounder, chicken or another entree, plus salad bar and one side, which begin at $17.95. For more information, log onto drunkenjacks.com or call (843) 651-2044. For more information about Myrtle Beach, log onto www.visitmyrtlebeach.com or call 1-800-356-3016.

BEACON BITS

Sept. 11

FREE LEGAL DECISIONS SEMINAR

On Wednesday, Sept. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:10 p.m., attend a free seminar and workshop, “Seniors & Important Legal Decisions,” presented by the Baltimore City Health Department and Office of Aging. Topics will include: “Should I get a reverse mortgage?”, “Wills and financial powers of attorney,” “Consumer protection and credit collection” and “Advance medical directives.” The seminar will take place at the Waxter Senior Center, 1000 Cathedral St., in Baltimore. Lunch will be provided. To RSVP, call (410) 396-4932.

Sept. 8

GRANDPARENTS DAY TEA

Treat your grandparents (or grandchildren) to an afternoon tea and tour at Mount Clare Museum House. Tour the Mount Clare mansion at 2 p.m., and then sit down for afternoon tea at 3 p.m. at Mount Clare Stable. Tickets are $15 per person. Pre-paid reservations are required by calling (410) 837-3262, ext. 105. Mount Clare Museum House is located at 15 Washington Blvd., in Carroll Park.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 Hunt Valley, Maryland Register Today! www.komenmd.org/2013

Aug. 30+

RACING RETURNS TO CHARM CITY

The third running of the 2013 Grand Prix of Baltimore will be another spectacular three-day “Celebration of Acceleration” in downtown Baltimore. From Aug. 30 through Sept. 1 (Labor Day weekend) the streets of Baltimore will come alive with the sights and sounds of high-speed automotive racing. With a modified racing circuit and an even better fan experience, this year’s Grand Prix will continue to establish Baltimore as the MidAtlantic’s premier motorsport destination. Purchase your tickets now at www.grandprixofbaltimore.com.


BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Leisure & Travel

31

Victorian charm (without cars) in Michigan By Anick Jesdanun Producers of the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time didn’t need to build elaborate sets to depict the tale of a playwright who travels back to 1912 to find romance. They simply filmed on Mackinac (pronounced: Mackinaw) Island, a Great Lakes enclave that retains its Victorian-era charm thanks to its ban on motor vehicles. Motor vehicles have been banned on the island since the start of the 20th century, after an automobile frightened some of the horses. These days, people still travel by horse-drawn carriage, as well as by bike and on foot. Mackinac Island, located off the Straits of Mackinac separating Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, about 300 miles north of Detroit, was an important outpost in the region’s fur trade, but that gave way to fishing and eventually tourism. Among the main attractions: the Grand Hotel, a 385-room luxury hotel that played

a central role in Somewhere in Time. In fact, fans of the movie, many in period costumes, descend on the island and the hotel every fall for a weekend of reenactments and a screening. You get reminders of a bygone era before even leaving the mainland by ferry. Crews cart overnight luggage onto the ferry, the way full-service porters used to at train stations and hotels. The Grand Hotel stands out as your ferry approaches the island. Closer to the dock, you pass a pair of quaint lighthouses, including one featured in the movie. Once you’re on the island, you have plenty of options. Head to the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center for an orientation. About 80 percent of the island is controlled by the state park, but staff there can also point you to other things to do, too.

Stroll through history Native Americans were the first settlers

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

MEDITATION AT ST. JOSEPH HOSPITAL

Meditation can be used as a tool for improved health and vitality, whatever your physical condition. Take part in this free meditation class the first Thursday of every month at St. Joseph Hospital, 2nd floor, St. Clare Building, in Towson. Call (410) 337-1479 for more information.

on the island. Europeans missionaries came to the area in the 1670s, followed by fur traders. The British moved operations from the mainland to the island in 1780 as protection from Americans in revolt. So important was the outpost that the British didn’t cede the island until 1796, well after Americans won the Revolutionary War. The British got Mackinac Island back briefly after a surprise attack at the start of the War of 1812. Through those years, the island’s mili-

tary center was Fort Mackinac, built on top of a hill a short walk from the main village. For $11, visitors can stroll through Fort Mackinac. You can witness demonstrations of old-style guns and a cannon — be sure to heed the demonstrators’ advice to cover your ears. You can also see some of the buildings once used for distributing supplies, housing soldiers and more. See MACKINAC ISLAND, page 33


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SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON


Say you saw it in the Beacon | Leisure & Travel

BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

During the summer months, the admission also gets you into historic buildings in the main village, including a blacksmith shop and the former site of American Fur Co.

Getting around sans car Despite the lack of motor vehicles, Mackinac Island has a state highway running some eight miles around the island. You can walk or run it — consider the Mackinac Island Eight-Mile Road Race in September. You can also rent bikes. If eight miles is too much, there are shorter hikes you can take, including ones to natural stone formations such as Arch Rock and Sugar Loaf. There are more than 60 miles of trails to choose from throughout the 1,800-acre state park. In fact, Mackinac was the second national park created after Yellowstone. But with the closure of Fort Mackinac, the park didn’t have caretakers in the form of U.S. soldiers. The state took it over in 1895. The Grand Hotel is such a draw among tourists that non-guests must pay a $10 admission fee. That allows you to shop, dine or browse an art gallery inside and lets you walk through the flower gardens in front of the hotel. Check out the Cupola Bar on the top floor for a wonderful view of the Straits of Mackinac. There’s a dress code in the evening, so plan accordingly. It’s free to walk along the streets downtown, where you’ll find shops, churches, museums and other buildings. You’ll also see lots of horses and carriages in lieu of cars. If you want to ride one, several companies offer tours and “taxi” service. Tours cost $24.50 and last nearly two hours. You

Planning your visit For more information on Mackinac Island, see http://mackinacisland.org. State park information is available at www.mackinacparks.com. Brush up on Somewhere in Time at www.somewhereintime.tv. Interstate 75 will get you to the Straits of Mackinac in about 4 1/2 hours after leaving Detroit. Ferries leave several times a day from Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula and St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula. Tickets cost about $25, though you can save money by buying online or finding a coupon at your hotel. You can also fly there. Delta offers service to Pellston, Mich., from Detroit, while Lakeshore Express flies from both Detroit and Chicago. The cheapest Delta roundtrip flight is $446 in early September from BWI. From Pellston, you can take a cab or shuttle to the ferry, or take a charter flight to a smaller airport on the island. As for accommodations, you can splurge for a room at the Grand Hotel. Rates start at $264 per person, per night, including full breakfast and five-course dinner. See www.grandhotel.com. You can also find several cheaper options on the island. The mainland has far more economical lodging, not far from the ferry terminals. Whether you’re at Mackinac Island for just the day or with an overnight stay, be sure to stop by one of the many shops selling fudge — the island’s specialty cuisine. Just leave your diet on the mainland. —AP

Picturesque Mackinac Island, located between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, allows no motorized vehicles, but horse-drawn carriages are readily available, as are bikes and horses for rent.

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can get off and get on as many times as you like, so you can use it as a bus service to get around. Expect to pay $100 or more an hour for private horse-drawn taxi service. You can also rent horses to ride yourself.

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Mackinac Island

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SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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Style Arts &

Flowers bloom both outside and inside the Rawlings Conservatory. See story on page 35.

Nunsense a none-too-sophisticated show A Maryland-centric rendering The plot of Nunsense is all stuff and nonsense, some of it rather macabre. The premise of the play involves the death of 51 nuns of the Little Sisters of Dundalk after the convent cook, the never-seen Sister Julia (“Child of God,” cast crosses selves), accidentally poisons most of the order with tainted fish soup. Thanks to monies the Sisters had raised through a line of greeting cards (wink, wink), they had sufficient funds to bury all the Sisters…except four, since the Mother Superior decided to splurge on a Blue-Ray player. (This item was updated for modern audiences. In the original version, it was a VCR.) Now they’ve got four dead Sisters in Sr. Julia’s freezer, and the Maryland health inspector is breathing down their necks; where will they find the funds to send their compatriots to their final reward? Why, by puttin’ on a show! The stage is set…not for Nunsense, but for the Mt. St. Helen’s School student production of Grease (or Lubricant as Sister Regina says). Putting the Little Sisters in a high

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By Dan Collins If you like puns, particularly those that come at the expense of the Catholic Church and the Sisters religious, Nunsense, now playing at Toby’s of Baltimore, is the musical for you. Nunsense has its roots in a 1980s line of greeting cards that featured nuns making sharp, sarcastic comments. The cards became so popular that creator Dan Goggin decided to carr y the idea into a cabaret, and later, a full-blown offBroadway musical that ran for nearly 3,700 performances. You certainly don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate the humor of Nunsense, but if you are, you’re sure to find something that will especially resonate. As the Reverend Mother Sister Mary Regina, for example, Kristen Jepperson gets her Sisters’ attention by snapping a metal clicker. “Brings back memories, doesn’t it?” she asks. Sure does, as many audience members would know. (At Catholic schools, sisters would use such clickers as a warning signal: one click might mean “put your books away”; two clicks, “a test is about to begin,” etc.)

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

school allows for a comic moment when high-top-tennis-shoe-wearing Sister Robert Anne (Marcia Franklin) presents Mother Superior with a “bag she found in a student’s locker.” Soon the good Sister discovers the high of “Rush” (“Hmm, must be for someone in a hurry!”) and is “huffing” away. In her “altered” (or should that be, “altared,” state), she begins spouting every “nun-oriented” pun imaginable, including a nod to ‘80s movies like Flashdance (Flashnun anyone?). It’s an example everyone in the cast follows, with bad jokes like, “How do you

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

See NUNSENSE, page 36

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Arts & Style

BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

35

Garden oasis celebrates 125th anniversary By Carol Sorgen In years past, Baltimore was home to five conservatories where the public could enjoy the greenery not always found amidst an urban environment. Today there remains only one — the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens. Established in 1888 as the Druid Hill Conservatory, the conservatory — the second-oldest steel framed-and-glass building still in use in the United States — has grown from the original Palm House and Orchid Room, and now includes three greenhouses, two display pavilions and outdoor gardens. The Conservatory was open to the public continuously from 1888 to 2002, when it

closed for a major renovation. When it reopened two years later, joining the Palm House and Orchid Room were a Mediterranean House, Tropical House and Desert House. The name was also changed to honor Howard Peters Rawlings, the former Appropriations Committee chair in the Maryland House, who spearheaded a bill that paid for $4.8 million in major renovations. Rawlings was also the father of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

ready been repaired, and the exterior of the Palm House is currently being painted. But still needed are new lighting, doors, flooring, fencing, regraded gardens, and perhaps most important, a larger staff, which has been decimated by ongoing budget cuts. (The Conservatory is owned by Baltimore City and operates under the Department of Recreation and Parks.) The magic number in Blom’s mind to accomplish these goals is — perhaps not coincidentally — $125,000. “And we’re not far off,” she said, thanks to several substantial donations and a series of special fundraising events that are being held throughout the year, the largest of which is the Palm House Gala on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 7 to 11 p.m.

More repairs needed Now 125 years old, the conservatory is badly in need of additional repairs and improvements, said Kate Blom, conservatory supervisor. The landmark cupola has alPHOTO COURTESY OF THE RAWLINGS CONSERVATORY

The Howard Peter Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens houses plants of all types from around the world. It opened in 1888 as the Druid Hill Conservatory and, though it was renovated and expanded a decade ago, is once again in need of repairs as it celebrates its 125th year.

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Along with the needed repairs, Blom is also on a mission to increase the public’s awareness of the conservatory. “The question I hear most often,” she said, “is, ‘how long have you been here?’” “Once they know about us,” Blom added, “they come back again and again.”

A global garden That’s not surprising as there’s a lot to see at the conservatory, which features distinct environments that allow the display of plants from all over the world. The buildings create an appropriate environment for plants from tropical, desert and Mediterranean environments. See CONSERVATORY, page 37


36

Arts & Style | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com

Nunsense From page 34

High-energy performances Kudos in particular to Franklin, who demonstrates skills a la a balloon animals artist, only using her wimple. When she finally gets her moment to shine (â&#x20AC;&#x153;I Just Want to Be a Starâ&#x20AC;?), she proves to have quite a nice voice. For pure power, though, you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t beat Elizabeth Rayca as Sister Mary Amnesia (who lost her memory due to a crucifix dropped on her head) whom, I expect, if she gave full volume at her highest range would have shattered every glass in the house. Performing with a nun puppet called Sister Mary Annette (marionette, get it?), Sister Amnesia finally regains her memory with, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I Couldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve Gone to Nashville,â&#x20AC;? recalling her aspirations to be, of all things, a country Western star. Sister Amnesia was not alone; seems that most of her fellow nuns had yearned to be something else before they took their vows: Mother Superior puts on the show-stopping number, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Turn Up the Spotlight,â&#x20AC;? complete with giant red feather fans, recalling her circus days with her high-wire-act parents; Sister Mary Leo (Maria Rizzo) had visions of being a ballerina (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Soupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s On, The Dying Nun Balletâ&#x20AC;?), and Sister Hubert (Melissa Fortson) wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mind a new name from the Bish-

SEPTEMBER 2013 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; BALTIMORE BEACON

op and the title of Mother Superior, when she isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t making bad puns. That soup that killed her fellow Sisters? â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was kinda like the Last Supper! Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a little convent humor.â&#x20AC;? Nunsense at Tobyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is a two-act production that runs, with intermission, about two hours, and features 19 songs and a variety of dance moves, including the expected nuns-kicking-like-Rockettes chorus line. Director Mark Minnick does an excellent job with choreography as these nuns spin, jump, slide and sail across the stage, all while wearing sensible black leather shoes (except for the be-sneakered Sister Robert Anne, but sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s from the tough streets of Brooklyn). Lighting and sound were adequate, though there were a few times when the castâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s volume seemed to be too much for their headset microphones to bear. The result was that less-than-delightful electronic squeal that makes it feel like a nun just boxed your ears for chewing gum. Fortunately, this occurred only a couple times in the first act and was quickly rectified. Nunsense runs through Aug. 25 at Tobyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of Baltimore, 5625 Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Donnell Street. Tickets range from $51.50 to $53.50, including dinner. For reser vations and more information, visit www.tobysdinner theatre.com or call (410) 649-1660.

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

FREE LUNCHTIME YOGA Enjoy free yoga in Preston Gardens, located at the corner of

Saratoga and St. Paul Streets on Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. through Sept. 26. An instructor from Merritt Athletic Club will lead the yoga classes. Class will be held in the grass.

Sept. 14

TRIBUTE TO THE STARS RETURNS Premierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tribute to the Starsâ&#x20AC;? returns to the Parkville American Legion Post 183, 2301 Putty Hill Ave., on Saturday, Sept. 14. The

show will pay tribute to Hank Williams, Sr., Frank Sinatra, Buddy Holly, Neil Diamond and Elvis circa 1956. Doors open at 5 p.m., show time is from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are on sale now in advance for $20; $25 at the door. Cash bar and dinner are available at an additional cost. Ticket information is available at the Legion bar or at (410) 299-2187.

Sept. 8

MANLY ARTS DAY AT HAMPTON MANSION Come to Hampton National Historic Site in Towson on Sunday, Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the 10th annual Manly Arts

Day, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Privateers and Patriots, The Ridgleys at Sea and at War.â&#x20AC;? Visitors will participate in authentic drills and exercises, and learn about the weapons and tactics required for capturing or defending a sailing ship at sea. The schooner Lion, a 25 ft. long Âź scale version of a Baltimore privateer from the War of 1812, will also be on display and will be manned by Shipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Company, one of the premier nautical living history groups in the country. Admission is free. The mansion is located at 535 Hampton Ln., Towson. For more information, call (410) 823-1309.

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Conservatory From page 35 Tropical plants require a climate around 72 degrees, with 80 percent humidity and frequent rain. Desert plants require 90plus degrees, 20-30 percent humidity, and little rainfall. Blom explained that these climates differ greatly from that of Maryland, with its cold winters, hot summers and 42 inches of annual rainfall. “The conservatory provides a tour of the world’s flora — from China to Africa, from the South American rainforests to the world’s deserts — where visitors of any age and any level of horticultural interest and expertise may study the plants in their natural environments,” said Blom. “This is the only place in Baltimore where we can enjoy this incredible collection of plants.” Visitors to the conservatory are as di-

verse as the plants themselves, said Blom, and range from school-age children who may be getting their first look at how food like bananas and coffee grow, to artists, photographers, retirees and others craving a respite from the “urban jungle.” “We want to show visitors the value of plants to our lives, as well as the importance of caring for our environment,” said Blom, adding that she hopes the momentum of the 125th anniversary year will launch the conservatory into the next 125 years. Tickets for the gala are $125 per person and can be ordered online at www.rawlingsconservatory.org. Additional anniversary events include a lecture and book-signing by author Amy Stewart, who will discuss her newest bestseller, The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks, fol-

BEACON BITS

Ongoing

ALL IN THE TIMING Fells Point Corner Theater presents All in the Timing, directed by Anne Shoemaker, through Sunday, Sept. 1, at Fells Point Corner

Theater, 251 South Ann St. This critically acclaimed, award-winning play consists of six one-act comedies, combining wit, intellect, satire and just plain fun. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. There will be two Thursday performances on Aug. 22 and Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. Admission is $15. For tickets, go to www.fpct.org.

Ongoing

BALTIMORE PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL The Baltimore Playwrights Festival is currently producing its 32nd season. Over the last three decades the festival has presented

more than 282 productions by 173 playwrights at 27 different theaters. Upcoming performances include When the Letter Writers Have All Died, through Sunday, Aug. 25 at Le Clerc Hall, College of Notre Dame, 4701 N. Charles St., and Countdown to the Happy Day, performed at Sojourner Douglass College Theater, 2 N. Central Ave., (theater entrance is from the Aisquith St. parking lot) through Sept. 1. Further information can be found at www.baltplayfest.org.

Sept. 20

PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHTS LOCAL CHURCHES Historian and photographer Denny Lynch will give a slide presentation and lecture of Baltimore City and Southwest Baltimore

County churches on Friday, Sept. 20, at 12:45 p.m., at the Arbutus Senior Center, 855 A Sulphur Spring Road. Admission is free, but RSVP by Sept. 16 to (410) 887-1410.

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BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

lowed by a cocktail and food reception, on Oct. 16, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.; a Palm House 125th Family Birthday Party (“with the largest birthday cake we can afford!” said Blom); and a Fundraising Sneak Peek Party to preview the annual holiday show, featuring thousands of spectacular poinsettias on display throughout the Conservatory, on Dec. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. A complete list of conservatory events

can be found on its website. The Conservatory is located in Druid Hill Park, near the intersection of McCulloh Street and Gwynns Falls Parkway, and is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (unless closed for a wedding). There is no admission charge, but a $5 per person donation is encouraged. For more information, call (410) 396-0008 or see www.rawlingsconservatory.org.

FROM PAGE 38

ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD

ANSWERS TO SCRABBLE

S T A F F

T E R R A

A L L O T

B A T H

A L O E

J O E D

U P T O

C L A S S M A T E

B L O G P A H I O N O T D P C I P S L U S

S T A I N L R E E H E R S O D E S E P L O S T A R T S N A R P E T E S T E W S C A N S

A P A R T

S I C K O

N E O N G O E O D W I R M I E S T H E R

O R S O N

R E I N S T F A L L E L X S E C V A I R L E

C A L L

A L L Y

E L B A

A L E X

O A S I S

W R E S T


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SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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Puzzle Page

Scrabble answers on p. 37.

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

Across

Down

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

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

Answers on page 37.

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


BALTIMORE BEACON — SEPTEMBER 2013

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.

Say you saw it in the Beacon

Home/Handyman Services MIKE RUPARD – A FULL SERVICE PAINTING contractor. Interior. Exterior. “No job is too small.” 30 years experience. Free estimates. Fully-licensed and insured. 301-674-1393. BASEMENT OR FOUNDATION PROBLEMS? LEVELIFT SYSTEMS, INC. offers honest, professional, no-pressure inspection, consultation & repair quotes for owner-occupied homes with settling, cracking & buckling basement walls. Our 23-year-old Jessup, Marylandbased 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: 410-365-7346. Paulm@levelift.com. MHIC #45110. 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). HANDYMAN MATTERS will help you stay safe in your own home. Professional, Reliable Skilled Craftsmen. Grab Bar Installation, Bathroom Modifications and your to-do list! 410-549-9696. MHIC # 89094. SANFORD & SON HAULING Trash removal, house & estate clean-outs, garage cleanouts, yard work & cleanups, demolition, shed removal. 410-746-5090. Free Estimates. Insured. Call 7 days a week 7am – 7pm.

For Sale

Personal Services

DULANEY VALLEY MEMORIAL GARDENS – Double crypt inside the Cloister Mausoleum. Crypt: 186, Row: A-A. Asking $13,500.00. Rarely available, great deal! Contact (443) 794-4945.

ESTATE SALES – STRESS FREE. We provide services needed for Downsizing and Estate Sales. Let’s meet to discuss and schedule your on-site sale. For information, call Denise, 410236-8704 or Dan, 410-602-2430.

PRIDE JAZZY SELECT 6 Ultra Power Wheelchair with charger unit. Power elevating pan seat with synergy cushion. Like new – never used. $1,000 or best offer. 410-465-5647. COLLECTION OF 78 RPM ALBUMS – by artists Cab Calloway, Pearl Bailey, Nat King Cole, Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Ink Spots and more. Signed, Numbered and Framed Prints by Charles Bibbs. 443-8140678.

ESTATE SPECIALIST Experts in estate clean-outs and preparing your house for sale. Trash removal, house cleanouts, light moving, demolition, yard work, cleaning. 410-746-5090. Free estimates. Insured. Call 7 days 7am - 7pm.

TWO SIDE BY SIDE CRYPTS in Cloisters Mausoleum at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Retail Value: $15,000. Sell For: $8,000. 410-870-1442.

FUNERALS & CREMATION – Parkview Funeral Home & Cremation Service by Brent Francis, P.A. Family Owned & Operated “Celebrating Life.” Traditional burial, cremation, memorial services, pre-planning, affordable options for all budgets. 7527 Harford Rd. (2 blocks south of Taylor Ave.), 410-444-4683. www.parkviewfh.com.

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.

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

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

(2) We are facing a struggle that is asymmetric warfare. The concepts of warfare that have applied from time immemorial are no longer applicable. (3) We are facing very dangerous enemies that are few in number, but can only be fought with technology and sophisticated analysis methodologies. You have done an outstanding job of explaining to your large number of readers the characteristics of the modern world and the interactions with modern technology. It was a pleasure to read your piece, and I look forward to more. Louis P. Solomon via email

BEACON BITS

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THE WALTERS SHOWCASES SCOTTISH COLOURISTS

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

WE BUY OLD AND NEW COINS, Jewelry, Silver and Gold, Paper Money too. Watches, Clocks and Parts, Military Badges and Patches Old and New. Call Greg, 717-658-7954.

MILITARY ITEMS Collector seeks: helmets, weapons, knives, swords, bayonets, webgear, uniforms, inert ordnance, ETC. From 1875 to 1960, US, German, Britain, Japan, France, Russian. Please call Fred 301-910-0783, Thank you. Also Lionel Trains.

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. 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. LADIES 25-75 WHO LOVE TO SING. Join us in a cappella harmony. www.dundalksweetads.com for details. BUYING OLD BASEBALL CARD COLLECTIONS Baseball Card Outlet at 7502 Eastern Ave near Eastpoint Mall is always in the market for buying vintage sports card collections & memorabilia from 1975 & older. 410284-4440 Open daily at 10AM. OLD AND NEW WE BUY Sterling Silver Flatware, Tea Sets or Single Pieces., Furniture, Tools, Cameras, Good Glassware, Artwork Too. Toys From Trains to Hotwheels, Action Figures to Star Wars. Call Greg, 717-6587954.

a es ift! k a M at g e gr

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. $$$$$ WE PAY CASH FOR ITEMS $$$$$ We buy the following items and more: Toys, Collectable Glassware, Dolls (Barbies, Ceramic), Automotive and Motorcycle Parts and Related Items, Electronics, Musical Instruments, Trains, Items of Any Kind – Just Ask – Vintage or Current Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, RV’s and More. Call Dave @ 443-514-8583. Davidbalt7@aol.com.

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BB9/13

Who were the Scottish Colourists and what was their contribution to European art in the first three decades of the 20th century? The Walters Art Museum’s exhibition highlights approximately 30 paintings of Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, John Duncan Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter and Samuel John Peploe. Their vivid works were inspired by Whistler, Manet, Matisse and Cézanne, as well as artistic traditions closer to their Scottish homeland. They sought out subjects that pulsated with light and color. The exhibit closes Sunday, Sept. 8. The Walters is located at 6 N. Charles St. General admission is free. For more information, visit www.thewalters.org.

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SEPTEMBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON

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