May 28, 2013

By Midge Rothrock
May 18 weather forecast was for heat with scattered thunderstorms. Instead, the sky was overcast with an occasional sprinkle, keeping the seasonal high temperatures bearable. The day at The Golf Club at Cedar Creek for the 2013 PAR fore Parkinson’s 5th Annual Golf Tournament was a great success. Under the direction of founder Mike Benko and his incredibly organized wife, Mary, this event, including 2013 proceeds, has thus far raised a whopping $50,000, going directly for Parkinson’s research. The net proceeds of this golf tournament event benefit the Movement Disorders Program at Georgia Region University Augusta, helping to enable the fellowship program. Further, the funding helps the local experts of Movement Disorders to continue to improve research and clinical trials. Finally, our local community can receive professional, informed education on how to best care for and support patients and caregivers. 2012 was a bit more daunting for these organizers. On the 2012



Insuring the care of your loved ones with special needs

Dr. John Morgan, Mike and Mary Benko. first scheduled date, a full field had assembled, that time at Woodside Country Club. Golfers impatiently waited and waited, watching a downpour so extreme that the tournament had to be rescheduled. This is every tournament planning team’s worst nightmare: working folks had taken the day off, causing some players and volunteers to be unavailable for the re-scheduled date and wondering about their entry fees. Slow-roasted delectable food had been cooking for hours, prepared for

diners who had already headed home by lunchtime. Needless to say, the rescheduled event was fine. Mary and Mike worked diligently to assure a good time on both 2012 dates. The prizes had mostly been awarded on that earlier rainy date, except for the skills prizes and those determining the winning teams. All that work, done twice is a lot to ask of anyone. Mary and Mike got through this, but it would not be the preferred way to go every year!

by Linda Knapp Page 6

See Benko page 10

Senior Ladies Basketball League. Page 12


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

SeniorNet Courses Continue to Evolve
May 2009
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” This quote by Charles Darwin is a good lead in to where our Aiken SeniorNet group is headed this summer. The past 12 months at the SeniorNet Learning Center on the campus on USC Aiken was another successful year with nearly two hundred students in our regular four-week and eight-week courses. These inquisitive seniors all learned new skills for using their computer. Some students were beginners who may not even have known how to turn on their machines, and others were what we refer to as advanced students who knew how to use the computer, but wished to learn even more about these amazing machines. Over one hundred students also participated in our weekly 2 hour workshops with timely topics such as “The World of Windows 8”, and “Introduction to the iPad and Android Tablets”. Most of our courses for the class year ended on May 23rd and now the staff is busy reviewing student comments made at the end of each course. In addition there are also comments by instructors and coaches in each course. These comments are all used to improve our course offerings for the Fall term. Our courses resume in September, but that does not mean that either our staff or our former students are idle. Our staff is busy revising the course manuals to keep them current and incorporate comments from students as well as staff. Additionally our computer gurus are going to install Windows 8 on all our computers. This will be done in a “dual boot” configuration with Windows 7 so the user can run either Windows 7 or Windows 8. The general plan is to teach our “application” courses using the Windows 7 operating system and have Windows 8 available for those students and staff that wish to gain some experience using the new operating system. In addition the staff will be preparing a new course on the Windows 8 operating system that will be offered in January 2014. During the summer would be a great time for you to think about taking a computer course in the Fall at the McGrath SeniorNet Learning Center. If you are a former student we encourage you to practice, practice, practice your computer skills. Be sure to watch for our Fall session information in the Aiken Standard in August, and visit our web site for the latest information on our courses.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Catch Your Limit this Fishing Season
Want to catch your limit this fishing season?  You`ll need practice and time-tested wisdom. “Even with the basics down, perfecting your techniques can help you take home bigger catches. A day on the water is a learning opportunity for a novice or a seasoned fisherman,” says Joe Cermele, fishing editor of Field & Stream magazine and author of the new handbook, “The Total Fishing Manual: 317 Essential Fishing Skills.”  With that in mind, Cermele is providing anglers of all levels fishing pro secrets he’s learned from years of experience: • Use the right gear: No matter how you slice it, there’s no one rod, reel, bait, or lure that will get the job done in every situation with as much success as gear tailored to specific fishing tasks. Choosing the right tackle means thinking about more than what kind of fish you plan to catch. Your surroundings, weight of baits and lures, distance you need to cast, and fighting ability of the species, are just a few factors that must be considered when gear shopping. • Farm your own bait: Worms can attract more fish than any other bait, but they’re often difficult to find just when you need them most. Consider propagating your own steady supply of wigglers with a worm farm. • Perfect your techniques: In many cases, subtle nuances that change the presentation of bait or lure in a minor way can produce major results. The more techniques you have in your repertoire, the better prepared you’ll be to catch fish under any conditions. • Listen to Mother Nature: Believe it or not, there are other methods of figuring out when the fishing’s hot besides looking up Internet reports. For example, if it’s fall and you want giant walleyes, wait until the same time leaves start falling. The air temperature will likely be cold enough to lower local water temperatures to a range that kicks on the walleyes’ instinct to pack on the pounds before winter. • Find your secret fishing spot: Those little ponds in manicured neighborhoods and tucked behind strip malls can surprise you with bass, pickerel, crappies, and bluegills that are bigger and less pressured than those in the closest reservoir. Use Google Maps, to find those small bodies of water, searching a mile or two at a time in all directions. For hidden gems, focus on housing developments, shopping centers, and office complexes. • Sneak Up on Fish: Fish are extremely sensitive to vibrations and instantly become wary when they sense an intruder. After wading into a new area, stand perfectly still for two minutes. It will feel like an hour, but you’ll get more strikes. In a boat,

approach the area you plan to fish at a low speed and wait two minutes after shutting off your motor before casting. More fishing tips can be found at Cermele’s blog, honest-angler. With experience comes intuition, and with intuition comes technique. Make this season your most successful one yet.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Taking “The Year of Death” IRA Minimum Distribution
If you are the beneficiary of a deceased IRA owner, you have to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs). In some cases, there is an RMD you must take in the year the IRA owner dies. The required beginning date (RBD) for the IRA owner to have started taking their RMD is April 1 after the year they turned age 70 1/2. If the IRA owner died before their RBD, there is no year of death RMD. If the IRA owner died after the RBD, there may be an RMD that you as their beneficiary have to take that year. Basically, when the IRA owner dies on or after that April 1 RBD, he was in pay status and should have been taking RMDs. In the year that he died, first check to see if he took his/ her total annual RMD amount before death. If he/she did, you don't have to take a distribution for that year. If he/she didn't, then you as the beneficiary have to take that unpaid RMD amount. The custodian should calculate his unpaid RMD amount in the year he died based on the age he would have been that year if he hadn't died. It's very common that there is an unpaid RMD for the IRA owner's year of death for several reasons. First, he/she may have waited until the end of the year to take the full RMD amount, or maybe he/ she was taking the RMD on a monthly basis. Regardless, you are responsible. The RMD will be taxable to you as his/ her IRA beneficiary in the year you receive it. It's not taxable to him/her or his/her estate. If you, as the beneficiary, don't take the unpaid year of death RMD, you are subject to a 50%, yes 5-0, penalty on the shortfall. This is an important and perhaps costly issue. Carl Smith, President of The Smith Group in Aiken, SC, is one of only four members in South Carolina that is in good standing with Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor GroupSM. Ed Slott was developed specifically to help financial institutions and advisors, financial advisor firms and insurance companies become recognized leaders in the IRA marketplace.

*Investment Advisory Services offered through Prosperity Capital advisors (“PCA”), an SEC registered invesment adviser with its principal place of business in the State of Ohio. Carl Smith is an Investment Advisor Representative in the State of South Carolina. The Smith Group and Prosperity Capital Advisors are not affiliated entities. The Slott Report is the source of this article. Copyright 2013, all rights reserved The Ed Slott Reports, Ed Slott, Inc.

President of The Smith Group, is an Investment Advisor Representative. He has been a member in good standing with MDRT since 2007 in the Ed Slott IRA Advisor Group.

Carl Smith

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Boomer Briefings
Q. My father, actually stepfather, is thinking of appointing me as his durable attorney-in-fact. What does this require of me? A. Under a general financial power of attorney you will be appointed to represent your step-father, the principal, with respect to his financial affairs. This means you are in a fiduciary relationship and held to high standards of good faith, fair dealing and undivided loyalty with respect to your father’s assets. You must act in his best interests, keeping his goals and wishes in mind when making any discretionary decisions. Additionally you could be expected to pay his bills, file taxes, make investment decisions and handle any issues concerning his real and personal property. However, your duty covers only your own actions, not those of your stepfather. Sometimes attorneys-in-fact handle the bills because an elderly parent has a mobility issue, but the parent prefers to stay in touch with their own financial advisors. Depending on the wording in the document creating the power of attorney, your authority may only come into effect when an event described in the instrument takes place. For example one or more physicians may need to sign letters stating your step-father is not capable of handling his own affairs. Durable refers to the fact that the authority given to you will continue even if your step-father is incompetent. Durable powers


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

of attorney are usually executed to prevent the possibility of a legal proceeding to have a conservator appointed over an incompetent person’s property and monies. As such powers of attorney literally save a family thousands of dollars and a great deal of emotional stress. You should examine the document as there may be one or more persons named before you to take responsibility for financial matters or you may be required to act jointly with another person as agents and attorneys-in-fact for the principal. While not favored by elder law professionals, some durable powers of attorneys are drafted to include health care proxy provisions and this might expand your responsibilities. It’s

Attorney Linda Farron Knapp
A member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys “Leading the way in disability, special needs and elder law”

important for the attorney drafting the power of attorney to know you are a step-child since some standard provisions discuss issue

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


or the bloodline of the principal and these will likely need to be customized for your step-father’s situation. In South Carolina a financial power of attorney needs to be recorded before it is valid, S.C.Code Ann. §62-5-501(C) and it must not have been revoked. Validity can be established by affidavit or a recent certified copy of the document obtained from the local clerk of court or RMC office. It’s important that you keep good records so you can answer any questions that arise over your handling of monies and assets. Never commingle the funds you have been entrusted to manage with your personal money. Keep separate accounts even if your name has been added to the principal’s checking or savings account as a payable on death beneficiary. The easiest way to keep tract is to run all funds for the principal through a checking account. The checks act as receipts and the

checkbook register is a running account, which should be balanced monthly. Many powers of attorney require a periodic accounting to the principal or other family members. Failure to communicate what you are doing with an elderly person’s funds is a sure way to create mistrust and raise suspicions in a family, especially because you are a step-child and there may be biological children. In some cases the principal may have agreed to pay you for acting on his behalf by so stating in his document. In many cases family members do not want to be paid, but if you do be sure to contact an accountant or CPA so you address withholdings and file the necessary tax forms. A power of attorney terminates on the death of the principal.

Apple lemonade perfect for summer
Lemonade is often associated with refreshment and hot summer days. When the mercury on the thermometer has reached record heights, few beverages are as refreshing as a cold glass of lemonade. This summer figures to have its share of hot afternoons. But while the higher temperatures might be typical this time of year, your choice for refreshment can be anything but -- even if ayou insist on sticking with lemonade. The following recipe for “Apple Lemonade” from Elsa Petersen-Schepelern’s “Cool Smoothies: Juices and Cocktails” (Ryland, Peters & Small) offers a unique take on a summer favorite.

Apple Lemonade - Serves 4

2 to 3 cooking apples, unpeeled, chopped into small pieces Sugar, to taste Juice of 1 lemon Sparkling water (to serve) Ice

Put the apples into a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft. Strain, pressing the pulp through the strainer with a spoon. Add sugar to taste, stir until dissolved, then let cool. To serve, pack a pitcher with ice, half-fill the glass with the apple juice, add the lemon juice, and top with sparkling water.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Adult Care Services at Home: A Different Option
“Tell me again what you do.” I hear this frequently and it’s OK. A lot of people are still learning about what we do. At DayBreak Adult Care Services, we have a passion for home because home is where we work. Today I’d like to explain that concept a bit more. The fact is many seniors can live at home longer if provided with a little assistance around the house. Simply put, DayBreak provides that assistance. Gone are the days when many of our parents had only two options - reside with a stay-at-home family member or move to a nursing home. Today, adult care services bring the best of both options, delivered inside one’s home. Adult care services provide trained caregivers to offer assistance when some of life’s common tasks become challenging for otherwise capable people. The “non-medical in-home adult care industry” (an accurate but unwieldy description of our trade), is a recent development. Necessitated by longer lives and dispersed families, there is a need for someone to provide that extra assistance to allow seniors to remain safely in their homes. That is where we come in. Some of our clients no longer enjoy cooking. Others need reminders for complex medication schedules. Some do not trust their balance in the shower. But all these clients enjoy the freedom of having trained professionals available in their homes to provide a helping hand. I’m often asked “do the caregivers stay around the clock?” Chrissa Matthews, and my anMA, CCC/SLP, is swer is “do you need them an Aiken resident to?” The ser- and the owner of DayBreak Adult vices provided Care Services, Inc, by adult care Aiken, SC. providers can be customized to meet one’s specific needs, a few hours per week, or all day. Long term or just long enough to let one heal from a procedure or accident. Either way, we take the danger out of going it alone, while taking a loving burden from the shoulders of the nearest family member. Some of my favorite stories involve loving couples who are able to remain in their memory-filled homes with just a little assistance from compassionate, friendly caregivers. I’m thinking that would be a favorite story of yours as well, if that couple is you or your parents. DayBreak Adult Care Services. There’s No Place Like Home.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Tips to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
In the midst of an obesity epidemic, it’s easy to ignore that little bit of extra weight you may be carrying around. But experts warn that any amount of excess fat tissue around the middle can boost your risk for serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes and more. And unfortunately, there are no really easy solutions when it comes to sustained weight loss. “Fad diets promising a quick fix may help you drop weight quickly, but these programs can do more harm than good,” says Dr. Jen Sacheck, Associate Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University and co-author of the new book, “Thinner this Year: A Diet and Exercise Program for Living Strong, Fit, and Sexy.” Sacheck, along with motivational speaker and co-author Chris Crowley, explain in plain English the science of what goes on inside your body -- both when you’re taking care of yourself and when you’re not. They’re urging those two-thirds of Americans that are overweight or obese to stop searching for magic weight loss solutions. “Preaching a commitment to proper nutrition and regular exercise may not win us any popularity contests,” quips Crowley, “but at the end of the day, hard work is the only healthful way to lose weight and keep it off for good.” Not only that, eating right and getting exercise can boost your mood, make you feel younger, and give you an overall better outlook on life. Whether you’re looking to drop those extra pounds, or maintain a healthy weight as you age, keep these guidelines in mind: • Avoidance of entire food groups or excessive consumption of others isn’t healthy, realistic or sustainable. Why? Carbohydrates, fats and proteins play necessary and unique functions within our bodies and supply different nutrients crucial for health. • Ditch wasteful calories that come from foods that are nutritionally void -- think processed and overly packaged foods, refined, flour products, all things fried or covered in creamy goop, sports drinks and other beverages with added sugar. Bottom line: eat real food.  • About half of your diet should be fruits and vegetables. Enjoy healthy fats in moderation and avoid saturated and trans fat. When eating meat, make it lean. • Don’t starve! You need energy to go about your day, especially if you’re physically active. Skipping meals can actually lower your metabolism, making it harder to burn calories and lose weight.

Shop locally for fresh fruits and vegetables to help maintain a healty diet.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Benko... from page 1
Mike Benko is not just anyone. He truly is inspirational. A decade ago, Mary noticed a tiny tremor on Mike’s pinky finger. Unfortunately, she could not just let it go without talking about it, since Mike’s own father had Parkinson’s diagnosed when he was 71. Mike had some worries of his own. His handwriting was getting cramped, and there was a slight tremor. Their worst and informed fears were confirmed, with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Mike’s own father kept an active lifestyle. Mike was determined to do the same. A decade later, his back troubles kept him from playing in 2013, unrelated to PD. Otherwise, neighbors have come to expect seeing Mike playing golf, riding his bike, and maintaining his exercise routine, which he does faithfully. Mike is a terrific example of one who has kept his sense of humor, spirit, and self-esteem, keeping as active as possible. Mike was willing to be interviewed if this further spread the word about the excellent facility where he receives PD care. He also hopes to assure that a PD diagnosis does not have to mean one’s quality of life is gone. There is a straightforward and relaxing way Mike has of putting folks around him at ease. In fact, he is often someone who is paid an early visit by those who fear a PD diagnosis, or by family members of those who are living with this. Mike does not offer his opinion, even if he notices early signs in another person, unless they ask. He clarifies that he is not a medical person, but is willing to share his story of hope and grace, in living with this condition. He also clarifies that PD is NOT a disease. It cannot be transmitted. He

reminds people this is nothing to be ashamed of, and that one can learn ways to live with PD. There are a variety of symptoms and variations of PD – not every person has the same ones. When first diagnosed a decade ago, Mike and Mary continued with their successful careers until reaching retirement age. In 2006, they moved to the Cedar Creek community in Aiken, and sought a specialist. Mike is in the care of someone exceptional. John C. Morgan, MD, PhD, is a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders, at the Movement Disorders Center in Augusta. Dr. Morgan’s admiration for Mike Benko is such that he attended again the 2013 golf tournament. He gladly shows his support and gratitude to Mike and Mary Benko for the outstanding work they have done to benefit the Movement Disorders Center in Augusta. An estimated one million people in the United States and over five million worldwide are living with Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s affects one in 100 people over the age of 60. While Parkinson’s is a movement disorder, it also brings non-movement related symptoms. There is no known cure for Parkinson’s. We are fortunate to live in the CSRA, which is home to one of the NPF Center’s of Excellence, the Movement Disorder Program, Augusta, Georgia. Dr. Morgan credits his being in this specialty in neurology from having been steered in this direction by Dr. Kapil Sethi, Professor of Neurology and Director, GHSU Movement Disorder Program. It is a field he loves, and allows for a somewhat more normal work schedule for

Jim McNair

this young, handsome specialist. His hopes are that there will be breakthroughs beyond what is now available, with the FDA being able to offer more than just disease slowing drugs in the future. This same Dr. Morgan has been such a trusted physician in the life of Frances Tomlin, as noted by another Cedar Creek neighborhood golfer playing in this PAR fore Parkinson’s tournament, Jim Tomlin. Patients are from Georgia, South Carolina, and others who travel a distance to receive this well-regarded care provided by Georgia Health Sciences University’s Movement Disorder Clinic. It has been designated as one of the National Centers of Excellence, leading the way in Parkinson’s care. They also treat an array of neurological conditions besides PD, including Restless Leg Syndrome, Essential Tremor, Dystonia, and Huntington’s Disease. They are also actively involved in cuttingedge research and clinical trials in hopes of improving the quality of

life for their patients. Learn more about this highly regarded Program at www.georgiahealth. edu/neurology/specialties/md/ index.html . One can also call 1.800.4PD.INFO (473-4636) to get PD questions answered. So, did Dr. Morgan win the tournament? No. The top winners for the men, with a score of 59 were Brad Combs, Paul Pecoraro, John Turner and Andrew Wilson, in this Captain’s Choice event. The winning women’s team at 68 included Jan Barker, Mimi Wittkamp, Carolyn Davis and Jackie Huey. There were other skills prizes and gifts awarded in this fun-filled day. Jim McKnight, who plans to move from Florida to Cedar Creek soon, made a hole in one. Jim and a couple other cash prizewinners graciously turned their winnings back to the Parkinson’s research beneficiary. One could say the winner really was Parkinson’s research. For more details, go to http://www.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Jim McNair, new owner of Cedar Creek’s golf course, along with his other Aiken Golf Course downtown, also joined in and played on May 18. Other key leaders of Jim’s Cedar Creek team were there, but mostly they had to work, assuring this great tournament went off as planned to the nth detail by Mary and Mike. Jim’s team is bringing excitement back to this gem of a golf course, making changes and broadening the options to include activities for members of both the McNair courses to enjoy. The Cedar Creek staff includes Gary Frasier, superintendent of the grounds, beloved longtime golf pro Mike DePasquale, as well as Beverly Burke, who heads the Cedar Creek Grille. Newly named golf pro and instructor for both McNair courses is Kenny Evenson. Jim McNair had this to say: “This tournament is one of probably the most important events we will host each year. Monies raised go directly to research for Parkinson’s. I am excited to continue hosting this event. Though this is Mike’s last year, we will carry on the tradition, reflecting Mike Benko’s passion and hard work. In fact, Mike will consult in the years ahead. This will always be Mike’s tournament!” The respect people have for Mike Benko is so evident. Traveling all the way from Boston area of Winchester, Massachusetts to participate in this final Benko-run PAR fore Parkinson’s was the father and 16-year-old son team of Michael and Sebastian McLinden. McLinden has been a major sponsor for all five years. He is the owner of Mc-K, a health care communications company, which works with strategy and data management.

Mike Benko is a PD activist, having even traveled to Scotland to attend a conference. His successful career in Marketing and Sales is evident. The winter issue of “More than Motion” magazine has handsome Mike on the cover, and a story about Mike and Mary’s journey through this condition. Mike Benko is occasionally asked for his autograph, as he bears a striking resemblance to the prolific actor George Kennedy. Mike serves on their Board of this informative magazine. Find them on Facebook or online at to subscribe free.

Michael and Sebastian McLinden

With children and grandchildren to visit, getting some relief from his nagging back pain and heading back to favorite routines like golf and biking are the priorities ahead, since the Benkos can now relax with the knowledge of having done a remarkable thing by starting and running these five years of tournaments, to highly successful results. They are a popular couple, and will likely not be sedentary any time soon.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

National Senior Women’s Basketball Association

A new senior women’s basketball program has begun at the H.O. Odell Weeks Recreation Center. According to Jo Whitson, organizer of the program, the National Senior Women’s Basketball Association is a growing organization in many states. But currently there are no teams in South Carolina or Georgia. Whitson stated, “It’s not our goal at this point to participate in the NSWBA tournaments, we want to see if we can still shoot, pass, dribble and play a little defense. The NSWBA plays on half-court, three members per team. We shouldn’t have to do much running, but according to the videos I’ve seen, the game can get a little rough. If our knees hold up and we can maneuver around a little, I think we can do it. We’ve had a pretty good response from folks who’ve heard about the new program.” The group will practice/play on Tuesdays at the Odell Weeks Center from 10-12. Cost is $1 for members and $2 for non-members. The organization is open to women age 50 and over. Whitson said, “The oldest person I know of in this league is 86 years old, and she plays on the “80’s and over” championship team!” Debbie Dion Pawley, a St. Angela High School graduate stated, “I have enjoyed the game of basketball since I started playing in high school. I

remember my coach saying we were not allowed to walk with the ball so when it came to me, I ran with it! I’ve come a long way since then. Not only playing in high school, college, and rec leagues, but also teaching, coaching, and officiating. What a great opportunity we now have to play once more with friends and neighbors who share our love of the game of basketball!” Karen Olsen Edwards, Aiken High graduate said, “I’m inspired by Meredith Legg Stapleton, former USCA Basketball star who is battling ocular melanoma. I know she would want to keep on playing no matter her age. We women are playing for fun, fitness and friendship. We’d love to have other women join us that like to remain active and who also like to laugh!” Mary Snelling commented, “ I have missed playing basketball since the church league folded many years ago. Now, I want to play for the pure enjoyment, for the exercise and especially for the camaraderie.” A skills clinic will be held on Tuesday, June 11, from 10 – 12 and is open to all adult women who wish to participate. “No experience is necessary”, Whitson said, “this is for fun!”

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Camellia Daze
In the world of unusual and unique camellias is one bloom called Black Magic. This is one of several identified as a “black camellia”. No it’s not really black, but very, very dark red. The photo really does not show this dark red quality very well. Black magic was propagated by Nuccio’s Nursery of Altadena, CA. in 1992. Since it’s a fairly new variety, Nuccio’s would be the best source to obtain this variety from or you could try other internet sources. The big box stores won’t have this variety. Black Magic is a medium to large irregular semi-double to rose- form double bloom. It has a prominent center of red stamens with golden anthers (pollen producing part of the bloom). The wavy petals are thick feeling almost waxy and very glossy. Many times during Camellia Shows, I have observed people abruptly stopping, looking and saying “wow” when they see this bloom. They can’t help but touch the bloom to feel if it is real. In addition to the color, Black Magic also has interesting foliage. It looks like serrated (saw-tooth) holly leaves. These characteristics would make it an interesting addition to your garden. Beautiful blooms come in the mid to late season (January thru April) and interesting foliage year round. What more could you ask from a plant. Here’s hoping to see you along the Camellia Trail. Rio Grande Dave


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In June we celebrate National Family Month, which is a great time to reflect on your family and how to make it stronger. As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reminds us, strong families share many valuable qualities: trust, commitment, communication, growth, affection, fun, and love. Strong families are more likely to grow through a crisis, allowing the difficult experience to bring them even closer together. In the unfortunate event of a family member’s death, we want you to know that Social Security is here to help. In addition to the emotional difficulty family members experience, there is often a financial burden as well, especially if the family’s main wage earner dies. In such cases, Social Security survivors benefits will help. Did you know that nearly every child in America could get Social Security survivors benefits if a working parent dies? And Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program. Although many people think Social Security is just a retirement program, you should know that Social Security also provides survivors insurance benefits for workers and their families. If you’re like most people, the value of the survivors insurance you have under Social Security is probably more than the value of any individual life insurance you may own. And you don’t even need to sign up for a separate policy; by working and paying Social Security tax, you are most likely already insured without even knowing it. Family members who may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work record include a widow or widower, unmarried children up to age 19 and still in high school, and under certain circumstances, stepchildren, grandchildren, stepgrandchildren, adopted children, and dependent parents. If you’d like to learn more about survivors benefits, and how to apply, you should read our publication, Survivors Benefits, available at You can find additional useful information, such as our survivors planner and information about how to apply for survivors benefits, at

Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Tony Williams

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Did you know?
Landscape fabrics are used to prevent weed growth while still allowing air, oxygen and water to flow to and from the soil. Landscape fabrics are a chemical-free way to prevent weed growth, endearing them to eco-friendly homeowners. Landscape fabrics, once laid, also are a far less labor-intensive method to prevent weed growth, as they can be effective for several years, during which homeowners can expect to perform little or no maintenance. In addition, many homeowners prefer landscape fabrics because they can help the soil effectively maintain moisture during dry periods, when gardens might otherwise be highly susceptible to drought. Once put down, landscape fabric can be covered with mulch to add aesthetic appeal.

AIKEN COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA- The Aiken County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Dept. (Visitors Center) 113 Laurens Street, Aiken, SC is recruiting volunteers for the summer. Do you have a passion for meeting new people, giving directions, telling guest about exciting tourist attractions in Aiken County? This may be the perfect opportunity for you. If interested please contact Sherri Scott (Tourism Assistant) at 803-642-7557.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Study in Serenity: The Woodland Garden of Denis and Beverly Bonnet
by Pam Glogowski
If you have mature trees in your landscape, you have a wonderful opportunity to create a beautifully serene shade garden. Whether your area is large and calls for the development of a peaceful woodland garden, or is small and would benefit from the addition of some interesting shade plants, you can learn a lot from gardeners Denis and Beverly Bonnet and their wonderful shade garden. The Bonnet garden in Aiken’s Huntcliff subdivision brings relief from the sun on a hot summer day and invites you to sit down, get comfortable, enjoy the singing birds and marvel at nature’s beauty. To create a beautiful woodland garden, start out by outlining meandering paths in your chosen area, using bricks, rocks, or another material along the edges to mark the paths’ presence. Next, if necessary, trim any hanging branches from trees so you can walk freely in the area.

Then remove any weeds and prepare to plant by amending the soil with organic materials (your own compost or purchased compost). Mix the organics into the soil to get your plants off to a good start. Next,

choose your plants in a variety of sizes and textures to make the woodland garden interesting, paying attention to their water requirements and the conditions of your yard. When your plants are in the ground,

apply two to three inches of mulch to the entire area. Suggestion: Use an organic mulch like shredded leaves or a finely shredded bark, and the material will improve the quality of your soil as it breaks down. Now let’s talk about plant selection! Denis Bonnet’s favorite plant for the shade garden is the Japanese maple, particularly the laceleaf varieties whose delicate finely-cut leaves move with the wind. The laceleafs have a limitless variation in color from soft green to a brilliant orange that make them standouts in the shade. The gently swaying branches of the maples contribute to the restful nature of the shade garden, reminding Denis of time spent hiking in the woods on cool days. The family cat loves the garden in the summertime, taking ownership of a cool concrete bench at the back of the property. According to Denis, “A shade garden is poetry and

See Gardening page 18

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


If you would like to try a new shrub in the shade, Denis recommends that you consider using a fatsia. This is a large-leaf, tropical-looking evergreen shrub that is grown for its bold, dark-green glossy foliage.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013 nursery on Wire Road near I-20, it is important to look for hostas that are sports (a naturally occurring genetic mutation) of the parent variety ‘Plantaginea.’ These varieties include Guacamole, So Sweet, Holy Mole, Stained Glass, Diana Remembered, Fragrant Bouquet, and Royal Standard. Hosta ‘Plantaginea’ and its listed sports are a heat-tolerant species from China, don’t require a winter chilling period, and produce a fragrant bloom in August and early September. Look for a hosta with light-colored leaves, something that will stand out in the shadows of the shade. An evergreen alternative to hostas is the Thujopsis, a low-maintenance small shrub that is available at two local nurseries: Shady Characters and Nurseries Caroliniana. The thujopsis is a conifer in the cypress family that provides year-round interest with a mature size of 3’ x 3.5’. It produces fan-like fronds that layer in a delicate fern-like fashion. You could also try a new fern variety; the ‘Autumn Fern’ has coppery-red young fronds that mature to deep green and are deeply cut. The ‘Lady in Red’ fern has lacy, light green foliage on red stems, and the ‘Ghost Fern’ has an upright habit and silvery fronds. Another plant that is a favorite of Denis Bonnet is Farfugium ‘Gigantea,’ a large-leafed evergreen foliage plant that would be a standout in any shade garden. The leaves can grow up to 15” wide on a plant that gets up to 36” high. Small plants are important in the shade garden too. Heucheras (coral bells) are herbaceous perennial foliage plants that are native to North America. Foliage colors include yellow, red, purple, green, orange, and black. These small plants (up to one foot high and eighteen inches wide) will provide good contrast for your larger shade plants. Some are evergreen here in the south, and they all send up flower spikes of various colors in the summer. Another favorite small plant is ‘Peacock Spikemoss’ (Selaginella uncinata), a semi-evergreen spreading groundcover. The fern-like foliage of this plant appears either tinted blue or yellow, depending on the variety. Some are 3” high ground huggers, and some are a little taller. Denis enjoys having visitors in his garden, and invites you to give him a call at (803)649-3331 to let him know you’d like to drop by and enjoy the

Gardening... from page 16
a formal garden is prose. Sitting in a shade garden is like having the good Lord’s hand on your shoulder and telling you everything is going to be okay.” The mainstays of the southern shade garden, camellias, azaleas, gardenias, and hydrangeas, should be well-represented in your shady yard, but there are also many other plants that have the pizzazz to stand out. If you would like to try a new shrub in the shade, Denis recommends that you consider using a fatsia. This is a large-leaf, tropical-looking evergreen shrub that is grown for its bold, dark-green glossy foliage. An outstanding fatsia variety is ‘Variegata’ which is very striking with its green and white variegated leaves. Growing at a rate of 8 to 12 inches per year, these shrubs typically grow 6 to 10 feet tall and wide, with white flowers appearing in fall and lasting for several weeks. Hostas are great performers in the shade, but we often find that certain varieties decline year after year here in the south. According to Karen Jones, owner of Shady Characters

beautiful shade garden he and Bev have created. Pam Glogowski and Denis Bonnet are Aiken Master Gardeners. If you have questions for either Pam or Denis, please send an email to pamg85@

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


How to Avoid Ticks and Fleas This Season
Warm weather means barbeques, baseball and trips to the park with family and pets. But for pet owners, warm weather can also mean fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other disease-carrying bugs. “Fleas alone can each bite you or your pet up to hundreds of times a day,” says Dr. Rod Van Horn, a small animal, practicing veterinarian. “It’s vital to get control of these pests before they have the chance to bite, hurt and potentially spread disease.” Help your pets avoid ticks and fleas by following these easy tips: Now you’ll see if you have fleas hiding in your home. Secure the infested socks in a plastic bag and throw them away or put into the washing machine for a hot wash.

Inspect your Pets
After a run outdoors, thoroughly check your pet for fleas and ticks or any signs of itching or blood stains. Be sure to look underneath the hair for visible bugs. But be aware that the largest part of an infestation – flea eggs, larvae and pupae – are almost impossible to see in a quick check. That’s why prevention is key. veterinary products that use the same active ingredients as well, like Sergeant’s Pronyl OTC. It kills fleas and ticks, including those which can spread Lyme disease, and keeps your pet protected for up to 30 days. According to experts, more than 70 percent of fleas bite a dog within the first hour of jumping aboard, so killing them within that first hour is paramount.

Treat for Prevention
You may not always be able to keep your pets away from infested areas, but you can stop the bugs from latching onto your pet. Treat your pet monthly with a topical flea and tick treatment for the most effective, longest lasting way to prevent infestation. There are now approved generic versions of topical

Be Proactive
Treat your pets now, before it’s too late. Apply treatments year-round to repel pests and prevent them from latching onto your pet’s skin. Just because you don’t see fleas or ticks now, doesn’t mean they aren’t worth worrying about. Always plan ahead.

Check your House and Yard
If you think you may have a flea infestation but aren’t sure, start by checking your house and yard. Walking around your home and yard in a pair of long white socks makes pests easy to spot.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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