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December 2011

Claus for a Cause
Gene Keller delights Gene Keller delights children at the Umpqua children at the Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights Valley Festival of Lights

Senior TIMES
of Douglas County of Douglas County

Page 2–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa role keeps Keller coming back
After years playing Santa Claus at office Christmas Parties, retiree Gene Keller plays the role at the Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights
EURALEE SMITH For The Senior Times



Gene Keller, 68, sits near his post at The Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights’ Holiday Village near River Forks Park in Roseburg. Keller tries to make sure each child who visits Santa gets as much time to chat as he or she wants.

ere comes Santa Claus right down River Forks Park Road. But who is the white-bearded man with twinkling eyes behind wire framed glasses? Like Superman and his cape, 68-yearold Gene Keller, aka Santa Claus, insists it’s all in the suit. Keller’s career as the jolly elf began for the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. corporate Christmas parties in San Francisco. Upon Keller’s insistence, PG&E invested in a quality suit, paying $3,000 to give Keller the right look and feel for the job. When Keller retired in 2000, PG&E offered him the suit. Keller declined, hoping someone would step into the big black boots and continue the tradition. Keller and his wife of 28 years, Patricia Melendres-Keller, liked the Roseburg area and her mother lived in Elkton. Upon an early retirement, the Kellers settled in Winchester. The couple was enjoying lunch at the Umpqua Lighthouse when Shawn Ram-

sey-Watson, director of the Umpqua Valley Arts Center and friend of the Kellers, told him about the position of Santa. She put Keller in touch with Kerwin Doughton, the owner of a local investment firm. The Rotary Club was adding the Holiday Village to the annual Festival of Lights and Doughton wanted Keller as Santa Claus. Excited by the prospect, Keller agreed — but only if the Rotary Club found the right suit. Back in Santa’s chair, Keller said he has a rule that Santa talks to the child as long as the child wants. “It really bothers me when parents try to hurry the child along,” Keller said. He’s been known to give parents a discouraging look for such behavior in the presence of the keeper of naughty and nice. Last December the Holiday Village hosted the Douglas County Foster Grandparent program. The children were served sliced pizza and given a gift, along with a photo opportunity with Santa. That was one of the highlights during the past four years
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Editor’s Note
Bill Duncan, editor of The Senior Times since 1984, died in a Nov. 18 car accident outside his Roseburg home at the age of 82. He was working on this issue at the time of his death. Duncan’s daughter, Eularee Smith of Eugene, wrote this month’s cover story and is known to Senior Times readers as the author of the monthly “Wise Grandma” column. Duncan’s duties for this publication will be taken over by Tricia Jones, assistant city editor for The News-Review. If you have a feature idea for The Senior Times, you can contact Jones at 541-957-4216 or by email at

Senior Times
Published by The News-Review 345 N.E. Winchester St. Roseburg, Oregon 97470 Phone: 541-672-3321 Email correspondence regarding this publication may be sent to ON THE COVER:
Winchester’s Gene Keller looks forward to offering holiday cheer to area children as part of the Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights.

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Monday, December 5, 2011–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Page 3

Friendship flourished despite awkward first impression

Your Time is Running Out


Bill always told me that the editor was to first knew of Bill Duncan when he clarify the column and not to change it. He called to complain that he couldn’t get his certified check cashed at my bank. A didn’t have much to clarify in my column after I got the hang of it. certified check is like a cashier’s check. It At first, I wrote 1,000 is good anywhere. The teller words or better. He said, was new and the check was “Tone it down.” I got so that just a check to her. She wasI could write it in half as n’t about to cash it. I apolomany words. One thing that gized, but the damage was Bill was adamant about was done. the three dots. Amateur writYears later, I served as a ers would use them any way board member of The Amerithey could. They can be used can Red Cross and there was Bill Duncan. He served as Ronald Culbertson when the word can’t be explained. director for a long time. That Musings Bill was a Marine’s was the second time I met Marine. He enlisted when he him, and we became friends. was only 16 years old during World War II. I always had a hankering for genealogy, He let it slip that he was at Iwo Jima. He so I enrolled in the genealogy class at told me that the real heroes were the ones Umpqua Community College in my spare who had died during the early days of the time. It was for 10 weeks. About the third landing. He landed there about 15 days week, the editor of The Senior Times asked later. I was impressed. the instructor if she would write a column The world will be poorer without William about it every month. She said “no,” but she asked her class about it. I thought about Jackson Duncan. it and finally volunteered to do it until he Columnist Ron Culbertson salutes his could find someone else. The editor was longtime friend and colleague, Bill DunBill Duncan. I have written more than 100 can. monthly columns for The Senior Times. key to drawing them out. The Holiday Village sits back from the road in the Pitchford Boys Ranch near the entrance to the Festival of Lights at River Forks Park. Surrounded by the seasonal trimmings, including a train set chugging through a Christmas village, a cozy fire and a collection of Santa toys, Santa sits in his chair listening to the wishes of all who sit on his lap. Nonprofit organizations provide elf helper volunteers, as well as refreshments and information on their services in the community. Keller has two granddaughters and two grandsons and hopes his 13-year-old grandson joins him this year as an elf. Wearing a shiny Christmas bell around his neck, much like the bell in Chris Van Allsburg’s “The Polar Express,” Keller hopes someday he can give every child who visits him a keepsake bell. It may seem obvious, but Santa’s prime job qualification is “you have to love children,” Keller said. He is a hopeless romantic and wishes to keep the magic of Christmas alive and well in the hearts of all children. The moment you hear his “Ho, Ho, Ho,” it is hard not to believe that Santa is truly in the house. Holiday Village is open each Thursday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. until Jan. 1. Drop a letter for Santa in the mailbox at the Village, at Macy’s or online at, and Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make a Wish Foundation. Eularee Smith is a freelance writer for the Senior Times.

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that Keller has volunteered. “Anything I can do for just a minute or two to make the season a little brighter for these kids,” Keller chuckled. “The beard helps.” Until he came to Roseburg, Keller wore a fake beard. Now he lets his own grow a few weeks before the Holiday Village opens and keeps it trimmed close to his face. And then there is Rudolph. When children question him as to the location of the red-nosed reindeer, Santa simply points out that only he can see Rudolph. “I’ve always been a good storyteller,” Keller said, adding that children want to believe and it is often the parents who get in the way. Sometimes little ones tell him that Mom and Dad say that Santa isn’t real. One child asked if she could touch his beard as proof. “He’s real,” she shrieked as she gave it a tug. Keller says he is mindful of what he says in front of children. He only promises that he will work on their requests. Keller says maybe one in 100 comes with a list. Most ask for something for their mommy or sister, rather than themselves. Keller has a special place in his heart for children with disabilities. He reaches out to children with autism, waiting for them to fixate on something. He says that is the

Page 4–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Monday, December 5, 2011

Columnist reaches milestone, Act to deflect the but doesn’t hit the brick wall bad mood bug
nd of the line” is a term someDNA can be done through the times used in genealogy. male side of the family. Her brother Since each branch of our fam- sent his, but as yet to no avail. Until ily is considered a line, the term fits. someone else appears with the same “Hitting a brick wall” is another DNA, it will not produce results that expression often may lead to possible used. What these parentage. phrases mean is that A lady from Random you are no longer Acts of Genealogical able to proceed on Kindness, a web-based that particular line. research group run by Dead ends come volunteers, sent my when it appears you friend an old newspaper have exhausted your Beverly Wellington clipping of an interesting sources and have not story involving the death Family Tree reached your objecof the husband of her tive. There are sevgrandfather’s half-sister. eral reasons this may happen. You A few weeks ago she found a genealhave learned an ancestor was a ogy query by a man who appeared to foundling. You may be unable to tie be a descendant of this half-sister. in your last known person to the next She promised to send him the story if generation back. There may be an he contacted her. So far she has unexpected name change (such as heard nothing. often happened in the case of immiOne should not despair when hitgrants), misspelling of names, ting brick walls. Somewhere, there is changes of location by family, fires a record. Putting your research aside and other losses of records. may allow you to come back with My friend, Shannon, has been fresh eyes later and possibly pick up unable to trace farther back than her a clue you missed previously. Grandfather Roberts on one line. Records are constantly being digiThere was a son born, but her greattized and put online. Perhaps the grandmother never divulged the information you are seeking is in the name of the father. She gave her son process of becoming available. Shanher maiden name. non is not giving up, but declares it is Arkansas in 1883 had no birth mighty frustrating at times. records. Her grandfather had two One of my dead ends opened up younger half-siblings, but he died when a distant cousin told me the young so the connection with his half children of the family had changed family was lost to my friend. their last name from Fought to Foft Shannon has written letters to the when their father died. This presented area where her grandfather was born a whole new area to search. I guess and grew up, but with no success. patience was the key for me. She was told the local church and As mentioned earlier, many immicourthouse burned and that no grants changed their names when records appear to have been left. they came to America. County boundaries changed over the years. Checking the history of the area may divulge the actual place to search. An Quick Tip suggests writing to a genealogy-minded friend, giving all the background information and thoroughly explaining the problem. George Mouchet, who submitted the tip, says that another person who is unfamiliar with the problem may see connections and new avenues to pursue. He said that often he does not even have to send the correspondence before he has new insight. Of course, it never hurts to go ahead and ask for an additional point of view. This month’s column is an end of the line for me. I have lived in Roseburg for 25 years. I love it here. For almost five years of that time I have shared my thoughts on genealogy and family history with you, my readers. Many of you have commented to me on different aspects of this sharing. One person told me she was keeping a notebook on my articles as they were published. It has been a wonderful endeavor. I thank you. The Roseburg Family History Center will have a new director to replace me. It has been a privilege to serve with a great staff and meet so many wonderful people seeking to know more about their families. I will take many memories of this town with me. As for my future, we have three married children and their families who are urging us to come back home to Grants Pass. We will miss Roseburg, but after all, it is really all about family. Beverly Wellington can be reached at


ear Reader, December can create tension in our hurried lives. Nerves get easily ruffled as we rush through the holidays. So for my personal shield, I have assembled an emotional first-aid kit that contains words and sentences I repeat to myself when my mind heads down a road to miserable thinking. When I experience anxiSuzanne Beecher ety, fear, poor-me-pityparties, or when I find Commentary myself in a bad mood for no particular reason, I open my medicine chest door hoping to find a cure. Immune to soap and water and even antibacterial cream, that nasty bad mood bug is a sly one. How he spreads from one person to another. If I only knew, I could bottle the cure. In the meantime, my antidote is to swallow two heaping teaspoons full of just be nice. “Just be nice, Suzanne.” Exhale, don’t beep the horn. Don’t repeat to yourself the not-so-nice comment someone said today, because reviewing nasty encounters keeps nastiness alive. Don’t roll your eyes when someone needs a price check in the check-out line. Just be nice, Suzanne. Take a deep breath and think about the weekly baking sessions you have with your grandson, Paul. Think of the last time little 3-year-old James said, “Grandma, I love you.” Picture your husband turning down the sheets at night and propping your pillow, so when you head into the bedroom, a comfy bed is waiting. Recall the warm words a book club reader sent to you about the column you wrote the other day. Be nice to others and don’t forget to be nice to yourself. Because maybe you didn’t catch this bad-mood bug from anyone else. Maybe it started with you. Thanks for reading with me. It’s so good to read with friends. Suzanne Beecher provides the online book club for the Douglas Country Library sponsored by The Senior Times in cooperation with the Friends of the Library. Contact her at or your library branch to sign up for the book club.

Spanish version of Social Security website is muy facil


have good news to share with the millions of Americans who prefer to conduct business in Spanish. You can now apply online for Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits totally in Spanish. Go to and you will be able to take advantage of other online services offered in our language. For years, Social Security has been at the forefront of providing online services for Americans, offering a wealth of information in Spanish. I want to tell you about the expanded suite of services offered in our language. Let’s say that you are ready to apply for

Social Security retirement benefits. What would you think if I told you that you could do it online in only 15 minutes? Once you complete the online application and “sign” it with the click of a key, your application is complete. In most cases there are no documents to submit or additional paperwork to fill out. It’s the easiest way to do this transaction, and now it’s available in Spanish. You can also go to the site to apply for Medicare, a process that will take about 10 minutes. If you are already receiving Medicare and are having trouble with the high cost

of drugs that have been prescribed, you might qualify for extra help from Social Security. The extra help can save you as much as $4,000 each year. Applications and more information are available on the website. If you are not ready to retire but want to get an immediate, personalized estimate of your Social Security benefit, try the Retirement Estimator. Using the actual wages posted in your Social Security record, the Estimator gives you a good picture of what to expect in retirement. You can type in different situations and put in different amounts of wages to get

the estimates that can help you plan your life. There is a lot of information in Spanish at, and you can conduct a lot of Social Security business online from the convenience and comfort of your home or office computer. Need help getting started on the computer? Ask your children or grandchildren to help you. Don Francisco is a volunteer spokesman for the Social Security Administration. The English version of the program’s website is at

Monday, December 5, 2011–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Page 5

Suspense, lessons on courage power monster tale


announce: “L. Joe Bean has been captured hat child doesn’t like a monster by the Cave Monster!” story? I read this book to Misty “Oh, no! We must rescue him!” Lima Davis’ first-grade class, along Bear ran to the door and called for their with three other first-grade classes that friends, Maskamal the raccoon and Backwanted to join us at Brockway Elementary Back the opossum. Back-Back was differSchool. The children sat on the floor with ent from other opossums for he had no their big eyes sparkling and big smiles on back. He was invisible and couldn’t be their faces, waiting patiently seen if you were behind for me to start the story. him. “First, close your eyes. They discussed and What do you see when I say argued about how to save L. the word ‘monster’?” I asked Joe Bean. They were all the children. Each child tried afraid to go in the black to tell me at the same time. cave and knew perfectly Everyone imagined a differwell that’s where “The Cave ent-looking monster and Monster” had taking their expressed scary thoughts friend. How would they resabout monsters. They liked Reading Grandma cue him? Someone had to the story before I even began go into that black cave. reading it. Kids love monster Maskamal stammered, “I d-d-don’t stories and can’t wait to hear them. wanna go in there!” We spent some time talking about caves Back-Back shivered and shook his head, and what kind of animals live there. To my “Me neither.” surprise, many of the children responded Lima Bear pulled himself up to his tallest with good answers. and swallowed hard, “We have to save L. Now we were ready for the story. Lima Joe Bean!” Bear was waiting for his cousin, L. Joe It was finally decided they would come Bean, to arrive. L. Joe Bean was a bear, back later when it was dark. Then maybe, and tiny like Lima Bear. He was smooth if the Cave Monster were sleeping, they and dark red and looked like a pinto bean, could sneak in and grab L. Joe Bean. instead of a lima bean, like Lima Bear. At They met again just before nightfall. Litonce Whistle Toe the rabbit dashed in to

Della Neavoll

The Cave Monster By Thomas Weck and Peter Weck Lima Bear Press $15.95 hardcover tle Lima Bear stood up tall and said he would go in first and that gave everyone courage. They entered the cave and saw L. Joe Bean tied up near a pot of boiling water. Then they heard a huge roar and saw the Cave Monster. What happens

next? The children of Brockway Elementary School couldn’t wait for the end of the story, and neither will your grandchildren. This was a great, exciting book from Thomas Weck and Peter Weck, a fatherand-son team of writers. I recommend it for any child who loves danger, suspense and fun. “The Cave Monster” also reinforces the value of friendship, courage, and appreciation for others who look and think differently. Thomas Weck is a creative and captivating national award-winning author of children’s books. He has traveled extensively in the U. S. and in foreign countries, and taught children through the Peace Corps. He has four children of his own. Peter Weck grew up enjoying his father’s stories of Lima Bear and his friends. He is on the board of the Menlo Park Library Foundation and is CEO of StoryJumper, a web-based company that enables anyone to create and illustrate children’s stories. Len DiSalvo is the illustrator. He teaches at the Art Center design College in Tucson, Arizona. Della Neavoll is the Reading Grandma who reviews children’s books.

First trip to the picture show generated a mixed response

At Linus


Princess, no money was needed, possibly oy erupted easily among us girls in the because the owner was the father of a girl fourth grade when the teacher in our class. I noticed on each side of the announced our class would plan to center aisle there were folding chairs bolted attend a moving picture on a school aftertogether in precise rows. noon. What the boys thought was difficult A piano was placed to the left side of an to guess, since they did not react as we did. elevated screen. After quickly They often needed to ponder being seated, we had our a change in routine. attention drawn to watching Since my first and only the movement of the actors experience seeing silent movwhile we also read the largeing pictures had been in an letter words to explain what automobile showroom viewthey were saying. Piano ing a large white area on one music was played by an adult wall, I was eager to enter the to accompany the film, which initial Princess movie theater. helped stimulate our imaginaIt occupied a single-width corner store space that faced Memory Moments tions. did we see during this What the central town square. memorable first moving picThe plan was for us to ture show? We were entertained by the walk together the six blocks from our school to the downtown area. I presume we “Romeo and Juliet” screenplay. At least the girls were. What the boys thought, given had been told to inform our parents, and that they might have expected rougher and probably the teacher gave us some literary background about the drama we would see. tougher action, I never knew. Their downcast demeanor did not match our joy and But it was the excitement we girls generatsadness as we absorbed the complicated ed that was the fuel that caused a clear love story. memory to remain with me. On a warm spring afternoon in 1929, we Laura Kruse shares her reminiscing 30 students chose a partner and followed about life with readers of The Senior the teacher, happy to stroll the neighborTimes. hood sidewalks. As we entered the

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Page 6–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Monday, December 5, 2011

Hold your parents close, in life or in memory


n order to age gracefully, you must be Gerontology Research Group. The group verifies and debunks claims of super-cenfully committed to the idea that you tenarians; those age 110 or more. are only as old as you think, rather Delma has outlived her parents, both of than as old as you feel. The aches and whom lived into their 90s. Two of her pains, the failing eyesight, sleepless three children died in their 60s. nights and, of course, the onslaught of Her remaining daughter is 87 years wrinkles and shifting of body parts tempt old. Delma brags on her six us to redefine the quality of grandchildren, 10 greatlife. grandchildren, 11 greatAll of us have had morngreats and one great-greatings we heard more creaks great grandchild, all of in our bones than in the whom she still recognizes. floor. She delights in the simple To avoid the noise of age, pleasures of eating chocowe color the gray, moisturlate, especially M&Ms. ize, nip and tuck. Even men Celebrated poet and are turning back the clock. author Maya Angelou Like the Dylan Thomas Wise Grandma spoke with simple, honest classic, the boomer generawisdom to Oprah Winfrey tion is being well noted for not going gently or quietly into that good during an interview on the inevitability of growing old. night. But despite the warnings from our She talked candidly about the daily elders that growing old is not for sissies, we hopefully arrive at our scheduled des- body changes. Her breasts seemed to be racing to see which would reach her tination — old age. waist first, she said. Delma Kollar of Creswell has defied But Angelou made one remark I found all the odds, celebrated her 114th birthto be quite revealing. It is perhaps the day on Halloween. secret to youthful aging. Delma is Oregon’s oldest resident and I’ve learned that regardless of your is ranked as the world’s fifth-oldest perrelationship with your parents, you’ll son, according to the Los Angeles-based

Eularee Smith

miss them when they’re gone from your life,” she said. My mother-in-law, who is 90 years old, had hip replacement surgery in October. While she was struggling in the rehabilitation facility, she looked up at me and said, “No matter how old I am, I still miss my mother.” When I was a teenager, I demanded to buy my own toothpaste, pay my way through college, in essence, be my own person. It has come to be a funny memory of teenage rebellion, but recently it gave me pause for thought. After I had a terrible bout with the flu in September, my father sent me a check in the mail, with a note that read: “Go get a flu shot. That is an order.” Once a Marine, always a Marine. That is how my father expressed his last word on any subject. But once my father, he is always my father, no matter how old I am. As I turned my head away from the encroaching needle, my thoughts were. “Ouch, I wish my Mom was here.” Despite the fact that Mother’s and Father’s Day are still six months away, I speak of them now at Christmas because I am a Christmas baby. No, I wasn’t born on Christmas day, or

even in the season of Christmas, but rather on September 25th, nine months later. Which means that I was conceived in the most joyous season of the year and maybe even the most magical day of the year. My parents gave me the gift of life on Christmas 1950. I am most grateful for this rare and precious gift. Angelou speaks of a universal truth. At age 18, when I wanted to buy my own toothpaste; at age 39, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer; even now at age 60, when I am getting a flu shot — my first thoughts are of my parents. Since my childhood friends’ mother died, we have often talked of the many times they went to pick up the phone to call her. I believe our parents are the secret of the fountain of youth. When we think of them, we are suddenly and miraculously young again. This Christmas I will celebrate my parents as the true gift that keeps on giving. That is what a wise grandma would do. Eularee Smith is the proud daughter of Bill Duncan. She is grateful for the kindness of so many who loved her father and for the caring support for her mother, Ada Duncan. Smith will miss her father every day of her life. Semper fi.

City continues creating access for elderly
ALBANY (AP) — Albany is making progress in its effort to make it easier for the disabled, especially people in wheelchairs and also the aged, to get around. “Its incredibly slow to make an entire community fully accessible,” City Manager Wes Hare says. “And expensive.” But there’s movement. In March 2010, the city council got a report pointing out numerous potential trouble spots in city buildings and recommending changes. Most of those things now have been fixed, says Lisa Bennett, an employee in the Community Development Department and the city’s coordinator for work connected with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The federal law, passed during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, aims to make sure that people with disabilities get as much help as possible in moving about and using public facilities. “Most people think of wheelchair users when ADA is mentioned,” Bennett said, “but in our review and inspections, we also plan for our older population, as about half of people 65 and older have some kind of disability.’” Bennett, currently on maternity leave but at work briefly last week, says the city’s ADA efforts now are driven mostly by complaints. If people point out problem spots as far as accessibility is concerned, she checks them out and recommends action. Albany has paid greater attention to the issue of accessibility for about four years, Bennett said. “We’re doing quite well,” she added. “Especially compared to some other cities, we’re doing quite well.” For the next two or three years, city plans include dealing with curb ramps, making sure the ramps exist and work as intended, according to Bennett. Albany’s capital improvement plan calls for spending more than half a million dollars from 2012 through the 2015 fiscal year on ADA improvements, starting with six blocks of Madison Street S.E. in the coming budget year. The plan calls for replacing 10 curb ramps and repairing heaved-up and broken sidewalks on Madison near Lafayette Elementary School. The Madison Street schedule is the result of citizen complaints, Bennett said. The following two years, the plan calls for improvements at 21 bus stops around town, building new curb ramps, shelters or other improvements. Bennett notes that fixing problems is only part of the job. The city, she said, also makes sure new construction complies with ADA, and she points to the sidewalks near the Walmart store set to open in early 2012.

Monday, December 5, 2011–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Page 7

A desire to serve may spark bigger-picture travel


social uplifting travel. Churches do misontemplating your travel plans for 2012? Humanitarian travel is gain- sion trips; service organizations such as Rotary and Lions Club travel our country ing popularity, as more and more and the world offering service. The people who want to see the world also Internet is full of information about want to give back in some way. organizations that offer rewarding In my years of travel, my fondest humanitarian experiences. memories have been when I was You don’t need be a docinvolved in a service projtor, a teacher or a builder. ect. Any time I escorted There are many babies in groups to developing the world who have never countries, I always includbeen held, and I know peoed an opportunity to work ple who have simply rocked side by side with locals, to babies in orphanages. serve them in some way. Humanitarian service One of the happiest days travel doesn’t need to be a of my life was spent at the big time commitment either. Rift Valley Children’s VilSome organizations ask for lage in Tanzania, Africa, Around the World a week or two of your time, squatting in a shallow river others only a day or two. helping care-giving women Whatever you give, you will never forget wash clothes on rocks. Those beautiful, hardworking, weather- and you will receive so much more in return. beaten women spoke no English and I For my good friend, Shaun Parry, a spoke no Swahili, but by the end of the Broadway singer, actor, and dancer, servday we knew many things about each ing others became a life-changing experiother — mostly that we were sisters in ence. serving. Saying goodbye to them was On Sept. 11, 2001, while living in tearful. I still carry their faces in my New York City, Shaun had no search and mind and their goodness in my heart. I rescue training. But because he was only hope they remember me as well. much more limber than the firefighters, There are countless opportunities for

Gloria Johnson

he was able to slip through huge caverns underneath the devastation with a fiberoptic scope. He utilized his dance talents in a way he could never have imagined by assisting in finding nine people alive before searchers were forced to evacuate. After that experience, Shaun knew he had to do something with his life that left a mark on the world. In 2004 he met a dancer from Peru who invited him to teach classes in her Lima dance studio. A three-week agreement turned into three months as the two dancers worked with hungry kids from the Lima slum. The children were hungry for food, but they were even hungrier for direction, discipline and self-confidence. As the students progressed, they found jobs and returned to school. It was then that Shaun realized that he would offer this type of experience to children all over the world. And so he founded Promethean Spark — a nonprofit organization that uses dance to improve the lives of neglected and troubled young people in developing countries. While very rewarding, humanitarian service travel is definitely different than traditional travel. In making your decision, ask yourself the following questions:

• Am I willing to offer my skills and interests to a community needing help? • Can I accept direction and instruction from program leaders and from local leaders? • Can I work as a team member and place the interest of the team ahead of my personal interests? • Do I enjoy learning about new cultures and unfamiliar lifestyles? • Am I able to adjust to unfamiliar settings and unknown circumstances? • In the case of medical /dental programs, can I work in difficult circumstances and settings, at times with a shortage of equipment or supplies? Some may ask, why go across the planet to serve when there is so much need in my own town? I agree, there is need everywhere, and as a human being we can enrich our own lives and that of others by offering our time and talents anywhere. Whether the service is offered locally or internationally, to me it is all the same. Gloria Johnson is a Douglas Countybased tour conductor and world traveler. Contact for details about upcoming group trips.


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Page 8–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Monday, December 5, 2011

December offers a wealth of volunteer opportunities
ADA DUNCAN For The Senior Times


s the community struggles to find funding for many of the programs we all take for granted, our outstanding library system is at risk. While others take the lead with projects that will generate financial resources, there are some hands-on tasks volunteers can do to keep the quality of that resource intact. As you assess that critical need, consider helping to cover new books with plastic coating for two hours once a week, on Wednesday, Friday or Saturday. Call Francesca at 541-440-4314 or Sam at 541-492-3917 and let them know you are willing to do your part. Others who need your help include: The Foster Grandparent Program is looking for volunteers in Oakland, Myrtle Creek, and Roseburg to help children gain basic skills in reading, critical thinking, positive behavior. Training as well as a tax-free stipend and mileage reimbursement are available. Service is in a public school or youth-oriented nonprofit center in your community and requires 15 hours per week. Please contact Berta at 541492-3520 for details. The Senior Companion Program needs you to visit with frail elders, take them to

the doctor or shopping. Volunteers earn an hourly tax-free stipend, mileage and meal reimbursement. You will be required to volunteer a minimum of 15 hours per week. Volunteers are needed in Roseburg, Yoncalla, and Sutherlin. Call Berta at 541-492-3520. The Family Caregiver Support Program is offering a two-day training workshop to certify class leaders in the class series called “Powerful Tools of Caregiving.” Certified volunteers teach classes for family caregivers in four-hour sessions one day a week for six weeks. Also needed are monthly helpers for four-hour sessions with the newsletter. If either opportunity is for you, call Nancy at 541440-3677 or Sam at 541-492-3917. The Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center needs people to take patients to and from VA appointments in the Roseburg area. Volunteers will drive the VA van. You will receive training and have a tuberculosis test. Call Voluntary Services at 541-440-1000 or Sam at 541-492-3917 for requirements. Douglas County Cancer Services wants volunteers to greet patients and help them with financial and personal needs. Call Dodie 541-459-1512 or Sam at 541492-3917. Sutherlin Senior Center Meals on Wheels needs volunteers to serve meals

on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Duties also include dishwashing, janitorial tasks, or delivering meals to the homebound. Sign up with Kendra at 541-459-9405 or Sam at 541-492-3917. Umpqua Valley Rehab and Care Center is looking for someone to lead a ceramics workshop for the residents any day or time. The center also is seeking a man who can relate to the interests of the male residents and would like to visit with them. For more information, call Gina at 541- 464-7108 or Sam at 541-492-3917. United Community Action Network needs helpers to coach clients with recovery, including personal finance; classes on cooking and nutrition; housekeeping responsibilities as well as transporting clients who need food boxes and assisting on the MOVES van. Call at Sam 541-492-3917. UCAN’s food bank is looking for volunteers to pick up supplies from various donors, drive the food bank truck, or put orders together for distribution in the warehouse. Call Jeanine at 541-4923524 or Sam at 541-492-3917. UCAN TransLink is looking for one or two full-time volunteer drivers for Medicaid transportation Monday through Friday. Volunteers use their own vehicles. Mileage reimbursement is available. For details, call Cheryl at 541-440-6500 or

Sam at 541-492-3917. Dial-A-Ride needs drivers to provide transportation in their own communities, to the grocery store, doctor appointments and to the Senior Centers for lunch three times a week. Each community has a fleet of vehicles, so using your own is not necessary. Communities needing you are Winston, Sutherlin and Reedsport. Call Sam at 541-492-3917 for an appointment. Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center is looking for a clinic assistant technician on Monday or Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Duties include prepping for surgery, assisting the doctor and recovery needs. A front office person to greet clients, answer phones, and other duties is also needed. To learn more, call Amy at 541673-3907 or Sam at 541-492-3917. Umpqua Valley Arts Center is looking for volunteers on Saturdays to greet visitors and acquaint them with the exhibits, as well as answer phones or other tasks. Call the arts center at 541-672-2532 or Sam at 541-492-3917 to learn more. Boy Scout troops need your help to coordinate duties of parents and other volunteers under the direction of the Scoutmaster or district leader. Commitment requires one meeting per week, from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays. If you fit the bill, call Sam at 541-492-3917.


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Monday, December 5, 2011–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Page 9

Dreaming of a brown Christmas
You could use any type of nut. Try ecember is the season for giving. toasted almonds or roasted peanuts. The And this month I hope to give salt needs to have a bit of texture, so a you a gift of chocolate. coarse salt, like kosher salt, or some of Usually sweets are discouraged as being unhealthy. Fortunately, research the coarser sea salts, would work well. has consistently found that chocolate is Melting chocolate can be tricky. The associated with heart health traditional method is to put by lowering blood pressure chocolate in a bowl that is and decreasing “bad” chothen placed over a pan of lesterol. simmering water. It seems that this is due to You need to take care not a whole host of plant comto allow any moisture, pounds called phytochemiwater or steam, to get into cals, and chocolate has the chocolate. Otherwise, more than 300 of these. the chocolate will “seize” Nancy Not just any chocolate has and become one big, stiff, these health benefits. Stick Goodale-Graham gooey mess. I like to melt with chocolate that has more my chocolate in the Nutrition than 70% cacao. That microwave to avoid that excludes white chocolate, possibility. milk chocolate, cocoa powder and Melting chocolate in the microwave chocolate syrup. takes patience. Chocolate can look like it It doesn’t take much dark chocolate to is not melting, as it tends to hold its achieve these heart health benefits. One shape as it heats. Be sure to stir the recent study published in the Journal of chocolate every 15 to 30 seconds. the American Medical Association Stirring the chocolate is needed to disshowed that eating a daily portion of tribute the heated chocolate with the about 30 calories (about one-quarter of unmelted chocolate to get a wonderfully an ounce) of dark chocolate was assocismooth chocolate. ated with lowering blood pressure withBe warned — this chocolate bark will out weight gain or other adverse effects. melt when you hold it in your hand, so So here is a simple recipe that is both take just a small amount to pop in your delicious and nutritious. I made this with mouth. Have a wonderful holiday season 72 percent cacao chocolate and pistaand enjoy! chios. You could experiment with higher percentages of dark chocolate, but I find that 80 percent or higher cacao doesn’t have the lovely silky texture that is typically associated with chocolate. Nancy Goodale Graham is a registered dietitian at Cardiovascular Wellness and Rehabilitation at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield.

Pets can make a difference in the lives of senior citizens
PERU, Ill. (AP) — It’s long been said that having a pet can extend one’s life, but for many aging people illnesses or a move into an assisted living facility can mean saying goodbye to a beloved pet. Kathy Copeland, now a resident of Manor Court Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Peru, lived much of her life in Peru and Spring Valley, usually with a pet in her home. “I always had animals. Dogs, cats, a chinchilla, a rabbit — not all at one time,” she said. But after suffering a stroke and having diabetes-related health problems it became necessary for her to move into a facility. “I had a dog, a lab. He was my last dog before I came into the home,” she said. It can be difficult saying goodbye to an animal that you’ve grown attached to, Copeland said, but she was able to give her pet, who was beginning to show signs of health concerns as well, to her brother’s family. Knowing that his sister had spent much of her life caring for animals, her brother gave her a canary as a pet she could take with her to the first nursing home she moved into, Copeland said. “When I came here. ‘Oh, what am I going to do? Can I bring him?’” she remembers worrying at the time when she was moving to Manor Court. She now has been living for a number of years in her room at Manor Court just down the hall from the activity room where the canary is caged. Named Mohawk for the tuft of feathers on top of his head, the yellow canary is regularly visited by Copeland and the other residents of the home. “He’s good entertainment. I mean not just for me, for the other residents,” she said. Just talking about the bird elicits great laughs and a smile from Copeland. “He loves apples, he loves graham crackers,” she said. “He’s a little boy and a he’s a messy little boy,” she later said with a laugh. Living in a nursing home isn’t always entertaining, according to Copeland, but having Mohawk nearby means she always has something to see. “When I get upset a lot of times I go in and talk to him. He’s not going to tell anyone,” she said. Although her physical conditions limit
Please see PETS, page 10


Mercy Medical Center

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Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios
Adapted from Whole Living November 2011 Cooking spray 8 ounces of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped or broken into small bits 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt Spray an 8-inch-by-8-inch pan with cooking spray and then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a small overhang. Set aside while you melt the chocolate. To melt the chocolate, place the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl. Heat on high for 15 seconds, stir, then heat again for 15 seconds. Continue the 15 seconds/stir routine until the chocolate is melted. (Be patient! This can take up to five minutes.) Pour the melted chocolate in the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula into an even layer. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios and coarse salt over the chocolate. Chill the pan in the refrigerator until completely set, about an hour. Peel off the parchment paper and break into pieces. Makes eight 1-ounce servings Per serving: 190 Calories; 14 g Fat; 7 g Saturate Fat; 14 g Carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 3 g Fiber; 70 mg Sodium

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Page 10–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Monday, December 5, 2011

Medicare recipients will ring in new year with better benefits
RON POLLACK At the end of October, people with Medicare got a welcome bit of good news. The agency that runs Medicare announced that Part B premiums will increase by much less than expected. In 2012, Medicare premiums for most people will increase by only $3.50 a month, up from $96.40 to $99.90. While this will be the first increase in Medicare premiums in several years, it should be noted that this new premium is considerably lower than the $107 that had been predicted last spring. Premiums were frozen in 2010 and 2011 because there has been no cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits for the past two years due to the slow economy. Federal law states that when Social Security benefits do not increase, there can be no increase in Medicare premiums. Happily, in 2012, Social Security benefits will at last increase by 3.6 percent starting in January. Let’s put this in real terms. The average Social Security benefit for a retiree in 2011 is $1,186 per month. That will increase in 2012 by about $43 per month. Of that increase, only $3.50 will go towards Medicare premiums. It should be remembered that for most people, the Medicare premium is automatically deducted from their Social Security payments. The rest stays in people’s pockets, giving them some real financial help in these tough times. Some important details: • Most people who have joined Medicare in 2010 or 2011 will actually see a premium decrease. Their premiums have been unusually high in order to offset the freeze in everyone else’s Medicare premiums during the past two years. • If you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan, your plan may charge an additional premium. • If you have Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, you pay a separate additional premium set by your plan. • Finally, high-income people (those whose annual incomes are above $85,000 for an individual or $170,000 for a couple) pay higher premiums. This very modest Medicare premium increase is particularly impressive, considering that Medicare coverage has actually gotten better in the past year. In 2011, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare started covering most preventive services for free as well as offering an annual wellness visit. Prescription drug coverage has also improved. Yet costs have remained under control. So what’s going on? Some of the lowerthan-expected costs are due to simple math. With Social Security benefits finally increasing, the costs of Medicare can be spread more evenly across all beneficiaries. But that’s only part of the story. The Affordable Care Act made a lot of changes to Medicare and the health care system to make costs more manageable. Fully implementing these changes will take years, but it looks like they are already having an effect. Medicare’s overpayments to private insurance companies are dropping. Efforts to eliminate unnecessary care, such as better discharge planning so that people don’t need to return to the hospital after surgery, are starting to take root around the country. And stepped-up prosecution of the criminals who defraud Medicare is paying dividends. If you have limited income, check to see if you might qualify for additional help with your Part B or Part D premiums and costs. You can get information from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program, which you can find by calling 1-800-MEDICARE and asking for a referral, or go to the Social Security website at We still have a long way to go before health care is affordable for everyone. But as we head into 2012, there are some encouraging signs that we’re on the right track. • Ron Pollack is executive director of Families USA.

Anna Dyer, a resident of Colonial Hall Care Center in Princeton, Ill., pets Tigger, a cat in Deb Morelands Furry Friends traveling petting zoo, on a recent visit to the center. Visits from Moreland’s animals bring a bit of joy to the seniors living in facilities around the area.
AP photo


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the amount of care she’s able to provide Mohawk, she does what she can and the Manor Court activity staff takes care of the rest. Patsy Wolsfeld, a resident of Colonial Hall Care Center in Princeton, had a similar experience to Copeland. “I’ve had in my house everything you can think of except snakes and spiders,” Wolsfeld said. Before moving into Colonial Hall, she was a widow living in a large home with her two Chihuahuas. “I couldn’t take care of them myself,” she said. The transition of moving away from her dogs was difficult. “I missed them like I would one of my kids,” she said. Luckily for Wolsfeld, her son, Frank, who lives just minutes away from the nursing home, took her dogs. She’s now able to visit them regularly whenever she goes to her son’s family’s home. “Most of the time there’s a family member that will step up,” said local veterinarian Dr. Stephen Dullard. When there isn’t a family member or friend able to help take over care of a pet, veterinary clinics, animal rescue groups and others have helped find homes for pets whose owners have reached a point where they can no longer provide adequate care. “I think it springs up on people and, of course, no one wants to take it to a shelter because they’re overcrowded too,” said Tana Shaw of rural Mendota. An assistant at Dullard’s Ancare Veterinary Clinic and owner of North of the Rick Alpacas, Shaw has often taken home animals for people who have been unable to care for them either because of age, illness, or changing financial situations. Relying on her personal network of friends and, increasingly, social networking sites, she often finds new homes for these pets, although she only gives the pets to families she knows can take care of them. It’s also becoming more common for

people to plan for their pet’s future by including them in their wills, either by setting up a trust for the pet’s care or outlining a care plan with family or friends. The AARP website recently included an article with advice on setting up a trust for a pet. The article advised detailing specific care plans for the pet as well as saving for a fund that can cover the pet’s food, medical needs and supplies. A couple local veterinarians said they have even heard of people including macabre requests in their wills to have their pets euthanized and buried with them when they die — something the vets don’t recommend, particularly in the case of healthy animals. While planning for a pet’s care may mean a little extra work, few animal lovers would say older people should not consider having a pet. “I think more people should have pets than they do,” said Deb Moreland, who operates Furry Friends, a traveling petting zoo. “I think they’re really missing out on something. So I won’t say the older generation should give up their pets.” Wolsfeld, like many residents of local nursing homes and similar facilities, gets the benefit of frequent visits from Moreland and her Furry Friends. “Hey, you little monkey,” Wolsfeld laughed as Moreland’s Chihuaha, Yoda, climbed up her chest on began licking her face during a recent visit. On the recent visit to Colonial Hall, Moreland walked the center’s corridors with her entourage of animals, including Yoda, Cody the Husky, Grace the deer, Cuddles the chinchilla, Lulu the guinea pig, Sam the rabbit, Petunia the skunk and Tigger the cat. Moreland and her menagerie stopped in rooms spreading a little joy wherever they went. For Wolsfeld, who has a reputation for treating the animals with bits of food saved from her meals, Moreland’s dogs and deer quickly responded, edging up to her when they entered her room. The animals seem to have a gift for recognizing the agility and energy level of each resident and adjust their behavior to match the situation.

Monday, December 5, 2011–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Page 11

Study by Cambridge University In England Reveals Key Answer
Until recently, there was no practical way to identify dead regions of hearing cells in the ear. However, a new British-developed procedure using standard test equipment now allows for identification of dead hearing cell regions. The study suggests that the presence or absence of dead regions may have serious implications in the fitting of hearing aids. This research reveals that amplifying dead cells is a mistake which will result in poorer speech understanding in noise. A new type of digitally programmable microcircuit is now being released from Starkey—the world leader in nanoSciencetechnology—that can be programmed to bypass the dead cells. As a result, the patient’s usable hearing cells receive amplification, thereby improving speech understanding in noise. “We are employing a like method in our diagnostic sound booths using

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a sound field speech in noise procedure,” said Linda Knisley of All American Hearing. “This test simulates hearing in a noisy crowd. We are able to determine maximum speech understanding by frequency shaping

this new hearing aid.” The results have been phenomenal. For the first time, a patient is able to actually realize the exact percentage of speech understanding improvement in noisy listening environments.

These new products come in all shell sizes, including the smallest digital models. During its release, Starkey is offering this new frequency shaping hearing instrument on a 30 day satisfaction trial.

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Page 12–The News-Review, Senior Times

Roseburg Oregon, Monday, December 5, 2011

“I’ve never seen a more skilled ophthalmologist than Dr.Weston.”
Retired Roseburg ophthalmologist John Unruh was back in the operating room recently, this time as a patient of Dr. Jon-Marc Weston. “I’ve observed cataract procedures all over the world, and I’ve never seen a better surgeon,” Unruh said. “I now have perfect vision!” When asked about operating on Unruh, Weston said, “During his career, Unruh was the first in Oregon to perform modern cataract surgery. It is now considered the standard of care, and it was an honor to restore his vision using the technology he pioneered.”


Douglas County’s Specialists in:
• Cataracts • Glaucoma • Macular Degeneration • Dry Eyes / Low Vision

Jon-Marc Weston, MD, FACS Steven Tronnes, OD, FAAO
Medicare Assignment Accepted | Certified Ambulatory Surgical Facility