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Presidential candidates, will you accept this rose?

President Obama may no longer be a candidate for public office, but you’d never know it judging by the recent White House schedule.
Yes, it’s tradition to trade zingers with other politicians, as Obama did at the recent Gridiron Club banquet in Washington. But, prior to that, perhaps in an effort to refine his comedic timing, the Commander in Chief popped up on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to participate in “Mean Tweets,” the talk show host’s popular segment where celebrities stare at their (hopefully secure) cell phones and read insulting, condescending comments composed by Twitter users. The funniest? “A 30-rack of Coors Light is now $23 at Sun Stop. Thanks Obama.”
As the lines of politics and entertainment become even more blurred, one can only wonder what the 2016 crops of presidential hopefuls will resort to as they campaign for the nation’s highest office. Seeing how easy it was for Kimmel to insert Obama into a wacky segment, it seems only a matter of time before other popular shows enter the fray. Oh heck, let’s just abandon our nation’s tried-and-true electoral process right now and choose a president using components from television’s highest rated reality shows.
We’ll begin in Iowa, a state still trying to explain what a “caucus” is and why its winners usually flame out faster than Paris Hilton’s movie career. Just ask Tom Harkin (winner 1992) and Richard Gephardt (1988). In 2016, the caucus will be renamed the Iowa Rose Ceremony; the top five vote getters from each party accept flowers in a Cedar Rapids barn while losing candidates weep, roll their eyes and make condescending comments about the winners, the state of Iowa and the entire political process before driving away on tractors, signaling their withdrawals from the race.
Remaining candidates are immediately whisked to a remote island and divided into two tribes … BUT WITH A TWIST! Each tribe contains members of both parties in an effort to see how they will work together. Tempers flare when Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul can’t agree on how to build a fire. Dr. Ben Carson withdraws from the competition, fearing that spending 40 days on an island could make him gay.
Once a single member from each party is crowned champion, the two select running mates. Potential vice presidents stand on a dimly lit stage and are given 90 seconds to state why they should be chosen. The presidential candidates sit in high-backed chairs listening to, but not seeing, the speeches. If they hear an intriguing idea, or even a well formed sentence or two, they push a large red button. Their chair swivels around and they come face to face with possible holders of the nation’s second highest office.
Network news anchors are given election night off. There are no exit polls, vote tallies nor predictions that it will all come down to Florida. Instead, both candidates sit on opposite sides of Maury Povich. At precisely midnight, Povich turns to the losing candidate and boldly exclaims, “You are NOT the president!”
The newly elected free world leader immediately flies to Los Angeles to compete on “Dancing with the Stars.” Meanwhile, all other candidates assemble in front of a live studio audience for C-SPAN’s highest rated show:
“After the Election: Losers Tell All.”
(c) 2015 GREG SCHWEM. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC

 

Dear Savvy Senior, I’ve heard that Social Security offers a lump-sum payment to retirees who need some extra cash. I have not yet started drawing my benefits and would like to investigate this option. What can you tell me? Almost Retired

 

Dear Almost,
There are actually two different kinds of Social Security claiming strategies that can provide retirees a big lump-sum benefit, but you need to be past full retirement age to be eligible, and there are financial drawbacks you need to be aware of too.
First, let’s review the basics. Remember that while workers can begin drawing their Social Security retirement benefits anytime between ages 62 and 70, full retirement age is currently 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954, but it rises in two-month increments to 67 for those born in 1960 and later. You can find your full retirement age at ssa.gov/pubs/ageincrease.htm.
At full retirement age, you are entitled to 100 percent of your benefits. If you claim earlier you’ll receive less, while if you delay you’ll get more – roughly 8 percent more for each year until age 70.
Lump Sum Options
If you are past full retirement age, and have not yet filed for your benefits, the Social Security Administration offers a retroactive lump-sum payment that’s worth six months of benefits.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you were planning to delay taking your Social Security benefits past age 66, but you changed your mind at 66 and six months. You could then claim a lump-sum payment equal to those six months of benefits. So, for instance, if your full retirement age benefit were $2,000, you would be entitled to a $12,000 lump sum payment.
If you decided at age 66 and four months that you wanted to file retroactively, you’d get only four months’ worth of benefits in your lump sum, because SSA rules prohibit you from claiming benefits that pre-date your full retirement age.
Another option that provides even more cash is the “file and suspend” strategy. Again, this option is only available to people on (or after) full retirement age.
Here’s how this strategy works. Let’s say you’re 66, and you decide to delay your benefits. You could file for your benefit and then immediately suspend it. This gives you the ability to collect a lump sum going back to the date you filed. So if you need money at age 69 for example, and your full retirement age benefit was $2,000, you could get a three-year lump sum of $72,000.
Drawbacks
The big downside to these strategies is that once you accept a lump-sum payment, you’ll lose all the delayed retirement credits you’ve accrued, and your future monthly retirement benefit will be reduced to reflect the amount you already received.
Here’s an example of how this works. Let’s say that you are entitled to a $2,480 monthly benefit at age 69. By taking a three-year lump sum payment, your future benefits will shrink back to $2,000 per month, which is what you would have received at your full retirement age. This also affects your future survivor benefit to your spouse or other eligible family members after you die.
You also need to consider Uncle Sam. Depending on your income, Social Security benefits may be taxable, and a lump-sum payment could boost the amount of benefits that are taxed. To help you calculate this, see IRS Publication 915 “Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits” at irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p915.pdf, or call 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail you a copy.
One other caveat: If you’re married and you “file and suspend” your Social Security benefit, you cannot file a “restricted application” too, which gives you the ability to collect spousal benefits while delaying your own retirement benefit past full retirement age.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

The INTEGRIS James L. Hall, Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit and the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum are hosting a private reception and presentation in remembrance of the 20th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
With the recent expansion of the Memorial, guests will enjoy private tours, wine, hors d’oeuvres and music followed by a presentation from the Center’s Murali Krishna, M.D.  Krishna, president and chief operating officer of INTEGRIS Mental Health and president and co-founder of the James L. Hall, Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit, was on the front lines that day and days that followed. “I have seen it with my own eyes,” recalls Krishna. “Oklahomans are the kindest people on earth. I have seen acts of kindness, acts of compassion – nowhere could top it. I have seen Oklahoma City rise to vibrancy following the acts of terror on April 19, 1995.”
In honor and service of the Oklahoma Standard, Krishna will share his insights and recognize our city for the resilience and growth it has demonstrated during the last 20 years.
The event will take place Thursday, April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, 620 N. Harvey in Oklahoma City.
Ticket cost is $50.00 per person, $500.00 per sponsorship. Victims, family members, survivors and rescue workers are invited to Krishna’s presentation free of charge. Reservations are required. For more information, please contact the INTEGRIS James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit at 405-713-9950.

Unlike some conditions, heart failure must be managed by patients taking prescriptions for the rest of their lives. Individuals who do not take their heart medication as prescribed have increased risks of mortality and hospitalization and higher health care costs. Numerous interventions have been designed to increase patients’ adherence to medications; yet, no research has determined what intervention techniques are most effective. Now, a University of Missouri researcher found that interventions to encourage patients to take their medications as prescribed were most effective when focused on changing the behavior of patients rather than the behavior of health care providers.
“Previous research has shown that 50 percent of patients who take medications long term do not take them as prescribed,” said Todd Ruppar, assistant professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “This study helps identify aspects of different interventions that contribute to better patient outcomes so that more effective interventions can be developed.”
Ruppar and his colleagues compared characteristics of 29 medication adherence interventions for individuals who were not taking their heart medication as prescribed. The researchers found that interventions directed at health care providers or education-based interventions that focused on teaching individuals about their medications were less effective than interventions that focused on changing the behavior of patients.
“These findings reinforce the need for health care professionals to maintain a patient-centered focus when developing strategies to improve heart failure medication adherence,” Ruppar said. “Medication adherence has to be a team effort. Many different reasons exist to explain why individuals are not taking their medications as prescribed; health providers must consider all of these reasons.”
Health providers also must improve their skills for addressing non-adherence to medications with their patients, Ruppar said.
“Heart disease is a consistent top-killer in the U.S. and medication is essential to managing individuals’ conditions and controlling their risks for problems such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease,” Ruppar said. “Medication adherence is essential to reducing the risks associated with this disease.”
Ruppar says individuals who skip medication doses, take more or less than what is prescribed, or stop taking their medications too soon experience the side effects and costs of their medications without receiving the health benefits.
Ruppar suggests individuals who struggle to take their medications consistently should try associating taking their medication with an already established routine such as brushing their teeth. Ruppar says seven-day pill organizers can also help patients ensure that they have taken their medications for the day.
The study, “Medication adherence interventions for heart failure patients: A meta-analysis,” was published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma is pleased to announce it has received a $4,000 grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and its Services for Elderly iFund grant program. The grant will be used to assist in funding ballroom and line dancing classes at The Salvation Army’s senior centers, which will strengthen the physical and cognitive abilities of the senior participants.
“We are always looking for ways to keep our seniors active,” said Lisa Sydnor, senior programs manager at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma. “We are so grateful the Oklahoma City Community Foundation chose our program. I know that this will bring such joy to our seniors.”
The grant will fund dance classes once a week at The Salvation Army’s senior centers with styles including the salsa, waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha and line dancing. At the end of the three to six month program, the seniors will come together for a dance recital where they can showcase their amazing talent.
The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma operates five senior centers throughout the Oklahoma City metro. The centers are open every weekday to seniors ages 55 and older. Seniors have the opportunity to socialize, enjoy lunch and participate in numerous activities that include Bible study, exercise classes, crafts, dancing and much more.
Approximately 139,000 Oklahomans receive assistance from The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. For more information on the programs and services at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma, please visit www.salvationarmyokcac.org.
Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation works with donors and organizations to create endowments that address needs and opportunities within the community. The Services for Elderly iFund grant program represents a compilation of contributions from donors who want to support grants to help keep senior citizens safe and living independently in their own homes. For more information on the iFund grant program, please visit www.ifundokc.org. For more information on the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, please visit www.occf.org.

April & May AARP Drivers Safety Classes Offered

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor

Apr 25/ Saturday/ Chandler/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 258-5002/ Brase          Thompson Insurance – 121 W. 10th St.
May 6/ Wednesday/ Mustang/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 376-1297/ Edwards Mustang Senior Center – 1201 N. Mustang Rd.
May 7/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9:30 am – 4 pm/ 951-2277/ Palinsky  Intergis 3rd Age Center – 5100 N. Brookline
May 8/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
May 9/ Saturday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 799-3130/ Palinsky  Brand Senior Center – 501 E. Main
May 12/ Tuesday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 440-8802/ Palinsky  Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter
May 12/Tuesday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 350-7680/ Edwards Dale Robertson Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr.
May 19/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky Rose State – Tom Steed Bldg. – 6191 Tinker Diagonal
The prices for the classes are:  $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to: johnpalinsky@sbcglobal.net

 

On April 24, 2015 the Trinity Redeemer Health Alliance will present a seminar for senior adults and their family members.  Some of the topics are: “Dementia and Memory Loss”, “Engaging the Mind and Body”, “Sexuality and Aging”, and “Low Impact Exercises”. These topics will be presented by professionals from the community.   The seminar will be held in the auditorium of the Oklahoma City-County Regional Wellness Campus located at 2600 NE 63rd Street in Oklahoma City (between NE Martin Luther King and I-35).  Health screenings will be available by OKC-County Health Department Community Liaisons.   Individuals can register on the day of the seminar beginning at 8:30 AM, the program will begin at 9:00 AM and will end at approximately 1:30 PM.  A light continental breakfast and heart healthy lunch will be served.  There is no cost to attend the seminar and pre-registration is not required. For additional information contact Norma Goff at normagoff06@gmail.com or at (405) 672-7345.

The Edmond Art Association Spring Art Show & Sale will be held Saturday, May 9th from 9:00am to 5:00pm at Spring Creek Plaza, 15th & Bryant in Edmond.
A variety of art will be ready for viewing and for purchase at this Outdoor Art Show. Come stroll the wide veranda style sidewalks of Spring Creek Plaza. The PUBLIC IS INVITED to this one day event. For more information visit: www.edmondart.org

St. Anthony started one of the first hospital volunteer leagues in Oklahoma City.  With a volunteen and adult program, sixty years later the volunteer department is still thriving, as men and women of all ages seek the opportunity to give back to their community.
“When I was a teenager I was a volunteen at St. Anthony, and I loved it.  I helped various departments with clerical duties, and visited with patients and family members,” said Martin Villafana, MSN, RN, Care Manager at St. Anthony Hospital.  “Looking back at my volunteen time, it ended up being a network of family I have never been exposed to.  A lot of the employees at St. Anthony saw me as a child in the halls, to now being an employee today.”
Villafana volunteered at St. Anthony during his teen years and later returned as an employee.  “St. Anthony helped me achieve my educational goals,” he stated.  While working at the hospital he continued his education, receiving a scholarship from St. Anthony as well as participating in the student reimbursement program.  Today Villafana has been with the hospital for ten years.
This month St. Anthony will be celebrating a family of volunteers that continues to grow.  From volunteens to volunteers, these are exceptional people who have made a difference by their mission to serve.
St. Anthony volunteers assist at the main campus in Midtown Oklahoma City, St. Anthony South, and all four of the St. Anthony Healthplex campuses.  If you are interested in a volunteer opportunity, please call 405-272-6266, or go to saintsok.com for more information.

Stan Miller, 60, (right) is still going strong with his News9 morning show co-hosts (left to right) Jed Castles, Bobbie Miller and Lacey Swope.

story and photo by Mike Lee, Staff Writer

Stan Miller drove through the McDonald’s drive-thru a few months back near Bristow to order a coffee for himself and his wife.
“That will be 88 cents,” the young lady politely informed him.
“No, that’s not right,” Miller said. “It should be more.”
“Well, sir,” the young lady explained. “You do get your senior discount.”
“No, I’ll pay full price,” Miller said, handing the cashier $2 and driving on down the road.
Quite simply, Miller refuses to age. And while the years may be adding up the affable Miller still looks, sounds and feels like a much younger man.
“I can’t believe I’m 60,” says Miller, who can be seen each weekday morning co-hosting News9 This Morning with the much younger Bobbie Miller. “I still feel and I’m as fit as I was at 40. Unless someone brings it up it just doesn’t register with me.”
A quarter of century in California may have something to do with that. While on the coast, Miller ran marathons and half marathons in and around the San Diego area.
He embraced the California diet and lifestyle and spent most of his time outdoors.
It wasn’t always that way. Ask him what’s brought him to this point and there’s twists and turns and one major high.
“Well, God,” Miller answered. “I became a Christian at 21 years old.”
Miller admits a life of dysfunction before he was saved, following his mother through multiple divorces and hurt feelings.
From a motel room by a church in Del City, Miller started doing odd jobs and began building a solid work ethic.
He started working for a local sporting goods store and quickly worked his way up to general manager.
But he wondered if there was more in store for him than working in a store.
“Just out of the blue I decided to see if I could get a scholarship to Central State University,” Miller said. “I walked in off the street at 24 years old and asked if they had any grant money and they gave me a full ride.”
From there an internship at KOCO followed. He was granted a second internship based on his age.
“Basically what I did was every waking hour I wasn’t in school I was there learning the business,” Miller said. “They started using me as a reporter and photographer.”
He co-hosted a show with Karen Carney for a while in the 1980s before heading off to bigger markets.
San Diego would be where Miller would spend the next 25 years and raise his three children.
When he came back from the West Coast he had a rude awakening.
“It was culture shock,” Miller said. “Massive.”
But one thing that remained the same was the Oklahoma welcome.
“People in San Diego, they care but they don’t show it,” Miller said about the general reaction to his profession. “Oklahomans are passionate about their news people. You have to run the gauntlet to make it here. When people found out I was an Okie it wasn’t as hard for me.”
“I pity people who come in and try to anchor the news from outside the market. Oklahomans are fiercely loyal.”
Miller joined News 9 in June 2010.
He readily admits that he’s been somewhat of a news nomad.
Previously in his career, Miller anchored at KUSI-TV and KFMB-TV in San Diego as well as in Cleveland, Ohio, Dallas, Texas, Miami Florida, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Miller began his broadcast career in Oklahoma City in 1980 working as a disc jockey for KJIL Radio and then served as News Director at KKLR.
When he’s not on air, you can find Miller stumping for one of his causes.
Miller has served on the board of directors of several organizations including the San Diego Chapter of the American Liver Foundation; Camp Hope, a summer camp for severely abused children; and Care House, a support group for at risk teens.
Miller received an Emmy Award in San Diego for “Getting Out the Vote.” His other honors include the Hero Award from the San Diego Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, Volunteer of the Year from the San Diego Make-A-Wish Foundation and the San Diego Christian Media Leadership Award.
One of his favorites is Stan’s Ride.
What started as a ride in San Diego to benefit a child abuse prevention foundation has followed him back to Oklahoma.
When he returned he asked Griffin Communications owners David and Kirsten Griffin if he could continue his outreach through News9.
“Little did I know that Kirsten was involved with children’s charities all over the state,” Miller said. “They both went nuts over the deal and have underwritten it for five years. We’ve raised over $400,000.
You might also catch the ordained Baptist minister preaching on Sundays through his On Call ministry which provides fill-in services for pastors who are unable to preach for whatever reason.
He says all of it goes to helping keep him young.
That’s why “I’m never taking the McDonald’s discount,” Miller said. “Never.”

 Stan with background

Caption: Stan Miller, 60, (right) is still going strong with his News9 morning show co-hosts (left
to right) Jed Castles, Bobbie Miller and Lacey Swope.

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