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Jamaica: More than the Jazz & Blues Festival

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn  t4z@aol.com

While an excuse is never needed to visit exotic locales, it’s advisable to have an anchor activity for your visit.  The Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival near Montego Bay, was my initial reason for revisiting Jamaica.  I had been there decades ago with a group of college chums. Other than the palm trees and azure waters and the natural wonder of Dunn River Falls near Ocho Rios, I don’t remember much.
The Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival is a three night event, held this year at the Trelawny outdoor stadium near Montego Bay.  The musical line up of acts was impressive, fun and educational.  Reggae is not in my lexicon of favorite musical styles, as the first night was all nominal Reggae from local and regional bands
The second and third nights the caliber of musical entertainment increased with well-known performers including: Mariah Carey, Arturo Tappin, Richie Stephens, Peter Cetera, Charlie Wilson, Pointer Sisters and Soja, who were nominated for Best Reggae Album at the 57th Grammy Awards this year.   While many expected Carey to be the highlight of the Festival, it was Charlie Wilson and Peter Cetera who earned the adoration of the music fans.
Before and after the evening concerts I visited several Jamaican attractions that offer variety, education and fun.   Be sure and plan to visit the restored 1760 Rose Hall plantation house.  Here with a personal tour you can step back in time to imagine the lifestyle of a sugarcane plantation owner.  The most famous inhabitant was John Palmer’s wife, Annee, who turned out to be called the White Witch by her slaves for her cruel treatment, as she murdered a few husbands and herself was killed in the house. It is said she still haunts the house to this day.  While the house was in ruin until in 1965, we are thankful it was completely restored to what might have been its glory days.
Chukka Caribbean Adventure Tours (www.chukka.com) offers  ATVs, dune buggy rides and Zip lining. It is a safe and enjoyable soft adventure to drive a two person dune buggy through the orchards with majestic views of the distance Jamaican mountains.  Zip lining is always an adventure, for no two locales are ever the same. As you sit down into your harness and let go, you never know what jungle vistas will be zipping by. Going through the fork of a large tree, is indeed a thrill.  The expert guides at Chukka are to be commended for their skill and attention. Chukka also offers, nature canopy tours, river floating and rum tastings.  If you can work into your time, visit the great house. The view from atop this hilltop mansion of the Egg Crate Mountains provides a unique memory.
Over in Ocho Rios, be sure and visit Mystic Mountain (www.rainforestbobsledjamaica.com) with its dry bobsledding ride, Dolphin Cove (www.dolphincovejamaica.com)  with its sea life and aviary, and it goes without saying to visit iconic Dunn River Falls (www.dunnsriverja.com).  For Jamaican history visit the downtown Montego Bay Cultural Center, by Sam Sharpe square with parking in the rear.
In Montego Bay you may wish to stay at the adults only, all inclusive, upscale Hyatt Zilara hotel (http://rosehall.zilara.hyatt.com) with its extensive pools and palm fringed private beach.  While I don’t know if it’s officially recommended, but with eight all inclusive (no bills) dining locales, where reservation are not taken, your own impromptu progressive dinner could be enjoyed.  What a luxury to sample an appetizer here, and entree at another venue and then dessert at another.
Hyatt Zilara offers Brazilian style dinning; Italian, with fresh made oven baked pizzas; an anytime buffet at Horizons, and a favorite of all, the on the beach Jerk stand, with melt in your mouth grilled chicken, port and sausage. Open till 6 pm, a beach side sampling, always hot and ready, is indeed a vacationer’s dream.  Beach and pool side servers are available to take and deliver your beverage requests. More eating options are also available along with a Crepe stand near the lobby, operating until 2 pm. And don’t forget 24 hour room service. At Flavorz, I had a Welsh Rabbit, Sunday Roast with Yorkshire Pudding (a pastry), topped off with Jamaican Fruit Cake which is more like a chocolate mousse cake infused with fruit flavors.
On my first night I was delighted at the service and ambiance of the dress code-enforced Petit Paris restaurant.  Stewart, my server was informative, efficient and personable as he served me scallops, a house salad, Steak Frites and an out of this world coconut Crème Brule. I added another perfect martini made from the Stirz bar adjacent to the main lobby.  Not many bars in the best resorts can make a proper martini or follow directions, but at the Hyatt Zilara, over several days of enjoyable testing, I found them all accomplished.  With an evening beverage in hand while strolling along the balmy ocean surf at dusk, you can create and take in a true lux resort experience.
You need not wait until next year to visit Jamaica during the Jazz and Blues Festival, for as you can see Jamaica has many other attractions around which to center your visit. My thanks to the Jamaica Tourist Board for their assistance, as they can also help you plan your Jamaican visit.  (www.visitjamaica.com)DSC_0242.whole

Assisted Living Association announces members listed on Caring.com 2015’s Top-Rated

Caring.com is recognizing more than 800 assisted living and memory care communities as part of the online senior care resource and review site’s fourth annual “Caring Stars” award program.  Eight (8) communities were selected from Oklahoma and Seven (7) of those are members of the Oklahoma Assisted Living Association.  They are:
Arbor House – Norman; Bradford Village – Edmond; Copperlake Estates – Edmond; Sterling House West – Oklahoma City; Tamarack – Altus;  Ten Oaks – Lawton;  and The Parke – Tulsa.
To be considered for Caring Stars 2015, the community had to: receive at least three new consumer reviews between Dec. 1, 2013 and Dec. 1, 2014, including at least one 5-star review; possess a high overall average rating across all reviews on their listing; and have no unresolved negative reviews, to demonstrate responsiveness to online feedback.
“Reviews are more important than your website,” said Caring.com CEO Andy Cohen. “Consumers want to know you’re listening. Even responding to positive reviews, not just negative reviews, can go a long way [in establishing a quality lead].”  “We congratulate every Caring Star for earning this recognition, and thank the families who shared their feedback in reviews on Caring.com.”
Research shows, online reviews have become the first stop for the majority of senior living shoppers. Seventy-three percent of Americans say they would pay more for a community with favorable online reviews, and 82% say they use online reviews as part of their assisted living selection research, according to a recent study by assisted living software review and research company Software Advice.
The Oklahoma Assisted Living Association is proud to have these outstanding communities as their members.

What was your favorite job you ever had? Emerald Square Assisted Living

 

I worked for an abstractor. I pulled down the big books and typed them from handwritten pages. Christina Smith

I did payroll and paid bills at the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce.  Emma Stone

Being a librarian. I loved it. Hazel Hicks

I guess the one I enjoyed the most was the one that made me a living all my life. I worked for a jewelry store doing their diamond stone setting. Kenneth Sneed

by Mike Lee
Staff Writer

Debra Moore, RN, didn’t sleep much the night before.
Her new job as clinical director of Oklahoma Hospice Care is a daunting one and keeps her busy.
But the award-winning nurse wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“I feel like I make a difference,” she said, just a few hours removed from sitting up most of the night with a dying patient and their family.
Moore became Oklahoma Hospice Care clinical director near the end of 2014, accepting a staff of more than 10.
“She’s just an amazing, charismatic leader,” says Jennifer Forrester, RT, community relations director. “People want to follow her and she takes ownership and the magnitude of responsibility for that position.”
Moore was the gem Oklahoma Hospice Care had been looking for.
And Moore is a firm believer that Oklahoma Hospice Care is poised for expansion. Oklahoma Hospice Care has offices in Oklahoma City and Shawnee with a radius stretching 50 miles from each office.
She floats the idea of one day having an inpatient hospital.
She’s never been one that dares to dream.
“Here I get the best of both worlds,” Moore said. “I still get to teach about oncology and I get to take care of patients because I’m not a behind-the-desk clinical director. I feel like the only way you’re going to lead something is if you have your hands on it and know what’s going on.”
Oklahoma Hospice Care is a Christian-principled organization specializing in caring for their patients and the patient’s families wherever they call home through personalized plans of care developed with input from the family physician, the hospice physician, the patient, the patient’s family and the members of the hospice interdisciplinary team.
Community Relations Representative Tori Aldridge sums up the task at hand nicely.
“Families invite us into their lives at their most vulnerable point,” Aldridge said. “We get one opportunity to take a tragic situation and make it bearable, even good. We aren’t there to focus on a person’s death. Instead, we focus on the remainder of their life.”
“We don’t speed up their disease process and we don’t slow it down. We go at their pace and do our best to minimize the surprises. The diagnosis and prognosis have been the most paramount surprises in their lives.”
Moore is a native of Oklahoma City. She obtained her nursing degree from Oklahoma City Community College in 1999. She began her nursing career at Presbyterian Hospital in the Med Surgery/Neurological Center and served as RN charge nurse.
Moore spent the next chapter of her career at Midwest Regional Hospital where during her tenure she worked as an oncology certified RN, manager of the Outpatient Oncology Center and finally director of inpatient and outpatient services.
She received the Nursing Award of Excellence in 2008 and the Spirit of Transformation Award in 2011 from the Oklahoma Hospital Association. She has also been an Ambassador for the United Way and served many years as team captain for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Moore credits her mother, Anna Rose Wilson, for instilling love and compassion that has led her to be the woman and nurse she is today.
With five children and two grandchildren, Moore stays busy even when she’s not busy at work.
She exudes happiness. It’s hard to ever find her in a down mood. And that’s who she looks for when she hires.
“I was looking for caring, compassion and someone who didn’t mind hard work,” Moore said of the opportunity to hire new staff when she got the job. “I was looking for someone to go into the home when I couldn’t be there.
“As far as a clinical perspective you can have all the commercials and advertising you want but word-of-mouth and letting people see what we do, that tells it all right there,” she said. “We’re different because we all do actually care and that’s why I’m glad we handpick our people. We know the people we have working for us.”
And that’s a comfort for both Moore and her patients.
“I measure success by the patient saying ‘job well done,’” Moore said. “It’s simple. Being in this field and probably any field it just takes common sense. What would you want done for your mom? What would you want done for your grandmother? Whatever you would want done for them that’s what you do for the patient.”
And sometimes that means getting a few hours less sleep than she’s used to, like the night before.
“I asked (the family member) if we could have done anything else. She said ‘Debra, you guys were amazing,’” Moore said. “That’s what keeps us going. I got a couple hours of sleep last night but that’s what keeps me going. That’s what makes me not even care about sleep. I can wait until Friday.”

Starting today, Oklahomans can use a new tool from the Oklahoma Insurance Department to find insurance money they may be owed using the Lost Life Policy Locator Service.
The Lost Life Policy Locator Service will help Oklahomans find a life insurance policy or annuity contract left by a deceased loved one. Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak asked his staff to find a way to help Oklahomans get money they are owed and bridge the gap between insurance companies and Oklahomans who think they may be listed as a beneficiary.
“Many times finding life insurance policies can be difficult and time consuming after a loved one’s death,” said Doak. “But with this new service, consumers can request help from the Oklahoma Insurance Department to simplify the process of locating lost life insurance policies.”
After the necessary information is submitted, OID will contact all state-licensed life insurance companies asking them to search their records for any life insurance policies or annuity contracts insuring the decedent. If a policy is found, that insurance company will contact the beneficiary to complete the claim.
Two legislative proposals on this topic have been introduced this session in an effort to protect consumers’ ability to collect lost policies. Doak is working with legislators to find a solution that best meets the needs of beneficiaries within the confines of the law.
“Commissioner Doak has taken an important step to help Oklahoma citizens claim the life insurance benefits they may be owed,” said Rep. Glen Mulready, author of SB 298. “I applaud this effort and I look forward to partnering with him and his team on this issue going forward.”
“I’m delighted that the citizens of Oklahoma will now have a process to inquire about family policies that may have been forgotten over the years,” said Sen. Gary Stanislawski, Senate author of HB 2066. “I commend Commissioner Doak for developing this innovative solution.”
“I applaud Commissioner Doak for implementing a lost policy finder process as an effort to offer protection to consumers. It coincides perfectly with my legislation that will make the consumer whole by requiring the companies to seek out lost or unpaid policies on a go forward basis,” Sen. Marty Quinn, author of SB 298.

To learn more about this new service, visit the Lost Life Policy Locator Service on our website or contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071.

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