Articles from the January 1, 2017 edition


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  • Tax refund delays lie ahead

    Teresa Ambord, Senior Wire|Jan 1, 2017

    If you’re a taxpayer who rushes to file early, don’t get in too much of a hurry. The tax filing season will begin on January 23, 2017, says the IRS, and the tax agency will begin accepting electronic returns on that day. But taxpayers who are expecting refunds through tax credits will need to wait longer than usual. More than 153 million returns are expected, about 80 percent of which will be sent electronically. A new law requires the IRS to hold refunds that involve the Earned Income Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until Feb...

  • Legislative teleconferences begin Jan. 26

    Senior Voice Staff|Jan 1, 2017

    Keep track of senior-related bills, budget decisions and other issues by attending the Alaska Commission on Aging Legislative Teleconferences. Hosted by local agencies statewide, and available by toll-free call-in, the teleconferences provide a convenient forum for seniors and advocates across Alaska to share information about issues and specific bills of concern, including Medicaid, state budget and funding, senior assistance, retirement, Pioneer Homes and more. Teleconferences are scheduled 9:30 to 11 a.m. every other Thursday and weekly...

  • Alaska needs its seniors included, involved

    Britteny M. Howell and Margaret Grasse, Hope Community Resources, Inc.|Jan 1, 2017

    The growth trend in the aging population suggests that increasing numbers of Alaskans are rapidly becoming seniors at a pace that may exceed service capacity. Across Alaska and the nation, life expectancy has also increased substantially for people experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities. As Alaskans with disabilities are living longer, service provider agencies across the state are looking for ways to support seniors of all abilities. Although it has been stated that older adults present unique public health challenges and...

  • Industries that generate the most complaints

    Better Business Bureau Northwest|Jan 1, 2017

    As the year winds down let’s take a look back at what types of businesses made it on Better Business Bureau’s list for most complained about industries. Complaints include both resolved and unresolved in the last year in the BBB Northwest territory. Since January of this year, consumers have filed nearly 17,184 complaints regarding the following industries in the northwest territory: Top 10 Most Complained About Business Industries (with number of complaints): • Cellular telephone service and supplies: 6,867 • Internet selling service...

  • Embrace the positive by 'living above the line'

    Marsha Aizumi, Diverse Elders Coalition|Jan 1, 2017

    I was recently asked, “How do you deal with all the hatred that is in the world?” The woman who asked me this question has a transgender son, and so I knew she was looking for support from me because I, too, have a transgender son, and there are so many states trying to implement laws against our children. I gave her a concise answer about looking for the blessings around me and focusing on what is positive in my life rather than focusing on the negativity that often consumes the news, but her question caused me to reflect even further. I am...

  • Anchorage workshops focus on LGBT legal questions

    Senior Voice Staff|Jan 1, 2017

    Marriage, adoptions, estate planning, wills, and many other issues have been rapidly changing for the LGBT community over the last few years and bring up challenging legal issues for all ages. You are invited to attend a two part seminar sponsored by SAGE Alaska to discuss these issues and solutions. Mike Walsh of the Law Office of Michael J. Walsh will present information regarding estate planning and probate matters, family law situations and a summary of the legal commentary regarding the future of Obergefell v. Hodges (recognizing gay...

  • Geriatric health care training available via virtual classroom

    Senior Voice Staff|Jan 1, 2017

    A series of online Geriatric health care trainings will be available via virtual classroom on the internet beginning in January. The series is sponsored by the University of Alaska Anchorage-Alaska Center for Rural Health & Health Workforce-Alaska’s AHEC and The Alaska Training Cooperative. The series is a partnership with the Northwest Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Center and will offer 10 weeks of trainings from January 3 through March 7, 2017. The series is designed to give community-based providers working in the field of aging an o...

  • Use over-the-counter antacids with caution

    Suzy Cohen, Senior Wire|Jan 1, 2017

    Most of you assume that if a medication is sold over the counter it’s safe, but that’s not true. Even over-the-counter drugs are drug muggers of nutrients that you need to prevent blood clots, keep your heart beating rhythmically and your bones strong. Over-the-counter medications are a multi-billion dollar business, especially drugs for stomach discomfort. An estimated 20 million Americans buy over-the-counter drugs to get quick relief from indigestion, esophageal burning, belching, chest (sternum) pain and other symptoms of excessive sto...

  • Free health screenings in North Pole

    Senior Voice Staff|Jan 1, 2017

    Santa’s Senior Center in North Pole will host free screenings for low vision and bone density in January. Low vision The low vision screening will be conducted Jan. 19 at the center by staff from the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. In addition to vision testing, there will be information on specialized magnifiers and other devices as well as safety techniques to enhance daily activities. Screenings are available by appointment, beginning at 9 a.m. Call to reserve, 488-4663 or sign up at the center. Bone density Bone d...

  • Indoor walking at Special Olympics in Anchorage

    Senior Voice Staff|Jan 1, 2017

    Special Olympics in Anchorage is opening its Health and Wellness Center indoor track for walking this winter. The walking group, called Unified Walking Club, will be able to walk in a safe, warm environment regardless of the weather outdoors. January through March, the walking hours will be: • Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 2:30 to 6 p.m. • Tuesday, Thursday, 2:30 to 5 p.m. Registration is required but there is no cost to participate. The facility is located at 3200 Mountain View Drive. For more information, call Jan Carolyn Hardy at 301...

  • Some medical updates for the New Year

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Jan 1, 2017

    Making New Year’s resolutions work for you The New Year provides a great opportunity to reflect on our lives, health and wellness. Making a New Year’s resolution can give a person the push they need to make a positive change in their health habits. Dr. Sunil Kripalani, who is with Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, says it is important to set a reasonable goal that you feel confident you can accomplish. “Your goal may be to increase your physical activity, for examp...

  • Nourish your body like the temple it is

    Wendell Fowler, Senior Wire|Jan 1, 2017

    My gravity-affected holy temple gets weaker quicker these days. Like an old steel horseshoe, I’m oxidizing, rusting. Feeding my temple the best fuel that will give my cells the juice needed to sustain, repair and replace my holy temple infrastructure so it can perform for me when I ask it to is vital. Much like an aging family car, we become more affectionately attentive to the quality of oil, additives and rustproofing as parts begin wearing. My wife and I have decided there’s no better time than the “now” to nourish ourselves the best we...

  • An overview of Vietnam veteran benefits

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Ret, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jan 1, 2017

    United States military involvement in the Vietnam War officially began on August 5, 1964; however, the first U.S. casualty in Vietnam occurred on July 8, 1959. Approximately 2.7 million American men and women served in Vietnam. During the war, over 58,000 U.S. military members lost their lives and 153,000 were wounded. There were 766 prisoners of war of which 114 died in captivity. The war was officially ended by Presidential Proclamation on May 7, 1975. Following is the latest updates from the...

  • Free training, support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Jan 1, 2017

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in January. This month’s focus is care coordinator services, with presentations by Annett Brookshire, a certified care coordinator since 2008. She will share her experience of growing from a caregiver into care coordinator. Jan. 3, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, with Annett Brookshire,1 p.m. Jan. 10, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, with Annett Brookshire, 1 p.m. Jan. 17, Caregiver support meeting at K...

  • Senior league hockey players 'skate to live, live to skate'

    Dianne Barske, For Senior Voice|Jan 1, 2017

    If I thought I was going to get a quiet, focused interview, I would have been wrong. These guys were here at the Anchorage Subway Sports Centre to play hockey. On this December morning, that was especially true of the star of the day, Howard Hansen, celebrating his 85th birthday. There'd be a surprise celebration for him before the game started in earnest. Howard meant business. I grabbed moments to talk with him, only when he came off the ice for line changes. Then he'd hurdle the boards and...

  • Get ready for competition with a smile at Kenai Peninsula Senior Games

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Jan 1, 2017

    The 14th Annual Kenai Peninsula Senior Olympic Games will take place Feb. 21to 25 and will feature 12 events ranging from pinochle to ping pong and basketball toss to 8-ball pool, to name a few. The only requirement for participation is that you be 55 years of age or older and sign up with the nearest Kenai Peninsula senior center, says chairwoman, Bonnie Cain. "You do not have to already be part of a senior center to participate," Cain added. "You just need to register with your area's senior...

  • Networking for Anchorage-area providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Jan 1, 2017

    Interested in learning more about businesses and agencies providing senior services in the Anchorage area? Want to get the word out about your own service? The monthly Interagency Breakfast, sponsored by Older Persons Action Group, is an opportunity for all of the above. Informal, early and free, with breakfast provided. The January meeting is Jan. 11, hosted by the MS Society. Begins at 8 a.m. RSVP by calling Older Persons Action Group for more information on these events or to be added to our e-mail reminder list, 276-1059...

  • January brings Christmas for some Alaskans

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jan 1, 2017

    While many Alaskans celebrated Christmas on December 25, others from the Pribilof Islands to Nikiski to Sitka observe Christmas in January. That's because they observe the Russian Orthodox Church calendar. The Russian Orthodox Church still uses the Julian calendar, where each day occurs 13 days after the corresponding day on the modern Gregorian calendar. So January 7 is their day of rejoicing the birth of Christ. The Alaska Native people's relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church dates...

  • 'Gladys Ormphby' settled down in Texas

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Jan 1, 2017

    Drab, handbag-wielding TV character Gladys Ormphby never met a celebrity she didn't feel compelled to smack senseless at the slightest provocation. Short in both stature and patience, the feisty diminutive spinster's victims ̶ such as Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra ̶ were more likely to be paralyzed by laughter than fear. Portrayed by comedic actress Ruth Buzzi in the late 60s TV show "Laugh-In," Gladys soon found her way into the popular culture of the day, landing guest spots on other shows such...

  • Help someone with their Social Security

    Robin Schmidt, Social Security Alaska|Jan 1, 2017

    January 16 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — a national holiday and a day of remembrance. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to creating and fostering equal rights for African Americans, and he died during his efforts to make his dream a reality. Many people commemorate this holiday by serving their community and giving to others who may be less fortunate. In many ways, this is what Social Security does every day, all year long. A great way to be of service to others is to help someone you know who may need assistance applying for S...

  • Get your Social Security questions answered by the experts

    Senior Voice Staff|Jan 1, 2017

    Staff from Alaska’s Social Security office will be available for questions via videoconferencing at the following locations and times: Kodiak Job Center, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (Jan. 10 and 24), 9 a.m. to noon. Kenai Senior Center, on the first and third Wednesday of each month (Jan. 4 and 18), 9 a.m. to noon. Ketchikan Job Center, every Thursday (Jan. 5, 12, 19 and 26), noon to 3 p.m. Social Security provides toll-free telephone service to all of Alaska. Residents in Alaska’s Southeast communities can call the Jun...

  • Your estate plan needs some wiggle room

    Kenneth Kirk, For Senior Voice|Jan 1, 2017

    Doing your own estate planning is not a good idea. There are a lot of mistakes people make when they try, and they usually don’t realize it. One example is what I call the “illiquid estate.” If you are an accountant, I apologize because I know you use the word illiquid in a more precise way, but I think you’ll understand my meaning. By an illiquid estate, I mean an estate plan where each major asset is designated to go to somebody in particular, and there is not enough left in the “residuary est...

  • Printers, programming and DIY computing

    Bob DeLaurentis, Senior Wire|Jan 1, 2017

    Q. I have used the same HP1200 laser printer in my home office for a very long time. Last week it stopped working, and now I need to replace it. What would you suggest? A. The printer world has changed considerably in recent years. I started using HP printers in the 1990s, back when they had a sterling reputation. However, after testing a couple of current HP printers I have begun to look elsewhere. Today I use a Brother HL-L2360DW, and so do several of my friends. The printer, which generally sells for about $100, is a reliable performer for...

  • Get a ticket to ride

    Dimitra Lavrakas, Senior Voice Travel Correspondent|Jan 1, 2017

    This column has talked about riding the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), and that it is an experience many Alaskans revel in and more should try. It will be especially so in 2018, when AMHS hopes to roll out its two Alaska class ferries, now being constructed at Vigor Alaska in Ketchikan, that will serve as day boats. At 280 feet long, they can seat up to 300 passengers and stow 53 standard vehicles on their car decks. For speedy loading and unloading, they will have bow and stern doors,...

  • Juicing: Squeezing nutritional fact from fiction

    Leslie Shallcross, For Senior Voice|Jan 1, 2017

    You may have heard some of the following claims: gets rid of wrinkles, great for weight loss, gives your digestive system a rest, detoxifies your body and cures cancer – these are some of the health claims that proponents of "juicing" make. This popular part of the 60s and 70s health food movement seems to be back, with fresh juices standard fare in chic, health-focused eateries. With all dietary emphasis on eating more fresh vegetables and fruits and the many tantalizing health claims, you m...

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