Articles from the July 1, 2016 edition


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  • Senior hunting license rules will not change

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2016

    There were a lot of moving parts to House Bill 13, says Michelle Kaelke, Finance and Licensing Supervisor at the Department of Fish and Game (DF&G). Last month, Senior Voice reported that the bill dealing with the DF&G’s senior licenses set out to raise the age requirement from 60 to 62 years of age and would require that licensees renew their license every three years. After going to print, aides from District 6 Rep. David Talerico’s office called to set the record straight. “The final draft of HB 137 decided not to raise the age from 60 to...

  • Biting into the 'donut hole' of prescription drug costs

    Teresa Ambord, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2016

    Have you reached the donut hole in Medicare coverage? If so then you know, it begins when you and your drug plan have spent a total of $3,310 on your medications. Then, you have to pay a higher share of medication costs till you reach the other side of the donut hole. Ouch. If you haven’t yet reached that point, there are ways Medicare advises people to slow their descent into the donut hole by keeping overall costs lower. • Ask your doctor to prescribe generic drugs if they are appropriate in your situation. • Find out if your local pharm...

  • Retiree continues her mission to help vulnerable youth

    Dianne Barske, For Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2016

    It's a raw and rainy morning in June, rare among the many warm, sunny days served up for Anchorage this spring and early summer. It's not the kind of day anyone would delight in being outside – grey, damp and chilly. Downtown, people in raincoats, carrying seldom used umbrellas, scurry indoors. There is a place in downtown Anchorage whose doors are always open, 24/7, every day and every month of the year, no matter the weather. Covenant House Alaska has opened its doors for 27 years, working t...

  • Frantic phone caller is likely an impostor

    Michelle Tabler, Better Business Bureau|Jul 1, 2016

    The “grandparent scam” occurs in Alaska on a regular basis. It’s an impostor scam that has been around for years and has claimed many victims nationwide. The amount requested by the scammers usually runs into several thousand dollars, but one couple here in Alaska lost more than $75,000 to this scam. Here’s how it works The frantic phone call often comes late at night or early in the morning when a person may not be as cognizant. The scammer poses as the victim’s grandchild (or other family relative such as a niece or nephew) and often the...

  • Murkowski: Bill honors unsung heroes of WWII

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski|Jul 1, 2016

    Editor’s note: This press statement was received on May 27, 2016. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has introduced S.2989, the Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act, in honor and appreciation of the Merchant Mariners who served during World War II. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) is a co-sponsor. “Merchant Mariners were instrumental during World War II, providing valuable support transporting troops and vast quantities of war material needed to fight and win that war,” said Sen. Murkowski. “Their dedication and vital s...

  • Social Security fund still projected for depletion

    Social Security Administration|Jul 1, 2016

    Editor’s note: This press statement was received June 22, 2016. The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as projected last year, with 79 percent of benefits payable at that time. The Disability Insurance Trust Fund will become depleted in 2023, extended from last year’s estimate of...

  • Networking for Anchorage providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Jul 1, 2016

    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 July meeting is July 13, hosted by Long Term Care Ombudsman Office. 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,...

  • You're better off juicing your own OJ

    Wendell Fowler, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2016

    Orange juice holds a high position in the pantheon of American breakfast icons. Each year 620 million gallons of the orange ambrosial cure-all are consumed by Americans. However, is it truthfully fresh or are you getting jerked around? Ads tell us (wink, wink) it’s pure and natural so we obediently buy the orange au jus for the sentiment. Nevertheless, the majority of our American tradition is a year old and comes from, tell-me-it-ain’t-so, Brazil. The largest fabricators of “not from concentrate” or pasteurized orange juice keep juice in mill...

  • Free diabetes classes in Anchorage, Soldotna

    Senior Voice Staff|Jul 1, 2016

    Mountain Pacific Quality Health will offer a free six-class educational series on diabetes self-management this month in Anchorage and on the Kenai Peninsula. The classes will meet twice a week over a three week period. The Anchorage classes will meet July 12-27, Tuesdays and Thursdays, at Cook Inlet Housing Authority’s Centennial Center, 9131 Centennial Circle. Classes will meet from 5 to 6:30 p.m. For information, contact Ann Lovejoy at alovejoy@mpqhf.org or 561-3202 ext. 105, or Cathy Colwell, 561-3202 ext. 103. The Kenai Peninsula c...

  • Hard realities – and Medicare (of course)

    Rita Hatch, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jul 1, 2016

    July and Independence Day is here. That may be good for some, but for others it is a sentence for loneliness. If you think that living into your near-nineties is always a blessing, I am here to tell you that for many it is not. Your contemporaries are no longer around – they’ve either just moved away or are deceased. You can no longer drive your car and have lost your independence and your eyesight is failing. You likely have no close relatives who live nearby and are willing and able to giv...

  • Use these tactics to recall names, details

    Rick Sheridan, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2016

    One of my peak experiences was attending a lecture by Dominic O’Brien, the World Memory Champion who demonstrated some of his amazing memory abilities. He believes that you should exercise the mind every day just like an athlete stretches his or her body regularly. To achieve the rank of World Memory Champion, you must be able to perform several superhuman feats. For example, you have to memorize 1,000 random digits in less than an hour, the exact order of 10 decks of shuffled playing cards, also in one hour, and one shuffled deck in less than...

  • Coupons make fresh produce more affordable

    Senior Voice Staff|Jul 1, 2016

    Alaska’s food-growing season is kicking into high gear and Alaska farmers grow some of the best produce in the country, so now’s the time to pick up your coupons for locally-grown fruits and vegetables. The coupons come from the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program and can be used at local farmer’s markets around the state through Oct. 31. Each eligible senior receives five $5 coupons for a total of $25. The program issues the coupons to senior centers and other agencies, which pass them on to seniors age 60 or older who meet the program...

  • Assistance for housebound, other veterans

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jul 1, 2016

    Some veterans, as they age, find themselves to be in financial straits with little or no resources and in poor health. If this is your case, then I urge you to consider applying for a VA Pension and especially the Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits. Eligible wartime periods Under current law, VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits: Mexican Border Period (May 9, 1916 – April 5, 1917 for veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, o...

  • New implant helps stroke patients walk

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Jul 1, 2016

    Fiber may pack some hidden health benefits Most people know that a diet high in fiber helps keep a person “regular.” Now, Australian researchers have uncovered a surprising benefit of this often-undervalued dietary component. They have found that eating the right amount of fiber from breads, cereals, and fruits can help us avoid disease and disability into old age. Using data compiled from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, which included more than 1,600 adults aged 50 years and older, the res...

  • Free training and support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Jul 1, 2016

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in July. This month’s focus is part two of last month’s “End of Life Care and Letting Go,” featuring a DVD presentation with Teepa Snow. July 5, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m. July 12, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. July 19, Caregiver support meeting at Kenai Senior Center, 1 p.m. July 26, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. Support meetings allow you to share your e...

  • UAA seeks family, community photos

    Tracy Kalytiak, University of Alaska Anchorage|Jul 1, 2016

    Arlene Schmuland is an archivist who helps people access collections of photos taken in Alaska-photos of soldiers outside Quonset huts, photos of streets and towns the 1964 quake ripped and pulled to pieces, photos of the enlightened people who transformed a territory into a state. But the chief archivist for the UAA/APU Consortium Library Archives and Special Collections can't stop thinking about all the images the archives doesn't have: the ones tucked in albums, packed away in attics here...

  • Conman topples Alaska governor

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jul 1, 2016

    Many have heard tales touting the shenanigans of conmen like Jefferson "Soapy" Smith and a man named Hendrickson, better known as the "Blue Parka Bandit." But neither of them caused the demise of an Alaska governor's political aspirations. That dubious honor falls upon H.D. "Harry" Reynolds, who singlehandedly brought down Gov. John Brady in 1906, according to a 1984 article written by Alaska historian Stephen Haycox for the Anchorage Daily Times. Brady came to Alaska in 1878 as a protégé of m...

  • Carleton Carpenter: Actor, author, lion tamer

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Jul 1, 2016

    What were the chances that a 6' 3" spaghetti-thin, 18-year-old blonde actor from Bennington, Vt., could break into Broadway on his first job interview in the 1940s? For Carleton Carpenter, after arriving in New York City in the winter of 1944, they were clearly quite good. "Within 24 hours I had my first Broadway role in a play called 'Bright Boy,'" said Carpenter, who turns 90 in July, from his home in Warwick, NY. "The character was written as a tall, lanky blonde who wanted to be an actor. Ta...

  • Higher property tax for Kenai Borough seniors?

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2016

    After meeting on June 21 to discuss Ordinance 2014-24, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has proposed that the borough do away with the optional $150,000 senior property tax exemption as the senior population in the Kenai Peninsula increases. The state of Alaska requires that all municipalities offer senior citizens and disabled veterans a $150,000 tax exemption. The Kenai Peninsula Borough offers senior citizens an additional $150,000 tax exemption on top of that, meaning they do not pay taxes on the first $300,000 of their home’s assessed...

  • Help out by becoming a representative payee

    Robin Schmidt, Social Security Alaska|Jul 1, 2016

    Your parents were there for you when you were born. They’ve been with you through the most important achievements of your life. Now it’s your turn to show them that they can count on you. As your parents get older, they may need help making decisions. When you volunteer to become a representative payee, you’re supporting your parents and their future. A representative payee is someone who receives Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on behalf of a person not capable of managing the funds on his or her own. As a repre...

  • Have you covered your digital assets?

    Kenneth Kirk, For Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2016

    “Digital assets.” It’s the latest buzzword. It means the ownership interest you have in your online accounts. To a lawyer, it is a subset of “intellectual property”. But what does it mean in terms of estate planning? Financial writers and estate planners are posting articles all over the internet (and in print) about what happens to your digital assets when you’re gone. The problem is, most of them don’t have a lot to say about it. The articles tend to be short, vague, and not very helpful. Here...

  • Smartphone banking and dictation have advanced

    Bob DeLaurentis, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2016

    Q. My bank regularly sends email messages encouraging me to download their app. How safe is banking on my phone? A. Banking on your mobile phone is no more vulnerable than any other sort of bank transaction, and in some ways it is more secure. However, there are a few important things to consider first. Make certain that the application is actually from your bank and not some third party. Never store your password on the phone itself, which could grant anyone else access to your bank account. If your bank supports it, and most do, use...

  • For travelers who revel in wild and weird

    Dimitra Lavrakas, Senior Voice Travel Correspondent|Jul 1, 2016

    We've all had them, those that hit the road for long stretches. And naturally in Alaska, where drives can stretch for days, scary road trip experiences are something we all share. Like that night at 2 a.m. in a blizzard traveling the windswept road across Kluane Lake in the Yukon, and through frighteningly named Destruction Bay in British Columbia, where my night was spent at a motel with no proprietor, just an envelope and keys to the rooms (chair up and under the door knob for security, thank...

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