Latest News and Events - Active Living
Capital City Senior Games Reach Outside the Capital City
By Nick Gandy, Director of Communications, Florida Sports Foundation
While the Capital City Senior Games is based in Tallahassee, senior athletes from the neighboring communities take advantage of this Olympic-style Sports Festival for those age 50 and over.
The annual Capital City Senior Games introduced a new sport to Havana's Carol Wartenberg and help keep Crawfordville's Joseph Abal's surgically repaired knee loose and active.
A sought-after softball player, Carol Wartenberg has played for medal-winning teams in several Florida Senior Games State Championships and the National Senior Games. With the 2014 Capital City Senior Games just a month away, Wartenberg was in Palm Springs, California playing for a 65-69 age group softball team. She bragged about her schedule of playing softball for 13 hours over the course of a weekend, en route to a second-place finish. "Have glove, will travel," she laughed.
But in the 2013 Capital City Games, Wartenberg competed in Pickleball and will do so again in 2014. "I love it. I love it. I love it," she exclaimed enthusiastically. "Yessiree, I am playing pickleball again this year."
Since her 2013 introduction to competitive pickleball, she has discovered three Tallahassee locations where she can play the game five days a week. "I play on Monday at Jack McLean Park, Tuesday and Thursday at Premier Fitness and Wednesday and Friday at the Tallahassee Senior Center," she said.
As a member of a traveling softball team based out of The Villages, she first learned about Pickleball, where residents of the active adult community can choose from nearly 100 courts.
"They told me once you play pickleball, it will become first on your list of activities," she said. "It might be coming true for me."
Like in 2013, Wartenberg will play singles, doubles and mixed doubles. If she can find a partner for mixed doubles. "I'll move into the 70-74 age group this year and it might be tougher to find a partner," she said. "The 65-69 age is a more populated group."
Those riding the roads of Wakulla County may have seen Crawfordville's Joseph Abal training for the 2014 Capital City Senior Games by riding his bicycle. He credits pedal power for keeping his knees ready for competition in Powerlifting and the Discus Throw and Shot Put at the Track and Field event.
He had his right knee replaced in 1999 and claims his left knee is "completely shot." A frequent question from his doctor is, "How much pain can you take before we replace the left."
His bicycle training gives his legs and knees full rotation while stretching and tearing the scar tissue to keep it loose. While he is helping the scar tissue stays loose, the damaged knees somewhat limits his performance in the track and field throws.
"Because of the knees, I can't spin and slide on the shot put and discus," he said. "I just do the last rotation when it comes out of the hand and the follow through. I can still shift the weight in my hips which allows me to compete. I just can't keep up with the top throwers who can spin and slide."* Even with his limited movement, Abal threw the discus 57 feet, nine inches and had a shot put of 27 feet, three inches.
He still has plenty of opportunities in powerlifting events, the deadlift and bench press, where there is no strain on his knees. Even without competing in the squat event, which would involve bending his knees, he can still accumulate total points, which leads to another medal-winning opportunity.
He won gold medals in his age group and weight class with a combined bench press and deadlift total of 245 kg (110 bench and 135 deadlift), which totals 540 pounds when converted.
With the Games looming in the near future, Abal was feeling charitable and in the mood to offer some free training tips for those skeptical about physical limitations keeping them out of the Games events.
He uses a six foot piece of PVC pipe filled with sand behind his back for twists. Adding the heavy pipe to his twists helps with the flexibility needed for his track and field events. "It helps keep my back flexible for a stronger final rotation in my throws." Using some cross-sport training, Abal sought out the heaviest baseball bat he could find and then added a pair of two pound weights to the end and hits a heavy bag 25 times from both the right and left side. Once again, this exercise strengthens his hip flexibility.
"Any top-notch shot put or discus thrower incorporates this activity in their training," he said. "Watch any good baseball player's swing and you'll see a strong hip rotation."
Certainly, have glove, will travel Carol Wartenberg can attest to the need for strong hip rotation not only in sports competitions but in the daily life of a 65-69 age group senior athlete.
Look for Wartenberg and Abal at the 2014 Capital City Senior Games at Premier Health and Fitness for the Pickleball and Powerlifting competitions and at Godby High School for the field events of the Track and Field competition.
Florida residents must qualify at one of 18 Florida Local Senior Games in most sports to compete in the state championships. What does it take to qualify? Athletes much finish in the top five of their age group in their sport. Out-of-state athletes are not required to qualify.
The 2014 Capital City Senior Games is a qualifier for the 2014 Florida International Senior Games & State Championships, to be held December 6-14, in Lee County. The State Games are a qualifier for the 2015 National Senior Games, to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the summer of 2015.
A Tisket, a Tasket, Be Thinking 'bout Your Casket!
By Ruth Nickens
The Tallahassee Senior Center's annual "Deck the Halls" silent auction always inspires an outpouring of community generosity! This year was no different, except for one extraordinarily unique item - a beautifully handcrafted wooden casket! Much to our surprise, not one single person bid on it. Valued at over $1,000, and with a starting bid set at a mere fraction of that, we pondered the apparent lack of enthusiasm.
We concluded that: a) The casket was not noticeable among the 275 other items, b) It sounded too good to be true c) No one wants to think about dying at a Christmas party, or d) They didn't realize that it could alternately be used as a blanket chest or bookcase.
Here at TSC, we are accustomed to addressing life transitions and end-of-life issues, so having a beautiful custom casket seemed like a natural inclusion. Since the casket, handcrafted by Burt Davy and generously donated to our organization, remains in our possession, we thought it a fine idea to plant the seed of an idea, educate about green burial, and raise a little money for Tallahassee Senior Services all at the same time.
There are many after-life options in the US, including cremation, cryonics, burial at sea, and even Lifegem (changing ashes to diamonds!), but often religion and socio-cultural factors determine one's burial practices. For instance, some Christian traditions hold that Christians must be buried in consecrated ground, usually a cemetery or a churchyard. During the 18th and 19th centuries, wealthy landowners. were buried in private cemeteries on their properties, sometimes in lead-lined coffins.
In Orthodox Judaism, one must be buried in a simple pine casket that contains no metal at all, and often the coffin contains holes in the bottom to expedite the body's return to the earth. According to Laina Hicks at Abbey Funeral Home, "the Jewish sections of the cemeteries are often located on the outskirts, not as a discriminatory practice, but due to the possibility of cave-in." I found this particularly interesting due to a recent conversation with my step-mother about my parents search for burial plots; they had recently "ruled out one particularly beautiful cemetery because the Jewish section was way in the back, lacking trees or a pretty view." Now we know why.
The history of burial, mankind's oldest religious (or secular, depending on what you believe) tradition, is complex and fascinating, but here we will focus on "green burial." Green burial, or natural burial, ensures the burial site remains as natural as possible in all respects, and rejects the burial of metals, chemicals or/and concrete. Interment of the bodies is done in a bio-degradable casket (wood or wicker), shroud, or a favorite blanket.
As we become increasingly aware of our personal carbon footprint on the planet, it is a natural extension to think about our environmental impact in the hereafter. The current practice of metal caskets, often encased in concrete may not feel like a comfortable choice following an environmentally conscientious life. To some, the thought of returning to the earth, "From whence we came," seems like a natural decision.
An interesting read, "Ashes to Ashes, but First a Nice Pine Box," by Jeffery M. Piehler can be found online. Piehler writes about his decision-making process to build his own casket.
The Green movement in the US has been gaining momentum, but only a few places in the country carry out land conservation and human burial so natural that little comes between the deceased and the dirt. North Florida currently has two options for utopian green burial, Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve in DeFuniak Springs, and Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery in Gainesville. Hopefully, we will eventually have one of our own in Tallahassee.
Bert Davy is a carpenter/contractor. He has designed and built artisan furniture for over a decade in his Railroad Square studio which smells sweetly of freshly sanded wood. His work reflects his passion for sustainability and the environment. He designs and constructs simple and stunning wooden caskets from locally grown wood, such as juniper, cypress and poplar. No metal is used in the connections, only earth friendly glue. The caskets can be customized with shelves added to be used upright as a book/storage cabinet, or can also be used horizontally as a functional coffee table or blanket chest.
With green burial in mind, you now have an opportunity to bid on this casket, enjoy it as an attractive piece of furniture for now (or forever), and also support programs for older adults at the Tallahassee Senior Center. Bidding starts at $100 and ends on May 30 or you can "buy it now" for $1200. Call Ruth at 891-4042 for more info or to place your bid.
Peanuts, Pie and Butterflies
By Rosetta Stone Land
On the return from our annual jaunt to Orlando last week, my husband and I decided we'd venture into Alachua for lunch at a local eatery. The small rural town just north of Gainesville is growing but still maintains its historic area with several places to dine, shop, and sit. Main Street offers a quiet park and lots of shade. Perfect for people watchers!
We'd been to Alachua's Conestogas Restaurant on a Tallahassee Senior Center group tour and were confident we could find the Main Street restaurant on our own. Remembering the scrumptious home cooked food, we counted the miles to the Interstate 75 exit.
At the Conestogas, you crack a few peanuts and soak up the old-time atmosphere. Old-time in Florida translates into a rich history of cattle raising and agribusiness, dating back to the 1800s. It's not pretty - a rather dark interior, but the food makes up for the lack of ambience (and, when you think about it, there wasn't much ambience in the old cow days). According to Trip Advisor, the restaurant earned a Certificate of Excellence last year and is the top rated restaurant in Alachua.
We can personally recommend the hand cut sirloin steak, savory Stogie burger, fresh shrimp, Key Lime pie and a beefy chili that sets off the alarm! Conestogas reflects the true warmth and friendliness of Main Street Alachua. I should mention that to get to the cashier, you MUST exit through an old timey "general store" area with an ice cream counter offering a dozen flavors of Blue Belle Ice Cream. And lots of sugary candies on display must surely tempt every child who passes through. Find the restaurant online at www.conestogasrestaurant.com.
But don't just go to Alachua for the food. Catch the Alachua Main Street Festival, Sunday, March 30. It's free and stretches the length of the historic district. There will be music, food and 200 vendors! The fun begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. The visitalachua.org website also boasts restrooms at the Woman's club and port-a-potties at several locations during the twice yearly event. Gotta love that!
Alachua County, is of course, special for another reason. GatorNation. Yes, we're University of Florida fans. And we can also recommend a visit to the Florida Museum of Natural History on campus in Gainesville. Exhibits feature Florida fossils, waterways and wildlife. But my favorite at the museum is the Butterfly Rainforest. Tropical flowers fill the air with a sweetness that combines with the bright colors of thousands of blossoms, brilliant greenery and a summer temperature to create my perfect environment.
See Butterflies of Africa through March 31. Daily releases of the exotic butterflies occurs at 2 p.m. daily (M - F), and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., weather permitting.
For complete information on the museum's exhibits and the Rainforest, visit http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/exhibits/overview/.
Do You Know How a Hearing Loop Helps?
By Melissa Corson
Learn how a hearing loop can help you hear better in church, in the theatre, at airports and at variety of other locations. Audiology Associates of North Florida, welcomes Juliette Sterkens, Au.D., the Hearing Loss Association of America's hearing loop advocate. She will be visiting Tallahassee March 18 and 19. Dr. Sterkens is an audiologist who practiced in Wisconsin prior to becoming spokesperson for HLAA. She led a successful hearing loop initiative in her community of Oshkosh and the Greater Fox Valley area of Wisconsin, which resulted in nearly 200 hearing loops being installed in buildings around the state.
A hearing loop is an assistive technology that works with a person's hearing aids or cochlear implant. Hearing loops broadcast the audio signal from the PA system wirelessly into a person's hearing aids or cochlear implants through a small internal "antenna" called a telecoil. With the push of a button the hearing aid becomes a speaker for the PA system and brings the sound right in the ear without distortion, reverberation or background noise.
In her role as a hearing loop advocate, Dr. Sterkens collaborates with Hearing Loss Association chapters around the country to further the organization's mission to increase awareness about hearing loss and how the use of hearing loops can improve hearing accessibility for those coping with the invisible disability of hearing loss. She will be in town to offer her hearing loop knowledge and advocacy skills to expand the number of hearing-friendly places in the Tallahassee area.
Persons interested in learning more about how hearing loop technology works, will have two opportunities to meet Dr. Sterkens and hear her speak.
Dr. Juliette Sterkens will be keynote speaker for the Hearing Loss Association of the Big Bend chapter meeting Tuesday, March 18, 6 p.m., at Theatre Tallahassee, at 1861 Thomasville Road.
Dr. Sterkens will also speak at the Capital Coalition on Aging meeting (open to the public) at the Tallahassee Senior Center, Wednesday, March 19, 8:30 a.m. TSC is located at 1400 N Monroe St.
Call 850-877-0101 ext 289 for additional information.
Special Tax Assistance
Through April 15 | 1:30 - 4:45pm (Monday - Friday) and 1:30 - 7:30pm (Wednesday)
Appointments are required. Call 891-4030 for more information.
Tallahassee Active Lifelong Leaders
|Tallahassee Active Lifelong Leaders is a popular annual program open to anyone in the community 55+ who wants to learn more about what makes Tallahassee thrive - and how to become a part of the area's pulse and conscience. Classmates meet with area leaders and go on site visits to gain a better understanding of the community's cultural, political, safety, legal & justice, educational, health, human service, and other public services or public-private initiatives. By sharing resources and gaining insight, TALL graduates are better equipped to enhance positive change in their community through advocacy and volunteerism. The 2014 TALL class graduates March 25. You are invited to join the celebration luncheon and congratulate the alumni. Call organizer Hella Spellman at 891-4007 for more information on the program and graduation festivities.
|It all begins in Orientation. Getting to know one another takes a shortcut when your wrists are tied together and you must work together to create a gift
||Julie Lovelace of Leadership Tallahassee compliments the class on an excellent wrapping job!
||Fred LaCrone thinks intently about what he wants in his "mountain" - what's important to him on the inside of the mountain and what he wants to accomplish on his climb.
|Kristi Hatakka and "Man in Overalls" (Nathan Ballentine) discuss the Damayan Garden Project with the TALL class. The project teaches people how to grow their own food. They have community gardens, and partner with Litchgate for educational settings.
||Fred LaCrone and Jodi Gooding listen intently as John Powell talks about removal of contaminated soil from Cascades Park.
||Taking a break during the Cascades Park tour, Charlotte Cummings and Sharon McDonald ground themselves for a few minutes.
|The African Drum & Dance Ensemble, led by Lisa Beckley-Roberts, performs for the TALL class during Arts & Culture Day.
||(l to r) Marjorie Brenner, Fran Donovan and Mary Donovan sit on the panel of "Aging in Place-My Way"
|(l to r) Jodi Gooding, Tina Niggel, Addie Carroll-Beal and Fred LaCrone in discussion during an exercise at Capital City Youth Coalition.
||Joyce Patterson tours TALL ladies Ann Cleare, Valerie Brenci, Pat Steinkeuhler and Sharon McDonald around Allegro. Allegro is a "neighborhood" site for TSC art, exercise and writing programs.
|(l to r) Sara Cook of Capital City Youth Coalition takes Hope Frazier, Sharon McDonald, Addie Carroll-Beal, Jodi Gooding, Fred LaCrone and Yvonne Burton on a tour.