Looking Ahead

St. Pat's fete and a visit from the Sierra Club

... Looking Ahead, March 2006: More on computer lessons, tax help

by Jack Beckley, director, Melrose Council on Aging

Looking Ahead, March 2006
Melrose Council on Aging

Eileen M. Olsen, Chairperson
Jim Driscoll, Vice-Chairperson
Kay McCarte, Secretary
William Ahern
Peggy Kenny
Rosemary Behrle
George Nelson Torrey

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Milano Senior Center on Friday, March 17, at 12 noon. For lunch, there is a choice of corned beef stew and savory red & white cabbage or seafood salad, coleslaw and German potato salad.

Immediately following lunch, you’ll be treated to the comedy of Mike Smith. Lunch tickets are limited and must be purchased by Fri., March 10. There is a $3.00 suggested donation, $1.50 for lunch and $1.50 for the entertainment. Tickets can be picked up in person at the Milano Center (sorry, no phone reservations).

Sierra Club presents
Home Energy Savings’

The Sierra Club, in light of high energy costs, has launched an outreach program to help homeowners around the state. The program educates homeowners about ways that they can lower their energy bills. This not only helps them save money year after year but also helps save the environment. The presentation, which includes energy saving handouts, will be held at the Milano Senior Center on Wed., March 8, at 1:30 a.m.

The Sierra Club is an environmental organization founded in 1892.

Food Labels Unraveled

Are you wondering about the new food labels this year? Candace Quigley, RD, from Mystic Valley Elder Services will decipher them for you; teaching how to read them and explaining what this year’s mean. The Milano Center presentation takes place on Fri., March 24 from 10:15 – 11:00 a.m. Handouts will be provided.

The presentation is offered as part of the new Weight Management Group hosted by Hallmark Health Care VNA nurse Mary Joyce. The group regularly meets at the Center on the 2nd & 4th Fridays of the month at 10:00 a.m.

Online Help with the
Medicare Prescription Drug Program

On Thurs., March 23, from 12 to 4:00 p.m., volunteers will be at the Milano Senior Center to help you find out via the Internet what Medicare prescription drug plan best meets your needs (depends on how many and what medications you take). Afterwards you’ll get a printout with the names of three of the least costly plans that meet your needs.

Call the Milano Center (781-662-6886) to schedule an appointment. Remember, you must select a plan by May 15, 2006 to avoid a penalty if you elect to join later.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Melrose Free Press columnist, Arnold Koch, has graciously agreed to take us on  A Trip Down Memory Lane” at the Milano Senior Center on Fri., March 10 at 1:30 p.m. His talk will feature several topics from his Looking Back columns including television’s Golden Age and stars of vaudeville. Interesting personalities from the past he has profiled have included Lydia Pinkham, Margaret Mitchell, and Ronald Reagan.

His almost 40 years in public relations began with the General Electric Company. He then became part owner of New England’s largest public relations firm.

All are welcome to attend.

Express Yourself Artistically

The Tuesday morning  Art Workshop” lead by Bill Kadlec resumes on March 7 at 9:00 a.m. This friendly group welcomes new members wishing to further develop their painting or drawing skills. The cost per class is $5.00. Call 781-662-6886 mornings for additional information.

Storm Cancellation Policy

When storms force the cancellation of Melrose Public Schools:

  • The Milano Senior Center will be closed.

  • No congregate meals will be served at the Milano Senior Center. To find out if Home Delivered Meals will be delivered, call MVES at 781-324-7705 after 7:30 a.m. Cancellations are also listed on Channels 5 & 7 and on WRKO 680 AM radio.

  • The Minibus will not run the entire day.

  • The COA office will be open unless City Hall closes.

Senior Dining Program

Delicious noon-time meals are served each week day at 12 noon in the Milano Center. The lunch program is run in cooperation with Mystic Valley Elder Services. Entrees are listed in Looking Ahead’s calendar and the complete weekly menus in the Melrose Free Press.

To reserve a meal call 781-662-6886 from 10:00-11:45 AM at least a day before you plan to attend. A $1.50 donation is requested for each meal. Rides are available by calling 781-665-4304 ($1 suggested donation).

Ride in COA Van

The Council provides transportation within Melrose for residents age 60 plus. The van runs Mon.- Thurs. from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

To reserve a ride, call the COA office (781-665-4304) mornings. In the afternoon, you may check on a ride or make a last minute cancellation by calling the Milano Center at 781-662-6886. $1 suggested donation.

Looking Ahead

The COA monthly newsletter, Looking Ahead, is distributed in bulk around the City. If you prefer to receive it by mail, please send a $4 check payable to the Melrose COA, 235 West Foster Street, Melrose, MA 02176. Those who are homebound and unable to afford the $4 can receive the newsletter without charge.

Bridge Club – Meets Wednesday mornings. New members are always welcome. Recent winners were: Martha Edgeworth 1st, Alan Faller 2nd, and John Lawry 3rd; Fran Vennochi 1st, Gloria Frazier 2nd, & Mary Manning 3rd; Lou Froio 1st, Henry Porter 2nd, & John Porter 3rd; Alan Faller 1st, Gloria Frazier 2nd, & John Lorrie, 3rd.

Duplicate Bridge – Meets the first Wednesday of the month. January winners were Alan Faller & Lionel Hitchborn N & S, and Jean Pulsifer & Neska Berthel E & W.


AARP Chapter 1124 March 10 1:30 PM at the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church. Program: Robert Tibbetts, Director of Volunteer Services, Shriner Burns Hospital.

Ham & Bean Supper March 18, 6:00 p.m., Green Street Baptist Church, 179 Green St. $7 adults (children 12 & under free with parents). No reservations needed. For information, call 781-665- 7331.

Melrose Arts and Crafts Society March 27. 9:30 AM. First Baptist Church. Craft classes and Program - Fancy, Funny Hat Parade Contest.

Melrose Veterans’ Club Fridays, 9:00 a.m., GAR Room, Memorial Hall. All are welcome!

Womans’ Club of Melrose March 15, 12:00, Most Blessed Sacrament Church. Program: Joe Bergantino, ITeam, WBZ TV.


Minibus to Meadow Glen Mall Call 781-665-4304 to reserve seats on the bus. There is now a two person minimum for the van to make the trip.

March 6  - Leaves Cefalo Memorial Complex at 10 a.m.- returns at 1 p.m.
March 13 - Leaves Julian Steele & McCarthy Houses at 10 a.m.- returns at 1 p.m.
March 20 - Leaves City Hall at 10 a.m. - returns at 1 p.m.

200 Club – Call Rosemary Behrle at 781- 665-3258 to register for trips. Checks payable to: The 200 Club.

March 8-16 Greece 3-Night Greek Island Cruise aboard Louis Cruises’ Perla, 9-days/7 nights. Package includes sightseeing to some of the most beautiful and famous attractions in Greece; most meals, staying at first-class Divani Palace in Athens including a visit to Ephesus in Turkey!
                                                 $1,599 (outside cabin) $1,529 (inside cabin)

April 14 Mystery Trip Something different that you have never done before! Trip includes: buffet luncheon, afternoon mystery activity, deluxe motor coach transportation. Pick up: Cochrane House 8:00 a.m./Levi Gould 8:15 a.m. $51.00

May 19 Portland, Maine By train and bus. One way train from Woburn, Mass. to Portland, Maine on Amtrak’s Downeaster; lunch at DiMillo’s Floating Restaurant (Scrod or chicken); Shopping/browsing time at  Old Port.”  Pick-up: Cochrane House and Levi Gould – times announced later. $79.00

June 22-29 8 Day Mackinac Island A unique island destination, between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, where you will experience the sites and sounds of a bygone era. Tour includes: 7 nights hotel; 13 meals; ferry ride; carriage tour Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum and all sightseeing; taxes; baggage; professional tour guide by deluxe motor coach.       $1,049 twin, $1,029 triple, & $1,429 single


The Melrose Friends of the Aging gratefully acknowledges generous contributions from Vincent & Rose Puglia and Connie Robinson, and donations made in memory of Ethyl Charlton from Ruth Charlton, Shirley Emmons, and Mary Vaughn; in memory of Gertrude Curtin from Jack Beckley, and in memory of Mary Zaorski from the Milano Senior Center Crafts Group.

Movies -- Movies -- Movies

In Her Shoes Drama. Shown at the Milano Senior Center on Wed., March 15 at 1:30 PM.  Maggie (Cameron Diaz), the consummate party girl, clashes with her head-on- straight sister, Rose (Toni Collette). When the trust between the two is breached severely, Maggie runs away to find Ella (Shirley MacLaine), her long-lost grandmother. Finally free of each other, both Rose and Maggie begin new lives in which they explore their potential for happiness and realize their dreams of independence.

Property Tax Exemption

If you or your spouse reached age 65 before July 1, 2005, you may be eligible for a $700 tax exemption. In order to qualify, an individual’s total income for 2004 must be under $20,000 (after deducting $3,571 in Social Security or Railroad Retirement income for a retired worker). An individual drawing on his/her spouse’s retirement benefits may deduct only $1,786. A single person cannot have more than $40,000 in assets. A couple’s income must be under $30,000 (after deducting $5,357 in Social Security or Railroad Retirement income. A couple cannot have more than $55,000 in assets. Application deadline is March 31, 2006.

For additional information, call the Assessor’s office at 781-979-4104.

Computer Lessons

Explore the Internet: This three-session class, limited to seven students, opens the door to a world of information on the Internet. Students learn how to efficiently search the Internet, find out aobut some of the most popular and useful sites, and how to take advantage of the remarkable resources accessible with your library membership. Thurs., March 9, 16 & 30 at 10:00 a.m.. $25. Instructor: Elaine LeGendre.

Microsoft Word: Three-session introductory course on the wordprocessing program Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word is a remarkable program with literally hundreds of features that make writing/typing easier. Monday, March 13, 20 & 27 at 1:30 p.m. $25. Instructor: Paula Emelock

Introduction & Intermediate Computer Classes:  The three-session introductory class is for people with no experience with computers. It introduces you to the world of computers, from turning them on and off and developing some proficiency with the mouse to understanding th basic types of software. Among the many things Intermediate Class students will learn is how to burn CDs, fax, manage and customize windows. Introduction to Computers will be held on March 14, 15 & 16, from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. $25. The date and time for the intermediate class will be announced in April.

Instructor: Philip Fortunato.

Please call the Center (781-662-6886 to register for classes and for additional information.

Take Advantage of the Computer Room

You are welcome to come down to use a computer or surf the net for free at your convenience as long as no classes are in session. If peer assistants are working with someone, please be considerate of their time together. If you need help surfing the net or with some other aspect of computers, schedule to have a peer assistant help you. The cost ($3 per hour) offsets expenses. The peer assistants are volunteers. To check if the computers are available, call 781-662-6886. Many thanks to Roseanne Greene for her on-going help with coordinating the computer classroom.  

Free AARP Tax Assistance

IRS trained Tax-Aide counselors assist disabled persons and those age 60 and over with low to moderate incomes in filing their taxes again this year at the Milano Senior Center.

Appointments with Tax-Aides will be available on Mondays, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, through April 10, 2006. Please bring: 1. A copy of your 2004 return 2. All taxes paid for 2005 (withholding and estimated) 4. All 2005 income report forms 1099s, W-2, etc. If you are interest in the annual state income tax credit (often referred to as the  Circuit Breaker”) of up to $840, bring your property tax valuation, annual income and property taxes paid and paid water & sewer services. You do not have to pay state taxes to qualify for the tax credit.

Call 781-665-4304 mornings for an appointment. Time permitting, walk-ins are seen on a first-come, first- serve basis - after the appointments. Occasionally, time may not permit accommodating all walk-ins.

This year tax assistance will be held in the Milano Center’s Carriage House Lounge.

Grandparent and Grandchild Support Group

North Suburban Family Network in collaboration with the Melrose and Stoneham Councils on Aging, received a MVES Grant for monthly educational support group for grandparents.

Meetings are held on the last Friday of the month, 10 a.m.–Noon, through June 2006 at the Stoneham Senior Center, 136 Elm St., Stoneham. Limited childcare is available. Call 781-662-2722 to register for the March 31 meeting.

Melrose Mirror Open House

Next month, the public is cordially invited to an Open House featuring the Internet publication, the Melrose Mirror. There will be refreshments, on-line tours of the Melrose Mirror, and opportunities to chat with SilverStringers (its writers and photographers) about the publication and, perhaps, about one’s own aspirations for writing or publishing a photo essay.

In addition to seeing the new April Melrose Mirror edition, there will be a chance to revisit the March edition that featured former Cochrane House resident Bill Jodrey who wrote about his experiences as a hobo during the Great Depression.  Diary of a Hobo,” his wise and readable book will be available for purchase.

The Open House will take place in the beautiful Carriage House Lounge on April 11 and 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please stop in to say hello.

For nearly a decade, a friendly and adventurous group of senior citizens have been producing the on-line Internet publication called the Melrose Mirror. Thanks in part to technical support and equipment from the MIT Media Lab but, more importantly, to its doggedly determined members, the publication has gained notoriety and a following locally and around the world. The Stringers welcome new members and are always in the hunt for stories by Melrosians (past or present) or having some connection to Melrose.  

Ladies in the Weight Management Group are all smiles after learning that members had lost a total of nearly 20 lbs. since their previous meeting two weeks before. The group, lead by Hallmark Health Care VNA nurse Mary Joyce (standing in the center holding the folder), welcomes new members. It meets in the Carriage House Lounge at 10:00 a.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.

Answers to January TRIVIA

What President promised the American public that they would never pay taxes on Social Security benefits? Answer: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

What kind of currency does Hawaii use? Answer: Good old U.S.A. currency.

What password was used by the allies on D-Day? Answer: Mickey Mouse.

What year did women in the U.S.A. get to vote? Answer: 1920.

To make a print, right-click on the form and chose Print.                                   


FREE WELLNESS CHECKS – Friday, March 10, at 11:15 a.m. Melrose/Boston VNA Nurse Cynthia Giansiracuso provides free health checks including pressures, weights and more. Please drop in; appointments are not necessary.

PODIATRY Friday, March 17 Dr. Robert J. Connolly, D.P.M. provides foot care & consultations ($30). Contact Dr. Connolly at 781-438-2525 for appointments. Be sure to indicate that you wish to be seen at the Milano Senior Center because Dr. Connolly travels to different centers.

Weight Management, March 10 and 24 Join this ongoing support and education group lead by community nurse Mary Joyce of Hallmark Health Homecare. It meets on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month at 10:00 AM in the Milano Senior Center’s Carriage House Lounge. The group is free and no registration is necessary. At the March 24th meeting, registered dietitian Candice Quigley will explain this year’s food labeling changes.

Ask a Nurse Tues., March 28, at 10:00 a.m. Joan Farren, R.N. provides individualized health care counseling courtesy of Hallmark Health Homecare. She’ll check your blood pressure, heart rate and listen to your lungs. Joan can help you find a doctor, understand your medications and health care regime, or answer your questions.

"Ask a Nurse” is free and no appointments are necessary. It will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. on the last Tuesday of the month.

March 3, 2006

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