2006-04-26 / Seniors

Anti-War Grannies On Trial

Our hats are off to 18 Manhattan seniors, members of the Granny Peace Brigade, who allegedly went to a Times Square recruiting station to enlist so that their grandchildren wouldn't have to go into military service and wound up getting arrested for disorderly conduct.

The feisty, anti-war ladies refused a plea deal to dismiss the charges if they stayed out of trouble for six months, and

chose to go on trial last Thursday.

The trial is expected to last throughout this week, as all 18 defendants insist on testifying.

According to last Friday's New York Daily News, the incident occurred last October 1. The grannies, wearing black tee shirts emblazoned with the defiant slogan, "We will not be silent," allegedly had to be removed bodily by police officers from the recruiting station.

Police officials said they were no trouble and cooperated while they were taken into custody. They claimed that the door to the recruiting station was locked when they were asked to leave, so they just sat.

On her way into Manhattan Criminal Court last Thursday, Marie Runyon, 91, one of those on trial, said that the war in Iraq is "wrong as all get out, and we're against it and we'll do whatever it takes, whatever we can do, to stop it."

We won't take sides on the war issue,

but we're completely in awe of their spirit and courage in backing up their opinions. Their story demonstrates clearly that age is never a barrier in standing up for one's rights and staying involved in what's going on in the world.

HILLARY: 'EXTEND SIGN-UP PERIOD FOR MEDICARE DRUG PROGRAM: Claiming that 13 million seniors and disabled Americans are still not enrolled in the Medicare Part D prescription drug subsidy program, United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and 48 other senators from both parties are seeking to have the sign-up deadline extended beyond May 15. As matters now stand, anyone not enrolled by that date faces stiff penalties.

Clinton and her colleagues, including U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, also from New York, have asked Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tennessee) to bring pending legislation to extend the deadline to the floor immediately for a vote.

In a letter to Frist, Clinton reminded him that the penalty for signing up after May 15 will be a one percent increase in the premium for each month enrollees delay signing up for Part D.

The freshman lawmaker pointed out that the choices for selecting a plan were confusing and difficult to understand for many seniors, while federal officials had a variety of implementation problems. These, she said, were legitimate reasons why so many seniors had not yet signed up.

Under the legislation pending in the Senate, the enrollment period would be extended beyond May 15 to include all of the 2006 calendar year.

"By extending the enrollment period and delaying late enrollment penalties, we can make sure that our constituents are not forced to make hasty decisions about their health care," Clinton pointed out. "The stakes are too high to deny seniors the time and resources they need to make an informed decision."

RETIREES WANT JOBS: Chances are, more retirees will be looking for jobs in the future as they live longer and there will be a market for them amid indications that labor shortages will be part of the economic scene.

That's the picture that developed during a forum last week held by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) at the Harvard Club.

Here are the factors involved: +Baby boomers will start reaching retirement age in a few years, but a majority will want to continue working according to a study done for AARP. Some 68 percent of workers age 50 to 70 reported they plan to work in their retirement years.

+Current retirees will also want to rejoin the work force, either to keep busy, by choice or necessity. In the latter group will be those living longer and in need of money as their retirement nest egg shrinks every year and/or pensions disappear. Their general good health also feeds into this picture.

+The job market will open up as baby boomers reach retirement age, do retire and opt out of working anymore.

In the process, job training programs will be created for those who need them, and some employers who are now reluctant to hire older workers will change their attitudes and hire them out of necessity.

Looks like a pretty encouraging picture.

CITY PARKS HOLDS SENIOR FITNESS PROGRAM: City Parks Foundation announces the start of its CityParks Seniors Fitness program, which will offer free tennis lessons, yoga instruction, bike trips, and fitness walking for seniors in parks across New York City.

CityParks Seniors Fitness will begin on May 1, 2006, at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.

David Rivel, City Parks Foundation executive director, said, "We welcome senior New Yorkers to get fit, stay healthy, and have fun together in city parks this spring, through our new seniors fitness program. Just like City Parks Foundation's free sports, arts, and education programs for kids and communities throughout New York, our seniors fitness program aims to keep neighborhood parks a great place for community activity."

Seniors interested in registering for City Parks Seniors Fitness can call 718699-4200 or get more information at www.CityParksFoundation.org. All equipment and instruction will be offered free (except for bike trips, where bikes will be required).

The Spring 2006 Schedule for CityParks Seniors Fitness at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is as follows:

Tennis M/W 10 a.m. Park Tennis Courts, Meridian Road

Walking M/W 9 a.m. Park Tennis Courts, Meridian Road

Yoga M/W 9 a.m. Park Tennis Courts, Meridian Road

Biking M/F 10 a.m. Park Tennis Courts, Meridian Road From 2003 through 2005, City Park

Foundation's Tennis Program for Seniors provided six weeks of free lessons at all skill levels each Autumn. Due to the continued success of this program, CPF is launching CityParks Seniors Fitness in 2006 which will include and expand the tennis program.

The health benefits of fitness activities for seniors are well documented. Even in moderate amounts, exercise can help to maintain or lose weight, reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes, and minimize the symptoms of arthritis and osteoporosis. CPF appreciates the opportunity to work with Bike New York, Namaste New York, and NYWalkers Club, organizations

that will be providing expert instruction through the CityParks Seniors Fitness program.

All activities take place twice a week. To maximize health benefits, participants are encouraged to register for two or more weekly activities and maintain regular attendance.

This program is generously supported by Zwicker Electric and the New York City Council. As in all of its programming and activities, City Parks Foundation partners with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to improve neighborhood parks and the communities they serve.

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