Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, October 20, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, October 20, 2012 



Dear Savvy Senior:

I have received my Social Security check in the mail every month for more than 25 years, and now I’m 
told I have to switch to direct deposit. Do I have any options? Suspicious Senior

Dear Suspicious,

If you’re over age of 90, or live in a remote area you 
may still have the option of receiving your Social 
Security checks in the mail if you want. Otherwise, 
you have until March 1, 2013 to switch from paper 
benefit checks to direct deposit. Here’s what you 
should know. 

Mandatory Direct Deposit

The reason the U.S. Department of Treasury is phasing out paper Social Security checks and replacing 
them with electronic delivery is because it’s cheaper, safer and more reliable. About 93 percent 
of federal benefit recipients already receive their payments via direct deposit. Switching most of the 
remaining 7 percent to paperless payments is expected to save Social Security around $600 million 
over the next 10 years in postage, paper and printing costs. The switch will also eliminate the potential 
problem of checks that get lost in the mail or stolen. 

Therefore, anyone who is currently receiving their Social Security, SSI, veterans, railroad retirement 
or federal civil servant retirement benefits in the mail, will need to switch to direct deposit either into 
a bank account or credit union of their choice, or a Direct Express Debit MasterCard by March 1, 

The only exceptions are for elderly seniors born before March 1, 1923, mentally impaired people and 
recipients who live in remote rural areas. They will still have the option of receiving their government 
benefits via paper check if they wish. 

Debit Card Option

If you don’t want your government benefits direct deposited in your bank account, or if you don’t 
have a bank account that your payments can be deposited into, you’ll need to get a Direct Express 
Debit MasterCard. This is a prepaid debit card that was introduced by the Treasury Department back 
in 2008. 

With a Direct Express Debit MasterCard your Social Security and/or other government benefits will 
automatically be deposited to your card’s account on your payment day each month. Your card can 
then be used to get cash from ATMs, banks or credit unions tellers, pay bills online and over the 
phone, make purchases at stores or locations that accept Debit MasterCard and get cash back when 
you make those purchases, and purchase money orders at the U.S. Post Office. The money you spend 
or withdraw is automatically deducted from your account. And you can check your balance any time 
by phone, online or at ATMs. 

There’s also no cost to sign up for the card, no monthly fees and no overdraft charges. There are, however, 
a few small fees for optional services you need to be aware of, like multiple ATM withdrawals. 
Currently, cardholders get one free ATM withdrawal per month, but additional monthly withdrawals 
cost 90 cents each not including a surcharge if you use a non-network ATM. 

Another important feature is security. Your card is PIN-protected, the money in your account is 
FDIC-insured, and if the card gets lost or stolen it will be replaced with consumer protections if it’s 
reported promptly. 

How to Switch

To sign up for direct deposit into a bank or credit union, or to sign up for the Direct Express Debit 
MasterCard, call Go Direct at 800-333-1795 or visit 

You also need to be aware that if you don’t sign up for direct bank deposit or get a Direct Express card 
by the March 1, 2013 deadline, the government will automatically issue you a Direct Express card and 
mail it to you, and your benefits will be deposited on your card’s account thereafter.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

 By Pat Birdsall

FYI: I’m in a quandary…I’ve asked myself if the top portion of this column should be done weekly, 
bi-monthly, or just once a month? There are so many topics that I’d like to address that affect seniors 
that weekly sounds good to me at this juncture. I think I’ll just play it by ear and please bear with me. I 
want to look into serious subjects such as home protection; running the gamut from fire safety devices 
and techniques to how to thwart home break-ins; to the not so serious… like entertainment. How is 
this for a segue? Speaking of entertainment...I went to the Senior Movie Program on Wednesday, 
October 10, for the first time and saw the 2012 Academy Award winning film, The Artist. I thoroughly 
enjoyed it! The movies are shown on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. One movie 
is contemporary and the other is archival. All are chosen by the audience members themselves. The 
price of admission is manageable, it’s FREE! Added bonus: We are now able to bring our own water 
AND popcorn! I’m looking forward to seeing the next presentation on Wednesday, October 24. It’s 
Laura, a suspenseful murder mystery from 1944, starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews and 
Clifton Webb. The American Film Institute ranks it as the 4th best film of all time in the mystery 

The time: 1:00 PM- 3:00 PM. The place: Sierra Madre Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra Madre 
Blvd. Sierra Madre.


 ~ Helpful Hint~


A TV Dusting tip... After cleaning your TV take a fabric softener sheet that has been used in your 
laundry and rub it all around the area that you don’t want to dust anymore. Instead of attracting 
dust, your TV will now repel it!


For Your Funny Bone 

 A tourist in Maine paid an emergency visit to a veterinarian’s office when his dog got the short end 
of a brawl with a porcupine. After the dog was de-quilled, the man went to pay, but was shocked 
when the receptionist handed him a bill for $450.00. “Four hundred and fifty dollars!” he shouted 
indignantly. “What do you Mainers do when all the tourists are gone?” “Raise porcupines,” said the 
receptionist, as she took his check.





 Sole Krieg, Margit Johnson, Ann Tyler, Pat Birdsall, Dick Anderson, Barbara Cline, Mary 
Jane Baker, Cathleen Cremins, Alma Mays, Eva Poet, Dixie Coutant, Angela Stella, Darlene Traxler, 
Darlene Crook, Gloria Giersbach, Susan Gallagher, Maggie Ellis, Elva Johnson, Ellen O’Leary, Jenny 
Piangenti, Gail-Ann Skiles, Anita Thompson, Adie Marshall, Lillias Eubanks. AND, add to that stellar 
list: A very special man! On October 5th, George Maurer turned 90! He is the gold standard when it 
comes to community service…our community. He so tirelessly lends a hand wherever it is needed: 
whether it is family or the community at large, he’s always there to lend a helping hand. Happy 
Birthday my friend! (To add your name to this ever-burgeoning list and to see your name in print, 
please call the paper at 626.355.2737.) Year of birth NOT required .


 *Quote: Youth is a disease from which we all recover. ~ Dorothy Fulheim~


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park 
House (Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre


YWCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café:

Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon (participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.)

All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 
for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary as space is 
limited. Please call 24 hours in advance…626.355.0256

Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month a nurse from Methodist Hospital, 
Arcadia volunteers to do the readings.11:00 am-12:00 pm-No appointment is necessary.

Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 PM- 3:00PM. Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: Every Wednesday morning from 11:00 AM-11:45 AM volunteer Teryl Willis 
offers this class focused on senior yoga techniques. It is geared toward gentle movements, breathing 
techniques and balance improvement. No reservations are necessary.

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of 
the month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law.* 

Appointments are a must. Please call Adam Matsumoto at 626.355.7394 to make yours. *Conflicting 
court schedules can occasionally cause cancellations. 

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays 
of our patrons at 12:30 PM. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes are 
provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00 PM. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. There is also a spectacular, one-of-a kind chess 
table on the patio that is just waiting for some action! 

Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 PM- 1:45 PM. Conducted by long-time 
volunteer Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. Weights 
are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in shape and to socialize with 
your peers.




 Friday, October 26th: Departure at 9:30 am from the Hart Park House.

 Lunch & activities: 10:30 am- 2:00 pm

 Return: To the Park House at 3:30 pm 
Cost: $10.00 (does not include lunch) 


Graber Olive House tour highlights the tradition of grading, curing and canning of Graber Olives. 
After the tour, lunch will be at Molly’s Souper, a wonderful brunch restaurant in Upland. (All 
participants are required to eat at the same restaurant.) For more information on the Graber Olive 
House visit 

Registration deadline is Monday, October 22nd Call the Hart Park House at 626.355.7394 to make 
reservations or to get more information.

 “NEW”- Senior Movie Program: Movies are shown on the 2nd and 
4th Wednesday of the month. The films are chosen by the seniors 
themselves and will be shown in Council Chambers (222 W. 
Sierra Madre Blvd.) at 1:00 pm. The price of admission - FREE!

LAURA October 24th City Council Chambers @ 1:00pm

Detective Mark McPherson investigates the killing of Laura, found 
dead on her apartment floor before the movie starts. McPherson 
builds a mental picture of the dead girl from the suspects whom 
he interviews. He is helped by the striking painting of the late 
lamented Laura hanging on her apartment wall. But who would 
have wanted to kill a girl with whom every man she met seemed

to fall in love? To make matters worse, McPherson finds himself 
falling under her spell too. Then one night, halfway through his investigations, something

seriously bizarre happens to make him re-think the whole case.

The “Senior Moments” newsletter is available for you to receive either by mail (USPS) 
or e-mail. Please contact Adam Matsumoto to be put on either list at 626.355.7394. 

We still SEE you...!

 You’ve got a little over a week to scrape together 
a good Halloween costume. I’ve never been great 
at dressing up for these occasions. For cheap stiffs 
like me, it’s hard to rationalize spending more than 
ten bucks on a get-up I’ll probably never wear again. 
Each year brings a plethora of new costumes ideas. (I hear some 
people are going as iPads.) But when it comes to disguises, there’s 
nothing new under the sun.

 Ever since Adam and Eve got caught, humans have been trying 
to cover up their bodies. And rightly so. I’m not advocating nudist 
societies! Not all bodies are created equal. Some people are just blessed 
with classically perfect proportions. (I personally know approximately 
two people in this category.) 

 But the rest of us usually have some body flaw we’d rather not 
emphasize. It may be flabby arms or a muffin top that’s creeping over 
your waistband. Whatever it is, I totally understand if you want to 
conceal it beneath billowy sleeves or a loose-fitting top. What strikes 
me as silly, however, is when people use artificial means to make their 
less-desirable features appear more glamorous than they really are. 
Some are content with mild things, like wearing fake lashes and hair 
extensions. Others resort to drastic measures, such as plastic surgery 
and other augmentations. Somewhere between these extremes is a 
“trick” as old as original sin --optical illusion.

 We all know that vertical stripes make you look thinner, and horizontal stripes make you look... 
broader. “Optical illusion” dresses are based on this principle. Even my own limited fashion sense 
tells me that these contrasting color outfits with geometric shapes are not the most aesthetically 
appealing. I suppose they might be considered “artsy,” in an angular kind of way. 

 Since they’re touted as making the wearer look more shapely, it’s no surprise that Hollywood stars 
and other socialites have embraced a new generation of slimming dresses. They remind me of those 
tee shirts that have the neck and torso of a muscle man or bikini babe --as if by wearing it the person 
is fooling anyone. It’s all fine and good to try to look younger, fitter, or healthier than you actually 
are. But it’s a whole other thing to blatantly admit that you are doing so! By wearing something that’s 
obviously an “optical illusion,” you’re proclaiming your negative body issues. It’s like wearing Spanx 
shapewear to a party and gushing to everyone, “I absolutely love this Spanx leotard! It’s a little hard 
to breath, but I couldn’t fit into this dress without it!” 

 If you’re going to try to deceive us, at least be more discrete about it! I’m glad I don’t have to worry 
about looking like a million bucks at my job, or in any other setting for that matter. Unlike members 
of Hollywood’s “A” List, no one’s concerned with whether my waist looks five centimeters larger or 
smaller than it did the last time they saw me. It’s comforting to know that my family, friends, and 
coworkers probably wouldn’t notice whether or not I have a huge zit or toilet paper stuck to my shoe. 
It may take some creativity for me to come up with a Halloween costume, but I’m glad this is the only 
time of year I have to try to pretend to be something I’m not!