Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, August 15, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 11


Mountain View News Saturday, August 15, 2020 


Dear Savvy Senior:

I understand that COVID-19 hits smokers a lot 
harder than nonsmokers but quitting at my age is 
very difficult. Does Medicare offer any coverage 
that helps beneficiaries quit smoking? Must Quit

Dear Must:

It’s true. Smokers and vapers have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection as the coronavirus 
attacks the lungs. That’s why quitting now is more important than ever before.

 If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you’ll be happy to know that Medicare Part B covers up to eight 
face-to-face counseling sessions a year to help you quit smoking. And, if you have a Medicare Part 
D prescription drug plan, certain smoking-cessation medications are covered too. Here are some 
other tips that can help you kick the habit.

It’s Never Too Late

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 12.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries 
smoke. Many older smokers, like yourself, indicate that they would like to quit, but because 
of the nicotine, which is extremely addictive, it’s very difficult to do.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness, responsible for an estimated one-fifth of 
deaths in the United States each year.

But research shows that quitting, even after age 65, greatly reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, 
cancer, osteoporosis and many other diseases including COVID-19. It also helps you breathe easier, 
smell and taste food better, not to mention saves you quite a bit of money. A $6 pack-a-day smoker, 
for example, saves about $180 after one month without cigarettes, and nearly $2,200 after one year.

How to Quit

The first step you need to take is to set a “quit date,” but give yourself a few weeks to get ready. During 
that time, you may want to start by reducing the number or the strength of cigarettes you smoke 
to begin weaning yourself.

Also check out over-the-counter nicotine replacement products – patches, gum and lozenges – to 
help curb your cravings (these are not covered by Medicare). And just prior to your quit day get 
rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car, and place of work, and try to clean up and even 
spray air freshener. The smell of smoke can be a powerful trigger.

Get Help

Studies have shown that you have a much better chance of quitting if you have help. So, tell your 
friends, family, and coworkers of your plan to quit. Others knowing can be a helpful reminder and 

Then get some counseling. Don’t go it alone. Start by contacting your doctor about smoking cessation 
counseling covered by Medicare and find out about the prescription antismoking drugs that 
can help reduce your nicotine craving.

You can also get free one-on-one telephone counseling and referrals to local smoking cessation 
programs through your state quit line at 800-QUIT-NOW or call the National Cancer Institute free 
smoking quit line at 877-44U-QUIT.

It’s also important to identify and write down the times and situations you’re most likely to smoke 
and make a list of things you can do to replace it or distract yourself. Some helpful suggestions when 
the smoking urge arises are to call a friend or one of the free quit lines, keep your mouth occupied 
with some sugar-free gum, sunflower seeds, carrots, fruit or hard candy, go for a walk, read a magazine, 
listen to music or take a hot bath.

The intense urge to smoke lasts about three to five minutes, so do what you can to wait it out. It’s 
also wise to avoid drinking alcohol and steer clear of other smokers while you’re trying to quit. Both 
can trigger powerful urges to smoke. 

For more tips on how to quit, including managing your cravings, withdrawal symptoms and what to 
do if you relapse, visit There are also a variety of helpful quit smoking apps 
you can download like and

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.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …August Birthdays*

Nancy Beckham, Karlene Englert, Juanita Fernandez, Jeanette Francis, Joseph 
Kiss, Jacquie Pergola, Pat Miranda, Jerry Burnett, Margaret Aroyan, Phyllis 
Burg, Beverly Clifton, Rosemary Morabito, Susan Poulsen, Joy Barry, Marcia 
Bent, Joan Spears, Ruth Torres, Jane Zamanzadeh. Helen Stapenhorst, Chandy 
Shair,Heidi Hartman, Erma Gutierrez, 

 * To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 
626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required


The City of Sierra Madre is following these procedures to provide current communication in light of 
COVID-19 and keep the Senior Community and families informed of essential information and resources. 
City staff are monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing 
direct engagement and practicing social distancing in the community, please note that voice messages, 
emails, and social media responses are being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner.

If at any moment additional information is needed, please contact City Hall Administrative Services at 
(626) 355-7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a – 5:30p, as they are taking messages and e-mailing the 
appropriate person.

For messages that may trickle in otherwise, please note our team is remotely checking voicemail daily at 
the Community Services Department, (626) 355-5278 x702.

Community Services Department will continue email communication with Senior residents and aging 
community members.

If you know of family members or neighbors who may benefit from accessing information electronically, 
and to receive the department’s Seniors Newsletter via email but may not otherwise have been included 
on an email group list, please send your request with email address to the following team members:

Lawren Heinz and Clarissa Lowe

Community Services Department will continue Electronic Seniors Newsletter on a weekly-basis 

Community Services Department will continue with mail drop-off of newsletters at the Sierra Madre 
U.S. Post Office Box (unless otherwise advised).

City Social Media will continue via Facebook as well as Instagram, and information sharing will include 
updates as details becomes available.

Mater Dolorosa - Sierra Madre Meal Pick-Up Program provides seal-packaged frozen meals, 5-per 
person every Thursday, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. at Hart Park House Senior Center 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. 
Donations are accepted. Call (626) 355-5278; x702 or 704.

YWCA Intervale Meal Program - Effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020

YWCA has transitioned their distribution of take home meals at the Sierra Madre Hart Park House Senior 
Center to a home-delivery meal program. Participants previously reserved for meal pick-up as of 
Wednesday, 3/25/20 were informed that they would begin to have their meals delivered to their homes, 
beginning Wednesday, April 1, 2020 until further notice.

For any additional participants calling in that are at a high risk and need meals delivered to, please 
provide us their name, date of birth (they must be 60+), address and phone number and Community 
Services Department will for-ward this information to our County Contact.

Food Banks Support: Seniors & Families:

If someone is outside of our local area and in need of a food bank, they can find one nearest them by 
going to and typing in their zip code; or call from the list here:

First Church of the Nazarene-Pasadena 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. 626-351-9631

Wednesday 10:30 am-12 pm 

Pasadena Senior Center 85 E. Holly St. Pasadena 626-685-6732

Foothill Unity Center 415 W. Chestnut Ave. Monrovia 626-358-3486 Monday 1 pm-3:30 pm, 
Wednesday & Friday 9 am-11:30 am

Lifeline Community Services & Economic Development 2556 N. Lake Ave Altadena

626-797-3585 2nd and 4th Wednesday 12 pm-2 pm & 8:15 pm-9 pm

Morning Star Outreach Ministry 1416 N. Mentor Ave Pasadena 626-794-4875

2nd & 4th Saturday 11 am-1



Anyone who has seen the hit 
Netflix documentary Tiger 
King: Murder, Mayhem, and 
Madness can attest that it’s 
one of the most outlandish 
stories to come out in a year 
full of outlandish stories. And while Tiger King’s sordid tale of 
big cats, murder-for-hire, polygamy, and a missing millionaire 
may seem too outrageous to have any relevance to your own 
life, the series actually sheds light on a number of critical estate 
planning issues that are pertinent for practically everyone. 
Over seven episodes, Tiger King provides several shocking, 
real-life examples of how estate planning can go horribly wrong 
if it’s undertaken without trusted legal guidance. In this article, 
we’ll discuss some of the worst planning mistakes made by 
key people in the documentary, while offering lessons for how 
such disasters could have been avoided with proper planning.
The Feud

While the documentary’s dark, twisted plot is far too 
complicated to fully summarize, it focuses primarily on the 
bitter rivalry between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin, who are 
both owners and breeders of big cats. Joe, the self-professed 
“Tiger King,” whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, 
runs a roadside zoo in Oklahoma filled with more than a 
hundred tigers, lions, and other assorted animals.

 Carole is the owner of Big Cat Rescue, a Florida-based 
sanctuary for big cats rescued from captivity. As an avid 
animal rights activist, Carole goes on a public crusade 
against Joe, seeking to have his zoo shut down, claiming 
that he exploits, abuses, and kills the animals under his care. 
The feud between Joe and Carole goes on for decades, and 
eventually peaks after Carole wins a million-dollar trademark 
infringement lawsuit against Joe and Joe is ultimately 
convicted of hiring a hitman to kill Carole and sentenced to 
22 years in federal prison. 

 Although the clash between Joe and Carole takes center stage 
and exposes key estate planning concerns related to business 
ownership and asset protection (which we’ll have to cover in a 
separate article) the most egregious planning errors are made 
by Carol’s late husband Don Lewis. 

Missing millionaire
Don, a fellow big-cat enthusiast who helped Baskin start Big 
Cat Rescue, mysteriously disappeared in 1997 and hasn’t been 
seen since. After having him declared legally dead in 2002, 
Carole produced a copy of Don’s will that left her nearly 
his entire estate—estimated to be worth $6 million—while 
leaving his daughters from a previous marriage with just 10% 
of his assets. 

 Carole was not only listed as Don’s executor in the will 
she presented, but she also produced a document in which 
Don granted her power of attorney. However, the planning 
documents Carole produced were deemed suspicious by 
multiple people who were close to Don for a number of reasons. 
Don’s daughters and his first wife claim that Don and Carole 
were having serious marital problems before he disappeared, 
and that Don was planning to divorce Carole. As evidence 
of this, we learn that Don sought a restraining order against 
Carole just two months before he vanished, in which he alleges 
Carole threatened to kill him. A judge denied the restraining 
order, saying there was “no immediate threat of violence.”

 Don’s daughters also claim that around the time the 
restraining order was filed, their father created a will that left 
the vast majority of his estate to them, and he did so in order 
to minimize any claims Carole might have to his property 
should he pass away. Additionally, Don’s administrative 
assistant, Anne McQueen, said that before he disappeared, 
Don gave her an envelope containing his new will and a 
power of attorney document, in which he named Anne 
as his executor and power of attorney agent, not Carole. 
Anne said Don told her to take the envelope to the police 
if anything should happen to him. According to Anne, the 
envelope with Don’s planning documents was kept in a lock 
box in Don’s office, but she claims Carole broke into the office 
and took the documents 10 days after he disappeared. Anne 
believes Carole forged the will and power of attorney she 
ultimately presented to the court. 

 Carole vehemently denied all of these claims. She further alleged 
that Don sought to disinherit his children in his will, and it was 
only at Carole’s suggestion that Don left them anything at all. 
Although law enforcement investigated Don’s disappearance 
from Tampa to Costa Rica, Hillsborough County Sheriff 
Chad Chronister said the investigation failed to uncover 
any physical evidence, only a conflicting series of stories 
and dead ends. In light of this, Don’s estate passed 
through probate in 2002, and his assets were distributed 
according to the terms of the will Carole presented, leaving 
Carole with the bulk of his $6-million estate, and leaving 
Don’s daughters with just a small fraction of his assets. 
While there’s more to the story surrounding Don’s 
planning documents and Carole’s suspicious actions, 
let’s look at the planning mistakes Don made 
and how they could have been easily prevented. 
The Big Lesson: Always work with an experienced estate 
planning lawyer when creating or updating your planning 
documents, especially if you have a blended family. If 
Don’s children and assistant are correct and Don created 
a will that left his daughters the bulk of his estate and 
disinherited Carole, it appears he did so without the 
assistance of an attorney. This was his first big mistake. 
There are numerous do-it-yourself (DIY) estate planning 
websites that allow you to create various planning documents 
within a matter of minutes for relatively little expense. Yet, as 
we can see here, when you use DIY estate planning instead 
of the services of a trusted advisor guiding you and your 
family, the documents can easily disappear or be changed 
without anyone who can testify to what you really wanted. 
In the end—and when it’s too late—taking the DIY route can 
cost your family far more than not creating any plan at all. 
Even if you think your particular planning situation is simple, 
that turns out to almost never be the case. There are a number 
of complications inherent to DIY estate plans that can cause 
them to be ruled invalid by a court, while also creating 
unnecessary conflict and expense for the very people you are 
trying to protect with your plan.

 And while it’s always a good idea to have a lawyer help 
you create your planning documents; this is exponentially 
true when you have a blended family like Don’s. If you 
are in a second (or more) marriage, with children from a 
prior marriage, there’s an inherent risk of dispute because 
your children and spouse often have conflicting interests, 
particularly if there’s substantial wealth at stake. The risk 
for conflict is significantly increased if you are seeking to 
disinherit or favor one part of your family over another, as 
Don was claimed to have done with Carole. 

 Finally, as we saw with Don, if your loved ones can’t find 
your planning documents—whether because they were 
misplaced or stolen—it’s as if they never existed in the first 
place. Yet, if Don had enlisted the support of an experienced 
planning professional, his documents would have likely been 
safeguarded from being lost, stolen, or destroyed. 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


For some reason, this week, I had been thinking 
of my maternal grandfather. I was named after 
him, and therefore we had a connection.

 I was thinking about him because this month I 
turned the same age as he was when he passed. I 
hope there's no connection there.

 As a young boy, I would spend a month, every 
summer at my grandparents. They lived up in 
the mountains of Pennsylvania in a long valley. 
My grandfather was a farmer, and his primary 
income was his dairy cows. He taught me how 
to milk cows, and he did it the old-fashioned, 
hands-on way.

 My grandfather and grandmother were rather 
opposite. My grandfather was rather quiet and 
didn't talk very much. On the other hand, my 
grandmother never had an unexpressed thought. 
I guess she made up for my grandfather’s silence.

 But my grandfather was quite different, a very 
quiet individual. I remember one afternoon sitting 
on the front porch with his brother, Dan. 
The three of us sat there, and the conversation 
went something like this.

Grandfather, “Sure is a nice day.”

After a few minutes, Dan said, "Sure is."

 That was the conversation for the whole afternoon. 
That’s how my grandfather was.

As a farmer up in the mountains of Pennsylvania, 
he was very adept at growing things.

One day he came home and in his truck were 
four little bushes. At least they looked like bushes. 
I helped him plant them on the left side of the 
driveway. I never saw my grandfather so happy 
in all his life. Although he was smiling he wasn’t 

 I asked my grandfather what we were planting, 
and he simply said, "Peach trees."

The next day a friend of my grandfather stopped 
in and saw the “bushes” along the driveway.

“Hey, Jim,” the friend said, “what’s that there that 
you planted?”

 Grandfather just looked and said, “Peach trees.”

 The friend laughed and looked at my grandfather 
and said, “We don’t grow peach trees here. 
And they don’t even look like a peach tree.” And 
he continued laughing.

 It wasn’t long before everybody in the valley 
was making fun of his "peach trees." In fact, 
the traffic in front of my grandparent's house 
increased and slowed as they came by, and everybody 
looked out their window and pointed at 
those infamous peach trees.

 I don't think anybody had ever grown peach 
trees in that area before. Everybody thought that 
peach trees were a southern fruit and no respectable 
Pennsylvania farmer, would ever grow one.

The rumor developed that they were not, but my 
grandfather was simply trying to fool everybody. 
After all, he was like that.

 A year later, I was back at my grandparents during 
the summer, and several people would stop, 
look at those peach trees and asked my grandfather, 
"Jim, where are those peaches?" Then they 
would laugh at him and drive on. Nobody believed 
any peaches would grow on those trees. 
After all, they looked like small bushes.

 When I would go home after my summer visit, I 
usually forgot about those peach trees. But then I 
would go back the next summer for a month and 
get all caught up on the peach tree story.

 It became one of the stories of the valley because 
everybody thought it was a ruse. No 
peaches this year on those peach trees. Which 
made everybody in the valley suspicious and just 
thought my grandfather was trying to pull a joke 
on them.

 “Where’s them peaches,” people would ask as 
they would drive by and stop for a moment. “I 
want a peach.”

 My grandfather would smile, and it didn't seem 
to bother him that he was the point of many a 
joke throughout the valley.

 The third summer, it was the same. No peaches.

Then I went up on the fourth summer, and to 
my surprise, those peach trees had peaches all 
over them.

 My grandfather was a farmer, and as a farmer, 
he knew how to "milk" a situation. And boy, did 
he milk this situation.

 Everybody would stop by and ask my grandfather 
for a peach.

 My grandfather would smile and say, “Those 
peaches aren’t ready to pick yet.”

 When they left, he picked a peach from the 
tree, gave it to me, and told me, "Here's the first 
peach from my peach tree." I ate it and boy was 
it delicious.

 Every day he would pick about a dozen peaches 
from the trees and take them into the house. My 
grandmother knew how to make peach cobbler 
like no other peach cobbler I ever had.

 Day by day, he would take the peaches off the 
tree, and when people would stop, he would tell 
them, "They ain't ready to pick today." Then they 
would drive away.

 Within a week, all the peaches were harvested 
from the trees.

 Then the fun began. People would stop by and 
ask, "Where's those peaches?"

 My grandfather would stare back and say, 
“What peaches?”

 Then he would laugh as they drove away.

 He said to me, "Don't let anybody tell you what 
you can or cannot do." And he walked away, 

 As I was thinking about him today, I thought 
of the Scripture; “And whatsoever ye do, do it 
heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 

If you know what you're doing, do it to God's 
glory, and don't let men distract you.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: