Where Do You Hide
By Emerson Hartzler
“Where do you hide?” This was a question I got from a friend soon after the beginning of 2014, and he was referring to our investments. Well, I don’t “hide” from anything when I invest, but I understand the concern about what might happen to investments in these times of uncertainty. If you–like me–are retired, and counting on your investments to cover a measurable portion of your living expenses, the thought of losses in the stock and bond markets is a bit scary. Of course you could always “hide” in C D’s and Money Market accounts, but then the rates of return on these types of investments are basically nil, so inflation is going to eventually destroy the purchasing power of the money that remains.
In the world of investments, knowing the future would be a significant advantage, so I will make some predictions about 2014: Cash (CD’s, Money Market and savings accounts) will be stable, the price of high quality bonds (with short maturities) should be less volatile than stocks, and the price of stocks will once again be the most volatile of the three.
OK, so that’s not a very bold prediction, but that’s the good news…it’s absolutely what I expect. It’s also why I place no credence in all the experts’ forecasts for 2014. The point is this: What happens to the stock market in 2014 (or for the next several years, for that matter) is of little interest to me. What happens to stocks and bonds over the long term (five years or more) is very important. Let me explain the logic of that statement a bit.
The Certified Financial Planners (CFP) with whom I work structure their clients investments into three “buckets” of money. The first bucket consists of dollars that are going to be needed in the next few years, and that money is put into stable investments (the aforementioned CDs, Money Market accounts etc.) that may not earn much. But then you are not taking a huge risk that the money won’t be there when you need it. In other words, you are much more interested in the return of your money than the return on your money.
With dollars you might need in, say, four or five years, you might take a bit more risk and invest in high quality, short-term bonds. These “bucket two” investments should earn a bit more than the “cash” you have in the first bucket, but the risk of decline is also minimal.
For people like me, that leaves the vast majority of their money in the third bucket, and the key here is you can afford to be patient with your “bucket three” investments. To paraphrase Warren Buffet: “The stock market is very effective in taking money from impatient people and giving it to patient people”. In my lifetime, the longest time it has taken the stock market to “recover” its former value is about 4 ½ years, so if you don’t need the money (or very much of it) for five years or more, you can probably wait to sell until stock prices are again high. So all of my “bucket three” money is in stocks (I own more than 12,000 companies; I like my diversification to be on steroids!), so quite frankly, I don’t care what happens to the stock market in 2014! But over the long term, stocks typically provide returns superior to bonds or cash, and are the investor’s primary antidote to inflation.
One of the CFPs in my office has already received 48 emails from various financial publications and money managers with their guesses/predictions for 2014 (Do that many people really get paid to guess for a living?). As you can imagine, they completely run the gamut from “explosive” economic growth to “a stalling economy.” The point is that this is the nature of investing: it’s unpredictable in the short run.
Read this column if you’d like to see how far off some of the “experts” were in their predictions at this time last year. There is an old saying that goes “better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Emerson Hartzler, MBA, is a Lakeview Village resident, and, though he lives in a retirement community, he continues working as a financial advisor for Triune Financial Partners, LLC, at Lighton Plaza, 7300 College Blvd., in Overland Park, Kan. Reach Triune at 913-825-6100.
Learn more about Lakeview Village–the senior neighborhood of choice, and the largest retirement community in Kansas–by visiting our website at lakeviewvillage.org, or checking us out on Facebook.
Holiday Stress? Stay Cheerful with Jackie’s Easy Tips
Lakeview Village Wellness Manager
Lakeview Village Residents Donate $75,000 for Employee Christmas Bonuses
While some businesses throw Christmas parties, and some businesses hand out bonuses, Lakeview Village does something a little different: The residents roll out the Christmas cheer, and give employees a year’s worth of donations; this year, raising nearly $75,000 that they split among the community’s more than 550 full- and part-time employees during a unique employee Christmas party this week.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas at the Lenexa, Kansas, continuing care retirement community.
Jamie Frazier, Lakeview Village president and CEO, said that the tradition spans many years, and began because the community institutes a no-tipping policy, urging residents to refrain from tipping employees. Residents wanted to find a way to give back to the employees since all provide some type of service to them, whether it’s maintaining their lawns, preparing and serving them food or fixing their appliances.
“It is very, very generous, and the employees really do appreciate it, especially at this time of the year” Frazier said.
Bill Leach, Lakeview Village Resident Council treasurer, said that the Resident Council begins collecting donations from the community’s approximately 750 residents in the spring, and ends up collecting about $5,000 by late summer, at which time donations start filtering in more rapidly.
Leach says he doesn’t look at who writes a check for what amount, but as treasurer, he does tally the donations: Some people donate thousands of dollars in one chunk, others transfer money from their bank account every month toward the fund, and others just donate here and there, as they are able, or as they think about it. One resident wrote a check for $365—tipping $1 for every day of the year.
Employees are likely busy writing their thank you notes in response to their gift from residents (the notes are displayed on easels for residents to read). A full-time employee (about 60 percent of the employees) received $220 in an envelope. Part-time employees and as-needed workers also received a share. Even an employee who started work last week got a small donation.
Resident Appreciation Night is a Big Winner at Lakeview Village
Lakeview Village Chief Operating Officer Mary Schworer doesn’t have any formal training on how to deal Black Jack, but on Tuesday night, she rolled up her sleeves, shuffled some decks, and dealt some big winners.
“I’m a good dealer; I was losing so they could win,” she said, laughing.
On Tuesday night, Lakeview Village residents turned out in droves for the Lenexa, Kan., senior living community’s annual “Resident Appreciation Night,” aka “Casino Night,” a fun evening of friendly gambling—Black Jack, roulette, mice races—thrown by the community, and served up by staff—all volunteering—so residents can have a good time.
Schworer and her husband, Bruce Schworer (a chemist) both dealt Black Jack. Other staff ferried cocktails, ran the raffle, the roulette tables, dealt poker and other card games, and monitored the mice races.
Resident Appreciation Night began four years ago after the community decided to extend its Volunteer Appreciation Night for residents to every resident in the community.
“All of our residents are very important to us, and we wouldn’t be here without them,” Schworer said. “We wanted to be able to tell all of our residents that we appreciate them.”
Since the night was in the spirit of fun, many residents helped each other out—giving away chips, or offering advice—and seemed to have a good time doing it. Mice—named by the residents—raced through mazes and residents placed bets on which furry creatures would outsmart the others.
“We had one lady who was betting ‘$500’ on Black Jack every time, and was winning every hand. Another woman sat down and doubled her money within 20 minutes,” she said.
The catering staff made an array of hors d’oeuvres—crab rangoons, meatballs and desserts. At the end of the night, everyone turned in their winnings (chips) for raffle tickets. Themed gift baskets were handed out to the winners of the raffle.
“Every retirement community has its own culture and takes on its own personality and interests of the people who live there,” said Schworer. “To have a good retirement community, you want to make sure that you understand what they want, and you work in concert with the residents to support their wants and needs. If your residents are supportive of your community, you can do anything.”
Lakeview Village Adopts New Wellness Slogan: AgeStrong!
By Jackie Halbin
Lakeview Village Wellness Manager
Lakeview Village’s unique wellness philosophy—long a cornerstone of the lifestyle and culture here—now has an official name: AgeStrong!
AgeStrong! represents a lot of wellness elements familiar to Lakeview residents, and the “picture” of Lakeview’s whole-person wellness philosophy now has a “frame” that highlights its intrinsic value and raises its visibility, both for long-time residents and newer arrivals.
Our wellness philosophy has always been based on whole-person wellness. We hear buzzwords about health and wellness in the news all the time, but the volume can be overwhelming and confusing. I think it’s important that we explain and clarify whole-person wellness, and why it’s unique at Lakeview.
Lakeview stands out because our culture considers the ‘whole’ person of every individual, and concentrates on his or her strengths. Our culture is a critical piece of the Lakeview picture, and it’s something that affects every resident, no matter the age. It’s a holistic approach that breathes positive energy into our environment; it lives with a strong sense of optimism, not despair. Wellness engenders purpose in one’s life, and we all know these are factors leading to a full and happy life.
Most residents are familiar with the six dimensions of whole-person wellness: Intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical, vocational and social—these dimensions create and promote a balance in life. In addition to these dimensions, there are certain “drivers” toward achieving personal wellness: Self-responsibility, optimism, self-direction, self-efficacy and choices. These drivers help guide us and help us assume responsibility for staying well, being optimistic and avoiding negativity. We do have a say in our lives, and we do have the self-confidence and ‘can-do’ attitude to make the choices that keep us healthy, alert and well.
As residents explore and take part in each dimension, they experience learning and growth in many, if not all, of the others. Does that mean everyone has to run out and do six different activities every day? No—whole-person wellness isn’t a specific program, class or activity—it’s within each and every one of you! You create your own path, and when you do, you’ll find that the dimensions often overlap all of your activities. That’s a good example of whole-person wellness working at its best.
Ken Higdon (Ken and Mary moved to Lakeview in September 2006), is a good example of whole-person wellness in action.Ken thinks bringing Lakeview’s wellness philosophy is a great idea.
“It’s interesting how it all works,” Ken said. “For example, so many of our activities start in our minds. Exercise enlivens the mind, and when your mind is fresh, your sense of well-being improves . . . your attitude is better, you’re more adventuresome and ready for new experiences – socially, intellectually, spiritually, and so on. An even bigger benefit is that a better attitude helps us do a better job of dealing with physical ailments, or issues that might come up and need solving. Like Jackie says, it’s all connected. And with her great charm and wonderful sense of humor, she adds an especially key element to the program: she makes it fun!”
Ken exercises regularly, at least three times a week, and tries to walk for 20 minutes about once a week. In good weather, he likes to take a bike ride. All that may be what keeps Ken mentally sharp and involved in the Lakeview lifestyle. He serves on the Lakeview Foundation Board, and conducts a prayer group once a week.
TWO KEY FINDINGS
Jamie Frazier, Lakeview Village president and CEO, points out that several years ago a study was conducted by the Macarthur Foundation, with the results published in a book, “Successful Aging: How The Lifestyle Choices You Make Now–More Than Heredity–Determine Your Health and Vitality”.
“The key findings boiled down to two things more than anything else, both over which we have control,” Jamie said. “They are social interaction or connectedness, and reduction of stress. Getting adequate sleep and eating a good nutritious diet are extremely important, but the best way to reduce stress is through exercise and having control over your daily choices, both of which promote a positive attitude and extended life.
“The thing about both connectedness and reduction of stress is that no matter when you begin to improve these in your life, the benefits can be immediate and life-sustaining,” he continued. “AgeStrong! is the perfect expression for the opportunities Lakeview Village presents our residents. There are daily, numerous opportunities to develop meaningful relationships in our community through programs, socials, outings, meals, recreation, worship, hobbies, volunteering, philanthropy, etc. And the independent lifestyle affords choice at every turn, without the stress or concern of future financial or healthcare worries because of the LifeCare we provide. Our community is replete with options to exercise our minds and bodies in all dimensions. There is virtually no better place to AgeStrong! and live better and longer!”
THE LAKEVIEW WELLNESS BRAND
This philosophy has led to a sort of ‘branding’ to our culture; that’s why we’re introducing the new logo. The logo was inspired by the whole-person wellness concept. Each dimension has its own color, and we plan to use the colors to tie dimensions to our various events, programs and activities in the coming new year.
AgeStrong! is unique to Lakeview and helps point our community toward new experiences, growth, challenge, purpose and comfort. It’s your time to engage, become your best self, and live well!
By Emerson Hartzler
It’s a great country, and the good news is there is virtually no limit to the “stuff” available for purchase. The bad news is there is virtually no limit to the “stuff” available for purchase. For seniors on “fixed incomes,” what we buy and how we buy it can make a real difference in our financial health.
Now there are a lot of honest, hard-working people in stores, banks, car dealerships and brokerage houses. However, these people are facing the ever-present temptation to sell us something that makes their business profitable, but may not be in our best interest as buyers. My advice to clients faced with a major purchasing decision is to ask two questions of the seller:
- How much do you (or your business) get paid for this transaction?
- Upon what basis do you get paid?
Once you have this information you, the buyer, are in a much better position to understand what might be in the seller’s best interest, but perhaps not in yours.
For example, cars have always been a fascination for me, and I find the way they are sold and serviced most interesting. Car dealers have three major “profit centers.” It might surprise you that the first profit center, the actual sale of a car, is a distant third in the profitability “food chain.” The service department is the most profitable, and the finance department runs a close second.
If you buy a car and pay cash, the dealer makes very little money. When was the last time you saw an ad that showed the actual purchase price of the car? News flash: They don’t want you to pay cash! They want you to lease the car – that way they have a multi-year stream of revenue, and at the end of the lease you may be in for some unpleasant surprises. Your actual mileage may be way over the “low mileage,” lease limit, and of course those door dings need to be fixed. If you don’t have the cash – “no problem, we’ll just roll that bill into your new lease,” and they’ve got you for another five years! No thanks, I’ll pay cash.
And of course most of us seniors wouldn’t think of buying a used car, yet a new car is one of the most rapidly depreciating assets you could ever own. We grew up in an era when “manufacturing quality” was an oxymoron. My first car (yes, I paid cash – all of $200), was on its second engine at 90,000 miles. However, the last car I sold had 203,000 miles on the odometer with nothing major in its repair history. The prices of the last two (used) cars I bought averaged 35 percent of the new car sticker price, or a savings of $21,000 per car.
Now you might think $42,000 is not too much to pay for the advantage of driving a couple of new cars, but that’s not the end of the story. There is also the opportunity cost to consider. That $42,000, invested at an 8 percent rate of return would double twice in 20 years (at which time my driver’s license probably should be confiscated), and that would have a $164,000 impact on my heirs! Now you may not want to accept the risk that accompanies an 8 percent return, but more modest earnings rates would still compound to a number much larger than $42,000. So you might think about those kinds of numbers the next time you are enticed into a new car showroom!
Well, that’s just one (fun) example of the impact of “buying right”. Maybe you can’t change your “fixed income” situation, but you can sure improve your financial picture by knowing the seller’s motivation when you buy those big ticket items.
Emerson Hartzler, MBA, is a Lakeview Village resident, and, though he lives in a retirement community, he continues working as a financial advisor for Triune Financial Partners, LLC, at Lighton Plaza, 7300 College Blvd., in Overland Park, Kan. Reach Triune at 913-825-6100.
Resident Adventures: Skydiving for a Cause
By Don Simmons
When I was asked (many times) why I would want to jump from a perfectly good airplane, the answer was easy for me. I did not have skydiving on a “bucket list.” In fact, I really don’t have such a list to the best of my knowledge.The only desire I had was to go flying in a hot-air balloon. But since I never was able to get that accomplished, I guess skydiving was next best, exciting thing for me to do.
I thought I was on top of the world when I took four different people, my three children, Gary, Juli and Stacey, and my stepson, Ben, on separate trips to climb to the summit of Long’s Peak (14,259 feet) near Estes Park, Colo. So, I guess I wanted to beat that experience. I had rated that climb above the times I went deep-sea scuba diving in the Caribbean.
Last year I boarded the Lakeview bus to watched five Lakeview Village residents skydive, and, after I witnessed all of the excitement and the fun and energy of all of them, I kicked myself for not signing up and jumping. So right there and then I made myself a promise to do it the following year.
I talked to my doctors concerning my plans for skydiving and they both gave me their OK and said to have fun while doing it. I also talked to my three kids and two of them said to go for it, but my youngest daughter thought I was crazy and had rocks in my head.
I was just one of 15 people, (nine residents, two board members, and four staff members) who participated in Lakeview Village’s 2nd Annual “Good Samaritan Jump” on Saturday, Oct. 12. There were six women and nine men who tandem-jumped as a fundraising event and the residents’ ages ranged from 75 to 90. I really didn’t do anything special to prepare for the jump since you really can’t rehearse it.
All of the jumpers had to arrive at noon at the Butler Municipal Airport just north of Butler, Mo. We had to check in, pay our $180.00 jump fee, show our driver’s license, step on a weight scale to be sure we were not over their weight limit, indicate whether we wanted or not to have a $99.00 video made of each individual making the jump and finally, we were handed a 10-page sign-off release of responsibility form that we had to sign in case anything went wrong.
We attended a training class where we received instructions of proper body position for the freefall, what to do and what not to do. Our instructor explained the special designed parachute system he would be wearing that was built for two persons. There were actually three parachutes, the drogue chute to slow our initial freefall down, the main canopy chute plus a reserve chute that would automatically be activated at a certain altitude.
Then we watch a 25- to 30-minute video explaining in detail the hazards of skydiving that could cause life-threatening injury or death. Of course we all knew there are certain risks in jumping but … the first “funny” thing to cross my mind after viewing it was, it was too bad they didn’t show their video before we all signed off on the 10-page release of liability form or would we rethink our decisions? It was just an after thought, jokingly of course.
But when it came down to the nitty-gritty of it, I felt very comfortable knowing we were in good hands with all of the professional divers, each having over 1,000 prior jumps, not only here but across the country at other jump locations, too, and were extremely well trained. Even the people who pack the parachutes have gone through hours of rigorous requirements of the U.S. Parachute Association.
Next, each participant was fitted with a special diving harness and goggles by several of the professional instructors. We did not wear a parachute since we were jumping tandem and our professional diver was the one wearing all three parachutes.
After getting into our harness, each one was double-checked for proper fittings. The first group of divers took off at approximately 2:15 p.m. Then the next group of Lakeview jumpers of three to four—depending on how many jumpers requested a video camera person—were loaded up when the airplane returned.
The airplane just kept going up with jumpers and then returned and got the next group and so on until everybody jumped. There were six different groups of Lakeview jumpers with the last group not taking off until 4:45 p.m. and landing around 5:30 p.m.
The small twin-turbine King airplane seated about ten persons. We all straddle a long, narrow bench type of seat situated very close to one side of the plane, packed like sardines, one person very close behind the other except a couple of jumpers seated off to the side facing us. After getting seated, my professional Skydive Kansas City jumper buddy named “Pac” securely attached his harness to my harness.
It took the plane approximately 20 minutes to reach the desired altitude of 14,500 feet. It was one thing to sit there in the plane and look out the plastic window at the world below you, but holy moly, it was something when they opened the door and there wasn’t anything between me and the ground. But I did not become alarmed or scared, maybe a little tense. Each one of us were asked if we were sure we wanted to continue on with jumping before going through with it and, of course, I said, “Let’s go for it”. My photographer was already videoing me inside the plane.
When we finally got to 14,500 feet, the first men to jump were a couple of cameramen and one or two Lakeview jumpers. Then went it came to be my turn, I had to head toward the door in a crouched position and very low to the floor. Within just a few seconds, my photographer named Brian exited the airplane just before I went out the door. He literally hung on to a long metal bar mounted outside the plane just above the door with one hand and with his other hand braced himself like Spiderman.
The only error I made was in exiting the open door. I was crouched down very low right at the door with my partner strapped to me. When it came time for me and Pac to jump, the ends of both of my tennis shoes were right up again a raised small aluminum-like strip on the floor. So, when Pac told me to jump and I couldn’t lift my tennis shoes, all he had to do was just lean forward a little on me. It did not take much of a push to exit and we both did an unconventional, unplanned 360-degree somersault coming out the door.
I was going to yell out “Geronimo” to calm my nerves when I was about to exit the plane but I have to admit I sort of lost my focus and concentration when I didn’t exit the right way. But so what, I did all right according to Pac, and he said that other people have done the same thing, too.
Brian, my photographer, started taking a video of me coming out the door with his automatic camera mounted on top of his helmet without the use of his hands. As soon as I left the plane, I was hit by a big blast of air coming at 120 mph and it was much colder than I though it would be at 14,500 feet.
Also since I was exiting behind the engine, I was feeling the full force of the air from the propeller, too. It was a good thing that I wore four layers of clothing and blue jeans. With the ground temperature of 71 degrees, the temperature at 14,500 feet when we exited the plane was 30 degrees colder (at 41 degrees) with the wind chill index of making it feel like 22 degrees on my exposed skin area, particularly my face, ears and my almost-bald head.
When all three of us exited the plane it wasn’t very long before a small drogue chute deployed to slow our decent. Pac gave me hand signals by pushing on the sides of my arms and sides of my legs on what to do since the noise was too loud for each one of us to talk to other. I had to arch my body and look upwards at Brian, my photographer.
The drop of 4,000 feet lasted anywhere from 40-50 seconds until we reached the altitude of 10,500 feet when Pac pulled the cord to open our main parachute, (it seemed like eternity to me). He wore an altimeter on his left wrist that told him our altitude in feet. I was told the 40-50 second freefall was at speeds ranging from 120 to 150 m.p.h. All I was allowed to do during our freefall was to keep both arms across my chest and take a hold of my harness shoulder straps.
But once the main parachute opened, we could talk to one another and I could then hold my hands straight out in front of me and give a thumbs up. I wore big protective goggles over my glasses so I could see everything, but the force of the air was sure pushing my goggles very hard against my forehead, but it really didn’t hurt me. Also there was a rush of air that was being forced into my nose.
Surprisingly, I did not have any trouble clearing my ears on the rapid descent.
It was an extremely beautiful and gorgeous sunny day, not a cloud in sight in the sky and I was told we were looking at things 25 miles away in all directions. We floated on down the rest of the 10,500 feet and made several sharp turns, one to the left and then one to the right and then one a complete circle.
When I got closer to the ground and to the drop zone, I started waving to the crowd below. We made a perfect landing right on target with our feet extended straight out in front of us, touching down on our butts and without being dragged hardly any distance at all. The whole experience was over in about 6 to 7 minutes. All of us had an absolutely wonderful day.
It is not easy for me to come up with words that describe my feelings of what the jump meant and felt to me. But I will try and say it was thrilling, exhilarating, exciting, amazing, fantastic, unbelievable, unimaginable, and an immeasurable experience to me.
Plus my three kids, Gary, Juli and Stacey, were there to see me and cheered me on. It was also so rejuvenating, refreshing, revitalizing and invigorating to me, that I’m still young enough to be adventurous at age 78. And on top of this, I would like to jump again, the good Lord willing.
What an absolute incredible day it was for me and I could not resist celebrating the very special occasion and ending the glorious day by having my favorite meal, crisp corn tortilla chips and salsa, a pork burrito topped with Monterey melted cheese, pico de gallo sauce, guacamole, sour cream, refried beans, some rice and a big margarita with salt at one of my favorite Mexican cantinas.
When you see all of the people having such an enjoyable time, it grows on you. So I would not only encourage, but highly recommend any and all, if healthy enough, to go skydiving for a memorable experience of a lifetime, almost an “out-of-this-world” experience, or at least, something that is not an ordinary and everyday adventure!!!
Plus, we helped raise more than $25,000 for The Good Samaritan Fund, a very unique fund offered by Lakeview Village to offset the cost of care for residents who lose financial resources, through no fault of their own. It’s a very nice thing that Lakeview Village has in place.
All of the jumpers received a certificate certifying that we had successfully complete ground and aerial training and performed a sport tandem parachute jump in accordance with the basic Safety Requirements of the U.S. Parachute Association. Also we have now joined the ranks of being an official “Lakeview Village Skydiving Club” member, bringing the membership to a total of 20 members. Later Ginger Kenny mentioned, “I went skydiving and all I got was a
T-shirt” should be printed on the back of our Lakeview Village Skydiving Club shirts.
Lakeview’s Resident Council: The Opportunity to Help and Serve
By Jim Price
In some ways, Lakeview’s Resident Council is a paradox: although it’s an elective body, it passes no legislation, sets no laws, and issues no directives. In reality, the Council’s most important powers lie in discussion, persuasion and above all, communication.
The Council is the key conduit between residents and Lakeview’s administrative officers and support staff. It’s a lively forum in which concerns are aired, and issues of significant importance to residents are discussed and debated—from dining room menus to landscaping concerns to elevator safety. And it represents a great opportunity for every Lakeview resident to represent his or her neighbors, to meet and make new friends throughout the Lakeview campus, and to learn and even improve upon, in a variety of instances, Lakeview’s day-to-day operation.
“The Resident Council is a great opportunity to partner with the Lakeview administration and support staff to help improve the lives of Lakeview residents,” according to Lakeview CEO Jamie Frazier. “It’s also a good way to further enhance the extensive programs and services Lakeview offers. And anyone can play. Volunteer for the Resident Council, and you’ll not only have a chance to help and serve residents in a variety of ways . . . you’ll have an inside view of how Lakeview works. It’s a wonderful learning experience to share with your friends and neighbors.”
Council members represent Heritage, Southridge, Northpointe, Gardenview and the Cottages. Each member elected serves a two-year term, and terms are staggered so that there are veterans and newcomers on the Council at any given point in time.
In fact, a list of Council members, the areas they represent, and their respective responsibilities provides a good picture of the range and issues and topics the Council regularly addresses.
According to Bill Leach, who chairs the Nominating Committee, seven of the 13 positions on the Council will be open for the election, which will be held between Jan. 13-31, 2014. Open positions will be one each from Heritage, Northpointe, Southridge and Gardenview, and three from the garden cottages and villas. And it’s easy to run for a position; simply contact the current council member representing your area for more information.
Roger Blessing, the Council Chair, says working on the council can be both fun and difficult—occasionally at the same time, especially when it involves reviewing and discussing residents’ concerns, ideas and suggestions. “With more than 700 residents at Lakeview, everybody has a better idea on how things can be done,” he says, laughing, “and often they’re right.”
But just as often, or even more so, ideas and suggestions simply aren’t feasible, for whatever reason or reasons. Our job is to take resident input, review it, and then make sure it gets to the right place, either in the administration or with the staff.
We leave it to them to exercise their best judgment, but it’s important to avoid delays and ensure that the right person winds up addressing the issue. We don’t want anything going off in the wrong direction . . . that just frustrates people.”
Council Secretary Ginger Kenney says a wide range of discussions takes place at each meeting. She should know, since her job is to keep a record of what takes place.
“Much of the meetings involve updates from all the neighborhoods – the high-rises, Gardenview, and the cottages and villas,” she explains. “We also keep abreast of staff and administration activities, review items from suggestion boxes, discuss upcoming campus-wide activities, and hear reports from various committees. It can be pretty interesting, because you get a good education on what’s going on at Lakeview beyond your own neighborhood.”
Ginger says she’s not planning on running in the next election, but she encourages anyone with an interest in representing their neighbors on the council, meeting new people, keeping informed and learning more about how Lakeview works, to run for the Council, or nominate someone they know who is of the same mind.
“It can be a very rewarding and exciting opportunity,” she emphasizes.
Bill Leach, who is in the second year of his term as treasurer, believes that the council offers good experiences, interesting issues, and great opportunities to solve residents’ concerns.
“It’s a great way to learn how Lakeview works,” he says, “and I’ve gotten to know a lot of the people in the administration and the support staff. I also chair the Financial Review Committee, which is another great source of learning about the Lakeview operation.”
Ralph Ingebritson, co-treasurer with Bill and still in the first year of his term, says his council service has been among the most positive experiences at Lakeview, along with his volunteer work.
Ralph is especially excited about collecting donations for the Employee Christmas Fund.
“I collect money for this purpose at the end of each month, but it’ll be in the next two to three months when the bulk of the offerings come in,” he says.“I take council membership seriously; people elected me to the position, so I figure I do my job and address resident concerns as best I can. I don’t hesitate to help out when I’m asked. It’s an opportunity to give back, and a great way to get to know other residents, as well as members of the Lakeview staff.”
There are three common benefits that council members point to in their resident council experiences: “keeping up with what’s going on”, meeting new people, and learning more about Lakeview’s operations.
Eldor Kaiser, devotional chair, believes following the staff reports and learning about Lakeview activities is the best part of being on the council.
Jean Elias, resident suggestion coordinator and What-Not Shop liaison agrees wholeheartedly, saying, “Serving on the council is both enjoyable and fruitful. I feel like we get things done and find solutions to residents’ concerns.”
Ann Dickerson, resident welcome and suggestions coordinator, is a relative newcomer, serving for about four months in her first year on the council. But she is a veteran volunteer—at Lakeview and elsewhere at her church, and with the Senior Computer Users Group of Greater Kansas City—and recognizes a good learning opportunity when she sees it.
“I was very pleased to find that everyone on the Council is of the same mind: to make things better,” she says. “And I really like knowing what’s going on elsewhere at Lakeview.”
Tom Kirkwood, program chair and a resident suggestion coordinator for Southridge, appreciates the chance to get involved with and relate to residents all over the Lakeview campus through his participation on the Resident Council.
“I think we get a lot accomplished, especially with the support of the Lakeview administration and staff,” he says. “Sometimes it seems to take a lot of time, but the council is a good place for all of us to apply our expertise and work together to either get solutions to residents’ concerns, or make sure their ideas and suggestions are directed to the right places. As program chair, the challenge is to keep abreast of that calendar! Activities and functions come along pretty quick, so we always have to be looking ahead.”
Lee Will, resident suggestion coordinator, and Elinor Swartz, resident suggestion coordinator and dining committee liaison, both enjoy knowing about current events and activities, and both highlight “communication” as the key to a successful council operation.
Sitting on the Library Board as well as on the Council’s Nominating and Elections Committee, Mike Mueller appreciates the opportunity to “speak our minds in representing our residents” and to meet the challenge of getting things done.
Jamie Frazier holds great respect for council members and the work they do.
“The Resident Council offers an ongoing and timely opportunity for the members and Lakeview management to communicate on many different issues related to the operations and programs of Lakeview Village.
“That includes such things as reports on Channel 4, the Dining Committee, Library and the What-Not Shop; neighborhood meetings; management responses to resident suggestions or concerns; Community Life programs; Community Services issues; financial and marketing updates; and many other items that may affect our residents campus-wide.
“We’re thankful for our council members’ willingness to serve and for the countless hours they volunteer . . . they are selfless and do a wonderful job representing their respective constituencies.”
If the Resident Council sounds like the kind of positive environment in which you’d enjoy taking part, don’t hesitate to contact a current council member, or call Cheryl Howell, executive assistant, at 744-2463.