Nancy’s Bulletin Board has been here since March of 2020 to connect us in real time with updates on events, activities, community resources and your feedback. At the bottom of the page please leave a positive comment, story, joke, pun, riddle or community news to post on this board.  Resident art and photography would post on this website’s “Show and Tell” board.  Or, you can email me your contribution at general_activity@otowfl.com and please note whether you want it published or not.

To make a reservation on the calendar, register for a Master the Possibilities (MTP) class or make an appointment to meet, please email me at general_activity@otowfl.com or give me a call at 727-799-2734.  If you are a new resident and have questions, do not hesitate to call or email me and we can also set an appointment to meet.

Some activities have resumed under restrictions and a calendar is now included in the On Top of the World newspaper. For the most up to date and accurate activity information visit OTOW TV Channel 732.

OTOW Food Truck Night Returns Wednesday, December 8th – 3 – 7 PM.  We will have more vendors, shorter lines, more food.  Details will be announced on December 1st!

Come out to dine or pick up a meal to take home.  Food Trucks will be parked at the East Activity Center’s north parking lot near the Pool and close to the Pavilion.  We look forward to seeing you!

One Blood 

Our next blood drive is scheduled for Monday, November 29th at the East Activity Center North Parking Lot near the Lawn Bowls Court.  A link for registration will be available at Nancy’s Bulletin Board in the near future.  However, residents are also welcome to just show up that day!  Thank you for saving lives!

Favorite Food in the World:  Chocalate!

(note: Jan is a resident of On Top of the World and writes for “Lifestyles After 50″ magazine.  She recently received an award for Profile from NAMPA (North America Mature Publishers Association)

By Jan Larraine Cox

When you are planning your holiday meals, remember to include an all time favorite ingredient: chocolate!

Its scientific name means “food of the gods” and indeed, the first people to climb to the top of Mount Everest buried a chocolate bar there as an offering to the gods of the mountain.

Research on chocolate reveals cocoa seeds as the main ingredient in chocolate.  Cocoa trees require heat of 70-90 degrees and more than 48 inches of rain per year.  Also they thrive specifically on land which lies between 20 degrees above and below the equator.

The tiny 1/32-inch midge fly is the official pollinator of cocoa trees’ yellow-white and pink blossoms, but the resulting seedpods are surprisingly as large as footballs.

After the cocoa seeds are harvested and removed from the pods, the nibs can finally emerge as the prize that gets roasted and ground.  It is interesting to note the Mayans who lived on the Yucatan Peninsula cultivated cocoa plantations as far back as 600 BC.  Researchers have also discovered traces of cocoa powder in 3000 year old Bronze-age pottery in Honduras.

Mayans called their cacao trees “kawkaw”, which evolved into the word “cocoa”.  Cocoa beans were a form of money to them, whereby 10 beans could buy a rabbit and one bean an onion.  Cocoa beans were also given as gifts, and buried in tombs.  Christopher Columbus was however unimpressed with a gift of cocoa beans from the Aztecs: he tossed them overboard into the sea.

Once a beverage of the elite, from Aztec nobles to Jesuit clerics, chocolate eventually became a snack for the masses.  The pleasure we get from eating chocolate and the feeling of being in love are experienced in the same part of the brain.

Phenethylamine is the chemical found in cocoa which has also been shown to be produced in the brains of people in love!  Hint: Chocolate as a gift might trigger feelings of love.

There are a number of organizations working on making the harvesting of cocoa in Africa free from slave and child workers.  They include Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade International, Equal Exchange, and Rainforest Alliance; look for these labels on chocolate products you purchase.

These are chocolate based recipes that are fun to include during your holiday socializing:

Hot chocolate:   Place a cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons chili powder and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in a small pan.   Add 2 cups of almond milk and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and stir briskly until cocoa powder is dissolved.  Using a small whisk, whip until the beverage becomes frothy, which takes a while but well worth it!

Chocolate Walnut Ice Cream:  1/3 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, two previously frozen ripe bananas, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 4 pitted dates.  Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.  Freeze until firm.  Enjoy!

For more information:

The Book of Chocolate by H.P. Newquist, Viking, 2017.

The True History of Chocolate by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe, Thames & Hudson, 1996.

 

SHINE Virtual Outreach Events

November 2021                                                                       

SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) is a Free program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco & Pinellas. Specially trained volunteers can assist you with your Medicare, Medicaid, and Health insurance questions by providing one-on-one counseling and information.

SHINE services are free, unbiased, and confidential.

SHINE Counselors can be reached by calling 1-800-963-5337 or 727-217-8111.

  • Medicare (OEP) Open Enrollment Zoom meeting, Wednesday Dec. 1st at 10:00 am

(Outlines the Medicare paths, election options during OEP, and how SHINE can help)

When: Dec 1, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.edgepilot.com/s/cbad0590/zDiOL1af10qGXdL3nfnpkg?u=https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMocuiuqjIuG9a91gS_n19r8H0_hjaCkgex

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

  • Medicare Part C Advantage Plans Zoom meeting, Wednesday Dec. 1st at 12:00 noon

(Provides an overview of Medicare Advantage Plan options available in Florida).

When: Dec 1, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.edgepilot.com/s/657dc1e0/SNEADdHXVEOHX1FASeMH9Q?u=https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqfuyqqzwiHd0NacgsTjfX2CywmQm97SjN

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

  • Saturday Morning Medicare Basics with SHINE Zoom meeting, Saturday December 4th at 10:00 am

(Provides an overview of the different Parts of Medicare including Parts A, B, C, D, Medigap and available financial assistance)

When: Dec 4, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.edgepilot.com/s/1a18e622/MaKNDCGpHk6CYnKOeCwlOA?u=https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEsc-CuqTssH9WN6rISB4VVF592dAFlc7Uz

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

  • Medicare Part D Drug Plan Zoom meeting, Wednesday December  8th at 10:00 am

(Provides an overview of Part D Drug plan options available in Florida).

When: Dec 8, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.edgepilot.com/s/fb320657/bG-TVTR_T0WJcrXvEUmZiw?u=https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYqde6sqT4oHNTZgYIYs5dkUAtJtSIu5vTt

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

  • Medicare Basics Zoom meeting, Wednesday December 8th at 12:00 Noon

(Designed to provide an overview of Medicare options and how SHINE can help)

When: Dec 8, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://link.edgepilot.com/s/7d6396f5/J1wATfRUVEKeWQ_kxcVtnQ?u=https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYuf-2opjIiGtLqqGuya92RpALtIxDndOkg

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

SHINE YouTube Videos to be viewed at any time

 

  1. SHINE Program Overview

Direct link to the SHINE Program Overview Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ7JckySK3c

 

  1. What is SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) en Español

Direct link to the What is SHINE Video in Spanish (Español):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAI4_RvnSNw&t=11s

 

  1. Medicare Long-Term Care with SHINE

Direct link to the Long-Term Care with SHINE Video:

(This presentation gives an overview of some of the issues regarding Long-Term Care Planning in Florida.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrNUIHFt-Sw

 

  1. Shine Program Overview

Direct link to the SHINE Program Overview Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ7JckySK3c

 

  1. What is SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) en Español

Direct link to the What is SHINE Video in Spanish (Español):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAI4_RvnSNw&t=11s

 

  1. Medicare Long-Term Care with SHINE

Direct link to the Long-Term Care with SHINE Video:

(This presentation gives an overview of some of the issues regarding Long-Term Care Planning in Florida.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrNUIHFt-Sw

 LOOKING FOR A VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY?

Give One Day a Week, Make a Lifetime of a Difference

Neighborly/Meals on Wheels (MOW) Pinellas County urgently needs volunteers to deliver lunchtime meals to approximately 10 homebound seniors. All it takes is 1 1/2 – 2 hours a week and your vehicle! Shifts are weekdays from 10:30am to 12:30pm. Choose the day that works best for you and your location; we have nine throughout Pinellas County! To learn more and to apply, visit: https://link.zixcentral.com/u/c3dc50ca/dq6Yoyuz6xGde-MTgdRvyg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fneighborly.org%2Fvolunteer-opportunities%2F

Give the Gift of a Lift! 

Imagine you no longer had transportation…how would you go to the pharmacy or get to the doctor? Last year Neighborly helped seniors get to over 10,000 appointments and we need your help to handle overflow requests. If you love to drive, have a safe driver record, a 2006 (or newer) vehicle, and enjoy helping seniors, this is for you! Neighborly has safety protocols to keep volunteers, and our clients, safe. Volunteers do not transport individuals in wheelchairs and do not lift clients. Choose one weekday or more in any region of Pinellas County. Volunteers use their own vehicle and generally serve between two and four hours a week (but can do more).To learn more or to apply, please visit https://link.zixcentral.com/u/c3dc50ca/dq6Yoyuz6xGde-MTgdRvyg?u=https%3A%2F%2Fneighborly.org%2Fvolunteer-opportunities%2F and complete the online application and choose your orientation date (be sure to choose an orientation for Transportation Drivers!).  

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority – Link to Current Schedule and Fares

Traveling in Pinellas County has gotten easier with PSTA’s (Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority) bus and mobility programs. As always, we recommend that you plan your trip before you go out. You can do so by calling our information line  (727 540-1900) or by planning your trip through google maps.

Use bus route 62 or 76 to go to Countryside Mall, Tyrone Mall, Shoppes at Boot Ranch, Downtown Clearwater, and one transfer away from the Beach Trolley. Currently we ask that all riders board through the back of the bus and wear their mask properly throughout the entire trip. The bus service is currently free, but we will resume charging bus fares July 5th.

Current bus fares:

Route19: https://link.zixcentral.com/u/7a3b631b/pGzOwOW06xGtEGLdYFsSiw?u=https%3A%2F%2Fpsta.net%2Fmedia%2F5112%2Froute-19-020721.pdf

Route 62: https://link.zixcentral.com/u/ed5ba217/XtrOwOW06xGtEGLdYFsSiw?u=https%3A%2F%2Fpsta.net%2Fmedia%2F5143%2Froute-62-020721.pdf

Route 76: https://link.zixcentral.com/u/7cd40a78/ZDPPwOW06xGtEGLdYFsSiw?u=https%3A%2F%2Fpsta.net%2Fmedia%2F5149%2Froute-76-020721.pdf

If the bus stop is not near your home, you can use our Direct Connect program that offers you a $5 discount to travel to or from a Direct Connect location (see picture for nearest Direct Connect location).  Use UBER, Lyft, or United Taxi to get to a Direct Connect location and then transfer to a bus to get to your destination.

Program Service Hours: 5:00a.m. until midnight – 7 days a week from

Link to program: https://link.zixcentral.com/u/1adca276/KA-QwOW06xGtEGLdYFsSiw?u=https%3A%2F%2Fpsta.net%2Friding-psta%2Fdirect-connect%2F

 

NOTICE TO OTOW CLUB AND ACTIVITY REPRESENTATIVES

I miss seeing all of our club and activity reps on a day-to-day basis and eager for the day when we are all together again.

Even though many club events and activities are still on hold, your Annual Club forms are due.  This packet includes important requirements and information for maintaining a successful club, 10 questions to answer, a request for updated information such as copies of your board’s activity cards, club member roster and an agreement to be signed, that’s it folks!  Please contact me with any questions.

 

FLORIDA VETERANS SUPPORT LINE

Talk with someone who’s been there.
If you or your loved one needs support or connections to community resources, call the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFLVet (693-5838) and talk to a trained specialist. Many of them are fellow veterans. Available 24/7 every day, all conversations are confidential and judgement-free.
All calls are:
Confidential
Available 24/7 every day

https://www.myflvet.com/

HURRICANE TIPS

  1. Purchase a battery-operated radio and a supply of batteries.
  2. Purchase flashlights with batteries. Use caution when using candles.
  3. Get an ice chest. Stock up on a week’s worth of water, food that won’t spoil, pet supplies, toilet paper, purchase a battery-operated fan.
  4. Refill medical prescriptions.
  5. Go to an ATM or bank and get cash.
  6. Fill your vehicle with gas. Fill a lawn mower container with gas.
  7. Do you need a generator? Never operate a generator indoors.
  8. Recharge cell phone batteries and use only when necessary.
  9. If you are evacuating, tell people where you are evacuating to and leave you contact information.
  10. Bring lawn furniture and outdoor decorations indoors.
  11. Sign up for the RAVE alert system from OTOW.
  12. Community updates will be posted on otowclearwaterinfo.com,

OTOW-TV Channel 732 and the Box Office (otowboxoffice.com).

  1. Make sure you have a first-aid kit, including bandages, ointments.
  2. Make sure important documents are safely stored.
  3. Don’t forget rain gear, blankets and home entertainment.

Don’t panic, but you may not have internet service for days.

WHEN A STORM HAS PASSED

  1. Do not go outside and begin cleanup on your own. Let OTOW

employees remove limbs and all damage. There could be wires down.

  1. Traffic lights may be out. Stop at all intersections.

 

Notice to Residents

Exciting news! Beginning May 17, 2021, SCA outdoor amenities including the Pavilion, tennis/pickleball, shuffleboard, lawn bowls and pool restrictions are being relaxed and operations are returning to normal.

New protocols include:

  • The East and West Activity Center pools will return to a normal operation and capacity restrictions will be relaxed.
    • Guests will be permitted.
    • Masks and social distancing are recommended.
  • Outdoor amenities including tennis/pickleball, shuffleboard, lawn bowls, and the Pavilion park will return to normal operations.
    • Guests will be permitted.
    • Masks and social distancing are recommended.
  • Shuttle bus will be open to 50% capacity allowing now for (6) six riders.
    • No Guests are permitted to utilize the shuttle bus.
    • Masks are required.

Remaining protocols include:

  • Inside the Activity Centers, all capacity restrictions as well as restrictions for wearing a mask and social distancing will remain in place, no guests permitted to use the activity centers at this time.
  • Disruptions or noncompliance with rules is not permitted.
  • Management reserves the right to ask any resident to leave the facility.
  • Abusive or threatening language directed at employees may result in suspension or revocation of your facility use privileges.
  • Please, practice patience.

By using the facilities, residents assume responsibility for their own personal safety and for compliance with safety protocols.

It is recommended that you bring your own hand sanitizer.

It is recommended that you disinfect high touch surfaces you may come into contact with, for example: pool chairs, sinks, showers, and door handles both before and after use. SCA staff will continue to disinfect meeting rooms, showers and restrooms and all fitness equipment.

Management will continue to closely monitor COVID numbers for this area and will take action to reverse course on facility access should we see a steady rise in positive COVID cases.

Thank you for your cooperation. Have fun and stay safe!

CDC GUIDELINE (update:  3-17-21)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to take these COVID-19 precautions when in public, when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple other households, and when around unvaccinated people who are at high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from people you do not live with.
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.