picture3There is no doubt that Plymouth Harbor’s residents and employees are dedicated to helping many charities in the Sarasota community. In an effort to organize and combine our efforts, we are installing a brand new, custom collection bin “cabinet” on the Ground Floor of the Tower, located on the open wall across from the doors to the Wellness Center. The cabinet holds openings for four separate bins, which will each be dedicated to a different organization (a rendering is pictured right).

Information on the organizations and their items for donation will be placed above each bin. This information is also listed below. The bin is expected to be installed by mid-December. We hope this will help bring Plymouth Harbor’s donation efforts together and make it easier for those who give!

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels delivers meals to persons in need in the Sarasota community who are unable to provide or prepare a meal for themselves in their home. Serving between 160,000 and 180,000 meals yearly, Meals on Wheels largely operates with the help of its more than 300 volunteers. Plymouth Harbor’s new collection bin will be dedicated to collecting the plastic bags needed to package meals for this organization.

All Faiths Food Bank

All Faiths Food Bank is the local food bank that provides healthy solutions to end hunger in our community. In addition to monthly sorting days with our employees, many of us donate our time and resources to this organization. All Faiths Food Bank’s bin will be dedicated to collecting the following items: packaged or canned fruit or fruit drinks (100% juice and pull-tab tops); cereal; pasta; soup; stew; kid-friendly snacks; peanut butter & jelly; canned tuna, chicken, or salmon; rice; beans of any kind; and powdered milk.

Resurrection House

Resurrection House is a day resource center for the homeless of Sarasota County, where many Plymouth Harbor residents and employees volunteer their time. The organization is always in need of donations, and Plymouth Harbor’s bin will largely collect the following items: clothing — new or gently used, especially jackets and sweatshirts at this time of year, and women’s and men’s jeans (popular waist sizes for men: 30, 32, and 34); sneakers; blankets; and travel-size toiletries.

Sarasota County Animal Services (SCAS)

Plymouth Harbor employee, and longtime SCAS volunteer, Lisa Siroky introduced us to SCAS — a local, volunteer-based shelter in need of donated items for its adoptable dogs and cats. The shelter accepts the following items for dogs: dog toys; tennis balls; wet dog food; Milk Bone treats; dog beds (soft padded kind); old towels, sheets, and blankets; and Martingale dog collars. The following items are accepted for cats: cat toys; Temptations cat treats; cat litter (any brand); wet kitten/cat food (any brand); and cat carriers (gently used or new).


By: Addie Hurst

ike-and-ada-eisenfeld-3Perky and petite is the best way to describe the Eisenfelds. They recently moved here from Lido Surf and Sand because of their friends the Gainsboros and the Biros. They have only been here a few weeks but their apartment looks as if they have been here for years!

Ike is a Brooklyn man, and Ada is a Michigan lady, so how did they meet? Ike was in the Air Force stationed near Mount Clemens and was introduced to Ada. They had a whirlwind courtship with dates wherever Ada was, thanks to the Air Force, and were married a year later.

Ike served two stints in the Air Force and went to dental school at the University of  Minnesota. Although he also studied in New York, he took the Michigan Boards and opened a practice in Mount Clemens where he practiced for 40 years.

Ike and Ada had four children who have given them eight grandchildren. After the children were fairly well-grown, Ada, a University of Minnesota graduate who had originally been an economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, became City Commissioner of Mount Clemens for eight years, Mayor of Mount Clemens for four years, and then was Vice-Chair for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and served on many regional boards.

The Eisenfelds love to travel and have seen most of Western Europe, China, Japan, Alaska, New Zealand, and Australia. They still own a home in Mount Clemens and hope to spend summers there.

They both are very pleased with their choice of Plymouth Harbor and are so impressed with the entire staff and with the residents who stop by their table and introduce themselves.

We wish them a warm welcome!


By: Isabel Pedersen

jewell-emswiller-3Aptly named, Jewell Emswiller is one of the newest Plymouth Harbor residents. Jewell chose Plymouth Harbor after much research into Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) here and in Virginia.

Jewell and her husband Carl retired in 2000 and began to winter in Sarasota. Tennis became a primary interest in their lives. In fact, Jewell was a contender in two super senior national tournaments.

Coming from a small town in Arkansas, she met Carl when her family moved to Jacksonville, Florida. They married after a whirlwind courtship and moved, for a time, to Newfoundland where Carl was stationed at the Naval Air Station, a primitive early warning base. It was in Newfoundland that they learned what values were really important.

Richmond, Virginia, came next, where Carl received his degree in pharmacy from the Medical College of Virginia. They then bought a traditional drug store in Leesburg, Virginia, converting it into an office practice of pharmacy. Jewell, giving up on her own career, joined him in his practice, becoming his full partner in business as well as in life.

Their efforts to develop collaboration among health professional students and practitioners were honored by the creation of an annual symposium named for them. Its purpose is to foster increased collaboration among those providing health care.

In Leesburg, they were known for their willingness to serve the community. Jewell served on and chaired the Loudon County Planning Commission, the town council, and was an active member of the Rotary Club. In her spare time, she earned a degree from George Mason University.

In Sarasota, her curiosity led her to become a flower arranger. Her arrangements were a part of “Ringling in Bloom” at the Ringling Museum a few years ago. She is also a past president of the Sarasota Garden Club.

With her camera always handy, she has become a photographer of note, winning the 2012 “Best of Loudon” Photo Award, given by the local newspaper.

Jewell splits her time between Leesburg and Plymouth Harbor. We are pleased that Jewell’s research led her here to Plymouth Harbor. Welcome.


5004818653_23cb10671c_bThe Selby Public Library serves the Sarasota community, offering programs and resources to all ages. The library works with Friends of the Selby Public Library (Friends) — a sister organization whose mission is to partner in developing services, providing programs, raising funds, and advocating for resources. Friends achieves this by raising funds through the Friends Bookstore and annual fundraisers.

Connected to the “special collections” department of the library is the Sarasota Music Archive — one of the leading reference collections in the field of music. The Archive contains several hundred thousand recordings, tapes, books, sheet music, and memorabilia. The collection varies from classical to opera, jazz to popular, folk to international music, and also includes video recordings of performances, musicals, and the like. Each year, recordings and music scores not needed for the collection are sold to the public.

Like many organizations in Sarasota, the Selby Public Library, Friends, and the Sarasota Music Archive depend greatly on a group of dedicated volunteers. Many of the volunteers for each of these branches can be found here at Plymouth Harbor.

As a former professional librarian, the first thing resident Charleen Sessions did when she moved to Sarasota 20 years ago was visit the Selby Public Library. After finding there was no book club, she offered to start one, and it was then that the library’s “Books and Coffee” program was born, eventually attracting often more than 100 people. Still in practice today, this free, monthly program invites various guest speakers to review thought-provoking literary works. Charleen spent more than 12 years researching and recruiting speakers for the program before mentoring someone to take it over. She also served many years on the Friends Board of Directors.

Residents John Goodman, Joy McIntyre, and Chris and Margo Light have each dedicated much of their time to the Sarasota Music Archive. Chris and Margo have been involved with the organization for 25 years — with Chris being one of the longest serving members. Together, the two have helped with data entry, stocking the shelves, and converting materials. Margo is a current Board member and Chris a former Board member.

John Goodman serves as the current President of the Sarasota Music Archive and has been a volunteer since he moved to Sarasota in 2002. He has also served as a member of the board and as a program coordinator. Today, in addition to his responsibilities as president, he leads a popular weekly music series that alternates between concerts and educational lectures. Joy McIntyre became involved with the Archive shortly after John — the two were colleagues at Boston University and moved to the Sarasota area at the same time. Joy currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors, and has also been involved in other aspects of the organization, including compiling the newsletter, giving lectures, and more. “The library offers many original materials, in a time where a lot of research is done online,” Joy says. “The Sarasota Music Archive is so important because it’s helping to preserve the history of music.”

If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about the Sarasota Music Archive or Friends of the Selby Public Library, visit www.sarasotamusicarchive.org and  www.selbylibraryfriends.org/.


rev-sparrow-and-rudy-3rev-sparrow-phoebe-and-bill-vernon-4This year, on October 5, 2016, Plymouth Harbor held its first-ever Blessing of the Assistance Animals. Lead by Chaplain Sparrow, the event drew several residents and assistance dogs who call Plymouth Harbor home.

For the last 10 years, Chaplain Sparrow has performed this service annually, in which he has blessed a variety of assistance animals — from dogs to cats, fish to birds, goats to horses, and even reptiles. According to Chaplain Sparrow, this service is performed each year on October 4th as a way of celebrating the Patron Saint of Animals, Saint Francis of Assisi. In remembrance of St. Francis’ love for all creatures, animals are led to churches for a special ceremony, or “blessing of the animals.” Millions of animals are blessed each year in these ceremonies that touch the hearts of those in attendance.

“This is an opportunity for us to give a blessing to those who mean so much to us,” he says. “It’s a time to be thankful and to show our gratitude.”

Chaplain Sparrow plans to continue the tradition, and hopes to draw more residents and assistance animals with each service. While attendance is difficult for some who have assistance cats, he hopes to invite those individuals to bring a photo of their loved one next year. This year’s service was held only one day after St. Francis’ celebration, and Chaplain Sparrow intends to continue to have the ceremony take place as close as possible next year.

Resident Bill Vernon, who brought his assistance dog, Phoebe, to the ceremony said, “I thought it was a great idea, and Chaplain Sparrow did a great job.” He later joked, “Phoebe has benefited very much from it, and is now much more well-behaved.”







By: Lorna Hard

john-bellantoni-and-edith-schwartz-4Edith Schwartz was born in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 1940 her family fled Germany, ending up in New York where her father established a medical practice. Edith earned her B.A. at Barnard, her M.A. at Columbia, and her Ph.D. at Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Her long and very distinguished career was in biotechnology. She began in academia teaching and doing research.

Among many distinctions, Edith was the first woman to become a tenured professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. She maintained her ties to academia while her career focus shifted to development of healthcare related technologies. She worked with several government agencies as well as in the private sector where she also successfully marketed new devices and technologies. In addition, Edith organized and directed symposia on topics in her field, including one in Tianjin, China. She has received several professional awards and honors, including the Kappa Delta Award of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

John Bellantoni was born and raised in New York City. He earned a B.A. from Fordham, an M.S. in Mathematics from New York University, and another M.S. in Engineering from Harvard. John began his career designing inertial navigation systems in industry. During the space race he joined NASA and headed the Sensor Technology Branch.

In 1970, John moved to the United States Department of Transportation where he led projects for the Coast Guard, the FAA, and other agencies. In 1988 he left government to consult on a satellite-based rescue system, which facilitates cooperation among more than fifty nations in locating seamen and aviators in distress. John says, “This is an outstanding application of international space technology for bettering the world.” During his career John received many awards, got several patents and published over a dozen papers.

The couple met and married in Boston in the late 1980’s, forming a family of seven children from their previous marriages. The family has now grown by eight grandchildren, living all over the United States and in Canada. After their marriage, Edith and John left academia and government and pursued careers in the private sector, centered in Washington D.C.  In 2005 they retired full time to their home on Bird Key. In August, they moved to Plymouth Harbor.

Edith has served on the Advisory Committee at Mote Marine Laboratory. Many years ago she attended a woodworking class and built a table that the couple used until recently. She is interested in pursuing woodworking as well as Scrabble and Mah Jongg, and she looks forward to participating in programs at the Wellness Center. John enjoys discussion groups on the subjects of physics, economics, science and futurism, and he attends two such groups in Sarasota.  He looks forward to meeting others at Plymouth Harbor with similar interests. John also loves riding his bicycle and is an avid sailor. He had a Gemini catamaran on Bird Key and would love to find people here who might like to join him in buying and sharing a sailboat.

Edith and John are happy with their move to Plymouth Harbor. They see life here as their “second retirement,” and are looking forward to settling in and becoming involved in the community.



capture1Three months, 9,000 miles, 10 states, and numerous cities across the U.S. — that’s how Susan Mauntel and longhaired dachshund Moki spent their summer. Her secret to keeping calm throughout her travels? “Knowing that God is in control, and using my iPhone GPS!”

“My theory is that you should go somewhere you’ve never been at least once a year,” Susan says. “Get out of your comfort zone, off a plane, and into your car.” Besides re-visiting places she used to live in Colorado and California, she targeted four cities along the way she had never explored before: Kansas City, Tulsa, Memphis and Savannah.

capture2Susan is no stranger to the drive from Florida to Colorado, having spent five winters in Naples. However, each time, she makes a point to “diversify” the road trip. Born on July 7th (7/7), Susan’s motivation this year was to spend her 77th birthday with dear friends in Colorado.  While planning her trip, Susan read that the Ringling Museum was making its way to Bentonville, Arkansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, for an exclusive art museum tour in the fall. “I thought to myself, if they can do it, I can do it,” she says. From there, she set to work planning her route.

Susan’s travels began on June 13th, with her first stop in a small town called Apalachicola, six hours away in Florida’s Panhandle. After a meal of the town’s famous oysters and getting a good night’s sleep, she moved on to her next destination, Bentonville, to take in the Crystal Bridges Museum of capture3American Art — a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, and architectural wonders. Next, Kansas City to see the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and visit with Plymouth Harbor residents, Phil and Barry Starr. Her wonderful hosts took her to both museums and introduced her to Winstead’s — a famous local diner where they courted in the 50s!
Following her self-guided art tour, Susan made her way to her former home, Aspen, Colorado, to spend a month in her cousins’ ski house. She spent time with friends at the Aspen Music Festival, the jazz festival, Shakespeare in the Park, and celebrated her birthday with “18 dynamic ladies I’ve
known since the 80s.” Then she was off to Denver to see more friends, and discovered the ART, a new, exciting hotel, steps from the Denver Art Museum.

Susan and Moki then headed to the West Coast by way of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Prescott, Arizona. After pit stops to see friends in both those towns, she set forth to her old stomping grounds in Southern California — San Diego and Los Angeles to be exact. “It was good to see the Pacific Ocean again,” she says with a smile.

capture4Many art museums, galleries, and plays later, Susan began the adventure home. She stopped in Aspen again, then Breckenridge for a week with her best friend from college. Tulsa, Oklahoma, came next to see her cousins. “I imagined Tulsa to be flat and dusty. To my surprise, I was met with rolling hills, big trees, and green grass,” she says. “It was beautiful, wonderful to be with family — and to see more art museums!”

Memphis, Tennessee, and Savannah, Georgia, rounded out her trip. In Memphis, she stayed at the renowned Peabody Hotel and witnessed the famous duck parade. She also visited Elvis’s Graceland, the legendary Sun Records (Million Dollar Quartet), and the National Civil Rights Museum. Savannah ended Susan’s travels with a quaint bed and breakfast and a dinner cruise featuring Southern Gospel singers.

On an inspirational note, Susan adds, “You don’t need three months to do a fun trip. Take a weekend, get in your car, and head to a place you’ve never been.” While Susan (and Moki) are unsure of their next destination, we’re sure it will be a good one.


the_ringling_museum_sarasota_iThe Ringling Museum is not only an icon of Sarasota, but home to one of the most distinguished art collections in the United States. Designated as the State Art Museum of Florida, The Ringling offers 31 galleries within the Museum of Art, including its new Center for Asian Art, in addition to the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, the Historic Asolo Theater, the Ringling Art Library, the Circus Museum and Tibbals Learning Center, and 66 acres of Bayfront Gardens.

Each year, The Ringling attracts visitors from around the world, reporting more than 400,000 visitors in the 2014-15 fiscal year. That same year, guests represented every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries, with Canada, Great Britain, and Germany having the highest visitation. Like many local organizations, The Ringling largely depends on its more than 500 generous volunteers who serve in a variety of roles — many of whom can be found right here at Plymouth Harbor.

Resident Sue Johnson, who has been a docent for nearly 16 years, is a prime example. In this position, she has helped provide tours in the Museum of Art, Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, Circus Museum, Bayfront Gardens, and special exhibitions. As a docent, Sue was required to take part in an initial detailed training course, in which she learned the ins and outs of each piece of art. She also participated in a continuing education program and provided at least 75 hours of service annually. “It’s a wonderful continued education for me. Leading tours is so illuminating,” she says. “You learn as much from your visitors as they do from you.” Today, Sue is taking a step back to become more involved in other organizations, but still plans to serve on an as-needed basis.

Nancy Cook, and her late husband Senator Marlow Cook, became involved nearly 21 years ago. After coming to Sarasota, Senator Cook was invited to serve on The Ringling Board of Directors due to his expertise in politics, business, and finance. He served several years, some of which were as chairman, and was involved in the negotiation and transition of the museum’s governance to Florida State University in 2000. At the same time, Nancy worked with the then-Ringling Member’s Council. Along with fellow residents Nancy Gross and Marian Kessler, the group assisted the museum in any way possible — which included membership, special events, and the 1996 renovation of the Ca’ d’Zan. “Whatever needed to be done, we did it,” she remembers. Marian Kessler and Nancy Gross still serve at The Ringling today. Nancy spends her Saturdays as an ambassador in the Tibbals Learning Center, in addition to working as an usher in the Historic Asolo Theater. Both Nancy and Marian serve on an as-needed basis for special events and openings.

Many residents have also served terms on The Ringling Board of Directors. Alice Rau, a longtime supporter and volunteer, served on the board for a number of years, both as a member and as chairman. A volunteer since 1992, Ina Schnell is currently serving her seventh year on the board. “The Ringling Museum to me is one of those special places that has influenced my time in Sarasota,” she says. “After living for 47 years in Manhattan and giving tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was thrilled to find such an outstanding museum in my new home community.”

The Ringling has had supporters at Plymouth Harbor in other capacities as well. In affiliation with the Sarasota Garden Club, Betsy Bagby and Betty Hendry put their gardening skills to work when they restored Mable Ringling’s Secret Garden more than 15 years ago. Through her work with the Founders Garden Club of Sarasota, Molly Moffat has assisted in the restoration of the Rose Garden, courtyard, and more. This organization is also responsible for the donation of 10 Cuban Royal Palm trees to the Ca’ d’Zan’s entrance.

“The Ringling is such an asset to this community,” says Marian Kessler. “It’s a treasure, attracting so many people and offering something different to each one.” To learn more, visit www.Ringling.org.


img_1480-4On Wednesday, August 31st, Plymouth Harbor’s Chef René Weder, Sous Chef Carlos Morales, and Lead Cook Franco Valencia participated in the The Best of The Best of the ALFs – A Culinary Extravaganza.

More than 200 people attended the first-time event, which was hosted by the Sarasota County Aging Network (SCAN) and held at Sahib Shriners Auditorium from 4:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. SCAN is a not-for-profit coalition of individuals and agencies that represent health, education, and social service organizations advocating for seniors in our community.

More than 20 local Assisted Living Facilities and Continuing Care Retirement Communities attended the event, competing in their choice of img_0916the following categories: Hot Hors d’oeuvres, Cold Hors d’oeuvres, Pasta Dishes, and Luscious Desserts.

Plymouth Harbor’s team had the honor of winning first place in the Hot Hors d’oeuvres category. The winning dish? Seared sea scallops served with lobster sauce and forbidden rice — a black rice that used to be considered so superior and rare, it was reserved exclusively for royalty in ancient China.

Chef René and his team chose the Hot Hors d’oeuvres category because it offered the broadest variety when it came to preparing a dish. The sea scallops were chosen for several reasons:  a simple yet elegant dish, scallops also tend to be a crowd pleaser. Additionally, the use and story behind the “forbidden rice” created quite the buzz among the attendees.
“When you attend a large event like this, it’s always nice to create something that not only tastes good, but also serves as a conversation piece,” says Chef René.

The event was judged by several “celebrity judges,” including local chefs: Chef Christian Hershman (a culinary consultant), Chef George Armstrong (of The Rosemary), Chef Rolf (of Salt Water Café), and Chef Paul Mattison (of Mattison’s City Grille, Mattison’s Bayside, and Mattison’s Forty-One).

The proceeds from the event benefited the SCAN grant program, which assists Sarasota County seniors. In addition to supporting a worthy cause, it offered the opportunity to discredit the stigma that comes with dining at assisted living facilities and retirement communities.

“In this industry, people have the idea that we only offer institutional food,” says Chef René. “Collectively, we were able to show that this is absolutely not the case, and we hope to be able to participate in the event again next year.”


Picture11According to the 2016 Point-in-Time Census — an annual census of the homeless population required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — 497 homeless people were counted in Manatee County and 971 in Sarasota County. This represents an increase of nearly 23 percent from 2015.

Resurrection House, a faith-based day resource center for the homeless of Sarasota County, was created to help transition these at-risk individuals to a path of self-sufficiency. In its 26th year, Resurrection House has a small number of paid staff and does not accept funding from the city, county, state, or federal government. Founded by six local churches, the organization instead operates solely off donations and depends on its network of more than 180 volunteers to help serve its ever-increasing number of “clients.”

Open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., Resurrection House offers services that other organizations serving the homeless may not, including: locker storage, medical help, legal advice, clothing, clothes washing, transportation options, and counseling. They also offer shower and bathroom facilities, barber services, meals, and more. After completing an intake form, each new client immediately meets with a case manager to help kick-start the transition process.

At Plymouth Harbor, efforts to support Resurrection House come in many forms. Resident Bill Vernon has been a volunteer for nearly two years, ever since a friend at All Angels Episcopal Church suggested he get involved. Bill spends his Fridays from 8:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m. manning the shower facilities, where he keeps a list of which client is up next and rations supplies. “We only have four showers, but we could use 40,” Bill says. “All in all, Resurrection House helps people who are down on their luck — and there are loads of success stories.”

Resident Buzz VanArsdale has also volunteered at Resurrection House for several years. After noticing a volunteer advertisement in the newspaper, he decided to see what he could do to help. With a passion for bicycling, he was the perfect fit for the bicycle shop — where volunteers help refurbish used bicycles that are given to clients who land a full-time job. When asked why he enjoys his time there, Buzz says, “It’s important. This place meets a large need for a very big population in our community.” 

Resident Mike Kolker got involved with Resurrection House after a suggestion by Bill Vernon. He was there for over a year, trading off Friday volunteer days with Bill before he stopped due to physical challenges. However, he does plan to look into a more administrative position. “The organization is doing a very fine job, and it is obviously needed,” he says. “I would encourage others to consider the possibility of volunteering there.” 

In December 2015, Plymouth Harbor employees also launched “Holiday Helpers” through the OnBoard Employee Wellness Program, which collected donations for Resurrection House. A total of 10 boxes of clothing, blankets, toiletries, and over $300 in cash and gift cards was gathered. It was so successful that employees have begun a permanent collection bin, where donations can be made on a year-round basis.

To learn more about Resurrection House, you can visit http://www.resurrectionhousesarasota.org/.