Mauntel storyMeeting Susan Mauntel is not a simple “how do you do.” I needed only to lock eyes with Susan to unleash an unstoppable swirl of joie de vivre which bubbled continuously throughout our visit.

Prior to walking into what she calls her “nest” on the 14th floor, I had an inkling she was going to be something. When I had called earlier I couldn’t help but respond to and engage with her voice mail message, as her high-fidelity recorded voice welcomed my call and explained, “Have I got a story for you!” And, indeed, she did!

Susan was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, part of metro Philadelphia, and counts Elvis as her first interview subject while she was still in high school. After graduation she flew west to study art and journalism at the University of Colorado, never again to live on the east coast.

Those early adult years after college, Susan admits, were without direction. “I had no plan, so I spent some time as a ski-bum in Aspen and then served as a hostess at the Seattle World’s Fair.” Soon after, she found her way down to San Francisco where she made her living as a model and actress, mostly in TV commercials. Her story about playing an extra in a party scene with Janis Joplin in the movie Petulia (1968) starring Julie Christie, George C. Scott and Richard Chamberlain was a good reminder of how grueling that work can be!
You can imagine that living in San Francisco during the years of the hippies and the ‘Summer of Love’ would be quite exciting for a beautiful young woman. Yet Susan says with a big grin, “I was not a hippie and I only attended the first ‘Love In’.”

Susan’s successful modeling career allowed her to travel and she eventually moved down the coast of California and Los Angeles became her home base. In the 1970s, she was ready to try new things and, like Helen Reddy, let the world “hear me roar!”

“No matter how successful you are, in modeling you are always ‘the girl’,” Susan shared. “I knew I had to get out of modeling before my brain atrophied!” That’s when she simply started calling on TV news producers, asking for an audition. She had no training in broadcast journalism, but simply watching what happened on air, she figured she would fake it until she made it.

Susan got her first chance as a news reporter interviewing celebrities and then a daily live talk show in San Diego. Then she was back to San Francisco with a magazine format TV show, and once again to LA co-anchoring the news on KTLA.

My mind blurs trying to remember the long list of high profile celebrities, artists, and leaders that Susan has had the pleasure of talking with in-depth. The walls of fame in her home are the clues to many, many stories, I am sure!

In telling her tales, Susan’s voice and facial expressions help paint the picture of both her hard work to excel in these fields and a seemingly carefree life. “I was a Road Scholar!” she laughed, with gleam in her eye. “Like a rolling stone, but I always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.”

Yet when asked, she admits she’s had her fair share of heartbreaks. “I know now that God has had his hand on me all along the way,” she confides. In fact, she went on to explain, at each major transition there was usually some unexpected sign that cleared the way for her. Susan calls these serendipitous moments “God winks.”

machu picchu100One of those God winks led her to let go of the stress-filled life of TV broadcasting and take up something completely different. Real estate! But, with a high-end twist. Her first listing was the Pacific Palisades home of President-elect Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy.

Real estate was a passing fancy, though, and she was soon back in Aspen with a TV job. By then, her early and deep love for art was calling to her in a loud voice. Susan soon transitioned into the life of a successful, working, self-sufficient artist with a studio and gallery in Aspen called Furniture as Art, as well as in Solana Beach, California.

Those were 18 glorious years during which she created and sold hundreds of memorable paintings on chairs, tables, screens, etc. Susan specialized in recreating in the style of masters such as Matisse and Monet. One day, a passing tourist in Aspen admired her copy of Matisse’s portrait of his daughter on a chair. A brief conversation revealed that tourist to be Matisse’s grandson, Claude Duthuit, who Susan quickly befriended.
Leaving that home behind to shift to urban Denver and five winters in Naples, Florida, Susan was feeling the pull of sun and sand in her next chapter. She found Naples beautiful, but yearned for a livelier cultural scene, which, of course, led her to Sarasota, Florida’s cultural capital.

She arrived in Sarasota in December 2013 armed with a list of communities she had identified from her online research. One look at Plymouth Harbor, it was another “God wink.” Susan fell in love with the people and that perfect little corner apartment and view on the 14th floor. “I’ve always been a little impulsive,” she confides. “I made my decision in January and by July 2014, I had sold my Denver property and was moving into Plymouth Harbor.”

Susan’s home now is an installation of her life as art. In addition to walls of photos capturing her modeling and TV career, I saw the full expression of her life and talents on each piece of customized furniture, choice of accent, and countless quirky personal touches. Her sweet long-haired miniature dachshund, Moki, a faithful furry companion, completes the home.

As comfortable as this nest is, Susan is truly a rolling stone who has already accumulated a host of friends and activities, including performances as an evocative story reader for a range of audiences. Her role in the Plymouth Harbor Players production of “The Saint on the 17th Floor” is only a taste of what she might bring in the future.

In fact, that wide-eyed wonder of what the future might bring is one of the most memorable qualities that Susan shared with me during our visit. Her joy and faith are contagious. In fact, I can’t wait until the next time we meet when, I am certain, she will greet me in her ebullient way, “Boy! Have I got a story for you!”

By Chris Valuck, Wellness Director

strength training for seniorsExercise Resistance training, also known as weight training or strength training, incorporates exercises that build muscular strength and endurance of skeletal muscles (as opposed to cardiovascular exercise that develops heart muscle endurance). These terms include all types of resistance, whether you are using exercise bands/tubes, dumbbells, weight machines, milk jugs, soup cans, or even your own body weight (i.e. push-ups).

A couple of weight training questions that I am frequently asked are, “How much should I lift?” and “How many times should I lift it?” It seems like the answer should be simple, but it really isn’t because so many factors must be taken into account. A good strength training exercise prescription must include functional exercises that will help improve performing activities of daily life; exercises that take into consideration the individual’s goals, ability levels, orthopedic limitations, time constraints; and the list goes on.

The detail involved in this type of programming is too involved to fully discuss in this article. But I will clarify a few in an attempt to answer these two questions, assuming that the goal of the exerciser is muscular strength and endurance—which is the most common reason a person incorporates strength training into their exercise regime. Also, in the box below are evidence-based guidelines by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), which is the most respected organization in the industry and considered to be the gold standard.

The biggest misconception regarding resistance training is that you must perform “3 sets of 12 reps” for each exercise or you will turn into a pumpkin. Not so! The “3 sets of 12” idea is just a guide. In fact, for an older population, just 1-2 sets of 10-15 reps may be more suitable. Research shows that the average adult will develop strength and endurance when they use a resistance that is challenging between 8-12 reps. The power lifter or bodybuilder who is only interested in strength might use a resistance so heavy that he cannot perform the exercise more than 2-6 reps and the exerciser interested only in endurance may use a load that is not challenging until 15+ reps are achieved. But because the average person would like muscular strength and endurance, we recommend a middle range of 8-12 repetitions (or 10-15 for an older or deconditioned population).

Once you determine the goal (i.e. muscular strength and endurance), then you determine the resistance required to safely challenge the muscle in that range, which in this case is 8-15 reps. The key word is “challenged.” This means not just doing the exercise 12 times, hopping to the next exercise, 12 times, and so on. It means that with each subsequent set, you should feel that the muscle is beginning to tire and you cannot safely do another. This is what we call momentary muscle fatigue, the point at which the muscle is being challenged to do more than it already can do on a daily basis. The result is increased strength over time. If you simply “count reps” and never challenge the muscle with a tiny bit more weight over time, you will not realize any strength gains, but simply remain where you are. I suppose that at least you can say you’re maintaining your current strength, but most people want to improve strength.

We’ve addressed repetitions and resistance, but now let’s look at sets, which are groups of repetitions. Most group fitness instructors and personal trainers work with the basic guide of “3-sets” of each exercise, providing that only one exercise is being performed for each major muscle group during the exercise session. Again, these exercises vary tremendously and can get very elaborate, but let’s just stick with the basic program which is three sets or less for each major muscle group.

If you choose to do three sets for a particular muscle group and you subscribe to the theory that each repetition should take some effort, then it stands to reason that you would not be able to do 12 repetitions in the second set and definitely not in the third if you are becoming increasingly, but safely, fatigued. More realistically, an effective workout session for any particular muscle group that consists of three sets would look more like this: 12 reps attained in the 1st set;  now a rest period because you should be a little bit tired. In the 2nd set you might only able to perform 10 or 11 reps, and in the 3rd set maybe only 8-9 reps. Is this making more sense?

The above theory is the hardest to convey to the exerciser, but it’s the most important if your goal is to increase strength and endurance. So, the next time you’re in one of the group fitness classes or using the Keiser equipment, ask yourself, “Am I just going through the motions, or am I safely challenging myself enough to make a difference?”

Begin with a 5-7 minute warm-up, consisting of continuous movement (i.e. walking or cycling).

Frequency: 2-3 days per week, working each major muscle group

Sets: Older Population: 1-2 sets of 10-15 rep of each exercise. Most Other Adults: 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.

 Weight lifted should be “challenging” but attainable within the repetition range.
 Rest 1-2 minutes between sets.  Allow a day of rest between strength-training sessions (48 hours).
 Work large muscles first (chest, back, legs); then smaller muscles (shoulders, arms).
 Use proper body alignment and maintain slow, controlled movement.
 Use proper breathing technique: exhale on exertion and never hold your breath.
 Gradual progression of greater resistance, and/or more repetitions per set, and/or increasing frequency is recommended as strength increases.

Pescatello, L., Arena, R., Riebe, D., & Thompson, P. (Eds.). (2014). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (9th ed., p. 185). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

By Addie Hurst

eckertIt might be difficult to meet the Chuck and Susan Eckert right now because Charles is currently not dancing due to some very serious back problems. Not only is this uncomfortable but it is a tremendous handicap in their ability to meet people and to socialize. But Plymouth Harbor residents are known for their warmth and welcoming spirit, so if you give them a call, I’m sure they would appreciate the opportunity to meet people and have stimulating conversations.

Chuck got his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and then did a post-doctoral year in Paris (to improve his French, for the experience!). He then taught at the University of Illinois from 1965 to 1986, eventually becoming head of the Department of Chemical Engineering. He then became Director of Specialty Separations Center at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and just retired from there in June. Although the list of awards that he has received, the number of firms for which he has acted as a consultant, the citing of courses that he has taught, and the professional organizations that he has belonged to would more than fill this page, he is most proud of the 108 students he guided to their Ph.D.s.

Susan is a native Floridian and grew up in Lakeland. She received a B.A. in English from the University of Florida and an M.S. in Education from Georgia State University. She was a high school guidance counselor and after she retired, she spent ten years reading and evaluating undergraduate admission applications for Georgia Tech. Susan is a volunteer at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, is an avid reader, does beautiful needlework, participates in several exercise groups here at Plymouth Harbor, plays mahjong and bridge weekly, and takes extensive walks three or four times a week.

The Eckerts have sold their home in Atlanta, but still own a condo on Longboat Key where visiting family and friends stay. Their apartment is lovely, filled with beautiful art, interesting glass, and Susan’s needlework. They enjoy cooking and eating. Chuck is fortunate to receive “Talking Books” (books on digital cassettes) from the Library of Congress. He is currently thinking of interactive projects for junior high school students. So why not call  and go up to their apartment for a visit? Believe me, you won’t be bored and will get a warm welcome!

Cindy Malkin           Cindy Malkin, Secretary

“When we moved to Sarasota, over forty years ago, we visited and had dinner with a former professor of mine from Skidmore College. She had moved to Plymouth Harbor from New York State. We were very impressed then and know it is even better today. It is an honor to serve on the Board of Trustees with engaged community leaders and residents. Our future is exciting and I will work hard to ensure another forty and more years of excellence.”

Cindy Malkin is a psychiatric nurse who has been active in the community for many years. Her involvement has been mainly with human services. She has been Board Chair of the Consortium for Children and Youth, The Human Services Planning Association, and The Florida Center for Child and Family Development. She was President of the Junior League of Sarasota and recently Board Chair of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. She is currently on the Board of the Woman’s Resource Center. Cindy is originally from Connecticut. She received a BS and RN from Skidmore College and a Master’s Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. A Sarasota resident since 1974, she has two sons and six grandsons. She and her husband Dr. Rick Malkin summer in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, where they enjoy tennis, golf, and the myriad of cultural activities the area offers.

By Chris Valuck

670px-Work-out-on-an-Elliptical-Machine-Step-6“Do I really need to know all this?” asked a resident, while preparing to use a piece of exercise equipment in the Wellness Center. “I just want to walk on the treadmill,” she said.

Technically, you don’t have to understand all of the information on the displays of the Nu-Steps, treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals in order to use them.  Most people just like to see how far they’ve gone (distance) and how long it took to do it (time). But, for the residents who have expressed an interest in knowing all about the equipment displays, let’s start with the MET.


A Metabolic Equivalent of Task or MET, is simply the amount of energy it takes to perform a particular activity.  1-MET equals the amount of energy expended during one minute of rest (e.g., sitting calmly or lying down); whereas walking at a moderate pace might be 3-METS, or running might be 11-METS or more, depending on how fast you are going.

MET levels are not only assigned to fitness activities, but also include Activities of Daily Living such as vacuuming, gardening, walking the dog, etc.  If you have ever had a stress test in your doctor’s office, your test results may show a MET level that you accomplished before you needed to stop the test because of fatigue or other symptoms (e.g. cardiac-related).  This MET level may then be used to determine which activities of daily living are most appropriate for your condition.


RPM:  This stands for revolutions per minute.  It is a measure of the frequency of rotation (around a fixed axis).  That’s why you’ll see RPM on the recumbent bike displays, but not on a treadmill.  The RPM go up as you pedal faster and go down when you pedal more slowly.  This is a measure that you might want to monitor if your goal is to maintain a certain speed over a period of time.

SPM:  Here’s where it gets a little confusing.  SPM stands for steps per minute when on the Nu-Step and strides per minute when on the elliptical.  On the elliptical, 2 strides equal 1-RPM (if you are interested in converting this measure). In either case, just like the RPM on the bikes, the harder you work, the higher the number.

WATT:  When you see WATT displayed on the cardio equipment, it is a measure of work or effort produced by the exerciser.  So, the higher the watt, the more power being produced.

Bottom line:  On any given piece of cardiovascular equipment, find a speed that is challenging, but attainable.  You should be working at a level that still allows you to carry on a conversation (we call this “the talk test”).  You should also be able to rate your own perceived exertion on a scale of 1-10.  Aim for a light-to-moderate intensity of about 3-4 (out of 10) on the Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale.  For more details, on the RPE Scale, pick up a copy in the Wellness Center.



Health Services plays a vital role in providing residents with the support they need in the continuum of care at Plymouth Harbor. Whether having their blood pressure checked on the way back from a morning fitness class, or recuperating in the Smith Care Center after a brief illness, knowing that qualified, caring health care professionals are on-site and just a phone call away provides residents with the sense of security they need to freely engage in an active, satisfying lifestyle. 

Finlay_5x7 300 dpiThe Board of Trustees of Plymouth Harbor, Inc. welcomed three new members and elected new leadership for 2015.

The newly elected Chair of the Board of Trustees is G. Duncan Finlay, MD who is also currently serving as President and CEO of the Florence A. Rothman Institute and Chief Medical Officer of Alive Sciences, LLC.  During his previous tenure as Chief Medical Officer and President and CEO of Sarasota Memorial Hospital, the system was named one of America’s Best Hospitals by US News and World Report in seven medical specialties.

Harry Hobson, CEO of Plymouth Harbor said, “Dr. Finlay has served as a Trustee for the past three years.  He brings leadership, experience, vision, and a passion that is consistent with Plymouth Harbor’s mission.”

After four years as Chairperson during which he guided Plymouth Harbor through a significant growth initiative that culminated in the grand opening of new Wellness Center, F. Thomas Hopkins will now serve as Immediate Past Chair.

“Tom has always been present for important governance discussions and decision,” says Hobson, “I can’t imagine a more dedicated person than Tom Hopkins.  While we will miss him as Chair, we will cherish this coming year knowing he is in the Board Room with us.”

Sarah Pappas-portrait_4x5Three current Trustees have also been elected to serve as officers of the Board. Sarah H. Pappas, EdD, has been elected to the position of Vice Chair. Dr. Pappas is President of the William G.  and Marie Selby Foundation and former President of Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida).

Cindy Malkin, recently Board Chair at the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, also a member of the Women’s Resource Board, will serve as Secretary.

Brian D. Hall, Executive Vice President and Director of Wealth Management at the Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, will serve as Treasurer.



In addition to the officers, Plymouth Harbor is pleased to welcome three new trustees to the board:

CranorJohn M. Cranor, III, former President and CEO for the New College Foundation, has over 30 years of management experience in the food service and retail industries including senior executive positions with Pepsi-Cola North America, Taco Bell Corporation, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Frito-Lay Company. He currently serves as the non-executive Chair of the Board of Directors of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.

PattersonNora Patterson, a Sarasota County Commissioner, was first elected to the Sarasota City Commission in 1991, and served until 1998 when she was elected to the Sarasota County Commission.  Prior to this she served as the Mayor of Sarasota from 1994-95 and was appointed by the Governor to serve two years on Florida’s Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations from 1996-98.

Woeltjen lo resWilliam Woeltjen has served as the Chief Financial Officer of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System since 2010, where he is responsible for all financial matters related to the health care system, including financial reporting, financial planning, revenue cycle, reimbursement, debt management, and managed care contracting. He has more than 25 years of experience in corporate health care finance.

SILLSILL’s Thursday Global Issues III Series will be offered via simulcast from January through March 2015.  Twelve timely topics by well-informed speakers are presented at 10:30 a.m. in Pilgrim Hall.

To purchase series ($72) or single lecture tickets, call Jessica in the Marketing/Sales office at ext. 512





Jan 8      –              Global Energy: How Can Things Go Wrong? Let Me Count the Ways—Hon. Molly Williamson

Jan 15    –              The Rebirth of Al Queda in Iraq—Jessica Lewis

Jan 22    –              The U.S. and the Great Powers in the Wake of Congressional Elections—Dr. Jerry Pubantz

Jan 29    –              Europe and Putin—Martin Walker

Feb 5     –              U.S. Security Forces: Post Realignment—Dr. John Williams

Feb 12   –              Top Secret America? – Dr. Joel Brenner

Feb 19   –              The Emerging Pattern of Relations in Northeast Asia—Ambassador Donald Gregg

Feb 26   –              Iran’s Policy Towards Syria, Lebanon and Iraq: Is Iranian-American Cooperation Possible?-Dr. Mohsen Milani

Mar 5    –              Iraq: The Pottery Barn Rule, Are We Responsible for the Mess or Does It Matter? – Ambassador James Jeffrey

Mar 12  –              The Challenge of U.S. Economic Development in a Globalized World—Professor Gary Fields

Mar 19 –              Reclaiming the American Dream—Hedrick Smith

Mar 26  –             Power and Trust in U.S.-China Relations—Dr. David Lampton



By Chris Valuck

KeiserResidents have expressed interest in how Keiser strength training equipment functions and why it’s different from traditional strength training equipment.  The information below, taken from their website, explains their technology.


Keiser’s pneumatic strength training equipment was designed by mechanical engineer, Dennis Keiser,  and his brother Randy in 1978.  They have worked with Olympic athletes, as well as NASA to create  equipment for long-duration space flights, and with the Council on Aging and Adult Development to support research on aging and exercise.


How It’s Different From Traditional Weight Training Equipment

Keiser exercise equipment uses compressed air rather than a weight stack to provide resistance.  The resistance applied by each machine varies throughout the range of motion so that the muscle must maintain a constant level of exertion to complete the exercise.  With a traditional “weight stack” machine, more effort is required at the beginning of the movement to move the mass (weight stack) and at the end of the movement to slow it down.

Graph:  Keiser Pneumatic Machine (Blue) – Traditional Weight Stack Machine (Red)
Keiser graph

Additional Research

It can be seen in the graph that the acceleration forces of inertia increase dramatically with a weight stack machine depending upon the speed of movement. Also the weight stack shows a loss of resistance because of gravity and momentum. Keiser pneumatic resistance strength curve remains consistent at all three training speeds. Weight stack cam machines were designed to take into consideration the forces due to acceleration and deceleration (starting and stopping the weight stack) so it can counteract the effects of inertia and momentum. The problem with weight stack machines is that they were designed to work at one restricted speed of movement to counteract the effects of inertia and momentum.

There are several research studies involving older adults and fitness using Keiser equipment.  Results show significant improvements in strength and endurance, bone density, and physical frailty.  For more information on these studies, go to the link:


HarryHobson2Harry Hobson, Vice Chair Trustee

It is especially rewarding for me to serve on this Foundation Board, as I have had an opportunity to experience life at Plymouth Harbor for 10 years, and can now witness what philanthropy can do to make life here better and better!”

Harry Hobson has been president and CEO of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay for 10 years.  During his career, he has worked in both hospital and retirement community administration. Prior to his arrival at Plymouth Harbor, he was the President and CEO of Westminster-Canterbury Retirement Community of Irvington, Virginia, and First Community Village of Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Hobson received Masters Degrees in both Business Management and Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University, and completed gerontological studies at George Washington University. He holds nursing home administrator licenses in Florida and Ohio.  Harry has been widely recognized throughout the industry, having received the 2013 Executive of the Year award from LeadingAge Florida, and while in Ohio, earned the Professional of the Year and Award of Honor from LeadingAge Ohio.  He has just completed his second term on the Florida Governor’s Continuing Care Advisory Board.  As a faculty member at The Ohio State University, he lectured on Long Term Care Policy and Executive Leadership.

He and his wife Nancy live in Sarasota, with their very special black lab Bridgett.  They have 5 children and 3 grandchildren.  Harry and Nancy plan to someday become residents of Plymouth Harbor.

Garry_JacksonGarry Jackson, Treasurer,  Vice Chair

“Serving on the Foundation Board gives me great pleasure.  Having been the CFO at Plymouth Harbor for 17 years, I have seen gifts come into Plymouth Harbor, some very significant.  Now with the Foundation in place, we are able to build and expand our support from philanthropy in new and greater ways.”

Garry Jackson is the Senior Vice President and CFO of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay.  He has worked at Plymouth Harbor since March of 1997. Prior to his career in healthcare, Garry lived and worked in New York City where he was the Controller & Director of Financial Planning at New York Law School for nine years and at the investment-banking firm of Rothschild, Inc. as the Assistant Vice President of Finance & Administration for six years. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management from California Southern University at Irvine, CA.