If you have passed by Pilgrim Hall recently, you may have noticed a little different look to the perimeter. Veiled with plastic partitions and a zippered door, the rejuvenation has begun!

You will see on the floorplan (below) that several new items have been added:

  1. On the north wall we have added a ramp for easy access for those with mobility challenges.
  2. The stage has been widened and deepened on both sides.
  3. Steps up to the stage have been added on both sides of the stage front.
  4. The backstage has been improved and storage has been increased.
  5. The sound booth has been moved to the back of the Hall, with portability and remote capabilities from anywhere in the room.
  6. Acoustical panels were added to all corners, the north and south walls, and the ceiling (which is not shown this in the floor plan).
  7. Both doors on the south corridor were widened for easier ingress and egress.
  8. A walled area at the west end of the Hall was designated for walker and other storage.
  9. A quick service area has been added to the northwest corner, adding symmetry and additional service area for the dining staff.
  10. The area between the walker storage and quick service area on the west (back) wall is a removable wall, intended for increased seating when needed. Capacity in the new hall is 100, increased to 130 when the wall is opened.

We are still hopeful for a December grand opening, when the complete new design will be  revealed! Stay tuned!




By: James Ahstom

Don and Barbara MacLean_5-2016 (4)Barbara was born in Rome, New York. Don was born in Northampton, Massachusetts. Each had a father who was a doctor. Barbara’s father had her drive him to his house calls so that he could evaluate her driving skills and acclimatize her to cold winter weather by waiting in the car. She attended Rome Academy and Green Mountain College. Don attended the University of Massachusetts.

From 1953 to 1956, Don was a test pilot at The Air Development Center, Rome, New York. He was called back into service with the Massachusetts Air National Guard from 1957 to 1962, and flew F86 Sabre jets at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1961. He was stationed outside Strasbourg, France, and later Libya. He received a commendation for flying the photo plane used in atomic bomb studies.

Since Barbara and Don were married on May 5, 1956, they recently celebrated their sixtieth anniversary. They have two daughters and a son. Susan lives in Canandaigua Lake, New York. Martha lives in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. David lives in Wayland, Massachusetts. They have nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

They have lived in South Glastonbury, Connecticut (three years), Long Meadow, Massachusetts (six years), North Tonawanda, New York, Canandaigua, New York, and Longboat Key, Florida.

Don was a member of Rotary, serving as President of the Tonawanda Rotary Club and Co-Chairman of the District Youth Exchange Program. They shared their home with five Rotary youth exchange students. Two were from Mexico, one from Australia, one from Norway, and one from Japan. In honor of this activity, Barbara was awarded a Paul Harris fellowship, which provides a $1,000 donation to the Rotary Foundation in her honor.

After his military service, Don worked with Travelers Insurance Company as an agency and branch manager in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York. He also was CEO and President of Humphrey and Vandervoort, Inc., an all lines commercial and industrial insurance company.

Barbara has volunteered at the Woman’s Exchange in Sarasota, and is interested in the Fund Shop. She writes a daily “joy” journal to record all things on a daily basis which give her joy. Don has an interest in woodworking, has a commercial pilot rating, and also is a Coast Guard captain for ships up to 100 tons.



The Education Foundation of Sarasota County is a leading advocate for exceptional public education for all students in Sarasota County. The Foundation raises nearly $1 million each year, most of which is disbursed through grants in the amount of $500-$1,000 (and in some cases more) that allows elementary, middle, and high school teachers to offer programs that school budgets are unable to cover. Additionally, the Foundation offers individual scholarships to high school seniors.

Teachers in Sarasota County submit proposals for these grants, describing in detail what programs and projects the funds would support. From there, proposals are read by numerous people within the community, gathering input from a number of varied sources, and searching for the most unique, creative, and motivating ideas.

Resident Jerry Kaplan has been involved with the Education Foundation for nearly 20 years. Six of which he spent on the board, where he served alongside Jon F. Swift, a current member of the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees. Susan Scott, former executive director of the Education Foundation, previously served on the Plymouth Harbor board as well.

Today, Jerry spends much of his time evaluating programs and grant proposals. Not only does he himself evaluate grant proposals, but he also asks fellow residents for input. “This is a great way to bring in the entire community,” Jerry says. “We take a lot of opinions on these proposals, and use them to help identify the best programs for our kids.”

In addition to grants, the Education Foundation financially supports the PALS School Volunteer Program, the annual science fair, and the Teacher of the Year program for each individual school and Sarasota County. Another unique program the Foundation supports is the collection and repair of used electronics. Banks, insurance companies, individuals, and even our very own residents of Plymouth Harbor have donated old or unused computers, which are then repaired and given to families in need, at no cost. With an educational system that continually relies on smart technology and internet-related studies, this is a huge gift for many families.

The Education Foundation operates solely off donations from members of the community and relies on special events to raise these funds. One such event, the Evening of Excellence, is an innovative art program and an established Sarasota social event, combining an elegant dinner with an auction showcasing the talents of high school artists. The event raises over $300,000 each year, benefiting more than 40,000 students through the work of the Education Foundation.

To learn more about the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, visit the following website: www.sarasotacountyschools.net/educationfoundation/


Capture+53Over the years, research has shown that people are not only living longer, but embracing new and varied activities as they age. It’s a no-brainer that proper nutrition, physical activity, and regular check ups go hand-in-hand with healthy aging. Now, however, there is a new outlet that is important to consider: art.

Participating in artistic endeavors can have a positive effect on health by keeping the mind busy and creating a sense of purpose. While many of us don’t consider ourselves to be “creative,” it has been shown that these benefits are obtained even when individuals are not necessarily creatively inclined.

Gene Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., the Director of the Center for Aging, Health & Humanities at George Washington University, was the first researcher to conduct a national longitudinal study on quality of life, which found that the arts do in fact have a positive effect on health and illness as we age. Such benefits include:

Helping individuals relax                                                                                                                 Offering sensory stimulation

Providing a sense of control                                                                                                          Fostering a stronger sense of identity

Reducing depression and anxiety                                                                                              Increasing self-esteem

Assisting in socialization                                                                                                                 Nurturing spirituality

Encouraging playfulness and sense of humor                                                                    Reducing boredom and isolation

Improving cognition

With a vibrant community like Sarasota as its backdrop, the arts have been incorporated into Plymouth Harbor’s culture since its inception. This tradition has continued over the years, from featured resident artists to local art exhibits and resident outings. In recent years, an increased emphasis has been placed on arts and creativity, in part due to our whole-person wellness approach.

Permanent work stations are available in the Wellness Center Art Studio for resident artists, and open stations are available for art classes that are offered throughout the year. Artists like Beverley Vernon, Sallie Luebbe, Fran Nikolich, Weta Cannon, and Harriet Eisner spend time in their creative workspace each week, designing, sketching, painting, and more.

Picture1Also found in the Wellness Center is a display space where resident artists are featured. This month, you can find handmade quilts (pictured right) by
Cynda Grenfell.

Outside of the Wellness Center, Resident Services works closely with the Art Committee to schedule regular classes, programs, and exhibit outings. Recent outings include the Chihuly Art Exhibit, several exhibits at the Ringling Museum, and the M.C. Escher Exhibit at the Dali Museum.

Arts and creativity are also integrated into the daily lives of our residents in the Smith Care Center (SCC). According to Judy Sarnowski, SCC Activity Director, this is done in a number of ways. Once each month, an art therapist, Amy Kaiser, works with residents using a technique known as MnemeTherapy™ — one-on-one, whole-brain therapy that uses everyday pleasurable experiences, such as painting, in a unique combination to stimulate sustained attentive focus.

Additionally, regular arts and crafts classes are incorporated in SCC by both the SCC Activity Team and resident artist Beverly Vernon, who volunteers her time monthly, and is often accompanied by fellow resident Ann Williams. These classes not only provide a calming outlet, but also an opportunity for small group socialization.

There are no doubt countless other art advocates roaming the halls of Plymouth Harbor, but one group in particular that keeps art at the forefront of our minds is the Plymouth Harbor Art Council. This resident-led council plans and manages the Mezzanine Art Gallery — recruiting local and resident artists and helping to set up exhibits.

Whether realized or not, art is ingrained in the everyday lives of residents here at Plymouth Harbor, from structured classes in the Wellness Center to simply passing through the Mezzanine Art Gallery, and the benefits can be seen firsthand.


Capture95Plymouth Harbor is pleased to welcome the new 2016-2017Residents Association Executive Council. 

Tom Elliott was selected as President and is joined by Wendy Underwood, Vice President; Sallie Luebbe, Secretary; Aubie Coran, Treasurer; and Past President Terry Aldrich.

The Executive Council also includes three Executive Associates who serve as liaisons to colony directors, committees, and residents as a whole. These members are: Carolyn Albrecht, colonies; Addie Hurst, committees; and Norma Schatz, residents.

In addition to serving on the Executive Council, the President, Vice President, and Past President of the Residents Association serve as full voting members on the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees.

As with previous leadership, this year’s Executive Council brings with them a wealth of knowledge and professional experience. President Tom Elliott is the former President/CEO of Applied Science Associates (ASA) – a multi-faceted organization involving behavioral science, ergonomics, personnel management, software development, printing, and training for both government and industrial organizations. Vice President Wendy Underwood previously worked for C&P Telephone, which later became Bell Atlantic and now Verizon. While there, she held positions in various capacities, including finance, accounting, auditing, and marketing.

Sallie Luebbe is a Registered Nurse, educator, and experienced real estate agent. Addie Hurst is also an experienced educator. Aubie Coran is a research scientist, author, professor, and inventor. Terry Aldrich held two very different careers — one as a psychotherapist, and the other as a business owner focused on the import and export of antiques and furniture. Carolyn Albrecht worked in the personnel department at Merrill Lynch, and later had a career in public relations. Norma Schatz is a longtime advocate for children’s issues, having served on the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and founding the Collaboration for Connecticut’s Children.

We are thrilled to welcome this new slate of officers and look forward to yet another successful year here at Plymouth Harbor.


By: Al Balaban

While she awaits the totalCapture5234523 renovation of her new apartment on the sixteenth floor, Ina Schnell will be living for a few months on the third floor of the tower as she begins her new life. She is certainly not new to Sarasota, where she has been widely known for almost 25 years, nor to Plymouth Harbor, where she has participated in many activities as a Harbor Club member.

What might perhaps be new will be her desire to limit the intense activity and commitment to the many artistic, socially worthy, and creative groups to which she devoted most of her waking hours. She feels ready to “live the contemplative life,” having time for reading, studying, discussing ideas and events, making new friends, and having fun.

Given Ina’s history, slowing down seems a heroic task. Growing up in New England, her early education as a day-student at a creative, progressive boarding school planted the seeds that flourished into her love of the arts and the joys of the outdoors. She attended Skidmore College, earning a degree in history; many years later, she received a master’s degree in urban affairs and policy analysis from the New School for Social Research in New York City.

In the years between the two academic pursuits, Ina “earned a living.” Right out of college, she was hired by Bonwit Teller at a starting level. By 23, she had remarkably become a buyer. Twelve years later, she left the store to pursue other interests. Married twice, she has one son.

Ina’s engagement in social and cultural organizations began while living in New York and The Berkshires, but flourished here in Sarasota. Space does not permit a full listing of her awards and honors from arts and philanthropic organizations; such a list might give you a misleading image of a workaholic, a remote, driven woman — she is not that. She is proud of the work she has done (particularly on the board of the Ringling Museum of Art, and as a founding member of the Foundation for Sarasota County Public Libraries) and the many honors received.

Currently, Ina wants very much to become part of the social fabric of Plymouth Harbor — making friends, learning, and participating and contributing to the unique quality of life we all share here.



It is no secret that the media landscape is continually changing. At Plymouth Harbor, however, the high number of residents who held top-level careers in the media industry seems to have remained constant over the years.

Today, we are lucky to have so many of these talented individuals among us. From experts in the newspaper business to printing to broadcast, we’ve got our bases covered when it comes to news. Residents Walt Mattson, David Beliles, and Greg Fosselman are distinguished journalists; Joe Berkely is an experienced publisher; Beverly Vernon is a renowned food columnist; Susan Mauntel and Arnold Freedman are celebrated news anchors and talented storytellers; Allis Edelman is a skilled photojournalist and printer, and her husband, Erwin, is an accomplished printer and editorial production manager.

From a young age, Walt Mattson showed a keen interest in the newspaper business. He was as a printer’s devil, delivered papers, worked at a commercial printing plant, operated a linotype machine, and was an advertising manager. In 1960, Walt got his big break when he joined the New York Times as assistant production manager. His persistence and dedication paid off in 1979 when he was named president of the New York Times Company. Today, Walt continues to keep the media top of mind, as evidenced by his recent presentation at Plymouth Harbor alongside Diane McFarlin, former publisher of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Joe Berkely arrived in the newspaper business seemingly by accident. A former pilot and pre-med graduate, Joe married the daughter of a daily newspaper manager. In 1945, he purchased the Dodge City Journal, a struggling weekly newspaper, and transformed it into the High Plains Journal – now a significant news source for the Midwest agricultural community. As founding publisher, Joe raised the circulation from 132 paid to 50,000 paid by the time he retired. In April 2016, he was inducted into the Kansas Press Association Hall of Fame. You can view his acceptance speech in the video below.

Similar to Joe Berkely, Beverly Vernon wound up in the newspaper business by chance. She was an excellent cook, always preparing gourmet meals for her family and friends, so in 1979, her husband encouraged her to apply for a “test kitchen cook” opening at the Chicago Tribune. To no surprise, she landed the job. After food styling, testing, and developing recipes for over a year, the paper asked Beverly to head up her very own weekly column. She ran this column, which was later syndicated, until she left in 1989. From there, she went on to work for Kraft, testing recipes and working on both print and TV advertisements for the company.

Susan Mauntel’s signature phrase? “Have I got a story for you!” — a phrase that accurately reflects her life and career. Susan was an art major, journalism minor, and destined for show business. After modeling in several TV commercials and print advertisements, she went on to host daily live TV shows in San Diego and San Francisco, where she interviewed prominent figures like Maya Angelou and Gerald Ford. Later, Susan co-anchored news in Los Angeles, and today she continues her professional career with her popular story reads.

Erwin Edelman got his start as a copy boy at Time magazine. From there, he climbed his way up the ranks to the editorial staff, assisting in layout, color, and the selection of photos. Eventually, Erwin went on to manage editorial production operations for Time Canada in Montreal. Before that, however, he met Allis — who played a unique role at the magazine, as a “picture researcher.”  According to Erwin, it was “love at first sight.” Before her position at Time, Allis had previously worked alongside famed photographer Edward Steichen, former director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

After their time in Montreal and a brief return to New York, Allis and Erwin moved to Cornwall, Connecticut. They saw a unique opportunity and need for a printer, and as such, they opened their own printing business, Rainbow Press, which they operated until the late 1990s.

Like Walt Mattson, resident Greg Fosselman had a fascination for newsprint at a young age. He graduated with a degree in journalism and worked for United Press International as a newspaper editor, a broadcast editor, and later a national broadcast news editor. Eventually, he went on to work for the Chicago Tribune, where he stayed for 21 years as a headline writer and news editor.

Arnold Freedman got into the media business after his second year of college and never left. He landed a job at a radio station and spent the next 45 years with the same company. After serving as a news reporter for both radio and TV, Arnold was featured as a TV news anchor, all the while assisting with the station’s promotion and marketing, and eventually serving as the station’s general manager. A major highlight of his career? Covering the 1952 Eisenhower campaign all the way through to his inauguration in 1953.

David Beliles also gravitated to the newspaper business early in life, taking after his father who was a newspaper circulation executive in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Louisville, he was a reporter, editor, and publisher for several Midwest papers. David later worked for Stauffer Communications, a privately-held media corporation, as vice president of operations. His next big venture came in 1995 when he and his wife teamed up with their son-in-law, daughter, and a small group of investors to purchase the Longboat Observer. Today, David serves as Chair of the Observer Media Group, which operates nine newspapers, six websites, and has over 100 employees.

Whether we are searching for insight into the newspaper business, or experienced knowledge in the broadcast or printing industry, one thing is for certain — we are in good company here at Plymouth Harbor.


When it comes to Plymouth Harbor residents, it is no secret that they give generously of their time. This year, when we asked residents to share with us their volunteer efforts, there was one organization in particular that kept showing up — the Sarasota Concert Association.

The Sarasota Concert Association (SCA) is a local organization that is run by a volunteer Board of Directors and recruits talented artists from across the country to come and perform in Sarasota. For over 72 years, the mission of SCA has been to bring to the greater Sarasota community the finest classical music at the lowest price possible, offering both subscriptions and single ticket options.

A number of our residents work with SCA, pouring their hearts and souls into planning events, developing an ongoing list of subscribers, and, of course, recruiting new artists. New resident Joy McIntyre is the current President of SCA, and in 2015 alone, she contributed more than 600 hours of service. Joy has been involved with SCA for more than 10 years now, and she describes the organization’s role as “bringing Carnegie Hall to Sarasota.”

SCA hosts at least five concerts per year, which are usually held at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Next year, the group is looking forward to producing six events. In addition to its traditional concerts, the Association also promotes the appreciation of varied musical arts by sponsoring local classical, jazz, and folk artists through its free community outreach program, which are usually held in the Symphony Center.

“I got involved with the Sarasota Concert Association to become a part of something that is larger than myself,” Joy says. “And I think it is characteristic of people in Sarasota to use their professional skills to help better our community.”

Joy herself is a former professional opera singer and professor at Boston University. Christopher Light, SCA board member and program book editor, developed an interest in music when he learned to use the computer to perform electronic music, producing four albums. John Goodman, SCA secretary and former president, is a musician, composer, and former professor. John Markham, SCA assistant treasurer, is a former manager for big-name publishing companies with a keen interest in music. Combined, these residents devoted over 930 hours to SCA in 2015, and will no doubt beat that number in the coming year. To learn more about the Sarasota Concert Association, you can visit: http://www.scasarasota.org/.


Picture1237In April 2016, Sarasota Magazine announced the winners of its annual Best of Sarasota: Readers’ Choice Awards. This year, we’re proud to announce that Plymouth Harbor was voted a finalist in two categories — Best Retirement Community, and Best Place to Meet Singles.

While this category may imply meeting a significant other, it can take on another meaning here at Plymouth Harbor. One of the characteristics that makes our community unique is the friendliness and openness of our residents — and resident Fran Nikolich agrees. Fran moved in a little over a year ago, in March 2015.

“My first night, I was sitting at the bar by myself. Another r
esident walked right up to me and invited me to come and sit at her table,” Fran remembers. “It’s the people that make Plymouth Harbor a great place to live, and my first night here is a testament to that.”

Since then, Fran has developed many friendships — with both couples and fellow single residents. She credits them to the friendliness of her neighbors, her outgoing personality, and the Plymouth Harbor Welcoming Committee.

The Welcoming Committee consists of a group of people whose one goal is to ensure that new residents have a pleasant transition into life here at Plymouth Harbor. This includes introducing them to the campus and their colony, and inviting them to dinners and special events. Additionally, each new resident is assigned a personal mentor who greets them on their first day, and is generally available to answer questions.

“It is a tradition that has gone on for years and years,” says BJ Peters, chair of the Welcoming Committee. “I was a mentor myself and became very good friends with my mentee. I’ve also seen that happening with others — it’s a wonderful thing.”

One thing is for certain, you never know who you will meet here at Plymouth Harbor. From new friends to long-lost friends and colleagues — or even a significant other — anything is possible. We are proud to be named Best Place to Meet Singles — whatever the meaning.


blessingofthehands2016It was a simple email invitation to all Plymouth Harbor staff, which read: “For the last several years during National Nurses’ Week, Tidewell Hospice has provided us with a meaningful service — the Blessing of the Hands, led by one of their chaplains. The purpose is to help consecrate the work we do with our residents. If you would like to join us at 2:00 p.m. today in Smith Care’s living room, then you are welcome to do so.”

About 25 of us (staff and residents) assembled at 2:00 p.m. to simply be reminded how our hands represent us here in this extraordinary healing community! Carol Field, from Tidewell, began with the statement, “This is Holy Ground and God has given us sacred hands for our sacred and holy work.” I was attentive and deeply moved as Carol reminded us that the service was developed by the Desert Mothers in the early centuries when the Church saw its primary ministry as caring for the destitute and healing the sick. She then asked us to hold out our hands, palms up. With a bowl of water in her arms, Carol prayed:

Blessed be these hands that have touched life. Blessed be these hands that have felt pain. Blessed be these hands that have embraced compassion. Blessed be these hands that have been clenched with anger or withdrawn in fear. Blessed be these hands that have drawn blood or administered medicine. Blessed be these hands that have cleaned rooms and beds. Blessed be these hands that have touched the sick and offered blessings. Blessed be these hands that have grown stiff with age. Blessed be these hands that have comforted the dying and held the dead. Blessed be these hands which hold the future. Blessed be our hands; for they are the work of Your hands, O Holy One.

 Then she slowly walked the circle, touching our hands with water, saying, “May the work of your hands bring comfort, dignity, and mercy to all the people your hands touch.” Aides, nurses, housekeepers, dining, residents, and administrators — there we all were, many of us with tears in our eyes, at this simple gesture acknowledging the role we have in the wellness ministry. A drop of myrrh had been added to the water, and as we rubbed our hands together, we felt the oily fragrance frequently added to salve and medicines. Carol then sent us forth with the blessing:

 May you be blessed with a Spirit of tenderness and a tender heart. May you be blessed with a Spirit of strength flowing from you. May you be blessed with a Spirit of compassion. May you be blessed with a Spirit of courage, daring to be who you are. May you be blessed with a Spirit of openness, understanding and respect. May Life hold you and Love keep you. Amen.

I stood there wishing that all the Plymouth Harbor family could have been present — residents, staff, and board members — for in truth every person contributes to healing at 700 John Ringling Boulevard. Residents reach out to residents and staff; staff reach out to residents and colleagues; board members attending special events reach out to staff and residents, with such questions as “How is life at Plymouth Harbor going for you?” Plymouth Harbor is filled with healing!

Look at your hands. Take a moment right now to hold them out, palms up, and appreciate all the ways your hands help, hold, touch, and heal. Now imagine water touching them and hear the blessing, “May the work of your hands bring comfort, dignity, and mercy to all the people your hands touch. Amen.”