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Bettie LoCicero, Volunteer Specialist-Lake/Sumter County, recently graduated 31 volunteers in Eustis.  Welcome, all!

Ribbon-Cutting of Pearl Team’s New Office in Sebring

by Manny P. Hernandez, Public Information Officer


At the recent Cornerstone Hospice ribbon-cutting and Open House of their 2906 Sparta Rd. new offices, a crowd of well-wishers gathered recently at the nonprofit, (left-to-right): Shelly Farquhar H.R. Manager; Ellen Bristol RN, V.P. Access and Admissions; Autumn Egan Clinical Liaison; Mandy Carlisle RN Case Manager; Arlene Gasper, CNA, HCA; Rachel Edry RN Case Manager; officiating with the scissors, Kristy Sottile, President CEO, Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce; Lou Acuff RN, Manager, Clinical Liaisons; Deborah Harley, Executive Director for Highlands, Hardee, Polk region; Ken Geren, Chaplain; Melissa Carte, LPN; Kathy Wilde, Social Worker, Bereavement Counselor; Yvonne Cannon RN, Patient Care Supervisor; Ginny Wolfe, Community Relations Coordinator.



With a well attended ribbon-cutting ceremony officiated by the president of the Sebring Chamber of Commerce, Pearl Team staff recently inaugurated their new office at 2906 Sparta Road and U.S. Hwy. 27. Representatives from The Palms of Sebring retirement community as well as dozens of organizations plus the public in general were present during the two-hour ribbon-cutting and Open House ceremonies.


Mary Manrique BSN, MA, our President and CEO, observed that: “We are simply elated to see our growth in the Highlands and Hardee region requiring our daily care team presence with our new office. Proximity to our patients and families is always of paramount importance to our care teams.”


Deborah Harley, Executive Director for Highlands, Hardee and Polk region, indicated: “I am so pleased that our Highlands and Hardee patients are cared for by Cornerstone staff who live in the Highlands/Hardee area. Living where you serve is a concept of care extremely important to our Cornerstone Hospice care philosophy,” adding that “…Living locally, caring locally. Our concept of care from Cornerstone Hospice is neighbor caring for neighbor. I am so pleased that our staff in Highlands and Hardee are compassionate, competent and ready to serve the needs of the communities in these areas.”

Yvonne Cannon RN, Patient Care Supervisor for Highlands and Hardee counties, expressed that: “Our goal is growth of service to patients and families facing life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses in Highlands and Hardee counties and to more efficiently meet the needs in this area. Yes, all our staff lives in this region, that is what the community wants and we have listened. Neighbors taking care of neighbors.”



Foundation’s Chili Cook-off Last Month

By Susan Bennett, Regional Development Director


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Christy Cole and husband, Kelly

Celebrating Black History Month with Clarine McCall

By Julia Allen, Community Relations Manager

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Mrs. McCall, Barbara Lengemann, Isaac Deas and Ellen Bristol

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Mr. and Mrs. McCall and Isaac Deas


Our Diversity Council participates annually in the Black History program held by Dr. Clarine McCall and her affiliates.  She and her husband believe in giving back to the community and showing commitment of services.  She often chooses Cornerstone Hospice as one of the beneficiaries of these charity events as we were this year.


On February 20 at the Leesburg Community Center Mr. and Mrs. McCall honored 50 grandparents in Lake and Sumter counties.  The theme, Showing Grandparents Love, highlighted the 21st year of their program. 


Isaac Deas, Cornerstone Interfaith Chaplain, offers his services to the McCalls as Master of Ceremonies who gratefully accept.  Ellen Bristol, VP Access; Barbara Lengemann, Executive Manager; Angelo and Bertha Cruz’Sein, both Chaplains, and I joined the festivities.  It was inspiring to listen to young people praise and pay tribute to their beloved grandmothers.  It renewed my faith (and I am sure that of others) in our future that it will be in the hands of these caring and very respectful young people. 


The McCalls treat all their guests very special…seeing that everyone is well fed and goes away with a memento of the evening.  They are a blessing to our community and very special friends of Cornerstone Hospice.  The programs are so joyous and well received.  What will they think of for next year?




Community Relations

By Cheryl Rumbley, Community Relations Coordinator - Lake and Sumter

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From left, Jan Russell, Lesa Mariner, Lisa Wilson, Dana Ikensaa and her son, Christian

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Both Wii Championship teams with a cheerleader!




Cornerstone’s Clinical Liaisons sponsored a Wii Fitness Challenge at Waterman Cove Assisted Living Facility in Tavares.  The competition pitted the Cornerstone team against three residents of the Waterman community and one of their grandchildren.  The four categories of the competition were downhill skiing by Dana Ikensaa, Clinical Liaison; soccer by Lesa Mariner, ARNP; obstacle course by Jan Russell, Clinical Liaison; and hula hoop by Christian Ikensaa, Dana’s son.  Lisa Wilson, Clinical Liaison, kept score and I rooted for Cornerstone while the other residents of the ALF and community cheered on their team.  In every event, the Waterman Cove team took the prize.  The three residents of Waterman Cove work out on their community Wii every day – keeping their skills sharp and honed.  They proved too much to handle… the Cornerstone team was trounced!  It was much fun and the residents loved having the Cornerstone team entertain them.


Health Fair season is in full swing in the many 55+ communities and RV resorts in Lake and Sumter counties.  The full time residents and seasonal visitors are given many opportunities to explore the different health care related services and to get free screenings.  February’s calendar included eleven of these events. 


Community Relations


Claire Gaynor, Community Relations Coordinator - Orange & Osceola


It’s Leap Year!  Do you know why we need Leap Years?  Leap years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to circle once around the sun.  However the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn’t add a day on February 29th nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year.  After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days. 


It also gives us one more day to market Cornerstone Hospice. February is a time for lots of events especially health fairs since the weather seems to be so perfect for going out and attending events.  This month there were five in the two counties that attracted many participants to learn about what is available in our community.  Along with health fairs there are always the Chamber events including after hours and those held at some ALF’s including the Motown and Martini’s at Ivy Court.   





Cornerstone Hospice Named Wells Fargo Community Partner for 2012


By Ginny Wolfe, Community Relations Coordinator-PHH


The Polk County (Silver Team) division of Cornerstone Hospice has been named as Wells Fargo’s Community Partner for 2012.  J. T. Tomlinson, manager of the Lake  Alfred Wells Fargo branch met Community Relations

Community Relations Coordinator Ginny Wolfe  at a Chamber of Commerce event, and after learning more about Cornerstone, selected us as their not-for-profit community partner for the year. 


As a community partner, the Cornerstone Hospice Foundation will receive a cash donation of $1000.00.  In addition, Wells Fargo employees are given 16 hours of paid leave each year to do volunteer work with the partner agency.  Also, Mr. Tomlinson has invited Ginny, and Angela Fortunas, Regional Director for the foundation, to come to their branch staff meeting to tell their employees more about Cornerstone’s services and programs. 



Retirement Reality Check
by Mike Metcalf, Human Resources Director
    Teressa S. Brunson PPC, Ed Holder and Associates

If you have already retired or if you can count the number of years until retirement on your fingers then please heed this friendly warning: Unless you're already making the most of your current retirement planning strategies, then it may be difficult to lay the groundwork for a financially secure future.



Don't just take my word for it, though. Look at the numbers: The median income in households of Americans who are at least 65 years old is under $25,000, whereas the median household income for Americans under 65 is more than double that amount.*

Is your portfolio on a course that's destined to lead to a retirement income shortfall? Consider these strategies that can help improve your long-term outlook.


During Your Working Years?

Determine an appropriate time frame for applying for Social Security benefits. If you plan to apply before your so-called "full retirement age," then you can expect to receive lower monthly benefits. Delaying your application could increase your benefits. Detailed information about your specific situation is available in the Social Security Statement mailed to you each year about three months before your birthday. Contact Social Security at least three months before retirement to apply for benefits.


When You Reach Retirement?

Make arrangements for your retirement account distribution strategies. If you participate in a workplace retirement plan, contact your employer's human resources office to learn what withdrawal options are available to you. Once you have that information handy, you'll need to decide whether to begin withdrawing money from your taxable accounts first or from tax-deferred accounts first.



Keep in mind that the IRS requires most retirement savers to begin taking withdrawals known as required minimum distributions (RMDs) from employer-sponsored retirement accounts and traditional IRAs after reaching age 70½. If you don't take your RMDs, you could be forced to pay substantial tax penalties. RMD rules recently became less complex, but it's still important that you understand them and implement an appropriate distribution strategy.


All Retirement Investors?

Review your post-retirement medical insurance needs. For example, you might want to think about purchasing coverage to supplement Medicare benefits.

If you have made all eligible contributions to other qualified plans, then you may also want to consider funding an annuity now in order to receive a guaranteed income stream later in life.**


Your retirement security is very important. A smart first step to keeping your retirement strategies on track is to contact a qualified financial professional.


Quote of the Month

Submitted by Vivian Norrell, RN, Clinical Liaison-Polk



“Continuous effort---not strength or intelligence---is the key to unlocking our potential.”      ---Winston Churchill---