Wolpaw’s the Reel Deal

Published in Senior Digest on September 2015

When planning the 2nd Annual S.A.M. Fest, in conjunction with the Pawtucket Arts Festival, Slater Mill’s Executive Director, Lori Urso scheduled a showing of Jim Wolpaw’s “Complex World.” Urso, also a professional musician, knew featuring the film at her event last month was a great way to promote a local Providence filmmaker and give homage to The Young Adults, a popular rock band playing at the nonprofit’s weekend festival.

 Rediscovering a Classic Film at S.A.M. Fest

On Aug. 30, more than 80 people gathered early evening under the large white tent at Hodgson Rotary Park to watch on a big outdoor screen the 81-minute offbeat cult rock ‘n’ roll comedy filmed at Providence’s Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel. While the film attracted the curious, many adoring fans of The Young Adults came to check out the flick, too, says Urso.

The story captures one night at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, with its zany plot involving terrorists, political conspiracy, 100 pounds of explosives in the bar’s basement and drugs, with music from iconic Providence bands such as the Young Adults, NRBQ and Roomful of Blues. The “Complex World’ had a two-month run in a Boston and one week in New York City, and it garnered good reviews. However, a distribution deal with Hemdale, a major film distributor that released “The Terminator” and the “Last Emperor,” fell through, ending up in a lawsuit. Even though Wolpaw won his case and a small settlement, the legal suit sealed the fate of the film. The filmmaker’s DVDs are sold on a website, and the last public showing was in 2010, for two days at the Cable Car in Providence to raise money for a charity.

Urso, 51, remembered being an extra during the 1987 film shoot, “a biker chick hanging out in the bar’s parking lot” at 79 Washington St.  “Quite a few people that I knew showed up to be extras that night. I’m glad I was able to be part of it,” she said.

Rudy Cheeks one of the founders of Young Adults and co-writer of the Phillip & Jorge column published in “Motiff Magazine,” was in attendance during the S.A.M. Fest screening, and he observed people of all ages in attendance, many of whom watched the film for the first time.

Even though the film was produced about 25 years ago, “it’s held up pretty well over the years,” says Cheeks. “The strongest part of the film was its ‘mise en scène,’ the capturing of the inside atmosphere of the bar.”

 The Making of a Classic Film

While it took about two-and-a-half months to shoot the film in 1987, it took more than two years to bring “Complex World” to the screen of the Cable Car Theatre in 1990, says Wolpaw, noting that it ran for a record four months. The veteran filmmaker, who was nominated for an Academy Award for a 1985 documentary, was brought into this film project by Rich Lupo, the owner of Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, who just happened to be his roommate at Brown University and later a bartender and manager at the Providence bar.

According to Wolpaw, the efforts to create and fund a film began a year before the bar was going to be torn down to make way for condos. The film was to use Lupo’s as a basis for the movie to “explain the spirit of the bar,” he said, noting that it would be shot like a documentary film.

Lupo invested the most to produce the film, but with increased costs, other friends chipped in, said Wolpaw. The unique film stood out among films that were produced in Hollywood, he said, “noting it was not the typical movie.”

Two years of editing and reshoots would later result in the final film, says Wolpaw, noting that over the years and even at the Slater Mill screening he “had trouble watching it.” Shooting the film like a documentary just did not work for the plot, he said, but it captured an early era of the Providence music scene.

Even after more than two decades since being released, orders for “Complex World” keep trickling in, says Wolpaw, who has worked as an adjunct film professor at Emerson College in Boston, the University of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island School of Design. He is pleasantly surprised that orders come in from such faraway places as British Columbia and France.

 A Prolific Filmmaker  

Besides his Classic “Complex World,” Wolpaw is known for innovative approaches in considering artists and issues in the arts, and he has an impressive number of films under his belt:  “Cobra Snake for a Necktie” (Showtime 1980), a portrait of rock ‘n’ roll legend Bo Diddley; “Loaded Gun: Life, and Death, and Dickinson” (PBS 2003, INPUT 2004), a quirky look at poet Emily Dickinson that was chosen by “The Library Journal” for its list of Best Poetry Films; and “First Face: The Buck Starts Here” (PBS 2011), an accounting of the dollar bill portrait of George Washington

Even at 60, Wolpaw, who has won awards at more than a dozen film festivals worldwide, has not slowed down. He is still working on three projects, a film about Cleveland poet and activist Daniel Thomson, one detailing the history of Rhode Island’s Ladd Center and a fictional narrative film about poet Dickinson. Hopefully, they will have a long shelf life and audience like “Complex World.”

“Complex Word” can capture viewers who wish to relive their experiences at Lupo’s, and purchases of the DVD benefit the Gloria Gemma Foundation and Advocates in Action. For details, go to www.complexworldthemovie.com.

Polls Say that America Gives Big Thumbs Up to Pope Francis

Published in Pawtucket Times on September 29, 2015

On a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia over five days, from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27, Pope Francis, 78, has a jam packed public schedule for his first visit to the states.  While the media has released dozens of political polls over the last few months giving statistical predictions readers as to who is the GOP presidential frontrunner, last week they published poll results about the popularity of Pope Francis as he toured this country.

America Loves Pope Francis

With the Pope Francis’ arrival to Washington, D.C., to address Congress, a CNN/ORC Poll finds the Catholic pontiff has a high approval rating across the country and most Catholics approve of his comments even those considered controversial.

The pollsters say that almost 50 percent of Americans and 78 percent of Catholics note they are looking forward to the Pope’s first trip to U.S. soil.  While the Pope’s positive views have decreased slightly since December 13, 9 months into his papacy, three-quarters of Catholics still view him in a positive light.

The telephone poll, conducted from Sept. 4-8 among a random national sample of 1,012 adults), finds that the Catholic Church itself is viewed positively by 60% of the respondents, while 63% view Pope Francis favorably. Among Catholics, the church (88% favorable) outperforms the Pope (74% favorable).  The researchers note that this percentage difference may be due to Catholics who say they’re not sure about Francis rather than from negative impressions.

Comparing a worldwide snap shot of the Pope’s popularity to this country, the CNN/ORC poll findings indicate that non-Catholics (61%) say they have a positive view of Pope, the first Jesuit priest and Latin American church leader, and just over half of these individuals are looking forward to his American visit. Even those with a negative view of the Pope (17%) say they are looking forward to this month’s visit.

A recently published New York Times/CBS News poll also supports the CNN/ORC poll findings, that American Catholics like their Pope.  Eight out of 10 of his United States followers give thumbs up to the direction the church is taking under the Pope’s leadership, including a majority who approve strongly.

The telephone poll, conducted from Sept. 8 and 14 with Catholics on both telephone and land lines, also found that more than six in 10 Catholics worldwide view him favorably compared to just 3 percent who just don’t like him.  Pollsters say that his positive job approval ratings might be tied to his position on same-sex marriage, abortion, woman issues, immigration and distribution of wealth.

Another national poll, commissioned by Fox News, before Pope Francis’ arrival to this country, also found that the religious leader’s visit is viewed positively across the country and with Catholics, too.

Sixty-eight percent of Catholics view Pope Francis favorably.  That increases to a 73 percent favorable among Catholics who attend Mass almost every week, say the findings.  Among all voters, 55 percent have a positive opinion of the pope.

The telephone poll of 1,013 registered voters found the Pope is more popular among Catholic women (74 percent) than Catholic men (62 percent). The poll findings indicate that his comments on political issues, such as climate change and income equity, did impact on how Republicans and Democrats perceived him.

According to the Fox News’ poll, 38 percent of those who identified themselves as “very” conservative had a positive view of Pope Francis while only 35 percent of those respondents affiliated with the Tea Party movement viewed him favorably. However, among Democrats respondents, nearly two-thirds had a positive opinion of the pope (65 percent), while just over 50% of these voters  feel that way about the Catholic Church (52 percent favorable).

About half of all voters polled (51 percent) and three-quarters of Catholic (75 percent) have a favorable view of the Catholic Church in general.  Those attending Mass frequently (83 percent), view the religious institution favorably.

50-Plus Americans Favor Woman Catholic Priests

Finally, AARP, the nation’s largest aging advocacy group recognized for gather opinions of 50-plus Americans on health, finances and later life issues, puts Pope Francis on its polling list because his trip to the United State is considered to be “one of the most topical issues of the day.”

In this national telephone AARP poll, older Americans were asked their thoughts about the head of the Rhode Catholic Church’s leadership.  When asked “Do you think Pope Francis is leading the Catholic Church in the right direction?” seventy six percent of the respondents agreed. Thirty five percent of these respondents indicated to the pollster that they were Catholic or had at one point been a practicing Catholic.

Additionally, the AARP poll sought the respondent views about women becoming ordained as priests in the Catholic Church, a controversial and heated issue to many practitioners.  Of those surveyed, 66 percent of the older 50-plus respondents favored the change.  For this poll question, 37% indicated they were Catholic or had at one point considered themselves.  Of these respondents, 70% said the Pope should consider women priests.

Finally, the AARP telephone poll tossed in a question about the afterlife, asking the older respondents whether they believe in heaven and hell. Of those survey, 72 percent said they did.

With Pope Francis concluding his trip and heading back to Rome, last week poll findings indicate that the Pontiff is well liked by the American public and his flock, and that he’s leading his Church in the right direction. With the voters angry about continued political gridlock inside the Washington, D.C. beltway, presidential and congressional candidates can only pray to get Pope Francis’ off the chart polling numbers.

Lupo Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Five Nights of Music

Published in Woonsocket Call on September 20, 2015

Rich Lupo, 66, acknowledges that time flies by fast. In fact his namesake music venue, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, celebrates its 40th Anniversary next month.   We sit at the Cup & Saucer, a retro-fifties decorated diner on Pawtucket’s historic Main St., reminiscing over four decades of being actively involved in Rhode Island’s music scene.

In September 1975, although primarily a blues club, Lupo’s became the first venue operating in the Capitol City to embrace all types of live music. The Brown University graduate opened Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel at 377 Westminster Street (a 4,000 sq. ft. former retail store) after unsuccessful attempts to a find a location in Fox Point & North Main St.  Ultimately, his decision to open up that club (followed soon by The Met Café & The Living Room) led to a revitalization of Providence’s music scene.

The Early Years

In his early years, Lupo remembers working long hours as a house painter during his college years and after and saved up the $15,000 to start his bar.   As a teenager, he would tell others how cool he thought it would be to open a bar, with people dancing to records playing from a jukebox and listening to live bands. The young club owner dreamed of having Bo Diddley and other rock & roll heroes play on his stage.   This would happen.

According to Lupo, it turned out that customers only showed up on live music nights. So, while the jukebox stayed, band nights soon expanded from one to seven nights per week. The Heartbreak Hotel became a home to bands well-known for blues, rock n roll, country rock, jazz – that came to New England looking for a gig.  Many local favorites — including Roomful of Blues, Rizzz, Wild Turkey, The Young Adults, Schemers, NRBQ and Max Creek – played there and continue to do so.

Lupo says that the first national act at the club was harp player Big Walter Horton in November 1975.  In 1976, teaming up with independent booking agent Jack Reich allowed the club to expand past blues to rock and beyond. That year, The Ramones played his club.  In 1977, Lupo’s had Bo Diddley week – 9 consecutive sold out shows with Bo backed by The Young Adults. Over the next few years more rock n roll and blues icons appeared at Lupo’s: James Brown, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Iggy Pop, The Pretenders, The Go Gos, Stevie Ray Vaughn — to name just a few.

Being Forced Out by Condo Development

In 1988, Providence downtown gentrification would force Lupo close his initial club.  Reaching out to a college friend & realtor, he found his new digs at the former Peerless Department Store, reopening in 1993. The new space was great because, though large, it still had a sense of intimacy.

With its’s 10,000 sq ft of space, the club could do more and larger concerts.  The space also annexed The Met Café, an intimate venue for smaller touring acts and local bands. At The Met, customers saw the early shows of future stars such as Dave Matthews, Oasis, and White Stripes.

At this 2nd Lupo’s, the first shows were Belly and Meat Loaf. Later, the club hosted acts as diverse as Ziggy Marley, Hole, Radiohead, Garbage, Willie Nelson, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Anthrax, and even Tony Bennett.

In 2003, the club was again forced to move and Providence City officials suggested the Strand Building on Washington Street. But the club had to share this space with the existing NV dance club, a separately owned business.

At its new location, there was no room for The Met. It would take 7 years for Lupo & his wife, Sarah, to reopen The Met, just three miles away at the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket.

Ending our conversation, Lupo looks back and quickly rattles off some of the ups and downs of the last 40 years.  Although there were plenty of both, Lupo best remembers realizing the dream of his heroes playing his stage and countless nights of joyous audiences – taking some of the sting out of spending 15 of the 40 years fighting evictions.

But, Lupo remains even-keeled by following advice from his eighty year old friend, Chuck Lynch, who always says “Just keep jogging in place.”  If he follows this advice I expect him to remain in business for another 40 years.

The Upcoming Anniversary Celebration

Lupo’s 40th Anniversary Celebration will take place on October 7 – 11, 2015 at The Met, Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main St. Pawtucket.

Here are the details:

Wednesday, October 7 —   Max Creek $10 (Adv), Doors 6PM | Show 7PM

Thursday, October 8 — “40 Years of Rhody Blues” –  Hosted by Duke Robillard & featuring Al Copley, Rich Lataille, Greg Piccollo, Doug James, Carl Queforth, Marty Ballou, Marty Richards, Rob Nelson with Special Guests: Ken Lyon & James Montgomery. $10, Doors 6PM | Show 7PM

Friday, Oct. 9 — The Schemers, Neutral Nation, Jungle Dogs and Rash. $10, Doors 6PM | Show 7PM

Saturday, October 10 — Rizzz.  Members of the Wild Turkey Band
& Friends featuring Tom Keegan. $10, Doors 6PM | Show 7PM

Sunday, October 11 – The Young Adults, Georgie Porgie & The Cry Babies. $15, Doors 6PM | Show 7PM

For more details, call 401-331-5876 or go to www.lupos.com & http://www.themetri.com

Just Weeks Away

Published in digital issue of Rhode Island Creative Design in September 2015

For the third year, XOS Exchange Street Open Studios (XOS) will showcase its talented artisans on Sept. 26 and 27 from 10-4 p.m. at three renovated historic buildings in Pawtucket’s Armory Arts District. This year, 35 artists will be showing original, handcrafted artwork, including paintings, sculpture, prints, photography, crafts, wearable art, jewelry, graphic and textile design, and more, all sales-tax free.

The art show is sponsored in part by the City of Pawtucket, Bristol County Savings Bank, the Pawtucket Arts Festival, and Pamela Hughes. Organizer Joan Hausrath says XOS is very unique in that, “visitors may park and walk from building to building rather than driving from one location to another.” Art Making In Historic

Pawtucket Mills

The renovation of the participating downtown Pawtucket mills draws many visitors to the event, says Hausrath. Riverfront Lofts (10 Exchange Ct.), a former knitting mill on the Blackstone River, is now a condominium with more than 50 unique work/live spaces. Next door is Blackstone Studios (163 Exchange St.), which was once a cardboard factory but now contains both design and art studios, including that of well-known artist/designer, Morris Nathanson. Finally, just one block away is Mad Dog Artist Studios (65 Blackstone Ave.), a new enterprise that provides studio and common area workspaces to artists on a short or long-term rental basis.

“Anyone who is an artist residing or renting a studio in any of the buildings may participate in XOS. Participating guest artists are invited by unit hosts,” states Hausrath, noting that each year the artists vary. Besides buying artwork, “People will have a unique opportunity to learn more about creative art making,” says Hausrath. They can view works in progress, watch art demos, and talk with artists about their career goals. This year, Lyell Castonguay and friends from BIG INK will be printing huge woodcut prints and encouraging visitors to join them.

An Easy Drive

Take Exit 29, I-95, and follow the signs. There is plenty of free parking, music, and food trucks. Arts Marketplace Pawtucket, a fine art and crafts show, will be taking place in the historic Pawtucket Armory nearby, so make a day of it! For more information including a list of participating artists and directions, go to: www.xospawtucket.com.

Still Getting the Job Done

Survey: Many Choosing Part-Time Work in Post Retirement Years

Published in Woonsocket Call on September 13, 2015

In 2010, when Michael Cassidy retired as Pawtucket’s Director of Planning & Redevelopment after working for the municipality for 40 years he had no intentions of easing himself into full-time employment.   While he was retiring to “retirement” he had every intention to remain active for the rest of his life.

Cassidy instinctively knew that retirees, who stay active by playing sports, traveling or even volunteering, always seemed to live longer.  His father was a good example of this belief, living to the ripe old age of 92.  Before the nagenarian died he had worked part-time as realtor, also playing in an Golden Oldies softball league and umpiring three times a week.

Part-Time Job Gives Many Bennies

With Cassidy planning to retire at age 62 from the City of Pawtucket, he went to see Paw Sox President, Mike Tamburro asking him, “Do you have a job for an old retired guy.”  Ultimately, he took the position as usher at the Pawtucket-based McCoy Stadium.  He says, “The job keeps me on my feet four to five hours.” Each game he puts around 15,000 steps on his pedometer.  But the job also allows him to interact with old friends and even gives him an opportunity to make new ones, too. .

There are additional benefits of having a part-time job, besides just getting physical active and having an opportunity to mingle with people, says Cassidy.   He now has more time to spend with his six grandchildren, travel with Jane-Ellen, his wife of 45 years, and to just putter around his home.  Now he even serves as Chair of the Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor Organization, he says.

Like Cassidy, according to a new AARP released last Tuesday, older Americans are not choosing to retire, many are now seeking part-time jobs in their post retirement years, not full-time ones.

Work the New Retirement Activity

According to the findings in the 26 page AARP report, “AARP Post Retirement Career Study,” work seems to be the “new retirement activity.” While many Americans state that they plan to retire between ages 65 and 70 (45%), the data indicates that the typical retirement may have changed.  Thirty seven percent say they plan to work for pay in post retirement.  Of these respondents, 73 percent desire a part-time job and almost half are looking to work in a new field (44%).  Twenty three percent will stay in the same field, and 33% are undecided.

The researchers say that connecting with co-workers, interesting and challenging work, and the desire for a work-life balance are all stated as top reasons why work is enjoyable. Some are seeking to pursue their dream job or dream field in this next stage of life.  Sports, hospitality,  and education fields are frequently cited.  Most are hoping that their new dream jobs will be part-time, flexible with work from home options, and allow time for travel and fun.

The findings also indicate the importance of job training for those who plan to work during their retirement years.  Among those who plan to enter a new field, training is seen as even more crucial to succeeding on the job (46% vs. 36% among those staying in the same field).

Meanwhile, when asked about what they enjoyed most about their current career, most mentioned income, benefits, and the schedule/work-life balance.

According to the AARP survey, regardless of the field, respondents are hoping to work part-time (73%), with over half expecting to work for someone else (57%) vs. being a contractor (21%) or starting their own business (19%).

Personal contacts and job listings are the primary avenues respondents say they use to find post-retirement work (49% and  43%, respectively). Professional networking is also a popular way people plan to find work, note the researchers.

When questioned about their dream job, many respondents talk about a profession, for others it may be a particular type of working lifestyle.  Jobs in the sports, creative, hospitality and education fields are mentioned frequently by the respondents while those looking for lifestyle benefits seek flexibility, lucrative, opportunities to travel, and employment with a charitable aspect to it.

.AARP’s efforts to look into how people spend time in their retirement years is the first  survey of this kind and there are no comparative stats from previous years, says Kim Adler, AARP’s Work and Jobs Lead.

The findings suggest that there are major implications for employers, adds Adler.  “Americans are living longer, healthier lives and we will see a continuation of the long term trend of working into retirement years. Nearly 19 percent of 65 and older workers are in the workplace and the percentages – as well as the actual numbers – are likely to continue to rise. This will give employers the opportunity to hire and retain experienced workers who look forward to the opportunities and challenges in the workplace,” she says.

According to Adler, “there are shortages of skilled workers in certain industries and many employers report difficulty filling jobs. For these jobs – and all others – employers and employees benefit from an intergenerational workforce that encourages mentoring and knowledge sharing.”

Great Wealth of Experience

“The survey gives us a better picture of what retirement looks like today and, likely, well into the future,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Kathleen Connell. “But it also is a conversation starter about the value of older workers. Older Rhode Island workers represent a great wealth of experience and accomplishment at every level of the workforce.

“Employers should embrace the willingness of people to work part-time after 65 or 70 as a “golden’ opportunity, if you will. And this is especially true of startups, where wisdom is a critical success factor. Growing the Rhode Island economy might depend on synergies of young innovators guided by experienced leaders and managers.

Adds Charlie Fogarty, Director of the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs, “Many older adults look at retirement as a transition period, and not a defined point in time in their lives.” He notes, “This population has a wealth of experience and knowledge that can be shared while working part-time, making for a more productive and richer work experience for all employees.”

“Our new research shows a fluid workplace, with many experienced workers looking for flexible part-time work in interesting and challenging positions to continue their careers,” said Kim Adler, AARP’s Work and Jobs lead.  “The new website [AARP.org/Work] will help experienced workers control their careers and stay connected, competitive and current in the workplace,” Adler added.

This AARP survey, overseen by Gretchen Anderson, AARP Research, was fielded online from July 27 to August 3, 2015 and conducted among adults age 50-64 who are currently employed full time.  A total of number of 4,975 surveys were completed. The final data has been weighted to U.S. Census for analysis.

Locals Mourn the Passing of Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Iconic Motivational Speaker  

Published in Woonsocket Call on September 6. 2015

On August 30, 2015, the internet was ablaze with the news that Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, one of America’s most popular self-help authors and motivational speakers in the field of self-development and spiritual growth, had died one day earlier at his home in Maui, Hawaii.  He was 75 years old.

On his very popular official Facebook page (with over 2.5 million likes) Dyer’s family announced:  “Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side.”

Who was this man, raised by an alcoholic father and in orphanages and foster homes as a child, whose books, lectures and workshops, CDs, DVDs, streaming videos and weekly radio show, would strikes a chord with millions all over the world?

A Prolific Writer

According to a statement released by Hay House, over four decades the internationally acclaimed author, born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, penned 42 books, 21 of which became New York Times bestsellers.  Devoted fans would give him the affectionate moniker “the father of motivation.”

After a four-year stint in the United States Navy, Dyer would go on to earn his doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University before serving as a professor at St. John’s University in New York. Throughout his early years as a college educator, and as a clinical psychologist, he realized that there was a need to make the principles of self-discovery and personal growth more accessible to the public.

In 1976, Dr. Dyer began his writing career as an author by traveling the nation selling his first book, “Your Erroneous Zones”, right from the trunk of his car.  The self-help book went on to become one of the best-selling books of all time, with more than 60 million copies sold, printings in 47 languages, and 64 weeks spent on the New York Times bestseller list.  This put Dr. Dyer firmly on America’s radar screen, resulting in the bookings on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson a whopping total of 37 times.

With the publishing of a number of best-selling books on self-improvement under his belt, Dyer turned his attention to exploring the spiritual aspects of human experience. “My purpose is to help people look at themselves and begin to shift their concepts,” Dr. Dyer noted at that time. “Remember, we are not our country, our race, or religion. We are eternal spirits. Seeing ourselves as spiritual beings without label is a way to transform the world and reach a sacred place for all of humanity,” he said.  Throughout his life this theme would be woven into all his writings, lectures and workshops.

In 1993, Dyer began publishing his books with Hay House, founded in 1984, and he quickly became one of its most prolific and popular authors.  The company, with its headquarters in Carlsbad, California with international offices in the United Kingdom, Austria, South Africa and India, has published over 300 books and 450 audios from 140 authors.

At Hay House, Dr. Dyer also created several audio programs and videos, and appeared on thousands of television and radio shows over the course of his long career. His books “Manifest Your Destiny”, “Wisdom of the Ages”, “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem”, and the New York Times bestsellers “10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace”, “The Power of Intention, Inspiration, Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life, Excuses Begone!,” “Wishes Fulfilled”, and “I Can See Clearly Now”, have all been featured as PBS specials, raising over $200 million for public television stations nationwide.

Dyer did not even forget his alma mater, Wayne State University.  He raised over $1 million for the educational institution.

Dyer’s Death Hits Local Followers

In 1974, Gary Calvino, 62, remembers reading his first Dyer book, the “Erroneous Zones,” one that would totally impact how he would live his life.  “It changed my life and got me to think about looking inside my being for my happiness rather than seeking it from others.” The author’s “authenticity” who lived his principles and “walked his talk” kept Calvino reading more of Dyer’s books that ultimately would total 42.

Calvino, setting up a new nonprofit, Mindful Rhode Island to create an interconnected web of mindfulness throughout the Ocean State, also treasured a chance meeting with Dyer at a lecture in New York City, he says.  The Providence resident described a 10-minute private encounter with the motivational speaker, “a gratitude conversation,” he says that would ultimately give him a way to communicate in more “heart-felt way” with his dying father.

“It hit me very hard when I heard of Dyer’s death,” says Calvino.  “I know he had no fear of dying and he is now in a great place,” he adds.

“Reading and watching him on videos over the years actually allowed me to grow with him,” says Calvino, stressing that he was able to follow the author through all phases of his personal and spiritual growth.  “Every book he wrote was a learning experience for him.  With his passing I will miss his inspirational wisdom.”

Wanda Morrison, whose family business, Mind Body Barre is located in three locations in Southern Massachusetts, has followed the teachings of Dyer since her early teenage days. The fifty-two year old says “I have always known when his books came out and I probably have read them all,” she says.

Morrison’s says Dyer had the “most soothing presence and aura about him,” adding that people felt his “powerful presence of love and healing.”

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” is one of my favorite Dyer quotes, says Morrison, stressing that it’s made her more aware that she is a co-creator in her world.

“I was speechless and so sad when I heard of his passing,” Morrison says.  “There will never be another person like him.  His wisdom and way he chose to dedicate his life to help others with writings that were so simple and easy to understand will be hard to duplicate,” she noted.

“I will be reading his books and listening or watching his lectures for the rest of my life.  He will forever be a part of my world,” says Morrison.

Yes, Dyer taught us to overcome both their perceived and real physical limitations to make their dreams come true.  If his life mission on earth was to teach his loyal following to connect with their “Highest Self,” he truly succeeded.

Dr. Dyer was married three times, separated from his third wife and had eight children and nine grandchildren.

To order books, videos, CDs, go to www.drwaynedyer.com.

Quality of Life Amenities Make Providence a Great Retirement Mecca

Published in Woonsocket Call on August 30, 2015

Today’s retirement age is not set in stone at 65 years old for aging baby boomers, the milestone age where their parents and grandparents retired from the workforce.  Retirement Confidence Studies are finding that retiring in your mid-sixties is not a sure bet for many. According to WalletHub, a leading personal finance website, one such study, the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey, found that  23 percent of workers expected to retire at age 65, but only 11 percent actually were able to.

The latest EBRI survey, released last April, said that many respondents blamed the nation’s poor economy for the continuing need to work in their later years. Others pointed to “inadequate finances” as another key reason for not retiring.  For 51 percent of workers and 31 percent of retirees, their accumulated debt kept them at their jobs.

WalletHub adds, the Report on the Economic Well-being of US Households in 2014 prepared by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, says that 24 percent of the survey respondents are not at all confident at having enough money to finance a comfortable retirement.  The government report also noted that 50 percent cited cost of living and daily expenses as obstacles for putting money into their retirement egg nest.

WalletHub calls for a strategy to slide into a more comfortable retirement for those whose nest egg is small, just relocate to a City to “stretch your dollar without sacrificing your lifestyle.”Sars by Relocation

WalletHub decided to pinpoint the most cost efficient and retirement-friendly places in the country because of the research studies indicating that feelings of financial insecurity have an impact on how retirees make decisions to save for retirement, says WalletHub Spokesperson, Jill Gonzalez.

For the second year in a row, WalletHub, conducted an in-depth analysis of the Best and Worst Cities to Retire.  Like last year, the financial website compared the affordability, quality of life, health care and availability of recreational activities in the 150 largest U.S. cities.  The compiled data included 24 metrics, ranging from the cost of living to public hospital rankings to the percentage of the population aged 65 and older.

“Our methodology makes the difference. It’s extremely well-researched and the metrics are developed in conjunction with academic experts that span several fields,” says Gonzalez.res

WalletHub’s 2015 Best and Worst Cities to Retire ranks Rhode Island’s Capitol City almost dead last as the worst place to retire. But, the City of Providence did place better than two of his cities, Jersey City and New Jersey.  

Some of the metrics compiled from this survey include: Adjusted Cost of Living (122); Annual Cost of In-Home Services (140); Elderly Friendly Labor Market (80); Number of Adult Volunteer Activities per Capita (23); Percent of the Population Aged 65 and Older (132); Emotional health (144); Violent Crime Rate (78); and number of Home Care Facilities per capita (129).

Gonzalez noted that like 2014, in this years’ survey WalletHub compared the retirement-friendliness of the 150 most populated largest U.S. Cities (excluding the surrounding metro areas) across four key dimensions: Affordability; Activities; Quality of Life; and health Care.  Twenty four relevant metrics were complied, ranging from the cost of living to the percentage of the elderly population to the availability of recreational activities.

“Every year we strive to improve our methodology by taking into account consumer feedback and industry trends,” adds Gonzalez.

It’s no surprise that when a financial web site publishes rankings, older industrial cities in the Northeast are at a disadvantage,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Kathleen Connell.

“Some of the indicators where Providence comes up short are discouraging. However, many of the city’s greatest attributes – its arts and culture environment, community esources associated with world-class institutes of higher learning, proximity to Narragansett Bay and convenient travel distances to Boston and New York are but a few of the reasons people stay after retirement.

“There should be no confusing Providence with the state as a whole as a retirement choice. Granted, Rhode Island is more expensive than the sunbelt and in states where the housing market collapse has resulted in more affordable housing alternatives. And energy costs will always be higher in our region. That said, many downsizing retirees who value quality of life find a way to make it work. Others can’t, and we need to find ways to make retiring here more affordable. Eliminating the state tax on Social Security benefits was a step in the right direction, albeit in real dollars not a game changer for many retirees with limited resources. Affordable senior housing is a big issue and one of those challenges that requires urgent attention,” Connell added.

“The WalletHub analysis is useful insofar as it raises awareness and compels people to think more about retirement – and that includes both retirees as well as policymakers.”

“Although the WalletHub’s study is well conducted and well-respected in the financial sector, you have to look deeper into each of the categories when it comes to Providence,” says Edward M. Mazze, Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration, at the University of Rhode Island.  “There are some unique factors that make Providence a better place to retire than one would guess from the survey,” he adds.

Mazze explains that economists who list, through national surveys, the best retirement places generally emphasize three criteria, specifically the cost of living, income, property and sales taxes and state/inheritance taxes. “When considering only these criteria, Providence and most cities will not rank high,” he says.

According to Rhode Island’s widely acclaimed economist, the state has made significant improvements in changing the income tax rates, raising the bottom on estate taxes and removing some social security benefits from state taxes which makes Providence a “great place to retire from a quality of life standpoint.”

For those retirees who want to live in a city that has four seasons, is strategically located near other major cities like Boston and New York, and want an active life-style, Providence meets the criteria,” he says.

Providence’s downtown area is also a site of parades, festivals and celebrations, says Mazze, adding that after enjoying these activities, retirees can dine at world-class restaurants.  You might also add to your list the close access to over 100 beaches and 400 miles of coastline, bike and nature trails and historic sites.

While WalletHub’s survey may not show Providence as a top place to retire, the quality of life factors would ratchet up Providence into a higher rating.