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LIRIC Newsletter December 2017

  • LIRIC Holiday Luncheon a Delightful Event

    Drawing a large crowd of LIRIC members, Iona administrators and other guests, the LIRIC Holiday Luncheon was held on December 13 at the festively decorated Larchmont Yacht Club overlooking Long Island Sound. Expertly arranged by co-chairs Barbara and Frank Mohalley, the annual event drew rave reviews for the delicious meal, attentive service, and outstanding setting. Believing that a picture is worth a thousand words, we selected photos that capture the ambiance of the day to share with you.

    LIRIC members enjoying lunch at the  Larchmont Yacht Club
  • Letter from the President of LIRIC

    It is good to stop and review the LIRIC programs at mid-year. I hope you’ll agree that we have had great fall programs during the start of our 25th anniversary year. Not only were the class choices abundant and diversified, but they were well-attended. I was pleased to find many members remarking that they learned something new at our programs. What a tribute to Linda Whetzel, our Curriculum Chair, and her hard-working and dedicated committee!

    Chris McCormick being introduced at the podium.

    In addition, we had two well-attended bus trips arranged by Florence Wagner, one to the Lockwood-Masters Mansion/Museum in Norwalk, Conn., and the other to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. Both one-day trips offered tasty luncheons in pleasant settings, during which LIRIC members socialized and mixed, strengthening our camaraderie. I’m eagerly awaiting the spring trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Wednesday, March 7.

    We also had three successful Silver Anniversary events: the celebratory Open House, the Westchester Chordsmen performance, and the “Not Your Mother’s Pot Luck” Luncheon. So many members put so much time and effort into the events and their attention to detail paid off in the resulting enjoyable programs. Thank you to all! And I hope you have signed up for the trip to the Westchester Broadway Theater’s production of A Chorus Line on Wednesday, March 21, another anniversary event. More events are still in the planning stages.

    Our winter luncheon at the Larchmont Yacht Club, a big move after our many years at the Davenport Club, was a tremendous success. I want to thank Linda Levine, Ernie Odierna, and Barbara and Frank Mohalley for all their efforts in finding the venue and to the Linda and the Mohalleys for making the arrangements for the beautiful social event for us.

    Now we enter the dark days of winter – but fear not! LIRIC will be meeting at the Greek Orthodox Church on the four Thursdays of January to warm us up and keep us thinking. The programs are just what those of us who don’t head to the sunny warm South need. And although no LIRIC classes are planned for February, we can anticipate what offerings will be in the spring catalog, which you will be receiving in early February.

    My very best wishes to each member for a Happy New Year!

    Chris McCormick
    President, LIRIC

  • Pot Luck Luncheon - A Delicious Success

    People mingle and choose among a large selection of home cooked foods.

    “What a feast for the eyes and the palette!”
    “I want the recipe”
    “So many choices – and every dish is different”

    — these were just a few of the many comments overheard on the buffet line at LIRIC’s “Not Your Mother’s Pot Luck” Luncheon on November 8t, part of LIRIC’s Silver Anniversary celebration.

    Almost 70 LIRIC members wended their way around the bountiful buffet tables, making their selections from a tempting array of breads, entrees, sides, salads and desserts, almost all homemade by the LIRIC attendees.

    Equally delicious was the camaraderie shared and enjoyed at each of the festively decorated dining tables. Another proof-of-the-pudding of the event’s success was the numerous requests for recipes for favorite dishes.

    Well-deserved kudos go to all who made the event “a feast for everyone, with good food, good friends, good conversation and lots of good will,” said Gail Apfel, chair of LIRIC’s Anniversary Committee. So heartfelt thanks go to Gail, Teddi Cerino, Florence Wagner, Edie Medoff and Judy Osten, who organized the luncheon, as well as to all who helped set up and clean up and, of course, provided the delicious food.


  • Fall Trips to New England

    The maritime aquarium entrance.

    The two fall trips planned by Florence Wagner featured a November visit to Norwalk, Conn., to see the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum and the Maritime Aquarium, with lunch at O’Neill’s Pub, and a December trip to Stockbridge, Mass., to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum and enjoy lunch at the historic Red Lion Inn.

    A good time was had by all!

    The Lockwood Matthews mansion.


  • The Philadelphia Flower Show

    The Philadelphia Flower Show

    Join fellow LIRIC members and friends on a trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show, showcasing the 2018 theme of “The Wonders of Water.” Dating back to 1829 when it was started by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the show introduces the newest plant varieties, garden and design concepts, and organic and sustainable practices. In addition, it hosts world-renowned horticultural and artistic floral arranging competitions and an indoor Marketplace. This year, plants that thrive in various environments from exquisite orchids and flowering ivies to luminescent desert blooms will be featured. And you’ll be enchanted by colorful water-loving blooms, dancing fountains, and falling waters. As you explore more than 10 acres of landscapes, gardens, and floral displays, you’ll find ideas to inspire your own home garden. After your show visit, a sumptuous three-course Italian luncheon awaits you at Philadelphia’s iconic Spasso Italian Grill in the Heart of Old City.

    A registration form for the trip was included in the mailing for the January intersession. For further information, contact Florence Wagner at or (718) 884-2268.


  • The Grounds for Sculpture

    Angular steel sculpture in the middle of a still fountain.

    Visit the world-renowned 42-acre sculpture park, museum and arboretum, located on the site of the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds, when LIRIC heads to the Grounds for Sculpture. It was founded by artist and philanthropist Seward Johnson, who has more than 450 life-size cast bronze figures featured in private collections and museums throughout the world and is well known for his sculptures depicting people engaged in everyday activities. You may have seen his sculptures in Times Square or Rockefeller Center. The Grounds for Sculpture presents and conserves an exceptional collection of contemporary sculptures, while also providing seasonally rotating exhibitions in six indoor gardens. Our tour will feature a select group of sculptures in the park and the special exhibits in the Museum and Domestic Arts Building. An added treat will be a delicious luncheon at one of the restaurants on the grounds.

    Consult the trip flyer for registration details or contact Florence Wagner at or (718) 884-2268.

  • LIRIC General Membership Meeting

    The semi-annual LIRIC General Membership Meeting on November 30 attracted a huge crowd (actually, the largest ever!) of 100+ members, who heard from their Executive Board about the status of LIRIC and the plans for the next semester. Following the business part of the meeting, members enjoyed a buffet luncheon arranged by Hospitality Chairs Cheryl and Jerry Millman.

    LIRIC members listen attentively
  • Celebrating LIRIC's 25th Anniversary: A Chorus Line Matinee

    LIRIC’s 25th anniversary celebration continues at the Wednesday matinee performance of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama A Chorus Line, on March 21, at the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford. Centered on 17 Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line, the Tony Award-winning musical (it won nine Tonys!) features Marvin Hamlish songs such as “What I Did for Love” and “One.”

    A Chorus Line Logo

    Besides watching this sixth-longest-running Broadway show ever, LIRIC members and their guests will enjoy a three-course luncheon, plus coffee or tea. LIRIC has reserved a block of four- and six-seat tables in the same area. Everyone should plan on arriving at the theater no later than 11 a.m.

    Flyers with all the reservation details were included in your January intersession mailing. Check on ticket availability by contacting Karen Halparin at or (914) 273-9577.

  • Great Decisions

    Those who attend LIRIC’s annual Great Decisions program each spring know how much they learn from the video presentations and discussions that follow. Organized by the Curriculum Committee, the Great Decisions presentations fall under the aegis of Jim O’Neill, who arranges for individual LIRIC members to research and introduce each topic. “For those members who have yet to participate in these sessions, this spring might be the time to test the waters,” suggests Jim.

    A bit of background: Great Decisions, America’s largest grassroots foreign policy discussion program, was launched in Portland, Ore., in 1954 by the Foreign Policy Association. The model they established continues today with tens of thousands participating in book readings, watching DVDs, and holding discussions nationwide. At each LIRIC session, a leader shows the DVD and moderates the following lively discussion. Readings on the topics to be discussed, while optional, may enhance one’s experience and are available in a Foreign Policy Association briefing book.

    Each year a panel of experts chooses eight critical topics and provides background information for discussion groups, such as the LIRIC program, across the nation. The Foreign Policy Association has just announced the topics for 2018 and an explanation about each, topics that LIRIC will address in its Great Decisions presentations, namely:

    • The Waning of Pax Americana?
      Under Donald Trump, the U.S. began an historic shift away from Pax Americana, the liberal international order established after WWII. “America First” isolationism shifts the political mood toward selective U.S. engagement. Geopolitical allies and challengers alike are paying close attention.
    • Russia’s Foreign Policy
      Under Putin, Russia is projecting an autocratic model of governance, especially along its historical borderlands. How does Putin conceive of national interests, and why do Russians support him? How should the U.S. respond to his foreign policy ambitions?
    • China and America: The New Geopolitical Equation
      In the last 15 years, China has implemented a wide-ranging strategy of economic outreach and expansion, including military and diplomatic capacities. What are Beijing’s geopolitical objectives? What leadership and political conditions underlie growing Sino-American tensions?
    • Media and Foreign Policy
      Official channels of communication can be circumvented through social media. Foreign policy is tweeted from the White House and “fake news” has entered the zeitgeist. Cyberwarfare, hacking and misinformation pose security threats. What are the implications for U.S. policy?
    • Turkey: A Partner in Crisis
      In the wake of a failed 2016 military coup, the autocratic trend in Ankara took a turn for the worse. Today, an overwhelming majority of this NATO ally considers the U.S. to be their greatest security threat. Most important is what Turkey symbolically represents as the most institutionally Westernized Muslim country in the world.
    • U.S. Global Engagement and the Military
      Some argue for an “America First” paradigm with a large military to ensure security, while others call for a more assertive posture overseas. Some advocate for a restoration of American multilateral leadership and a strengthened role for diplomacy. How does the military function in today’s international order?
    • South Africa’s Fragile Democracy
      The African National Congress (ANC) party has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. It faces growing threats from both left and right opposition parties. Given the U.S.’s history of opportunistic engagement with Africa, what are the prospects for a closer relationship between the two countries?
    • Global Health: Progress and Challenges
      The world faces a mix of old and new health challenges, including the preventable deaths of mothers and children, continuing epidemics of infectious diseases, rising rates of chronic disease and the emergence of new and deadly pandemics.

    Great Decisions classes will be meeting on Thursday mornings from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in the spring. Consult your catalog, which will be mailed out in February, to find the specific leaders for the discussion groups on the above topics and how to order reading materials on the topics.

  • Aging-in-Place Organizations

    Lila Ogman, LIRIC’s Road Scholar Liaison, some time ago, wrote an article for the newsletter about New Rochelle Cares, part of a network of Aging-in-Place organizations. This is her second installment, which will become part of a series of informational pieces.

    Another AIP called At Home on the Sound (ATHOTS) serves the Larchmont and Mamaroneck area. This organization, and I quote from their website, “provides services for men and women who want to maintain a productive and independent lifestyle as they grow older and stay in their own homes.” The activities they offer help to dispel isolation many older people experience.

    ATHOTS offers two types of memberships, full and associate, which can be activated by joining on line at or by mail at At Home on the Sound, PO Box 523, Mamaroneck, NY 10543. Or, call them at (914) 899-3150. Also, look for some ATHOTS brochures on the back table in our main lecture room.

  • Did You Know?

    Need help preparing your taxes? You can search for “free tax preparation.” This IRS website will help you locate a volunteer income tax assistant or a person with the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. These volunteer tax preparers are IRS-certified.

    Starting April 1, new Medicare cards will automatically be mailed to you and won’t include your Social Security number, gender or signature. Why? The government hopes to prevent Medicare scammers from stealing your ID and ripping you off. Each new card will feature a computer-generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, or MBI, consisting of 11 numbers and letters and assigned just to you. This MBI will be used for all Medicare transactions.

  • Meet Our Member: Ernie Odierna

    By: Maureen Liptack

    Ernie Odierna may be the only LIRIC member who has been an elected public official since 1999. As a councilman in the Town of Mamaroneck, he serves as the liaison to the town’s Recreation, Human Rights and Ethics Committees, as well as serving on their Boards of Architectural Review, Housing, and Zoning Board of Appeals. His special interest continues to be improving communication between the local government and town residents in the areas of environmental concerns and recreational facilities. In recognition of this public service, Westchester County declared December 13, 2017, as Ernest Odierna Day!

    Electronic billboard in White Plains announcing December 13, 2017, as Ernest Odierna Day

    Ernie’s business career similarly focused on improving communication. As president of Com/Peripherals, Inc., he provided leadership in developing high-speed wireless access, data security and fiber-optic solutions for companies in the Metro NY area. His technical expertise has assisted the Town of Mamaroneck in implementing its telephone emergency notification plan and its website presence.

    Ernie and Camille Odierna

    In retirement Ernie has enjoyed attending LIRIC programs, along with his wife, Camille. While serving on the Curriculum Committee, he has secured speakers for presentations as well as participating in panel discussions. This past summer he enjoyed sharing memories of growing up in The Bronx and reminiscing about the Sunday night dances at St. Helena’s Church. And he was instrumental in securing the Larchmont Yacht Club as the venue for December’s Holiday Luncheon.

    Travel continues to be a major source of pleasure in retirement. Since Camille had worked as a travel agent, she and Ernie were knowledgeable about exciting and interesting adventures to pursue. As owners of a time-share unit in South Africa, they could trade their place for others throughout the world. They count a family trip to Alaska and a trip to Iceland with a granddaughter among the most memorable moments on the road. On all the trips, Ernie leaves the museum research to Camille and the family. His interest focuses on discovering local culinary treasures. On a recent trip to Croatia, he found the oysters and octopus most worthy of rave reviews.

    When not traveling, Ernie most enjoys being on the water, preferable aboard his boat out of City Island. He still brings his snorkeling and scuba equipment with him on each trip, but admits that his diving adventures are now infrequent. His service as a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist has included terms as Flotilla Commander, Division Captain and Instructor, as well as Vessel Examiner and Marine Dealer Visitor.

    Married since 1961, Ernie and Camille have a son and daughter, each of whom has three children. Their six grandchildren live nearby, enabling them to spend time enjoying all the special activities of young families. As a professed foodie, Ernie has a list of favorite of pizzerias and has a quick evaluation of the pizza crust at each of the neighborhood spots. He most enjoys helping with holiday meal preparations, especially the Christmas Eve Fish Fest, and creating various “special” soups throughout the year.

  • Member News

    By: Barbara Mohalley

    Long-time member and past president of LIRIC, Marion Shiffer is beginning to feel better. Hope that means that we will see her more often at classes.

    Member Bradley Hochberg’s father has passed away; our sympathy goes to Brad and family on their loss.

    Sadly, Rosanne Gibbons, a new member, has passed away. She had attended LIRIC for only one day. Our thoughts are with her family.

    Inge Otto, of the famous “microphone dash,” has been out of commission recently due to carpal tunnel surgery. Nobody but nobody hastens as quickly as Inge to get the “mike” to classmates responding to a speaker’s words. We hope to see her doing her “dash” during the January intersession.

    Traveler Joe Lechowicz teamed up with his sister, Elaine, on a pilgrimage this fall. They spent a week in the Holy Land, followed by another week in Spain, Portugal and France. They visited cathedrals in Burgos, Salamanca, and Avila, as well as visiting Fatima and Lourdes. Joe agreed that it was a demanding trip but very well worth the effort.

    Congratulations to long-time member Paul Warner, who has been named National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans. Paul and wife, Norma, have been active in several community organizations as well. Besides being a LIRIC member who worked for many years preparing our newsletter for printing by Iona, Norma served as president of the “Friends of the Eastchester Library” for some years. Congratulations are well-deserved.

    After laying out this issue of the LIRIC Newsletter, Greg Koster and his wife, Diana, will be heading to a cruise in Costa Rica and a snowbird rental in Fairhope, Ala., to escape the northeast winter.

    As we were enjoying our Holiday Luncheon on December 13, Ernie Odierna’s name was literally “lit up in lights” on the scoreboard in front of the Westchester County Center in White Plains. The message, which recognized Ernie’s many years of service as City Council member in the town of Mamaroneck, read:

    Westchester County
    December 13, 2017
    Ernest Odierna Day

    Congrats Ernie!

    Editor’s Note: Our “Member News” columnist hopes you will send her news about yourself and your LIRIC friends, which she in turn can share with all our members in her column. Please contact Barbara Mohalley at (914) 576-2311 or with your news.