Being Well: Paying Medical Bills the Smart Way

A healthy savings account may help you out when your insurance company won't. Plus, what to look for in a vacation home for Fido, page 40. How to avoid danger while exercising in the heat, page 42.



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A health savings account may be used to pay for costs not covered by most traditional

insurance plans. The accounts must be set up long before your retirement years, says

James Gandolfo, one of the nation’s foremost experts on HSAs.

Photograph by Tom Nutter

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You are covered by a high-deductible health insurance plan, so you’re daunted by the escalating cost of health care. Not sure how to handle it?

A health savings account is one solution. HSAs, authorized in December 2003 by the federal Medicare Drug Prescription Improvement and Modernization Act, allow some people to make untaxed contributions to a special fund, which can then be withdrawn tax-free to cover medical expenses that are not covered under their health insurance plans. In that way, they work much like a self-directed individual retirement account, but the money is available for use immediately.

“Consumer-directed health care and related HSAs engage the consumer in his own healthcare decision-making process,” says James Gandolfo, senior director and vice president of global business development-HSAs for PFPC, a member of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. One of the foremost experts on HSAs in the nation, Gandolfo began a term as chairman of the HSA Council with the American Bankers Association on July 1.

To qualify for an HSA, you must have a deductible of $1,100 per year for an individual health insurance plan and $2,200 per year for a family plan. If so, you can contribute up to $2,850 to an individual HSA in 2007 or up to $5,650 to a family HSA. Deductions may be used to pay for health-related expenses such as eye exams, prescription eye wear, physical therapy sessions and other costs not covered by most traditional insurance plans.

Individuals can use their health savings to pay for medical expenses as they occur, save the receipts, then withdraw the money to reimburse themselves at a time that’s convenient for them, Gandolfo says. “HSAs give the consumer choice and control.”

HSAs are also great for retirees, who often end up withdrawing money from their 401(k) plans to pay for medical expenses, which is then taxed.

“However, HSAs must be set up long before the retirement years, since the key factor of the HSA’s eligibility is the ownership of a high-deductible health care plan,” Gandolfo says.

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Doggone Good Vacation Homes

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While making plans for that great summer vacation, don’t forget to make plans for Fido and Bells.

Weeks before setting out, it is important to find out what boarding facilities are near your home or destination and whether they can accommodate your pet. Facilities may be full during peak times such as the winter holidays and the week of July 4. If the kennel can accommodate your pet, make an appointment to visit beforehand.

“Making sure you have a proper boarding facility for your pet should be your No. 1 concern,” says veterinarian Andrea Richter. Richter and her husband, vet Robert Pedigo, own Savannah Animal Hospital and Savannah Animal Hotel in Lewes. “Families and individuals should go on these preview visits armed with questions. They should look for cleanliness and good ventilation for the animal. And they should note whether the animals are exercised regularly and are handled with compassion and affection.”

You should have a list of questions to ask on your preview visit: What type of food are the animals fed? When are they exercised? Do they have free access to water? Do they get interactive play time? What would happen if the animal should need veterinary care while the owner is away?

“Dogs must be taken out to be exercised and to go to the bathroom at least three times a day,” Richter says. At Savannah, dogs are exercised four times daily. Cats and exotic guests are exercised twice a day. Savannah Animal Hotel also offers additional playtime, socialization or attention such as brushing through its Special Attention Service.

For cats, make sure their primary enclosures are large enough to stretch and move in, and that they contain litter boxes that are cleaned regularly.

You must provide a vaccination record for any boarding stay, and shots must be up to date. If you supply toys for your pet, make sure they include the animal’s name, as well as your own. You may also supply your pet’s food if it’s not what the facility serves. “It will lessen the likelihood of gastroenteritis or colitis in the animal,” Richter says.

Boarding can be stressful for your pet, partly because of temporary separation anxiety. To ease your pet’s transition, make sure you leave ample time to check in. “The animals should never be in a rushed situation,” Richter says. So fill out all paperwork ahead of time, not on the way out of town at the start of vacation.Ê

If the pet travels with the family, it’s important to have copies of the animal’s rabies certificate and vaccinations, and it is important to know ahead of time if there are facilities nearby, in case of emergency. Be aware that your pet might come down with motion sickness.

“Some pets love to travel. Some find it stressful and become anxious,” Richter says. Consult a veterinarian for medications to minimize your pet’s stress during the trip.

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Turning up the Heat for Athletes

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Highly trained, Olympic-class athletes are better equipped physically to deal with heat when they exercise, but we normal folks and weekend warriors need to be careful. Exercising in the heat can lead to serious health conditions—even death.

So how do you avoid danger? Dan Wagner, lead exercise specialist at Bayhealth’s Lifestyle Fitness Center in Dover, says to pick exercise times carefully. It’s best to avoid exercising outdoors between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the combination of high heat and high humidity put you at risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

A person with heat exhaustion sweats profusely. He also experiences dizziness, high heart rate, confusion and loss of strength. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, a possibly fatal condition characterized by dry skin and loss of consciousness. When humidity approaches 50 percent or greater outdoors, the risk of such conditions begins to increase.

“Trained athletes have little problem with outdoor conditions, but even they take precautions,” says Wagner.

For one, dress in cool, light-colored clothing. (Dark colors absorb light, which increases heat.) Many items on the market today are designed to keep you cool during strenuous activity.

Second, drink 5 to 10 ounces of water every 15 minutes while exercising. Also, weigh yourself before you work out, then weigh yourself afterward. For every pound of weight lost during activity, drink 1.5 times as much fluid.

“If an individual loses 2 pounds during an hour-long activity, he or she should drink 48 ounces of cold liquid, preferably water, within an hour after the exercise has been completed,” Wagner says.

Cold fluids are better to drink than warm ones because your body absorbs them faster, thus cooling your body sooner. Be aware that your body can only absorb about a liter of fluid an hour.

Individuals who are just starting an exercise program should take great care during the summer, especially if they are overweight. Women are at greater risk of trouble because they generally have more body fat than men.

When possible, exercise indoors during those midday hours. If you venture outside, go in the morning or late in the afternoon, when it’s cooler. “It takes 10 to 14 days to get acclimated to the heat when exercising outdoors,” Wagner says. “It’s a good idea to have a back-up plan on those hot days. Stay inside and work out in the gym or go walk inside the mall.”

One last word of advice for exercising outdoors: Wear sunscreen. “A sunburn decreases the body’s ability to cool itself,” Wagner says—not to mention the risk of skin cancer.

And if you’re watching an athletic event instead of participating in one, remember to keep the fluids going. Spectators at outdoor events may be at greater risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke than the athletes themselves.Ê

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February 2016

Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

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The Station Gallery
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More information

Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

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Penn Museum
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1200 N DuPont Highway
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View map »

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Cost: Free

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The Station Gallery
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Cost: Call for information.

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Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
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Telephone: 302-629-6611x2446
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Cost: Depends on what you purchase

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East Coast Garden Center
30336 Cordrey Rd
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Sponsor: Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church
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500 McKennans Church Rd
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The Station Gallery
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More information

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Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
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View map »


Website »

More information

Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

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View map »


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Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: Free

Where:
Kimmel Center - Commonwealth Plaza
300 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA  19102
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Sponsor: Kimmel Center
Website »

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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

Where:
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Show More...
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Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »

More information

Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
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Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
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Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: $50

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801 Middleford Rd.
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6611 ext. 2540
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Regional artists Carol Tippit Woolworth, Catherine Drabkin, Pahl Alexander Hluchan, Colleen Randall and Dan Jackson explore the concept of place—physical, emotional and spiritual—in...

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Where:
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More information

Show More...
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Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: $13

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Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
Website »

More information

This art exhibit features fine art works and three dimensional pieces that embrace the subject “red.” Artist are free to use their imagination and creativity, so works will include...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
View map »


Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
View map »


Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
Website »

More information

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Cost: $15–$18

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The Secret Garden
47 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
View map »


Sponsor: The Everett Theatre
Telephone: 302-540-8561
Contact Name: Chris Everett
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Cost: 0.00

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Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: Free

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First State Heritage Park
The Old State House
25 The Green
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View map »


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Telephone: 739-9194
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Cost: $40

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Humpty's Dumplings
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, DE

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Christiana Care at the New Castle Farmers Market Location: New Castle Farmers Market, 110 N. Dupont Hwy., New Castle, Market Stage Area Time: 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Routine screenings for...

Where:
, DE

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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

Where:
, DE

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Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Features activities and crafts that help visitors learn about local and national political roles in environmental conservation. Visitors can learn about the battle that politicians fought for a...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from Feb. 12–14 and 19–21. The show will feature highly interactive...

Cost: $13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Guests can explore three floors of exhibitions in the Visitor Center, stroll along the river through dozens of historic structures from the Industrial Revolution, and explore the gardens and...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
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Penn Museum opens the world premiere exhibition The Golden Age of King Midas—featuring ancient treasures on loan from the Republic of Turkey—with a spectacular daylong public...

Cost: $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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This art exhibit features fine art works and three dimensional pieces that embrace the subject “red.” Artist are free to use their imagination and creativity, so works will include...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
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Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
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For more information, please contact: Dave Ruffner ​Rehoboth Beach Film Society 107 Truitt Ave. Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 302-645-9095, ext. 4 administrator@rehobothfilm.com...

Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and CAMP Rehoboth will co-present "Tab Hunter Confidential" and "Portrait of a Serial Monogamist" as part of its annual Another Take...

Cost: $8

Where:
Metropolitan Community Church
19369 Plantation Rd.
Rehoboth Beach, DE  19971
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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"La Sylphide" shares the beautiful and romantic story of our hero, James—a young Scottish farmer who, on the eve of hid wedding, abandons his betrothed, Effie, after being...

Cost: $25

Where:
Salesanium School
1801 North Broom St.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Academy of International Ballet
Telephone: 1-866-908-5666
Contact Name: Denis Gronostayskiy
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Venture back with us for an evening where we re-imagine the Victorian Industrial Age as seen through our steam-powered, futuristic goggles.  Our biggest fundraiser of the year and all proceeds...

Cost: $100-$110

Where:
Smyrna Opera House
7 West South Street
Smyrna, DE  19977
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A spoiled orphan girl is sent to live with her uncle on the Yorkshire moors and discovers renewed life, for herself and her sickly cousin, in bringing her dead aunt’s secret garden back to...

Cost: $15–$18

Where:
The Secret Garden
47 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
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Sponsor: The Everett Theatre
Telephone: 302-540-8561
Contact Name: Chris Everett
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Location: St. Mark’s High School, 2501 Pike Creek Road, Wilmington Time: Registration: 11:30 a.m. Race: 12:30 p.m. Fee: $25 (until Thursday, Feb. 11), $35 after and day of event...

Where:
, DE

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Location: Beebe Healthcare’s Medical Center, 424 Savannah Road, Lewes Date: Saturday, Feb. 13 (and the second Saturday of each month) Time: 9 a.m. Fee: Free For more...

Where:
, DE

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Ditch the winter whites for a world of dazzling color at Longwood Gardens, where you can stroll through thousands of orchids in bloom. Kennett Square, www.longwoodgardens.org 

Where:
, DE

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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

Where:
, DE

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Regional artists Carol Tippit Woolworth, Catherine Drabkin, Pahl Alexander Hluchan, Colleen Randall and Dan Jackson explore the concept of place—physical, emotional and spiritual—in...

Where:
, DE

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