Focus on Aging - Lorraine Cronk produces, hosts radio show

Lorraine Cronk -
Lorraine Cronk
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EVERETT A stop sign has eight sides, and Lorraine Cronk has eight decades under her belt but thats about all they have in common. When you hear all this gal has going on, youll suspect she has the picture of Dorian Gray stashed in her basement.
The Marysville woman has started at least two or three careers long after most people have thrown in the towel, her latest adventure embarking on a broadcasting gig at an Everett radio station.
Cronk has lived in town since 1979 after a life in the California desert, where she rose from being a permitting clerk to building inspector with the city of Palm Springs.
But kicking dirt is more her style than kicking back, and Cronk is two years into her latest venture, hosting a monthly program devoted to senior issues on KSER 90.7 FM. She has served on the Snohomish County Council on Aging for three terms and her work with the listener-supported station grew out of her time on the councils communications committee. Cronk produces and hosts the show, and is responsible for finding topics, doing research and lining up guests for the show. It runs 30 minutes most of the time, but gets extended to an hour when the topic or the guest warrant it.
We try to pick subjects that will be informative to people but that will be entertaining and people will want to keep listening to, Cronk explained. While the show is called Focus on Aging, she also includes subjects for baby boomers who are next in line to be seniors and are often taking care of seniors right now. We try to do a little bit of everything.
In January the guest was a master gardener, and the next months show featured a tribute to Americas service personnel with veterans from World War 2, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm.
I had a couple phone calls to the station that people really liked that program, Cronk said.
The show airs live the second Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m., with in-studio guests and callers phoning their comments and questions. Last month Cronk was in the KSER studios on Wetmore Avenue in Everett, talking with news and public affairs director Ed Bremer while waiting for her guest to arrive. Bremer has been with the station since 1991 and is one of three full-time employees: he will double up as engineer for Cronks broadcast. Aside from the other two employees who also host shows, the stations stable of talent is composed of volunteers offering music and talk format programming.
Bremer is chatting with Cronk in the engineer booth and points to the calendar. He tells her that the show shes about to host will be re-broadcast later in the month.
Thats assuming that its going to be good, Bremer laughed.
This is going to be our piece de resistance, Cronk jibbed back.
Its now 4:05 and Cronks show starts in 25 minutes; just minutes away from going on the air and no guest was in sight. Bremer tweaks Cronk gently, asking how she will fill the dead air.
How are you at singing and tap dancing? Bremer joked. He didnt faze the octogenarian one bit.
Ive been doing this for two years so I dont get butterflies, Cronk said matter-of-factly.
Minutes later attorney Ann Vining of the Northwest Justice Project is sitting at a table in the broadcast room with Cronk and Joan Bethel, chairperson of the Snohomish County Council on Aging. As they talk Bremer is in the adjacent control room setting the microphone levels. Theres not much preparation at this point: Cronk has an opening statement and then the free-flowing discussion will follow for an hour, without commercial breaks. Cronk isnt worried about her brain or her bladder, and she guides her guest competently through the syllabus.
Vining will talk about wills and final directives. Cronk and callers will illustrate the different ideas people have about these instruments and how powers-of-attorney will not suffice for most decisions that might be needed when a loved one is comatose or incapacitated. People also want to know about living wills and how much control loved ones can exert over their estate if an elder is incapacitated. Vining tells Cronk that most elders and families wait until its too late to get the appropriate legal documents signed and by then family members cant do anything without a court being involved. She also warned that elders can be taken advantage of by unscrupulous predators. She gave tips on how to set limits on powers granted to another person.
Its nothing new; previous programs highlighted the failures of government and citizens to prepare for disasters like Hurricane Katrina a year before, another subject that people usually avoid.
Things like that give people information that they might not otherwise have, said Bethel.
Cronk herself is a testament to stamina. After retiring she earned a bachelors degree in human services from Western Washington University and an MBA in non-profit administration from City University, this while she was in her 70s. During this time she was also involved with the Marysville Police, serving on the Seniors Against Crime patrol for nine years. She had to quit eight years ago when her arthritis got too bad.
Essentially when I retired I became a very active volunteer, Cronk said.

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