Asks County to reconsider site closing

January 25, 2018

Dear Editor,

After voting to close the Lake Senior Center, I ask the Clare County Board of Commissioners to consider reversing their decision. The Clare County Senior Services Mission Statement is to “advocate and promote the well being of all persons age 60 and over by providing and coordinating services that address their individual needs.”

With permission granted, here is feedback on what the Garfield Township seniors would like to see happen at their center and how it impacts their lives:

For several months, since rumors of the facility closing surfaced, Polly Moneypenny leads the prayer… “help us get a way to keep it here”. She states, “in my opinion, they are very foolish to close. Do you think we are millionaires; that we can travel to Harrison? They don’t understand. They are in their 20s-30s-40s; wait until they are in their 80s & 90s”.

Helen Tubbs recalls the pancake supper & 50/50 fund raisers to open the congregate dining and activity center at the DAV hall in Lake over 30 years ago. “I counted the widows, those who live alone and need to get out of the house. It’s hard to cook for 1 person”. It’s not only the hot, nutritious meal it’s the “social bit” and activities that are important to these seniors.

Betty Phillips comments “seniors need to stimulate their minds and TV doesn’t do it. We spend more time here than with our families”.

The article in last weeks (1/19) Review states “Seniors will be bused to other locations”. Does the B.O.C. really think that’s a practical solution? The seniors don’t have the stamina. They tell me “I can’t go on a bus. I can’t tolerate the fumes”. “Who’s going to stand out there to wait for a bus?”

Commission chairperson Karen Lipovsky quotes “The building is in bad shape and it’s not very safe. The director felt we had to get rid of it”.

For the record, your BOC 12/20/17 Minutes under General Public Comment, Joseph Stragea, DAV Chapter 105, Lake, MI, addressed the Board of Commissioners regarding his concerns of renewal of their contract. Lori Phelps offered to speak about the poor condition of the site and what they need to do to get it cleaned up and make it a presentable site for Clare County. Mrs. Phelps and Mr. Stragea agreed to meet at a later date to discuss the issues she is having with the Lake site in hopes to come to an agreement on cleaning it up.

According to DAV Commander, Jason Vaughan, whom I spoke to on Tuesday, the Clare County Senior Services Director, Lori Phelps, cancelled the meeting scheduled for January 5th. He states “I am still waiting for that list from her”. He invited “anybody who wants to come down and look it over”.

On Tuesday I also spoke to Garfield Township Fire Chief, Kevin Tubbs. He states inspections are done on a regular basis annually for the Commission on Aging.
Approximately 6 weeks ago, Director Lori Phelps contacted him to do another walk through inspection. He «found no fire hazards or life safety issues».

The dining and activity sign says «always there to show we care   with open arms & friendly faces  Join us for food, friends and fun!” The needs of the seniors who attend the congregate dining hall here in Lake now are no different than they were when the DAV hall hosted it’s 1st senior meal on November 4th, 1987. The article states, “Now the place for senior citizens looking for a good meal or just a little company. Meals are designed to give older citizens a chance to get to meet other people and for those who are alone and can’t cook for themselves to get a balanced meal.”

On behalf of the seniors who benefit from this program and want to save their facility,

Gay Ann Messier, RN

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