Bethel Area ~ Volume 14 ~ May 24, 2016
On May 19, the Age-Friendly Community team held a public meeting. Allen Cressy opened with a spirit ofcelebration, in commemorating the Age-Friendly Community Project’s first year. Congratulations and commendations were offered by special guests Peter Morelli and Patricia Oh, both consultants on Age-Friendly Communities with AARP Maine. Peter awarded certificates to the new towns in the AARP network, accepted by: Peter Musso of Greenwood, Steven Bies, Woodstock First Selectman, and Gary Wight, Newry Select Board Chairman. Morelli also presented AARP books to the Bethel Library (accepted by Library Director, Michelle Conroy) and Woodstock Library.
A major purpose of the event was to begin the planning process around five concrete projects, as suggested by community members over the past year. Nancy Davis explained that the team’s action plan, which will be submitted to AARP, focuses around three strands: (1) “Maintain and Sustain” – that is, continuing to support initiatives already underway in the community, (2) New projects that should be doable in the next year; for that, the team is looking for people to work on task forces; 3) Exploration into longer-term, larger projects, like creating a community center.
Participants responded to specified projects: (1) Creating a local resources directory; (2) Creating a volunteer transportation network; (3) Creating a volunteer network for home repairs and such; and (4) Providing Community Center-type activities. (At present we will not be considering building a Community Center, but will look at existing locations and activities to approximate a Community Center.)
A fifth poster enlisted people interested in smaller potential projects selected by the planning team: (a) intergenerational programs, (b) a “Daily Call” system, (c) a winter exercise program, (d) working with the Senior College, Adult Ed, AARP, Seniors Plus, etc, to provide educational/informational programs, (e) reviewing emergency preparedness programs, (f) caregiver support, (g) a “Dine-Around” Program. If you were unable to attend the meeting, but would like to offer ideas or your willingness to help, please contact Nancy Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org, 381-1110). You may access the video of the meeting on the Public Access TV Channel, Time Warner channel 11. Soon this and other Age-Friendly Community videos will be available on demand through the Western Hills Access Television network website.
Wednesday, May 25 – a dilemma. There are a lot of great things happening in our community! Two important meetings are being held on the 25th. One is a public information meeting on Broadband Internet. A town with faster, affordable internet access offers citizens better residential service and public “hotspots” in the town center, where internet access is free. Wouldn’t this be great for our communities? The meeting is 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Telstar HS Lecture Hall.
On the same evening there is a meeting at the Alliance Church in Bethel at 6:15. This meeting follows the monthly Community Supper (at the church), to which the public is also invited. On the topic of intergenerational connections, the discussion is sponsored by the Oxford County Wellness Collaborative as part of their regular Community Gatherings.
Remember that improved services of all kinds will benefit not only seniors, but the entire community – and if you’re currently in the “sandwich generation,” an important issue nmay be assuring that family members can remain in their beloved community for as long as possible.
Resources at your fingertips: the 211 phone number and website, a nation-wide network, accesses a statewide-directory of over 8000 resources, including agency services and support groups.http://states.aarp.org/tag/fraud-alert/ gives valuable fraud alerts from AARP. http://games.aarp.org/ is a fun site of a variety of free games to keep our minds agile.
Did you hear the MPBN “Maine Calling” program on Thursday, May 12? Entitled “Disrupt Aging,” it featured Maine’s AARP Director, Lori Parham, with the highlighted guest, Dr. Bill Thomas. The program is well worth a listen, and you can access it at http://news.mpbn.net/post/disrupt-aging#stream/.
One Maine resource that was noted in the Maine Calling segment and will actually be featured in a future show is the Maine Senior College Network. Our own Western Mountains Senior College, a member of the network, is a fine example. Don’t forget to “tune in” by going to http://wmscollege.blogspot.com/. There’s a lot going on – some for WMSC members and some for the public. And some are non-WMSC events of note in the general community.
FMI on any of the above: Nancy Davis (email@example.com, 381-1110).
Bethel Area ~ Volume 13 ~ May 3, 2016
Transportation Survey. “Where the rubber hits the road.” This is the juncture (sorry to extend the metaphor!) where the Age-Friendly Community Advisory Council finds itself at the moment. In a literal sense, we are asking for more information from you in order to solidify our planning for transportation services to the area. Let us know your specific needs - now or in the future – by picking up a survey at the Bethel and Woodstock Town Offices and libraries, the Western Mountains Senior College, and the Bethel Family Health Center; Greenwood and Newry have mailed theirs. Even if you completed one at our February meeting, this version provides more detail. Surveys should be returned (in the envelope provided) by May 15. FMI: Allen Cressy (firstname.lastname@example.org, 824-0508).
Planning for the Future. In the metaphorical sense, we are working hard to execute some concrete plans (oops!) in a number of areas that you have identified as priority considerations within our communities of Bethel, Woodstock, Newry and Greenwood. In the short or medium term we hope to develop a network of people to perform simple household tasks and produce a resource manual of services available within our communities – in the health and social realms, for instance.
We need people to help with those projects (and more to be elaborated on in the near future)! We hope you’ll participate in a Public Celebration – Thursday, May 19, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Alliance Church in Bethel. In addition to celebrating our progress to date, we’ll be taking important steps to help “the rubber meet the road.” Make your voice heard! Public Access TV. Are you a watcher of Channel 11, the Western Hills Access Television network? If so, perhaps you saw the video-cast of the Age-Friendly Community public meeting in January and the related public Transportation meeting in February. That network is managed by Wayne Howe, who also serves as the Woodstock representative, and town-appointed directors Brooks Morton of Newry, Jewel Clark of Bethel, Dick Melville of Greenwood, and Deana Fowles from SAD#44.
The new WHAT TV board hit the ground running with a vision to bring the 25-year-old station with outdated equipment into the internet age. They began internet streaming three months ago and are anticipating upgrading the hardware and software necessary for a system that can meet the needs of the future. They are asking for financial support from the member towns of Bethel, Newry, Greenwood and Woodstock. Note that these funds would not come from property taxes. Newry has already voted to support the program at a 100% level, and It is hoped that the other three towns will follow suit.
Broadband Internet. And here’s an opportunity to make a local impact on another related issue. On Wednesday, May 25 a public information meeting on Broadband Internet will be held from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Telstar HS Lecture Hall. Why might this be important to you? Stay tuned – and put that date on your calendar. FMI about any of the above: Nancy Davis (email@example.com, 381-1110).