Iron County Board Chair Wayne Wales didn't keep his promise to the users of the Iron River Senior Center because, guess what seniors? On Friday, Nov. 16, DICSA announced major changes at the center regarding the meals and the limited transportation program. I think we are the only - or one of the few - counties in the U.P. that does not have a 5-day-a-week senior transportation system in place. This was cut approximately 8 or more years ago and never returned in the next budget year.
But does the Iron County Board care? Maybe the new board will help fix the transportation problem in Iron County. I have not driven since February of 1995 and I started riding the senior bus to the hair shop on Fridays in July of 1997, at which time it cost $1 per ride and ran 5 days a week.
Now I pay $2.50 per ride (they discriminate and charge people under 60 higher prices for the same ride and the same meal - I was told this is dictated by the Feds, but no one has ever tried to get it changed so they could treat everyone equal.) AARP says you are a senior at age 50, when they invite you to join their organization.
Now, as of Dec. 3 the bus will run four days a week (Monday-Thursday), but not on Fridays, which is the day that users ride the bus to stock up and get ready for the weekend.
But did Jeff at DICSA or the Iron River co-directors Catherine Bortolameolli and Brian Kassa consider this? I don't think so because if they had, they would have kept Fridays and stayed closed on Mondays. We also have to cancel our fun time 1:15 p.m. Friday bingo (or schedule it two days in a row).
Not once have they met with the people who patronize the center. They did send out a very costly survey, which was another joke.
At the center, I told Jeff they should meet with the seniors and get their input more than a year ago. He told me that was an excellent idea but he never did it.
He and others are penny wise, pound foolish, and don't even get me started about the famous people who sit on the Site Council. If you want my thoughts on that, call me at 265-5323 and I'll gladly share my thoughts with you - you have to be 55 to sit on the Site Council and I turned 55 two years ago and considered running for a seat and I don't doubt that I would have been elected, but I am way too progressive and decided not to run and aggravate myself.
The Iron River Senior building is one of the nicest centers in the U.P., much nicer than the one in my hometown of Munising, but on the other hand, Alger County has a voted millage for transportation there and a wonderful bus schedule. Interestingly enough, they don't have a paid director. Nor do they cook their meals at the center; the hospital cooks the meals on wheels there, and at a considerable cost savings.
If DICSA at some point closes the center, I will blame the County Board and the Site Council. Enough said.
Bingo volunteer and meal patron 1-3 times a week since 2001.