To those whom it may concern re: "Letters To The Editor" in the Nov. 26, 2012 edition of the paper:
First of all, if it weren't for Wayne Wales, county board chairman, we still wouldn't have a contract with DICSA concerning the Senior Center building in Iron River. There had been a prior contract, but no one knew about it. Wayne found it and had it legally redrawn. At this point, we are all involved and know what the contract is all about.
As far as busing goes, there has been a day added to the normal days-per-week (as it has been for the last two years). The bus will now run Monday through Thursday. We are very sorry the bus will not be running Fridays, as in the past, but with the 4-6 people per day, it is just not feasible to run 5 days a week.
The County Board has little or nothing to do with the transportation. That is run by UPCAP, who get their grants from the federal government, and we all know that many of those grants are drying up due to the national debt. And yes, rides were about $1 15 years ago, but then gas wasn't $3.50 per gallon. The age of 60 is dictated by the feds. Don't forget, AARP is in the business of selling memberships, so they now start at age 50. Memberships were age 55 when I started as an AARP member.
As far as closing on Fridays and being open Mondays, we had recommended that very change 2 or three years ago. DICSA thought Fridays should be open for the same reasons, but on Fridays we are only serving 12 to 20 congregate meals. Mondays are and have been much better, even though we could use more people on the other days also.
We have talked to seniors who use the center, and also sent out a survey asking for input, in order to keep the center going. Although we were disappointed on the number of returns, we have tried to cater to the results of the survey. Changes have been needed and we are trying to do what is best for all.
Regarding the fun time bingo and card games, yes, we need the seniors using the building as much as possible. However, these programs were instilled to entice more people to enjoy the congregate meals at noon. Has this happened? No. Many come after the noon meal to enjoy the card games and bingo. Do we want these programs? Yes, but we do need more participation at the noon meals. The meal program is losing money and the local taxpayers and the Site Council have had to pick up nearly $14,000 this past year. A year ago, we had 6 people in the kitchen working, now it is down to 3, with a couple of God-sent volunteers.
We appreciate all those who participate in the noon meals, we wish we could get more people enjoying these great meals.
Lastly, the taxpayers will be asked to vote on another mileage renewal in 2013. We all hope and pray that you vote yes to help keep the center open. Your help and support by attending our pancake days, dances, spaghetti and roast beef feeds also go a long way in keeping the doors open to our beautiful center.
Iron River Senior
Center Site Council