COMMISSION ON AGING MEETING
February 10, 2021 9:04 A.M.
9:01am call to order via Zoom Conference
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Present: COA: Mary Dale Lancaster, Sarah Atwood, Ingrid Heller, Karen de Friesse, Garner Lester, Hilda Rhodes, Sarah Cummings, Randi Hutton, Jean Rexford, and George Cohen.
Town employees: Angelica Fontanez, Julia Pemberton, Lucy Milano, Alice Smith, Michelle Stillman and Margherita Pilato
Members of the public: Lee Colon and Sharon Hoverman
Minutes: Karen de Friesse
1) Approval of January Minutes: Jean Rexford, George Cohen
2) Public Comment: None. Mary Dale Lancaster offered a welcome to Margherita Pilato.
3) Director of Social Services Report (Angelica Fontanez): Angelica reiterated that the food pantry has been consistent. The oil and fuel bill assistance has been slow because Angelica (and colleagues across CT) is running into many problems with the energy assistance from the state. Angelica has had to use, in some cases, her emergency funds to help families.
The main discussion was the vaccine and the coordination between Redding Social Services and the Redding Dept. of Health. Julia Pemberton described in detail the process and stated that even though the volume was high, the process is smooth. A question about volunteers being needed was answered (not needed as of now) and the use of the Bethel facilities addressed (larger facility). Ms. Pemberton reiterated having people sign up on the VAMS system however, she noted that each person signing up must have a unique email address (i.e. husband and wife must have separate email addresses).
4) Programs Report (Margherita Pilato): Margherita Pilato began her first report with the number of classes and attendees. The Discussion Group continues to be the largest Zoom group, but the smaller groups are holding their own. She is hoping the spring and the ability to have classes outside will encourage more participation. Margherita also mentioned the upcoming Mark Twain Library program (on falls and prevention) tonight and a program being held at the Ridgefield Library (about the vaccine process).
5) First Selectman (Julia Pemberton): Julia remarked that the town is entering a busy time with budget talks, Gilbert and Bennett and COVID-19. She went into Gilbert and Bennett liability issues, EPA protection, special taxing bond holders and lease revenue but stated that future uses for the buildings are still years away. Julia will hold town meetings to go into the subject further.
Julia said she was proud of the response from the Redding Health Dept and Doug Hartline with regards to scheduling vaccine appointments. The added help the Heritage Center and Angelica Fontanez have given has made the process of signing seniors up has been a bonus.
6) Chair’s Report (Mary Dale Lancaster): Mary Dale remarked the meetings have been highly informative and urged members to attend programs put on by the Mark Twain Library / COA and other programs of interest, including the MTL / RVNA program about falls this afternoon. She asked for volunteers to attend the Ridgefield Program and Sarah Cummings along with Sarah Atwood said they will attend. Mary Dale also inquired as to whether Pay Pal was up and running and Michelle Stillman said Pay Pal was ready, but the center was waiting for a program link.
7) Old Business: None
8) New Business: None
Meeting adjourned at 10:00 am. Next meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
Karen de Friesse