COMMISSION ON AGING MEETING
April 7, 2021 @9:00 A.M.
9:01am call to order via Zoom Conference
Present: COA: Mary Dale Lancaster, Sarah Atwood, Ingrid Heller, Garner Lester, Kathy Brandt, Hilda Rhodes, Sarah Cummings, Jean Rexford, Karen de Friesse, Randi Hutton, and George Cohen.
Town employees: Angelica Fontanez, Lucy Milano (student intern), Alice Smith, Michelle Stillman, Margherita Pilato
Members of the public: Doug Renfield-Miller
Minutes: Lucy Milano
1) Approval of March Minutes: George Cohen, Hilda Rhodes
2) Public Comment: None
3) Director of Social Services Report (Angelica Fontanez): Angelica explained that the energy assistance has been taking up most of her time because there have been many issues with the program but the money from Redding Shares the Warmth has been helping clients who have not been approved for energy assistance. Donations are still coming in steadily. The Brunissen Trust gave about $1000 worth of gift cards that will be given to seniors. The van has been busy, about 40 trips that have mostly been for shopping and personal trips. Angelica also mentioned that she has been coordinating with the public health department and RVNA to get homebound residents the vaccine. Mary Dale Lancaster asked Angelica about the van grant and Angelica explained that there have been some delays due to changes in their system and the other van grant has not started yet.
4) Senior Activity Program Coordinator Report (Margherita Pilato): Margherita shared that the senior center is doing well. $2070 was paid to instructors and the income was $1,351. Margherita explained that June Fagan was paid for a training for the upcoming Tai Ji Quan: Movement for Better Balance class that will be refunded through a grant. Margherita shared that she also went to a training for that program. The Tai Ji Quan class will be offered as a hybrid class and if more participants are needed Margherita will reach out to other towns. Margherita has been working on which classes can be moved to in person. New programs such as Zumba, art, coffee tasting, and food trucks are being thought about. There is a nutrition event at the end of the month about the Mediterranean diet and salads from a local restaurant will be provided to take home. 40 people attended the St. Patrick’s Day drive-through. It got a lot of media attention such as News 12 and the NewsTime. Mary Dale Lancaster asked about the website and Margherita explained that she has been thinking about what she wants on the website, but it is hard with how the programs have been changing constantly with COVID. Alice Smith and Margherita will work together over time on the website.
5) First Selectperson (Julia Pemberton): Julia Pemberton could not make it to the meeting, but she shared with the Commission via email that the Board of Finance approved the budget as presented. Work on the Community Center exterior will continue. The referendum will be held in the RCC gym on Tuesday May 4th.
6) Chair’s Report (Mary Dale Lancaster): Mary Dale Lancaster asked Garner Lester to speak, and Garner explained that having a program to help with taxes could be helpful. MDL suggested partnering with the Mark Twain Library to have lectures about different financial aspects. Doug Renfield-Miller asked if someone is making sure that people are getting their stimulus checks and MDL said that many people are receiving it late and suggested reaching out to local legislators about it. MDL asked about creating a subcommittee to focus on programs for the senior center and Hilda Rhodes, Jean Rexford, Kathy Brandt, and Ingrid Heller volunteered to join the subcommittee. MDL also asked Michelle Stillman about PayPal and Michelle explained that it has been working but it still needs to be updated because it says donations instead of payments.
7) Old Business: None
8) New Business: None
Meeting adjourned at 10:01 am. Next meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.