COMMISSION ON AGING MEETING
May 12, 2021 @9:00 A.M.
9:02am call to order via Zoom Conference
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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, Julia Pemberton
Members of the public: Doug Renfield-Miller and Ruth Moran
Minutes: Lucy Milano
1) Approval of April Minutes: Karen de Friesse, Ingrid Heller
2) Public Comment: None
3) Director of Social Services Report (Angelica Fontanez): Angelica explained that the food pantry and energy assistance have been consistent. The expenses have been high, $5441. Her social services budget for the town is in the negative, so she is using the Redding Shares the Warmth funds. She got a United Way grant for $2,000 for extracurricular activities. Angelica and Margherita are still working on the senior center grant. The van grant application was approved, but there are still delays. She has been busy with wellness visits and the police department.
4) Senior Activity Program Coordinator Report (Margherita Pilato): Margherita shared that they started the Tai Ji Quan classes in April and there is a waitlist for it. There are 12 people in the class, and it is a hybrid of in person and online members. They are starting art and Zumba classes next month. About 15 people came to the Mediterranean diet program. Margherita shared a thank you note that she received from Will Haskell about the St. Patrick’s Day event. There is going to be a coffee tasting on May 24th at 10:30am. Redding resident Sheila Weaver wrote a lovely note about what an asset the Heritage Center plays in her life.
5) Program Committee (Hilda Rhodes, Ingrid Heller, Kathy Brandt, and Jean Rexford): Hilda explained that the committee’s mission is to help provide resources, increase visibility, and support staff. The committee divided the program ideas into four categories: mind, spirit, body, and creativity. Hilda shared programs that are currently happening, past programs that they would like to have again, and then suggested some new programs such as empowerment programs for people to discuss aging. Hilda also discussed the importance of finding a way to get the information about the Heritage Center out to the public and networking with other organizations. The committee also discussed the building needs such as redecorating, new furniture, and optimizing the space and time. Jean and Kathy would like to write grants to fundraise. Hilda also explained that Margherita would like to use the patio more but would like to get a sun sail to create more shade. The committee would also like to get laptops to replace the computer room. Mary Dale Lancaster explained that implementing these new programs would require more work for Margarita and her position needs to be full time. MDL also explained that instructors and time in the schedule would have to be found for these new programs. All were appreciative of the excellent work of this subcommittee.
6) First Selectperson (Julia Pemberton): Julia Pemberton said that the Heritage Center needs to broaden their reach for communicating about programs and she is going to add the center to the Town of Redding subscription list. Julia also encourged people younger than 55 to attend programs at the Heritage Center. Julia agreed that getting laptops is needed and possible. A pavilion is being built by the field, and the Heritage Center can use it for programs. Julia plans on reaching out to an architect to get ideas about how to optimize the space at the Heritage Center. Julia also discussed the Church in Georgetown and the value it could bring to the town and the Heritage Center. She confirmed that the Heritage Center’s needs will not be compromised or neglected due to increased attention on Georgetown.
7) Chair’s Report (Mary Dale Lancaster): Mary Dale Lancaster said that she will be contacting members privately to find out their interests and strengths so that everyone can be involved. MDL also discussed that there are no signs for the Heritage Center and Ruth Moran suggested having the quilting group make a flag to advertise the Heritage Center. MDL also suggested that the commission goes on a tour of the Georgetown Church together. Mary Dale proposed having Ruth Moran join the COA as an alternate. Kathy Brandt moved to approve the proposal and George Cohen seconded it. The commission voted unanimously for Ruth Moran to join the COA.
8) Old Business: None
9) New Business: None
Meeting adjourned at 10:16 am. Next meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at the Heritage Center.