Commission on Aging
October 14, 2021
via ZOOM (not recorded)
Members Present: Mary Dale Lancaster, Kathleen Brandt, Hilda Rhodes, Sarah Atwood, Sarah Cummings, Ruth Moran, Lester Garner, Jean Rexford
Staff: Margherita Pilato, Michele Stillman, Angelica Fontanez, Alice Smith
First Selectman: Julia Pemberton
Guests/Public: Aimee Pardee, Sarah Hoverman
1) Meeting start: 9:02 a.m.
2) September 8 Minutes approved: Hilda Rhodes, Sarah Atwood
3) Guest Speaker – Aimee Pardee: Aimee is Redding’s Zoning enforcement officer with extensive experience. At the COA’s invitation, Aimee explained the current and future rules to the group regarding accessory housing. Discussion ensued. Subject: accessory apartments & available rentals in Redding. The COA thanks Aimee for her informative presentation.
4) Program Committee: Hilda Rhodes: Church fair- successful table at church fair, many at the table, Margherita has a list of sign-ups, about 20 new people for email list. The program committee’s main emphasis has been on “Aging Happens”, a collective effort that is being developed. Jean’s comments that Aging Happens is a complex program for which we should take our time and do it well. Jean doesn’t want to be in charge of that effort but will provide input. Cannot start until building is cleaned up.
Kathy & Jean are going to focus on looking for grants. Input from the overall COA members would be appreciated.
5) Director of Social Services – Angelica Fontanez: Food pantry use is consistent. 3 families have applied for renters’ rebate applications. The need for energy assistance is starting up.
6) Senior Program Director – Margherita Pilato: Mirrors and barres are up in the community center and participants in classes like them. We now have a popular barre class. May start a dance class. Participation in church fair was a good boost for programs. New clay class started for October. Since we now must end classes at 2:30 in community room, we may try to start a few classes at 8:30 am. Jean Rexford has started yoga for the rest of us, 8 participants already. Drawing basics class started. Healthy skeleton talk was positive. A grant from Meals on Wheels in Ridgefield was received, and we will look into getting meals back into the building. MTL is doing expo on10/22, similar to the church fair. Garner will help out. Tag sale was a successful community event. Probably will only run 1 next year in June.
7) Chairperson – Mary Dale Lancaster; Julia Pemberton – First Selectperson: Draft letter in progress to our selectman regarding things COA/Seniors would like to use ARP funds for, and beyond. Goal is to send it out to the Selectmen soon, will discuss today. State of the building, having room and adequate access to space is really our focus this year. Discussion about letter: joint effort with Kathy, Jean, Hilda, Ruth & MDL. ARP for COVID, quality of living. Discussion ensued. Next draft of letter should be ready for next months’ meeting.
8) First Selectperson – Julia Pemberton: Julia has been aware of the issues of concern to the COA and seniors. A letter to the Selectmen from the COA is welcome. Fairfield has quickly moved to allocate their ARP money, but they had a lot of money. They spread their money across projects creatively. Julia wants to create a committee to review the ideas and come up with a proposal for how to spend the money. This will be done after the election.
9) Old Business: None
10) New Business: Another commissioner may have resigned, but nothing is yet official. A promising new candidate has expressed interest in joining us, and we will invite her to the Heritage Center for a meet and greet.
Meeting adjourned 10:22 a.m.
Submitted by Mary Dale Lancaster