COMMISSION ON AGING
November 10, 2021
Held at the Heritage Center
Members Present: Mary Dale Lancaster, Kathleen Brandt, Ruth Moran, Hilda Rhodes, Sarah Atwood, Sarah Cummings, Garner Lester, Jean Rexford
Staff: Angelica Fontanez, Margherita Pilato, Michelle Stillman
First Selectwoman: Julia Pemberton
Guests/Public: Doug Renfield-Miller
1) Meeting called to order: at 9:00 am.
2) Approval of October 14 Minutes: Sarah Cummings & Sarah Atwood
3) Public comment: Doug reported about his presentation re: Advance Directives and the Good Ending Website, and he offered to do a similar program for the Heritage Center, possibly in collaboration with the Mark Twain Library.
4) Programming committee: Has met several times this past month. Much interest shown in Heritage Center as a result of display tables at church fair and library exhibit. Discussed how to move forward in reimagining the current space so that it is more usable. Discussion about finalizing our computer needs, including 15 laptops with portable charging stations and appropriate updated computers for staff members. Julia Pemberton volunteered that she would assist us with selection of the computer models when we provide her the list of uses these computers will have. Decorating committee is currently on hold awaiting progress in building re-design. Grant committee is in discovery phase.
5) First Selectman – Julia Pemberton: West COG has hired a project manager to help municipalities comply with standards. Projects in other municipalities seem to stretch ARP boundaries. RCC is not adequate to meet the needs of community, both for children and seniors. Julie will recommend committee with one member from each commission to review ARP ideas. Those will be recommendations, not binding upon Board of Selectman. Discussion proceeded regarding what types of budget items might be covered by ARP and items that will be town responsibility. Julia recognized the need for a full-time program director. Annual budget meeting moved to later in January. Further discussion ensued regarding Wi-Fi issues at the RCC as well as computer needs. We need to support Angelica in budget requests. Julia has had to eliminate 2 full-time positions to keep taxes down.
6) Chairperson – Mary Dale Lancaster: Letter to the Selectmen regarding ARP funds near completion. Final editing was offered, expect to send letter to Selectman this week, all in agreement. Ingrid Heller will be retiring from the commission due to relocation. We now have 3 open alternate positions. The Commission unanimously and enthusiastically agreed to recommend Pat Sovern and Peggy Zamore as candidates to the First Selectman.
7) Director of Social Services – Angelica Fontanez: Food pantry issues were discussed after a review of food pantries in neighboring towns. Will Haskell’s office provided helpful statistics about how government services, including SNAP, are utilized in Redding and in neighboring towns. The food pantry may require some re-imagining. ****We should do a future program for MSP ****
8) Senior Program Director – Margherita Pilato: Programs: total payments to instructors are up because we are busier. Although the demand is there, we cannot provide more programs because we do not have the space and other restrictions. We are so busy. Class participant income is also up, and we are almost matching for expenditures. Tai Chi class is almost over, had 10 people complete. Pickle ball is going great. Current events is back in person. Barre class has added another class. 19-20 participants in fall tag sale – although it was great event, it was in competition with other fall events. Will probably hold it only in spring next year. Weir Farm tour was enjoyable, well attended, and in depth. Bartlett Arboretum tour went well. CBD oil talk had many participants. Presenter was from Waveny Visiting Nurses of Fairfield County. CBD helps with sleep, anxiety, pain. Steitzel farm now grows hemp and has a commercial outlet. Round-up fair at MTL was also a great event. The end of year will offer free 4 lunches through local restaurants offered thanks to a grant from Ridgefield Meals on Wheels procured by Angelica. 20 sign-up spots per lunch for those over age 60. We may wish to try and continue a similar program in the future.
9) Old Business: Jean. We would like to do something special for Ingrid. Perhaps an afternoon tea with cake or light lunch. Sarah Atwood volunteered to spearhead this effort.
10) New Business: The Redding Grange is up and running. Induction programs. State Grange will pay to fix up the building, already has had mold remediation. Agricultural organization. Non-denominational.
11) Meeting adjourned: 10:49 am
Submitted by Kathleen Brandt
Wednesday, December 8, 2021