Monday, June 30, 2008

Senior Center open house draws big crowd for music, free lunch

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of Northwest Arkansas Times photographer Andy Shupe photographing Frankie Kelly playing his fiddle at the Fayetteville Senior Activity Center on Sunday, June 29, 2008.

People crowd open house
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2008

Gospel music played and tables were full at the Fayetteville Senior Center open house Sunday afternoon.
It was exactly what Director Sherri Napier was aiming for when she decided to have the center’s secondever open house.
“It’s awareness,” she said. “A lot of people think the senior center is a nursing home or for the poor. They don’t really know much about it.”
Napier and her staff spent weeks outside local Wal-Marts advertising the open house, hoping to attract more seniors who might become regular attendees. The more people who become members, the more funding the center can get from the government and the more opportunities it can provide to seniors, she said.
“In Washington County we have the numbers; we just need to get them here,” she said. “There are people here today that have never been here before.”
About 200 people filled the room, eating cake and enjoying the music.
Napier said she’d like to host more open houses to spark the community’s interest.
Across the county, senior centers are making cuts.
Kaye Curtis, the director of senior services for the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, which oversees senior centers in the county, said earlier this month that the Farmington and Prairie Grove centers are cutting their operating hours and reworking their director’s positions. Gas prices, along with the fact that centers have to supply 51 percent of their own funding with donations and fund-raisers, are taking their toll.
The open house Sunday also provided some positive publicity for the center.

Lately, Napier said, she had been experiencing difficulties with members who had their own ideas of how they wanted to spend the center’s money. She said the ideas were good, but there just wasn’t any money to be spent. The center is operating with a $14, 000 deficit each month, she said, and she hopes to avoid the funding problems by tapping what she said was “ money there for the taking.”
“We’ve just got to get seniors in the door,” she said.
The center had its last open house on June 17, when about 110 people attended. Napier wants to keep the idea rolling and start working in unique twists to attract more people, like having a 1950s style dance.
The center is at 945 S. College Ave., north of Walker Park. For more information about the services it offers, call 571-2920.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Free lunch and concert today at Fayetteville Senior Center in Walker Park

Please click on Image to ENLARGE and READ invitation to free lunch at Fayetteville's city-owned senior center building in Walker Park.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Association for Beaver Lake Environment growing!

Sent: Sat 6/28/08 12:51 PM
This is an e-mail from ' - Association for Beaver Lake Environment '

Hello ABLE members,

I wanted to let you know that ABLE hosted a special Town Hall Meeting for Beaver Lake Dock Owners on Monday, June 23, 2008. The purpose of the meeting was to sell ABLE to Beaver Lake property owners, identify/discuss issues affecting and threatening the lake, and to increase ABLE membership. This meeting was very successful! We have signed up many new members, the meeting was standing room only, over 110 people attended!

We also had two guest speakers:
Thad Cheaney from the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers - discussed dock and shoreline issues.
Nathan Jones, VP of Power Source Solar - discussed solar applications on boat docks.

I have posted the program on the website ( Login, click on "Information Library" page, and then click on Town Hall Meetings. You will see the "Dock Owners Meeting". You will need Adobe Acrobat in order to view the program.

Thanks for supporting ABLE!

Doug Timmons
President, ABLE

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ozark Highlands Group of Sierra Club to meet with James Burke to discuss fight against dirty coal burning in Arkansas at Smiling Jack's at 7 p.m. Wed.

Our June monthly meeting will be this Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Smiling Jack's just off Dixon Street behind the Dixon Street book shop.

James Burke will be joining us to talk about the coal campaign and the progress we are making in that area. It will be very informal; this is a great opportunity to learn more about what we can do to make sure Arkansas doesn't build any new coal fired power plants. Bring your coal questions for James to answer!

Our Arkansas Chapter chair, Adrienne, will be bringing some yard signs protesting dirty coal if you would like one.

As always, please forward this email along to others you think might be interested.

Molly Rawn
Sierra Club, Ozark Headwaters Group
(479) 879-1620

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Guests invited to Senior Center for free lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Thursday June 19, 2008

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

Free meals supposed to be for people over 60. But that isn't on the "certificate." I believe the idea would be to offer free lunch to someone regardless of age who brings a senior-qualifier to visit the center that day.
Also, membership is free to people 60 and older. Younger people are visitors or guests.

Reservations are requested by 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, 2008, so that the right amount of food will be prepared without excess waste.

"New exercise center" correctly would read "several new walking machines in exercise area."

Monday, June 9, 2008

Senior restroom remains too cluttered for the frail or handicapped to use

PLEASE click on image to ENLARGE west-end senior center restroom photo from June 9, 2008.

Times: Senior centers pay bills at expense of staff

Senior centers pay for swelling prices with their staff
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Monday, June 9, 2008
washco senior center layoffs coming ˜

Amber Berry can feel an impending layoff breathing down her neck.

The director of the Prairie Grove Senior Center said budget cuts have rendered her position expendable and the center will become a satellite facility for the Lincoln Senior Center.

“ According to (the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District and the Area Agency on Aging ), we’re not bringing enough money to support my salary, ” Berry said.

She said she is expected to raise $ 12, 000 a month through various fundraisers to support the center, an almost impossible task with gas prices pushing up the price of everything else.

“ We had three fundraisers in April, ” she said. “ The best fundraiser we’ve had was a Mother’s Day breakfast. ”

It netted $ 350.

Alongside multiple fundraisers to pull money out of a community also paying high prices, Berry said, the center is also asking senior citizens to whom it serves lunch to make a $ 2 donation.

“ We average $ 1. 84 for each meal, ” she said. “ The home-delivered meals get even less. ”

Kaye Curtis, the director of senior services for the economic development district, said the group has no other choice than to make staffing adjustments. Aside from putting the Prairie Grove center in the Lincoln center director’s hands, the district has also cut the Farmington Senior Center director’s hours from eight hours a day to six, she said.

“ Those locations are not bringing in enough people or money to support a fulltime director, ” she said.

Prairie Grove averages 15-20 people and Farmington about 20-30 people on a good day.

Curtis said the state and federal governments only supply the county with 49 percent of the money required to run the seven centers in its boundaries. The centers are responsible for the other 51 percent.

It doesn’t help that gas is flirting with a $ 4 a gallon level, which is also driving up the cost of food.

“ Minimum wage keeps going up as well, ” Curtis said.

Combine that with the high percentage of elderly people in Washington County and something Curtis dubbed as “ the baby boomer effect” (that generation is reaching retirement age ), the funding is not keeping up with the growth.

Curtis said the district must do what it can to keep its costs in line.

Jackie Lonon is the Washington County coordinator for senior services. She’s currently operating the Farmington Senior Center until a permanent part-time director can be hired.

Lonon said dance fundraisers and meal donations help, but raising money in an area with two other centers (Prairie Grove and Lincoln ) is difficult.

“ It’s almost impossible, ” she said.

Sally Metcalf, director of the Lincoln center, said that even though her center is expanding its kitchen, it is still cutting back like every other center.

“(The kitchen funding ) comes from a Community Block Grant and several other grants, ” she said.

She said there may not be an end to the crunch in sight, but she hopes the government ups the funding it’s sending.

“ That would be wonderful, ” she said.

Curtis said there’s nothing definite in the works, but the district is in the process of working with local governments to obtain some funding.

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Internet access lines in place; Monday's sign gone on Thursday

Please see photos taken on Monday June2, 2008, (two posts below this one) and appreciate the improvement!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Senior restroom cluttered, Internet access censored

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

Access to the restroom on the west end of the building has been limited by storage of a rolling serving tray device for more than a week. Vacant space is available all over the building is for parking that piece of equipment. How can a person in a wheelchair or using a walker get to the toilet or the sink without help here?
Seniors must walk more than 100 feet to the office at the opposite end of the building and ASK for a connection wire before using computer online. Good exercise for some, but a bit of a hassle for those in wheelchairs, using walkers or carrying their oxygen bottles. Plugging the phone wire into the wall and into the appropriate orifice in the computer can be difficult for many people. For a person with a handicap of any kind, this can make use of the computer impossible. What possible excuse for this can anyone make?