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Claudia Alta Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson nonagenarian

National Public Radio did a nice story about Mrs. Johnson.

They mentioned some of her own accomplishments, including as

  • media mogul (radio) at a time when women did not participate in business, much less ran large ones
  • impetus for the Highway Beautification Act 1965 (Lady Bird Act) which removed highway billboards
  • as tireless worker for native plants photo from http://www.wildflower.org/ladybird/

These last two are hard to believe these days would have been much of a challenge to implement. But for anyone who witnessed the difference along federal highways and along the streets and parks of Washington, DC, and the then opposition , it was an amazing effort. The wildflower research center will be a lasting legacy, among others.

the first solo whistle-stop tour of a first lady in history (1964)
founded a national wildflower research center in Austin (1982)
first First Lady to receive Congressional Gold Medal (1988)

She was not the longest living First Lady (Bess Truman, 97 years).

Claudia Alta Taylor was born in Karnack, Texas, near the Louisiana border, on Dec. 22, 1912. She was 2 years old when she was given her nickname by a maid who described her as “purty as a lady bird.”

She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1934 with bachelor of arts and bachelor of journalism degrees, and met Johnson, then a congressional aide, the same year…. In 1988 she received the Congressional Gold Medal for her environmental and humanitarian work, becoming the first wife of a president to do so.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N11219716.htm

In 1943, Mrs. Johnson bought a failing low-power daytime-only Austin radio station with an inheritance from her mother. Armed with her journalism degree and a tireless work ethic, she took a hands-on ownership role, selling advertising, hiring staff, and even cleaning floors. Over time, her Austin broadcasting company grew to include an AM and FM radio station and a television station, all bearing the same call letters: KTBC… Mrs. Johnson stayed actively involved in the LBJ Holding Company well into her 80s.
http://www.wildflower.org/ladybird/

Stay tuned over at Ed Darrell’s place for his perspective, as a Texas historian. Update. The direct link–
Steel magnolias have nothing on Lady Bird Johnson, who understood the power of a blanket of flowers, the importance of roots and family, and how much grace can mean to those who get it.

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Quick notes

Legislature doubles elderly aid in special session Published: June 27, 2007
JUMPS TO $250 A MONTH: Legislature also increases maximum qualifying income. …
The Legislature voted to increase the aid so that it ranges from $125 to $250 from the current $120 a month for the year that starts Sunday. They also boosted the number of seniors eligible to an estimated 10,700, from the current 7,000, by raising the maximum qualifying income level to $22,347 for individuals and $29,960 for couples… Lawmakers called for the special session just weeks after adjourning for the year in Juneau on May 16. The senior-aid legislation died after becoming ensnared in end-of-session politics.

Several lawmakers argued Tuesday that increasing the amount of cash assistance would create an unsustainable amount of state spending for an entitlement that overlapped other state-sponsored programs for seniors.
http://www.adn.com/news/government/legislature/story/9084438p-9000510c.html
See earlier post, Alaska Senior Care special session – https://theelderlies.wordpress.com/2007/06/04/alaska-senior-care-special-session/

Vote for Your Favorite Essay, Poems and Photographs Contest to Commemorate 100th Anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Life

Vote for your favorite finalist from the many intergenerational teams that submitted photos, essays, or poems for the Rachel Carson “Sense of Wonder” contest. You may vote for your favorite in each of the five categories. The contest commemorates the 100th anniversary of environmentalist Rachel Carson’s life. Finalists were chosen from the entries submitted by teams in twelve states, including children as young as 15 months and some older adults over 90 years old.
http://www.epa.gov/aging/resources/thesenseofwonder/contest/

The deadline to vote is Friday, July 20, 2007. Winners will be announced at the annual meeting of Generations United, July 24-27 in Washington, DC.

Visit Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub to see that Rachel Carson is still making folks think.

Excellence in Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging

The EPA is accepting applications from municipalities, counties and tribes for an award which recognizes outstanding community planning and strategies that support active aging. Awards for “Excellence in Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging” will be presented to communities that demonstrate the best and most inclusive overall approach to implementing smart growth and active aging at the neighborhood, tribe, municipality, county, and/or regional levels.

Applicants must be public-sector entities in the United States and coordinate with their local Area Agency on Aging. Public-sector entities include all levels of elected governments, from city councils to state legislatures and their constituent parts such as planning departments and other executive branch divisions. Application, Award Guidelines and Entry Rules on the Excellence Awards for Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging can be found at http://www.epa.gov/aging/bhc/awards/

Applications are due October 17, 2007. Winners will be announced at the 7th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth: Building Safe, Healthy and Livable Communities Conference in Washington, DC, February 2008. For more general information on Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging please see http://epa.gov/aging/bhc/index.htm

New Web Site Supports Active Aging
The Learning Network for Active Aging recently launched their website, http://www.lnactiveaging.org, which will serve as one of the focal points for information exchange on the Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Initiative. The Learning Network is affiliated with the Active for Life initiative, headquartered at the School of Rural Public Health at Texas A&M Health Science Center. Active for Life ( http://www.activeforlife.info) is one of several Active Living projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The Learning Network receives technical support from the Healthy Aging Research Network at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and is coordinated with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA).

Mapping Older America
The Brookings Institute has recently released “Mapping the Growth of Older America: Seniors and Boomers in the Early 21st Century,” by William H. Frey (June 2007). This report highlights how the aging boomers, who constitute this decade’s fastest growing age group, are expanding nearly 50 percent in size from 2000 to 2010. This group-more highly educated, with more professional women, and more diverse than its predecessors-will add new stresses to suburban and Sun Belt locations where they are predominantly “retiring in place” with demands for health, transportation, and other services.
For full report see http://www3.brookings.edu/views/articles/200705frey.pdf

Fact sheets for Caregivers and Older Adults
The EPA Aging Initiative has developed fact sheets on environmental hazards that can worsen common chronic conditions. These brief fact sheets are available at no cost and can be downloaded at our website http://epa.gov/aging/resources/factsheets/index.htm#fs . The fact sheets have been translated into 11 languages. A low vision version is available on the website too. To request copies please send an email to: aging.info AT epa DOT gov

Most of the above is from June 2007 Aging Initiative List Serve published by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Sort of amazing as just a few years ago the current White House agency was promoting that older people were worth less when calculating environmental impacts.

The list serv is worth subscribing to. Unfortunately, they are not following the convention of putting their contact info on each issue so I’ll have to track down the info for you.


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Barry Commoner, nonagenarian

Quote of the Moment: Barry Commoner and presidential campaigns Barry Commoner turned 90 on May 28.

Barry Commoner
[Liz O. Baylen for The New York Times]

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, a wonderful mix of history, education, and thoughtfulness, had this notice.

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O’Folks (off their rocker)

Old age isn't a disease.

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