Search Results for 'heating'

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES FOR ACTIVE AGING GRANTS

I would love to help develop this, but grants aren’t made to individuals.

from WHAT’S UP – October 15, 2008
Compiled Weekly by Peg Tileston On behalf of the Alaska Women’s Environmental Network (AWEN), Alaska Center for the Environment (ACE), and Alaska Conservation Alliance (ACA)

*November 21
Deadline for proposal submission for THE EPA BUILD HEALTHY COMMUNITIES FOR ACTIVE AGING GRANTS. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to award in early 2009, two grants for $100,000 each to train older adults to be environmental leaders and demonstrate how greenways and sustainable streets can improve the environment, human health and the quality of life for persons of all ages. Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Training and Demonstration Projects must include a strategy that either 1) trains older adults to be environmental leaders on local planning decisions that affect their community’s built environment; or 2) demonstrates how greenways and sustainable streets can improve the quality of life for persons of all ages while improving environmental quality. For purposes of this RFP Greenways and Sustainable Streets are defined as follows: Greenways are linear corridors of open space. They include natural corridors (e.g., along a stream, river, or ridge), canals, rail road rights of way converted to recreational use, and trails. They link places together, inviting city and community residents to experience a connection with the natural environment. Greenways connect neighborhoods, downtowns, schools, community centers, and other important public places. They can include waterfront walkways, stream corridors and other natural ecological reserves, as well as off-street biking and walking paths. Sustainable Streets are a multimodal rights-of-way designed and operated to create benefits to mobility, community and ecology. They are streets that use sustainable design principles that promote safe, least-polluting ways to connect people and incorporate natural, landscape-based methods that infiltrate, reuse, or evaportranspirate (allow water to evaporate back into the air) stormwater runoff, and mitigate the “urban heat island effect” (the additional heating in the air over a city as the result of replacement of vegetated surfaces with those composed of heat-retaining, man-made materials such as asphalt and dark colored roofing). Eligible entities include States, or state agencies, the District of Columbia, territories, American Indian Tribes (federally recognized), and possessions of the U.S. It is also available to public and private universities and colleges, hospitals, laboratories, other public or private nonprofit institutions, and 501(c)(3) organizations. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/aging/grants/index.htm#2008_1121_grant_1.


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Gov Sarah Palin call-in KYUK

Last Friday there was a brief news story about the governor maybe coming to Bethel. An even briefer notice on the radio today (but not in the news) said there would be a call-in program with the Governor on Thursday, January 10, 2008 from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM [deadline]

Call early as I’m sure there will be a number of people trying to get in.

local numbers for Bethel 543-KYUK (543-5985) and state-wide 1-800-478-5985 (double-check this)

Questions to ask–

  • why did elders not get their flu shots until the week before Thanksgiving? Older people are on the priority list. The state had vaccine available from mid-September.
  • why was all that huge state block grant money spent on reducing the size of the workshop at the senior center, a partial rain shelter for the bus, siding, but no accessible toilets and no way for anyone with a walker or wheelchair to get from the parking lot to the door?
  • why is the nearest nursing home or assisted living home 500 miles away? why must we continue to have elders die unattended (for hours sometimes) at these places?
  • why is there only one intake screener for the elder abuse “hot” line?
  • why don’t state grants for senior services require an active, effective, local senior advisory board at the recipent?
  • why aren’t elders involved in emergency, pandemic, and disaster preparedness, including emergency shelters? (that’s because there is no emergency shelter in Bethel)
  • what are the state’s plans for community relocation (environmental change) and how are elders involved?
  • why are there no housing standards so elders don’t have to spend their limited income on extra heating fuel?
  • why are there public water supplies with water so discolored and distasteful that elders spend their limted income on bottled water?

What’s your question to ask?


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Bethel fuel sales tax corrected

Ordinance 06-05, to amend the sales tax code to provide an exemption for senior citizens’ heating fuel, was finally passed on 2006 July 25. The vote was 4 to 2 and 1 abstention. For, Hugh Dyment, Tundy Rogers, Andy McGowen, Mary Kenick. Against, Thor Williams, Dan Leinberger. Abstain, citing conflict of interest, David Trantham.

The ordinance was originally submitted in February 2006 by Councilor Trantham and again by Councilor Rogers. Hearings occurred at the March 28, April 11, April 25, June 13, and July 25 council meetings. The delay in action was a result of examining the costs of modifying the exemption (by the finance committee) and the request by several councilors to have the ordinance re-written. The ordinance was not re-written and was finally voted upon.

The finance department estimated that perhaps 85 people would take advantage of the exemption. A limited ad hoc survey found elders can be paying $350 to $600 per month for 75 to 100 gallons (coldest months). The City might lose $14,700 in annual tax; seniors might save $173 per year.

It should be noted —

  • as the finance department notes, there are no data on who might use the exemption and how many gallons of fuel oil (diesel) would be involved
  • 75 to 100 gallons a month seems like a lot of fuel. The amount depends primarily on the quality of housing and heating. For older people who are enrolled tribal members, their tribe or tribal housing consortium has a trust responsibility to ensure adequate housing

The finance committee recommended unanimously against the ordinance because it might result in requests for special treatment or exemptions from other groups and individuals. Churches were used as a specific example. Therefore, correcting the fuel oversight would result in a drain on City finances.

Councilor Dyment promised to create an ordinance for the next council meeting, which would cut $24,000 from other City services because of the senior exemption.

It should also be noted —

  • the ordinance corrects an oversight in the existing municipal code which grants a recognition to older Bethel people, because they are older, and is not means tested
  • some, but not all, churches currently have a city government subsidy (reduced garbage fees).
  • sales tax income is not guaranteed income for budgeting purposes
  • as the price of fuel goes up, the number of gallons sold tends to decrease. Why cut $24,000?
  • this is not the first time that the elderly have been blamed for City deficits

Exemptions and subsidies do subtract from potential City income. As you can see below, elders’ exemptions are only R, S, and T of the alphabet list. There was no data presented as to the financial hit of senior exemptions out of the total exempted sales tax income. If the issue were one merely of tax income and city spending, then perhaps all exemptions should be revoked, not just the ones for older people.

Certainly, the illegal exemptions should be revoked first.
[ORDINANCE #04-28, AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 13.16.010 OF THE BETHEL MUNICIPAL CODE TO REMOVE CHURCHES FROM A MONTHLY FLAT RATE OF $45.00 TO A RESIDENTIAL SERVICE RATE WITH A FLAT RATE OF $12.00. Introduced by: City Manager Herron Date: November 30, 2004
Public Hearing: January 11, 2004, Action: Adopted
Vote: 4-2 (Rodgers, Dyment)
ENACTED THIS 11th DAY OF JANUARY, 2005 by a vote of 4 in favor and 2 opposed. Hugh Dyment, Mayor]

Initially, the Finance Director said eight churches would qualify; then eleven. But there are 16 announced places of worship in the newspaper. And there are other organizations with Federal tax exemptions as churches.

The Supreme Court has held that “[t]he First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.” Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97, 104 (1968).

This principle of neutrality “is part of our settled jurisprudence” and “prohibits government from abandoning secular purposes in order to put an imprimatur on one religion, or on religion as such, or to favor the adherents of any sect or religious organization. ” Texas Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock, 489 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1989) (plurality opinion) (quoting Gillette, 401 U.S. at 450). According to the text of the ordinance, the purpose for allowing churches to receive the same rates as residences for solid waste collection is that “churches are not like an ordinary business for profit” and “churches receive gifts and donations (not revenue), so Chapter 13.16.010 of the Code should charge churches with the lowest charge for solid waste services so as to treat churches fairly.”

Although government may provide a benefit to religious organizations without violating the Establishment Clause, the government must either provide this benefit to both religious and non-religious organizations that meet the same neutral criteria or the benefit must lift a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. Here, it is extremely unlikely that the commercial charge of $45 for solid waste collection places a substantial burden on the exercise of religion.

Thus, the ordinance can only be justified if it is extended to non-religious organizations as well. While it is true that residential dwellings receive the lower rate, if the city is going to extend the lower rate to churches, it should also extend the same rate to nonprofit organizations because the same rationale that was put forward for allowing churches to pay the lower rate (they do not have any revenue) would also apply to nonprofit organizations. Now, it may be the case that Bethel has no nonprofit organizations, which is why they were not included in the ordinance.

The Supreme Court has also held that providing a government benefit to one religious denomination while denying it to another constitutes an unconstitutional preference for one religion over others. See Bd. of Educ. v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687, 706-07 (1994) (“whatever the limits of permissible legislative accommodations may be, it is clear that neutrality as among religions must be honored”).

Fuel oil sales tax was overlooked in the city codes which provide —

4.16.040 Exemptions.
R. The sale to a senior citizen of food intended for consumption by the senior citizen, his or her spouse living in the same household, or the unemancipated minor children of either the senior citizen or his or her spouse, who live in the same household. The senior citizen shall display at the time of the sale a current and valid senior citizen exemption certificate issued to the person under Section 4.16.050C of this chapter. For purposes of this subsection, “food” is defined in accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2012(g) (definition of “food” for purposes of the Food Stamp Act);
S. The payment of rent by a senior citizen on a single dwelling occupied as the senior citizen’s primary residence and permanent place of abode. The senior citizen shall provide proof at the time of payment of a current and valid senior citizen exemption certificate issued to the person under Section 4.16.050C of this chapter;
T. Payment for telephone, electric, water sewer utility services by a senior citizen on a single dwelling occupied as the senior citizen’s primary residence and permanent place of abode. The senior citizen shall provide proof at the time of payment of a current and valid senior citizen exemption certificate issued to the person under Section 4.16.050C of this chapter;

There is an additional credit —

13.16.070 Senior citizen credit.
A.
Any Bethel citizen at least sixty years of age residing in their own household shall receive up to a twenty-five-dollar monthly utility credit, if they are the primary source of income, after making application for such at the city utilities office.

B. All other Bethel citizens at least sixty years of age that do not meet the conditions of subsection A of this section shall receive up to a ten-dollar monthly utility credit after making application for such to the city utilities office.

C. Each residential unit shall be limited to one credit application. (Modification 2 of Ord. 85, 1980: prior code § 11.16.080)


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When you visit the senior center

Senior centers have provided services under the Older Americans Act since 1965. One of the objectives of the OAA is Freedom, independence, and the free exercise of individual initiative…..and protection against abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Not all Alaska communities are fortunate enough to have a senior center. Nevertheless, small places are able to contract with their local restaurants or a van owner to provide basic services.

Bethel has a senior center and nearly $1 million dollars a year is spent on the program. About 300 of us are old enough to be eligible to use the senior center, although fewer than 10% or so are regulars.

When next you go (if you can’t go in person, go virtually here), try these ideas—Because, not everyone has had a chance to use a wheelchair or a walker, or hasn’t pushed their grandbabies stroller, or hasn’t had a bad cataract surgery—

  • Before leaving your vehicle or taxi, take off your shoes and socks. Enter the senior center (do not use any stairs).
  • Inside, unless you have just been to the eye doctor, wear your darkest glasses or double-up sunglasses, or borrow someone’s “coke-bottle” glasses. Or, perhaps, smear a light coating of Vaseline or motor oil on your glasses. Quickly walk from the lunch room through to the other room and back again (yes, you are still barefoot).
  • Try to read a book while sitting in front of the reception desk or in the seats away from the windows.
  • Go up to the open loft area where the day program for the most frail occurs. Grab a pillow with one hand. Put the other hand behind your back or in your waistband. Quick! you have fewer than 90 seconds to get 150 feet away from the building (remember, no stairs, no elevator, no shoes). How many cars were parked in front of the bottom exit? (Grate Sidewalks (Bad gate)
  • Go to the toilet—While balancing on only one leg, sit on one of the commodes. Stand up.
  • Pretend you are Goldilocks—sit back in each of the chairs and sofas. Place your hands on your shoulders (hug yourself tightly). Now stand up.

Matt Erin sit-to-stand Image from Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute

  • Do you remember building a sled or repairing a boat in the workshop? Try to take it back in to the renovated shop. While you are there, point to the fire alarm or emergency telephone. Be sure to wash your hands of chemicals before returning to the main building.
  • Back inside the main room, lie on the floor and look up. How long have those clerestory windows been boarded over? When was that piece of cardboard tacked on the ceiling to cover where the heating stove was?
  • I don’t know how one can mimic hearing difficulties. I do know that people have said that even with the loud speakers it is very difficult to make out the Yup’ik or Cup’ik or English used in meetings.

Ask the Senior Director to see—

  • the last 5 logs of the regular fire drills
  • the certificate of national accreditation for senior centers (National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC), a unit of the National Council on the Aging, Inc. (NCOA)
  • minutes of the Senior Advisory Board for the past 5 years
  • staff roster


The following are suggested to bring with you when visiting adult day centers (from the National Adult Day Services Association, Inc., http://www.nadsa.org)

Adult Day Centers provide a planned program that includes a variety of health, social and support services in a protective setting during daytime hours. This is a community-based service designed to meet the individual needs of functionally and/or cognitively impaired adults.

The following list will help you decide which day center is the right one for you.

http://www.nadsa.org/quality_providers/default.asp#s5

SITE VISIT CHECKLIST (retrieved 2005)
Yes / No Did you feel welcomed?
Yes / No Did someone spend time finding out what you want and need?
Yes / No Did someone clearly explain what services and activities the center provides?
Yes / No Did they present information about staffing, program procedures, costs and what they expect of caregivers?
Yes / No Was the facility clean, pleasant and free of odor?
Yes / No Were the building and the rooms wheelchair accessible?
Yes / No Was there sturdy, comfortable furniture?
Yes / No Loungers for relaxation? Chairs with arms?
Yes / No Is there a quiet place for conferences?
Yes / No Is there a place to isolate sick persons?
Yes / No Did you see cheerful faces on staff and participants?
Yes / No Do volunteers help?
Yes / No Are participants involved in planning activities or making other suggestions?
=====================================================

And don’t be a such a stranger; it’s your center.


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