Latest News – May 30
Senior Citizen Survey Facts Revealed Tonight
Tonight’s the night! Yes, after months of meetings and planning, after weeks of conducting surveys, after spending $26,000 to garner what the needs and wants for older Lake County residents are, the results will be revealed at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, May 30. Come to the Lake County Senior Citizen Center where attendees will discover the answers to such pinpointed questions as what do you see as the biggest concern for seniors? And what services are needed for seniors in Lake County?
Prepare to be amazed as officials FINALLY reveal how the data collected will solve the urgent needs of today’s seniors! How will the $26,000 investment pay off and provide the compass for “refining the job description” for a Director of the newly established county department.
Of course, Leadville Today is still waiting for answers from the last meeting: like what qualifications does the agency conducting the survey have in regards to working with the senior citizen community since they present themselves as “Organizing Lake County to build a healthier community for youth and families?” Why did the county opt for a $26,000 survey, instead of the initial $18,000 survey? LT asked to be sent information, signed up for the updates and wrote to county officials for answers after the April meeting. Nada!
Leadville Today followed county and city-funded websites and social media platforms for updates about this process after many residents and LT readers pressed for additional transparency surrounding the survey. To date, not one word, one post that the Senior Citizen survey was even being conducted! And as all the data shows, seniors are some of the fastest growing audience for social media platforms like Facebook! In fact, the agency who will now oversee this newly formed department found the time to promote National Pet Week, but not the fact that they were gathering information to assess the needs of Lake County’s oldest citizens!
Up until a few days ago, Leadville Today was the only place that has posted the official Senior Citizen newsletter, although senior board members asked for it to be posted on the county’s senior webpage more than 18 months ago. What residents will also not find are earlier versions of the newsletter, archived. Those were a bit more critical of how county officials were (NOT) handling the situation. In fact, it’s sad to report that the Senior Citizen web page actually has pictures of deceased seniors – STILL! This is something which was brought to officials’ attention more than one year ago when LT offered FREE services to up date the information or develop a new web page that the seniors could update themselves so that the information would be accurate. The county flatly refused and said they would handle it.
No answers, no follow-up, no transparency! Stay tuned or come and join the conversation tonight at 5:30! The Senior Center is the red building located adjacent to the million dollar skateboard park and the $380,000 Huck Finn Ice Rink Building.
In the meantime, here’s the latest Lake County Senior Citizen Center newsletter edition from Leadville’s Ruth Purkat who also serves as the local Area Agency on Aging representative.
Polka Dance Brings Young at Heart to Dance Floor
This Saturday June 3, the Knights of Columbus will hold a Polka Dance in Memory of Bill & Helen Skala. The dance is open to the public from 7 – 11 p.m. at The Elks Lodge at 123 W. 5th Street in Leadville. The Pete Dunda Band will be playing your favorite polka tunes as well as other music sure to pack the dance floor. Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased at the door. The dance is a fundraiser for the Knights from Holy Family Parish in Leadville. This is usually a pack house of good times and old-fashioned fun!
For those who may not be familiar with the Skalas, who the polka dance will be in memory of, Bill and Helen were Leadville community leaders for decades, through the booms, and through the busts, always remaining genuinely dedicated to Leadville and its residents.
While their business ventures included everything from running the lunch room at Ski Cooper, to the memorable Molly Brown Dairy Queen, it’s the family’s lasting legacy of delivering cold beer to folks in the high country via the George F. Rutkey Beer Distributing company, that deems the dedication of the Boom Days beer tent in their honor all the more appropriate.
During Bill Skala’s service on City Council, the streets of Leadville actually got paved! And more than one; imagine that! In fact, during his time as Mayor Pro Tem, Bill secured the recognition for Leadville as an All American City in 1959.
While Helen’s primary dedication was to family, raising their three children, she always found time to serve the community. In fact, it was Mary Jo Copper, this year’s Grand Marshall for the Parade, who reminisced about the time both her and Helen served together on the Leadville Chamber of Commerce Board.
The Skalas were also actively involved in Leadville’s Catholic Church, as well as members of the Leadville Elks and Eagles Lodges, dedicating countless volunteer hours to their community.
Bill passed away in November 2015 at the age of 96, with his wife Helen preceding him in death nearly a decade earlier. Their long list of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren stands as a testament to a good, decent Leadville life, full of family and a special dedication to community through true civic service.
Meals on Wheels: Hot News for Seniors
It’s a cool Friday morning in Leadville, and while the rest of Huck Finn Park is eerily quiet, the Lake County Senior Center is a beehive of activity. After all, it’s a Meals on Wheels day!
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, a dozen volunteers meet at the senior citizen center to prepare hot meals under the direction of Cook Loretta Barela. On the day Leadville Today rode along, the menu consisted of fish (it was Lent) along with some rice and corn. This delivery day, since Easter was just a couple of days away, the recipients also got a colored egg and a few candies from the Easter Bunny.
The Leadville Meals on Wheels team is a well-oiled machine, creating two assembly lines to prepare the more than 30 meals that get cooked, packed, and delivered three times a week. And while the hairnets and rubber gloves might appear a bit clumsy, they didn’t seem to get in the way of the lively chatter exchanged among the helpers.
While many of the volunteers in similar programs across the country are high school students, in Leadville the task falls to other senior citizens, those who are able-bodied and able to drive.
Meals on Wheels delivers food to individuals at home who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals. Established in 1974, the program supports more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition organizations across the country. By providing funding, leadership, education and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to provide services to their communities. In Leadville, this vital senior program is sponsored – and funded – by Area Agency on Aging.
Research shows that home-delivered meal programs significantly improve diet quality, increase nutrient intakes, reduce food insecurity and improve quality-of-life among the recipients. The programs also reduce government expenditures by reducing the need of recipients to use hospitals, nursing homes or other expensive community-based services.
Simply put, the program provides hot meals three times a week to homebound seniors and other “shut-ins” in the area, who would otherwise go hungry. Their efforts are appreciated in many ways by the recipients, often times being the catalyst for allowing them to continue to live in their homes independently and with dignity. And for those senior citizens who have family in Leadville, this food program supports their choice to age in place, near their children and grandchildren.
Meals on Wheels has been recruiting local volunteers to assist. You don’t have to commit for all three days and many times having back-up delivery people, allows the regular runners the opportunity to take a day off when needed.
If you are interested please contact the Lake County Senior Citizen Center at 719-486-1774.