From Mary R. Ash
It came as a great surprise when I read the December 9th Wetzel Chronicle to find “Pine Grove Seeks Rent From Seniors” article. I would like to address each issue.
On several occasions during my tenure as Director this concern has arisen each year. The most recent in February of 2007, in which Mayor Barr attended the Wetzel County Committee on Aging Board of Director’s meeting.
At that time we discussed the Federal and State funding, options to seek funds for the Byrd Center, and our assistance to obtain the funding. We also explained that Family Services occupies the building daily to provide meals through the Title IIIC funds and the WCCOA provides the Title IIIB transportation services for those meals.
On March 19, 2007, Councilman John Johnston came to my office to seek information on the options for funding. When the meeting ended it was my understanding Mr. Johnston would share this information with council and they would seek our assistance if needed.
Regarding the transportation of seniors to the New Martinsville site. In October the seniors could not occupy the Pine Grove center due to a fire. When I spoke with the President of the Pine Grove seniors, Family Service personnel, and Ms. Bates, I stated, “We would transport the seniors to New Martinsville so they may continue to receive a meal.” This was to be only for that time period. It was never our intention to cease services in that area. However, funding, participation, and finding workers may have an influence on our decision. We will try to always ensure that services are the same throughout the county, including Pine Grove.
On the issue of cleanliness of the center. In 2005 when this issue was brought to my attention we provided a janitor to clean the dining area, bathrooms, and the hallway adjacent from the senior area and still provide this service today. I have had no complaints from the seniors or the town directly to me regarding their job performance.
However, the town does rent the center to area citizens. I assume that the renters are cleaning the area. The seniors do not receive this renter’s fee but supply the area with tables and chairs.
And finally regarding the statement, “Now there’s something wrong. We have asked that lady and asked that lady to come out here and talk with us.”
I have not received, either in writing or via telephone, any request from the current Town Council. Our office hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m., which Mr. Barr and Mr. Johnston have utilized in the past. I do not require an appointment and always try to make time for anyone who visits the center.
I hope this will help clarify all aspects of the senior center issues. And in the future the courtesy of addressing any issues in person and not on the front page of the Wetzel Chronicle would be greatly appreciated.
The senior citizens of the Pine Grove site deserve to congregate in a healthy environment.
Mary R. Ash, director
Wetzel County Committee on Aging