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Seniors speak out on meals

Want better quality, consistency in food

The senior citizens at the new Sybene-Chesapeake Center are mad and they’re not going to take it anymore.

That was the message about 20 of them with volunteer director Darlene Green brought to the Lawrence County Commissioners at their Thursday regular meeting.

“We want better quality of food,” Green said about the daily meals provided to the seniors at the trailers next to the Chesapeake Community Center. “One day it is better; one day it’s not. We get stale bread, almost moldy, burnt chicken. Last week the meat was OK, but it was too salty.”

For almost 20 years Green was director of the eastern end center when it was at the former Ohio River locks’ power house at Sybene. There, the meals, which came out of that kitchen, were better, Green said.

Now the food is prepared at the Ironton senior center. Both centers are under the direction of the Ironton-Lawrence Center Community Action Organization.

“For some of your seniors, this is their nutritional meal,” Green said. “Yesterday we had cornbread and beans. The cornbread wasn’t done in the middle. This is not fair for our seniors.”

Green also said there was an implicit threat that if the seniors complained about the meals, the lunches would be stopped.

Commission president Les Boggs said the commission would look into it.

“You guys are heavenly, but you don’t deserve burnt offerings,” commission president Les Boggs told group.

CAO representatives said they are aware of some of these problems and have been working to resolve the situation.

“We have been totally supportive of trying to get the center up and operating, trying to coordinate in order to get the meals, ” Ralph Kline, assistant director, said. “When you are doing that, you have to transport food. We have met with them before and established a daily log.”

Kline said Mike Payne, CAO coordinator of senior services, was aware of the burnt chicken and had talked to the cooks.

“We are trying to get additional help for our cooks,” Kline said. “As long as we have the funding and ability to do it, there is nothing about taking meals away.”

If the seniors would like to be a direct advocate for meal funding from the Area Agency on Aging funding for the meals, the CAO would support that , he said.

“If they have a better solution and apply to the area agency for meal funding or maybe prepare the meals up there, we would fully support them,” Kline said.

Payne said the CAO has hired additional cooks and added another vehicle to transport the meals.

“We want to make this work,” he said. “We are not just sitting around. We are trying hard to improve the quality issue.”

In other action the commission:

• Approved a contract for legal services with McCown and Fisher for the county department of job and family services;

• Accepted the resignations of South Point Mayor Ron West and Viviane Vallance from the Lawrence County Airpark Advisory committee and appointed South Point Mayor-elect Jeff Gaskin and Nelson Whitt;

• Approved a contract with Rob Van Keuren as process server for the DJFS;

• Accepted the termination of employment of Joshua Miller, part-time EMS;

• Accepted the resignation of Lisa Kinnard, EMT;

• Received the weekly dog warden report where no dogs were euthanized, 29 were adopted and no dogs were redeemed by owners;

• Approved an amendment to the airport rent schedule adding maintenance hanger at $60 a month; and garage space at $60 a month.