Fairland East Park project discussed

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Lawrence County Commissioners proclaimed May to be Older Americans Month in Lawrence County and then spoke with Jenni Lewis of the Area Agency on Aging District 7 office.

Lewis thanked the commissioners for the proclamation and said the theme for this year was “Communities of Strength.” She then shared statistics about the services offered by AAA7 to Lawrence Countians who are elderly or have disability and live at home.

“In 2020, we served 952 individuals in Lawrence County and that is through our Medicare waiver programs. So folks who would be in a nursing home can stay in their home and receive services,” Lewis said.

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The agency also gets federal funding for services like home-delivered meals and transportation.

Lewis said that during the pandemic, AAA7 staff was deemed essential workers and they continued to work to provide care management and assessment services to their clients. They also started a telephone reassurance program, called the Porch Talk program, that was developed for individuals who might feel extra lonely or isolated during the pandemic.

“That is still continuing. It is just when a social worker has a friendly chat with an individual once a week,” Lewis explained.

She said they have also increased their social media pages with Wellness Wednesdays where they talked about the programs on the phone or in virtual meet ups. They also have been doing caregiver support programs, showcasing their virtual art program this month, providing daily vaccine updates and working with the National Guard to provide vaccine clinics at elderly housing complexes, including a recent visit to Sherman Towers.

Georgia Dillon, the Lawrence County Health Commissioner, reported that they continue to see 25 positive cases of COVID-19 a week.

She said they have done over 19,000 vaccinations and around 24-25 percent of Lawrence Countians are now fully vaccinated.

Dillon said they are waiting for approval from the Ohio Department of Health to start vaccinating 12-15 year olds.

“Once the ODH gives approval, we will immediately start school clinics,” she said, adding they have talked to the area superintendents and are setting up visits to all the schools, mostly likely in the evenings. Parents would also be offered the vaccines at the clinics. “We are excited about that.”

She said they have also been working with Mac Yates and the county EMS to do some vaccinations for homebound people.

Allison Ferguson, of Fairland East Elementary School, joined the commissioners to talk about the Fairland East Playground Fund project.

The volunteer group’s goal is to raise funds to build a new playground because the old one is 27 years old and is expensive to maintain. It is also difficult for kids with mobility devices to get around and they have nothing to play on.

They have talked to local families and experts to design and build a better playground for the children.

One part is a ninja warrior course to get children and adults moving and jumping. Another is a mega tower that is 70 feet long and can hold over 100 visitors. The new design also includes swings, a music area and a restorative area. They will also replace the gravel with upgraded surfacing that reduces injuries and drains faster after a rain.

After school hours and on weekends, the park will be open for community use.

To see the designs, learn more about the project or to donate, go to fairlandeastplaygroundfund.weebly.com.

In other items on the agenda:

• Accepted a $13,639.71 Marine Patrol Grant for the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office to patrol the Ohio River.
• Approved the Lawrence County Commissioners’ mission statement, vision statement and core values. Those items are available for viewing on the commissioners’ Facebook page.

The meetings are held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday and can be viewed on the commissioners Facebook page.