To the editor:
Farmers market coupons came out recently, as they do this time every year. Senior citizens look forward every year to these coupons. They only go to the neediest people, those who have to meet certain income guidelines, in other words, low income. For many years, the farmer's market stand located in the Roosevelt parking lot across from the Inman Center was a great source of fresh produce for low-income seniors who lived in the surrounding senior housing facilities. Most of those residents do not drive, and so this market was convenient to them. in the last two years, farmers attending this market have dropped off. Last year only one farmer showed up. This year, even though it was published in the annual listing of local markets, no farmers have been at this marketplace. There are only two markets currently in Amsterdam, one at Sanford Stud Farm on Wednesdays, and the other at Riverfront parking lot on Fridays. Neither is accessible to these seniors who do not drive. The Riverfront market does not accept the coupons. The Sanford market does, but many seniors have no way to get to it.
I find it alarming that there has been so little consideration for our low-income seniors, who live in these subsidized housing complexes, who have no way to get to the one market that accepts these coupons. According to a representative at Montgomery County Office for the Aging, the distribution of the coupons this year has been way down. Well, why not? If the seniors cannot get to the one market that accepts them, what is the point?
I have a lot of respect for our farmers, and I certainly understand that cash is much more desirable than coupons that you have to wait to get compensated for. Where does this leave our seniors, however? With transportation for seniors almost non-existent, how then are our vulnerable senior citizens supposed to take advantage of this benefit given them by our government? With so many programs and services being cut, they need all the benefits they can get.
In a conversation I had last year with a representative from one of the farms, I informed them that the Riverfront Center site is too far away for those with no transportation. I also asked if the market that ran at Sanford Stud Farm could not move to Mondays, as there is a bus that runs to Price Chopper from these apartment buildings every Monday. Even the market that ran at St. Luke's Church last year is no longer there. Is this just one more example of the needs of our most vulnerable citizens being ignored?
I strongly encourage our farmers to reconsider their stand on accepting the coupons, and ask that they return to the downtown area where more of our seniors without transportation can enjoy the benefits of fresh produce. If not, could not the city provide a bus on Wednesday afternoons to take seniors to the market? For the short time the markets run, it is little to ask in order to help our seniors.
The writer is executive director of the Horace J. Inman Senior Center.
It's about winning an election
To the editor:
It appears to me that Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate may have pre-signaled the re-election of Barack Obama. I say this because the goal of a presidential run is to win. It follows that a vice presidential candidate should be one that most helps the standard bearer achieve this end. I believe there is someone else that would have helped Romney more than Paul Ryan will.
I can think of three areas where Romney is going to need a lot of help. First of all, and most important, he is going to have to split the all-important Hispanic vote. Next, he will have to capture as many of the women's votes as he can. Thirdly, being a Mormon, he must woo as many Catholic votes as possible. Paul Ryan can only help him here. But the person in the mix that could have helped him in all three categories is the governor of New Mexico, Suzanne Martinez.
You'll notice I haven't gotten into the merits of the known vice presidential candidates. After all, this is about winning an election, not judging one's credentials.
FGA waging a feral cat fight
To the editor:
The members of FGA (Feline Guardian Angels) would like to express our sincere appreciation to Lorraine and Bill Nichols from West End Wine and Liquor who sponsored our second annual FGA wine tasting held Aug. 2. A big special thanks to Laura and her staff for hosting the event at the Muni golf course and also to the representatives from Opici, Bully Hill, Southern and Empire Merchants for serving the large variety of wines to taste. The evening was a great success for another year. Local sponsors donated many wonderful gifts and gift cards as prizes and the community once again opened their hearts by supporting our cause. All of these acts of kindness demonstrate the growing community support of the effort to fight the feral cat overpopulation. The funds from this event will be used to spay/neuter feral cats locally.
Please note as temperatures remain favorably warm, cats will continue to mate and produce litters of kittens well into the colder months. Cats have an approximate 60-day gestation period, so fall kittens are being conceived right now. In addition, cats can become pregnant as early as four months of age, so this year's spring kittens can be producing this fall's litters. The time for prevention is now. FGA urges community members to have their pet cats spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Not only does neutering prevent new litters of kittens, it improves the cat's health. Additionally, this is also a crucial time to neuter neighborhood stray and feral cats through trap-neuter-return, we are able to stabilize the population of local cat colonies and decrease the number of cats entering shelters or living on the street.
Feline Guardian Angels is a 501c3 charitable organization operated by volunteers and concerned citizens whose mission is to humanely reduce the number of feral cats in the local community and to improve the quality of life through a trap/neuter/release program (TNR). Trap-neuter-return is a long-term, comprehensive community program that stabilizes the feral cat population humanely. Cats are trapped, tested for aids and/or leukemia, altered, vaccinated and returned to their outdoor homes with a caregiver to oversee the general population. FGA also provides education to the public about the benefits of population reduction through responsible ownership. The organization primarily serves Montgomery County. For 2012, the group has spayed/neutered more than 100 stray or feral cats from the local community. Please be part of the solution.
For further information regarding FGA and our services, please call 466-3478.