Page www.TheTownCommon.com March 14 - 20, 2018 How to Submit Letters to the Editor Marc Maravalli, B.S., R.Ph. Publisher/Editor, The Town Common Letters to the Editor provide a useful way of communicating concerns, issues, or suggestions to all members of the community. The Town Common encourages all citizens to submit letters concerning issues of interest and concern to the local community. Letters selected for publication may be edited for length and clarity. Some letters may serve as a catalyst for other articles or coverage, and community leaders and agencies will be offered an opportunity to respond to letters concerning their areas of responsibility. All letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number. Letters may be submitted to: The Editor c/o The Town Common 77 Wethersfield St. Rowley, MA 01969 or preferably via e-mail to: email@example.com. The Town Common deadline is 5pm Wednesday (except when a federal holiday necessitates an earlier deadline). The Town Common serves the communities of the Upper North Shore of Mass. & Coastal New Hampshire and welcomes your participation. Send your Organization or Group Notices, Birth or Engagement Announcements, Photos, Articles and Letters to the Editor, by mail, phone, fax, or e-mail to: 77 Wethersfield St., Rowley, MA 01969 Phone: 978-948-8696 Fax: 978-948-2564 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The Town Common Marc Maravalli, Publisher / Editor email@example.com Graphic Design Services firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Opportunities email@example.com Event and Announcement Submissions firstname.lastname@example.org 77 Wethersfield Street Rowley, MA 01969-1713 Phone: (978) 948-8696 Fax: (978) 948-2564 www.thetowncommon.com The Town Common is not responsible for typographical errors or omissions, but reprint opportunities do exist for prompt notification of such errors. Advertisers should notify The Town Common of any errors in ads on the first day of issuance. No credits &/or refunds are offered or implied. All material and content cannot be duplicated without written consent of the publisher. The right is reserved to reject, omit, or edit any copy offered for publication. Copyright 2004-2017 The Town Common © - All Rights Reserved In loving memory of Liz Ichizawa, Reporter (1956 - 2005) 32 Year Old Play Makes a Wrenching, But Timely Return BYFIELD -- The Byfield Community Arts Center, 7 Central St, Byfield, MA presents “I Have This Friend,” an original play that explores the urgent and insipid dangers of addiction and substance abuse. The show runs March 16 ** at 7 p.m. and March 17 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Reserve tickets by calling 978-463-3335 -- $16 general admission, $14students and seniors. Directed by Anna Smulowitz with choreography by Linda Zirin, the monologues and scenes of this 2-Act play are rendered even more powerful because a talented cast of teenagers from towns across the North Shore brings voice to them. Heidi Fram of BCAC sought a grant from the RAMSLEG Foundation to produce the play, last performed at the Firehouse Center for the Arts 10 years ago following the overdose death of a young man from Newbury. Originally scripted and performed over 30 years ago in response to a drug crisis at Triton Regional High School, the themes of the play are unfortunately more relevant today then ever, says Smulowitz. She’s cast this latest production with actors from Georgetown, Masconomet, Newburyport, Pentucket, Phillips Andover, Triton, and St. Johns Preparatory high schools. “It’s consistent to all schools -- it’s everywhere -- but more people are dying now,” Smulowitz said of today’s drug epidemic. Act 1 takes place in the middle of a party at the home of Rosie, a frequent substance abuser played by Meghan Pitcher, a Georgetown High School freshman. The audience watches Rosie and her guests spiral downward, losing themselves in a fog of addiction and related illnesses --from alcohol and drugs, to eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. The setting is sparse, with the characters’ drug-induced experiences emphasized by a background of intentionally distorted videography designed by Mark Lisle and underscored with original rock songs by Boston musician/ composer Peter Rappoli. “Today so many people are involved in some way with drugs and alcohol in their lives,” said Pitcher, “So many people have a problem -- and simply cannot accept that they are in denial.” Act II includes a peek inside an Alcoholics/ Narcotics Anonymous meeting as the characters struggle to regain sobriety. “I’m participating in this play because I believe in the power of theatre,” said Katie Lowell, an 18 year old from Georgetown who plays Lexi, the bubbly cheerleader with a destructive secret. “I know of quite a few ‘Lexi’s’ in real life, and many others who have been affected by drug usage and addiction. My concern is that without knowing what this lifestyle can entail, more and more people will lose their lives or someone they love.” * *A talkback with a representative from Link House treatment facility immediately follows this show. language. L-R Katie Lowell, Gareth Buhl, Meghan Pitcher The Town Common Courtesy Photo Katie Lowell and Gareth Buhl The play includes adult themes and The Town Common Courtesy Photo Nursing Home Battle Continued from page 1 letters, emails, or phone calls seeking resolution, it went to court. In 2016, the court determined that Sea View should have been exempt from the fees. A few days after the ruling in Sea View’s favor, the state changed the criteria that determine which nursing homes are exempt from the user fees. Despite the court ruling, the state enacted an emergency regulation that made Sea View responsible for the fees going forward. The change of criteria and its suspicious timing would appear to be a retaliatory move by the state against Sea View. Because it is owed millions of dollars for the years the state wrongly charged the fees, because it believes it is exempt from paying the fees, and because it is contesting the fees in general, Sea View has not paid the user fees for the past three quarters. That is what triggered the state to begin the process of revoking the home’s license. Rather than risk closure, Sea View could agree to pay the fees. But that would be financially catastrophic. Nursing homes have two primary sources of income: the private pay of residents who use their own funds and the government-funded Medicaid and Medicare programs that pay homes for the long- and short-term care of residents. The government’s programs are chronically underfunded, and their reimbursement rates do not cover the actual cost of care. Nursing homes such as Sea View lose a substantial amount of money for each resident they accept that is covered by Medicaid. In Sea View’s case, it is $65 per person, per day. Given the government’s reimbursement rates and other factors, it is challenging enough to operate a nursing home today. The user fees would be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Sea View is caught in a no-win dilemma: If it pays the fees, it would be forced into bankruptcy; if it refuses to pay the fees, it risks the loss of its license. In either case, Sea View would end up closing. Instead, it is choosing to fight what it views as an unfair, imbalanced, and unsustainable policy. It is a situation that other nursing homes face. The problem is especially acute for small, independent, familyowned facilities. The user fees, low reimbursement rates, and other DPH regulations are making it virtually impossible for homes such as Sea View to remain in business. The state is essentially trying to force them to close. The dysfunctional system that oversees the industry is having a grave impact on all nursing homes in the state. The user fees that the DPH impose are taxing the quality of care right out of Massachusetts. Nursing homes have been closing at a precipitous rate. The facilities that remain are generally larger ones that are part of a handful of corporate chains. The state would seem to have an ulterior motive to shut down nursing homes. If high-quality homes such as Sea View closed, families would not have the option of seeking care for their loved ones at places that they trust. Families would instead struggle to care for their loved ones at home. The state, therefore, would not have to pay for nursing home care and save money. Despite the Commonwealth’s robust economy, there is no political will to address pressing health care issues in general—or to adequately fund nursing home care in particular. There is a looming, huge wave of baby boomers that will inevitably require nursing home services. Will there be any high-quality homes left to care for them? Comley feels that he owes it to the residents receiving care at Sea View to remain open. “They have paid their taxes into a system their entire life, and now that system is failing them,” he says. “Their families have entrusted the care of their loved ones to us, and we intend to honor their trust by treating the residents with the dignity and respect that they deserve.” Sea View’s owner also has an obligation to the facility’s 108 dedicated, hard-working employees. They have chosen a career that requires much of them, but that offers many rewards. It is as much a calling as it is a job. But it is a job nonetheless, and if the employees were to lose their paychecks, it would have a terrible impact on them, their families, and the community at large. Comley is appealing the state’s license revocation. At the same time, he is continuing to pursue legal action about the user fees. He hopes to be successful on both fronts and to keep Sea View’s doors open. Regardless, the legal process to take away a facility’s license is lengthy, and Sea View is not in any imminent danger of closing. Still, as part of the legal action the state is taking to revoke Sea View’s license, it has frozen admissions to the home. If a resident needs hospital care, the state would not allow the resident to return to Sea View. These punitive measures, of course, could eventually force Sea View to close. Should closure become a necessity, Sea View would ensure that all of its residents and their families would be notified and that the residents would be properly relocated. That, however, would be a last resort. “Ruby” Comley Mollison, Comley’s grandmother, cofounded Sea View and passed away many years later as a resident there. “My family, our neighbors, and our staff members, some of whom learned the art of compassionate care from Ruby, surrounded my grandmother during her final days. I want to see her legacy live on,” Comley says.
March 14 - 20, 2018 www.TheTownCommon.com Page 3 Continued from page 1 At 13, Hardy got what she describes as “the bug” for renovating and repurposing things. She took a side chair and repainted it, removing the caning and upholstering the seat. “Transforming this chair launched a passion and a career in refurbishing furniture and rejuvenating spaces,” she wrote on her web site. “For the next 30 years as an artist and designer, she has been dedicated to reimagining, reinventing and ‘refinding’ pieces.” She still gets excited when she drives along a street and sees a pile of old metal or corrugated metal or a broken down chair. She is a child in a candy store at the Amesbury Industrial Supply. Her imagination is boundless as she talks about converting old stove burners into feet for chairs or adapting metal hooks as stabilizers for tables. Hardy blames her father for her passion. She was raised in a 500-year-old “derelict” home that her father spent much of his life Continued from page 1 the opportunity to know each other, learn from each other and care about each other! The reason for this evolution is the senior population is changing. Seniors are growing rapidly in numbers and staying healthier and more active well into what used to be called “the golden years.” Nationally between 2010 and 2030, an estimated 10,000 people turn 65 every day. By 2050, the U.S. Census reports that 88.5 million Americans will be 65 years or older, more than double the 40.2 million in 2010. As seniors live longer, the population has become multigenerational. Sixty-year-old seniors are taking care of 80- and 90-yearold parents. Case managers at the center provide a critical service not just to older seniors, but to younger seniors who are caregivers. At the Amesbury center, the Greenleaf program cares for three generations, Brothers said. “We are not here just for the 60 plus crowd. We are seeing the whole family.” Liz Pettis the director of the Salisbury Council on Aging, said her outreach team saw 900 people last year, solving a variety of issues from physical and mental health challenges to signing them up for food stamps. The Salisbury seniors no longer have to travel to Lawrence to apply for food stamps. “That’s huge,” Pettis said. Ranshaw-Fiorello wrote in an email, “We serve at least three generations of elders and also provide services for some non-elders in the community. The increased population will continue to generate greater demand for services by elders Reinventing the Retail Store renovating. Her parents also owned an antique shop, where her father taught her and her twin brother to repair and restore furniture. Her brother now renovates old homes and builds custom cabinets. She studied art, textiles, sculpture, painting and design and has lived in Europe, Morocco, New Mexico, Florida and the Caribbean before settling in Exeter, NH. A person who is happy only when busy and being creative, Hardy bought a 4,000-square-foot building in Exeter for her shop until she realized that the building would not work for her plans. She converted the building into five condominiums that she built herself. And she spent a year searching for the right location for her business. “When I walked into CI Works, I felt such energy,” she said. “What I love is all these resources to collaborate with. It’s a village.” She is also excited about Amesbury, which she said has “something” – an entrepreneurial spirit, businessfriendly city government and a lot Your Mother’s Senior Center is A‘changing in the community as well as by their family members.” Younger seniors are also coming to the centers to volunteer. They come “looking for something meaningful to do,” Brothers said. Amesbury has a list of 130 volunteers who provide a variety of services. Pettis uses a “fabulous” bookkeeper who volunteers to help manage the center’s financials. Exercise classes, which once were limited to chair exercises for those with limited mobility, now include yoga, strength training and Tai Chi. And the hottest activity for younger seniors is pickle ball, a game played with a racquet and whiffle ball on tennis courts. “Services such as elder law, health insurance counseling and information regarding Medicare are often helpful to younger elders who are reaching retirement,” Ranshaw- Fiorello wrote. Centers now provide tax preparation, computer and social media training. In addition to quilting, knitting and craft classes, they offer painting, cooking and gardening classes. And there are courses on book self- publishing. At the Salisbury center, seniors come to play bingo and cards, but 25 to 30 come twice a week for line dancing. “It’s wonderful,” Pettis said. At the centers one can find a variety of support groups for veterans, arts groups and people with low vision. Young children, including Daisy Troop members, drop by after school to listen to stories. Amesbury is offering a six-week program, which appeals to younger seniors, that helps prepare to get old. Senior centers are no longer as island. They have built community of old mill buildings -- that appeals to her as an entrepreneur and a designer. CI Works encourages the 60- plus manufacturers that rent space in its renovated mill buildings to collaborate with one another. They share equipment, ideas, experiences and expertise. Owners Robert O’Brien and Mark Friery plan to introduce Hardy to Chris Harris at Hedgehog Designs, another CI Works tenant, which creates custom furniture out of reclaimed wine and whiskey barrels. They believe the two tenants and other companies can share high-end paint and refinishing equipment. “I can’t wait,” Hardy said. On her web page she writes: “We believe that community stems from an openness to bridge different skill-sets and perspectives, to create an opportunity for learning through collaboration and creative endeavors.” For more information on Hardy and her company, visit www. inhomedesignbuilds.com. partnerships with universities and schools. The Whittier Tech culinary students will cook a St. Patrick’s Day lunch of corn beef and cabbage for the Salisbury seniors and spend time swopping stories. Ranshaw-Fiorello said, “A program Come in for a visit and compare! (978)-948-2552 Sea View Retreat -Since 1954 •Private & Semi-Private Rooms The Town Common An extended Care Community with Baths and Beautiful Views • Medicare/ Medicaid certified • Social Services-Speech, Physical, Occupational, & Massage Therapies • Full Activity Program • and much more... www.seaviewretreat.com MANSION Teeth DRIVE Whitening, • ROWLEY, MA New • JUST Patient OFF ROUTE Special! 1A Come in for your new patient exam and x-rays and receive free in-office bleaching ($100 value)* The Town Common Get the Smile You’ve Always Wanted! Get the Smile You’ve Always Wanted! *Valid for new patients of Sorrento Dental that visit before 12/31/12. • General Dentistry • Cosmetic Dentistry • Sedation Dentistry • Dental Implants Teeth Whitening, New Patient Special! 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A recent travelogue was well attended by participants in more than one age group.” On April 21, the Amesbury center Contact your Advertising Consultant today! P: 978-948-8696 • F: 978-948-2564 is partnering with UMass Boston to firstname.lastname@example.org participate in the Mass Memories Road Show, where people of all ages will spend a day at the high school downloading old photographs and recording stories about their lives and their families. “We are a valuable part of the community,” Brothers said. Pettis said no two senior centers are the same. Each offers different services, depending on the needs of their population. She said there is a saying among Council on Aging For almost 95 years, Arthur S. Page Insurance has provided directors: “If you have seen one residents of the Newburyport area with protection and peace senior center, you’ve seen only one of mind through insurance coverage on homes, motor vehicles senior center.” “Communities are thinking about and businesses. Contact us for any of your insurance needs: their resources in new ways,” Alice Auto Business Bonner, the Massachusetts secretary Home Boat of elder affairs, told the Boston Condo ATV/RV Globe recently. “Local leadership has Renters Flood to ask the question and decide how to meet their needs. If some centers Umbrella can be intergenerational, that’s a good thing.” Brothers said, “I’d like to encourage AUTO | HOME | BUSINESS those nearing 60 or those who have never visited their center to come in 57 State Street | Newburyport, MA 01950 T 978.465.5301 | F 978.462.0890 and talk to the director of their senior www.arthurpage.com center to see if there is something of interest for them.”