In 2010, I moved to Saranac Lake to live with my daughter. Shortly thereafter I joined the Saranac Lake Adult Center and currently go just about every day. It is my life and livelihood.
I am so thankful for all the SLAC offers me and my fellow senior citizens. It is a marvelous asset to the community. It gives us something to do each day, especially in the dark, cold days of winter. I love the Adirondacks, but I am 82 and I am not an outdoor activity person in the winter, so life would be really hard, lonely and boring if I didn't have my friends and activities at the SLAC to look forward to. I also can't go on long hikes and such anymore because my body is not the spring chicken it used to be. The SLAC is a cost-effective way for me to enjoy life. AND I use the gym to help me feel better physically and mentally. If I did not have the SLAC, I am not sure what on earth I would do!
The latest turmoil at the SLAC has been very stressful for a lot of us senior citizens. Many of us liked Gina Norton (previous director), and some did not. Many of us like Jen Grisi (current director), and some do not. That's life. In my opinion, Gina did SO much for us. We had great programs and lots of healthy social activity as well as warm welcomes each day. I feel the same way about Jen. From my perspective, Gina helped so many of us while we were there as well as those who just came in off the street who needed assistance with paperwork or guidance on how to help with heating bills, food, etc. I feel the same way about Jen.
The political turmoil that has surrounded the firing of Gina and hiring of Jen, etc., etc., is so stressful and disturbing. I wish it would all STOP and the SLAC could just move on. At 82, it all seems so childish to me: "Don't let my friend play with your friend. If you do, then I'll take my toys and go home"-type attitudes. THIS IS NOT A GAME WITH WINNERS AND LOSERS ON THIS RIDICULOUS POLITICAL LEVEL. THIS IS DECIDING IF WE SENIORS (WHOM THE CENTER IS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR) WILL HAVE A PLACE TO COME AND ENJOY EVERY DAY! A PLACE THAT KEEPS US FROM GOING STIR-CRAZY. A PLACE WHERE WE CAN BE SOCIAL AND HAVE HEALTHY ACTIVITIES. A SAFE PLACE TO MEET WITH FRIENDS. WE WILL BE THE WINNERS OR LOSERS! (YES, THE CAPS MEAN, I REALLY NEED YOU TO LISTEN TO MY VOICE, PLEASE!)
On Friday, there was a letter distributed that seemed like a threat to all of us. I am uncertain who wrote the letter. Basically, it says that if we don't want to have our meals taken away, we should ask the SLAC board and local officials to keep the previous director away. It also says that should the Association for Senior Citizens in Franklin County leave the center, our wonderful cooks will lose their jobs, the kitchen equipment will be removed, and ASCFC will pay for FedEx to deliver frozen meals to the homebound seniors once a week rather than fresh meals each day. This seems utterly crazy and expensive. Why would you do this to the homebound seniors as well as PAY FedEx when you currently have volunteers to deliver the meals?!
The SLAC is a huge building with many assets. Why remove two more employees from the SLAC and cause more turmoil? Why take away such a great service to our community's seniors? Why stop using the wonderful kitchen at the SLAC? Why remove such a wonderful asset from this community at the time Saranac Lake is growing and thriving? All in the face of political games?
So is the SLAC really there for us and the community, or is it a political boxing arena? Is this all really about the seniors or the employees at the ASCFC, Gina and Jen? Please don't play with our time and emotions. Let us enjoy this place to gather, eat and be merry. WHY would you take away such a good thing?
Oh, and Gina? She was nothing short of marvelous to us. Whatever the ASCFC's reason for firing her was, it was a shock to those of us who enjoyed her company each day. If the reason was that she was a threat to our safety, it would be understandable to keep her away. However, that is highly unlikely, and allowing her to be a member, should she choose to do so, seems harmless and fair. STOP using her or the situation as a wild card for the future of the Saranac Lake Adult Center.
If you choose to let the ASCFC take things away from us, then my game is over.