We are senior citizens from the Ida Benderson Senior Center, and we are writing in response to Patricia Kelly Waelder’s letter to The Post-Standard of Oct. 31 entitled “Seniors satisfied with new, bigger center.” We are writing to The New Times because The Post-Standard declined to print our response. Ms. Waelder noted, it isn’t fair for readers to get only one side.
What research did Waelder do to conclude that we are “satisfied”? Most of the seniors with whom we have contact do not, and will not, go to the Salvation Army program. Did she speak with seniors? Are those she spoke with from the Ida Benderson Center? To whom are the “daily updates” Waelder mentions being given? And how would she know what is said in phone calls to the mayor?
Updates from us are few and far between since our center was closed so abruptly. But rest assured we will not be silenced or bullied and the people of Syracuse will be hearing more from us in the near future.
Have readers ever stopped to wonder why the Syracuse Common Councilors refused the tour in August? It’s because they were not given adequate information regarding the Ida Benderson Center issue. They were and still are opposed to placing the Ida Benderson seniors in the Salvation Army. The councilors were not appropriately consulted on the matter, but were instead suddenly told they would have to vote on giving financing money to the Salvation Army. The mayor acted on her desires in closing the center regardless of others, never mind trying to work things out with the seniors.
What wasn’t fair was the bombshell the mayor dropped on us seniors from the Ida Benderson Center informing us that we were getting closed down, no matter what. We even raised money to try to keep the center open, receiving many donations and pledges from the Syracuse community as well as the family of Ida Benderson. We tried to get more time to raise enough to keep the center open, but the mayor closed it, disregarding her obligation to the people of the city, including the seniors, whom she is supposed to represent.
As Waelder noted, the seniors were informed about the mayor’s plans in August. A handful of us toured the Salvation Army and learned about the services that would be available there. However, the Ida Benderson Center was not merely a place of services. It had become a place with a sense of family. It was the only remaining group that seniors could call their own, where seniors were for seniors, working together and for one another rather than solely dependent on younger generations. Let one of our Ida Benderson seniors be absent for one day and the remaining senior citizens would want to know what happened. “Are they sick?” “Are they all right?”
We would make sure to contact them and find out what was wrong. The Ida Benderson Center maintained a safe and healthy environment where seniors could be active, engaged and respected members of society.
The center was located where it was easily accessible, a must for many seniors who have limited mobility. It was right downtown near the main bus terminal so that no matter where you lived in the city, you could take a bus and be let out right near the center with little walking required.
We have not given up or disbanded. We meet every Friday at 3 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church, 232 E. Onondaga St. If you would like to join us, come along and bring a friend.
—Sue Hollister, Joan Holmes,
Mary Lawler, Lisa Bogin,
Lois M. Dwyer, Dorothy J. Huston,
Virginia Dolin, Harold Waterstripe,
Lionel Logan, Kusik Yim
Each year New York Farm Bureau presents a Circle of Friends Award to members of the state Legislature who demonstrate a positive commitment to the farming families who run New York’s agricultural businesses and feed New York state. This year, the Circle of Friends Award has been presented to Assemblyman Don Miller of the 121st District.
Agriculture is the backbone of New York state’s economy and Assemblyman Miller has consistently voted in favor of issues that are important to farmers. His voting record and his personal background from a farming family are testaments that he will continue to support New York agriculture.
I am pleased to name Assemblyman Miller to the Farm Bureau’s Circle of Friends on behalf of the hard-working men and women who keep New York agriculture growing.
—Harvey Skeele, President
Onondaga County Farm Bureau