Strawberry shortcake wins out over politics

Seniors upbeat during annual Spring Fling

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— More than 90 senior citizens from across Routt County gathered Friday for live music and strawberry shortcake at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

The occasion was the annual Spring Fling. However, there was a little extra buzz in the air the day after a decision by the Steamboat Springs School Board increased the likelihood the seniors will get a new community center where they want it.

Several seniors acknowledged they were in a mood to celebrate the decision, which means the city of Steamboat Springs won't be remodeling the George P. Sauer Human Services Center to create a new community center. Most seniors advocate for a new center at the Stock Bridge Transit Center.

Glen Cox said the four lunches served every week at the community center mean a great deal to him.

"It's important not just in my life, but also in the lives of so many others," Cox said. "I want to thank Shelley Orrell (program director of the Routt County Council on Aging) and all the cooks for the effort they put in every day down here."

Cox said he's happy with the current community center but that he would enjoy the scenery along the Yampa River near Stock Bridge.

"If the center goes to Stock Bridge, that will give me a chance to walk out there," he said.

Council on Aging board member Jean Davidson said the social interaction provided by the lunch program is important to the emotional well-being of many seniors.

"Some people sit in their apartments -- they're lonely, they're bored," she said. "There is no reason to be bored. Thanks to the county, we have three seniors vans to take people shopping and to medical appointments."

Davidson, 91, said she can't make all four weekly luncheons because she does chores with her daughter.

Davidson said the community center is much more than a place to eat lunch and play bingo on Fridays. Once a month, the seniors get counseling and help with issues such as vision, foot care and overall wellness, she said.

Council on Aging board member Bobbie Vetter said Orrell has been proactive in helping Routt County seniors evaluate and sign up for one of the new Medicare prescription drug campaigns. Orrell said that of just more than 9,000 seniors in Routt County, more than 8,500 are on a prescription plan, whether it's one of the new Medicare plans or another program.

Friday's occasion was made more festive by fresh floral arrangements placed on every table by the Yampa and Hayden chapters of the Order of the Eastern Star. Sharon Sexton did the floral arranging. Live music was provided by Country Western singer Katie Louthan and the Sweet Adelines group.

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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