Advisory Council Meeting

February 10, 2010


Held at 2573 Midpoint Drive, Ste. 108

Fort Collins, Colorado  80525


Members Present:

Jay Adams

Nancy Arthur

David Born


Melissa Buckskin

Helen Davis

Carolyn Funk


Marcy Greenslit

Judy Jones

Ellen Pihlstrom


Bill Prather

Mary Shultz

Earl Stevens


Debbie Tellez

Bob Tholl

Stan Ulrich


Sharon Zamora







Members Absent :

Peggy Bowers

Howard Hay

Randy Mergler


Kristina Seth







Staff Present:

Tina Barker

Tina Corrigan-Hugo

Ruth Long


Katy Mason

Laura Sutherlin

Laura Walker





Guests Present:

Cherrie Thornton




Marcy Greenslit called the meeting to order at 1:40 p.m.


Minutes stand as presented.


Marcy Greenslit announced that Dean Cunningham has resigned from the Council.

Marcy stated that the Executive Committee has looked over the program reviews for SAINT and Namaqua.  She reported that there was an article in the Loveland Reporter Herald about help for seniors during the winter.  Marcy received a call from Berthoud Senior Center about the exclusion of BATS services in the article.  Marcy has sent a letter to the editor regarding the omission.


Ruth Long discussed the state budget.  A total of $8 million is budgeted for senior services in Colorado.  Ruth stated that senior services have shown up on the “ugly” list for budget cuts.  Colorado has a budget shortfall of $1 billion.  We can lose some state funding this year and some, or all, next year.  Ruth has to be careful not to encourage contacting legislators in support, or opposition, to legislative issues.  Ruth will provide as much information as possible and Council members may represent themselves as private citizens, but not to represent themselves as members of the Council.  As a Council, we can only take a stand on legislation if the commissioners are supporting or opposing it.


Colorado Senior Lobby is an organization that lobbies for senior services.  Stan Ulrich is a member.  They provide a lot of education in addition to lobbying.  The Office on Aging has received approval from the department head to become an organizational member.  This will allow us to have three members.  Ruth will take one slot and asked if there were any others on the Council that would be interested in being a member.  It is not necessary to attend the meetings in Denver; however, we could share the responsibility or carpool if there were enough interest in attending the meetings.  The responsibilities would be to monitor legislation and report back to the Council.  It was decided that she, Marcy and Helen will be the members of the Colorado Senior Lobby. 


Ruth concluded that we had a lot of public input at the presentation of the Four Year Plan last month.  She noted, however, that there wasn’t much input from the Council.  The plan has been signed and submitted to the state.  The next step is for the state staff to review and approve the plan or send it back with recommended changes. 


Staff Reports

Laura Sutherlin reported that the ARCH program has just received its first year of funding for Options Counseling.  The grant will end on September 30, 2011.  The grant is for two years, and if we do all that is requested for the $20,000 this year, the next year’s funding will be $30,000.


Laura took the comments about transportation issues that were expressed at the January meeting to the Mobility Council.  The Director of Dial-A-Ride is aware of the issues in the southern part of Fort Collins. 


Tina Barker gave an update on the Community Resource Advisory Committee (CRAC).  With the guidance of CSU, the Committee has submitted a request for a three year grant.  It would provide training to assisted living residences to help educate staff and residents to work with people with dementia and/or mental illness.  The results should be known in April.


Katy Mason reported that she is busy working on the Senior Tax Work-Off Program.  She has interviewed 104 people and will interview another 40 tomorrow.  Monica Becker, the intern working with the Caregiver Program, is helping with the interviewing.  Jenna Dowd, the intern with the Ombudsman Program, has volunteered to help organize the flow of people in and out of the interviews.  Again this year, Marcy has offered to be a resource person who informs applicants of other resources that are available in the community.  Katy stated that she will be turning people away because we don’t have the money to cover 140 people.  She will be working on placing people in the next few days. 


Melissa Buckskin gave a brief autobiography.



Josh Rabe, Kinship Navigator with the Namaqua Center, gave a presentation on the Grandfamily Program.  Josh has been in social services for about 20 years.  He first started in Adult Protection Services and then moved to foster care.  He loves to engage with people needing services. 


The Namaqua Center is a partner of the Larimer Center for Mental Health.  Josh distributed brochures on the program.  This service is confidential, free and part of the Larimer County Alliance for Grandfamilies.  The definition of grandfamily includes aunts uncles, brothers, sisters and other extended family members caring for children.


Josh shared some statistics: 

  • In the past decade, custodial grandparents increased by 73% in Colorado, compared to 30% nationally
  • 75% of grandparents are under the age of 60
  • 53% are white, 34% Hispanic, and 13% are of other ethnicity
  • 13% live in poverty
  • 51,325 children live in grandparent-headed households (4.7% of all children in the state)
  • Another 19,230 children live with households headed by other relatives (1.7% of all children in the state)
  • Of these children, 28,185 live in household without either parent present


Many of the reasons that children end up living with other members of their family are substance abuse, incarceration, child abuse or neglect, divorce, illness, employment issues, family violence or death.


Josh shared the problems that are encountered with this type of caregiving:  financial strain on the family, increased stress, feelings of isolation and loneliness, grief, guilt, anger and resentment.  The grandparents go through a role shift from being a secondary person in the child’s life to being the parent.  They need legal custody to access schools, government benefits, health care and insurance for the child.  Without the legal custody, which is very expensive, they have difficulty in accessing community services.  The grandparents will most likely be dealing with emotional and behavioral problems of children in their care because of the life situations they are going through.  He is able to help navigate and find solutions for some of these issues. 




Fort Collins Senior Advisory Board Report (SAB)

Cherrie Thornton reported that the Board has received a few new members.  The Board is hosting the Bridging the Gap Networking Event this year.  The date for the event is not yet set.  Cherrie announced that the people who gave input on the issues on transportation attended the Fort Collins City Council meeting.  There is an ongoing dialog with Dial-A-Ride.  Cherrie stated that two Board members had reviewed Plan Fort Collins and made recommendations. 


Loveland Senior Advisory Board (SAB)

Earl Stevens reported that one of the SAB goals for 2011 is the possibility of creating a blog or webpage that connects to the City of Loveland website.  They are looking at different ways to conduct outreach.  Earl stated that every other year the SAB sponsors a Conference for Seniors.  They are meeting to review and brainstorm ideas for topics for the conference to be held on October 24 at 1:30 at the Chilsen Senior Center.


Foundation on Aging (FOA)

Mary Shultz reported that the FOA established four committees and they are reviewing their goals.  Marcy met with their president, Bonnie Shelter.  The FOA and the Office on Aging are attempting to keep lines of communication open and avoid duplicating efforts.


Larimer County Commissioner

No report given.


Human Relations Commission 

No report given.


Community Outreach & Education Committee

Mary Shultz reported that 300 people have signed up for the Special Needs Registry.  The Committee is working with the Caregiver Coalition to deliver brochures on the March 3 conference with faith-based entities.


Media & Public Relations Committee

Bob Tholl reported that the Committee reviewed deadlines for senior newsletters.  Bob stated that during the next meeting the Committee will dive deeper into goal No. three of the Four Year Plan. 


Planning, Funding & Partnership Development Committee

Ellen Pihlstrom reported that the Committee is still working on the Blue Book issues.  David Born is writing a letter to them about all the mistakes in the publication.  The Committee is also working on Plan Fort Collins.


Public Policy & Advocacy Committee

Stan Ulrich reported that he had attended five of the commissioner’s citizens’ meetings.  Stan discussed the state budget.  As Ruth said, they have a $1 million shortfall.  There could be sharp cuts in human services.  The legislature will also look at other categories that could be cut.  Stan discussed some bills that are coming up.  HB11-1025 will repeal the 2009 Health Care bill for outpatient and inpatient hospital fees that would aid Medicaid.  SB11-018 is about proof of citizenship for voters.  Stan went on to discuss three other bills that affect PERA.    



Katy distributed the brochure on the faith-based event that will be held on March 4 for church leaders.  Katy also stated that the Council has three representatives for Bridging the Gap: Jay Adams, Debbie Tellez and Judy Jones. 



Marcy adjourned the meeting at 3:21.