Randal Johnson, Executive Director
Council of the Southern Mountains
It is said nothing is sure but death and taxes. These days it should be said, and paying to have those taxes prepared. This is not the scenario at CSM as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program is thriving as it grows annually. For the 2015 tax season, 601 tax returns were prepared representing low-income families throughout McDowell County.
Just as a new record was set for the number of prepared taxes, the amount of refunds also hit a new high. This year alone CSM staff brought back to the local economy $1,254,938.00. All of this and not one dime was charged to those that qualified.
The Community Services Block Grant program staff have taken on this most beneficial service for the people we exist to help. It certainly has paid off as it is cost free to the tax payers and has saved them thousands of dollars if they had gone to private tax preparers that charge.
All of the CSBG staff takes training through the IRS and must pass a rigorous test. They are then certified and can prepare all but the most complicated returns.
Staff also files the returns electronically and can have the refund, if that is the case, deposited into the person’s bank account. This procedure is just as fast as any paid service.
Of course, we do not give incentives to customers that reduces their returns. All of their rightful refunds are deposited into their bank accounts or with a paper check.
Tax season is an exciting time at the agency as the place buzzes with new faces and people excited about the free service.
Congratulations CSBG staff for a great community service.
SPOTLIGHT ON THE BOARD-MRS. SYLVIA DUNCAN
Many adjectives come to mind when you speak of Mrs. Shirley Duncan. Those being:
kind, gracious, considerate and giving of herself so others may strive for a better life.
Ms. Duncan has been a Board member for several years and is one of most loyal participants. She is always prepared for the meetings by reading the vast amount of information sent out before the scheduled meeting. She actively contributes to the meeting and is a vital part of the governance of this agency.
One important aspect of Mrs. Duncan is her selfless giving to those we serve. She has contributed vast amounts of clothing for children. These clothes are new and stylish so as not to bring any ridicule from peers. This act of helpfulness is truly the spirit of “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Mrs. Duncan does this and never asks for any recognition or reward.
But Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Mrs. Duncan forbids them not and such is her kingdom of heaven.
Thank you Mrs. Duncan for all you do.
FOSTER GRANDPARENT PROGRAM FEATURED
As of April 13, 2015 FGP has 60 Foster Grandparent Volunteers enrolled, however there are only 57 volunteers that were active during this reporting period for a total of 6,774 hours @ $2.65 per hour = $17,951.10.
FGP is in the 9th month of the program year. Marcia Mullins, Director, will be collaborating with the CSM Business Office closely on the budget to ensure that we do not overspend in the stipend line. At the end of April we will look at the budget and make adjustment to the volunteer hours accordingly.
On April 1, 2015 the Foster Grandparent Program and the retired and Senior Volunteer Program participated in the annual Mayor’s Day Recognition, “Read to Me Day” at Welch Elementary School.
Mayor Heizer read to the children in two Pre-K Classes and passed out Easter Treat Bags for the children’s Easter Baskets. Since its conception over three decades ago, the Foster Grandparent Program has provided young and old the chance to grow together. Together, nearly 24,000 older Americans volunteer as Foster Grandparents. They give care and attention every day to more than 80,000 children and youth with special needs.
The Foster Grandparent Program is a volunteer program that offers seniors age 60 and older a paid non-taxable stipend to serve as mentors, tutors and caregivers for children and youth with special needs. Foster Grandparents serve 20 hours per week in community-based organizations such as elementary schools, hospitals, day care programs, after-school programs and Head Start programs.
FGP is a program with the sole intent of providing deserving children with a helping hand in their quest for an education and better life.
The healthyhabitathelp.com website and app was developed by CSM from a grant of just over $27,000. It is part of the Healthy Homes Project. The information on the website and application is an overview of potential hazards at residential properties and should be used for general guidance. It is the in the homeowner’s or prospective homebuyer’s interests to know what hazards are common, how they may be identified and how they might be corrected. Viewers of our website and also go to the following site for assistance: http://www.easywaystogogreen.com/wp-content/ART I WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY A HOUSE (Buyers, Sellers)
Potential Hazards With Remediation Steps from Website:
Electric and Magnetic Fields
Mold & Moisture
Private Well Water
Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI)
PART II WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AFTER THE HOME IS OCCUPIED (Owners, Tenants, Landlords)Allergens & Asthma
Household Hazardous Waste
Pesticides in Pressure-Treated Wood
Finding a Licensed Home Inspector
Things to be Aware of with a Foreclosure
Healthy Home Websites
PART II APPENDIX
Lead Warning Statements/Residential Property Condition Disclosure Report Additional Resources
uploads/2013/05/asbestos-house.jpg. Home inspectors hired at the time of a house sale are not required to look for environmental hazards. They will make note of water damage that could lead to mold growth and may note other obvious environmental hazards. Individuals who conduct asbestos and lead inspections must be licensed.
Although the law in most states requires the disclosure of known hazards, a prospective buyer may want an evaluation of the home environment to obtain further information. Interested parties may wish to obtain additional information on hazards.
More information on the website and app help low-income and other homeowners to maintain a healthy home. Occupants should keep it: dry, clean, well-ventilated, free from contaminants, pest-free, safe and well-maintained. Good home maintenance can act to reduce allergens, prevent illness, and reduce injury from accidents. This checklist provides basic guidelines; items may need to be checked more often depending on local conditions and manufacturer suggestions.
COUNCIL OF THE SOUTHERN MOUNTAINS CONSUMER SATISFACTION SURVEY
HEALTHY HABITAT HELP “APP” AND WEBSITE SURVEY CIRCLE ALL THAT APPLY
Circle One: Consumer CSM Staff Stakeholder Community Member Consumer
Gender: Male Female Age: 18-24 25-34 35-49 50-65 Over 65
Please read the following statements and circle one number below which best describes your experience with the HHH “app” or website. 1 is Excellent and 5 is Poor.
1. Strongly Agree With Statement - SA 4. I Disagree With the Statement - D
2. I Agree With the Statement - A 5. I Strongly Disagree with the Statement - SD
3. I Am Neutral - N 6. Statement Does Not Apply - NA
Statement-Circle Number That Applies At the Right SA A N D SD NA
1. I was able to access the “app” with no problems 2. I was able to access the website with no problems
3. The "app" or website helped with the educational part of my weatherization process
4. I was able to identify hazardous condition(s) in my home 5. I was able to identify ways to correct my hazardous condition(s) based on the "app" or website information 6. I am better informed about potential hazards and their remedies based on the "app" or website 7. The "app" and website are easy to navigate8. The "app" and website are constructed in a way that keeps me interested and eager to continue 8. The "app" and website are constructed in a way that keeps me interested and eager to continue 9. I feel more empowered now to keep my home hazard free and to fix any problems that may arise 10. Overall, I am satisfied with the “app” and website and would refer my friends.
Comments/Suggestions for Improvement:__________________________________________________________________
If you would like to be contacted about your experience with the “app” or website, please leave your telephone number and an agency representative will call you. Telephone:_________ Best Time to be Contacted:________
FITNESS CENTER CONTINUES TO SERVE PUBLIC
The Council of Southern Mountains continues to operate a fitness center to serve the needs of McDowell County citizens. The facility is located at 148 McDowell Street in downtown Welch,
WV. The center is fully equipped and will be open Monday through Saturday. The times during the week are 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays with Sundays being closed.
The Center is certified through the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) and the Humana Silver Sneakers program. A certified Nutritionist/Dietician/Exercise Physiologist/Trainer are on staff. Staff will also be on duty at all times who are trained in CPR, First Aid and A.E.D utilization. There is also a Fitness Technician to assist patrons with the exercise equipment.
McDowell County, according to U.S. Census Bureau health status data compares McDowell County to the state and the nation and reveals disease rates that are significantly worse than the entire United States rate. Four of these diseases: heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and suicide are life-style susceptible illnesses. These major diseases can be influenced with high-quality primary care and intervention and this provides the justification for a quality, state-of-the-art fitness facility in McDowell County. The center also strives to include wellness education.
According to the WV Bureau for Public Health, 44% of the people engage in no physical activity, while the prevalence of obesity is 36.1%, diabetes is 14.9%; hypertension is 42.4% and high cholesterol is 49.7%.
For more information about becoming a member, please contact any CSM staff at 304-436-6800. The cost is a minimal $20.00 per month.