Inter-Agency Council discusses concerns, upcoming events
Community concerns discussed at the regular meeting of the Saline County Inter-Agency Council Tuesday, Sept. 22, included aid for homeless and transient persons in the area and struggles faced with the rising costs of mental health medications.
Council President David Van Horn informed the council that the Ministerial Alliance was out of funds in its transient fund and that the Salvation Army had exhausted its funds as well.
"We're done until probably the end of the year," Van Horn said. "Salvation Army is done until after Jan. 1, so it'd be the middle of January before they're up and running, and our local benevolence -- we've used that up too in between the Salvation Army, so that's out too. So, we're down for the count until probably after the first of the year."
The council reviewed the recent meeting to discusses spiritual care in the event of a disaster that took place at Fitzgibbon Hospital Sept. 11. Van Horn discussed the importance of the issue.
"We live in a dangerous area, not even talking about these oil tankers that flow through here on the road...," Van Horn said. "We have two major rail lines that run through Marshall and we have the interstate down there. We have an airport. We have corn and you've seen bins explode throughout the country and that could happen here. So, we're not even talking about earthquakes and tornados and all those things that can float at a moment's notice and hit us. So, this is going to be a continuing process and hopefully we're ahead of the power curve on this, so we can be ready when something happens."
Jacki Carton, council representative from the Saline County Mental Health Association, updated the board on current struggles faced by the agency in providing aid to individuals who aren't able to afford the psychotropic medications they need. Carton said the association donates a limited amount of money for people that need occasional assistance, but can't donate on a regular basis because it has to be pre-approved and can be cost-prohibitive.
"The news right now is full of companies that are individual private people who are buying up patents on drugs and they're increasing the costs of the medication like from $13.50 a pill to $700 a pill," Carton said. "Doctors are kind of getting in the act and opposing that and demonstrating -- it's not doing any good."
Carton also discussed the Medicaid funding, saying it doesn't look good right now.
"They're not asking for expansion at this point, they're just asking for no cuts, and they're having minimal success," Carton said. "The current legislature will not -- they wouldn't even entertain any more discussion on Medicaid expansion."
Carton said that a mother of two, making $5,000 a year, is considered too wealthy to receive Medicaid.
In addition to the concerns addressed, the council discussed several upcoming events hosted by different member organizations of the council.
Fitzgibbon Hospital will be sponsoring a wide variety of Pink Out events from Sept. 24 to Oct. 23 in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Missouri Valley College (Oct. 17) as well as Marshall High School (Oct. 16) and Slater High School (Oct. 2) will be hosing Pink Out football games this month. Other events include: "Tuff Enuf to Wear Pink," at the Missouri Valley Rodeo Stamede Sept. 24 at 7 p.m., the Slater High School Powder Puff game Sept. 27 at 6 p.m., a "Get Your color On" 5K Fun Run / Walk, Oct. 11 at 2 p.m., a Pink Out Breakfast at St. Peter's Catholic School Oct. 13 from 6:40-7:40 a.m., the Marshall High School Powder Puff game Oct. 14 at 6 p.m., Canines Against Cancer Oct. 17 at 10 a.m., and a "Pig Out for Pink Out" lunch Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On Oct. 3, the Center for Human Services will be hosting its annual Fall Fest, a celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, at Ewing Vocational Center in Sedalia's Blooming Gardens Greenhouse
"We're working to raise awareness to both employers about employing people with disability, how it increases diversity in the workplace, increases productivity and also to the individuals out there with a disability that thinks they can't work for Social Security reasons or Medicare reasons," council Vice President Dan Bridges said. "We do have a benefit specialist on staff that can work with them and help them figure out what type of employment would work best for them. Just because you work doesn't mean that all your disability benefits go away. You can maintain both of them and have a lot higher quality of living."
The Lighthouse Shelter will be hosting "A Gathering for Hope" fundraiser at the Martin Community Center, Oct. 8 from 5-8 p.m.. The event will include live and silent auctions and they will be raffling off a freezer filled with meat.
Marshall Public Schools Parents as Teachers will be hosting "Down on the Farm" Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Saline County Fairgrounds. Children ages 0-5 are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult. At that event, PAT will be accepting canned and boxed food donations for the Holiday Project.
Marshall Public Schools Kids 1st Night will take place Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. The event includes free dinner and free childcare for potty-trained children 10 and younger. "The Great Professor Steiner" will provide entertainment at the event. In addition, kids will be able to play in the bounce house and participate in science experiments.
The council will next meet Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m.