Letters to the Editor for Nov. 11, 2014

Legislators should support family caregiver program

As a Washington State Council on Aging member, I send this letter because November is National Family Caregivers Month. Each year, more of us are caring for a loved one with a chronic condition, disability or simply the frailties of old age.

Over 850,000 Washington citizens are unpaid family caregivers, providing 80 percent of the services that allow family members to remain at home as long as possible. Recent state agency data reports the uncompensated care giving is estimated to be valued at $10.6 billion.

Care giving is a very human concern, and a financial one as well. These unpaid caregivers lose about $300,000 in salary and benefits in their lifetime having minimal financial resources to begin with.

Washington State has a Family Caregiver Support Program, but it currently only serves less than 1 percent of the 850,000 family caregivers in our state. Recent research findings report some good news though: the FCSP improves outcomes for caregivers — 84 percent of the participants showed significant improvements and were slower to transition to more costly Medicaid services.

Serving more family caregivers would be a great investment for our state. Our legislators and the governor should support expansion of FCSP. These caregivers need our support.

Suzanne Holmes, Washington State Council on Aging Representing Clark, Klickitat, Skamania, Cowlitz and Wahkikum counties

Oil train forum will provide information

On Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., there will be an oil train public forum and information meeting at the Stevenson Community Library, located at 120 N.W. Vancouver Ave.

Speakers will include Lance Stryker, a White Salmon volunteer fireman; Charles Pace, a North Bonneville city council member and economist; Julie Mayfield, a Stevenson city council member and executive assistant at the Port of Skamania; and Peter Cornelison, Friends of the Columbia Gorge field representative.

This will be the fifth oil train forum held in the Gorge and there will also be an update on the status of the coal train export proposals.

Both Stevenson and North Bonneville city councils have passed resolutions of concern over the coal train proposals.

This event is being sponsored by Friends of the Columbia Gorge, the Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network (CG CAN!) and the Stevenson Grange 121.

Peter Cornelison, Hood River, Friends of the Columbia Gorge