The Public Square

WILL - The Public Square - October 29, 2010

Shirbie Faulkner a Medicare Enrollment Workshop, November 3rd at the Champaign Public Library

Hello, my name is Shirbie Faulkner and I am a Medicare beneficiary from Champaign. I want to tell anyone who has Medicare, or who is caring for someone with Medicare, about a great event coming up next week.

It is a workshop on Medicare and Part D Open Enrollment, and new changes to Medicare under national health reform. The workshop will be on Wednesday, November 3rd at 10:30 a.m. at the Champaign Public Library.

There are some excellent new benefits that were created by national health reform that all seniors and people with disabilities who have Medicare should be aware of. For instance, starting in January, all preventive care, such as annual check-ups, mammograms, and colonoscopies will be covered without a co-pay or deductible. This will save seniors a lot of money and make important preventive care more accessible.

A lot of seniors also have questions right now because the confusing time of the year known as Open Enrollment begins on November 15th. Open Enrollment is the only time of the year when Medicare beneficiaries can look at their current Part D prescription drug plan and Medicare Advantage plan to see if it is working for them and change it if necessary.

We are flooded with information on the different plans and changes for next year and many of us dont know where to turn for help to sort it all out.

That is why the Champaign County Health Care Consumers will be holding a workshop to help us navigate through this hectic and confusing time of year.

The workshop is called Help for Medicare Beneficiaries: New Medicare Benefits and Tips for Part D Open Enrollment. It will be held at the Champaign Public Library on Wednesday, November 3rd at 10:30 a.m.

Bryan Padget from the Senior Health Insurance Program, will take some time to explain the new benefits for seniors that have been created by national health reform and when we can expect to see them.

Andrea Butler from Family Service Senior Resource Center will then speak about changes in the coming year for Medicare Part D and helpful state programs such as IL Cares Rx.

Finally, members of Health Care Consumers Medicare Task Force will also speak about how everyone can get involved in our local efforts fix Part D and protect Medicare beneficiaries rights.

This workshop will be free and open to the public and I would encourage anyone who has Medicare or is taking care of someone with Medicare to join us.

If you would like more information, or to RSVP, call CCHCC at (217) 352-6533. Thank you.

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WILL - The Public Square - October 15, 2010

Durl Kruse on the 10th Anniversary of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

Hello. My name is Durl Kruse. This year, an all-too unrecognized local institution is celebrating its 10th anniversary. That institution is the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, usually referred to simply as the IMC.

The IMC's mission is to use media production and distribution as tools for promoting social and economic justice in the Champaign County area. It accomplishes this mission through the creation and distribution of media, art and narratives emphasizing underrepresented voices and perspectives while promoting empowerment and expression through media and arts education.

In 2005, five years after its founding, supporters raised funds to acquire the historic Post Office building in downtown Urbana and have put their investment to good use for the community ever since.

During the IMC's first ten years, a number of significant organizations have developed under its broad non-profit umbrella: a monthly newspaper named The Public I, providing an outlet for local voices on social issues; a low-watt radio station, WRFU found at FM 104.5, doing the same but with music and culture thrown into the mix; the Books-to-Prisoners program bringing literacy, learning and personal growth to inmates throughout Illinois; the Bike Project; and many others. It should be noted that the Books-to-Prisoners program won a Governors Hometown Service Award in 2009. Information about these and many more of the IMC's programs can be found on its website ucimc.org.

Tomorrow evening, October 16, from 7:00-9:00 in the Post Office Building at the corner of Broadway and Elm in Urbana, the IMC is hosting an Open House in celebration of its 10th anniversary to offer the public an opportunity to see its facilities, learn about its programs and meet its staff and volunteers.

In addition, dedicated IMC members will announce creation of a Sustaining Fund to insure the financial viability and stability of this vital community institution for years to come. Contributions will be used to pay down the mortgage, underwrite annual physical operations, and provide for emergency expenditures. People are encouraged to consider contributing to the Sustaining Fund and showing their support for the IMC.

Please consider taking some time tomorrow evening to come by and learn more about the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. Thank you.

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WILL - The Public Square - October 01, 2010

Mel Lacy on Ameren’s toxic waste in a Champaign residential neighborhood

Hello. My name is Mel Lacy and I am a resident of the 5th and Hill neighborhood in Champaign, where the Ameren toxic site is located.

I live right across the street from Amerens toxic site, and my wife and I are working with our fellow neighbors as part of the 5th and Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign. The 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign is organized by Champaign County Health Care Consumers, along with 5th & Hill residents. We are working to make sure the Ameren toxic site is cleaned up all the way and that the rights, and the health, of residents and former residents are protected.

I would like to invite everyone to a very special community meeting on Monday, October 4 at 6 p.m. at Provena Covenant Medical Center, to meet with expert environmental consultants who will talk about the 5th & Hill toxic site and the residents concerns.

The Campaign is fortunate to be working with the law firms of Kennedy & Madonna, and Weitz & Luxenberg, and their environmental engineers, Bob Bowcock and Mark Zeko to investigate the toxic site.

Both men have worked on some of our nations most tragic environmental disasters including the recent BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and we are glad to have them working for us.

Mr. Bowcock and Mr. Zeko have begun to conduct tests for toxic vapors in the homes of several neighborhood residents, including my own, to see if the contamination from the site could be spreading to homes, and posing a threat to residents who live in the neighborhood.

The results from their preliminary tests, including those from my own home, show that there is a reasonable concern that the toxic contamination can pose a threat to the health of neighborhood residents. The October 4 meeting is a special opportunity for residents and concerned community members to hear from these national experts about the 5th & Hill toxic site and what it means for groundwater in the area, and for the health and safety of residents.

The experts will discuss the research and testing they have already conducted in the neighborhood, what they are asking of the IL EPA on behalf of the residents, and their experiences working on other sites.

I encourage all neighborhood residents, as well as any concerned members of our community, wherever you live, to come out to get more information and ask questions.

Again, I invite you to join us on Monday, October 4 at 6 p.m. in Provena Hospitals first floor conference room to learn more about the 5th and Hill toxic site and what it means for our community.

For more information, call Champaign County Health Care Consumers at (217) 352-6533. Thank You.

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