Local man named N.C. Senior Citizen of the Year
RALEIGH ó Jerry Shelby has been recognized as the 2009 North Carolina Senior Citizen of the Year by the North Carolina Senior Citizens Association.
Shelby represented Rowan County at the N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature on June 9 and 10 in Raleigh.
The Senior Legislature, established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1993, encourages citizen involvement and advocacy concerning aging issues, provides information and education to senior adults and the general public regarding issues before the General Assembly and makes recommendations to the assembly on legislative needs of senior North Carolinians.
Shelby serves on the Resolutions and the Legislation Issues committees. The Resolutions committee develops the process of identifying benefits, expenditures and financial returns, setting the priority and the presentation of resolutions for consideration by the General Assembly .
Of special interest to delegates were issues related to budget cuts that will affect key senior support functions for 2009 and 2010 and the priorities of the General Assembly for the budget session. During the meeting, several prominent speakers sounded the same message of “cutbacks” in services to save jobs.
Speakers at the meeting included Lanier Casler, secretary of Department of Health and Human Services, who noted unprecedented and historic times in terms of budget cuts. His department is cutting back 20 percent in services; Dennis Street, director for N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services, who spoke about elder abuse; Charles Perusse, state budget director, who presented items on Gov. Beverly Perdue’s 2010-2011 budget, noting the $4.8 billion shortfall in revenue.
The senior group opposed a proposed tax on mileage. They noted that many seniors are on fixed incomes and having a tough time doing volunteer work such as helping with Meals on Wheels and other community services. This tax would be like taxing volunteer service and cause some to quit volunteer service. Perusse said he would take the concern to the budget committees and Perdue.
Carla Obiol, deputy commissioner of insurance spoke about the many volunteers helping seniors and the disabled with their insurance and Medicare issues. She spoke about a new program to make more people aware of the services provided and programs for citizens with limited income.