Report: Pelosi pushing bill to expand Medicaid

October 29, 2009

Nancy Pelosi is backing off of a public option which uses Medicare rates, and is pushing instead a bill that will increase Medicaid coverage to anyone making 150% of poverty. A summary of the Affordable Health Care for America Act is available at

The new House bill would expand Medicaid to cover childless adults, parents and others with incomes less than 150 percent of the poverty level, or $33,075 for a family of four. This goes beyond the earlier House bill and a companion measure in the Senate, which would extend Medicaid to people with incomes less than 133 percent of the poverty level ($29,327 for a family of four).

Read this entire article at

A poverty discussion . . .

October 29, 2009

"The reality is," says Dannel Malloy, Stamford's mayor, "We live in an America where poverty has been mostly ignored for most of the last nine years. We live in an America that has not minded, quite frankly, seeing poverty increase across our country ... We live in an America that has chosen to lower taxes on the very rich while [cutting] services, relatively across the board, to those who are least among us ... it's not been a very pretty America to live in."

Head Start settles into fall, gets ready for expansion

October 29, 2009

playgroundAs students are settling in and making pumpkin projects, the Head Start program is preparing for some changes.

Director of Head Start Shirley Stumpner said moving from the summer to fall, when most programs start back up, has been busy but relatively smooth.

At the beginning of the year, she said, staff spends a lot of time trying to come up with a final roster as students come and go, as well as trying to integrate new and old students into the classes.

She also said they have been sorting out several staff changes due to leave and hiring subs. Read the rest of this entry »

Eigenmann Halloween Party a spooky success

October 29, 2009

Eigenmann Halloween5

Eigenmann Hall was kind enough to open its doors to Circles and Head Start families for a massive Halloween celebration on Wednesday night.  Residents decorated their floor lounges with what had to have been miles of fake cobwebs and dozens of pumpkins, skeletons, and black cats.  RA guides took groups of Circles and Head Start families on a spooky tour from lounge to lounge, where costumed residents led our kids in all kinds of Halloween-themed activities.  Some popular favorites included pumpkin-bowling, face-painting, pin-the-hat-on-the-witch, and pumpkin-decorating.  The whole tour wound its way from floor to floor, back to the game room on the first floor, where RAs served cake and awarded a prize for the best costume.

Dozens of Circles and Head Start families made it out for the celebration, helping to make it a rousing success.  The evening was a great chance for our kids to get a look inside the world of an IU student (my favorite moment of hushed awe came from a toddler as we walked toward our fourth or fifth lounge of the evening: “People live here!”)   

Thanks to the Eigenmann RAs, Leadership Team, and residents for inviting us into their home to celebrate Halloween together!

– Tom Kenning
Circles Volunteer Coordinator

Thanks, Linda Patton, for all of these photos!

Duke Energy offers Helping Hand Program

October 29, 2009

Again this year, Duke Energy is offering its Helping Hand Program through SCCAP and other community action agencies to assist elderly and disabled low-income customers.

SCCAP will receive $50,700 this winter to assist these Duke Energy customers in our service area. Besides being a Duke Energy customer, clients must meet the state’s 150 percent of poverty guidelines and be over 60 years of age and/or disabled to receive assistance through these funds.

Need for energy assistance is up this year

October 29, 2009

Not that this is much of a surprise, but the number of clients SCCAP has seen in its winter Energy Assistance Program that started on Oct. 5 is up significantly from the same time last year.

SCCAP has provided energy assistance benefits to 1,485 households in Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties since Oct. 5. That’s an increase of 16 percent, or 205 households, over the 1,280 households SCCAP had served at the same point last year.

The fastest rate of change has come in Morgan County, which has served 383 households in the energy assistance program so far, compared to 211 at the same point last year. That’s an increase of 82 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

The 5 secrets of happy families

October 28, 2009

From and (click here for the whole article).

Here’s an excerpt:

In an economic time when so many are struggling to get by, it’s easy to fantasize that a little more wealth or success is the key to greater joy. So perhaps there is no better time for this reminder: All the studies on the subject show that the key and consistent element in the lives of very happy people is close personal relationships. Period.

“Human beings are meant to be together,” says Gregg Easterbrook, a father of three and author of The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. “Having good, supportive relationships is ninety percent of life.”