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Nov. 13, 2013: Seniors and the infirm; Don Knotts

State must take better care of seniors, infirmEditor:I am appalled by the current plight of our elderly and disabled residents. Over the last 40 years, numerous valuable programs were created to meet the needs of our most-vulnerable adult residents. These programs gave adults who cannot care for themselves the best possible care in the least-restrictive environment possible. Now, all of this is changing drastically.In recent months, the reduction in programs, including the Aged and Disabled Waiver, has caused our elderly, disabled and sickest residents to be deprived of the care and assistance they so desperately need to remain safely and effectively in their homes. Many such residents have died or had to go to nursing homes while they waited for help. Some of them have no family or support systems that can provide the needed care as they wait for the state to recognize and remedy their plight. They cannot wait any longer. How can we, as a state, overlook and ignore this situation. The Aged & Disabled Waiver program alone has more than 2,000 people with severe illnesses and disabilities who are waiting for help. Failure to recognize and remedy this dire situation by our state leaders means those affected are basically being abandoned and left to experience slow, painful and lonely deaths. Our state leaders need to realize this situation not only affects other people but could also impact any of us, personally and directly, at some point in time.None of us are going to live forever, and we do not know what illnesses, infirmities or limitations we, or members of our families, will face in the future.Martha J. Scott HagerOak Hill Support Don Knotts Legacy Fund
Editor:I recently had the privilege of visiting West Virginia and the fair cities of Charleston and Morgantown. My purpose was two-fold. One was to see the cemetery/tombstone of a distant relative who lived and died in West Virginia back in the 1700s (and I did). The other was to visit the hometown and stomping grounds of one of my favorite actors of all-time -- Don Knotts.The folks of West Virginia and Morgantown could not have been friendlier. I got to meet Cookie, down at the Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau. We hit it off, had a few laughs, and she even gave me a couple of small books (one on Don and the other about Morgantown history) and a T-shirt from "Don Knotts Day." She put me in touch with John W. Pyles, who was a personal friend of Don's. What a thrill that was!We got to visit maybe a half hour and exchange anecdotes and stories about Don, reminiscing about the fun (and funny) times he brought into our world. John told me of the campaign to raise funds for the Don Knotts statue and memorial gardens to follow.I hope this comes to fruition for his town and state. Although things (and especially the people) were nice enough, I got the impression the citizens there don't quite realize what a treasure/legacy known the world-over they have in Don Knotts. There will never be another one like him!
I came from Texas to see his hometown and to visualize his growing-up times and places. There are countless others across our country who would do the same.I wish there were more people in West Virginia and Morgantown to help John in his efforts to commemorate Don's rightful place in the history of West Virginia folklore and entertainment industry. I did take in the star in the sidewalk near his hometown theater and the small exhibit at the museum downtown, but still I hope the citizens of West Virginia will step up soon and help John Pyles in his efforts to finish this worthwhile project.I gladly made my contribution to the Don Knotts Legacy Fund (344 High St., Morgantown, WV 26505). I hope to come visit again before too long and see his completed statue smiling right back at me!Charlie NormanGlen Rose, Texas
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