The people's voice of reason

Coming Home ~ Again

This year's session of the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature will be significant to your corespondent, and some others, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that we will meet in the old House Chamber of the Alabama State Capitol building from October 20 through 23. It served as the State's fifth capitol, having been so designated in 1846; and was also the first capitol of the Confederacy for a short time, and it was at its steps that the historic Selma to Montgomery March culminated on March 25, 1965.

The structure was built on land specifically set aside for that purpose by one of Montgomery's founders, Andrew Dexter, where, prior to its construction, goats had grazed; ergo, its nickname: Goat Hill.

The State’s first legislative session there was in 1851, and 150 years later, Gov. John Patterson had hoisted the Confederate banner from its dome, where it remained until 1993.

The Alabama Legislature met there continuously until 1985, when it moved to its present location in the Alabama State House.

In the process of the relocation, someone forgot to install the lettering: “Alabama State House” on the exterior of the building, causing many first-time visitors a good degree of confusion.

It was here that your humble scribe first met two distinguished gentlemen, for whom he held great respect and admiration. One was the first executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, the late Dr. Clanton W. Williams; and the first executive director of the Alabama Ethics Commission, Melvin Cooper, who is now among his colleagues on the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature. We would spend many enjoyable hours discussing their respective challenges, which your writer passed off, half in jest, as losing battles.

Getting back to the Capitol, its architectural style is basically Greek Revival, with some Beaux Arts additions.

It's a good climb up to the capitol itself, and once you're in there and if you have any breath left, there's a beautiful cantilevered stairway that spirals up to the third floor, which was built by a freed slave, who served as a member of the House of Representatives during the Reconstruction Era.

Also, one of the highlights on the ground floor of the rotunda is a sculpture of former Gov. Lurleen B. Wallace, Alabama's first woman governor.

In the right wing of the Capitol, the House of Representatives met, and this is where the ASHL will meet during its October session.

The front steps up to the Capitol are made of Alabama marble, and at the front portico is set in the marble floor a six-pointed brass star where Jefferson Davis stood on February 18, 1861, to be sworn in as the President of the Confederate States of America.

The October meeting of the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature should be a memorable occasion, and for your humble scribe, and for ASHL Speaker Cooper; it will be like coming home. But, as Thomas Wolf had posthumously published in 1940: You can't go home again.

Important Informational Program Resumes In June

The “Who's Lookin' Out for You” series of informational program for seniors is gearing up with a vengeance at its new location at Cara Vita Village at the end of Fieldcrest Drive.

June 10th, at 10 a.m. - Alabama's Senior Services Commissioner, Neal G. Morrison, will launch the effort. He'll be talking about the myriad of services his department stands ready to furnish seniors, and will most likely share some handouts.

June 17th, at 10 a.m. - The personable patient advocate at Jackson Hospital, J. Mark Springer, will tell participants what they need to know and what to bring with them when they're hospitalized. He's a personable and interesting person; you won't want to miss his visit.

June 24th - Assistant State Attorney General Monica Sheeler will be on hand to talk about scams and pitfalls that await seniors, and how they may best protect themselves. This is another hour that will be well worth one's while.

The programs are not limited only to residents, rather all seniors are welcome to come and learn more about who's looking out for their best interests. That's each Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Cara Vita Village, 4000 Fieldcrest Drive. You can't miss it.

And looking ahead; because elder abuse has become such a national blight, and since the Central Alabama Aging Consortium has been a leader in the passage of elder abuse legislation, its only fitting that representatives of that agency host an informational program for all seniors in the area, also to be held at Cara Vita in July; details to follow.

The program will focus on the new Elder Abuse Protection Tool Kit that provides a cornucopia of useful material for seniors and contains a listing of resources that are available to them, as well as questions they should ask of people who confront them with “golden opportunities.” Red Flags they should be watchful for are discussed, as well as a host of other golden nuggets about which every senior should know.

Agency Consortium representatives, as well as members of the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature spent a good part of the last five years working to see the enactment of two pieces of legislation that forthrightly address the growing elder abuse problem, and in putting together this tool kit which serves as a guide for seniors in their efforts to protect themselves from increasing number and variety of predators that are lurking in the shadows to separate them from whatever assets they may possess.

No senior citizens should miss this opportunity to avail themselves of information that will protect them from the perils that threaten them in their “golden years.”

Mark your calendar and make preparations on June 10, to come to Cara Vita Village for the launching there of “Who's Lookin' Out for You?” You can't afford to miss it.


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