Last Week's Letters to the Editor

 

Choosing Medicare D Prescription Plans

From now until May 15, 2006, Medicare recipients who do not have prescription coverage can now sign up to get it. It is important to know that in our area there are 48 approved plans from which to choose! If you have a Medicare supplement, your insurance company has probably already sent you an application for its plan. That may or may not be the best plan for you. How can you find out?

Medicare has an outstanding website, which is www.medicare.gov. Click on "Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans." It may seem like a lot of work to do what is suggested below, but doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars!

When you open the "Compare Plans" resource, click on "Find a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan." It will ask you for personal information including your zip code, which is important for identifying plans open to you and pharmacies near you that service the plan you choose.

Go to "Search Plans." Follow the steps then click on "View Plan List" to see an overview of the 48 plans. Though you can scroll through all the plans at this time and research each plan, it is better to do it after you have entered your medications. Follow the steps to enter your medications.

Finally you will come to "Plan Comparison" where you can pick two or three plans and then see them compared. This is the most important thing you will do. You can compare these plans as to estimated annual cost, whether mail order is available or not, number of pharmacies that serve that plan (you can click on the "number" such as "3" to see the actual names and addresses of the pharmacies.), annual deductible cost, monthly premium, and monthly cost charge. It will also show you the specific prices for the medications you use, which differ with each plan! Then you can click on Enroll if you want to do that. If you have any further questions, call Medicare at 1-800- MEDICARE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Bill Cunningham, La Cañada

Community Service

I have always admired people who serve on local community councils and commissions. They certainly don't do it for the pay nor the power, neither one of which is much of a motivator in our community. Even the appreciation of the general public is limited, if there is any at all. These fine people serve because they want to give something back to their community.

Personally I could never understand why anybody would want to serve on the Planning Commission. No matter how they rule, they are bound to make enemies and very few friends. But when you start to examine some of their decisions, you have to wonder if they are not doing it to themselves. The logic and consistency in their decisions are frequently questionable.

Being far from an expert in the field, I would still like to serve up the following no-brainers for the commission's consideration.

-- Rules are rules and apply to friends and foes alike.

-- Variances cannot be granted when they are in violation of the rules. In other words, a variance cannot be granted based on existing structures being in violation of the rules.

-- There are no exception to the rules.

-- Exceptions apply to cases not covered by existing rules.

-- A remodel requires that a minimum of two outside walls and the foundation be part of the remodeled structure.

-- Remodeling does not apply where only the chimney and the foundation are left standing. This constitutes a rebuild /new structure.

-- The area of the ground floor of a new or remodeled structure must be less than 25% of the property area.

-- Building of two-story structures will not be encouraged in areas with predominantly one story structures.

-- Recognizing that builder/owners have found our city

to be one of the most lucrative for speculating in "rebuilds," a three year ownership will be required prior to resale.

-- A new two-story structure must be aesthetically suitable for the new location.

-- Complete architectural drawings must have Commission approval as well as approval of two of the three adjoining neighbors.

Erik B. Fiske, La Cañada

Sending Some Thank You's

I was talking with a friend that moved a few months ago from Los Angeles to southern Indiana. Why, you ask? The reason was to be closer to family. With the extremely cold weather they are having the decision to move is assuredly in question. He was telling me about how friendly everyone there is, and how he noticed every place he goes people say "thank you" and "come again."

Then he asked about how things are going at work at the Roger Barkley Community Center. Spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the past couple months of great things we have been doing. This is when it hit me. Here in Los Angeles -- and La Cañada Flintridge is no exception -- "thank yous" are rare. The common place has become -- if there is not a complaint or issue/problem then the no comment is a thanks. I am writing this not as a commentary on society or problem with manners. I write this to preface my thanks to those that made the simple question my friend asked a full discussion.

Let me start by thanking our amazing staff at our preschool. Our preschool is led by Danielle Caputo and Assistant Director Pam Harvey. Danielle took over the guidance of the preschool a year and a half ago after Pam Stephens led the program for eight solid and amazing years. Not only has Danielle and her staff kept up the previous traditions of quality, they have risen to new heights. Thank you to Danielle and all the preschool staff for providing an outstanding level of early education to our youngest community members.

One of the programs at our Center most well known in this community and throughout Los Angeles is our Ceramics Department. The program has been under the watchful eye of Jean Taylor for nearly four decades. I extend a sincere thank you to Jean and her amazing staff. For those that don't know our program provides ceramic instruction for children as young as three to 103, well maybe not 103 but close. Jean, her staff and the programs adult students conduct a semi-annual sale of the work created in the program. The second sale of this year held the first weekend of December grossed near record sales for the artists and program. Great job, Jean! Thanks to all of you in the department for the unparalleled quality of instruction.

Then there are the life blood programs of the RBCC. Megan Browne, activities director, assures that the community's needs for children, teen, adult and senior services and programs are constantly met. Whether she is working on our quarterly program brochure, (by the way a little promo -- the next brochure will be out in a week or two. Wait until you see the incredible cover), monitoring the activities of our Teen Services Advisory Board or meeting with new instructors, her goal is to always to do it better each and every time. Thank you Megan! Thanks to all the instructors that conduct the incredible offerings we provide each and every day.

I do not want to forget to thank other people, such as Rebecca Harvey, our Run for the Hungry Coordinator. Rebecca -- thank-you for another amazing Run. This year brought our awesome major event sponsor, Keller Williams Realty of Glendale. We had a record number of adult runners (close to 1,100) and a can collection that filled a 14-foot moving truck. Most of all Rebecca, thank you for giving up your Thanksgiving morning for the sixth year in a row to make this community event better and more spectacular every year.

Terry Hendrickson, RBCC office manager. Thank you Terry, without your assistance the administrative services keeping track of all that we do would fall apart. Thank you!

Also, thank you to our Board of Directors. The RBCC has an amazing Board made up of local community members that have a great vision for the future of our organization. They volunteer their time, their expertise and of course there money to assure that all this that I mentioned previously happens, thank you!

Let me not for forget our program participants and volunteers. Without you my answer to my friend in cold southern Indiana would not have been very short. Thank you! Thank you for allowing us to "be a unique resource providing and facilitating enrichment programs and positive social activities in the La Cañada Flintridge community."

Oh, by the way thanks to the editor of the La Cañada Valley Sun for printing this heartfelt thanks. THANK YOU!! to everyone for another great year at the Roger Barkley Community Center.

Aaron Solomon, RBCC Executive Director

Generosity Acknowledged

When push comes to shove, La Cañada Flintridge residents are known for their generosity. I recently put out a call to my fellow Republicans for toys for the children of the Five Acres facility for children in Pasadena. The response was overwhelming and we are so happy to be able to bring some joy to these children at Christmas.

I therefore wish to not only acknowledge the generosity of members of the La Cañada Flintridge Republican Club, but also thank them for opening their hearts to these children who not only need the help they receive from professionals, but also the love they need to heal. By their generosity, members of the club have sent the real message of Christmas to the children, and that message is love.

Members of the club will be personally delivering the toys to the children next week. If any one in the community wishes to add to what we are bringing, I invite them to contact me at 952-1969.

Thank you very much, and a very Merry Christmas to all.

Al C. Restivo, Ph.D., Chairman La Cañada Flintridge Republican Club

Dreier-ized

The House of Representatives' latest bill advertised to stop the illegal alien invasion, H.R.4437, could be beneficial if it were strengthened and fully implemented. Unfortunately, it could instead be step one of an attempt to legalize tens of millions of illegal aliens now in our country.

Commentators say the devious plan is to (1) pass a tough-sounding enforcement bill in the House, (2) pass a "temporary worker" bill in the Senate in early 2006, then (3) merge the bills in conference and try to sneak it past the American people with "temporary worker" amnesty included.

According to Rep. Howard Berman, D-Van Nuys, H.R.4437 serves to shield Republican representatives from being "Dreier-ized" in the 2006 election. This refers to the beating taken by Rep. David Dreier, R-Glendora, in the 2004 election for talking tough on illegal immigration but campaigning to legalize millions of illegal aliens and their families.

Dreier uses sham terms "guest workers" and "temporary workers." He fantasizes allowing them to reside, work and raise families here, then magically expecting them to voluntarily return to their country of origin after a number of years.

If we do nothing, Congress' refusal to halt the invasion by illegal aliens could tragically become moot. In March, the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. signed the "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America." This nice-sounding title masks a plan now being implemented to merge the three countries and essentially eliminate the borders separating them by 2010.

The plan also calls for the free flow of people between the three countries, along with integrating our laws, economies, and standards of living. Under this plan, illegal aliens from Mexico and Canada would be defined into nonexistence.

References are www.spp.gov and

www.thenewamerican.com/artman/publish/printer_2239.shtml

We have the choice of allowing this to happen or pressuring or replacing our Representatives and Senators to stop it.

Fred Akers, La Cañada

 

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