Monday, May 24, 2010

Free Community Dinner-No Strings Attached

There will a free community dinner on May 27th at the Rockford Community Methodist Church from 5:30-6:30 pm. Donations will not be expected.

The dinners will occur on the 4th Thursday of the month. The goal is to get residents out of their house for an evening and share a meal with their neighbors.

If you would like to help please call Susan Gallagher @ (509)291-3339.

Rockford Horizons Poverty Reduction Meeting Minutes May 17th, 2010

The meeting was called to order at 6:30pm at the Harvest Moon Restuarant. Eleven members were in attendance as well as Horizons trainer, Patrick Malone.
Minutes of the May 3, 2010 meeting were approved.

Community Gardens:
The people who were interested in helping with the gardens last year will be contacted.
The gardens have a need of an application of Round-up because of the infestation of morning glory. Bill Benson has tilled Garden #3 at the Stevensons. Someone has donated tomato plants that need to be planted "now". This will be done as help surfaces.
The 4-H group are willing to help with the gardens. Barb Gady is the contact person.
There was discussion with the Catholic church regarding the water timer for Garden #2This will be beneficial and Keith Wigen will research the cost.

Bill Strawn suggested that we contact TV station KXLY and put our events on their local community calendar which airs in the morning during the 5:30 am segment of the show. It was advised that we also contact KHQ and KREM.
The Exchange paper is dedicating one to two pages for local news for the Palouse weekly. This is to take the place of the North Palouse Journal on a temporary basis.

Mayor Micki Harnois presented information on the Town of Odessa Public Development Authority (PDA). She explained that there are several PDAs established in smaller towns in Eastern Washington and they use the same boiler plate format and language. It is hoped that Rockford will set one up soon.

Old Business:
The Rockford Community Center received approval of the 501c 3 tax exempt status on May 10, 2010. Any donations of material or money will be noted as to donor and value and kept in the RCC records.
The Rockford beautification project will be brought before the Town Council.
The status of the sale or lease of the Exxon station is unknown.
Mayor Micki met with one of the Town webmasters on May 6th. It was suggested that we should hire a professional to take this position as the webmasters will be graduating from high school this summer and want to increase salary. Micki will explore possibilities of a professional webmaster and the cost if the current webmasters can not continue.

New Business:
Rockford Community Center
There will be a meeting soon to move items in the building away from the walls to begin the preparation process of cleaning, painting and moving in.
The Farmers' Market will begin on June 5th and will continue through the summer. It was asked that we search for musicians to perform.
The Horizons banner for the Town is 4 feet by 6 feet and can be displayed during every Horizons sponsored event. Mayor Micki asked where it would be kept. Patrick Malone suggested that we contact other Horizons communities to find out how theirs are being stored.
Patrick presented suggestions for the gardens such as "Plant A Row for the Hungry" and Feed Spokane. These projects provide produce that is donated to Inland Second Harvest. We opted to keep our produce in the Rockford area. There is a mobile food bank that may help distribute food. The food bank in Fairfield is our local receiver of our harvest.
A free community dinner is being provided on the 4th Thursday of the month in the Rockford Methodist Church basement. There will be no donations received. Anyone who wishes to help can contact Susan Gallagher for more information.

Meeting adjourned at 8:05 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Mary-Lou Benson

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rockford Horizons Poverty Reduction May 17th Meeting Agenda

Status of 501 c 3 for Rockford Community Center
Rockford beautification project
Rockford Mini-Mart status
Report of meeting between Mayor Micki and the web maasters
Community Gardens report
List of interested participants
Time of rototilling
Planting timetable
Timer for Garden#2 at the Catholic Church
Communication Report

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rockford Horizons Poverty Reduction May 3, 2010 Meeting Minutes

The Strategy meeting held on April 28th was intended to provide the committee with strategies for the last part of our program. This was attended by Mary-Lou Benson, Kathy Creeed and Vivian Plank.
Patrick Malone (our coach) laid out the areas:
Asset Building
Earned Income Tax Credit
Micro-enterprise i.e. through SNAP
Community Leadership
Community Capacity
More people are needed for these programs
Public Policy
Community Endowments
A way to increase the money received (our $10,000!!!)
Wealth Sustaining
The group learned of the existance of The Book Parlor in Spokane that carries new and used books at reasonable prices, has a coffee shop and "Fair Trade Gifts". This is one example of micro-enterprise.

Vivian Plank and Mary-Lou Benson attended a luncheon presented by AWALL (Adolescent Women Actively Learning Life's Lessons). The purpose of this organization is to provice a sense of empowerment to adolescent girls who are from low-income families, by mentoring them and giving them skills and confidence to improve their lives.

Bill Benson offered an example of micro-enterprise by citing the impact of the closure of the Rockford Mini-mart (excluding the gas station). The Town has lost a place to purchase small essentials, truck drivers and local residents have lost the quick and available coffee in the early morning and the Rockford Emergency Response Committee has lost the use of coolers and food keeping capacity in case of emergencies. His proposition is that there be a co-op that would maintain the Mini-Mart, open a coffee shop/internet cafe and a deli for quick "to go" sandwiches and pizza. He reminded us that the Mini-Mart used to have pizza but the owners did not want to maintain the ovens, so no pizzas were sold. The plan would add jobs to manage the deli, Mini-mart and internet cafe. Mayor Micki Harnois noted that several people have looked at the Mini-Mart to puchase and are waiting for the price to be lower.

The Rockford beautification project is primarily in the City park along the fence, the basketball court and around the memorial. The bush by the south entrance of the park is blocking the view inside the park. It was the consensus that it should be trimmed back due to the return of drug paraphernalia being found around that side of the park. Local businesses and organizations will be contacted and invited to take part in this project. It is thought that if the park is a safe place and it looks as though the people care about the appearance of the Town there will be more interest in businesses relocating here.

The discussion about public development authorities is on hold.

The Community gardens will be tilled once the ground is dry enough. The local 4-H group is willing to help because they need service hours. Barb Gady is the contact person once there is a schedule for planting.

Approval was given to use retaining stones for the triangle area in front of the restrooms in the park. The cost of $200 will come out of the Community Center budget. There was a suggestion that people can donate a tree, preferably a willow, to plant in the park. Keith Wigen explained that the willow trees will absorb alot of the water and the park won't be so wet. By having the park drier, there won't be a large amount of standing water thus decreasing the mosquito breeding grounds, making the park a healthier place. Also, the existing trees should be sprayed to control the aphids. A suggestion was made to find ladybugs to solve the problem.

The Town webmasters are scheduled to meet with Mayor Micki next Thursday, May 6th at 4:30 pm at the City Hall.

The next meeting will be on May 17th at 6:30 pm at the Harvest Moon Restaurant.

Respctfully submitted,
Mary-Lou Benson

Monday, May 10, 2010

Horizon Leader attends CRM Facilitator Training

Micki Harnois, Horizon leader attended the Coordinated Resource Management training on April 26-29, 2010.
The basic objectives of the meeting was to:
1) Engage local people in resolving issues
2) Teach skills in facilitating successful meetings, work sessions and other group processes.
3) Learn how groups work together and overcome obstacles in order to solve problems, make decisions and build durable agreements.

It was a great learning experience and will be used a tool to help others in the community learn to express themselves in a group setting and also seek to understand why others feel the way they do.

Rockford Community Center receives 501 c 3 status!

After many months of hard work and organizing the stacks of paperwork for the IRS, RCC has become non profit and tax exempt. Vivian Plank and Mary-Lou Benson (with expert advice from Linda Thomas) have succeeded in achieving the most important step in the Rockford Horizons program and in our strategic plan. This is the beginning of a worth-while venture of establishing programs beneficial to those of poverty in Rockford. Be sure to thank them for their hard work as well as those who have been dedicated for the last 18 months to the Horizons program.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Meeting With the Webmaster

A committee consisting of Vivian Plank, Jack Bergstrom and Phil Evans met with one of the Town webmasters Andrew Coumont. (He is graduating from Freeman High School in 23 days!). The group gave suggestion on how the website can be improved with supplying more information regarding organizations, businesses and emergency preparedness. It is going to be interesting to see the improvements.

Rockford Horizons Poverty Reduction Program April 19, 2010 Meeting Minutes

Ten members were present.

The paperwork for 501 c 3 status was submitted on April 14, 2010.

Mayor Micki Harnois suggested that Rockford start a Public Development Authority. The initial steps are to 1) obtain the go-ahead from the Town Council and 2)appoint a Board of Directors which would include an attorney, realtor, banker, several business owners and interested citizens. This will be discussed in more detail at a later meeting.

Susan Gallagher has volunteered to be the photographer for the Horizons Team.

The Rockford Beautification Project: 1) identify the spaces that need beautification, 2) list the spaces, 3) present the list to the businesses, organizations or groups, and 4) have each select one space apiece. It can be an "Adopt a Space" or "Foster a Space" for a certain period of time (i.e. one year).

Community Gardens: There are seeds available. Linda and Keith Wigen have starts for flowers and vegetables. The gardens have been plowed but need to be tilled to break up the clods of dirt. Linda Wigen presented her plan for the area in front of the park restrooms. There was a discussion regarding the use of cherry tone timber in that it warps. The choice was due to the cost of materials, the cherry tone timber being the least expensive. It was mentioned that we need flower pots. There was a suggestion that we attempt to make them out of newspaper to have biodegradable ones.

The Blood Mobile is scheduled for Rockford on May 10th from 1:30-3:30pm.

Rockford Community Center April 5, 2010 Meeting Minutes

Members presnt: Mary-Lou Benson, Joanie Thompson, Susan Gallagher, Todd Hart, Sean Hart, Jeff Barratt, Phil Evans

Meeting called to order at 6:07 pm by Chair Todd Hart

Minutes amended to include Sean Hart as present at the last meeting. Minutes approved as amended.

Treasurer's Report not available.

Old Business:
Status of 501 c 3: All paperwork has been submitted to the IRS. We are awaiting our acceptance as a non-profit organization.
Insurance: All paperwork has been submitted. The premium is $467.00 per year. This quote includes $1 million General Liability, $500,000 Medical Expense to Others and $5,000 Business Personal Property with Special Causes of Loss and a $500 deductible on the BPP. The liability includes the coverage for the Farmer's Market, Basketball in the Park, Movies in the Park and the Christmas Wreaths. The check for that amount will be submitted on Tuesday, April 5, 2010. Items necessary to comply with the insurance: all obtained but not installed pending the approval for coverage.
Status of donated items: On hold until we can get into the building and find places for them.
Surveys: Out of 20 given out 9 have been returned.
Garden Plots: Keith Wigen said that Steve Meyer will plow the fields. Joanie Thonpson has chicken manure to donate. It was mentioned that Fairfield has a greenhouse and will be selling plants. The plan for the area in front of the park restrooms was brought up. There was discussion as to the use of cherry tone timbers as opposed to railroad ties. The deciding factor is the cost of materials. Todd said that he will take two of the trees and leave one. Linda Wigen will use plants from her garden.
Newspaper: No news available.

New Business: Background checks are not being done by SCOPE. Mary-Lou will check with the Washington State Patrol as to the procedure for obtaining background checks.
Lighting for the Community Center: Todd will contact Avista regarding the changing of the existing fixtures to more efficient lighting. There may be a rebate for that.

There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:40pm.

Resptfully submitted,

Mary-Lou Benson

Horizon Leader Receives Award

Mary Lou Benson, one of our original Horizons leader, received special recognition for her many hours of dedication to the Town of Rockford Horizons poverty reduction program. This award was presented by the Rockford United Methodist Church Women at the fellowhip hour after the churhc service on Sunday, May 2nd.
Needless to say Mary Lou was very surprised and appreciative. Even though she is very active in St Joseph Catholic Church in Rockford, Mary Lou attends bible study and various functions at RUMC.
We thank you for all your hard work, Mary Lou!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Horizons Poverty Reduction May 3, 2010 Meeting Agenda

Starting at 6:30 pm at the Harvest Moon Restaurant

Status of 501 c 3
Report on April 28th Strategy Meeting
Asset Building
Community Leadership Community Capacity
Public Policy
Community Endowment
Wealth Sharing
Reports on Rockford Beautification Project
Process of selecting sites to identify
Businesses to contact
Names of organizations to contact
Public Development Authority
Identify specific people for Board of Directors
who, why and if they would be willing to serve
Request "blessing" from the Town Council
Rototilling time frame for garden #1, #2 and #3
4-H will be willing to help with the gardens
Webmasters meeting

Rockford Community Center May 3, 2010 Meeting Agenda

Starting time is at 6:00 pm at the Harvest Moon Restaurant

Members present
Call to order
Treasurer's Report
Old Business:
Status of 501 c 3
Surveys for RCC distribution
Garden plots
Report on progress with plowing and rototilling
Background checks cost before 501 c 3 status
After 501 c 3 status required
Lighting updating cost from Avista
New Business:
Progress on getting the RCC ready for occupancy
Work crews needed
Moving equipment, cleaning, sorting donations, itemizing donations and equipment,
categorizing books
Meeting with town people to determine colors, paint donations, wall decorations, etc