Richard’s Almanac: Senior citizen bus

COURTESY PHOTO
The Senior Citizens Foundation of Shelter Island has voted unanimously to donate some $85,000 to the town’s Senior Center for a new bus.

The Senior Citizens Foundation of Shelter Island has voted unanimously to donate some $85,000 to the town’s Senior Center for a new bus. The bus will be capable of carrying 20 passengers and two wheelchairs.

What’s left now is for the town to accept this gift. 

The foundation asks that the town be responsible for insurance, maintenance and other attendant costs of vehicle ownership. The foundation also wants the town to be ready to provide a qualified driver for up to 20 hours per week.

This vote was taken after Senior Center Director Laurie Fanelli made a pitch for the vehicle to replace the one the town now owns.

“It’s getting old and needs to be replaced,” Ms. Fanelli said, adding that they do not like to risk breaking down, particularly with handicapped and aged passengers.

I believe that it is important to point out here that the foundation is an independent organization, totally separate from the town, and its goal is to improve the quality of life for all senior citizens on Shelter Island. In the past they have provided funds for many Island projects, including the purchase of a wheelchair-accessible small van, the improvement of walkways and lighting at the Perlman Music Center and improved walkways and a golf cart for transporting the elderly and handicapped at Camp Quinipet.

The foundation helped the Senior Center with the recent wine-tasting event at the Osprey Lounge. 

The organization is also prepared to assist needy island seniors with daily living expenses like fuel assistance and emergency alert monitors.

“So this new bus purchase gift is another step we’re taking to make more opportunities available for the Island’s ever growing senior citizen population,” foundation president Chris Lewis said.

On another subject, while I was driving on the expressway last week, a gravel- and sand-filled truck passed me and showered my car with sand and pebbles.

When he was way ahead of me, I noticed a BB-like mark on the upper right side of the windshield. It had lines radiating from it. So what do I do? Not much recourse for one of the hazards of driving in the slow lane.

The commercial for Safelite started going through my head: “Safelite repairs, Safelite, replace.” They talk about coming to your house. I was thinking that they would not come to the Island and I would have to go to a nearby store.

I thought it would be like when I had a new car some years ago with “roadside assistance” and I had a flat tire in my driveway one morning. They would not send someone to the Island to repair it. So I replaced the tire and took the flat to be repaired. I sent the invoice to the dealer and I was not reimbursed. I figured that this was the same. No one’s coming to the Island.

I do remember, though, after buying a new car from a North Fork dealer, I was able to get it picked up at my house and delivered back when service was complete. They had an employee who lived here and would pick up the car and drive it to the dealer. But the ferry fee was on the invoice.

What a surprise I had with the windshield crack.

I called the 800 number and after giving them a few details — I do have glass coverage — I was asked to pick a date from a few choices and I was told that a technician would come to my home.

“Even to Shelter Island,” I said, expecting a negative answer.

“Oh yes, we have plenty of ferry tickets and we’ll be there between 9 and 12,” I was told.

How great is that! I did not even have to leave my backyard. And there was not even a ferry surcharge. I did not have to pay a nickel for anything.

This seems like a good model for other business to not penalize those of us who choose to live in a place that’s not accessible in a conventional way.

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