Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chuck Gehring. Lifecare Alliance Report.

Chuck Gehring visited Bexley Public Radio for his regular Lifecare Alliance report on Thursday February 19, 2009. When Chuck arrived at the studio, Mel Greenball was finishing his twice-weekly report on news published in The New Standard.

Mel is a retired OSU accounting professor and Chuck introduced himself as a former student. Just one more example of “Old Home Week” at Bexley Public Radio.

Digital TV.

Chuck began his discussion with a topic that was practical and timely. Broadcast television is changing from analog to digital technology and February is the month when most viewers will be connecting converter boxes.

He described the difficulty and confusion that the new equipment is presenting many people. Some people have vintage televisions that cannot be converted and that these people will have special challenges if they wish to continue receiving a television signal. He said that some people paying attention to the technology switch are calling the situation the “Nightmare of February.”

Chuck said that Lifecare Alliance has a corps of volunteers who can assist central Ohio residents who need assistance in attaching converter boxes to their televisions and making the required adjustments.

Individuals who need assistance or want to volunteer as technicians for this service should call Lifecare Alliance. Donations of televisions and converter boxes are also welcome.

Winter Meals on Wheels.

The cold winter Thursday of the broadcast was a reminder that volunteers who deliver Meals on Wheels have to deal with the winter risks of ice and snow as they make their appointed rounds. Chuck described some of the challenges and difficulties the heavy icing of the prior two weeks caused volunteers.

Food Safety.

Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter cracker sandwiches are also in the news. Chuck described the safety procedures and inventory controls at the Lifecare Alliance food pantries.

He also described some simple food safety practices useful at home. From the simple attention to expiration dates; regular washing of hands and counters: refrigeration and separation of raw meats, poultry and fish from other foods; food should be hot and refrigerate food promptly.

Gardens, Community Gardens and Parsley.

Chuck briefly discussed gardens as a way for households to supply themselves with fresh fruits and vegetables. He also said that community gardens are receiving interest throughout central Ohio. He said that at Lifecare Alliance, there is some thinking about how a garden might provide some fresh produce such as tomatoes for the Meals on Wheels. He said that they also discuss whether a small experimental garden might be useful at their new facility on Harmon Road to learn how a garden might fit into the operations. The example Chuck offered was an herb garden where something like fresh parsley would be available for the Meals on Wheels kitchen. This though is in the discussion stage only.

Tax Deductions for Volunteers.

Chuck then turned to a topic on everyone’s mind: taxes. He reminded listeners that the IRS permits volunteers to deduct mileage related to volunteer work at the rate of 14 cents per mile. The deduction is permitted those taxpayers who itemize their deductions. He also reminded listeners that when they donate boxed food and canned goods the actual cost of those food paid at the grocery is a deductible when the taxpayer itemizes deductions. Save the grocery receipts. He discussed also mentioned the tax benefits of donating to charities gifts of appreciated property including stocks and bonds.

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