Despite worries, Thompson Center still open

by Bradley Hartsell

Last week, the Tommy Thompson Senior Center in Newnan worried about possibly discontinuing its services amid the federal government shutdown.

Numerous letters faxed to the office of U.S. Representative Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga. Third District, prompted a call to senior center Director Ida Johnson from a representative of Westmoreland informing her the congressman is hopeful everything will be resolved by Thursday.

It wasn't much - certainly not a promise - but it was appreciated by the Thompson center and gave them a reason to be optimistic, Johnson said.

'Everybody's taking it day by day,' said Johnson. 'But our seniors are optimistic about it.'

Johnson was concerned the transportation budget would run out as early as last week, which would cripple the center since most of its clients are either picked up via van or home delivered a meal.

Coweta senior centers, including Grantville's, were informed last week that, counting from Oct. 14, the centers would have to cease operations after 30 days because of a lack of funding. The transportation budget, however, could run out at just a 48-hour's notice.

Last week, the Southern Crescent Area Agency on Aging issued a letter that was passed from the centers to their seniors, informing seniors of the possibility of having to close until the federal government resumes operations.

Johnson said that the seniors, who had known all along the center was in jeopardy, reacted reasonably upon receiving the letter. Southern Crescent was worried the letter, purely a formality, would be taken negatively by seniors. Johnson again reiterated her clients are 'taking it day by day' and 'remaining hopeful.'

Reports from Washington Tuesday from the Associated Press, in concurrence with the message from Westmoreland's representative, were that a deal was close to being reached to raise the federal debt limit and end the shutdown, which is now entering its third week.

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