The challenges we faced in 2020 were unlike any other as we dealt with the impact of COVID-19 in our communities. I admire the strength and dedication our senior community has demonstrated, and I know that you will take that same spirit of intensity into 2021.
As your State Senator, my goal is to make sure you can spend these unprecedented times focusing on what matters most to you, and I’m working hard to ensure that we provide the stability you deserve.
Every letter, email, or call helps me better represent you, and I hope to continue hearing from you as we embark upon a new year that I know will be filled with better opportunities. If you would like to share your ideas or need assistance regarding state government, you can contact my office through email or by phone. I also invite you to sign up for my e-newsletter to stay apprised of current issues at SenatorHertel.com.
Curtis Hertel, Jr.
Phone: (517) 373-1734
Click link to review PDF version of this newsletter
Please make sure you are on my email list! You can subscribe online at SenatorHertel.com or send an email to my office at SenCHertel@senate.michigan.gov with “E-News Subscription Request” in the subject line.
I always enjoy the opportunity to hear directly from Ingham County residents like you on the issues you care about! My favorite way to do that is to host coffee hours, which I’ve been doing online to keep everyone safe. Check my website for upcoming dates and times and to sign up for my e-newsletter, or call my office to learn about a future coffee hour!
Please cut out and save these useful department numbers for help and assistance when needed.-Sen. Hertel
Tri-County Office on Aging
5303 S. Cedar St. Lansing, MI 48911 TCOA.org | (517) 887-1440
Prime Time Seniors Program
819 Abbot Road East Lansing, MI 48823 (517) 337-1113
Holt Senior Center
2108 N. Cedar St. Holt, MI 48842 (517) 268-0096
Cristo Rey Community Center
1717 N. High St. Lansing, MI 48906 (517) 372-4700
4000 N. Okemos Road Okemos, MI 48864 (517) 706-5045
Meals on Wheels
No one should go without access to healthy meals. If you, or a senior you know, are struggling to pay for food, Meals on Wheels can help.
This program provides five nutritious meals per week to homebound, older adults. They also offer liquid nutrition for those who are unable to eat solid food and who have
a prescription from their physician.
To qualify for Meals on Wheels, an adult must be:
For more information or to determine if you’re eligible for Meals on Wheels, contact:
Greater Lansing Area Meals on Wheels
Lansing, East Lansing, Haslett, and Okemos
Tri-County Office on Aging
5303 S. Cedar St., Bldg. 1 Lansing, MI 48911-3800 (517) 887-1460
Rural Ingham County Meals on Wheels
Holt, Mason, Williamston, Webberville, Stockbridge, Leslie, Dansville, and Onondaga 415 E. Maple St.
Mason, MI 48854
Home Heating Assistance Program
Winter heating bills can become a burden that cause many to struggle just to keep their house warm but, fortunately, The Heat and Warmth (THAW) Fund can help.
THAW has multiple utility assistance programs available, including affordable payment plans for customers of DTE’s Low Income Self-Sufficiency Plan (LSP) and the Consumers Energy Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE) plan. They also offer resources for utility payment assistance and/or state emergency relief.
See which you may qualify for at THAWFund.org/ Programs or call (800) 866-THAW (8429).
In addition, here are some helpful phone numbers if you have questions about your heating bill:
• DTE Energy: 1-800-477-4747
• Consumers Energy: 1-800-477-5050
• Michigan Gas Utilities: 1-800-401-6402
Know Your Rights: Protect Against Elder Abuse and Fraud
In Michigan, more than 73,000 older adults have been victims of abuse — and many more are targets. Seniors are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and much of it is unreported or underreported. To combat this problem, our state’s attorney general has created the Michigan Elder Abuse Task Force to implement various initiatives to streamline reporting and reduce the risk of elder abuse.
Elder Abuse: SEE IT, DOCUMENT IT, REPORT IT
If you or someone you know might be a victim of elder abuse, the attorney general’s office recommends that you should:
MICHIGAN COVID-19 VACCINATION PLAN
On Dec. 11, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced a vaccine distribution plan that follows recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and established a goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders by the end of 2021. Health officials estimate that by late Spring, enough COVID-19 doses will be available for everyone who is recommended to receive it.
Michiganders over age 65 are eligible to receive the vaccine as of January 29, 2021. Vaccines will be distributed through county health departments. To schedule an appointment for your vaccination, please contact the Ingham County Health Department at hd.ingham.org or call their COVID-19 Helpline at
In the first phase of vaccine distribution, health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities will receive the vaccine. Next priority will be critical/essential workers, followed by people at high risk for severe COVID-19 complications. Finally, the vaccine will be available to the general public, age 16 and older. This prioritization was set by the State of Michigan in accordance with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
When will the COVID-19 Vaccine be available to You?
Distribution of the vaccine will be in a phased approach* — with an emphasis on both ensuring the continued functioning of the health care system and essential services in the community, and protecting people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness — as follows:
• Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
• Phase 1B includes persons 75 years of age or older not covered in 1A, along with county, state, and federal frontline essential workers in critical infrastructure settings, including school and childcare staff and corrections staff.
• Phase 1C includes individuals 65-74 years old, as well as those age 16-64 who are at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 infection, along with all remaining essential workers whose position impacts life, safety, and protection during the COVID-19 response.
• Phase 2 includes individuals 16 years of age or older not covered in any of the above phases.
*The above phase definitions were issued by MDHHS. These prioritizations are current as of Jan. 29, 2021 and may change as more information becomes available.
The COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, separated by three or four weeks depending on the manufacturer. There will be no out-of-pocket costs, however, health care providers may bill insurance for administrative costs. People should receive both doses in order to have full protection from the virus. Symptoms of mild side effects may include a low-grade fever, sore arm, and fatigue, which indicate that the vaccine is working.
Michiganders should continue to wear masks, social distance from those not in their household, and wash their hands often, even after receiving the vaccine.
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.
Our health care professionals and public servants have been hard at work since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure that everyone has access to important information and resources. Do your part to stay safe and stop the spread of this virus by wearing a mask when you go out, staying at least six feet apart from others, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, and washing your hands often.
Visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus to find the latest information, a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and testing sites near you or call the COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 535-6136.
For more information specific to Ingham County, contact the Ingham County Health Department COVID-19 Helpline at (517) 887-4517 or visit hd.ingham.org.
Download the MI COVID Alert app
As part of the state’s continued efforts to slow the increasing spread of COVID-19, the free and voluntary MI COVID Alert app can let you know whether you’ve been recently exposed to the virus. The app works in conjunction with traditional contact tracing, mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing, but is not a replacement for these precautions or participation in contact tracing.
When a person tests positive for COVID-19, they receive a randomly generated PIN from the local health department or State of Michigan that allows them to anonymously share their test results on the app. A notification from the app means you were possibly within six feet of the positive person for at least 15 minutes.
Every Michigander is encouraged to download MI COVID Alert, which is available in the Apple and Google app stores.
‘Be Kind to Your Mind’ and seek help
This year has been a difficult year for many Michiganders, which is why the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging people to Be Kind to Your Mind. Confidential counseling is available 24/7 by calling 888-535-6136 and pressing “8”, or residents can visit Michigan.gov/StayWell for more information and resources.
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