Piae 8. West Criivan Hiahllahts, June 3,1982
Dialogfue For Aging
Senior Power Through The Ballot Box
By Ernest Messer
A united and well organized older population can
be a powerful political force. Candidates pay close
attention to large groups of voters. Therefore, it is
extremely important that older citizens not only
register and vote, but become knowledgeable about
The majority of benefits and services available to
the elderly today were won through legislation on
both the national and state level. Some of these hard
earned elderly programs are now threatened.
The older generation is the fastest growing
segment of the population in North Carolina. Yet,
many elderly citizens vote either inconsistently or not
In North Carolina, if a registered voter does not
vote in one of two successive presidential elections or
any election held in between that time, he is
eliminated from the voting list. Many older people do
not meet these requirements. Only one other age
group, 18-26, vote as inconsistently as the elderly.
What do the elderly have to lose? Major social
advancements are at stake, such as Social Security,
Medicare, Supplement Security Income and the
appropriations for the Older Americans Act.
The elderly should protect what they have and seek
new and expanded benefits. They should work to
“Swim At Your Own Risk”
Ends June 1
North Carolina’s 40 state parks and recreation
areas will open their swimming facilities and
refreshment stands for the summer season June 1.
The free ferry at Hammocks Beach will also begin
operations that day. All state parks are open from 8 a.
m. to 9 p. m., and lifeguards are on duty from 10 a. m.
to 6 p. m. For more information, contact Kirk Fuller,
State Parks and Recreation, (919) 733-4181.
expand the Homestead Act to cover condominiums,
strengthen the Domiciliary Bill of Rights, and seek to
make school buses available to older people. In-home
services and adult day care should be broadened to
keep the elderly at home rather than at institutions.
Equality for the older woman is of particular
importance. By the year 2000, there will be 160
elderly women to every 100 elderly men. In light of
this, the White House Conference on Aging
recommended passage of Equal Rights
Amendments to guarantee the rights of older
Women do not share equally in social security and
pension benefits or in the right to work. Women also
face discrimination in pay and job security.
The plight of older women is one of particular
injustice. Sixty percent of elderly women receive
only about one-half the income of elderly men. They
have no retraining rights, no employment rights, and
no equal pay rights. Widowed housewives have
inadequate retirement income. Many of these older
women are among the poorest of the poor.
Senior citizens should exercise their voting rights.
Their mature judgement is desired and respected.
The philosopher Plato said, “the penalty for wise
men who refuse to take part in the affairs of their
government, is to live under the government of
In July of 1981, the U. S.
poverty threshhold for a non
farm family of four was
$8,450. In North Carolina,
17.5 percent of households
were below that level.
According to extension
family resource management
specialists at North Carolina
State University," that figure
is up from 14.7 percent in
Per capita income in the
state in 1979 was estimated
b. range from $4,086 in Avery
County to $8,499 in
Mecklenburg, for an average
of $7,382. Per capita income
rose in 1980 to $7,819, but
the state had dropped from'
39th to 41st in national in
come ranking status.
New Bridgre Tender Houses
Open on ^
RALEIGH-A new North Carolina Department of
Transportation (NCDOT) bridge tender house on the
Atlantic Beach-Morehead bridge was officially
occupied on Feb. 23, 1982. The new house replaces
the now obsolete one that was built with the bridge in
NCDOT Secretary W. R. “Bill” Roberson, Jr., said,
“The new bridge house, complete with modern
equipment and controls, improves DOT’s abilities to
- oversee land traffic and sea traffic. The importance
of the bridge to North Carolina’s inland waterway
system can best be noted in a few statistics. In 1981
the drawbridge opened 6,406 times and allowed
9,692 sea vessels to pass through. During the month
of April 1982 alone some 800 sea vessels had already
The earlier house consisted of two separate
structures, a concrete house and a control house. The
concrete house was used by the bridge operator when
he was not opening or closing the bridge. The control
house was located in the center of the swingspan, the
part of the bridge that opened and closed to allow for
the passage of sea vessels.
The current all-in-one structure consists of a new
16 X 20 foot two-story bridge operator’s house, a
platform and a parking deck. The total cost of the
facility is $314,600. The electrical equipment is
located in the bottom story of the house and the
control center is located on the top story of the house.
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