■ Essentia Health staff
takes part Sertoma
Celebrate Sound Walk
The Celebrate Sound Walk will be conducted for the first time in the Brainerd lakes area at 10 a.m. May 4 at the Confidence Learning Center, 1620 Mary Fawcett Drive West near Brainerd.
Sertoma invites the community to support hearing health in the community, enjoy a walk with Essentia Health audiologist, Dr. Whitnea Engelbrecht, and get a T-shirt for doing so. There will also be booths offering free hearing testing and the Brainerd High School ASL club will teach sign language.
Essentia Health is a partner with Sertoma to raise awareness and funds to support hearing in the community. Engelbrecht and her team daily care for all ages in our community through otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing, complete hearing evaluations, hearing aid dispensing, aural rehabilitation, and cerumen management.
“Sound adds to every experience you have,” said Engelbrecht, in a news release. “It is a pleasure to work together with our patients and their families in choosing the right amplification that best suits their needs.”
Half of the net proceeds from this event will be used to help cover the cost of children attending Camp Sertoma. Camp Sertoma is a place where deaf and hard of hearing children come and meet people just like them, without communication barriers. Counselors are deaf or hard of hearing themselves. Many of the counselors have attended camp and are eager for the chance to enrich the lives of the campers, Essentia Health reported. Many times, campers and counselors create ever-lasting friendships and memories.
The other half will be used to support Sertoma’s national hearing health mission projects such as:
• College scholarships for hard-of-hearing and deaf students;
• Scholarships for those pursuing graduate studies in speech-language pathology or audiology;
• SAFEEars! an awareness program for the prevention of Noise Induced Hearing Loss;
• A Sound Investment campaign to promote better public accessibility for people using assistive hearing devices;
• Grants to local non-profits providing hearing healthcare in communities across the nation.
Register for the walk online at www.mycelebratesound.org.
■ Summer hours
for AARP tax aides
AARP Tax Aides will be available throughout the summer at The Center in Brainerd to accommodate the large number of taxpayers who have to file their 2012 Property Tax Refunds.
The Center will be open from 9-11:30 a.m. May 8, June 19, July 17 and Aug. 7 to help people with their taxes. Appointments are necessary by calling The Center at 829-9345.
The Crosby Library also will be open from 1-4 p.m. May 29, July 10 and Aug. 7. No appointments are necessary in Crosby.
The Pequot Lakes Library will be open from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 8.
To file for the 2012 Property Tax refund, people must bring their 2012 Social Security 1099SSA, 1099-Rs, 1099 INT, 1099-DIVs, W-2s and include their 2013 Property Tax statement. AARP volunteers will complete both of the refunds for people.
People who have not filed their 2011 Property Tax refund can also bring them, their 2011 income statements and their 2012 Property tax statement to have them filed.
■ Ruud: DFL finance
Sen. Carrie Ruud, R- Breezy Point, on Friday offered comments on the passage of the Senate Education and Health and Human Services finance bills.
The Education Budget Bill increases spending by nearly one-half billion dollars, but also lowers standards for students and teachers and adds a new statewide property tax, she said in a statement. The bill passed on a 35-28 vote with no Republican votes in support and two Democratic votes in opposition.
“It’s interesting this bill actually increases the school shift we’ve heard so much about over the past few years,” Ruud said. “Instead of paying back the shift like the Democrats said they would they actually increased it by $70 million dollars.”
The Health and Human Services bill spends $11.17 billion from the General Fund which is an increase of 4.9 percent from current health and human services spending. The bill uses a number of gimmicks such as surcharges, transfers and rebasing to achieve this level of spending. The bill also cuts a grant to Teen Challenge which is one of the most successful drug rehabilitation programs in Minnesota. The bill passed on a party line vote 36-28.
“I’m concerned the Senate Democrats have proposed an overall budget that increases government spending by $3 billion, but have decided to cut funding to Minnesota’s most vulnerable people by $150 million. This is extremely disappointing,” Ruud said.
■ Free bicycle helmets to be distributed to area children
The Lakewood Health System Foundation will distribute free bicycle helmets to area children as part of its an annual “Helmets Worth Wearing” program.
The program will kick off May 7 at Lakewood’s Eagle Bend clinic and will continue through May 16. Children of all ages will be properly fitted and given a free helmet along with instruction on the importance of wearing a helmet during activities such as bike riding, roller skating, and skateboarding.
Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and it is estimated that 75 percent of bicycle related fatalities among children could be prevented with a bicycle helmet. To help prevent such injuries, Lakewood’s Foundation gave more than 600 helmets to area children during last year’s Helmets Worth Wearing Clinics.
All area children are welcome to attend any one of the scheduled clinics to receive a free helmet. For more information, please contact Heidi Chapman, Lakewood Health System Foundation Director at 218-894-8503.
Clinic locations, dates and times for this year’s event are as follows:
• Lakewood Health System Eagle Bend Clinic 3-5 p.m. May 7.
• Lakewood Health System Pillager Clinic 3-5 p.m. May 9.
• Lakewood Health System Staples Clinic noon-7 p.m. May 13.
• Lakewood Health System Browerville Clinic 3-5 p.m. May 14. • Lakewood Health System Motley Clinic 3-5 p.m. May 16.