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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 28, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa r 5A    Cedar    Rapids    Gazette:    Sun.,    July    28,    1974 Both Sides Have Say in Linn Food Stamp Hassle By Dale Kucter It’s tough, unless you perhaps are directly involved, to separate the alleged victims from the alleged villains in the current spat over delivery of food stamp services to the needy in Linn county. “There has to be a better way ” lamented one food stamp applicant to The Gazette after waiting several hours at the department of social services. “We are trying,” responded Judy Bcntly, who took over early this year as director of income maintenance for Linn county social services, which includes overseeing the food stamp program. “In June I got food stamps the same day I walked in,” a 58-year-old man said. “I went in this morning and they put me off.” The man was desperate. He claimed to have no money to buy food. The commission on veterans affairs would pay for his food stamps, but now he needed an appointment to be certified to buy the stamps. “We have no car. I walked downtown. Last month we didn’t need an appointment.” Later he said it took seven hours before he received food stamps. They had a time problem here before I came, said Mrs. Bently. “Then some had to wait all day long. I suggested some come at 8, some at IO, \ i si tm i Food Stamp Schedule Changes Thursday The Linn county department of social services is revamping its schedule for selling food stamps, effective Thursday. The food stamp office, 400 Third avenue SE, will sell coupons from 9 a m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Thursday nights from 5 to 7 p.m. Food stamps will be sold on an emergency basis only the last three days of the month officials said. The alphabet system in scheduling assistance is being discarded. Certification for purchasing food stamps will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. for those employed during the day. Appointments for certification will still be required. When coming to the food stamp office for certification, and so on, so the wait wouldn’t be so long.” But the wait many times is longer than two hours. “I’m getting complaints from some of our clients,” said Pete Todd, executive secretary of officials said, persons should bring income receipts, medical and child care receipts and housing and utility statements. An office spokesman said verification of the amount of resources available to a household is also needed. “In this way, we can certify one’s purchase of food stamps with no unnecessary delays.” During August, food stamps will be sold and certification made at the following outreach locations: Mt. Vernon MACA? office, Aug. 7 from IO a.m. to 2 p.m.; Central City HACAP office, Aug. 8 from IO a.m. to % p.m.; Hawthorne Hills, Aug. y from 9 to IO a m.; and Center Point town hall, Aug. 9, from noon to 2 p.m. The dates for food stamp processing at outreach offices will change each month. tote* 'v >' • * vv Is ■ AJ. t &    V    ■    ’fe.    'S    ’i the commission on veteran affairs. About 95 percent of those who receive veterans assistance are on the food stamp program. “One widow of a veteran told me she went in for food stamps on July 8 and was told she couldn’t have an appointment until July 18.” Todd said. He has begun to keep a file of complaints about food stamp procedures. Todd said he has talked with Mrs. Bently about the problem, which he said has worsened in the last couple of months. “There is a question in my mind if some (in the food stamp office) are working or sitting around,” Todd said. Todd was also critical of closing down the food stamp office entirely when staff meetings are required. He said some people make the trip downtown only to find the office closed. Mrs. Bently denies that any of her people are wasting time. There are six food stamp workers, those who interview applicants to determine eligibility, and three who issue stamps. One of the problems, Mrs. Bently acknowledges, is the considerable turn-over of workers. The longest seniority among the food stamp workers is ll months. As a result, staff training sessions have been a top priority item in Mrs. Bently’s mind. “I prefer that they all take the training at the same time so that all have the same understanding of the program,” she said. “We are trying to teach the workers to determine, to re cognize when there is reason to doubt,” said Mrs. Bently, explaining the stepped-up attempt at verification of application information. The increased scrutiny of food stamp    applications, prompted by a federal audit into reports of fake requests, has added to the processing time. The audit has been completed, according to department of agriculture officials in Kansas City, but federal officials would not comment on the status of the investigatory stage. “I don’t want it said,” reflected Mrs. Bently on the augmented certification process, “They are an easy mark down there.’ We want to serve people in need.” Each time a person seeks food stamps the certification requires about a half hour. “Our people process about IOO food stamp requests a day,” she said. In June, $165,000 worth of food stamps were issued. Applicants paid $63,222 for the stamps, with the balance paid from federal funds. The county and state pay for administering the program. The June cases comprised 992 public assistance cases (those receiving some other type of welfare), and 1,635 non-public cases, or a total of 2,627 households, serving 7,562 persons. In June of 1973, $98,730 in food stamps were issued to 2,512 households — 7,500 persons. In June of 1972, $112,200 in stamps were issued to 2,025 households — 6,677 persons. “When I began in February,” said Mrs. Bently, “we had 30 to 40 people lined up outside in the cold waiting for food stamps. That is why we went to the appointment system.” Some changes in the system are being made (see sidebar story), and it is hoped that another food stamp office can be opened by Sept. I on the city’s southwest side. However, there is no plan to expand the staff. Mrs. Bently said two persons were added in January. Another office may reduce the waiting some. The waiting problem is compounded by persons who make appointments, then fail to show up. Sometimes this allows quicker service to persons who had been placed on a stand-by list earlier in the day. Other times, said Mrs. Bently, it means there is a slack period in processing. What the food stamp office prefers is that the following month’s appointment be scheduled when the current month's stamps are being purchased. When a person comes to the food stamp office without an appointment, he or she is given the option of coming back in ten days (the current back-up period for appointments) or going on a stand-by list. Those on stand-by risk waiting all day until those with appointments have been certified. Waiting periods for food stamps, said Mrs. Bently, are not unique to Linn county. She said Scott county has a three- week waiting period and Wapello county has a two-week delay. However, she insisted, referral and emergency eases are given priority treatment at the food stamp office. Ruth Ann Gable, supervisor of neighborhood services for the Hawkeye Arca Community Action Program, said the situation at the food stamp office is not good, but she said she was at a loss how it could be solved. “I know there have been times when people leave the food stamp office without being served,” said Mrs. Gable. “Then there are those who run out of food stamps, and have no food. They can either purchase food with what cash they have, thereby leaving them short for buying food stamps when they next become eligible, or we sometimes refer them to the food bank. But that can become depleted very quickly. It’s a vicious circle.” Ethan Sproston of United Way said he too realized there are some delays in receiving food stamps, but that emergency cases were always taken care of. Waiting is a hassle, but there may be no other answer. There may be no better way. It is hard to argue with Mrs. Bently’s “We’re trying.” Town's Boom Means Hard Time By James P. Sterba New York Times Service ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo.-Shel-by Houston is an electrician. He makes $9 an hour working for the world’s largest construction company. And he lives in a tent. “There’s just no housing,” said his wife, {Sylvia. “We’ll probably buy a trailer when it turns cold, if we can find one and if we can find a place to put it.” In the meantime, the Houston, their 10-year-old son, Mitchell, and their white toy poodle named Che Che fight the wind, heat and dust on a treeless sagebrush flat two miles south of the Jim Bridger power plant construction site where Houston works. Patch of Dirt The nearest water Is two miles away. Their toilet is a patch of dirt behind their tent. They bathe at a portable shower next to the plant. They wash clothes at a laundromat in Rock Springs, 35 miles away. Mitchell says there isn’t much for a young boy to do in the sagebrush. Che Che spends her days menacing ground squirrels. ticut, is rich in coal, oil, natural gas, soda ash, and oil shale in vast quantities; everybody knew the county would grow. But nobody knew how fast. In the age of steam locomotives, the Rock Springs area was the prime source of coal for the Union Pacific railroad. It slumped badly when diesel engines came. In the 1960s, three chemical companies Started mining Trona, or soda ash, here. People started moving in. Then, in the fall of 1970, the Bechtel Power Corp. began building the Jim Bridger power plant, a gigantic 2.000 megawatt, coal-fired steam electric power generating complex for the Pacific Power and Light and Idaho Power companies. They thought I they’d need 1,200 instruction workers. It turned out they needed 3,000. Oil and natural gas were also discovered here. More people came. Now, Sweetwater county is a high-priced rural ghetto. It is hard to find anyone who likes it here. People are constantly moving in for high-paying con- try. It is four times higher than the national average. “When suicide is attempted bere, it is a (very real thing,” said Dr. Donald Rohrssen, president of a recently formed county health services program. “It is usually a high-caliber gun in the mouth. The attention-getting Hollywood variety of suicide is very uncommon here.” Jack Jones, 70, is a state legislator who manages the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce. Only Help “You look .around here and you think, why hell, there’s land in every direction,” he says. “But Uncle Pete, which is what we call the Union Pacific, and the Bureau of Land Management control practically all the land. And they’re holding onto it Unless you want to pay their price. And at the price they want for it, you can’t build houses and sell them to anyone who tan afford them. The only hospital in the county was built in 1893. Last year, 16,000 patients visited its emergency room, the only place they could get medical help without driving 180 miles to Salt Lake City. A new hospital has been approved, but is three or four years off. Chuck and Pauline Bundy | came from Toledo in April with five of their six children. The Bundys work as equipment oil- j ors at the Jim Bridger plant,! making $5.65 an hour. They also receive $9 a day living allowance. It’s good money, but they hope to move on by winter. “The only thing that’s good about this place is the money,” j said Mrs. Bundy. “People in town treat you like dirt. There s nothing for the kids to do. Hie businesses soak you double if you’ve got out-of-state license plates. The nearest phone is seven iniles away and it don’t work most of the time.” SMU LE KOFF' S V/z acres of everything for the home Third Avenue at First Street SE In Downtown Cedar Rapids Open Monday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tues, and Wed. 9 to 5 New Carpet Department, First Floor, South CARPET Shop our new, beautiful carpet department now, first floor, south. You'll find a complete line of top quality carpets. The newest patterns, textures and colorations. lf you are planning to carpet or recarpet, now is the time to do it. Select your carpet at sale prices . . . prices that you may never see again. Compared to the hie house1 struction I0*®. th™ moving out v-on pal cu lo Ute Dig nou.st    ihmr    r>annAf    ctanH    th* with a fireplace they left last month in Reno, Nev., the Hous- tons’ new residence isn’t much. because they cannot stand the living conditions. Job turnover rates average 60 to 80 percent a yTn 1970 there were 18,39! pee Smninn nut ic cfm JLnothlnff P*e    ^Wlty ^ t(X*ay S ai!n „rl something (hore an ^^3^ iotal of of an adventure.    (45000 For the last few summers    The summers    are hot. dry and Sweetwater county has been    dustyt At 6,000    feet above sea booming. Tent dwellers have ^ jevejt the winters are freezing. been commonplace, and house- -p^ summer dust storms come trailers arc everywhere. More almost daiiy and sometimes than half the county s popula-    virtually    erase Rock tion is sajd to live in trailers. Springs from view. For many But many new' residents are not ^ p^pig the js almost even that lucky. They haul in pleasant. It hides the ugliness. their trailers only to find there is no place to put them, no wa-    Barely    Tolerable ter pipe, no electric line and    Alcohol also    hides it The no sewer system to hook into, weekly paychecks from mining In order to get a space, new- and construction companies comers must buy a new trailer make life tolerable, but barely. at inflated prices from a local;Sour' seek relief by leaving dealer, then pay him as much every weekend. Others seek it as $90 a month for a space to with drugs and prostitutes. P31^    ;    Some cannot find it. Sweetwater Sweetwater county, which is county has the third highest sui- about twice the size of Connec-; cide Tate per capita in the coun-   „  ...   ___ _ Paris Street Minstrels Play Music of All Kinds PARIS (UPI) — They play figures “thus is better than send-1 Bach fugues. They strum Amer- mg back to the States for beer ican country tunes. Pop, Rock, and cigaret money.” Dixieland, Cool Jazz, Swing, you French music students go un- ( name it.    derground    and    hold forth in the Paris, in this warm weather, I subway stop at the Paris Opera 1 is one gigantic outdoor music; (hie flutist, after performing hall-    with a violinist before a quiet Street musicians blossom on .the ancient streets as in the Middle Ages. Only this century’s troubadours of the cobblestone range from American and crowd of commuters, said, “We make about 50 francs (about $11) an evening and we learn to play before audiences.” Each night an American British amateur rock singers to'group stands under the acacia j French music students honing I trees on the Boulevard des Ital-their concert repertoire. I ions, saxophones wailing music “I do this to get money,” said of tin; ’30s w hile strollers gath-one London girl, Nicki Harm, 22, er around between stops in side-cradling her guitar as she sits walk cafes. on a curb of the Rue de la Harpe in the Left Bank restaurant    Expensive Pennies quarter. “In three or four hours    “It will soon cost more    than I can make about 300 francs a penny to make a penny, (about $65).” Walter Clay, of New York, says f rank ll. MacDonald, deputy director of the Mint. MULEKOFFS I'A ism of Avrythinfl for tho Homo Drapery Department Now on our Newly Remod4tSV 5th Floor Open Monday 9 'til 9 Summer Hassock Sale Save 20% on colorful, comfortable Hassocks Summer is a time to relax and enjoy outside living. When hot weather prevents that, retreat inside to a tall glass of ice tea and prop-up your feet on a plump, comfortable hassock. It’s the nicest kind of relaxation. And this week, you can relax and save 20%. 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