Community

ActiveAndersonTN announces financial support for area initiatives

ActiveAndersonTN is a locally based coalition whose mission is to create and provide opportunities for local citizens to eat healthier, get more exercise, and stop or never begin using tobacco products.

Members come from organizations around the county whose mission is to enhance healthier living.

Since its inception in 2016, ActiveAndersonTN has helped with and provided many programs, events and projects and assisted with many activities including local road races, fitness classes for youngsters to seniors, specialized programs for management of diabetes and chronic conditions and cooking classes on how to eat healthy on a limited income.

For the year 2019, Healthier TN Communities is provided a grant of $2,000 for work ActiveAndersonTN has done since the beginning of the year.

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Hike set for UT Arboretum this Saturday

Did you make a New Year’s resolutions to get more exercise or spend more time outdoors? The UT Arboretum Society can help with both.

For the third year, the UT Arboretum Society offers a guided hike on the third Saturday of each month.

This is a free program offered by the University of Tennessee Arboretum Society. No registration is necessary.

The first hike will be Saturday, Jan 18.

Learn about the UT Arboretum’s trails on this short trail hike (1 to 1.5 hours). Hikes will be varied in intensity level, and the route may be changed due to weather conditions or leader’s choice. This hike will be led by a volunteer familiar with the UT Arboretum and the trail system.

Please wear clothes appropriate to the weather, and boots or good shoes for outdoor walking. The aim is for this hike to be suitable for all, but the difficulty level of the hike is dependent on individual fitness.

Participants are asked to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated as they hike. No pets are allowed because of research projects underway on the grounds.

Church erases $4.2M of neighbors’ medical debt


There were smiles and tears of joy when the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church congregation flooded the social hall after Sunday’s service to celebrate and then write thank you notes to donors. With the help of the community and a matching fund grant, they raised enough money to erase more than $4.2 million of medical debt held by thousands of low income households in Anderson, Roane, and Cocke counties.
This past Christmas season, Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Oak Ridge, raised enough money to erase more than $4.2 million of medical debt held by thousands of low-income households in Anderson, Roane, and Cocke counties.

Several years ago, former debt collectors formed a nonprofit organization called “RIP Medical Debt.”

Using their knowledge of the industry, instead of profiting off the debt, they decided to erase people’s debt. About two-thirds of all bankruptcies in the United States are from medical debt. More than a half-million American households each year suffer this fate.

RIP Medical Debt says that getting sick shouldn’t mean going broke.

Because they’re able to buy medical debt at a rate of $1-to-$100, for every $100 raised, they can erase $10,000 of medical debt.

Efforts around the country have been featured in the news and even on the television show “Last Week Tonight,” featuring John Oliver. But there’s never been such a campaign in East Tennessee, until now.

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Combating elder abuse subject of Thursday talk

Elder abuse is a new focus of Anderson County and the Oak Ridge Police Department.

The two agencies are preparing to implement a Senior Citizens Awareness Network program that will likely start later this year to deal with the crimes.

District Attorney General David Clark of the 7th Judicial District and his Anderson County office are leading the charge on combating elder abuse, and the office will be running the SCAN program, according to a release. ORPD will help implement the program in Oak Ridge.

Clark and Detective Wendy Zolkowski of ORPD will speak on Thursday, Jan. 16, about the SCAN program, elder abuse in Oak Ridge and the ways seniors can be protected.

Their talks will be the first in 2020 in the lecture series sponsored by Roane State Community College and the Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning. They will speak at 2 p.m. in the City Room (A-111) of the Coffey-McNally building on RSCC’s Oak Ridge Branch Campus, 701 Briarcliff Ave. ORPD is hosting the presentation, which will be preceded by a reception with refreshments at 1:30 p.m. in the lobby.

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