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Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
December 18, 2008     Cheney Free Press
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December 18, 2008

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Page 8 Free Press Thursday, December 18, 2008 Finding one' way aroun -Cheney compl wayfinding anal i A study last summer indicates city needs to improve signs directing visitors By DAVID TELLER Staff Reporter If a visitor needs to find some- thing in Cheney, they would likely have a tough go of it. The Community Development Department released a report on an analysis that began last sum- mer on the state of wayfinding in the city of Cheney. "We determined that way- finding needs improvement in Cheney," community develop- ment director Brian Jennings said. He added that Cheney is lack- ing a comprehensive wayfinding signage program directing visi- tors to destinations like Eastern Washington University or Turn- bull Wildlife refuge. According to a report released by Jennings, wayfinding is "a process through the use of maps and other graphics, by which people are directed to their des- tinations." Jennings added that when approaching Cheney from Four Lakes via SR-904, it is difficult to know the downtown is where it is. The appearance of the commercial district at the northern entrance is deceptive. "You would think that Betz and (State Route) 904 essentially is your downtown," Jennings said. "We're not doing the job of lead- ing people to their destinations." There is no specific reason the signs in Cheney directing people where to go have become inef- fective. According to the report, the business district signs are in illogical locations. Gateway signs are outdated and there are no pedestrian-oriented signs. In- stead, visitors on foot "must use vehicular signs making them feel unwelcome and out of place." Also there are no kiosks creating commercial awareness. The reason for the poor sig- nage in the city is because of rapid growth. Jennings said there has been incremental change over the past years and the city has grown considerably. He said the whole commercial district on the north- ern end of Cheney didn't exist 15 years ago. As that area changed, he said there has never been a con- science effort to organize signage in the city. Because of the lack of stan- dards in design and implementa- tion, new signs were put up with little regard to existing signs or standards. The result, according to the report, is a collection of confusing and dissimilar signs adding to visual clutter. Jennings Said EWU has ex- pressed an interest in partnering with Cheney to improve the sig- nage throughout the city. Jennings said EWU also wants to improve signage on campus. "They're very much interested in wayfinding as welL" Jennings said: He added that the campus is affected by wayfinding and is also looking at making im- provements. Jennings said since both entities are doing the same type of project, there's no sense doing two projects. He said the city would likely have simple directions for finding Wood- ward Field or the university's administration building. The next step in the process is figuring out a funding strat- egy to complete the analysis, develop a plan and implement the design. Jennings said the stakeholders must be identified, and the partnership with EWU must be formalized and then the city needs to coordinate with the Washington State Department of Transportation to modify any signage on SR-904. He added that community outreach is crucial to the project. One of the biggest hurdles Jennings said he faces is funding. He said he currently has no guess on the amount needed for the project. File photo This view from Showalter Hall on the Eastern Washington University campus back towards downtown gives a mixed message about coming into Cheney. Last June, Cheney began an analysis on the usefulness and ac- curacy of signs throughout the city and the completed results indicated that signage needs improvement. So far the feedback he has re- ceived about the study is positive. He added that people think it's a good idea after he identified some things they were not aware of. "I don't see how anybody could be against this," Jennings said. James Caddey, who wrote the report, is an EWU senior in the urban planning program and also an intern with the Planning Department. David Teller can be reached at Local presentations help unravel confusion of Medicare By CRAIG HOWARD Spokane Valley News Herald Kathy Dugan understands that people need help navigating the ruddy terrain of Medicare. As the local director of the Statewide Health Insurance Benefit Advisory agency, Dugan answers questions about healthcare from residents throughout Eastern Washington, serving as part travel guide, part senior advocate. The free service, facilitated through the office of Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington, con- tinues to provide valuable support at a time when Medicare seems .to generate more confusion than clarity. "When people call, we're not trying to sell them something," Dugan said. "We're just trying to make things clear." Last month, Dugan was part of a presentation on Medicare open enrollment sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The two-hour program was also held at the Hillyard Senior Center and the Spokane Valley Senior Center. The annual open enrollment period will run from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31 for Medi- care Part D and most supplements. Open enrollment for Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage plans begins Jan. 1 and runs through March 31. John Hammarlund, a regional administrator for CMS, told at- tendees at last month's seminar that the discussions provided an opportunity "to remove some of the mystery of Medicare. "Every year, plans, premiums and the amount of coverage chang- Photo by Craig Howard Kathy Dugan (far dght), local director of the Statewide Health Insurance Benefit Advisory agency, helps seniors make sense of the Medicare maze during a seminar last month at the Hillyard Senior Center. es," Hammarlund said. "This open enrollment period is a window of time for people to enroll and change their plans." Each Tuesday, through Dec. 30, SHIBA staff and volunteers will meet with seniors at the offices of ALTCEW, 1222 N. Post, near the Spokane Arena, answering questions about open enrollment and Medicare programs. Inqui- ries can also be made, Monday through Friday, by calling SHIBA at 458-2509 or a toll-free Medicare informational number at 1-800- 633-4227, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Information is also available at "We really want people to seek out help," Hammarlund said. "People need to do their home- work and talk to someone." Dugan shed light on the dif- ferences between Medicare Ad- vantage plans -- administered by private companies like Secure Horizon and Asuris - and Medi- care supplements, commonly accompanied by letters from A through L. Dugan warned seniors to be aware of aggressive sales pitches and to never give out their Medicare number or any bank information over the phone. "No one from Medicare is go- ing to call you on the phone and try to sell you a plan," Dugan said. There is a seven-month initial enrollment period for people who have just turned 65 and qualify for Medicare. Penalties apply for those who don't enroll in the required time. Andrew Tartella of the CMS office described how plans differ in a variety of ways including cost, coverage, convenience and Wpe of plan. "That's why it's important to spend time looking at this," Tar- tella said. Tartella advised seniors to talk With their doctors before making any changes in insurance coverage. He added that, prior to counseling with a SHIBA representative about Medicare Part D, seniors should be clear about the medications they are taking and how often. "Talk to your pharmacist first," he said. Part D covers medications, bio- logicals, insulin and the medical supplies required to take insulin. The coverage also contains a gap referred to as the "donut hole" in which seniors are asked to cover the cost of medications after an initial spending,limit of $2,700 is reached. Coverage kicks m again after beneficiaries cover $1,650 in out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare does provide help for low-income individuals that covers the gap. There are also nine Part D plans being offered in 2009 that offer generic drug coverage through the doughnut hole. With so much information out there, Tartella re-emphasized the importance of consulting with qualified helpers like those in the SHIBA office. "These people are wonderful to talk to," he said. "They're not going to charge you anything. They're there to help" MEDICAL LAKE DENTAL CLINIC Bringing Smiles to Families on the West Plains and Fairchild AFB since 1977. Family Den tist ~ Jessica M. Toillion, D.D.S. Daniel J. Mergen, D.D.S. Elizabeth van den Hoven, D.D.S. @@@ Pediatric De~dist~l (Children & Young Adults) Bruce C. Toillion, D.D.S. North 123 Brower o p.o. B~x t0 Medic,al l.,ake, WA 509:299o517I kcc~7*,fi~ig New Families Mc~t insu~anc~e plm~ accepted Contracted with Unit~-,d Cormord~a : WDS & Premera Community Colleges of Spokane offering seniors classes The Seniors Program at Com- munity Colleges of Spokane of- fers a wide range of affordable classes at locations throughout the Spokane area. Course offer- ings include computers, art, writ- ers' workshops, history, humani- ties, foreign language, fitness and other general interest topics. ~ Up Onlm~ www.LocalN~om Class costs range from $11 to $62 for the quarter, including texts and materials in the computer classes. For more information, call the Seniors Program office at 533-4756. ii Medicare Part D Plans are changing. Reviewing your plan options can save you money, Do you need help sorting throug all the plans to find the right one for you? For FREE, NON.BIASED advice bring your list of medications, with dos. : ages, and your Medicare card to: Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington 1222 N Post, Spokane Any Tuesday Now through December 30th 2008 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You will be helped on a first come, first served basis. For more information call: Margaret or Kathy at 458-2509 SHIBA HelpLine (Statewide Health Insurance Benefit Advisors) i iii emmm