By John A. Ballentine
MSW, (Marshall, Stark, Woodford counties), announced that the Bradford Nutrition Site has been closed, as of February 28. A letter to Bradford Seniors was sent by Executive Director Traci Dowell, of MSW Projects, of Henry, Illinois. Senior citizens utilizing the site were informed February 21, 2018 of the closing, located at the Bradford Village Hall.
Dowell wrote, “The reason for the closure is due to many miscommunications and misunderstandings between MSW Projects and the Village of Bradford that have arisen since November, 2017.” Dowell blames the closure on the poor attendance that occurred since that time due to a conflict with the Village of Bradford.
Dowell continued, “Unfortunately through efforts of both parties, circumstances have not improved and continue to affect the amount of meals served. The MSW Projects Board felt it best to close the Bradford Nutrition Site and look into opening another site within the service area.”
MSW serves the Toulon area and Henry area, but has ceased in the past serving Woodford County. The meals for the Toulon Nutrition Site, located at Toulon’s Methodist Church, and for Stark County were prepared in Bradford. Now, those meals will be prepared by the Henry Nutrition Site, located at St. John’s Outreach.
Village Board Trustee Bob Boehm disputes Dowell’s written statements. “The Village of Bradford brought two issues to MSW’s attention as a common courtesy. Questions by Seniors was one of those,” Boehm said.
“Seniors were being told that the Village wanted them out of the Village Hall building, which was absolutely untrue! The Village Board met with MSW in an open meeting, in December, and explained the problems with the Senior’s questions and beliefs,” Boehm stated.
“Those problems continued to go on after that. The issues were public knowledge. It all came to a head on February 15th when during the lunch hour, MSW employees opened their mail. A letter from MSW informed them that their hours were being cut.
“The word passed around was that basically the Village Board wanted MSW and the Seniors out of Village Hall – that is absolutely false!” Boehm explained.
“The MSW employees were making statements, and the Seniors started believing those statements. On February 21st, MSW said they would be at Bradford’s Nutrition Site and I was the only Village Board member there. We believed MSW was going to address the problems. Instead, that is when MSW and Traci Dowell handed out the letter stating MSW was closing the site.
“MSW didn’t address the issues and the Seniors were hurt by the announcement that the site was closing. MSW never addressed the situation,” Boehm continued.
“Basically, the Seniors were misfed information and that was never corrected by MSW. MSW is separate from the Senior Center. The Senior Center will still remain open at Village Hall for the Seniors. The MSW program was separate from the Senior Center activities.
“Bradford is going to move forward now, and the Seniors will be better served, that is what I believe in my heart,” Boehm concluded.
In response to questions The News asked of Traci Dowell, she reiterated that, “MSW Projects made attempts to find another location for a Nutrition Site in Bradford, but was unsuccessful.”
To another question asked, Dowell said, “Home delivered meals will continue to be delivered in Bradford to people who are eligible to receive them residing within city limits.”
The News also asked Dowell to respond to Bradford Village Trustee Bob Boehm’s earlier statements to an area newspaper that MSW’s statements are false. Dowell chose not to respond in any form or manner to that question or even acknowledge it.
By John A. Ballentine