Client News

Each month we feature a news article of the work we did for a local community member.

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Persistence Pays Off

Richard Marks has enjoyed a long career as a night club musician in Oregon and California.  He is an accomplished performer on several instruments.      

All was well until he went to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in early 2011 to renew his driver’s license, a license he had held for 50 years with no traffic violations or accidents and on which he still depends for his livelihood.  With new requirements imposed by the Patriot Act, DMV turned Richard away telling him that he lacked necessary documentation to renew his license.

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Family Emergency!

One minute 48 year old grandfather of three Bart Ickes was sitting in the kitchen of his Brookings home along the Oregon coast.  The next minute he was slumping over in his chair with an apparent heart attack.  His daughter-in-law Tonya called 9-1-1, and Bart was immediately airlifted from Brookings to the Rogue Valley Medical Center (RVMC) in Medford for emergency treatment.     

Tonya and her husband Daniel quickly gathered up their 10 year old disabled daughter, along with her sister-in-law’s two children, ages 2 and 4, whom Tonya and Daniel parent in the sister-in-law’s absence, as well as Bart’s wife (Tonya’s mother) Colette.  They set off on the 125 mile emergency trip from Brookings to Medford with only $200 cash in hand, nothing in the bank, and no credit cards or other extended family members to call upon for help.  Tonya knew the $200 would barely be enough for gas to get to and from Medford let alone for food and shelter for the family of five while there.  

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Out of Harm's Way

August 2011

Seventy-one year old Lyle Tessman, who had spent his entire working life in Southern Oregon, was lonely and vulnerable after having recently lost his wife, Susan to cancer.

He had bought diamonds and travel for Susan and, when Nikki (care giver) came into the picture after Susan, he had signed contracts obligating him to pay for a cell phone, TV, and stereo for her. He also gave "beer money" to Nikki so that she and her twenty-something friends could have fun. 

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Battling Goliath

May 2011

Verna Cerace's bank account racked up over $200 in "non-sufficient funds" charges in a matter of days. As far as she knew, she had plenty of money in her account.

After some detective work with the bank, it turned out not to be identity theft but instead stemmed from an unauthorized charge made to her account by her satellite television provider, DirecTV.

"I was moving from Redding to Central Point to be near my family because of my cancer," says Cerace. "

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Cutting Through the Red Tape

April 2011

Tanya Forbes received a letter last November from the State of Hawaii notifying her that she owed $7,500 in back child support payments.

The only time her children had been in someone else's custody was for three months when her mother cared for her kids in 1989. The state government had the name of Tanya's mother in the database, but her mother has been dead for five years, so she could hardly be claiming back child support.

This was the first time Tanya had heard about this issue.

The explanation was complicated: the original child support alleged to be in arrears was a small amount from a time she lived in Ventura County , California , with twenty-one years of interest tacked on. The Hawaii government was attempting to grab Tanya's federal tax refund for as many years as it took to recoup the money they said she owed.

"I called and asked about all that interest, and they said it took them this long to find me," says the Medford single mother of three. "But I've been paying taxes every year, and I had the same job forever, so it couldn't have been that hard to find me."

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Smiling Again

March 2011

Randi Hays has been looking for work for two years. Unsuccessfully.

“You know you’re judged by your appearance,” says Hays, a Medford resident.

Hays moved to the Rogue Valley with her 2 ½ year old son in 1999, living initially at Medford’s Dunn House after escaping domestic violence that landed her abuser in jail. She believes her employment difficulties are due, in part, to her teeth.

Over the years, her teeth have been slowly deteriorating, and dental work has not always been successful. She has no lower teeth and few uppers.

Hays found Help Now! through a referral from Community Works’ Helpline. Over the years, Help Now! has received sporadic requests for emergency dental work from indigent individuals and families, but the pace of such requests has increased markedly over the past year as state dental assistance to low income and disabled individuals and families has fallen victim to state budget cuts. Fortunately, Help Now! has compiled a network of dental professionals who are willing to donate assistance to Help Now! clients.

Hays’ situation, was more complicated than usual. Dentures were needed requiring both dental expertise for impressions and fitting as well as a lab for their creation.