News briefs


Attention seniors: The IRS may owe you money

The check is in the mail - or it will be soon, when the federal government mails tax rebate checks to those who file tax returns for 2007. The economic stimulus package that Congress recently passed includes payments between $300 and $600 for individuals and $600 to $1,200 for joint filers.

Individuals who don't normally need to file a tax return due to their limited income - including seniors and recipients of Social Security or Veterans Affairs benefits - must do so to receive the rebate check.

To qualify for an economic stimulus payment, people must have received at least $3,000 from any combination of qualifying income in 2007. Qualifying income is earned income, Social Security benefits, railroad retirement benefits and veterans' disability compensation, pension or survivors' benefits.

Low-income and elderly taxpayers who need to file a return this year to receive a stimulus payment can get help through a free tax preparation site. To find a site near you call 503-243-7765 or 888-227-7669. To locate sites by ZIP code, go to

For more information, call Washington County Disability, Aging and Veteran Services at 503-615-4646, or the Multnomah County Aging and Disability Services Helpline at 503-988-3646.

Vision Northwest hosts dinner, auction

Vision Northwest, a non-profit organization that promotes independent living for people affected by vision loss, will present 'The Eyes Have It,' a gala dinner and auction, Saturday, April 5, the atrium at Montgomery Park, 2701 N.W. Vaughn St., Portland.

Doors open at 6 p.m. The evening will include dinner catered by Food in Bloom. A live auction will follow dinner.

Auction items include airline tickets anywhere Alaska Airlines flies, a week at a condo at the beach, art, jewelry, a basket of items from India, private wine and cheese tasting for 14 people, golf packages and a hand-blown glass vase.

Proceeds from the event will be used to fund the programs and services of Vision Northwest. For more information about the organizaqtion, visit For ticket information, call Vision Northwest at 503-684-8389.

Wells Fargo elder program comes to Oregon

Wells Fargo has expanded its Elder Services premium wealth and life management program to Oregon to serve seniors and their children.

Senior Trust Officer Leslie Young, who has worked for Wells Fargo for 27 years in Portland, is leading this unique initiative in Oregon and southwest Washington. She can be reached at 503-886-2331.

The program is designed for clients who are typically age 60 and above, and whose family has at least $1 million in investable assets at Wells Fargo. Elder Services partners with the customer's family to provide financial and personal services so aging clients can maintain their independence and quality of life.

The program provides coordination and assistance with everything from simple tasks such as paying bills or finding home help, to complex issues such as managing commercial real estate, helping monitor health issues, preparing and filing of individual income tax returns and processing medical claims.

Launched in 1997, the award-winning program is part of Wells Fargo's Wealth Management Group.

Grandparents raising kids: Here's a retreat for you

Grandparents raising grandchildren often face economic hardship and stress, according to AARP and The National Caregiving Alliance. To give them a break, Multnomah County Department of Human Services' Aging and Disability Services will sponsor a free, one-day retreat Thursday, April 3, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It takes place at New Columbia Learning Center, 4605 N. Trenton St., Portland.

AARP reports more than 37,500, or 4 percent of all children in Oregon, live in grandparent-headed households. An additional 14,000 children live in households headed by other relatives. Nationally, 4.5 million children live in grandparent-headed households (6.3 percent of all children under age 18.)

In Multnomah County, the U.S. Census Bureau 2006 American Community Survey reports an estimated 9,021 grandparents living with grandchildren under 18 years. Of those, 4,069 are responsible for grandchildren. Sixty-nine percent of Multnomah County grandparent caregivers are women, and 26 percent live in poverty.

To register for the retreat or learn more, call 503-988-4790.

Study: Cognitive health improving among elderly

Rates of cognitive impairment among older Americans are on the decline, according to a new study comparing the cognitive health of older people in 1993 and 2002.

The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, found that higher levels of education were associated with better cognitive health - the ability to think, learn and remember. Researchers also suspected that improved treatment for stroke, heart disease and vascular conditions from 1993 to 2002 might have been factors in the improvement. Further, they suggested, the results support the notion of cognitive reserve, which hypothesizes that the brains of more educated people may be better able to sustain greater damage from Alzheimer's disease or other pathology before clinical signs of impairment appear.

For information on dementia and aging, visit or call 1-800-438-4380.

Computer classes for 'Cyber Seniors' return to libraries

Cyber Seniors - a series of computer classes for older adults who want to learn how to use a computer, search the Internet, and send and receive e-mail - will return to Multnomah County library branches in April.

The classes will be held at the following libraries. Participants must attend all three class sessions listed. Space is available first-come, first-served. To register, visit the branch, call 503-988-5234 or sign up online at

• Belmont Library, 1038 S.E. 39th Ave., 503-988-5382 - Wednesdays, April 2, 9 and 16, 10 a.m. to noon.

• Capitol Hill Library, 10723 S.W. Capitol Highway, 503-988-5385 - Wednesdays, April 2, 9 and 16, 10 a.m. to noon.

• Fairview-Columbia Library, 1520 N.E. Village St., 503-988-5655 - Sundays, April 6, 13 and 20, 10 a.m. to noon.

• Gresham Library, 385 N.W. Miller Ave., 503-988-5387 - Wednesdays, April 2, 9 and 16, 10 a.m. to noon.

• Hillsdale Library, 1525 S.W. Sunset Blvd., 503-988-5388 - Mondays, April 7, 14 and 28, 2 to 4 p.m.

• Holgate Library, 7905 S.E. Holgate Blvd., 503-988-5389 - Sundays, April 6, 13 and 20, 10 a.m. to noon.

• North Portland Library, 512 N. Killingsworth St., 503-988-5394 - Fridays, April 4, 11 and 18, 10 a.m. to noon.

• Northwest Library, 2300 N.W. Thurman St., 503-988-5560 - Sundays, April 6, 13 and 20, 10 a.m. to noon.

• Rockwood Library, 17917 S.E. Stark St., 503-988-5396 - Sundays, April 6, 13 and 20, 10 a.m. to noon.

• Sellwood-Moreland Library, 7860 S.E. 13th Ave., 503-988-5398 - Wednesdays, April 2, 9 and 16, 10 a.m. to noon.