Freezing Death of Michigan Man, 93, Inside Home Sparks Anger

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    BAY CITY, Michigan — When neighbors went inside Marvin Schur's house, the windows were frosted over, icicles hung from a faucet, and the 93-year-old World War II veteran lay dead on the bedroom floor in a winter jacket over four layers of clothing.

    He froze to death — slowly and painfully, authorities say — days after the electric company installed a power-limiting device because of more than $1,000 in unpaid bills.

    The old man's sad end two weeks ago has led to outrage, soul-searching and a resolve never to let something like this happen again.


    More Here
     
  2. Gina B

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    I read this a few days ago and it's a very sad story. It's the kind of thing that happens when family doesn't take care of family, or when there's none around to do it.

    Fortunately President Bush signed a bill late last year that gave LIHEAP a lot more money to help out people in these situations! Nobody should have to freeze to death in their own home, especially not our elderly, and a veteran at that!
     
  3. windcatcher

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    This is the tragic outcome of corporate stupidity..... and negligence.... even if it was a municipality-utility!

    One can remove all the emotionally charged facts from this story; age, biographical-information, service to country, heroic rewards, --------and it is still just as tragic.

    Several things crossed through my mind as I read this story: Part of town pose problems? Acorn and its minions getting out the vote.... but not a dime to assess the human needs within the community? The timing ...during a period of extreme weather and utility necessity? Older residential areas where more neighbors are home bound and those who care for them... if any, are not resident in area to know others or have the time to extend their reach or contact. The young who might move in or reside in such neighborhoods, most have been raised to 'mind their own business' and involvement brings trouble. Isolation is more the rule than the exception in the independant but very aged. Is there something the community of faith can be doing which could help prevent tragedies like this? The guy (like me) had no children.... it was a nephew who responded in the article. As my parents are still living, their children keep contact. It is easy to consider the family as the first responders in responsibility..... until one considers the age of this gentleman, and the likelihood that family is scattered..... no children...neices and/or nephew, living siblings aged and infirm, nieces and nephews themselves on the edge of becoming senior citizens with who knows what involvement/responsibilities in their own homes may have limited time.....or sudden changes in their availablity to more extended generations. Could utility companies request contact information for neighbor and/or close relative or responsible friend and permission to communicate with others in the event a residence is non responsive?

    ===============
    Wonder if this could be made into a church visitation project.... to invite folks to church.... but also to note contact information and location on folks who are aged or new to the community.... and follow-up list made for times of disaster, or extremes of weather, or other conditions which might give opportunity to serve and reach out and present help?
     
  4. Jon-Marc

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    Didn't the man have any family? If so, they apparently didn't care enough to check on him. A 93-year-old should not be left alone any more than a baby or a child should. Most people that age generally need assistance and shouldn't be ignored.

    I suffer from ailments that require medications, and I have arthritis and bursitis. My fear is getting old, feeble, and unable to take care of myself. I'd rather the Lord take me before that time.
     
    #4 Jon-Marc, Jan 29, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2009
  5. windcatcher

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    Not all people have family members both young enough and living close enough to help them. Sometimes the existant family members already have their own taxing responsibilities. Just because nursing and retirement homes offer greater observation, protection, and structure...... not everyone who is aged and has some frailties but is still functioning with their independance would thrive in an environment which is highly structured, intrusive with strangers, exposed to the non-famial germs of contact with staff and other residents and visitors, or tolerant of invasion to their privacy, limits of choices .....from menu..... to entertainment..... to hobbies and other interest such as music, or conduct of faith, living in a mixed value system which may severly clash with some of their own.

    I share your concern, being widowed without children and knowing that by the time I might welcome the assistance of a neice or nephew looking in.... they are likely to be looking in and caring for parents who are my siblings or the in-laws of their spouses. As for placement in a home... I wouldn't like the structure nor lack of choices, or invasion of privacy.... I couldn't afford it... and don't expect family to fund it.

    We can know who holds the future and our trust is safe in him whatever may fall. I hope this gentleman also had this hope and is in a better place.
     
  6. Gina B

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    Oops, I made a mistake! When I read it a few days ago, I thought the guy didn't pay it because he didn't have it. I just read it again and they have newer info. The guy apparently had no money problems at all! They're assuming he was confused or something and forgot to pay, and states he's been a customer with no problems for 50 years!

    It's sad when a 50 year loyal customer means nothing to a business.
     
  7. billwald

    billwald
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    You all want your birthdays and military record on file with your local utilities? Doesn't matter to me. <G>
     
  8. Jim1999

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    Sad as th story is, it makes me feel better where I live. I am only 82, but if I don't show up at local cafe at regular time for coffee someone will phone to see if I am ok........

    Everyone up in years needs a watchdog.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. hillclimber1

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    "Installed a power limiting device" Wonder what that is, and why a little investigation wasn't undertaken.
     
  10. pinoybaptist

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    It could be that being old and alone and in an attempt to save money, the deceased himself may have requested for a power limiting device (whatever it is). Remember that according to the power company, he had no back accounts.
     
  11. hillclimber1

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    "Installed a power limiting device" Wonder what that is, and why a little bit of investigation wasn't undertaken.
     
  12. windcatcher

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    According to the article, its somekind of device which goes on the meter and is triggered by a load demand which shuts off power to the house like a circuit breaker, when it reaches a certain point. Evidently it allows a reset to turn the power back on..... but the owner has to enter the cold and weather to do this and has to know about it. Supposedly the company sticks a note on the door telling about this device and how to work it.

    What amazes me is that they would send a crew to apply a meter to his house...... but did they knock on his door and give him time to answer or opportunity to pay.....before placing the device? He might have paid right then!

    I live in the country, so maybe we either get better service from our utility companies or maybe they just care more...... but before cutting off water or electricity (we have no nat-gas), they will make an attempt to contact the owner.... or knock on the door for collection: A service fee is added then to the delinquent account.... but its worth it in such event.

    Still, it would seem, a minor matter to offer to add voluntary secondary contact phone numbers to the account to contact a neighbor or kin in the event of an emergency or failure to pay bill, before acting.
     
  13. Jim1999

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    Rather than shutting down power completely, Ontario Hydro, puts a limiting device on the hydro supply. It is enough power to run a furnace and water supply, but one has limits on too many devices. This is only used for delinquent consumers.

    I can't speak for the USA, or even this situation. I pay the hydro bill on my rental house because I don't want hydro shut off in my house, but many renters are unreliable in this area and something had to be done.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  14. LeBuick

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    Bet the family tries to get money from the power company for killing grand dad...
     
  15. windcatcher

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    Yeap! Posts reads like both you and JM missed reading the article. Grand dad? Really?
     
  16. queenbee

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    My 84 yr old MIL, had a friend who died last May. The two of them were best friends and used to call each other every day just to check in. When her friend died, her kids (one of whom is my hubby) noticed after a few months that Mom was not taking as good care of herself. Things came to a head last labour day weekend when my precious MIL ended up in hospital very, very ill. Thank the good Lord that every one of her kids and their spouses arrived on that weekend for a family reunion. Talk about God's timing!

    We all were so shook up that we made on the spot arrangements for MIL to go into a seniors' assisted care home directly from the hospital where she could receive 24/7 round the clock care. Yes, she groused about losing her home, but the comfort factor of knowing that she was receiving care 24/7 far outweighed the complaints. Interesting that in the intervening 6 months, even she too has come round to agree that this was probably the best thing for her.

    I cringe to think what would have happened if all of us kids/spouses had arrived to find MIL curled up and dead for a week or more in her own home! As several others have stated, there is no subsitute for having close family/friends nearby to check in on a daily basis.
     
  17. Jim1999

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    Or a kindly neighbour who drops by for tea.

    I deliver a daily newspaper to a chap who is 84. He is not so mobile in the snow and ice these days. It gives him the paper and someone to chat with each day.

    We can all do something. I may be old myself some day and want someone to come by for a cuppa.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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