Weissman, SASi part ways

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SANDPOINT — Sandpoint Area Seniors, Inc. has parted ways with Ellen Weissman, its executive director of more than five years.

“Out of respect for Ellen’s privacy, I will decline to answer any specific questions regarding the reasons surrounding Ellen’s separation from Sandpoint Area Seniors, Inc. except to confirm that her employment ended last week,” SASi board president Chenoa Crettol wrote in an email to The Daily Bee.

Crettol said board member Alice Wallace has agreed to temporarily step down from the board to serve as the organization’s interim executive director while a search for the right person to lead SASi is conducted.

“SASi is thankful to Ellen for her years of service, her enthusiasm for the participants, and the activities she planned and participated in,” Crettol said.

Ellen Weissman was unavailable to comment.

Weissman was hired to lead the organization in September 2014 after the organization found itself without a leader after previous directors left over differences of opinion. Board members at the time had also expressed concern over the organization’s financial state — saying at the time that several years of mismanagement left the SASI finances in disarray.

In addition to Weissman, a new bookkeeper was hired to put SASI on a healthy financial footing, board members said.

At the time she was hired, she had lived in the community for more than 20 years. She holds master’s degrees in educational administration and arts integration in education and had extensive experience as a substitute teacher. Weissman also was the first market manager of Sandpoint Farmer’s Market and a leader of the Festival at Sandpoint cleanup crew.

Weissman was hired for the SASi post in September 2014 after the person hired a few months before left the position. At the time of her five-year anniversary, Weissman noted SASi was a “vibrant” place, where people can go to dance, or play bridge, pinochle, bingo and, of course, laugh and sing. Some of the groups that meet throughout the month include an Alzheimer’s support group, a poetry group and the Widows Helping Widows group, and there are occasional guest speakers on topics such as Medicare as well.

People who currently visit the center on a regular basis range in age from 50-98, with one of SASi’s main programs being the DayBreak Center, which provides quality daytime care for individuals with memory impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease. It also provides respite for the families and caregivers of the individuals. Another key SASi program is the center’s Home Delivered Meals program, where volunteers deliver home-cooked meals to isolated seniors.

Located at 820 Main St., Sandpoint Area Seniors has been serving the Sandpoint area for more than 45 years, working to provide all senior citizens over the age of 50 years with nutritional meals as well as serve as a gathering place and informational site for social, recreational, and wellness programs.

Caroline Lobsinger can be reached by email at clobsinger@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @CarolDailyBee.

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