LSCOG receives innovation awards

[AIKEN, SC] Lower Savannah Council of Governments received two 2018 Innovation Awards from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO).  The programs awarded were Dementia Dialogues® and the Summer Youth Jumpstart Program.

LSCOG’s Aging, Disability and Transportation Resource Center hosted two Dementia Dialogues® classes to provide caregivers with practical caregiving skills training. One of LSCOG’s Ombudsman Specialist became a certified trainer of the Dementia Dialogues® program, which was created in 2002 by the Office of the Study of Aging within the University Of South Carolina Arnold School Of Public Health. The classes used Dementia Dialogues® standardized materials, including handouts, PowerPoints, scenario discussions and specially-designed role play activity to provide free comprehensive training in the Lower Savannah region.

The Summer Youth Jumpstart Program provides summer employment for rising seniors in the Lower Savannah region. The program began in 2015 and has been expanded to all K-12 school districts in the region. Students enrolled in the program attend two soft-skills training sessions. After the sessions, they are placed on a job site for 240 hours at $9.25 an hour. The students then continue as participants of the WIOA Youth program which ends with placement in full-time employment or enrollment into a post-secondary educational environment.

NADO is a national association that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery and comprehensive strategies. The association’s Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and their partners for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities. NADO presented the awards at their Annual Training Conference October 13-16, 2018.

For more information about these award-winning projects, contact Susan Garen, Regional Ombudsman or André Anderson, Workforce Development Administrator at 803-649-7981.

Lower Savannah Council of Governments is a regional quasi-governmental organization serving Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties.




Avenues for Advocacy: September 2018

The September 2018 issue of the newly revised Lower Savannah Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman newsletter is now available. Avenues for Advocacy is a newsletter to communicate news and information to advocates for residents in long-term care.

You can check out the newsletter here. This issue features:

  • Resident’s Rights month

  • Medicare open enrollment information

  • and more!

New runs for BFE

The Best Friend Express (BFE) is adding two new runs to the existing RED Route beginning September 4, 2018, and will celebrate by offering free fares to all passengers on all of the BFE routes Sept 4th thru Sept. 14th (Mon-Fri).

The Best Friend Express (BFE) is a public transportation system serving much of Aiken County. The BFE offers 3 routes including the BLUE Route operating in the North Augusta area; the GREEN Route operating in Aiken and traveling out to Graniteville and Langley; and the RED Route which travels from the Northside of Aiken down through the Whiskey Rd corridor. Adding 12:30 & 4:30 pm runs will offer a total of 5 opportunities for passengers to ride the RED Route. Both the BLUE and the GREEN Routes already offer 5 runs each Mon-Fri.

“It is wonderful to now offer parity between all the Routes. We think this will allow more riders not only a chance to shop, but also offer retail and hospitality employees more flexibility with their work schedule,” says Rhonda Mitchell, Transit Manager with the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG), the federal grantee for the transit system.

Fares are $2.00 per trip, with free transfers among the routes for a single trip. Fares are less for students, seniors, or persons with disabilities. Call LSCOG transportation 803-508-7033 for questions or to be mailed a schedule. Further transit details available at

CMS issuing new Medicare Cards

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has starting mailing out new Medicare cards to people with Medicare. Your new Medicare card will include a new number unique to you, instead of your current Social Security-based number. This will help to protect you against fraud. Starting this month, people who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time will be among the first in the country to get the new cards. South Carolinians will start receiving their new Medicare cards in June 2018. 

Some Important things to remember:

  1. Starting in April 2018, people who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time will be among the first in the country to receive the new cards.
  2. Your new card will automatically come to you. You don't need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit your or call 1-800-772-1213.
  3. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.

Watch out for scams

Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give us personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card. Scam artists may try to get personal information (like your current Medicare Number) by contacting you about your new card. If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don't share your personal information, hang up and call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).