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Mindful Care Adult Day Services takes on technology

Mindful Care Adult Day Services, is implementing virtual activities for its senior group participants while seeking out a new home by the end of June.

After spending 13 years at New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, the day-service, non-profit program for memory-compromised seniors will have to relocate due to the church’s plans to expand its Biblical counseling program.

“It’s been a blessing to be able to support Mindful Care, and what they do for the community for so long,” said Executive Pastor Greg Freeman. “We just hate that our own growth and needs mean we won’t be able to provide the space like we’ve been able to in the past.”

Mindful Care Director and Board President Tom Tozer said that the notification from the church wasn’t a shock, and that there is no animosity between the two organizations.

“I mean we knew this day was coming, and we were here for 13 years for heaven’s sake,” said Tozer. “They’ve been wonderful, very generous.”

The program operates under what Tozer calls a “social model,” which creates an engaging environment for seniors with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia. With the help of the activity staff, participants are able to play games, participate in arts and crafts, partake in light physical activity, and enjoy the occasional field trip.

Tozer says this model simultaneously alleviates some of the stresses tied to full-time caregiving for participants’ family members.

All participating seniors should meet three criteria to join the group: continent, non-combative and not prone to wandering off.

Before the pandemic, the program would have up to 10 participants daily. Now, that number has been cut nearly in half, according to Tozer.

To make up for the “rocky” participation numbers, the program’s activity assistants have worked to extend their in-person activity agenda online via Zoom.

Shawna Brinsfield, who joined the Mindful Care staff in January, said that implementing the technology can prove to be challenging at times when the activities scheduled for the day require tangible materials. She does, however, think that the ability to connect with at-home participants is “neat” for the other seniors to experience.

“I think it can even inspire them maybe, perhaps to stay in touch with some family far away because they see we can do it with someone local,” said Brinsfield.

She complimented fellow activity assistant Annie Summar, a board-certified music therapist, for making the activities work successfully for both groups.

Summar joined the Mindful Care team late last summer, and she spoke highly of the power that music holds in terms of memory recall. She tries to select songs from artists that her crowd will hopefully recognize and appreciate.

“This group really like the Beatles,” said Summar, “We have this one guy in particular that every time we sing Beatles songs, we’ll sing it, and he’ll jump right into the history of why the song was written and things he remembers about singing it to different people.”

She says these moments are “half the reason” she loves her job.

Brinsfield and Summar often rely on PowerPoint presentations that everyone, at home or at the facility, can view with the application’s screen sharing feature.

With that option, Summar has been able to continue setting up games like “Musical Wheel of Fortune” and “Musical Bingo” as well as group crossword puzzles.

“It means a whole lot to them,” said Brinsfield. “This has been a hard year for a lot of seniors who can’t get out and come to a program like this. So, I think it really has sustained some enthusiasm of being connected with peers.”

She said she believes it allows the group to feel a sense of community whether they share the same physical space or not.

Mindful Care is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the daily program fee is listed as $50 for a full day and $40 for a half day of services.

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Former Post reporter Reynolds shared faith, compassion often
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Jason Reynolds, a former award-winning reporter for The Murfreesboro Post who included his spirituality and faith in his daily life, died last Friday. He was 46.

He was being treated at a Murfreesboro hospital for double pneumonia for nearly a week. Reynolds had left the Post last month to become the editor of the Shelbyville Times-Gazette.

Reynolds joined the Post staff in March of 2018. He wrote about many topics in Rutherford County, including city and county government, education and the local business community, insisting that the truth be told about those entities.

He also enjoyed writing feature stories about people in the county, especially veterans, church groups, non-profit organization leaders and pet owners. He had a great desire for everyone’s story to be heard and he had a passion for giving a voice to those without a voice.

Local elected officials, community assistance leaders, business owners and others who were regular sources for Reynolds’ articles posted condolence messages on a newspaper social media post about his death.

“I have been a newspaper editor for many years and it is rare to find a journalist like Jason who combined thoroughness, fairness and compassion in every article he wrote,” Post editor Ivan Aronin said. “He had a great talent to write about many complex issues in a very accurate and understandable way.

“Jason was also a truly kind person with a great heart. He developed a caring spirit through his faith that was reflected in his daily life.”

Reynolds had worked fulltime for the Shelbyville newspaper from 2012-2018. He previously worked at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He received a communications degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and an MBA from Bryan College.

Reynolds demonstrated his religious commitment in many ways. His “Followers of the Cross” blog and podcast series featured interviews with Christian authors, musicians and actors.

He and his wife, Holly, were some of the founding members of Seeds Church in Murfreesboro in September of 2017.

Reynolds also developed a reputation for great humor and laughter. His family considered him the king of “dad jokes” and late last week when he was still in the hospital, he posted some jokes on social media that his family described as “corny.”

Two years ago, Reynolds wrote a story about how many wings Toots restaurant served in a year. He said the story required some investigative reporting so he ate there at least once, possibly twice, that week. There were no reports about how many wings he ate.

He would use mugs with humorous sayings on them while satisfying his consistent need for coffee.

Reynolds also wrote a series of children’s books.

“He had an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoyed starting new things and seeing them grow (like the church),” his wife wrote in an email to the Post.

Reynolds is survived by his wife, Holly, and son, Elijah. He raised chickens in the backyard of his Murfreesboro farm and enjoyed reading, traveling, photography and science fiction.

A funeral is scheduled for Saturday, March 20 at 1 p.m. at Jim Rush Funeral Home in Cleveland, Tenn. (Ocoee location). The service will be available online as well. The public is invited to attend. The family will host a Celebration of Life service in Murfreesboro. Details have yet to be finalized.

Blackman girls basketball coach Jennifer Grandstaff celebrates with her team after winning the Class AAA state championship on Saturday night at Murphy Center. For details and more photos, see SPORTS on 1B.

Ball bounces Blackman’s way

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Two MTSU students indicted for theft of $114K
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Two Middle Tennessee State University students have been charged with a combined 65 counts of theft and forgery after a joint investigation by the TBI and Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury reported that they fraudulently obtained $114,145 in student activity fee payments.

The investigation covers November 2017 to November 2020.

On March 9, the Rutherford County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Mohamed Gure, 22, with one count of theft over $60,000, one count of theft over $10,000, 30 counts of forgery and two counts of criminal simulation. The indictments charged Mohamed Osman, 22, with one count of theft over $60,000, 28 counts of forgery, and two counts of criminal simulation.

On Tuesday, Gure and Osman were arrested and booked into the Rutherford County Jail. Gure’s bond was set at $60,000, and Osmon’s bond was set at $50,000.

The investigation into MTSU’s Somali Student Association and Muslim Student Association began last November. According to a news release from the comptroller’s office, Gure and Osman are accused of submitting false invoices to misappropriate Student Activity Fee money.

Gure and Osman were presidents of MTSU’s Somali Students Association. They are accused of submitting at least 85 false invoices to MTSU to obtain reimbursements totaling $82,200 of student funds, according to the comptroller. Many of the invoices were for payments to non-existent vendors and honorarium payments for public speakers; however, the public speaking events never occurred.

The Somali Students Association also received $3,000 in reimbursement payments from the Tina Stewart Campus Nonviolence Fund. Again, invoices for honorarium payments for public speakers were submitted for events that were never held.

Gure is accused of misappropriating $28,945 in 2017 and 2018 while serving as a board member for the Muslim Students Association by submitting false invoices.

“MTSU should ensure its Student Organizations and Service Office carefully reviews supporting documentation before reimbursing student organizations,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “Our investigators also noted several instances in which MTSU officials were not following their own guidance when processing reimbursements.”