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Computer program expanding

October 01, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Two of Franklin County's senior centers went online earlier this year and the success of the program has led to its expansion to the center in Chambersburg, according to county officials.

The senior activity centers in Waynesboro, Pa., and Greencastle, Pa., each received two computers and Internet access last spring, paid for with grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, according to Director of Aging Kim Murdaugh.

Interest in computer programs led the county commissioners to approve the installation of two computers at the Chambersburg Senior Activity Center in the county's administrative annex at 218 N. Second St.

Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said the computers will be operating at the center in four to six weeks.

"Participants enjoy surfing the Internet for stock market and mutual fund quotes, looking for recipes, travel information, the Weather Channel and access to many other sites," Murdaugh said.

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She said senior citizens are using e-mail to contact friends and relatives. An instructor provides technical support one day a week at each of the centers.

"Quite a few people came up to me at the seniors' picnic last month and said how much they appreciated being a part of today's technology ... They're excited about it," Elliott said Tuesday.

"Given the success of the program, I think eventually we'd like all our centers to be online," Elliott said. He said that could be paid for either through additional grant funds, or be included in the county budget.

The county also has senior centers in Fort Loudon, Mont Alto, Dry Run and Upper Strasburg.

The installation of computers in Waynesboro and Greencastle was paid for with a $15,551 grant, although part of the money also paid for new furniture at those centers, said Murdaugh.

The Area Agency on Aging began offering computer courses last fall, even before the computers were put in the centers. The Franklin County Career and Technology Center and the Chambersburg and Waynesboro school districts cooperated with the agency in providing computer lab space and time.

More than 100 people have taken the courses and additional classes are being scheduled, Murdaugh said.

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