Sam Bauman: Are we ready to become a ‘smart’ city? |

Sam Bauman: Are we ready to become a ‘smart’ city?

Sam Bauman
For the Nevada Appeal

I sat in on a discussion at the Brewery Arts Center last week, and it was an enlightening gathering, hosted by Sierra Nevada Forums.

Carson City Supervisor Brad Bonkowski was the moderator for a panel of thinkers, including Nick Marano, city manager and retired Marine colonel; Miya Mackenzie, Hop and Mae Adams Foundation, chief professional officer; Maureen McKissick, assistant to the Reno city manager; and Kevin Lyons, an experienced start-up creator.

The idea of a “smart” city is one in which the citizens get the services and installations they want rather than what an administration wants. An example of this is the Carson Street changes approved by the Board of Supervisors.

One proposal was to change the 911 program to a system with a digitalized map that would show emergency accident sites. Another would allow EMTs to confer with doctors at an emergency scene. Another was to combine information for companies to decide to locate here.

Yet another would create a wireless Internet system at the upcoming Third Street site to assist those seeking the Internet while walking around with smartphones.

Mackenzie outlined the facilities at the Adams Hub business center. She reported that the center is in use by entrepreneurs creating new businesses at modest costs.

All in all, “smart” is what Carson City could become, perhaps one of America’s first WiFi cities. Except for Gerlach, where the Burning Man people installed WiFi a couple of years ago.

Hearing’s fine, handwriting better

Recently, I was at the Carson Tahoe Health therapy offices in downtown Carson City, off Stewart Street.

While discussing therapy for an aching back, chief therapist Steve asked if I had other problems and I answered, “Yep, my lousy handwriting.”

I explained that as I had aged my handwriting had devolved into a wavy line. The bank still accepted it and legal papers were approved, but my signature was unrecognizable.

“We can help you with that, Ben is our occupational therapist for handwriting.”

Little did I know that handwriting is a major problem for seniors. As we age we lose coordination and handwriting requires small movements.

So Steve set me up with Ben, the handwriting therapist. Ben met with me in the therapy offices and asked me for writing samples, caps and lower case, cursive and print. We went over my signature and met again in a week.

He had “homework” for me, all printed out so I could take it home. Here’s what he wanted me to do on my own:

1. Print five sentences from a magazine article using capital letters two times daily. Do it on ruled paper, making sure that the letters touch both upper and lower rules.

2. Complete five of each of the following letter combinations using lower case letters two times daily:

a. am

b. mu

c. ue

d. el

e. au

f. um

g. ma

h. an

3. Complete signatures five times, twice daily.

Use full height for capital printed letters.

Make sure letters are wide enough, particularly to “O’s”

Maintain focus

Seemed easy enough so I bought a ruled school book and began practicing. Slow going but by the time I next met with Ben I had several pages of exercises. We went over the writing and he said, “That’s all I can give you. From here on it’s up to you,” he said. He gave me two golf balls to roll them clockwise and counterclockwise until it was easy. He also passed along a pen with a rubber block on it with a wide grip. It does help.

Well, I’ve continued the exercises as my battered notebook will show. And lo and behold, my signature actually looks like my name. And my printing has improved enough that I can easily read my grocery shopping list.

But I’ll continue signing my name five times a day until I’ve got it down to my old third-grade level. And Ben was right; I have the tools, including those two-letter pairs, that make up my name.

Just in time to change with school classes that no longer teach cursive penmanship. Occupational therapy. For handwriting? Who’d thunk it?

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.