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THE DISABILITY NETWORK
Net News - October 2014
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|“Americans with Disabilities Act”
The summer picnic to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the “AMERICANS with DISABILITIES ACT”
The Disability Network and Genesee Health System would like to thank the participants and volunteers who attended our picnic in July to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The picnic was attended by approximately 1,000 people.
Participants enjoyed many fun activities and wonderful picnic food. We also registered to vote, signed petitions supporting the ADA, and learned about public transportation.
We had interpreters, accessible bathrooms, Braille signage, and lots of accessible parking. This year at Kearsley Park we saw the improved accessible bridge and a ramp to the children’s playground. We continue to work toward making the park more accessible.
|Net News Information
NET NEWS is published quarterly by:
The Disability Network, a Center for Independent Living
supporting people with any type of disability in Genesee
NET NEWS is designed to inform people with disabilities
and other interested parties, of disability related issues
and other matters relevant to the disability community.
welcome your comments and suggestions.
THE DISABILITY NETWORK
3600 S. Dort Hwy. Ste 54
Flint, Michigan 48507
(810) 742-7647 TTY
(810) 742-2400 fax
|Health Insurance Marketplace
Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace starts November 15th
The Disability Network’s certified marketplace navigators are here to guide individuals and organizations to better understand health insurance, the Health Insurance Marketplace, MI Bridges, and the Healthy Michigan Plan website. TDN Navigators can help with filling out applications, submitting documentation, and increasing healthcare knowledge. Call Adrienne at 810-742-1800.
TDN is currently registering individuals for basic computer skills courses starting in November. Students will learn computer basics, Windows 7, managing files, internet, email, and the Office 2007 series (Word, Excel, and Power Point). The courses start November 3rd and finish November 25th. Time is 1pm – 3pm.
|Dates of Interest
Holiday Card design entries due - Thursday, Oct 30
Computer Classes begin - Monday, Nov. 3
Election Day - Tuesday, Nov. 4
Board of Directors meeting - Wednesday, Nov. 19
Office Closed for Thanksgiving - Th/Fr, Nov. 27-28
Holiday Party - Wednesday, Dec 17
|Flint and Genesee Literacy and Basic Skills Network Unites Community Resources
The Flint & Genesee Literacy and Basic Skills Network is a workgroup of community organizations formed to address the basic skills crisis in the Flint area. The partners believe that solving the basic skills crisis requires an unprecedented partnership among multiple organizations and new approaches to improving basic skills. In line with the strategic components of the recently adopted City of Flint Master Plan, the Network is committed to building on the strengths of community organizations, as well as ensuring that individuals needing to improve their literacy skills have access to sufficient and appropriate information, services, and supports to meet their literacy needs.
“We are excited to engage members from all sectors within our community in the process of developing a collective strategy for meeting the literacy and basic skills needs of the residents in Flint and Genesee County,” said Robert Matthews, Executive Dean of Workforce, Community and Grant Development.
The public is encouraged to participate in the upcoming comprehensive, community-wide planning process that will result in an accessible Community Literacy Plan for Flint and Genesee County, as well as a governance design for the Network going forward.
For more information about the Flint & Genesee Literacy and Basic Skills Network or how to get involved, contact Heather Hutchinson at (810) 232-4598, or Heather.Hutchinson@mcc.edu
The Disability Network staff is helping to identify barriers to literacy programs in the Genesee County area. We would like to hear from you. Are you looking for a literacy program? Did you participate in one but found it inaccessible? Would you like to be a tutor at TDN? Please share your story with us by calling, writing, or e-mailing. TDN@disnetwork.org
|Small Changes, Big Differences
A few small changes in your daily life can make a BIG difference. The Disability Network recently received a grant that gives us the ability and technology to demonstrate low-tech assistive technology (AT) products. What is assistive technology? Any device that makes doing something easier - magnifying glasses, pill dispensers, canes, large button phones, voice amplifiers, bottle openers, and so much more. To schedule a demonstration for your group or to receive a one-on-one demonstration, call 810-742-1800 or Carrie’s direct line at 244-3272.
|Ronald G. Kremski Accessible Recreation Award
The Disability Network presented the Ronald G. Kremski Accessible Recreation Award to Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission at our ADA Celebration in July. We are very proud of all the accessible work that the parks system has done, under the leadership of Director Amy McMillan. The Commission is committed to making the park facilities accessible to everyone.
Some of their accomplishments include:
Created a comprehensive 3 year ADA Transition Plan – every facility was visited and accessed for accessible facility improvements,
Purchased 100 new accessible picnic tables – Every pavilion has at least one accessible table and others will be placed throughout the parks,
Submitted a grant to supply accessible grills in Flushing County Park,
Installed accessible vault toilets at Wolverine/Buttercup Beach, Davison Roadside Park, Flushing County Park, Linden County Park and Richfield County Park with accessible pathways. Davison Roadside Park also has an accessible path to the bathroom and to the parking lot,
Purchased 11 new accessible porta-johns with the goal to have one near every pavilion without vault or flush restrooms,
Met accessible ADA ASHTO standards on all new trails and resurfacing of trails in 2014. Linden County Park Trail & For-Mar Pedestrian Bridge met these standards in previous years,
Changed language in the Family Fun Guide to reflect and advertise that our programs are appropriate for people of all abilities,
Offer drive-thru at Christmas at Crossroads Village for elderly or individuals with disabilities not able to walk or wheel through snowy streets and sidewalks,
Committed to have staff attend trainings on accessibility and ADA Transition Plans for park systems.
|Bernstein Announces Run For Michigan Supreme Court
NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US - The Disability community encourages people with disabilities to engage in our political process. People with disabilities need to at the table when decisions are made that effect our lives.
Richard Bernstein – a dedicated and passionate defender of fairness for all during his successful legal career – has announced his candidacy for the Michigan Supreme Court. Bernstein said he is seeking a seat on the court to ensure that the voices of all Michigan residents are heard and that fairness for all is a guiding principle for the Court.
“As a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, I will ensure that all sides are heard, and that the rule of law is followed on behalf of everyone in the State of Michigan,” Bernstein said. Bernstein said concerns for special interests and partisan ideology have become too powerful and he will fight to make sure that the court’s focus is on the rule of law and justice. “I will bring a unique perspective to the Court,” he said. “I am not driven by partisan ideology, but by a deep sense of fairness, a respect for the law, and a commitment to serve the people of the State of Michigan.”
A graduate of the University of Michigan and the Northwestern University School of Law, Bernstein has forged a successful legal career and won several landmark, precedent-setting court decisions to ensure that everyone has fair access under the law. Bernstein’s legal work wins recognition and awards from several groups around Michigan and the United States. In addition to his legal work, he was elected statewide to the Wayne State University Board of Governors, serving for two years as chair and two years as vice chair. He has also served as a professor at the University of Michigan.
For more on Bernstein’s legal career, record of service and accomplishments: www.bernsteinforjustice.com
|WIOA: What the New Bill Means For People with Disabilities
The new law helps people with disabilities get jobs. With the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Congress has reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), including the Rehabilitation Act, through 2020.
Major highlights of the new law include:
A much larger role for public vocational rehabilitation (VR) as people with disabilities make the transition from school to adult life.
Efforts intended to limit the use of sub-minimum wage.
A definition for “competitive integrated employment” as an optimal outcome.
Enhanced roles and requirements for the general workforce system and One-Stop Career Centers in meeting the needs of people with disabilities.
Changes to improve performance measures.
Implementation of WIOA will occur over the next couple of years. A major next step will be publication of proposed regulations for public comment by mid-January 2015.
This text is taken in part from The Institute Brief by David Hoff, Program Director, Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI), UMass, Boston. See the complete text at: www.communityinclusion.org/pdf/IB31_F.pdf
|Low-interest Loans Available
Seniors and people with disabilities (or their family members) can use the Michigan Assistive Technology Loan Fund to buy assistive technology devices and related services, including modification of vehicles and homes.
If you would like to apply for a loan to purchase any item or piece of equipment that will help you improve your independence and overall quality of life, The Disability Network is your local organization for Loan Fund information. Contact Carrie at The Disability Network at (810) 742-1800.
|Planning Excellence Award
Over 5,000 residents and community members were engaged in the development of the Imagine Flint Master Plan, and thanks to this unprecedented participatory involvement, the Imagine Flint plan has just been awarded an Excellence Award for Public Outreach from the Michigan Association of Planning. This award stands as a true testament to the thousands of dedicated residents and community members, including The Disability Network and many citizens with disabilities, who have been and continue to be tirelessly committed to the plan's development and implementation.
|Genesee County Parks - Get Away. Right Away.
The Disability Network supports the efforts of the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission to make their great facilities accessible to all citizens, including people with disabilities.
Half a million visitors streamed into the 21 parks that comprise the Genesee County Parks during 2013, many of which were people with disabilities. In the process, they pumped $5 million into the Genesee County economy.
While that number is substantial, there’s even bigger news.
The overall economic impact of the Genesee County Parks, thanks, in part, to its enthusiastic visitors, is a whopping $19 million, according to Pros Consulting, LLC, the Indianapolis-based company that conducts economic impact studies nationwide and prepared the Genesee County Parks economic impact study for 2013.
And what’s the significance of that $19 million for area residents?
It translates to sustaining nearly 458 jobs in Genesee County. While it’s well known that public parks enhance the quality of life for local residents and provide affordable options for family-friendly activities, it turns out that Genesee County residents, who support the Genesee County Parks with a property tax millage, are also getting a great financial return on their investment.
In 2013, Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad, a 100-acre historic village that is one of the Genesee County Parks, welcomed more than 141,000 visitors. Nearly a third of those visitors travelled more than 50 miles to enjoy the Village and its special events such as Halloween Ghosts & Goodies, Day Out With Thomas™ and the longtime tradition Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic.
A recent survey of Genesee County Parks’ visitors showed that Genesee County residents love many aspects of their County Parks, especially the abundance of accessible walking trails and the year-long schedule of nature programs and family activities.
Parks visitors include people with disabilities, hikers, bicyclists, history buffs and rail fans, campers, winter sports lovers and off-roading enthusiasts who come from all over the Midwest.
In addition to Crossroads Village and the Cummings Event Center, the Genesee County Parks include lakes and forests, swimming beaches, boat launches, lush meadows, a nature preserve and arboretum, towering hills, dozens of walking and biking trails, an off-road vehicle park, Wolverine Campground, an equestrian center, and spectacular opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
We encourage you to enjoy all of our wonderful and accessible parks in Genesee County.
|Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) Millage Information
Why does the MTA need this small Recovery Millage?
Since 2008, the MTA has lost $3.4 million dollars annually due to lower taxable property values, foreclosures, and abandonments. During the same period of time fuel and fuel related products have increased over $1 million dollars per year. Since 2008 the State Operating Assistance for public transportation has declined by nearly $1 million dollars per year.
How will the Recovery Millage funds be used?
The passage of the millage will allow the MTA to sustain all services provided in the city and throughout the county. The passage will also allow us to restore evening service throughout our community and to address emerging needs for medical transportation services due to the aging population in our community.
Is the need for public transportation growing in our community?
Yes. The need for public transportation is growing in our community today. The impact of the aging population will tremendously impact public transportation systems. People are living much longer, and many may develop medical conditions, disabilities or both.
What is the cost of the Recovery Millage to homeowners in our community?
The average cost to homeowners will vary between $10.00 to $20.00 per year. This amount falls below the total collected from each household prior to 2008 and provides for stabilization of transit services today and in the future.
What will happen if the Recovery Millage fails?
Based on current revenue projections, the MTA will be forced to cut services throughout the community to all citizens.
Vote Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - mtaflint.org
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