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Jan., '02

Dec., '01

Nov., '01

Oct., '01

Sept., '01


  • Developer pays $350,000 in housing access suit
  • Sen. Paul Wellstone has MS, he says
  • Abuse 3 x in 2 Weeks = "Isolated Cases"
  • Bush Education Nominee opposes ADA, says ADA Watch
  • Income-First Eligibility Rules OK'd by Court
  • Vote Access Bill Moves in FL Legislature
  • France Outlaws 'Wrongful Birth'
  • ID Apts. Sued For Discrimination
  • New nightclub sued over access
  • Staff member charged in resident's death
  • U.S. healthcare system failing people with mental retardation
  • KY P&A sues to get people community services
  • ADAPT shuts down NY Health Dept. in Olmstead protest
  • Protesters Need To Gain Power, Not Compassion
  • Access to single-family homes closer in IL, AZ
  • L.A. District To End "Special Education" Schools

    Developer pays $350,000 in housing access suit
    Feb. 27, 2002 -- The developer of Las Vegas's Raintree Village Condominiums has agreed in a settlement with the Justice Dept. to make the complex accessible to persons with disabilities -- to pay $350,000 to retrofit the condominium complex to bring it into compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act and to compensate persons who have been harmed by the lack of accessible features at the complex. More.

    Sen. Paul Wellstone has MS, he says
    Feb. 23, 2002 --
    Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) announced today that he has multiple sclerosis. News reports say that it is "mild" and that although Wellstone has probably had MS for some time -- he has been treated for symptoms that may well be attributed to it -- he has only found out this week. More.
    Abuse 3 x in 2 Weeks = "Isolated Cases"
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    GLENWOOD, IA, Feb. 22, 2002 -- Three workers at Glenwood Resource Center, an institution housing 400 people with disabilities, have been charged with abusing residents they were supposed to protect.

    On February 4, Brenda McCollum, 23, and Michelle Kalkas, 29, were charged with dependent adult abuse, a felony that carries a 10-year prison sentence. Police say the alleged victim had been kicked at least once and had several large bruises on her neck, legs, buttocks and an arm.

    McCollum and Kalkas continue to be paid by the state pending a hearing scheduled for March 1.

    On February 14, former treatment worker Carlos Gonzales, 28, was charged with inappropriate sexual contact of three teenage male residents. Gonzales pleaded not guilty to the three counts of third-degree sexual abuse, each of which carries a 10-year sentence.

    According to police, Gonzales was fired Jan. 15 for an alleged physical assault on a female employee.

    "We don't accept abuse," Iowa Department of Human Services spokesperson Howard Munns told the Des Moines Register.

    "Of course it's a concern," said Munns. "These are isolated cases and are not connected, but they've happened in a relatively short succession."

    "I'd hate to stereotype the situation on a couple incidents."

    Bush Education Nominee opposes ADA, says ADA Watch

    Feb. 22, 2002 -- Gerald Reynolds, Bush administration nominee for Assistant Secretary for the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, has been "an outspoken opponent of the same federal civil rights protections he would be charged with enforcing," says ADA Watch, a Washington-based group opposing the nomination. Reynolds would oversee compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act as they pertain to education. Calling him "an active member of the Federalist Society which opposes Federal civil rights protections," ADA Watch says Reynolds was with the right-wing Center for Equal Opportunity, "known for its vitriolic criticism of the ADA."

    "Reynolds has aggressively fought federal protections that he considers 'special preferences,'" says the group. " Does he consider reasonable accommodations for disability to be 'preferences?' Does he consider the provision of assistive technology a 'preference?'"

    A 2000 report to Congress on state implementation of the IDEA showed that fewer than half of children whose only disability was orthopedic were in integrated classrooms. "How will Mr. Reynolds address this segregation?" asks ADA Watch.

    An Action Alert from the group contains a draft of a letter to Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont. "Sen. Jeffords is likely to be the deciding vote which could stop this nomination in committee," says ADA Watch's Jim Ward. "To express your concern, please call his office at: 202-224-5141 or email him" at vermont@jeffords.senate.gov To sign-up for periodic alerts from ADAWatch, go to http://www.adawatch.org

    Income-First Eligibility Rules OK'd by Court

    Feb. 22, 2002 -- The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a case that has implications for married couples when one partner is institutionalized and trying to get Medicaid coverage and the other is living at home and trying to make ends meet. More.
    Vote Access Bill Moves in FL Legislature
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    TALLAHASSEE, Feb. 18, 2002 -- A bill that would allow thousands of Florida voters with disabilities to exercise their right to a secret ballot was passed by a state House committee Tuesday.

    The measure would require the state to provide an alternative ballot or voting machine so anyone with a disability could cast a secret, independent and verifiable ballot. A similar bill is pending in the Senate but has not yet been heard by a committee.

    According to the St. Petersburg Times, State Representative Larry Crow, who sponsored the bill, called it "an issue of fundamental fairness."

    "Americans once objected to letting women and minorities vote," Crow said. "We all know these things were abhorrent. People with disabilities fall into the same category."

    The bill now goes to the House appropriations committee, where its estimated $58 million price tag casts some doubt on its final passage, election supervisors say.

    French Parliament Makes "Wrongful Birth" Lawsuits A Thing Of The Past
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    PARIS, Feb. 19, 2002 -- The French parliament voted Tuesday to stop people with disabilities from filing so-called "wrongful birth" lawsuits against doctors for allowing them to be born. More.
    Lewiston Apartments Sued For Discrimination
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    LEWISTON, ID Feb. 15, 2002 -- The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit Wednesday against the designers and builders of Turnberry at Village Green Apartments for violating the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    According to a department press release, the lawsuit was filed against the developers, Thomas Mannschreck, Thomas Development Co., Turnberry Limited Partnership, and Links Properties, LLC, the architect, Rocky Towle, and the site engineer, Eric Hasenoehrl. It claims that the defendants "engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination based on disability" by not making the apartment complex accessible, and that the defendants retaliated against tenants with disabilities who have requested reasonable accommodations.

    The Fair Housing Act requires all apartment and condominium complexes with four or more units that were built after March 1991 to include accessible public and common use areas; accessible routes into and through dwellings; doors that are wide enough to accommodate persons who use wheelchairs; bathroom walls that have reinforcements for installing grab bars; electrical outlets, light switches and thermostats at accessible heights; and bathrooms and kitchens that are large enough for people who use wheelchairs to move around and use them. The 1991 Americans With Disabilities Act also requires that public areas of apartment buildings, such as rental offices and public parking, be accessible.

    The government claims that the Turnberry apartments did not include these accessibility features as required by law.

    "Builders would be well advised to build it accessible the first time, rather than have to take costly measures to fix it later," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

    More information on the accessibility guidelines available on the website for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): http://www.hud.gov/groups/disabilities.cfm

    Woman Claims New Night Club Discriminated Against Her
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    BALTIMORE, Feb. 15, 2002 -- The owners of the posh new Redwood Trust night club spent $2.5 million last year to transform a former bank into the hottest night spot in town. Hottest, that is, except for Carolee Laird, and anyone else who uses a wheelchair.

    Laird, who has spina bifida, was left out in the cold in December when she tried to enter the club through the only accessible door. She could not open the door, and there was no buzzer to let Redwood staff know she was waiting outside. Laird did finally get inside, but discovered that the tables and bar on the main floor were too tall and the restrooms were too small for her wheelchair.

    She also found that the top two levels of the three-story dance club and sushi bar could only be reached by stairs.

    This Wednesday, Laird filed a lawsuit against Redwood Trust claiming it discriminated against her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. "They spent all this money, they did all these renovations, but when it came to accessibility, they did the bare minimum," said Laird.

    According to the Baltimore Sun, Laird's suit asks a federal judge to order the club owners to install an elevator and door buzzers and to remove all other barriers to wheelchair access.

    Staff Member Charged in Resident's Death
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    WAUKEGAN, IL Feb. 14, 2002 -- Edward Hummel, 75, suffered head injuries last October 2 when he was knocked down to the floor in his room at Ann. M. Kiley Developmental Center, an institution in Waukegan. Hummel later died from those injuries.

    This Wednesday, a grand jury charged Channell Bates, 29, with causing Hummel's death. Assistant State's Attorney Matt Chancey said Bates is charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery of a senior citizen, two counts of aggravated battery, and abuse of a long-term care facility resident, all of which are felonies.

    The Chicago Tribune reported that Bates could face seven years in prison if convicted on the involuntary manslaughter charge. Dr. John Schulien, director of the Kiley Center, said Bates has been suspended.

    U.S. healthcare system failing people with mental retardation
    Feb. 11, 2002 -- The U.S. health care system has "failed to respond to changes in the lives of people with mental retardation," says a report released Monday by U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, saying that as attention to people with mental retardation increased, the health care did not.

    Closing the Gap: A National Blueprint to Improve the Health of Persons with Mental Retardation," is the result of a national conference held in Washington, D.C., in December. The surgeon general's report is available online at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/mentalretardation/

    KY P&A sues to get people community services
    LOUISVILLE,KY Feb. 8, 2002 -- Insisting that Kentucky has failed to respond to the mandate laid down by the Supreme Court Olmstead decision, the Ky. Division of Protection and Advocacy has filed a federal lawsuit asking a judge to order state officials to begin providing services to mentally retarded people within 90 days, rather than keeping them on waiting lists for years.

    Two years ago, the state added $50 million to try to reduce what was then a waiting list of about 1,300 people, and says it will spend an additional $27 million in state and federal money over the next two years to try to serve 500 more mentally retarded people -- many being cared for by aging relatives.

    There are 1,969 people on the waiting list, which continues to grow -- a 1998 study found there are more than 7,000 mentally retarded Kentuckians being cared for by people older than 60. Jim Deisenroth, 73, and his wife, Libby, 74, joined the suit on behalf of their mentally retarded granddaughter, Michelle Phillips, 26, who been on the state waiting list for services for nearly three years. Deisenroth told reporters he agreed to join the suit after trying everything else -- including appeals to state officials through letters and phone calls. ''We have done everything that's humanly possible to get attention."

    The Louisville-based Council on Mental Retardation said it was "disappointed" in the action and does not believe that "litigation at this time is the solution."

    ADAPT shuts down NY Health Dept. in Olmstead protest
    ALBANY, NY, Feb. 7, 2002 -- Hundreds of ADAPT protesters from Rochester and surrounding communities took over Corning Tower in Albany, NY, headquarters of the New York State Health Departmen, blocking the elevator towers and shutting off accesss as they insisted the state has not done enough to implement the Supreme Courtıs Olmstead decision."

    Protesters criticized the state for not initiating any planning process despite the fact $50,000 has been allocated, and for not developing a Medicaid waiver plan, and demanded a meeting with the board of health about alternatives to nursing homes.

    Health Department spokesman John Signor told reporters that protesters' criticisms were misplaced. "New York state spends more to help people stay in their homes than any other state in the nation - more than $5 billion," Signor said.

    Protesters Need To Gain Power, Not Compassion
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 11, 2002 --A group of disability rights activists have been protesting for the last seven weeks, demanding that the government increase disability benefits to the level of the country's minimum wage. In spite of support voiced from rock bands and labor unions, the demonstrators have made little progress. Some outside the group say the protesters have failed because they are depending on public compassion.

    "The disabled are entitled to support because they are disabled, not because the public is compassionate," says Ran Melamed, assistant director of a non-profit social rights organization. "They aren't entitled to support because they are downtrodden or miserable or forlorn."

    This link should take you to the entire Jerusalem Post article: http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2002/02/03/Features/Features.42758.html

    Access to single-family homes moves closer in Illinois, Arizona
    Naperville, IL, Feb. 6, 2002 -- This Chicago suburb has become the second city in the nation in as many days to pass a local ordinance requiring at least some "visitability" features in all new homes. It's a bittersweet victory, though, for the Illinois activists. More.
    L.A. District To End "Special Education" Schools
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    Feb, 4, 2002 -- From Thursday's Los Angeles Times: "The Los Angeles Unified School District is starting a dramatic overhaul of its special education programs, aiming to place into regular classes 35,000 disabled students who now are segregated. The reforms will end separate schools for disabled children over the next four years.

    "Virtually all 660 campuses in the district will be affected as many physically and psychologically handicapped youngsters currently in separate classes join mainstream students, officials say. Sixteen special education centers will be at the forefront of the integration.

    "'We're talking about a real cultural change in the embracing of all children and meeting the needs of all children,' said Donnalyn Jacque-Anton, assistant superintendent for special education.

    The entire story is available on the L.A. Times website: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-000007878jan31.story

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