Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Friday, April 11, 2003
Year IV, Edition 066

This edition includes 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.

"It beats dying in a nursing home."

--Danny Saenz, one of six protesters arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespassing Thursday night, after refusing to leave the office of Texas Governor Perry. The activists want key lawmakers to promise not to cut funds for in-home services for people with disabilities (First story)

"As a society we focus on food, clothing, shelter, recreation, but where we don't do a good job is with people's spiritual needs whether it's through organizations or awareness."
--Shelly Christensen, from the Jewish Family and Children’s Service in Minnetonka, Minnesota (Third story)



Activists Arrested At Texas Capitol

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 11, 2003

AUSTIN, TEXAS--Twenty-five disability rights activists, many from the grassroots advocacy group ADAPT, were arrested when they refused to leave the Capitol at closing time Thursday. Six were protesters in wheelchairs who refused to leave the Capitol office of Governor Rick Perry.

All were charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing, which could mean up to $2,000 in fines and a 180-day jail sentence each.

"It beats dying in a nursing home," protester Danny Saenz told the Associated Press.

The demonstrators demanded the governor, along with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick, sign a pledge to protect services for Texans with disabilities. Under the budget proposed by the House, nearly 60,000 people would lose in-home services, and would be at risk of placement in nursing homes or other institutions.

The lawmakers said they were willing to work with the group, but none would sign the pledge.

Related article:
"Disabled protesters are arrested next to governor's office" (Houston Chronicle)



Fire At School For Deaf Children Claims 28 Lives

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 11, 2003

MOSCOW, RUSSIA--A fire at a Russian school for deaf children claimed the lives of 28 youngsters as they slept in their beds early Thursday morning. Twenty-nine other children were taken to the hospital -- four in serious condition.

The children ranged from 7 to 14 years of age. Most appeared to have died from smoke inhalation.

According to Reuters news service, teachers at the boarding school ran from room to room frantically trying to wake the children.

"The children are deaf and they couldn't hear the noise," said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Anzhela Martirosova. "The teachers tried to wake the children up by shaking them but it takes longer with a child with hearing difficulties. That was the biggest difficulty. It's a huge tragedy."

The school was located in the Caspian Sea port of Makhachkala.

Fire-fighting equipment and electrical systems in many rural Russian facilities are in disrepair, the news report noted. Fire officials believe the fire may have been caused by a short circuit.



"Moving From 'Invisibility To Visibly In'"

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 11, 2003

BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA--The following three paragraphs are excerpts from a story in Thursday's Sun Current:

Isadore Rosen, 86, doesn't remember his parents' names, but knows he was raised Jewish. He's lived in a group home for the developmentally disabled since he was a child. He has no family. He has no community outside of the home. He has no spiritual link.

Reflecting on his own mortality, Rosen recently began to show more interest in recapturing his Jewish heritage. His caregivers made contact with the Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS), Minnetonka. Shelly Christensen, from the organization’s Jewish Community Inclusion Program for People with Disabilities, visited Rosen and offered him the opportunity to connect to a community.

"A lot of Jews with developmental disabilities live at group homes and aren't connected with family," said Christensen. "It hasn't been until the last few years that we realized spiritual connections are important for them. A lot of us are now working hard to acknowledge this need."

"Moving from ‘invisibility to visibly in'" (Sun Current)



IPC To Allow 'Opportunities' For Athletes With Intellectual Disabilities

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 11, 2003

ATHENS, GREECE--The International Paralympics Committee has reversed its position and will allow athletes with intellectual disabilities to participate in the 2004 Paralympic Games, but only on a limited basis.

The athletes will be provided "with sporting opportunities at a high level while safeguarding the Paralympic Games", said IPC president Phil Craven. They will not be able to compete in full medal events because the IPC has found "no satisfactory eligibility verification system in place at this time, which could ensure fair competition."

The IPC banned athletes with intellectual disabilities a few months after the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

A journalist had revealed in late 2000 that he was one of 10 players without a disability on the gold-medal winning Spanish basketball team. The IPC forced the team to return their medals. Then the committee decided not to allow athletes with intellectual disabilities in the Winter Games in Salt Lake City, because it could not screen out bogus competitors.



Task Force Urges Governor To Slow Down On Fernald Closure

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 11, 2003

WALTHAM, MASSACHUSETTS--A legislative task force agrees with Governor Mitt Romney's plan to close Fernald Developmental Center, but is cautioning against doing so within one year as Romney had scheduled.

The Health and Human Services Task Force issued its report earlier in the week. It endorses closing Fernald and moving its 309 residents to homes in the community or to the state's other five institutions housing people with developmental disabilities. But the panel recommends a two-year timetable instead of the one year proposed by the governor.

Fernald claims to be the oldest institution in the Western Hemisphere. It was founded as the "Massachusetts School for the Feeble Minded" in 1848, but was renamed Walter E. Fernald State School in 1925 after its first resident superintendent.

The institution is to be shut down as part of Romney's plan to close a $3 billion budget gap for the 2004 fiscal year.

Parents who are against closing the aging facility plan to protest next Thursday.

Related articles:
"State plan for Fernald ambitious" (Daily News Tribune)

"Future hazy for Fernald businesses" (Daily News Tribune)



Death Penalty Information Center: Mental Retardation and the Death Penalty



Quote worth noting:
"He who would be a great soul in the future, must be a great soul now."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson


A list of all disability-related news items found Friday:


# Join a discussion about today's stories at the Inclusion Daily Express message board:

Tell your friends and colleagues about Inclusion Daily Express!

Inclusion Daily Express

©Copyright 2003 Inonit Publishing
3231 W. Boone Ave., # 711, Spokane, Washington 99201 USA
Phone: 509-326-5811
Dave Reynolds, Editor