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

Monday, May 19, 2003
Year IV, Edition 084

This edition includes 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Today's "Below the Fold" features 40 other disability-related articles from around the world.

"I feel like I've come a long way."

--Melissa Maxeiner, who was awarded a Self-Determination Award last Friday (Fifth story)

"Just because we have a disability doesn't make us less of a person . . . I consider my handicap a blessing and not a curse."
--Ralph Miles, a South Bend, Indiana minister (Fourth story)



State Legislature Tries To Limit Governor's Power To Close Facilities

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 19, 2003

COLUMBUS, OHIO--State legislators want to tie the hands of their governor when it comes to closing institutions and other large facilities.

Earlier this year, Governor Bob Taft announced that the state would close a prison, along with two of its twelve state-run institutions housing people with developmental disabilities.

The decision was described as one measure to deal with an estimated $4 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget cycle.

But parents of people housed in the institutions, here called "developmental centers", and members of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, which represents thousands of state employees, has strongly opposed the closure of even one facility. Many have lobbied lawmakers to go against Taft's decision.

A bill before a House committee last week would have kept the governor from using his executive powers to close prisons, youth detention centers, and institutions housing people with mental illnesses, mental retardation or developmental disabilities.

Taft, however, was expected to veto the measure, according to Wednesday's Lancaster Eagle-Gazette.

"The commission would tie the executive's hands in making tough decisions to balance the budget, and he would veto that bill if it came to his desk," said a Taft spokesperson.

Related article:
"Taft won't yield power to close state facilities" (Lancaster Eagle-Gazette)


# Special Olympics Athletes Banned From World Games Over SARS Scare
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 19, 2003

DUBLIN, IRELAND--The Special Olympics World Summer Games has become the latest victim of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic.

The Irish government last week asked Special Olympics athletes from nations that have been hit hard by SARS not to travel to the international games which start in Dublin on June 21.

Teams from China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines were asked to stay home because of the high risk of infection by the virus that has infected thousands and killed hundreds world-wide, most in Asia.

Hong Kong's government is urging Ireland to reconsider, as is the Special Olympics World Summer Games organizing committee, which considers Ireland's action a form of discrimination against people with disabilities.

"We question any decision that discriminates against Special Olympics athletes over and above any person or group of persons traveling to Ireland from these countries," said Mary Davis, chief executive of the World Summer Games' organizing committee.

Towns across Ireland have been getting ready to host about 7,000 athletes and coaches from 160 different countries.

Related article:
"Ireland in Olympic Sars ban" (BBC News)



Group Home "Pros" Outnumbered "Cons" At Board Meeting

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 19, 2003

FLUSHING, NEW YORK--A non-profit organization wants to lease a vacant building, renovate it to bring it up to code, and turn it into a home for seven young men that have autism.

Neighbors showed up at the Community Board 7 meeting last Monday to testify against allowing the new group home, one neighbor even suggesting that the state needed to "find a much cheaper house that really just needs a coat of paint."

But those interested in seeing the building become a home -- most of them parents of people with autism -- far outnumbered their opponents.

The resolution allowing the organization to establish the home passed with 36 board members in favor, 3 opposed and one abstention, the Queens Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Related article:
"CB 7 Hosts Heated Debate Over Autistic Residence In Whitestone" (Queens Chronicle)



"Disability Doesn't Make Us Less Of A Person"

May 19, 2003

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA--Monday's South Bend Tribune ran a brief item about two men, Ralph Miles and Eric B., who work to advance the rights of people with disabilities.

"We all have some limits, but all we want is to be treated as normal as possible," said Ralph, who is a minister.

"Just because we have a disability doesn't make us less of a person. Some people today look at us as misfits of society, but I'm here to tell them we are not . . . I consider my handicap a blessing and not a curse."

Entire article:
"Handicap seen as a blessing and not a curse" (South Bend Tribune)



Melissa Wins With Self-Determination

May 19, 2003

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA--The following six paragraphs are excerpts from a story featured in Friday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Three years ago, Melissa Maxeiner was living in her father's rural Moon home, gorging on Oreos and pizza, unable to travel on her own, largely isolated in a knickknack-crammed bedroom except for working a hotel kitchen job.

Today, the sweet-smiling 32-year-old is managing her own life in a self-decorated Castle Shannon apartment. She's switched jobs, shed 60 pounds, mastered mass transit, learned personal budgeting and dropped compulsions for shopping and junk food.

"I feel like I've come a long way," she said, softly.

That freedom arrived after three decades of sheltered living for a person labeled by experts at Cleveland Clinic around age 5 as someone who "would never lead a normal life," her father (John Maxeiner) said.

"They said she would never be able to dress herself, feed herself, to feel a love for anything," he said.

The assessment proved to be inaccurate . . .

Entire article:
"In control of her life: Mentally retarded win with self-determination" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)



Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

WAI, in coordination with organizations around the world, pursues accessibility of the Web through five primary areas of work: technology, guidelines, tools, education and outreach, and research and development.



From the Inclusion Daily Express archives:
(Two years ago)


Workers With Disabilities Break Down Barriers to Inclusion

May 15, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--Sonia Jackson knows why the Hayward Safeway store recently promoted her.

"I'm a people person," she explained with a smile.

Jackson, 31, is one of thousands of people with developmental disabilities in the San Francisco Bay area who are successfully working in the business community, many receiving full benefits.

"In employment policy, we are embracing inclusion, and the strengths of the workers are key," says Michael Bernick, director of the California Employment Development Department.

"Do not think of this as charity. These workers have strengths."

Related article:
"Developmentally disabled are quietly joining working world" (San Francisco Chronicle)


A list of 40 other disability-related news items found Monday:


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Dave Reynolds, Editor