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

Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Year IV, Edition 136

This front page features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this page for the rest of today's news.

"Emotions are high, accusations abound, and at the heart of this public and private maelstrom is a young woman incapable of speaking for herself."

--Florida Governor Jeb Bush asking a judge to delay scheduling the removal of Terri Schindler-Schiavo's feeding tube and appointing a special guardian to look into her situation. The judge denied Bush's request (First story)

"We're starting to see churches reaching out . . . Everyone has something to give the (church) community."
--LisaRose Hall, executive director of the Christian Council on Persons with Disabilities (Second story)



Judge Greer Ignores Gov. Bush Guardianship Request;
27,000 Messages From Advocates Convinced Bush To Act

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 27, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--A judge has ignored a request from Governor Jeb Bush to hold off scheduling the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube until a special guardian is appointed to look into her case and "provide the court with an unbiased view that considers" her best interests.

Bush wrote a letter to Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge George W. Greer Monday afternoon, asking for the delay. The governor said that he would not normally write a judge about a current legal proceeding, but noted that his office received 27,000 e-mails "reflecting understandable concern for the well being" of Schiavo.

"This case represents the disturbing result of a severe family disagreement in extremely trying circumstances," Bush wrote. "Emotions are high, accusations abound, and at the heart of this public and private maelstrom is a young woman incapable of speaking for herself."

"To err on one side is to prolong her existence, perhaps against her wishes and to continue the debate. To err on the other is an irrevocable act that affords no remediation."

Judge Greer announced Wednesday that he will ignore the letter and the sentiments of those who wrote the governor.

"I read [Gov. Bush's letter] because it came from the governor and I respect his position," Greer told the Tampa Tribune. "Beyond that, it is going in the file."

Terri was 26 in 1990 when she collapsed and was without oxygen for several minutes. Since then, she has been breathing on her own, but is given food and water through the feeding tube installed in her stomach. Judge Greer has ruled that Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state" and that she cannot improve. Higher courts in the state have sided with Greer.

Her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo, has convinced the courts that Terri would not have wanted to live in her current condition.

For five years Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have fought Michael over Terri's right to continue living. They say Terri is responsive and alert and may improve with therapies that could be purchased with what is left over of an insurance settlement -- money that would go to Michael if Terri dies.

Disability rights advocates are closely watching Terri's situation. Many say that Terri's death by starvation would send the message that people with significant disabilities are not worth keeping alive.

Michael Schiavo called Bush's attempt to intervene on his wife's behalf "crazy".

"Jeb Bush intervenes for Schindler-Schiavo" (World Net Daily)
"Florida Judge Rejects Governor's Bid to Help Terri Schiavo" (Crosswalk)
Terri's Fight (Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)
"Terri Schiavo's Right to Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)



List Of Churches Serving People With Disabilities Is Growing

August 27, 2003

DETROIT, MICHIGAN--The following three paragraphs are excerpts from a story found in Tuesday's Detroit News:

"God is trying to get us to love the enemy," (Rev. Ron) Detloff says as he speaks and performs sign language during a recent Wednesday night Bible study. "This is not just for people in the hearing world, but for all the world."

It's part of a growing outreach at about two dozen Metro Detroit churches that are wooing people with physical challenges. They may be disabled, but that hasn't stopped churches from ministering to them.

"Their spiritual needs are the same as anyone else's," said the Rev. Michael Petersmarck of Faith Assembly Deaf Church. "The Lord said we are to go into all the world, and this is part of that commission."

Entire story:
"More Metro churches minister to deaf, blind" (Detroit News)



Boy Dies As Churchgoers Try To Remove "Evil Spirits" Of Autism

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 27, 2003

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN--Eight-year-old Terrance Cottrell Jr. died Friday night as a prayer leader and the boy's mother attempted to "exorcise" his autism from him.

The local medical examiner determined Monday that the cause of Cottrell's death was "mechanical asphyxia due to external chest compression" and ruled it a homicide.

Ray Hemphill, 45, a member of the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith, was arrested Tuesday on charges of physical abuse of a child causing great bodily harm, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Hemphill told police that he had been holding special prayer services during the last few weeks to remove "evil spirits" from the boy. Hemphill said that he would sit on "Junior's" chest for up to two hours at a time. Hemphill weighs 157 pounds. The boy's body weight was not revealed.

During Friday night's prayer service, the boy's shoes had been removed and he was wrapped in a sheet to keep him from scratching parishioners. Three women -- including the child's mother, Patricia Cooper -- sat on his arms and legs while Hemphill sat on his chest. One woman said she pushed down on the boy's diaphragm several times during the service.

Pastor David Hemphill, Ray's brother, said he is confident all of those involved in the death will be cleared.

"Didn't do nothing wrong," said Pastor Hemphill. "We did what the Book of Matthew said, Chapter 12. All we did is ask God to deliver him."

"He just passed away . . . God is a mysterious person, and if he wants to call a life back, he does."

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this is not the church's first run-in with the law over its treatment of children. In 1998, a 12-year-old girl claimed to have been beaten during a church service. When police and the district attorney's office looked into her allegations, Pastor Hemphill claimed her beating was not severe and that congregation members were only doing as the Bible teaches.

No charges were filed in that case.

Related articles:
"Boy's death ruled homicide" (Journal Sentinel)
"Healing by faith is dangerous medicine" (Journal Sentinel)



Community Inclusion Can Save Lives

August 27, 2003

TORONTO, ONTARIO--A friend of mine, David Pitonyak, suggests that the greatest -- and perhaps only true -- disability of our time is loneliness.

In fact, studies I have read show very clearly that loneliness puts a person at a much higher risk for death than cigarette smoking.

Last week, Lewis Wheelan was found dead in his Toronto apartment after being alone and without power for almost 24 hours. Wheelan had lost both legs and an arm during an electrical accident two years ago. He had extensive skin grafts to cover severe burns all over this body and needed constant air conditioning to keep from overheating.

But when the so-called "Blackout of 2003" hit Toronto, Wheelan was without air conditioning and without a way to get help. The outage closed the office of the agency that provided personal care services, and made his aide's cell phone useless. By the time his distant family got in touch with local church officials, it was too late for Wheelan.

"People in the building knew Lewis," said his mother, Melanie. "But nobody thought to make sure he was okay."

If Wheelan had a support network in place -- a circle of friends -- there is a good chance that he may be alive today.

It's not enough, however, for people just to be in the community. There must be a conscious intention to connect with others.

Toronto Star columnist Helen Henderson wrote two articles last week about different ways people with disabilities have connected to their communities.

"Power of life or death" (Toronto Star)
"Building circles is about necessity, not social niceties"
"Circles of Friends" (Inclusion Press)
Dimagine (David Pitonyak's Web site)



Hunger Strike On Overuse Of Medications Hits 11th Day

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 27, 2003

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA--Nearly two dozen people from the U.S. and Europe have been on a hunger strike since August 16 to protest what they consider human rights violations within the mental health service system.

The action is being led by MindFreedom, a grassroots advocacy group that is trying to change the bias in the mental health system which relies heavily on drugs for treatment -- sometimes against the will of the person being treated.

Organizers say that when a person is in crisis there are a number of things they need for support to make it through. The psychiatric community, which MindFreedom believes is influenced a great deal by pharmaceutical companies, tends to prescribe medications as the first, and often only, option.

MindFreedom's director, David Oaks, claims that there is no scientific evidence to support the belief that mental illness is the result of a chemical imbalance. The hunger strikers are demanding that the American Psychiatric Association produce "scientifically valid evidence" proving that mental illness is biologically-based.

Representatives of MindFreedom did meet Wednesday with Marcia Kraft Goin, MD, PhD, current president of the APA.

The activists called the meeting "valuable". Goin called it "interesting".

"We're pleased with this development," said hunger striker Mickey Weinberg, "But we're going to continue this Fast for Freedom."

Related articles:
"Activist strikes over psychiatrists' faith in drug therapy" (Eugene Register-Guard)
"Hunger Strikers Hold Face to Face Meeting Today with President of American Psychiatric Association" (



A-Prompt: Web Accessibility Verifier

A-Prompt (Accessibility Prompt) is a software tool designed to improve the usability of HTML documents by evaluating Web pages for accessibility barriers and then providing developers with a fast and easy way to make the necessary repairs.

A-Prompt will ensure that client Web sites are accessible to the largest number of potential visitors – including those with disabilities. The tool's evaluation and repair checklist is based on accessibility guidelines created and maintained by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium.


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives (Two years ago)


One Year After Shooting, Police Get New Training Videos on Disability

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 27, 2001

DETROIT, MICHIGAN--One year ago this week, Detroit Police Officer David Krupinski saw Errol Shaw Sr. walk toward two other officers with a heavy garden rake raised over his head.

When Shaw, 39, failed to respond to warnings from officers, Krupinski opened fire and killed him with two shots.

The officers did not know that Shaw was deaf.

Krupinski, now 24, was cleared of manslaughter charges on August 10 of this year following two weeks of intense testimony.

This week, law enforcement agencies across Michigan will be receiving training videos designed to help officers deal with people who have disabilities -- especially those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The short videos are being distributed to 67 state police posts and all 613 police forces.

Police will also be given guides showing 45 common hand signs for words such as "attorney", "ticket", "understand" and "please."

"There's a lot of misunderstanding when people think they're communicating with each other, when they're really not," said Dave King, a state police administrator.

Officials have insisted that the Shaw shooting had nothing to do with these videos or other trainings related to how police interact with citizens who have disabilities.


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