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

Friday, October 17, 2003
Year IV, Edition 161

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 37 more news items.

"Seniors and persons with disabilities have a civil right to live in the most integrated setting, usually their own home."

--From an open letter given to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius by a coalition of 80 groups seeking to reduce the waiting lists for community-based supports (Fifth story)

"We live in a community with people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities and all schools should reflect that. A person's abilities or disabilities should not be hidden at school or anywhere else."
--Brad Laughlin, disabilities programs consultant for Maitland school district in New South Wales, Australia (Second story)



Two Florida Courts Reject Schindlers' Last-minute Efforts

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 17, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Two separate Florida courts on Friday turned down requests by the parents of Terri Schiavo to have their daughter's feeding tube reinstalled two days after it was removed by court order.

Circuit Court Judge Jonathan Sjostrom of Tallahassee rejected a last-minute request by Bob and Mary Schindler to direct Governor Jeb Bush to stop their daughter's starvation death. Sjostrom said the request should have been filed in Pinellas County, where Judge George Greer originally ordered the feeding tube removed.

The 1st District Court of Appeal then denied the Schindlers' request without comment.

The requests were what Schindlers' attorney Patricia Anderson called a "Hail Mary" effort, that did not hold much promise.

"There has been an awful lot of judicial attention to this case," Anderson said. "Judges don't like to second-guess each other."

The Schindlers want the governor to open an investigation into their suspicions Terri was abused by her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Pinellas County State Attorney's Office have refused to investigate, citing a lack of evidence.

Terri's feeding tube was removed Wednesday at the request of Mr. Schiavo, who claims his wife told him she would not have wanted to live "by artificial means". Terri has breathed and regulated her own blood pressure without artificial means since she collapsed from a chemical imbalance in February 1990 and was without oxygen for several minutes. Some doctors have said that Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state" and that there is no chance for her to recover.

Terri's parents have fought Mr. Schiavo in the courts for the last six years to keep their daughter alive, claiming that Schiavo failed to mention his wife's wishes until after winning a $1 million settlement from a malpractice lawsuit. The Schindlers have suspected that Schiavo wants Terri to die so he can have what's left of the settlement, and so he can marry another woman. They have wanted the state to investigate their allegations that Schiavo may have been responsible for Terri's initial collapse along with his refusal to allow rehabilitative therapies.

Doctors say Terri will likely survive 7 to 14 days from when the feeding tube was removed.

Disability rights advocates and right-to-life groups have been holding a round-the-clock vigil since the first of the week.

"Terri Schiavo's parents could never have imagined" (World Net Daily)
"Patient won't suffer, doctors say" (Sun-Sentinel)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation



"Just Like Other Kids"

October 17, 2003

MAITLAND, AUSTRALIA--The following seven paragraphs are excerpts from a story published in Friday's Maitland Mercury:

Karley Moran loves to laugh and joke with her friends just like everybody else.

She loves to play games in the schoolyard just like everybody else.

Because Karley is just like everybody else.

This year Karley, who has Down Syndrome, was one of 430 Maitland children with special needs to be integrated into mainstream education.

Last year 370 children with special needs became part of the city's mainstream classrooms.

"Children with special needs are becoming more and more a part of Maitland mainstream education and this is something that is occurring right across the State," Maitland district disabilities programs consultant Brad Laughlin said.

"We live in a community with people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities and all schools should reflect that," Mr. Laughlin said. "A person's abilities or disabilities should not be hidden at school or anywhere else."

Entire article:
"Just like other kids" (Maitland Mercury)



Hearing On Courts' Lack Of Accessibility Held In Non-Accessible Courtroom

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 17, 2003

TAUNTON, MASSACHUSETTS--Attorney Joseph F. deMello testified Wednesday before a legislative panel that is addressing the need for a new court complex in Taunton.

DeMello was not able to testify in the courtroom where the Special House Committee on Courthouse Construction and Funding was holding their hearing -- because it is not accessible to him. Instead, he testified from a first-floor office of Superior Court.

According to the Taunton Enterprise, all three Taunton courts -- District, Probate and Superior -- are not accessible to deMello and other people with disabilities who cannot climb stairs.

"The stairs prohibited me from getting to the courtrooms," said deMello, past president of the Taunton Bar Association. "I've had cases in this building involving handicapped people that had to be heard in the basement, in janitors' rooms."

Panel members said deMello's testimony was the most compelling of the day.

DeMello and fellow attorney Miles Herman, who uses a wheelchair, filed a federal lawsuit in October 2001, calling for the courts to meet accessibility requirements under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. That suit is still pending.

"We have to arraign handicap defendants in the parking lot," Judge Kevan Cunningham, presiding justice of Taunton District Court, told the panel.

DeMello concluded: "I am confident that the legal result of this action will result in accessibility. However, there is no question that this matter must be addressed immediately so that all citizens of Bristol County have complete access to all courthouses, as one would expect in the year 2003."



Euthanasia's Dark Side

October 17, 2003

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA--Friday's National Review ran a guest commentary by Wesley J. Smith about euthanasia and "assisted suicide".

Smith wrote that the mainstream media, and specifically the New York Times, glorify euthanasia as a "right to die" issue, while down-playing or ignoring the darker side.

"Bring up the issue of assisted suicide, and we suddenly are transported to Euthanasia World, an idealized land where euthanasia's dark side is conveniently ignored," Smith writes. "In Euthanasia World, money is never an issue, doctors make house calls, no one is ever abandoned or coerced, and every "death with dignity" is freely and carefully chosen just before natural death occurs and there is no other way to relieve unbearable suffering.

"In fact, legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia would take place in the context of a harsher real world of abuse and neglect of the elderly, family dysfunction, relatives' desiring to inherit property or collect on fat life insurance policies, and subtle pressures on the ill, disabled, or elderly to cease being a burden ('Gee Grandma, because of the nursing home bills, we can't send little Timmy to college')."

"Many believe that becoming disabled is the worst thing that can happen in life. Perhaps this explains why Jack Kevorkian became something of a national hero as he assisted the suicides of about 130 mostly disabled people."

Entire article:
"Euthanasia World: The worst culture" by Wesley J. Smith (National Review)



Advocates Want Money Spent To Reduce Waiting Lists

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 17, 2003

TOPEKA, KANSAS--The Big Tent Coalition, made up of 80 organizations representing community-based supports for people with disabilities, has accused the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services of failing to use $11 million in state money as legislators intended -- to reduce the waiting lists for in-home supports.

The coalition released an open letter to Governor Kathleen Sebelius Thursday asking her to reduce the waiting lists now, and to earmark nearly $57 million in her next budget proposal for essential services.

"Seniors and persons with disabilities have a civil right to live in the most integrated setting, usually their own home," the letter stated.

While 10,000 Kansans with disabilities currently receive community-based services, another 2,700 are waiting for such supports to avoid being forced into nursing homes or other institutions.

"The clear legislative intent was, over $11 million in state general fund dollars and well over $20 million all funds were pumped into waivers specifically to move people off of waiting lists and into services," said Rocky Nichols, a Democrat from Topeka who served in the House last session until he resigned to become executive director of Kansas Advocacy and Protective Services Inc. "And that's what we're advocating -- that that promise be kept."

Related article:
"Disabled holding Sebelius to word" Lawrence Journal-World



Disability Resource Library (DND Press)

DND Press is a publisher of books and CDs produced for the disabled community by disabled authors. In addition to products for sale, you’ll also find plenty of useful information here.


Quote worth noting:
"A real patriot is the fellow who gets a parking ticket and rejoices that the system works."
--Bill Vaughan, American journalist and author (1915 - 1977)


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