hipnews Spring 2004 Edition
 
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Sail with us on the “Spirit of hip’’
“Project Less Stress” to Begin April 23
Adler Aphasia Center Active in Maywood
From the ADVOCATE’S DESK
Organ Donation Efforts Promoted in New Jersey
Did You Know?
LEAD Students Enjoy Varied Program
“On the Move” Springs into Spring
NOW HEAR THIS!
Moving From Here to There
The View from HUDSON
Maria Smith – Never Too Busy for a Kind Word
New Members
hip Programs
hip Meetings & Happenings
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  Sail with us on the “Spirit of hip’’
  
 We’re booking passage for a “moonlight cruise” on the “Spirit of hip,” setting sail at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 22.   The lucky passengers will don their jauntiest nautical attire for an evening of dining and dancing at hip’s annual gala benefit. The “Spirit of hip” will embark from the Fort Lee Recreation Center.


Our 2004 honoree will be Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg, an outstanding advocate for people with disabilities and a leader in promoting health care initiatives for all New Jerseyans, especially women.   Invitations are on the way.  But if you can’t wait for information and/or reservations, call Joan Thomson at the Bergen office, 201-996-9100.


If you need a special accommodation, please request it when you call or reserve by mail.   Don’t miss the boat!
 
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  “Project Less Stress” to Begin April 23
  
 On April 23, “Project Less Stress” will launch a six-session series to encourage Bergen County seniors with disabilities to better handle stress in their lives.   Martin Bland, a yoga and wellness instructor who is experienced in working with people with disabilities, will guide participants over 60 in techniques to enhance health and reduce stress.   Stress management strategies include self-awareness, behavior change, and relaxation skills.


Yoga offers benefits to people at different levels.   Some medical professionals believe that yoga can reduce the need for medication in mild cases of asthma and high blood pressure, as well as help individuals cope with diabetes, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and MS, as well as back pain.
  The program is funded by a HealthEASE mini-grant from the NJ Dept. of Health and Senior Services, Division of Aging and Community Affairs.


The sessions will be held at the Center for Modern Dance Education, 84 Euclid Ave., Hackensack, on Friday evenings, 7-9 p.m., through May 28. The fee is $30.


Limited transportation for Bergen County residents is available at $2 per session.   To register, call Paula Walsh (201-996-9100).   Applicants must be 60 years old or older. Space is limited, so make your reservation now.
 
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  Adler Aphasia Center Active in Maywood
  
 Over one million Americans have aphasia, a brain disorder that results most commonly from a stroke or traumatic brain injury.  It can affect one’s ability to speak, read, and/or write; its effects range from mild to so severe that communication can be almost impossible.  Mike and Elaine Adler have founded the Adler Aphasia Center at 60 West Hunter Ave., Maywood, “a place where people touched by aphasia can comfortably communicate.”  It all started because the Adlers found no place they could go for support after Mike’s stroke 11 years ago.  Dynamic activities at the Center include computer programs geared to speech improvement, exercise sessions, lectures and workshops, and small group discussions, all aimed at enhancing opportunities for independent living.  For information, call 201-587-1909. Website: www.adleraphasiacenter.org.
 
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  From the ADVOCATE’S DESK
  
 by Nancy Hodgins



Big Issues: Supreme Court Decision, Access Board Focus, Budget Threats to Section 8




Tennessee vs. Lane
A pending U.S. Supreme Court case has huge implications for people with
disabilities nationwide (see “The View from Hudson” on page 3).  This landmark case is a reminder that, whatever the outcome, access to courthouses throughout the country needs serious attention.


Access Board Focuses on Courthouses
The Federal Access Board, which develops guidelines for appropriate access, selects a new focus issue each year.  It may be no coincidence that this year the Board has chosen courthouse access as its first area of focus.  The Board will address proper access to courthouses and courtrooms, as well as courtroom design and layout.  Judges’ benches and witness stands are often elevated and the “courtroom well” is often very small.
  The Board plans to work with agencies overseeing courthouse construction to develop guidelines and best practices for access at federal, state and county facilities.


Section 8 Housing Voucher Program in Danger

One of President Bush’s budget
proposals for fiscal 2005 heavily impacts the Section 8 Housing Voucher program by allocating $11.9 billion to fund the entire program.  This is $1.1 billion too little to fund even vouchers currently used by two million low-income families, resulting in about 250,000 fewer vouchers than last year. In northern New Jersey, where the cost of housing is the state’s highest, Section 8 housing vouchers often ward off homelessness for people with extremely low incomes.
  In addition to the funding reduction, the President’s proposal also calls for basic changes to the Section 8 program:

• No funding provided for new vouchers for non-elderly people with disabilities.

• Elimination of the requirement
that 75% of new vouchers go to extremely low-income households.  Its impact on people with disabilities, amongst the nation’s poorest, would be devastating.

• Permission for public housing authorities to develop their own rent systems, potentially wiping out limits on the rental ceiling to 30% of tenant’s income.

• No assurance that tenants currently using vouchers will be served under the new program.


Congress has until April 15 to
debate, propose changes, and complete action on the FY 2005 budget.  Let your Congressional representatives know now what your priorities for our nation’s budget are.  Let them know that you expect the FY 2005 budget to incorporate constituents’ priorities.   Your vote is critical to your congressional representative’s future…. let them know that these funding issues are critical to your future.


During a time that calls for fiscal restraints on government spending, it is important to tell our Congressional representatives that programs which provide basic supports and services for people with disabilities are not to be cut.  These programs are often the only means of assistance that enable people with disabilities to remain independent and to continue to be an integrated force within our communities.
 
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  Organ Donation Efforts Promoted in New Jersey
  
 “Check-off for Life” is a new program enabling taxpayers to take a deduction from their New Jersey income tax to help in a program to educate the public about the life-saving gift of organ donation and what individuals can do to help.


More than 2,700 New Jersey residents are waiting to receive a life-saving organ transplant, but not all will receive them because the waiting list is far longer than the current donations.  “Check-off for Life” is sponsored by the New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network (The Sharing Network).  Instructions on how to contribute appear on this year’s NJ tax form worksheet.  The Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally designated, and state-certified recovery agency responsible for providing donated organs and tissue for NJ residents in need of transplantation, as well as for those on waiting lists nationwide. hip applauds their efforts!
 
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  Did You Know?
  
 Three publications of great interest to people with disabilities are available free of charge from the NJ Developmental Disabilities Council: Monday Morning, Families Magazine, and People With Disabilities Magazine. Audiotape is also free of charge, for anyone unable to read print. Request these publications by calling 1-800-216-1199.


Access Link may be able to provide transportation for you. Direct inquiries to 1-800 955-2321.


Other transportation services which may be available to you:  for Bergen County residents – Community Transportation, 201-646-3227.  For Hudson County residents – Transcend, 201-271-4307.
 
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  LEAD Students Enjoy Varied Program
  
 LEAD, our statewide program for teens with vision loss, is keeping members busy with a full schedule of events.  This past February, students visited Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators and to
advocate.  This spring, they will go to the National Technology Center in Baltimore, to learn the latest in assistive technology and to explore job opportunities.   An end-of-year weekend wrap-up at Camp Marcella in Morris County will include a workshop on self-esteem and confidence building.  Parents are invited to celebrate the progress made during the year.


LEAD stands for Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination.  The program is funded by the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
 
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  “On the Move” Springs into Spring
  
 The calendar of events for “On the Move,” our program for teenagers and young adults with physical, sensory, and learning disabilities, is in full swing.  In the works are a boat trip on the Circle Line, a day at a bowling alley, a fishing trip, and hip’s annual picnic.  “On the Move” coordinators Lucy Montalvo and Bill Jones are enthusiastically looking forward to the 2004 spring season of this wonderful program.
 
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  NOW HEAR THIS!
  
 hip’s newest program, “Now Hear This,” has taken off under the guidance of our newest staff member, project coordinator Eileen Stewart.  The program is intended to reach out to individuals in Bergen and Hudson Counties who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have any range of hearing loss.  Eileen is fluent in American Sign Language as well as knowledgeable about the deaf and hard of hearing cultures.  She will assist on issues of specific interest to individuals, as well as make all independent living services and activities accessible.  Call her at the hip Bergen office, 201-996-9100 (voice) or 201-996-9424 (TTY).
 
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  Moving From Here to There
  
 High school students with disabilities seeking assistance to prepare for the future, whether to enter the world of work or pursue higher education, will soon be able to participate in a hip program specially geared to their needs.   hip has applied for funding for a three-year program to assist students and their families in transition planning and is optimistic about a spring start-up. Increased staff at the Hudson and Bergen CILs will reach out to schools and students, provide linkage to peers, and focus on providing critical information and options for the future.  Specific information will be available in the next issue of hipNews and in special mailings.
 
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  The View from HUDSON
  
 by Marianne Valls




Tennessee is a long way from New Jersey.  Yet a recent Supreme Court case brought by a Tennessee man who uses a wheelchair may affect people with disabilities across the nation.  In January 2004, the Court heard oral arguments regarding “Tennessee vs. Lane.”   
A wheelchair user, Mr. Lane was unable to pay a traffic fine because the traffic court was on the second floor, and there was no elevator.  Mr. Lane was arrested because he refused to crawl or be carried up the courthouse steps.  Attached to his case is that of Beverly Jones, who was paralyzed in an auto accident.  She was employed as a court reporter, one of the only jobs she could do, she said, “without the use of her legs” (Jan Crawford Greenburg, “Supreme Court to Decide If Disabled Can Sue States,” Chicago Tribune, 2/8/04).  Most of the courthouses where she worked were inaccessible.


The fundamental issue for the Supreme Court is states’ rights.  States are protected from being sued for monetary damages under the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, unless Congress agrees to private lawsuits.  Unfortunately, the Justices have voted in favor of state sovereignty in several recent cases.  However, disability rights advocates are arguing this as a public access case.


A ruling that would deny access would have a profound effect on people with disabilities.  The fight for accessible polling places could be derailed if the Court favors the State of Tennessee.  Here in New Jersey, people with disabilities desperately need the legal right of access if they are to fully participate in our democracy.  Laws must be enforced. It is our only weapon against injustice.


Manzar Khursid and Marianne Valls Honored
Recently, it appears that Hudson County has cornered the advocacy award market.  Last year, Hudson County resident Paulette Eberle won the Colleen Fraser Award.  This year, Jersey City resident Manzar Khursid and I shared the honor.  The award has been given in memory of the late Colleen Fraser, who died on 9-11.  Although I had known Colleen for many years, what I learned about her after her death made me admire her more.  She had to be talked into taking her first job.  Somehow, she found the courage to try.  She was afraid to fly, but somehow, she found the courage to do that too.  I don’t know how many fears she overcame to help pass the Americans with Disabilities Act and become a recognized national advocate for people with disabilities.   Colleen used to say that the whole disability community had to become an “ADA police force.”  The ADA is now under attack from many sides.  Our community needs a strong “police force.”  People who become advocates put their doubts and fears behind them.  Our freedom is at stake – not mine, not yours, but ours.  We owe it to ourselves to overcome our fears and join the fight for freedom.


More on Tennessee vs. Lane

Beverly Jones trained as a court stenographer after becoming partially paralyzed from an automobile accident.  As a single parent, she was the sole provider for her two children.  She could not afford to turn down assignments in courtrooms that were not accessible.  “I was forced to go about the courthouse, in many instances, and ask complete strangers for their assistance in carrying me up the stairs.” Ms. Jones finally decided to sue the state of Tennessee, arguing that it must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide accessible courtrooms. — NH
 
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  Maria Smith – Never Too Busy for a Kind Word
  
 by Marily Gonzalez



Maria Smith has been part of Hudson hip since 1995, when she began as a volunteer Access Link interviewer.  In February 1996, Maria was hired as the part-time Independent Living assistant, with responsibility for Access Link applications, our consumer database, monthly statistics, and our office equipment.  Throughout the years she has developed many skills and works well with consumers and colleagues.
  Maria brightens the office and cheers staff and consumers with her own special personality.  She has that rare charisma, the gift of making friends with everyone she meets.  She makes our visitors feel welcomed and respected.  No matter where she goes, Maria speaks with pride of the wide range of services and activities available through hip for individuals with disabilities.  She takes the time to promote independent living to the community.
  A member of the Kiwanis Club, Maria has served three consecutive terms as Secretary and participates in many community activities.  Through her contacts with the Kiwanis Club members, she has been able to assist several hip consumers including the family of a little boy who needed appropriate housing in order to have a desperately needed kidney transplant.   Thanks to the Kiwanis Club and hip, this little boy and his family are now doing very well.  In addition, she was also named the Kiwanis Club Member of the Year 2002 for her dedication and hard work.


Maria loves to spend time visiting and spoiling her grandchildren, Christian and Isabel, and on occasion she’s out having a great time with her mother in Atlantic City.  Maria also enjoys taking lessons to learn how to play the violin, a childhood dream now becoming a reality.
 
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  New Members
  
 Since the last edition of hipNews, the following have joined or renewed their membership in hip. We thank them for their commitment to independent living!


Kevin Angelini

Barbara Banta

Walter Bartolomucci, Jr.

Ms. Deborah Baumann

William E. Black & Family

Heather Broad

Lilith Bryant

Gaye & Mark Cerio

Elizabeth Cohen

Eleanor Cook

Margaret Cook – Levy

Mr. & Mrs. Russell D’Angelo

Dr. & Mrs. Edmund Dabagian & Family

Linda Dobransky

Mary Drylewicz

Lottie Esteban

Anne Factor

Mary Fahy & Family

Radame Fernandez

Alice Fischer

Bryan Fischer

Kaitlynn Fischer

Phyllis Fischer

Beldeen Fortunato

Richard C. Fowler

Ms. Christine Franz

Mr. & Mrs. David Garippa

Gail Geresi

Andrew Goff

Marcia Goldberg

Shirley Green

Diana Betzabe Guerrero-Huerta

Mary Jo Hackett

Ann Hamis

Estelle Harris

Henry Hof

Sue Johnsen

Rosemarie Kasper

Gerri Kearns

Tricia Letcher

Janet Marcus

Rosina Meola

Mary Ellen Mertz

Nicholas W. Moreth, Jr.

Emerlinda Padilla

Daniel M. Paredes

Johnny Porter

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Rager

Barbara Rivlin

Evan Rosenthal

Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Ruffalo

Arjumand Sadiq

Nita Salileng

Gladys San Antonio

Eileen & Louis Scrivani

Stephanie Seid

Steve Silkeit

Rita Smithuysen

David Sobel

Clementine Starks

Florence Loren Stors

Mr. & Mrs. Drew Thomson

Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Tobia

Magdelena Truchan

Joseph Valenti

Joseph H. Vida

Gloria M. Walsh

Sherlock Washington

Cindy Zirkin



Corporate Members:


Richard M. Hodgman Associates, CPA

Community Health Law Project – David Lazarus

Bergen County Division on Disability Services – James Thebery, Director
 
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  hip Programs
  
 hip Offers Innovative Programs to Meet the Independent Living Needs of People with Disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.


Founded in 1980, Heightened Independence & Progress (hip) has come a long way from its humble origins. hip not only continues to provide vital assistance through information, referral, advocacy, and peer counseling, but also offers a wide variety of programs to people with all types of disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.  The following is a summary of hip programs, with the project coordinator’s name and location.


Community Advocacy and Outreach Program seeks to promote full inclusion through advocacy, education, and legislation.  Contact:  Nancy Hodgins (Bergen)


Project Outreach to Disabled Minorities directs all Independent Living Services to individuals with disabilities of Afro-American or Hispanic origin, in English and Spanish.  Contact:  Lucy Montalvo (Bergen) or Marily Gonzalez (Hudson).


Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) facilitates acquisition of services and adaptive devices such as wheelchairs, bathroom equipment, hearing aids and more.  Contact:  Maria Valentin (Bergen)


Modification Access Project (MAP) assists with barrier-free home renovation projects from concept to completion.  Contact:  Maria Valentin (Bergen)


Multimedia Transcription Service (MTS) converts written materials into Braille, large print, computer disk, and audio tape formats. Contact:  Cathy Zimmerman (Bergen)


ABLE–Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts maintains a year-round schedule of outdoor activities for persons with vision loss.  Contact:  Mike Visone (Hudson)



Support for Independent Living (SIL), a component of Bergen EASE, provides ongoing care management services through assessment, linkage, and coordination for people with disabilities.  Contact:  Patty Fantin (Bergen)


Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD), a statewide project for teenagers with vision loss, is geared toward the development of a variety of life skills.  Contact: Patty Fantin (Bergen)



Adjustment to Vision Loss coordinates peer support groups and assists with access to mental health professionals for individuals with vision loss.  Contact:  Nancy Hodgins (Bergen)


Support Groups– In Bergen: COPE (Multiple Sclerosis) and Women with Disabilities. Contact: Paula Walsh.

Membership Meetings offer an update on the latest issues in Independent Living and an interesting theme, ranging from health care to hip’s annual picnic.  Contact:  Paula Walsh (Bergen) or Mike Visone (Hudson)

On the Move provides opportunities for young adults with physical, sensory, or learning disabilities to participate in recreation and social skills development programs.  Contact:  Lucy Montalvo (Bergen)


Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) provides funding for assistive devices or barrier-free home renovation projects.  Contact:  Noris Nunez (Hudson)


Caregiver Assistance and Support Project (CASP) provides care management to Bergen County residents 60 and over who are providing care for younger adults with physical disabilities.  Contact:  Karen Gutshall (Bergen)


Outreaching to People Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  Contact:  Eileen Stewart (Bergen)
 
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  hip Meetings & Happenings
  
 HUDSON



Membership Meetings

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Hudson office

April 27 – Laura Foords, Esq., 
“Elder and Disability Law”

May – No Meeting

June TBA – Rap Session


Hudson hip Writers’ Group meets at the Hudson office, 2815 Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City, on from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month


Hudson hip Happenings

April 17 – Bowling Trip – Hudson Lanes

May 15 – Meadowlands Racetrack

June – Hudson hip’s Annual Picnic
(date to be announced)




BERGEN



Women’s Support Group meets on Mondays at the Bergen office:  

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 5 & 19, May 3 & 17 and
June 7 & 21

COPE (M.S. Support Group) meets on the last Thursday of each month. Call ahead for location.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
April 29, May 27 & June 24

Bergen Consumer Meetings
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Community Services Building
327 E. Ridgewood Avenue, Paramus.
To be placed on the mailing list, call Paula Walsh at Bergen hip.


April 1 – 7:00 to 9:00 pm

“Spring Fling at hip,“ an Open House for hip consumers to visit our Hackensack office, get acquainted with hippies you may not have met, meet other hip members, see old friends, and hear about upcoming activities.


Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts (ABLE)
Spring Sandy Hook Hike
(watch mail for details)
 
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