hipnews Fall 2005 Edition
 
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Rep. Menendez to Speak at hip’s Annual Meeting
Election Challenge Grants
Testing Polling Sites for Voting Accessibility
Right To Vote
The View from HUDSON by Marianne Valls
Back To School – with Lots of Backpacks
Coming Full Circle
We Mourn . . .
MAP Changes Lives What a Difference a Ramp Makes
hip a “First Responder”
Nothing About Us… Without Us!
Organizing an Advocacy Network
Hudson Holds 1st Summer Transition Program
Yes! Reaches Every Bergen County School District
Using Blindness Skills in College
2006 – Medicare Part D: The New Prescription ...
Phone With Text Will Aid Persons ...
Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with Dis...
hip ADA Hub Sites Hold [Training]...
Dip Into hip’s Pot O’ Gold ...
Annual Holiday Party December 18
All Welcome – Come to the Candidates’ Forums ..
Election 2005 Calendar
hip Programs
New Members
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  Rep. Menendez to Speak at hip’s Annual Meeting
  
 We are pleased to announce that Robert Menendez, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 13th District of New Jersey, will be the keynote speaker at hip’s Annual Meeting, Tuesday, November 15th, at the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel. Congressman Menendez will discuss the legislative process and how people with disabilities who are informed, involved constituents can influence their legislators. The Meadowlands Plaza Hotel is located at 40 Wood Avenue, Secaucus. The meeting, from 7 to 9 p.m., will also feature election and re-election of members of the Board of Trustees, and a report of hip ’s progress in the 25th year since its founding in 1980.
 
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  Election Challenge Grants
  
 Bergen and Hudson hip Awarded Third Election Challenge Grants


The NJ Developmental Disabilities Council has awarded Election Challenge Grants for the third consecutive time to both hip offices. This year, in partnership with NJ Citizen Action, hip’s grants will be used not only to survey polling places for their level of accessibility on Election Day, but also to undertake a new activity: a Candidates’ Forum in each county to voice the issues we feel are vital, and to have an opportunity to learn which candidates will best address those issues.
Advocates from hip, NJ Citizen Action, and a variety of groups representing people with disabilities pooled ideas about which issues should be addressed, in a questionnaire which was sent to all candidates for Governor, and for seats in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate. Candidates’ responses will be made available to all who request them.
All hip members will be invited to the forums. They will have the opportunity to listen to candidates discuss issues that are so important to them and will be able to ask questions directly to the candidates.
As always, hip encourages voters to explore any situations that interfere with your ability to gain access to the poll or to cast your vote. Contact Nancy Hodgins at Bergen hip or Angie Meilec at Hudson hip about any deficiencies. They will follow up with county officials to make sure that any deficiencies made known to us are addressed and corrected.
People with disabilities have traditionally voted in extremely low numbers, whether in person or by absentee ballot. This poor turnout negatively impacts on the priorities of our elected officials. It diminishes the power that people with disabilities have on issues that are so important to us. Election Challenge Grant efforts are intended to insure that all qualified individuals with disabilities who wish to vote will be able to do so. Please take advantage of
all the positive changes being brought about by efforts such as this.
 
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  Testing Polling Sites for Voting Accessibility
  
 “Careers Through Technology” group members were among those who helped hip to assess the accessibility of polling sites for the coming election as part of hip’s 2005 Election Challenge Grant activities. Evaluating Hackensack High School, a polling site, were, from left to right: Tonielle Cardinalle, Jonathan Agudalo, Jesse Walker, and Elizabeth Unger. They identified the absence of accessible parking at that location. A hip survey of about 100 polling sites in the last election revealed a number of deficiencies.
 
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  Right To Vote
  
 People with Developmental Disabilities Have the Right to Vote!


If you are a voter with a developmental disability, you should know your rights. Take this article with you when you go to vote so that you know what your rights are. This article tells lawyers and poll workers where to find the laws that protect your right to vote!
If you are a person with a developmental disability and understand what it means to vote, Federal law guarantees your right to vote.
You have the right to get help from a person you choose. If you can’t read or need help voting because of your disability, you can have someone help you vote.
You can bring a friend, family member, or someone else you trust. You can also ask the poll worker to help you if you didn’t bring anyone with you. The laws that give you that right: the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§1973aa-6; the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12132.
If you have a problem, you can get help by calling 1-866-OURVOTE Lawyers are available to give voters with disabilities and other voters advice and help with voting problems.
The law says everyone gets to cast a ballot, so don’t leave without voting! Even if someone says you cannot vote, the law says the poll worker must allow you to vote a Provisional Ballot. Later, an election worker will determine whether you are qualified to vote. If you are, your vote will be counted. The law that gives you that right: the Help America Vote Act, 42 U.S.C. §15482.
 
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  The View from HUDSON by Marianne Valls
  
 For 25 years, hip has been part of a nationwide movement of people with disabilities engaged in gaining full equality and independence. The services provided by Centers for Independent Living are a bridge from a world of dependency to one of independence. The Independent Living Movement grew out of the social and civil rights activism of the 1950s and 1960s. Five outstanding examples of social change are its models.
De-institutionalization was the first concept to motivate Independent Living. Its focus was on people with developmental disabilities, and its champion was Wolf Wolfensberger, a Canadian sociologist who believed that people with developmental disabilities should be out in the community,
Rosa Parks offered not only a lesson in courage to the black community, but her refusal to move to the back of the bus resonated with people with disabilities. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 insured that a whole class of people could have their rights enforced. The law could be used to protect individuals who were previously denied access.
Alcoholics Anonymous was part of the self-help movement which gained momentum in the 1950’s. Independent Living borrowed many principles from AA, including peer support. In fact, peer support is a core activity not only of hip but also of CILs throughout the country, based on the belief that people with disabilities who have similar experiences are best able to learn from one another.
The Independent Living philosophy also gained strength from the de-medicalization movement, through which many individuals sought to seize control of their lives from the medical establishment and to insist on a community-based approach to personal care. The medical model had framed disability in terms of illness. Demedicalization empowered individuals to assume responsibility for meeting their own needs.
The fifth principle to influence the Independent Living philosophy was consumerism. Made famous by Ralph Nader, it led to questioning the safety and reliability of products. The philosophy of consumer control and choice has been one of the hallmarks of Centers for Independent Living nationwide.
Like Centers for Independent Living throughout the nation, hip provides its consumers with the knowledge to make informed lifestyle choices. For example, both hip offices are voter registration sites and are in touch with community-based services and disability rights laws. hip gives us the tools, the knowledge, and the examples, but it is up to us to take control and live our own lives!
 
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  Back To School – with Lots of Backpacks
  
 Once again we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Social Concerns Committee of Saint Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge. hip staff delivered backpacks chockfull of school supplies to 11 students returning to school after the summer break. hip hip hooray to the wonderful members of the Social Concerns Committee who do so much for so many.
 
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  Coming Full Circle
  
 During July’s sweltering heat wave, Bergen hip received a phone call from Diane Albarella of Fair Lawn. Mrs. Albarella and her husband Michael were concerned that elderly people in the community might be living without the benefit of air conditioning, “a stressful and horrible thing to be without.” She said that hip had funded the construction of a ramp for her father nine years ago; the ramp was built through the Bergen County Sheriff’s Inmate Labor Program. Mrs. Albarella said “four wonderful carpenters” built the ramp, enabling her father to spend the last year and a half of his life outdoors, greeting neighbors and enjoying his community. Recently, due to some minor health issues, both Mr. and Mrs. Albarella have found that the ramp is enhancing their own independent living. “We are not wealthy people, however we are very blessed, and want to help others,” said Mrs. Albarella. “We appreciate the assistance that hip provides to people in the community and wish to share in that experience.” Their gift of $150 was put to work immediately to make life more comfortable for a grateful senior.
 
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  We Mourn . . .
  
 The death on Octobr 3rd of Solomon Wajchman, longtime member and friend of many in the hip family.
 
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  MAP Changes Lives What a Difference a Ramp Makes
  
 Modification Access Program Changes Lives What a Difference a Ramp Makes


William McGovern is happy with his new ramp, provided by hip through the MAP program. A few months ago, McGovern’s doctor suggested a ramp after he took several falls from the steps of his home in Bergenfield. We’re happy that his new ramp is making great changes in his life.
 
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  hip a “First Responder”
  
 No, hip didn’t travel to the Gulf Coast, but we’re happy to
say we were ready to help almost immediately after Katrina. Two families, from Bergenfield and New Milford, brought elderly relatives with disabilities up from the disaster area in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. One lady, rescued by her daughter from a shelter in Texas, had to be hospitalized for dehydration and other critical medical problems. The families asked hip for assistance to buy durable medical equipment to make their loved ones who had suffered great losses more comfortable in their new homes.
 
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  Nothing About Us… Without Us!
  
 Nothing About Us… Without Us!
by Nancy Hodgins
Director of Advocacy


The Boston Tea Party often comes to mind when someone mentions “no taxation without representation.” Today, representation can take the form of an e-mail, a letter, or a phone call to a legislator on an issue we feel passionately about. But for most people, that representation becomes most real when we cast our votes in an election.


A stirring workshop at the last National Council on Independent Living Conference in Washington D.C. dealt with the “Get Out The Vote” effort in Missouri, targeted at voters with disabilities. The Missouri legislature was considering cutting the optional aspects of Medicaid funded by the state. The threatened cuts would directly impact many people with disabilities who depend on Medicaid for their health care. Payments for durable medical equipment such as wheelchair accessories, batteries and hospital beds were threatened as well as dental care and payments for eyeglasses. These cuts would have far-reaching effects. Realizing how much was at stake in the coming election, disability advocates and organizations sprang into action.


CILs and other groups forged intensive campaigns to register voters and get people with disabilities to the polls. The key to the project’s success was “enhanced” voter lists, which contain the names and voting records of all registered voters in a selected area. This information enables an interest group to decide whether their target voters can be relied on. Sporadic voters are the very individuals that need to be reached and gotten to the polls in person or by absentee ballot. They could be the very persons who keep disability voting blocs from effectively wielding power. When we combine the number of those who have not bothered to register at all with those who are registered but non-voting, the result is so significant that it can change the course of an election. People with disabilities make up about 20% of all voters, a number that can easily affect the outcome and change the course of history. It could have kept the optional state-funded Medicaid in Missouri.


While the Missouri effort did succeed in raising the voter turnout by 17%, it was not enough to save Medicaid. Too many people with disabilities in Missouri were content to let their government make decisions about them, without them! Perhaps they thought it wouldn’t matter. Perhaps they thought their elected officials would “do the right thing” anyway, or perhaps they believed their individual vote was so insignificant it would have no effect. Whatever their reasons for not voting, the result is that Missourians who relied on Medicaid for their health care are paying a very heavy price.


The Missouri elections only one example of the danger of complacency. What happened there could happen in any state. Voting is the easiest and most powerful way to make sure that your government represents you! There should be nothing about us...without us!
 
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  Organizing an Advocacy Network
  
 Organizing an Advocacy Network
by Angie Mielec


“People with disabilities have a personal responsibility to participate in the democratic process in order to have an effect in the political arena. To put it bluntly: stop complaining and start voting.” This was the strong message voiced at the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) conference in Washington, D.C. in June.
People with disabilities are lagging far behind other populations in voter turnout. Although they make up roughly 20% of the population, only 30-35% of this group vote. Since politicians are influenced only by votes and money, and money is a scarce commodity in our community, how can we expect politicians to address our issues if we don’t vote?


The statistics regarding voters with disabilities are very telling when compared to other groups. Older adults (over age 65) make up 13.5% of the population, yet 85% vote. Similarly, members of labor unions, African Americans, and Latinos make up 8%, 13%, and 14% of the population, respectively. But 90% of labor, and 70% of African Americans and Latinos vote. These minority groups generate real power, especially during primary season; candidates who want to be taken seriously know that they need the endorsement of certain voting blocs in order to move past the primaries. After the general election, the winning candidate reciprocates the favor by addressing the group’s needs in the political agenda.
When was the last time we heard a candidate running for office lay out a specific platform on disability issues? By actively including members in the advocacy process, CILs can empower them to lead public policy, rather than continue to do what has been referred to as “sophisticated begging.” We need to find candidates from each party who have a personal connection to disability issues when the numbers indicate that voters with disabilities could generate enough influence to make the legislators from both parties serve us.


For those who aren’t registered voters, registration is a fine first step, but it’s useless unless coupled with education initiatives. With this in mind, Hudson hip has formed an advocacy network. After contacting members, updating their information, and seeing to voter registration where applicable, hip staff ask that they join the Network. A one-page flyer tells how it will benefit them, and a short questionnaire asks about a member’s policy concerns and political interests. Members who become involved have an opportunity to develop advocacy and leadership skills, become educated about important current events, network with others who share similar experiences, talk with community leaders, and best of all, experience the feeling of success knowing they’ve helped make a difference. By focusing on members’ concerns, there is incentive to effect change for themselves. Keeping a record of members’ expressed interests in the database offers a way to strategically improve the way hip does advocacy.


Once an accurate record of members, their interests, and level of willingness to participate in the Network has been compiled, there’s a lot to be done. Civic education workshops, letter writing campaigns, and volunteer phone banks are just a few of the things Hudson hip has planned. Those who have questions and are interested in becoming a part of this effort should call the Hudson hip office.
 
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  Hudson Holds 1st Summer Transition Program
  
 Hudson Holds 1st Summer Transition Program
by Marian Padilla, Independent Living Transition Coordinator—Hudson


Summer was an important time for Transition at Hudson hip. Six students from A. Harry Moore School in Jersey City participated in hip’s first YES! (Youth Envisioning Success) summer program, six sessions in July and August conducted by hip staff. A huge success! Participants arrived bright and early at hip’s Journal Square office to learn skills in self-advocacy and independent living, covering a wide variety of topics from money and time management to self-esteem, self-awareness, and personal grooming. Students enjoyed being together out of the usual school setting; this allowed them to open up and voice their concerns and needs regarding their future.


Like the majority of today’s teenagers, these students want much greater independence. Discussions focused on education concerns and their plans after high school. Through the use of interactive materials, student-led group discussions, and role-playing scenarios, they were able to find the best solution for their particular situations.


Students put their newly acquired skills to work by arranging two end-of-summer field trips. They researched information on the accessibility of mass transit for an outing to Jersey City’s Newport Center Mall. With hip staff, they took the PATH train to the Mall for a day of real life experiences. On arrival, their first challenge was a non-working elevator – what’s a wheelchair user to do? They found an alternate elevator in J.C. Penney, then split up for an afternoon of shopping. Not too surprisingly, all roads led to the teen hotspot, the Mall’s record store.


The summer transition program ended with lunch at Jersey City’s Casa Dante Restaurant. Students arrived at the restaurant dressed to impress, ready for a fine dining experience, and truly enjoyed one another’s company and the restaurant’s friendly staff. It was a memorable afternoon. Students completed this small program with a big taste of success and independence. We look forward to a larger summer transition program next year.
 
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  Yes! Reaches Every Bergen County School District
  
 Yes! Reaches Every Bergen County School District
by Andrew Skea, Independent Living Transition Coordinator – Bergen


The self-advocacy program begun by hip last year, called YES! (Youth Envisioning Success), is becoming a presence not just in local schools, but in the community at large. Our goal is to help increasing numbers of students to see that self-advocacy is not just a guest speaker from the Center for Independent Living, but something they can use in all aspects of their lives.
After the 2004-05 school year ended, to continue to reach youth during the summer, we connected with the Workforce Investment Board’s SCOPE pre-employment program. This four-week program provided summer employment for 14-16 year-olds with disabilities and was designed to build basic employment skills. Participants did maintenance and grounds-keeping work four hours a day at middle schools and participated in daily workshops on employment-related topics presented by guest speakers from hip, OSHA, colleges, trade schools, and employers who talked to students about careers in their fields.


As the 2005-06 school year shifts into high gear, the YES! program has contacted every school district in Bergen County. We aim to provide one of our services in every district so that we can gain a foothold and broaden our services later on. By the second week of the school year, we had already arranged presentations in a handful of new districts. We are very excited about the coming school year and particularly looking forward to meeting with Transition Coordinators from other counties to hear how their summer programs went. It will help us plan for next summer and possibly some activities for holiday breaks during the school year.


YES! services include our the preparation and distribution of a resource book, assistance to individuals planning for independent living and for connecting with community resources, including those offered by hip, and our series of workshops. YES! workshops are designed to help develop students’ self advocacy skills so that they will be better able to speak up for themselves, whether they are sending back a restaurant order because they asked for diet soda and got regular instead, or if they are trying to get services from a state or community-based agency. All workshop content can be customized to meet the needs of participating students and school districts and can be offered as a single stand-alone workshop or series of up to five workshops. For more information about this program, call Andrew Skea at the Bergen office.
 
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  Using Blindness Skills in College
  
 Serena Cucco, a former participant in hip’s LEAD program, wrote about her experiences during her first days and months as a college freshman. Her story appeared originally in The Sounding Board, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey. Following are excerpts from her article, the last in our 25th year series focusing on hip participants:
Wow? I’m on the Quad! Where’s the dining hall? Where’s the library? My first week at Manhattanville College was quite a learning experience. I had to orient to the campus, meet lots of new people, find ways to get my reading done, manage my time, make sure all my clothes matched, get to all my classes, and get to know my professors. And I had to do it all independently!


I oriented by using a tactile map, taking notes on my various routes and asking questions when necessary. I found the students very helpful. However, my friends often asked me if I needed help to get to places I already knew how to get to, and I always politely and proudly declined their offers. I have to say that the snow made life a bit difficult for a few weeks! That’s when I learned to appreciate the smokers, who were always outside and willing to direct me when my landmarks and paths were all covered.


Assimilating into college life

I made friends the first week of school. The first two were the girls in the room next door. The guys on the other side were computer geniuses, happy to help me with computer glitches. I often made plans with my friends for dinner in the dining hall or the pub. The few times I went to dinner alone, I almost never ended up eating alone. My friends often saw me and invited me to sit with them. A couple of times, some friends and I made music videos. One time, we sang and danced to “Surfin’ USA,” one of my favorite Beach Boy songs.


In order to handle matching my clothing, I’ve got braille labels in my shirts and sweaters that say what colors they are and what pants they go with. This way I can make sure that my clothes match. I have done my own laundry. I find doing laundry very annoying, just like everybody else does!


TACKLING ACADEMIC CHALLENGES

Getting all my reading done was a challenge. The ADA Coordinator at the college gave me a list of upperclassmen who were interested in reading for me...My professors have been friendly, interesting, and very accepting of my blindness. When we have a test, they either e-mail the test out to be brailled or give it to me in print and I have it read to me. I take the test on my BrailleNote, then I print it out and hand it in...I believe the keys to a successful college experience for a blind student are using good blindness skills, like getting oriented, using readers well, and managing time effectively. Make friends, educate your friends and professors about blindness when necessary, and immerse yourself in your new college life.
 
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  2006 – Medicare Part D: The New Prescription ...
  
 2006 – Medicare Part D: The New Prescription Drug Benefit


The new Medicare Part D prescription Drug Insurance Program will begin on January 1st, 2006. The initial open enrollment period begins on November 15, 2005, and continues through May 15, 2006. Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance is optional and will involve monthly premiums, an annual deductible, and co-payments. After the deductible is met, coverage begins and continues until total drug expenses reach a cap level. Any further prescription drug costs for the remainder of the year will be out-of pocket. Coverage can resume if out-of-pocket costs reach a catastrophic level.


In general, beneficiaries must be enrolled in Medicare Part A or Part B to participate. The new benefit will be provided through private prescription drug plan companies that will contract with Medicare. A selection of approved drug plans will be available and individual plans will vary.
The Medicare Part D monthly premium for 2006 will be approximately $32.00 per person. The annual deductible will be $250.00. Co-payments will be approximately 25% of the retail price of the prescription drug. Prices, premiums and covered drugs will vary with the plan.
Once the deductible is met, the plan will cover 75% of drug costs until total expenses reach $2,250.00. Coverage will end though premiums continue. The beneficiary will assume 100% of the retail price of their pharmaceuticals for the rest of the calendar year. If costs total over $5,100.00 ($3,600.00 out-of-pocket) before the year’s end, catastrophic coverage begins. For the remainder of the year, there will be either a flat co-payment of $2 for each generic or $5 for each brand-name drug, or a 5% co-pay, whichever is greater.


Choosing not to join the Medicare Part D prescription drug program during the initial enrollment period may involve a penalty for enrollment at a later date. You may have creditable coverage* from another source, and therefore may not need to enroll in Medicare Part D at this time.
Medicare Part D is offered at reduced rates to those with low incomes and limited assets. The Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit is available at reduced rates to those who qualify. Subsidy applications, called “Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs,” can be obtained through the Social Security Administration. Monthly premiums vary and are based on income and assets for those who meet the resource criteria listed below. In New Jersey, all current PAAD participants must enroll in Medicare Part D. In addition, all PAAD participants who meet the following guidelines must complete and return a revised application.


Partial Subsidy:

For those who meet the following criteria (150% or less of the Federal Poverty Level guidelines):

single individuals: annual income limit of $14,355.00 ($1,196.25/month) with assets no more than $10,000.00**

married couples: annual income limit of $19,245.00 ($1,603.75/month) with assets no more than $20,000.00**

Premium free for PAAD enrollees. There is no deductible, and no gap in coverage.


Medicare Part D is primary, PAAD is secondary. $5.00 co-pay for PAAD enrollees.


Full Subsidy:

For those who meet the following criteria (below 135% of the Federal Poverty Level guidelines):

single individuals: annual income limit of $12,919.00 ($1,076.63/month) with assets no more than $6,000.00**
married couples: annual income limit of $17,320.50 ($1,443.38/month) with assets no more than $9,000.00**
Zero monthly premiums, no deductible, no gap in coverage.


Medicare Part D is primary, PAAD is secondary. $5.00 co-pay for current PAAD enrollees and after out-of-pocket costs exceed the $3,600.00 (catastrophic) level: zero co-payment.


Dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries are auto-enrolled in Medicare Part D.


*TriCare for Life and Veterans’ Benefits are considered creditable coverage. Employee benefits and retirement package plans may be deemed creditable coverage. Check with your provider. Medigap plans and Senior Gold are not creditable coverage.


**Resource limits (assets) can be slightly higher if you have set money aside for burial expenses.
For more information, call SHIP, the State Health Insurance Program: 201-336-7413; or the Social Security Administration hotline: 1-800-772-1213; or 1-800-MEDICARE, or visit the website: www.Medicare.gov
 
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  Phone With Text Will Aid Persons ...
  
 Phone With Text Will Aid Persons Who Are Hard-of-Hearing in New Jersey


NJ state regulators have approved a contract with Sprint to provide a new technology for people who are hard-of-hearing. The service, called CapTel or captioned telephone, displays a caption on a built-in screen on a CapTel-equipped phone. This allows users to read the words being spoken while listening to the voice conversation. The translation into text takes place almost simultaneously, according to the Board of Public Utilities. CapTel services will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. starting at year-end, the BPU said. Subscribers to the CapTel service will have to pay for the special phone. (from The Record News, 8/2/05)
 
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  Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with Dis...
  
 Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with Disabilities


Consumers who experience disability-related air travel problems may use a toll-free hotline to obtain information and help, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. The staff provides general information about the rights of air travelers with disabilities and assists air travelers in resolving urgent disability-related problems that need to be addressed immediately. Unfortunately, many members of the public are still not aware of the existence of the hotline; as a result, the hotline is not being sufficiently used. The Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Enforcement Office) established the hotline in August 2002. For assistance, call 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY).
 
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  hip ADA Hub Sites Hold [Training]...
  
 hip ADA Hub Sites Hold Disability Awareness Training


ADA hub sites are set up around the country to provide information, resources, and answers to technical questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hub sites also coordinate training about various aspects of the ADA as well as Information Technology. The Bergen and Hudson Centers for Independent Living act as hub sites through contracts with the Northeast ADA & IT Center at Cornell University.


This fall has been a very busy time for both hip ADA hub sites. They coordinated six training programs provided by the Northeast ADA/ IT Center. Two dealt specifically with heightening disability awareness. The first group trained was the hospital nursing staff at the Palisades Medical Center of the NY Presbyterian Health Care System in North Bergen. The second group were housing services support staff for the Jersey City Episcopal Community Development Corporation.


Three trainings covered Title I and employment aspects in Title II of the ADA. Title I addresses requirements for employers as well as the rights of employees with disabilities. Included are what qualifies an individual as a person with a disability, appropriate and inappropriate questions during interviews, reasonable accommodations, and communicating with and about people with disabilities. Title II deals with the responsibilities of state and local government.


Title I and Title II training took place at the Bergen County Administration Building for staff members and managers responsible for the County’s programs and services. The County’s Division of Personnel hosted this important training.


Administrators and counselors at the Vocational Rehabilitation Center in Jersey City also received Title I and Title II training. They assist individuals to find jobs and provide training for employment. Also receiving Title I training as well as disability awareness training were rehabilitation counselors and outreach coordinators of Goodwill Industries in Harrison.


The final event of this busy period took place at Bergen Community College. It was called “Breaking Down Barriers to Information Technology for Professionals Working with Students with Disabilities.” The purpose of this training was to supply information about how to build an accessible electronic environment in an educational setting. It heightened awareness about accessible information technology and covered many aspects of accessible web design and accessible websites. Demonstrations and vendor displays were also a feature of this training.
 
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  Dip Into hip’s Pot O’ Gold ...
  
 Dip Into hip’s Pot O’ Gold You May Be a Winner!


Yes – it’s that time again. Raffle books will soon be out for this year’s always-exciting Pot O’ Gold. Last year’s winners took home $1,258 as first prize, $314.50 as second prize. That’s nothing to sneeze at! Not to mention the $50 prize to the person selling the most raffles. So keep watching the mail, and get those winning tickets into the Pot before December 17th. Our Annual Meeting on November 15th is a great time to return your completed tickets and pick up more. Rhea Hess, our wonderful chairperson, will be happy to oblige.
 
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  Annual Holiday Party December 18
  
 hip’s annual Holiday Party will be held once again at Gatsby’s in Cresskill on December 18th, starting at noon. Each year more and more of us make this joyous event a must on our holiday schedules. In addition to dining and dancing, giving and receiving are part of the fun, as well as the announcement of our Pot O’ Gold winners. Watch for more details.
 
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  All Welcome – Come to the Candidates’ Forums ..
  
 All Welcome – Come to the Candidates’ Forums in Bergen and Hudson Counties!


Bergen County

Monday, October 24, 7-9 p.m.

Fort Lee Public Library

320 Main Street, Fort Lee


Hudson County

Wednesday, October 26, 7-9 p.m.

Boyd McGuinness Senior Citizen Building- Community Room
2555 Kennedy Boulevard, Jersey City
 
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  Election 2005 Calendar
  
 Election Day, November 8

Polls open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Important deadlines:

Last day to request sample ballot on
audio tape: November 1

Call County Clerk:

Bergen: 201-336-7020

Hudson: 201-795-6112


Last day to request absentee ballot: November 1

Last day for County Election Office to receive completed absentee ballot: Election Day


Let’s all work to increase the numbers of votes cast from the disability voting bloc! We must make sure that each of us is not only registered to vote but also gets to the polls on Election Day, or applies for an absentee ballot, completes it, and returns it before the deadline.
 
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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 (18-59). Contact:
Lori Spano (Bergen)



Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD), a statewide project for high school students with vision loss, is geared toward the development of a variety of life skills. Contact: Lori Spano / Najwa De Martino (Bergen)



Transition Programs assist high school students and families to move from school to adult life. Contact: Marian Padilla (Hudson); Andrew Skea (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: Najwa De Martino

 
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  New Members
  
 We welcome the following new or renewing members of hip and thank them for their support.








Kenneth BoutilletteRichard FinanAnn MeloneRobert P. Musselman
Andrew Pigoncelli 
 
Life Members:
Richard S. WolfmanNatalie Glicksman
 
 
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