Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission Votes to Enact 30 Cent Accessibility Surcharge to expand accessible taxi fleet

as posted by ...

AAPD Press


For Immediate Release
April 30, 2014

Washington, DC (April 30, 2014) – Today, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) voted to enact a 30 cent surcharge in a plan to make 50 percent of all New York City cabs wheelchair accessible by the year 2020. The surcharge will apply to all taxicab rides beginning in the year 2015 in order to fund the purchase and conversion of accessible cabs.
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation’s largest disability rights organization, lauded the move as an important step in the right direction, and looks forward to the day when 100 percent of taxis are accessible to New York City’s residents and tourists. AAPD looks forward to working with the Mayor’s office and TLC to ensure that the 30 cent surcharge is used solely to fund the conversion and purchase of accessible vehicles.
Leading up to the hearing, AAPD and United Spinal Association participated in meetings with the New York City Council and Mayor’s Office to promote 100 percent accessibility and 100 percent clean energy vehicles.
“The New York City TLC initiative is an important step and we hope that other cities will follow suit with a goal of 100 percent accessibility,” said James Weisman, board member of AAPD and Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the United Spinal Association.
The plan to make 50 percent of New York City taxis accessible by the year 2020 sprung from a class-action lawsuit filed by disability advocates, which charged New York City with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Only 230 of the city’s more than 13,000 cabs are wheelchair accessible. Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed the 30 cent surcharge to address the costs of transitioning to accessible cabs. The plan intends to raise funds in the year 2015 and begin purchasing and converting accessible cabs in the year 2016.
New York City is not the only city to address the need for accessible transportation. In 2013, Chicago increased the number of wheelchair accessible cabs by 90 percent with MV-1 wheelchair accessible vehicles which are also environmentally friendly. Other major cities that have accessible taxi services include Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, and Portland.
About AAPD
The American Association of People with Disabilities is the nation's largest disability rights organization. We promote equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation for people with disabilities. Our members, including people with disabilities and our family, friends, and supporters, represent a powerful force for change. To learn more, visit the AAPD Web site: www.aapd.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

ONE SUMMER CHICAGO: summer YOUTH job program - apply through May 16th

as shared by the City of Chicago ...

Connecting Youth to a Successful Future
with a Summer Job in Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel & Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
are proud to support One Summer Chicago.

One Summer Chicago brings together government institutions, community-based
organizations and companies to offer over 22,000 employment and
internship opportunities to youth and young adults.

ONE SUMMER CHICAGO is the only official City of Chicago Summer Jobs Program. 
Our official website is:  http://www.onesummerchicago.org/

We say this because someone is circulating a false flyer promising 10,000 summer jobs on May 1st and telling people to sign up on West Randolph. That notice is a TOTAL FRAUD. IGNORE IT and tell your friends to ignore it. Please share this posting so people are aware that there is only 1, One Summer Chicago and youth can apply online for real summer jobs now through May 16th.

2014 National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan Available from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

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Dept. of Health & Human Services
Updated Plan highlights 2013 achievements, new goals in research, care, and services

HHS today released the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2014 Update, reflecting the nation’s progress toward accomplishing goals set in 2012 and current action steps to achieving them. The 2011 National Alzheimer’s Project Act calls for all Plans to be updated annually; the 2014 Plan follows the initial Plan released in May 2012 and an updated Plan released in June 2013.

Nurse Appreciation Magnets and Coloring Book Free From Johnson & Johnson! - Thank A Nurse

thank a nurse magnet FREE Nurse Appreciation Magnets and Coloring Book From Johnson & Johnson

To get FREE Nurse Appreciation Magnets and Coloring Book From Johnson & Johnson add the items to your cart and then checkout. Organization name required. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The CTA & PACE Ventra Card Transition Starts May 1st

It's Here, for CTA & PACE riders clinging on for dear life to their old magnetic stripe and Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus farecards. 
Starting Thursday May 1 you’ll no longer be able to buy magnetic stripe farecards or add value to Chicago Cards as CTA and Pace Suburban Bus move to a Ventra-only fare payment system by July 1.
Current data from the two transit agencies claim 84 percent of all CTA rides and 60 percent of Pace rides are taken with Ventra. There have been more than 153 million Ventra taps across the CTA and Pace systems. (How many of those are doubles because the farecard readers aren't recognizing Ventra cards is anyone’s guess.
Of course, this means several thousand CTA and Pace riders will be scrambling for Ventra cards or transfer their remaining balances to one. Ventra’s website currently lists how to do this and the $5 Ventra card fee will be waived through July 7 at all retail outlets selling the farecards. 
Additionally there will be balance transfer events held Thursday, May 8 at the Jefferson Park Library, 5363 W. Lawrence Ave., from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and Saturday, May 10, at Curie High School (cafeteria), 4959 S. Archer Ave., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additional balance transfer events are scheduled through June; details are available at the Ventra website.

Home Care Workers to be provide better pay and working conditions, Starting Jan. 1

States wary home care worker rules could cost millions

USA TODAY article
by Pamela M. Prah, Pew/Stateline Staff Writer | April 25, 2014

A new rule from the Obama administration designed to provide better pay and working conditions to 2 million home care workers is forcing many states to rethink how they look at Medicaid payments and may result in higher Medicaid costs.
Starting Jan. 1, home care workers in 29 states will, for the first time, be eligible for the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and overtime pay, under a new regulation from the U.S. Department of Labor. These workers go to homes of the elderly and the disabled to help with cooking, bathing and other daily tasks, and are paid by the clients or through Medicaid.
Fifteen states already had applied state minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers, also called "direct care" workers, while six others and the District of Columbia offer just state minimum wages.
Many states have never considered Medicaid payments to be wages, said Sarah Leberstein, a staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project, which advocates for higher pay for the poor. "It's a new mindset. The states will have to shift their thinking and take another look at their reimbursement practices and guidelines with the new wage rules in mind."
In most cases, Medicaid pays home health care agencies to supply health care workers in the homes of beneficiaries who need long term care. It is the agencies that set workers' hourly rates and the terms of their labor, including overtime and travel time pay. Because of this, Medicaid agencies are usually unaware of direct workers' wages.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the rule will cost $6.8 million a year over a 10-year period, with private businesses and state Medicaid programs picking up the tab. But critics contend that number is too low. Supporters say the rule will reduce turnover and improve quality of care while opponents contend that the new rule will force employers to cut home care workers' hours.
Workers in nursing homes, who often do similar work as home care workers, are already covered by federal wage and overtime requirements. But for the past 40 years, home care workers were exempted from federal minimum wage protections largely because they were lumped in the same job category as babysitting, which Congress said should not be eligible for minimum wage and overtime.
"That's just wrong. In this country, it's inexcusable," President Barack Obama said in 2011 when he announced the Labor Department would update the regulations. The final rule was published two years later, but won't go into effect until 2015 to give employers and state Medicaid programs time to understand and adapt to the new requirements. State Medicaid directors, however, say they will need more time and are asking the Labor Department to delay the effective date by 18 months.
The home care sector is among the fastest growing but not highly paid. Nationwide, the number of home health aides is projected to increase by nearly 50% from 2012 to 2022. The median annual wage for home health aides was $20,820 in 2012. Home care workers typically earn $8.50 to $12 an hour, above the federal minimum wage, but until this rule did not get paid overtime.
"Many direct care workers (are) forced to rely on public assistance (programs) despite long hours of challenging, often heroic work," Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez told a congressional panel last month. Organized labor says nearly one out of two home care workers are in households that rely on public assistance, such as Medicaid or food stamps.
Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people, is affected by the rule because Medicaid is typically the single largest payer of spending on long-term service, including nursing homes, and home-based care.
In 2009, Medicaid paid more than $126 billion for this kind of care, according to the National Association of Medicaid Directors, a bipartisan group of all 50 state Medicaid directors. While the majority of Medicaid long-term services and support dollars still go toward institutional care, the national percentage of Medicaid spending on home and community-based services has more than doubled from 20% in 1995 to 45% in 2011.
The new rule does not cover home care workers who are employed solely by household or family members and who primarily provide "fellowship," which includes reading or playing games with clients or taking them on walks or to social events.The industry and advocates say most home care workers already earn at least the equivalent of the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. The big difference is that these workers will now be eligible for time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hour a week. These workers also will be compensated for time spent traveling to and from clients' homes.
Because the new protections are contained in a regulation, and not a law, the Obama administration didn't have to go through Congress to enact the new policy. Republicans on Capitol Hill have balked at the president's proposal to increase the federal minimum hourly wage to $10.10
The home care industry has grown dramatically over the last several decades as more Americans choose to receive long-term care at home instead of in nursing homes or other facilities. And the need is expected to grow. The number of Americans requiring help with daily living, either at home or in an institution, is expected to more than double to 27 million by 2050 from the current 12 million.
State Medicaid programs worry about the costs, and also about unintended consequences of the new requirements, such as prompting more seniors and disabled to move into expensive institutional settings because in-home care in no longer a more affordable option.
Some states, such as Connecticut, have backed the new rule. "This federal rule change will ensure nationwide that these hardworking employees enjoy the basic rights that many of their colleagues already do," Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy wrote to the Obama administration last year.
Others states are looking at its costs. While the rule was being drafted, Illinois told the Labor Department that 10,000 home health care workers in the state worked close to 3 million hours of overtime, and the cost of overtime compensation would exceed $32 million.
California, which already applies its $8 minimum wage to home care workers, but not overtime, estimates the new overtime requirements will cost the state more than $600 million in 2015-2016.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed prohibiting home care workers from working overtime, an idea that unions and disability groups have criticized.
"It is a proposal that is unfair to hard working, low-wage workers and could create chaos," said Gary Passmore, vice president of the advocacy group Congress of California Seniors. "One of the sad ironies of the proposal is that those who will suffer most are those in greatest need … frail people who require the maximum level of assistance to live at home."
"Make no mistake. Certain provisions of this rule present a heavy lift for some states," Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors" said earlier this year. "We expect this to be a lengthy and very involved process as each state works with the administration to assess the type and scope of changes that may be required."
The U.S. Department of Labor has held a series of webinars with state Medicaid officials and the public to help affected parties know what the requirements are.
Lucy Andrews, vice chair of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and owner of a small home care company in California, predicts she will either need to restrict her workers' hours or increase what she charges clients, including Medicaid. "This new rule will force me to make some very hard decisions," she told a U.S. House panel last year.
Joseph Bensmihen, president of United Elder Care Services, Inc., a caregiver referral service in Boca Raton, Fla., said the most likely alternative for most of his clients, besides moving into a facility, will be to rotate caregivers to ensure that none works more than 40 hours a week. "This means that one of the most cherished benefits of home care among the elderly, disabled, and infirm, namely continuity of care, will be lost."
Supporters question whether firms will have to cut hours, noting that industry-wide, more than half of home care aides already work part time and that less than 10% report working more than 40 hours a week.
"Rising worker compensation costs, higher gas prices, and reimbursement rates that have not kept up with the cost of living are a far greater threat to profitability than paying minimum wage and overtime," said Karen Kulp, president of Home Care Associates in Philadelphia, an agency that employs 200 home care workers.
The home care industry, with revenues of $93 billion last year and an average growth rate of 8% per year from 2001 to 2011 "is a thriving industry that can afford to pay home care workers minimum wage and overtime," according to Kulp, who also is a board member of Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, a group that aims to improve working conditions for home care workers.
The National Employment Law Project says say the changes in the final rule will "correct a decades-old injustice that has fueled poverty wages and destabilized an increasingly vital industry."
Stateline is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts that provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.

Disability & Veterans Community Resources National Directory

Lists organizations that are available to provide assistance with training, recruiting, and hiring Veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) 
Recruitment Directory
OFCCP conducted extensive outreach during and after the Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 503) and Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Act (VEVRAA) rulemaking. During this outreach many contractors asked for assistance with locating community and other resources for recruiting veterans and individuals with disabilities. To meet this stated need, OFCCP, working with other DOL and federal agencies, created a non-exhaustive directory of groups and organizations that are available to provide assistance with training, recruiting, and hiring veterans and individuals with disabilities.
This directory search provides two primary functions:
  • The ability to search the by state, and the ability to download your search results; and
  • The ability to import the information into any word processor, spreadsheet, or database software package.

For the Disability and Veterans Community Resources Directory, visit:

Federal Appeals Court Rules for EEOC in its Disability Discrimination Case Against Ford Motor


Agency Charged Automaker Denied Employee the Chance to Telework; Sixth Circuit Agrees Case Should Go Forward

WASHINGTON -- The majority of a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided on April 22 that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had created issues sufficient for trial in its disability discrimination lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company. The EEOC had charged that Ford violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying a former employee the opportunity to telework and by firing her after she filed an EEOC charge.
EEOC General Counsel David Lopez hailed the decision as the "latest in a series of cases ensuring persons with disabilities are allowed the opportunity to use their talents fully. The decision reaffirms the employer's important obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation unless it can show it results in undue hardship."
The EEOC sued Ford Motor in 2011, charging that the company's denial of Jane Harris's request to work from home up to four days a week as an accommodation for her irritable bowel syndrome violated the ADA, and that Ford had then retaliated against her by firing her after she filed an EEOC charge. Ford's telecommuting policy authorized employees to work up to four days a week from a telecommuting site. Harris was a resale steel buyer whose job primarily required telephone and computer contact with coworkers and suppliers.
The district court granted summary judgment for Ford Motor, holding that attendance at the job site was an essential function of Harris's job, and that Harris's disability-related absences meant that she was not a "qualified" individual under the ADA. The lower court also ruled that Harris's telework request was not a reasonable accommodation for her job. The district court also said the EEOC could not prove Harris's termination was retaliatory because it was based on attendance and performance issues that pre-dated her charge filing.
The Sixth Circuit panel majority reversed the lower court on both counts. (EEOC v. Ford Motor Co. (6th Cir. No. 12-2484)). The majority noted that "the law must respond to the advance of technology in the employment context . . . and recognize that the 'workplace' is anywhere that an employee can perform her job duties." The majority held that the "highly fact-specific" question was thus whether presence at the Ford facilities was truly essential, and that a jury should decide that issue. The panel majority also held that the EEOC had created a question for the jury about why Ford Motor terminated Harris, and whether it was in retaliation for filing a charge or because of genuine performance problems.
EEOC Assistant General Counsel Carolyn Wheeler, who supervised attorney Gail Coleman's preparation of the agency's briefs and argument on appeal, said she was "pleased with the panel majority's careful explication of the ADA's statutory requirements, and its recognition that workplace realities have evolved and made teleworking a viable option for many persons whose disabilities can be better managed at home than during long commutes and long hours in the 'brick-and-mortar' workplace."
This case was developed and litigated in district court by Detroit trial attorney Nedra Campbell, under the direction of Laurie Young, regional attorney for the EEOC's Indianapolis District Office.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Imagine what you can make possible as an organ donor

thought we would share ....

Dept. of Health & Human Services
Imagine what you can make possible as an organ donor: you may save up to 8 lives through organ donation and enhance many others through tissue donation.

Last year alone, organ donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible. Another one million people received cornea and other tissue transplants that helped them recover from trauma, bone damage, spinal injuries, burns, hearing impairment and vision loss.

Organ Donation: Let everyone know you're an organ, eye, and tissue donor.
Learn more at organdonor.gov

Like HHS on Facebook exit disclaimer icon. Follow HHS on Twitter @HHSgov exit disclaimer icon and sign up for HHS Email Updates.

Disabled man sues Minnesota McDonald’s, citing firm resistance over service dog

Robert Mingo of Minneapolis says employees at a McDonald’s restaurant twice resisted serving him because of his service dog, Max.
Article by: PAUL WALSH | Star Tribune | April 24, 2014

A man in a wheelchair with his red-vested service dog twice met firm resistance when he tried to order food and eat inside a McDonald’s in Minneapolis, according to a federal lawsuit alleging violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Robert Mingo, 52, of Minneapolis, who has muscular dystrophy and a chronic back ailment, this week sued the owner of the McDonald’s franchise on W. Broadway near Bryant Avenue N. as well as the global corporation in federal court. He is seeking unspecified damages and requirements that company employees be trained and educated about the Disabilities Act.
While the suit acknowledges that Mingo was eventually served in both instances, he was ordered in the second confrontation not to eat in the dining area by a manager who said, “I am the law,” according to the suit. That comment drew laughter from nearby customers, the suit said.
The location’s owner, Tim Baylor, said in a statement that he takes “complaints like this seriously [and] we do our best to provide a great customer experience to every customer.” Baylor, however, would not address Mingo’s specific allegations.
Mingo cannot walk and has limited use of his arms and hands, the suit reads. His 4-year-old service dog, a border collie-springer spaniel mix named Max, helps with many daily duties, such as opening and closing doors, picking up laundry and removing clothing, the suit added.
“The best thing that could come out of this,” Mingo said Thursday, “is that all McDonald’s employees are required to undergo sensitivity training concerning people with disabilities.”
According to the suit:
Late one morning in August 2012, Mingo wheeled himself into the McDonald’s accompanied by Max, outfitted in his service vest. Mingo was told at the counter that the dog prevented him from being served.
Mingo then rode his wheelchair up to the drive-through and was told by the same employee, “We don’t serve those things in the drive-through.”
Once back inside, Mingo finally was allowed to buy food but was told that he was banned from coming back. He and Max left with the breakfast.
Early one afternoon last May, Mingo returned, again in a wheelchair and with Max. His order was taken “without any issues,” but the manager told him he had to leave. Mingo said he was waiting for his food and that it was illegal to order him out.
The manager then demanded documentation that Max is a service dog, but Mingo said the wheelchair was all the documentation that was needed.
“Fine, get your food and get out of here,” the manager said. “You can’t go in the dining area with the dog.”
To which Mingo responded, “The law says I can.”
“I am the manager here, and I am the law,” came the manager’s reply, which drew laughter from many customers.
Again, Mingo received his food and left.
Under the 24-year-old federal Americans With Disabilities Act, state and local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany those with disabilities.
Inquiries about a service dog’s validity are limited under the law, allowed only when it’s not obvious what service an animal provides. Asking a disabled person to produce the relevant documents is illegal.
Mingo provides for himself, in part, from federal disability benefits. He also is a writer, having published “Poetry for the Soul” in 2008.
On the book’s amazon.com page, Mingo says, “I’ve always seen poetry as a tool for dealing with life’s struggles and for teaching the world some of the lessons I’ve learned.”

Illinois Institutions for people with developmental disabilities being used as pawn in Illinois Governors race

Rauner says developmental center should stay open

The Associated PressApril 26, 2014

Bruce Rauner
 — Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner said Saturday he supports keeping open a center for people with developmental disabilities in Centralia that his opponent is trying to close.
The Winnetka businessman, who faces Gov. Pat Quinn in the November election, met with relatives of residents at the Murray Developmental Center and told them they should have a choice in their family members' care.
Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has supported closing some state-run institutions, including the Murray Developmental Center, and transferring disabled residents into community-based care as part of a strategy to save money and improve the quality of care for residents.
Rauner's campaign issued a statement Saturday claiming Quinn decided to close Murray Center "without ever visiting the facility."
"It is irresponsible to close Murray Center unless we can make absolutely certain that the most vulnerable residents are being cared for in an environment that is as good as — or better than — Murray Center," Rauner said in the statement. "Right now, Murray Center is the best option for these families."
Quinn's campaign spokeswoman Izabela Miltko called Rauner's visit and announcement "shameless."
"This guy will say anything depending on his audience, and now is playing politics with the quality of people's lives," Miltko said. "Today, Rauner showed a complete lack of care or understanding that people with disabilities deserve the choice to live more independently."
Murray was scheduled for closure last year. But some parents of developmentally disabled adults are waging a court battle to keep open the center, which serves about 250 residents.
Those parents involved in the legal challenge don't represent all families of the developmentally disabled, said Tony Paulauski, executive director of the Arc of Illinois, an advocacy group for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. He said most families support closing "antiquated state facilities."
"Young families I meet with, the last thing they want is to have a son or daughter in an institution," Paulauski said.
Paulauski said the quality of life is better in small community living arrangements such as group homes, which can provide personalized care.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/04/26/3410475/rauner-to-visit-centralia-developmental.html#storylink=c

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/04/26/3410475/rauner-to-visit-centralia-developmental.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Moderate Physical Exercise Could Stem Alzheimer's Onset

This undated image provided by Merck & Co. shows a cross section of a normal brain (right) and one of a brain damaged by advanced Alzheimer's disease.
This undated image provided by Merck & Co. shows a cross section of a normal brain (right) and one of a brain damaged by advanced Alzheimer's disease.

article by Matthew Hilburn | Voice of America | April 25, 2014

Researchers have discovered yet another reason to hit the gym.

A new study of older adults who were at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease claims that p can prevent shrinkage of the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory and spatial orientation. It is also the first part of the brain that comes under attack from the devastating disease.

"The good news is that being physically active may offer protection from the neurodegeneration associated with genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. J. Carson Smith, a kinesiology researcher at theUniversity of Maryland School of Public Health who conducted the study in a statement.

"We found that physical activity has the potential to preserve the volume of the hippocampus in those with increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, which means we can possibly delay cognitive decline and the onset of dementia symptoms in these individuals,” he said.

“Physical activity interventions may be especially potent and important for this group," Smith added.

For the study, Smith and his colleagues monitored four groups of “healthy older adults ages 65-89."

The subjects all displayed "normal cognitive abilities over an 18-month period." The volume of their hippocampus also was measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the start and finish of the 18 months.

Researchers divided the subjects into four groups, those with high or low Alzheimer’s risk and low or high levels of physical activity. Alzheimer’s risk was determined by the presence of lack of presence of an apolipoprotein called E epsilon 4 allele.

Only the group of high risk and no exercise saw a decrease in hippocampal volume over the 18 months, researchers said. All the other groups maintained hippocampal volume.

"This is the first study to look at how physical activity may impact the loss of hippocampal volume in people at genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Kirk Erickson, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in a statement.

"There are no other treatments shown to preserve hippocampal volume in those that may develop Alzheimer's disease,” he added.

“This study has tremendous implications for how we may intervene, prior to the development of any dementia symptoms, in older adults who are at increased genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease," Erickson said.

Smith said the study provides “additional evidence that exercise plays a protective role against cognitive decline.”

The Alzheimer’s Association, which seeks to promote Alzheimer's care, support and research, recommends physical exercise “for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells.”

“Growing evidence shows that physical exercise does not have to be strenuous or even require a major time commitment," the association said. "It is most effective when done regularly, and in combination with a brain-healthy diet, mental activity and social interaction.”

Smith said the study suggests the need for more research on how physical activity “may interact with genetics and decrease Alzheimer’s risk.”

Smith had previously shown that walking improved cognitive function in patients already experiencing decline.

He plans to do further research on the effects of exercise intervention on healthy older adults with genetic and other risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s to see how exercise might impact hippocampal volume and subsequent brain function.

According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, more than 5 million Americans suffer from the disease, a number they say will triple by 2050 as the population ages.

The findings are published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Visually Impaired People Describe Beauty As 'Joy,' 'Truth,' And 'Feeling Alive' In This Wonderful Video

The following article is from Huffington Post;

Listening to the birds chirping outside, enjoying the smell of freshly baked cookies, experiencing the sensation of grass caressing the bottoms of your feet: These perceptions, say people who can't use their sight to experience the world around them, are the things that make life beautiful.
In an inspiring video created by Buzzfeed, a group of blind men and women describe how they experience beauty.
"Losing my sight has been a blessing," one man says, a smile spreading on his face. "I don't care what nationality somebody is, I don't care how tall somebody is, I don't care how big or small they are. A person is beautiful because they are true to themselves."
The video, which went viral this week, has struck a chord with many viewers.
"This video is beautiful," wrote one YouTuber on Wednesday.
"I feel so bad I take this kind of stuff for granted, I'm gonna turn off my phone and the TV and go outside and look," wrote another.
This isn't the first time that our perceptions have been challenged by someone without sight. Tommy Edison, a popular radio personality and film critic who's been blind since birth, has uplifted and inspired us many times over with his astounding YouTube videos about his life as a blind person.
In 2012, for instance, Edison released an awesome video about the perks of being blind. He also made a wonderful clip last year about how blind people experience intangible concepts, like space, the sun and the sky.
"The sky to me is really just this big wide open thing with nothing in your way at all; as long as you're above all the trees and buildings and stuff, there's nothing blocking you," Edison muses in the video. "You can just go and go and go and go. It'd be fun. I need a place like that on Earth!"
About the youtube video:
Published on Apr 18, 2014
A song for stolen keys
by: Exist Strategy

Robert Smith
Sheila Walker
Virginia Romero
Sean Gorecki

Thanks to:
Lindsay Nyman

Thursday, April 24, 2014

EEOC Sues EZEFLOW USA for Disability Discrimination, a Veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

as posted by...

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 

EEOC Sues EZEFLOW USA for Disability Discrimination

Pipe Fittings Manufacturer Fired a Veteran With PTSD Instead of Giving Him Brief Unpaid Medical Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation, Federal Agency Says
PITTSBURGH - EZEFLOW USA, a pipe fittings manufacturer, violated federal law when it refused to give unpaid leave to a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fired him as a result of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Adam Brant, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, worked for EZEFLOW USA, a Canadian-based company, at its U.S. headquarters in New Castle, Pa., as a maintenance technician. While there, he experienced seizures later determined to be caused by PTSD. Brant provided the company's human resources representative with a note from his neurologist requesting that Brant be off work for six weeks, and specifically restricting him from driving, heights and working with heavy machinery during that period.
The EEOC alleged that Brant requested six weeks of unpaid medical leave, a request that EZEFLOW USA denied because Brant was still a probationary employee, and that the company subsequently terminated him. The EEOC further charged that EZEFLOW USA maintains a policy of providing up to 26 weeks of paid leave to non-probationary employees.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from firing an individual because of his disability. The ADA also requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation, including granting unpaid medical leave, to an employee with a disability unless the company can show it would be an undue hardship to do so. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. EZEFLOW USA, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-00527-MPK) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"The EEOC is strongly committed to ensuring that veterans with disabilities are treated fairly in the workplace," said Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office. "This case demonstrates that the EEOC will engage in litigation when warranted: when an employer refuses to abide by its legal obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation to keep a veteran with a disability gainfully employed."
EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. added, "Mr. Brant served his country honorably as a Marine. Granting unpaid leave to a veteran with a disability is not only the decent thing to do - federal law requires it.  Unfortunately, the company refused to even consider this easy way to accommodate Mr. Brant and instead fired a qualified veteran simply because of a disability - which is counterproductive as well as unlawful and unfair. That is why this lawsuit is important to the public interest."
On Nov. 16, 2011, the EEOC held a public hearing, entitled "Overcoming Barriers to the Employment of Veterans with Disabilities." In that meeting, the Commission heard testimony from a panel of experts on the unique needs of veterans with disabilities transitioning to civilian employment. As an outgrowth of that meeting, the EEOC issued two revised publications addressing veterans with disabilities and the ADA. The Guide for Employersexplains how protections for veterans with service-connected disabilities differ under the ADA and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and how employers can prevent disability-based discrimination and provide reasonable accommodations.
The Guide for Wounded Veterans answers questions that veterans with service-related disabilities may have about the protections they are entitled to when they seek to return to their former jobs or look for civilian jobs. The publication also explains the kinds of accommodations that may be necessary to help veterans with disabilities obtain and successfully maintain employment.
The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.