Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday round-up

From the New York Daily News in New York (May 29) - A 54-year-old woman died on Wednesday while trying to get her disabled daughter out of their 10th-floor apartment at Carlton Manor while it was ablaze, officials said. The fire has prompted local officials to call for changes to public housing laws that would allow disabled residentes to live near the ground floor.

From the Associated Press, Bay, Arkansas (May 28, 2009) - According to police, five people were killed and five more were hurt when a car traveling in the wrong lane collided with a van carrying adults with developmental disabilities at about 2.15pm on Wednesday. Authorities say the van involved was owned by Focus Inc., which provides services for developmentally disabled adults. The accident occurred when the driver of the car was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S. 63 between Bay and Jonesboro, about 5 miles southeast of Jonesboro.

From BBC News (May 28, 2009) - At least eight people have been arrested in Burundi in connection with a trade in human body parts from people with albinism.Those detained had fresh body parts in their possession, police say. Witchdoctors in the region tell clients that potions made with albino body parts will bring them luck in love, life and business. At least 10 albino people have been killed in Burundi in recent months and more than 40 in neighbouring Tanzania, according to the report. (h/t Media dis&dat)

From the AP/Houston Chronicle (May 28, 2009) - The Texas State Senate has approved a settlement with the federal Department of Justice to improve living conditions and medical care at the state’s troubled institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. The settlement still needs House approval. The plan calls for spending $112 million over five years, hiring more than 1,000 additional care workers, and improving investigations into abuse and neglect claims.

From the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, Arizona (May 28, 2009) - Five employees of the Tucson Unified School District have received warnings after an investigation found that a high school student with disabilities was routinely left tethered to a fence so he "wouldn't fall over or wander away while he waited for his escort." The student’s name was not disclosed.

From The Nation's the beat blog (May 27, 2009) - Sonia Sotomayor’s lifetime of managing Type 1 diabetes is a “big deal” that adds to her value as a potential Supreme Court justice - and not just as a role model, says John Nichols. Her experience is particularly important, he says, to a court that will be addressing a growing number of cases that focus on health-care access and medical research.

From the Times Union in Merchanicville, New York, US (May 27, 2009) - A judge today acquitted an O.D. Heck Developmental Center aide of endangering a severely disabled woman in her care. City Court Judge Joseph Sheehan found Christina Brandon, 47, of Troy not guilty of punching the woman for spilling Brandon's lunch salad. He deliveredhis verdict a day after a one-day bench trial.

From Disability Scoop (May 27, 2009) - Disability advocates are encouraged by President Barack Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, saying that the current appeals court judge’s rulings show an understanding of disability and the rights of people who have disabilities. Obama announced his nomination of Sotomayor Tuesday to replace Justice David Souter who plans to retire at the end of the court’s current session. Sotomayor now must be confirmed by the Senate, and if confirmed, will become the first Latino member of the court.

From AFP (May 26, 2009) - Disabled pedestrians in Jakarata, Indonesia are required to wear signs identifying them as handicapped under new traffic regulations passed unanimously by Indonesia's parliament on May 26.

From KABC in Los Angeles (May 26, 2009) - An investigation of the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) by ABC7 Eyewitness News has uncovered widespread disregard for the rights of disabled bus riders. It's a violation of federal law - the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - not to provide equal access to public transportation for people with disabilities. That means all Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) buses must be equipped with working equipment to secure wheelchairs, and MTA drivers must be trained in how to use the securements.

From the Los Angeles Times ‘LA Now’ blog (May 23) - Three thousand state workers and advocates gathered in downtown Los Angeles yesterday to protest California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed cuts to the state home-care program. The state plans to cut wages for state workers from $12.35 to $8 per hour and reduce the number of hours. Parents of children with disabilities said the pay cut would force caregivers out of the profession.