Accessibility in the News- Knowledge is Power for 05-31

National News (U.S.)   1.    National nonprofit brings accessible birdwatching to Nebraska- May 24, 2024 Source: Nebraska Public Media When Cassandra Dean […]

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National News (U.S.)


1.    National nonprofit brings accessible birdwatching to Nebraska- May 24, 2024 Source: Nebraska Public Media

When Cassandra Dean was diagnosed with autoimmune diseases, she realized her passion for the outdoors might also be at risk. She enjoyed hiking and bird watching with friends, something that became increasingly difficult for her. But Birdability, a nationwide non-profit, made her love for the outdoors accessible again. Birdability promotes and addresses accessibility in birdwatching and pairs people who have physical or mental disabilities with trails, blinds and locations where they can watch and track birds…

2.    Disabled Utahns can offer suggestions on SLC’s redesign- May 24, 2024 Source: KSL NewsRadio

City planners hope to redesign downtown Main Street into a pedestrian promenade and they welcome the voices of disabled Utahns. While no construction schedule exists yet, a recent report showcased what the finished zone could look like. However, little is known about the accessibility of the completed promenade. Fortunately, the city wants disabled Utahns to help shape downtown Main Street’s future. “The federal ADA standards… are designed to consider physical mobility,” said Salt Lake City ADA Coordinator Ahsley Lichtle.”That’s kind of where it stops.”…

3.    City looking to make big events more accessible- May 24, 2024 Source: FOX19

The City of Cincinnati is working to make public events more accessible to people with disabilities. The Equitable Growth Committee approved a study on outdoor bathroom accessibility on Tuesday. One tool is portable accessible bathrooms. The bathrooms are in use at the Taste of Cincinnati festival this weekend. “It’s a crapshoot sometimes,” Deer Park council member Neil Kelly said. “You might be able to come to something where you see a couple of options, but that could be crowded with people.”…

4.    Sunflower program works to make airport more accessible- May 24, 2024 Source: WWBT

Richmond International Airport is “growing” it’s outreach to support people with disabilities. The simple act of wearing a sunflower will help airport employees know a traveler has some extra needs. Navigating through the airport can be stressful for anyone. Even on the best days, you may still find yourself lugging a heavy piece of luggage through security, navigating a long walk through the airport. Or better yet, you’re doing those types of things while traveling with kids…

5.    Federal grant will allow Pittsburgh Regional Transit to make all Red Line trains handicapped accessible- May 25, 2024 Source: Pittsburgh Union Progress

Pittsburgh Regional Transit will receive an $8 million federal grant to improve 10 light rail stations in Pittsburgh’s South Hills so they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and U.S. Reps. Chris Deluzio, D-Aspinwall, and Summer Lee, D-Swissvale, issued separate news releases Friday announcing that PRT was approved for the competitive grant. Casey had pushed to include the All Station Accessibility Program to improve the nation’s oldest stations as part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure improvement program…

6.    Le Sueur’s Jason Wood opens martial arts studio with accessibility in mind- May 26, 2024 Source: Southernminn

“We don’t say ‘can’t.’” It’s the first rule of dojang inscribed near the entrance of Jason Wood’s new school for taekwondo, Crest Martial Arts Academy. For the Le Sueur-based martial arts instructor, it’s not just a motivational statement. It represents the school’s commitment to training students of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re 4 years old and learning how to throw a punch for the very first time, 80 years old and looking to keep those muscles moving or a wheelchair user ready to break some boards, Crest Martial Arts Academy in downtown St. Peter is ready to teach just about anyone willing and able the art of taekwondo…

7.    The sweetest airport wants to be the most accessible airport too- May 26, 2024 Source: The Points Guy

As far as sweet airport amenities go, Indiana’s Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) has others beat. For about 25 years now, volunteers have been welcoming passengers to Indiana with big smiles and free, fresh-baked cookies. When no volunteers are on duty, a self-serve cookie kiosk is set out so that no traveler must go without a welcome-home snack. “We’re a proud member of the Fort Wayne community and want to be a good neighbor for the airport,” David Richhart, Ellison’s director of national accounts, said…

8.    Is accessibility a priority in Greenwich? Disabilities committee wants to be in more powerful spot- May 26, 2024 Source: Shelton Herald

The town’s advisory committee for people with disabilities wants to become a more permanent part of the town government and send a message in the process. The committee is currently appointed solely by the first selectman, but members said they want to fall under the purview of the entire board of selectmen. “Just being part of the first selectman’s office puts us at risk,” committee member Alan Gunzburg said Thursday. “We need all three of you to stand up with us and to push this forward, because otherwise we don’t have an inclusive and accessible community. At this point, I’m questioning whether we do or we don’t, but I’m hoping this is a first step.”…

9.    Shadow Seals: Seattle’s swim team for athletes with physical disabilities- May 27, 2024 Source: King 5

The first independent swim team for athletes with physical disabilities in the U.S. began right here in Washington state, and it’s still the only one of its kind in the Seattle area and the entirety of the Pacific Northwest.  Justin Fleming is an alum and now a coach with the program. Swimming has been a lifelong passion for him. Fleming’s disability is called proximal femoral focal deficiency, which he describes as similar to being an above-the-knee amputee…

10. Illinois could be 19th state to phase out subminimum wage for disabled workers- May 27, 2024 Source: WQAD8

After years of negotiations and continued opposition from service providers, Illinois appears poised to prohibit employers from using a federal exemption that allows them to pay individuals with disabilities less than the minimum wage. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 established minimum wage law, but created an exemption for businesses, rehabilitation and residential care facilities to pay disabled workers less than minimum wage if they obtain a special certificate permitted in Section 14(c) of the law…

11. ‘Secrets of the Hidden Workforce’ talks job seeking with disabilities- May 27, 2024 Source: Tulsa World

Lisa Toth loves her work — she has about a thousand things to say about what she does, and how important that work is. Toth, who lives in Sand Springs, runs Rise Staffing in Tulsa. The goal of that organization is to find job opportunities for people with disabilities so that they can be both productive members of society and find their passions. Toth certainly has plenty of examples of success stories — she found a job for a disabled veteran delivering parts after he was unable to work his old job, and a job for a man with cerebral palsy greeting guests at Drillers games…

12. Morgantown student overcomes disabilities to graduate high school- May 27, 2024 Source: WBOY

On May 24, Hope Amanda Crichigno graduated from University High School in Morgantown, accomplishing a goal that some thought she never would. Hope was diagnosed with severe autism early in life and nothing was ever assured in her story. Born at 24 weeks, Hope spent the first six months of her life in intensive care.“Those days are probably the worst days of our life. We were so grateful to have her,” Hope’s Mom Sarah Crichigno said…

13. US President Joe Biden says those who suffer from ‘long COVID’ could qualify for disability- May 27, 2024 Source: Business Insider

US President Joe Biden said Monday that those who suffer from long-term COVID-19 symptoms could qualify for disability support under the Americans with Disabilities Act and receive additional help and resources. “Many Americans who seemingly recover from the virus still face lingering challenges like breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain, and fatigue,” he said in his address at the Rose Garden commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “These conditions can sometimes rise to the level of a disability,” he added…

14. Disabled Disney Guests Told to Ask for Callback Times at Each Ride & Practice Waiting in Line Instead of Getting DAS- May 27, 2024 Source: WDW News Today

Travel agent Jamie Santillo took to Instagram this week to talk about her upsetting experience with the updated Disability Access Service (DAS) at Walt Disney World. Santillo shared the following video about no longer qualifying for DAS despite having a heart condition and a defibrillator. The Cast Member Santillo spoke to offered Santillo a return-to-queue option where someone in her party would wait in line and then she would meet up with them when it was time to ride…

15. Biden-Harris Administration Announces $343 Million to Modernize Transit Stations, Improve Accessibility Across the Country- May 28, 2024 Source: Federal Transit Administration & Railway Age

a.    Greater Cleveland RTA to receive $16 million in federal funding for accessibility improvements- May 28, 2024 Source: WKYC

b.    Washington Pledges $68 Million for Green Line Accessibility Upgrades- May 28, 2024 Source: StreetsBlog Mass

c.     T Gets Fed Funds For Green Line Accessibility Work – WBZ NewsRadio 1030- May 28, 2024 Source: WBZ NewsRadio 1030

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced that eight transit systems in eight states will receive a total of $343 million in federal funding to retrofit some of the nation’s oldest and busiest rail transit systems to make it easier for Americans to access public transportation. Millions of Americans, including people with disabilities and injuries, have mobility concerns that prevent them from being able to get jobs, school, healthcare, and other destinations with the same ease as other users…

Jack Fact  According to AARP, roughly 6 in 10 people who are blind or visually impaired in the U.S. are 65 or older, and more than a quarter of U.S. adults 71 and older are visually impaired.


Hit The Road Jack — Hotel accessibility: Equal access & The Guide to Flying With a Wheelchair & Explore 5 Accessible Parks in the National Park System

International News

1.    Toronto woman who uses wheelchair carried off Air Canada flight- May 22, 3034 Source: CBC- Canada & BBC & NOW Toronto & City News

A Toronto woman is calling for more accessibility in air travel after she had to be carried off an Air Canada plane in a badly broken aisle chair, an experience she says was unsafe and undignified. Tori Lacey, 26, chronicled the troubling incident on her TikTok and Instagram pages, where she usually posts content about her travel exploits as a person who uses a wheelchair. The video has garnered tens of millions of views since it was posted on May 18, Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and sparked dialogue about the hurdles people with disabilities face when travelling…

2.    Tactile map elevates accessibility at Dickson shops- May 23, 2024 Source: ACT Government- Australia

A tactile map showing proposed Dickson shops upgrades is helping the City Renewal Authority create a more welcoming and inclusive public space. The map – created by the University of Canberra – is providing Canberra Blind Society members an opportunity to examine proposed features like new paving, seating, lighting and garden beds. It’s part of a broader conversation with the local community to receive feedback and suggestions on how to make the shops safer, less cluttered and better connected…

3.    Despite ambitious accessibility law, N.S. acknowledges it will not be barrier-free by 2030- May 23, 2024 Source: CBC- Canada

a.    Statement on Disability Awareness Week and accessibility legislation- May 24, 2024 Source: Government of New Brunswick- Canada

b.    Statement by Minister Anand on National AccessAbility Week 2024- May 27, 2024 Source: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

c.     Province Celebrates National Accessability Week- May 27, 2024 Source: Government of Saskatchewan

d.    Celebrating AccessAbility Week with Improvements in BC Parks- May 27, 2024 Source: BC Parks News

Victoria Levack remembers how she felt the day Nova Scotia passed the Accessibility Act seven years ago: hopeful. “I thought, oh good, they’ll finally do something,” she said in a recent interview about the provincial legislation designed to remove barriers by 2030 for people with disabilities. “It’ll be slow, because government’s always slow, but this means they’ll actually do stuff,” she said.  Now, CBC News has learned the province of Nova Scotia intends to have standards and enforcement in place by 2030, but acknowledges it will not meet its goal to be barrier-free…

4.    ‘Ball is in their court’: MP Bachrach pushes feds to do more to fix accessibility barriers in air travel- May 23, 2024 Source: CKPG Today- Canada

An inaugural summit on air travel accessibility was held in Ottawa at the beginning of May, where disability activists voiced their concerns and made recommendations regarding accessibility barriers in air travel. MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley Bachrach attended the summit as the federal NDP’s transport critic. “The community has made their concerns and next steps clear,” said Bachrach. “The minister has been given a roadmap of what he has to do to respect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Now the question is, will he actually listen?”…

5.    Small Public Facilities to be Required to Ensure Accessibility for People with Disabilities- May 24, 2024 Source: KBS WORLD- South Korea

Small public facilities, such as medical clinics and cram schools, will be required to make accommodations to ensure that the facilities are accessible for seniors, pregnant women and people with disabilities. The health ministry on Friday issued an advance legislation notice of such revisions to a related enforcement ordinance and will collect opinions from the public through June 13. The accommodations include ensuring that entrances, exits and parking spaces are accessible to those with disabilities and the government plans to further expand the scope of locations required to install them…

6.    Are we really designing for our future selves? How to bridge the gap in tech accessibility for older adults- May 24, 2024 Source: AT Today- UK

As the UK’s population ages, so does its digital audience. According to the Office for National Statistics, between 2013 and 2020, internet usage among 75+ year-olds surged by an astonishing 114 percent, a trend further accelerated by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this demographic shift, the digital landscape often fails to adequately accommodate the needs of older adults, even with assistive technology. This begs the question: Are we truly designing with the needs of our older selves in mind?…

7.    Waterloo unveils fully accessible, self-cleaning washroom- May 24, 2024 Source: CTV News Kitchener- Canada

The City of Waterloo unveiled a new self-cleaning and fully accessible washroom on Friday. The facility can be found near King Street and William Street in Uptown Waterloo. “We got lots of comments from the community that there is a lack of washroom availability in the uptown area,” explained project manager Swati Vekariya. There are self-cleaning features, such as an anti-graffiti coating and the ability to autonomously wash the toilet and clean the floors between users…

8.    Queen Street reconstruction will help people with disabilities navigate Sault’s downtown- May 24, 2024 Source: Sault Star- Canada

Diane Morrell knows it’s not a comfortable experience navigating her wheelchair through Sault Ste. Marie’s downtown. The city’s accessibility coordinator says uneven bricks that are sunk or heaved, torn asphalt roads and concrete curbs make it difficult for many individuals to move about comfortably on Queen Street. Morrell, along with the city’s accessibility committee and the hundreds of people with a disability or mobility challenges in Sault Ste. Marie, are hopeful that will change soon with the city’s plan to reconstruct Queen Street…

9.    Jaimen Hudson hopes horrifying ordeal highlights need for better beach access for wheelchair users- May 24, 2024 Source: ABC- Australia

Jaimen Hudson made his family’s worst fears disappear with a wave of his arms. The 33-year-old had just emerged from the hospital elevator to greet his nervous loved ones after a gruelling six-hour surgery. But the gesture sparked immediate relief. “They were all very relieved to see I could still move my arms,” Mr Hudson said. Mr Hudson has been quadriplegic since breaking his neck in a motorbike crash 16 years ago. He retained partial use of his arms, which helped him build a beautiful life in Esperance, on Western Australia’s south coast…

10. Labour Day projects grant St James disabled greater accessibility- May 25, 2024 Source: Jamaica Gleaner- Jamaica

Members of St James’ disabled community say they will now have an easier time accessing several of Montego Bay’s public spaces, thanks to efforts to provide more disabled-friendly conveniences during Thursday’s Labour Day 2024 activities in the western city. The parish’s Labour Day projects, which were carried out under the theme ‘Ramp up di access … show that you care’, included the cleaning and beautification of the Pye River Cemetery in Bogue, as well as the demarcation of special permit parking areas in downtown Montego Bay…

11. NHS England accused of ‘dragging its feet’ on new accessibility procedures- May 26, 2024 Source: The Guardian- UK & Forbes

NHS England has been accused of “dragging its feet” on bringing in new accessibility procedures, leading to disabled people routinely struggling to access healthcare and facing cancelled appointments. The Accessible Information Standard (AIS), originally implemented in 2016, was part of legislation designed to ensure that NHS and adult social care services providers make sure that people with a disability are able to have their accessibility requirements met when accessing health and social care…

12. Minister promises better accessibility- May 26, 2024 Source: Bangkok Post- Thailand

Social Development and Human Security Minister Varawut Silpa-archa on Sunday pledged to improve air travel accessibility for disabled passengers. During a trip from Bangkok to Roi Et, the minister used a wheelchair himself to see how services were provided to disabled passengers and how difficult flying and  travelling inside airports is for them. He also met people with disabilities at the airport to hear suggestions about how to make air travel more accessible to disabled passengers…

13. Saudi Grand Mosque enhances accessibility for people of determination with new facilities- May 26, 2024 Source: Gulf News- Dubai

a.    Inclusivity Rising: Dubai’s journey towards accessibility excellence- May 28, 2024 Source: Khaleej Times- Dubai

The General Authority for the Care of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Saudi Arabia is stepping up efforts to accommodate the people of determination, ensuring they can perform religious rituals with ease and comfort. The authority has specially equipped several areas within the grand mosque to better serve such visitors. These include three prayer areas for men and three for women, located strategically near entry and exit points to facilitate movement…

14. Accessible Indigenous ceremonies in Winnipeg like winning the lottery, Torontonian elder says- May 26, 2024 Source: CBC- Canada & Global News

Elder Melanie Marsden says participating in accessible traditional ceremonies in Winnipeg on Saturday was a long time coming. Marsden, 59, is a registered social worker who traveled from Toronto to be part of the All Spirits Gathering — an event that offered accessible water, pipe and full moon ceremonies at The Forks on Saturday evening. At one point in her life, Marsden was told she “would never be able to participate in ceremony” because she’s visually impaired, according to a news release for the event…

15. Family, leaders mark boardwalk opening in memory of David Onley- May 26, 2024 Source: CBC- Canada

Family, politicians and members of the community gathered in Toronto Saturday to mark the opening of Toronto Zoo’s new boardwalk in memory of late accessibility champion and former lieutenant-governor, David C. Onley.

Located in the Rouge National Urban Park, the accessible boardwalk will “serve as a constant reminder to Zoo staff, volunteers and guests about the importance of ensuring accessibility for all,” the zoo stated in a release. “For 26 years the Toronto Zoo has been a part of our lives with many family visits,” said Ruth Ann, Onley’s wife…

16. Blind Girls Aloud fan slams inaccessible Ticketmaster – Disability- May 27, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

A Girls Aloud fan says getting the tickets to their concert was such a stressful experience he nearly missed out on going. George Plumridge has retinitis pigmentosa and night blindness, and said the Ticketmaster website was “really inaccessible” and despite having all the tools he “just couldn’t do it”. He said he has successfully booked tickets for theatre shows at the West End as their websites use a separate accessibility platform, and said Ticketmaster should “take a leaf out of their book”…

17. ‘It’s just not helping:’ Preston Idea Exchange renovations ‘disappointing’ to accessibility advocate- May 27, 2024 Source: Cambridge Today- Canada

The $337,000 renovation to the exterior of the Preston Idea Exchange isn’t sitting well with some of the very people it was designed to help. Devon Sisak is the chair of the Cambridge Accessibility Advisory Committee (CAAC) for the City of Cambridge and is calling the new upgrades to the Cambridge library “disappointing.”  “I feel like with the Idea Exchange, we got 80 per cent of the way there, but the last 20 per cent really hurts,” Sisak said. According to the committee, they have noticed several problem areas with the recently completed work, including concrete that isn’t level, raised ledges that create tripping hazards and a lack of accessible parking…

18. Three GSRTC officials fined for lack of accessibility tools- May 27, 2024 Source: Times of India

In one of the first instances of a fine for non-compliance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016, the court of the commissioner (disabilities) recently fined three officials of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC). The officials were asked to act within 90 days or face a steeper fine. According to the order of the judgment accessed by TOI, the court had ordered suo motu in 2021 about compliance with the Accessible India campaign in public places…

19. How will tech and AI pave the way for a more inclusive world?- May 27, 2024 Source: The Edge- Singapore

Isn’t it frustrating when a mobile app isn’t user-friendly? This is a daily reality for people with sensory disabilities. As technology becomes more widespread, ensuring everyone can access digital solutions is crucial. “While we are seeing progress, many websites, mobile apps, videos, and documents are typically still not as accessible to persons with disabilities as they can be. This can be changed by riding the digital wave and embracing emerging technologies to make digital solutions e-accessible (or electronically accessible),” says Ron Loh, Deputy Chief Executive of SG Enable, the focal agency for disability and inclusion in Singapore…

20. Accessible disc golf challenge ‘Playing in My Shoes’ fosters empathy with various ability game play- May 27, 2024 Source: Castanet- Canada

Playing in My Shoes disc golf challenge is fostering empathy by encouraging various ability styles of game play, kicking off Accessibility Week. On Sunday, the ‘Playing in My Shoes’ accessible disc golf event got underway off at 29 different courses in B.C., with the main event held at the fully-accessible Pine park in Keremeos. “It’s to understand someone’s perspective and to transmit that to course design for disc Golf, for sports access to all sports,” said Dion Eden, founder of Playing in My Shoes…

21. 1 in 8 pregnant people have disabilities but face lack of accessible care: report- May 27, 2024 Source: CityNews- Canada & Mirage News & CAMH

A new report says one in eight people who are pregnant in Ontario has a disability, but many face barriers to accessible care, as well as disrespectful attitudes from doctors and other care providers. Lead author Hilary Brown from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences says people with disabilities have been overlooked in reproductive health care because of societal assumptions that they won’t have children. Brown says some disabled participants in the study told researchers that nurses and doctors assumed they wanted to get abortions when they were seeking pregnancy care…

22. UK vows action over hundreds of Ukrainians with disabilities vanished into Russia- May 28, 2024 Source: The Independent- UK

The British government has said it is “determined to hold to account” those responsible for hundreds of Ukrainians with disabilities, including children, believed to have been forcibly removed to Russian-held territory and Russia itself, after a special report by The Independent. In response to the 18-month investigation, the deputy foreign secretary, Andrew Mitchell, called the practice “despicable” and pledged further support to the disabled community in the war-wracked country…

23. The colours of accessibility: buses with new seats hit streets- May 28, 2024 Source: City of Winnipeg- Canada

Winnipeg Transit is rolling out new buses with features to improve accessibility. All new buses will now come with colour-coded priority and courtesy seating areas. The first bus with this feature is now in service, just in time for National AccessAbility Week. “It will make it easier to spot which seats are for passengers with disabilities,” said Teresa Platt, Winnipeg Transit’s Manager of Client Services. “It’s a great opportunity for us to remind other passengers to stand up for their fellow riders. That means giving up seats at the front of the bus to those most in need.”…

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