A whole year has passed since the first issue of ACCESS PRESS came out. The year has gone by very quickly for me and I believe the paper is improving with age. We have tried very hard to bring you the information you’ve wanted to hear and I hope we have accomplished that goal.
The next six months will be the turning point here at ACCESS PRESS. The community which we have tried to serve has been very supportive in their comments, and we now have to decide if the same community will continue to support us financially. Subscribers and advertisers keep us alive. Without them, this publication would not exist. Readers can help by using the products and services advertised here.
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The Regional Transit Board (RTB) has decided to ignore the majority of public testimony it heard in the last couple months in the proposed changes to the Metro Mobility Program. Scores of people told the RTB they could not afford the doubling of rates or cuts in service. Mr. Erlichmann, Chairman of the RTB was a self appointed champion of the ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act). It appears Mr. Erlichmann now regards this law as a great thing only when it is in his favor. The RTB is using one ADA rule to cut service, because mainline bus service is not available to these areas. Then, using a double standard, the RTB intends to increase rates in direct violation of another ADA rule. The ADA allows para-transportation to be twice the cost of mainline bus rates. If discount passes are available on mainline routes they must be available to the para-transit user. The cost of mainline bus service is $1.10 for peak hours and $0.85 for non-peak with many discount programs. The proposed rate for Metro Mobility users is $2.00 for under 8 miles and $3.50 for over 8 miles with no discount passes. Are the RTB and Mr. Erlichmann trying to prove they can do whatever they want despite what the people say or the law mandates? At one of the public meetings (Holmes Greenway, March 1991) Mr. Erlichmann invited someone from the disabled community to sue the RTB because they will not be in compliance with the ADA. What kind of an attitude is this from a person who is supposed to be serving the public and a friend of the disabled? You still may have a chance to stop this action. Call Mr. Erlichmann and the RTB; tell then you think this is unfair. The number is 292-8789, TDD 229-2715. Do it NOW!
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I had the pleasure of attending a performance of CREEPS, the play which took a look at the life of 5 men with Cerebral Palsy working at a sheltered workshop. Everyone involved with the production deserves the highest praise I can give. It was very funny in places and very thought provoking in others. I do wish the run of the play could have been longer and more people could have seen it. This kind of effort can bring about changes in attitudes which will improve everyone’s lives.
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A new column makes its debut in ACCESS PRESS. “Hello Nicole” is here to answer your questions. Send your questions to her at ACCESS PRESS. They can be on anything, from personal problems you may be having in your life, to the best places to get something fixed. Put Nicole to the test – ask her the hard questions. The thoughtful answer to this month’s writer is great and only the beginning!
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Thanks to Access/Minnesota and their parent, the Minnesota MS Society for agreeing to sponsor our Directory of Organizations. This is the kind of support we need to keep expanding our ability to be of service to you the readers.