New Travel (TSA) toll-free helpline
Are you a person with disabilities who likes to travel? The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced the launch of TSA Cares today, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, prior to getting to the airport. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
“TSA Cares provides passengers with disabilities and medical needs another resource to use before they fly, so they know what to expect when going through the screening process,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole. “This additional level of personal communication helps ensure that even those who do not travel often are aware of our screening policies before they arrive at the airport.”
When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger’s specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA. TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary.
Every person and item must be screened before entering the secure area of an airport and the manner in which the screening is conducted will depend on the passenger’s abilities and any specific equipment brought to the security checkpoint.
VSA calendar seeks support
For more than a decade, the VSA Minnesota Accessible Performance Calendar (part of which is used by Access Press) has publicized arts events that offer ASL interpreting, captioning, audio description, or other accommodations. Major cuts to the national VSA program which paid for this outreach means VSA Minnesota is looking for ideas, sponsors, volunteers or other means to continue this service.
Anyone with suggestions, or who wants to say how this service and VSA’s accessibility advocacy is important to the community, should email ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (612) 332-3888 or 800-801-3883, voice/TTY. The current arts calendar can be seen at www.vsamn.org/calendar
Enjoy a movie tonight
Several theaters around the state offer accommodations for movie-goers, such as captioning or descriptive services. www.captionfish.com lists cinemas with access (AD/CC) features. Find theaters in your area by typing in your zip code. MoPix-equipped Rear Window Captioned Films are listed at: ncam.wgbh.org/mopix/nowshowing.html#mn
Accessibility improvement grants available
ADA Access Improvement Grants for Metro Arts Organizations are now available in the Twin Cities seven-county area. The focus of these grants, up to $15,000 each, is to help make arts programming, activities and facilities more accessible to people with disabilities.
Made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, the grant program is administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC). Over the past two years $440,785 was awarded to 36 Twin Cities organizations.
In 2012 approximately $180,000 is available to be awarded over two rounds, with application deadlines on Feb. 17 and May 11. A series of information meetings will be announced shortly.
The project grants are not intended for one-time activities such as a sign language interpreter or a Braille program for one play, but to have the potential for significant or long-term impact in involving more people with disabilities as participants or patrons in arts programs.
Minnesota nonprofit arts organizations in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties are eligible if their annual budget is under $4,460,000. Download 2012 grant guidelines and application at www.vsamn.org/forms.html#adagrant Or contact VSA Minnesota at (612) 332-3888 voice/TTY or