SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2017
Welcome to the Summer of 2017! We are on the road again traveling in our RV. Some of the RV parks are very accessible to those of us with disabilities and some are not. Before you book any State or Federal Park or RV Park be sure to call ahead and find out how accessible they will be for your particular disability.
Camping World has a great book that lists all the States, their State Parks and their RV Parks. The book includes amenities, prices and phone numbers. When we find a Park we like, we make reservations a year in advance. The book sells for less than $10.00 and if you are an AARP, Camping World, or AAA member, you can save even more. There are several things to think about when you are thinking about accessibility. Is the place mostly dirt and gravel or do they have concrete pads for your RV. And what about getting around with canes, crutches, scooters or wheelchairs? My scooter does not go well in sand, dirt, gravel or big rocks.
The book tells you about each Park and will often say, “Partially Handicapped Accessible.” When you call to make reservations, ask exactly what that means. It can mean anything from a concrete slab to park your RV to the entire Park is concrete and the bathrooms are totally accessible as well. I have created a kind of Star System for the Parks we like. The following is my Key, but you can make your own key once you have been to a couple of Parks.
1* Not a place to go again. Not accessible, the bathrooms probably haven’t been cleaned since Eisenhower was President and too many kids and animals running amok!
2** Might go again because it was a fairly nice Park even if it wasn’t very accessible for me. (I use an electric Scooter, a cane or crutches.)
3*** Great Park with lots of amenities, concrete throughout, privacy at your site, beautiful views and accessible in the Park and in the clean and user-friendly bathrooms.
4**** The best of all worlds! Very accessible throughout the Park. Not overly expensive, close to fun things to see and visit, bathrooms set aside just for people with disabilities and great owners who are always there to serve you! (Haven’t found any of these yet!)
I would love to hear from other people who have traveled and stayed in any of the Parks regarding your experiences and thoughts. We can all help each other and at the same time have a good time. Where you want to stay also depends on your own individual tastes and desires. My husband and I choose not to stay in the public parks where there are an overabundance of small, screaming children and loud, barking dogs! If you love chaos and craziness, this may suit you fine!
Reports from the Governor’s Committee states that there is still high unemployment among people with disabilities and a lack of accessible housing as well. Also, the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing are having to fight to keep Close Captioning for movies, TV, news reporting and real time programming. Deaf and H-o-H people must also fight for Interpreters for Doctor, Dentist visits and when they need prescriptions or help with other things those of us who can hear take for granted. The federal Government wants to give the individual states the ADA choices and regulations. They want out of the business of deciding how the states should rule on ADA cases. This would be a bad precedent to set! Individual states can then make their own decisions about following the ADA regulations, meaning that some states would be 'good' for us and some states would be 'bad' for us. There are some things that just plain need federal laws and oversight in order to benefit all Americans.
This leads me to an issue I just had with Ticketmaster trying to order tickets to a concert. I had not done this in quite a while. When I first typed in “Ticketmaster” in my browser, I got three other ticket sites that were not Ticketmaster! They all were selling tickets to the concert and the tickets were not good tickets! Some were as much as $2,500.00 for tickets as close as the third row! But, you would get to the Tacoma Dome for the concert, and your tickets would be no good! After 6 phone calls to various ticket sellers, I was told I would have to call the Box Office to get accessible seating. I called the box office at the T-dome several days before the tickets went on sale. Fortunately, I spoke to someone who was very helpful. He directed me to the “real” Ticketmaster site and told me what I had to do.
The day the tickets went on sale, I called the number they gave me and the cheerful, electronic voice said there was an extremely high volume of calls and I would have to call back later and hung up on me. I called a second phone number and got a busy signal 4 times. I kept hitting redial and finally got a ring. I had to wade through their prompts to get to accessible seating and then wait 6 minutes for a person to answer the call. The connection was horrible! He could hear me but I could not hear him. It sounded like he was underwater! I ordered tickets, paid by credit card and hung up the phone. There was only one accessible ticket left on the floor in row 38. I was assured my husband would be seated next to me and we would be able to see the concert! I was not convinced!
The next day, the person I spoke with in the T-dome box office called me to see if I was able to get tickets. I told my tale of woe and she was able to change my tickets for a better row. She also told me that the Ticketmaster salesperson had sold me tickets in two different places! Argggggggghhhhhhhhhh! The woman in the box office exchanged my tickets for two together in a place we will be able to see the concert.
What can we do as people with disabilities to get the same access as able bodied people?
1. Call ahead of the event to get the correct information.
2. Call the box office of the venue to ask for information.
3. Join a law suit against Ticketmaster. Or file your own lawsuit against Ticketmaster.
The good news is that I received the tickets and they were correct! I will have more information in a future Newsletter about tickets and Ticketmaster. You can write to DAHRT and tell us your experience with tickets and we will respond.
We hope you all have a wonderful Fall and Winter. Stay warm and safe. Included are a few websites you may find of interest.
Welcome to 2017!
DAHRT has a new Web Page, new items for PWDs (Persons With Disabilities) and a new, current Newsletter. Please enjoy some of our free literature. Make a donation, look at our T-shirts, products, and stickers. We are here to help you with products, services, and information.
Please check us out on the Web at: www.dahrt.org.
We only have a month or so until Spring! The Winter has been long, cold and dreary for many people with disabilities. I hope you all got your Flu shots this year. It was a good match. Did you know that there are 3 different Flu Shots?One is the regular shot. One is called the Quad and has one more ingredient added to the regular shot. The last one is for people over 65 with immune issues. It is like the Big Kahuna and should help prevent those of us with poor immune systems. Ask your Doctor which one is best for you.
DAHRT carries advertising from various sources in our Newsletter. We do not endorse nor recommend any services or products. We merely try to carry as much information as possible to make you aware of services and products available to you as a person with a disability and special needs. We are always looking for new products and helpful hints for people with disabilities.
So, please feel free to share your suggestions and ideas with us. Also, ask us if we haven’t supplied you with the information you need and we will do our best to help you.
Please read about Zoey further down this page. This little cutie could use your help as well as ours. For our part, any sales from our Sales & Donation page on www.dahrt.org will go to help Zoey.
Most of you here in Washington, are aware that the new parking laws are in effect. You can download information about the parking for people with disabilities from the local or national ADA website. Please pass them along to other people with disabilities and keep one for yourself. Also, if you are sick and tired of able-bodied people parking in the disabled spots because they, “are only there for a minute!” please buy some of our Jerk stickers for those people who continue to ignore the law or when you want to leave a “not-so-gentle” reminder on those violator’s cars. Buy some and support our cause. More and more cities have their own Volunteer Parking Enforcement people who will patrol parking lots looking for violators. Some of the cities here in Washington state are; Bellevue, Auburn, Burien, Poulsbo, Puyallup, and Renton.
Seattle is still working on theirs, and other cities are watching to see how the volunteer patrols work out. If you are interested in being a volunteer in your city, call your local law enforcement office and ask for the person in charge of Disabled Parking Enforcement. The set-up costs are minimal. Depending on the city, volunteers go through an application process, a background check and a lie detector test. Then, somewhere between 20 and 40 hours of training. Once this is completed, the volunteer is issued a shirt, identification card and/or badge and a book of tickets. The tickets carry the same weight as if they were written by any police officer. The state-wide fine is $250. However, the particular entity has the option of adding another $200, making for a possible total of $450.
Some cities pay reimbursement for gas and time, others leave the costs up to the volunteers. Also, some cities provide cars for the volunteers, ask them to use their own cars or have them ride with the police because of insurance and liability costs. Whatever the process, DAHRT is delighted that something constructive is finally being done about those people who park where they don’t belong! Please lend your time and support to this most worthy endeavor. Also, carry a camera in your car and take pictures of violators and send the pictures to the DMV. Another also ... if you know of someone who has a placard from a disabled person who has passed away and they are using the placard illegally, please report the number on the placard to the DMV.
If you are a person with a disability and your placard or plates are up for renewal, you will need to fill out a one page form and then take the form to your Doctor to complete. The form must be filled out completely, and you will need a prescription as well, to take to the local place where you get your License tabs. DAHRT has these forms available if you need them. Your Doctor’s Office also should also have them. They can also be downloaded from the Internet. We all need to be responsible for helping to keep violators from using these placards illegally and keeping up-to-date on the newest laws. If we are all honest and vigilant, we can stop much of the abuse and illegal activity!
* Please don’t forget to display your placard on the mirror or dashboard when you are using the disabled spots. If you forget, you can be ticketed, just like the able-bodied violator. The rules apply to everyone! If the PWD is ticketed, he/she can contact the ticketing agency to find out how to have the ticket forgiven. And remember, the crosshatch spaces are NEVER for parking, they are for access to and from vehicles only!
All states DMV info here: http://www.dmv.org/disabled-drivers.php
Sad but true facts that you need to be aware of at the moment.
A number of Congressional members are trying to change many of the laws that apply to people with disabilities and are directly related to the ADA. (Americans With Disabilities Act) The following notices have come across the DAHRT desk in the last few months.
ONE: Government officials in Washington DC are still working on changes to the law. Many of our most influential representatives want to abolish the ADA as it stands. They want to make the ADA a state-by-state law. Much of the dissent comes from states in the South! Able-bodied people are making these decisions because they feel it is costing the various states too much money and there aren’t that many disabled people to benefit from the laws! Can you count to 50 million? I guess they can’t.
TWO: The Deaf community is worried because the FCC still wants to abolish Close Captioning on TV and at the movies. Again, they say it is the cost and the lack of people using the service. Please speak up if you use these services. One voice through a call or a letter counts for many! This applies to churches as well.
THREE: The judges in our courts are still being very unsupportive of many issues that will affect people with disabilities. Some employment, access and school discrimination cases that won in the lower courts are being overturned in the appeals process. It is not so much on the state level as the federal courts. This is scary!
We need to stand united in our efforts to keep equal rights for people with disabilities. If you witness an injustice, please do not just walk away and ignore the situation. You need to tell the managers of any restaurant, theater, hotel, store etc., what the problem is for you as a person with a disability.
Then, get the owner’s name and send the complaint to the owner with a deadline for fixing the problem. DAHRT has forms that can be used, or if you don’t want to get involved, call us and we will help you with the problem.
When we lose in the courts, we lose for all people with disabilities. Greyhound won so many rounds and delays in the courts that it is doubtful if the busses will ever be fully accessible and in compliance. The same is true for cruise ships and airplanes. They only fall under the jurisdiction for ADA compliance if they are registered in the US. Most cruise ships are registered to foreign countries and therefore do not have to be accessible. Businesses are trying harder and harder today to not be accessible more than ever before. We all need to be diligent if we are even going to keep the laws we already have in place.
Please write your representatives and let them know how you feel.
You can call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the automated voice instructions. If you have difficulties, the switchboard operator can help.
Also, please vote. (DAHRT recommends that you vote by absentee ballot.) As a voter, you have a right to be heard and to make your vote count!
DAHRT still has all those wonderful stickers you have bought and loved. We also have new T-shirts, sweatshirts and bags that say, “Attitude is the only ‘Real’ Disability”. These are very popular. We did not do 2017 Calendars this year because of the costs. But, visit our Web Page or call and buy some of your old favorites.
DAHRT is very happy to celebrate our 24th year as advocates for people with disabilities! We have been around since September 1993 causing an irritation to lots of folks! We thank you for your past support and patronage. We hope to be around helping people with disabilities for many more years.
Please help us in this effort. We are a “grass-roots” organization and survive on donations, small grants and volunteers. We can always use more help. If it has been awhile since you paid dues or made a donation, please help us out by sending us a donation of money or time. Also, we always need more volunteers for our Christmas Party in December. If you can help, please call and let us know. We are deeply appreciative of all your help and support.
Please use the half-sheet below to respond. And don’t forget to include your current and correct address and phone number complete with area code.
Thanks again, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!
Also, let us know if you would like a printed copy of our Newsletter and whether you would like it in regular or large print.
HOW TO HELP DAHRT AND RECEIVE FUTURE NEWSLETTERS
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Meet Zoey! She is an adorable 6-year-old with a gait and seizure disorder. Her mother,
Sarrah Carpenter, recently reached out to Kersey Mobility to rent a van for a special trip.
In talking with our fabulous rental coordinator, Traci, Sarrah had the opportunity to learn
about Vantage Mobility International's (VMI) Go Fund Me Campaign. Sarrah has been
lifting Zoey in and out of a non-wheelchair-accessible van for quite a while. This means
that Zoey is without her chair whenever she is not at home. The Carpenters are to a point
where they need a wheelchair-accessible van but they do not have the funds to make this
happen. This is where Kersey Mobility and VMI are able to help. The Go Fund Me page
was set up by Linda in sales and VMI will contribute $1000.00 to the purchase of a
wheelchair-accessible van. Read about Zoey's story, donate if you can, and most importantly,
please share her Go Fund Me with anyone and everyone.
Our quarterly newsletter will be posted here.
The DAHRT Dispatch
Disabled Americans Have Rights Too