Archive for January, 2012

Dupont Circle south entrance to close Wednesday, Feb. 1, for escalator replacement

The south entrance of Dupont Circle station, located at 19th Street NW, will be closed through October, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 1, to allow for total replacement of three escalators with new, modern units.

The project is part of Metro’s multi-year, $150-million plan to improve escalator and elevator reliability. Under the current plan, 94 escalators are scheduled for full replacement over the next seven years.

The existing escalators, each 188 feet long and rising 85 feet to street level, are among the least reliable and most difficult to maintain of Metro’s 588 escalators. Originally installed in 1997, the current escalators are non-standard (they were custom built to fit in the narrow entrance that was originally designed for two units), and their manufacturer no longer makes escalators, making finding replacement parts near impossible.

During the project, the three existing escalator units will be demolished and removed from the site; the area beneath the units will be modified; and new, standard size, industrial-grade escalators will be installed. Due to the tight nature of the work zone, each escalator segment being removed and installed will travel on three separate cranes between the site and street level.

A full closure of the entrance is required to provide for customer safety while heavy lifting of escalator segments takes place in a narrow workspace. As a secondary benefit, closing the entrance will allow the work to proceed on a faster timeline than would otherwise be possible.

Crane operations at street level will necessitate occasional overnight closures of 19th Street NW.

Metro has worked closely with DC Fire & Emergency Medical Services on emergency preparedness and safety procedures for this project.

  • Metro will post escalator technicians and Metro Transit Police Officers at the station during all revenue hours to respond quickly to any incident and to ensure that escalators at the north entrance remain in service.
  • One escalator at the South Entrance will be preserved at all times as a "walker" (stairway) for emergency use.
  • A new staircase has been constructed in an existing vent shaft near the south entrance to provide an additional egress option in the event of an emergency.
  • Metro will stage an empty train in a holding track near Farragut North to respond to Dupont Circle in the event of an evacuation. This train will take the holding track (also known as a "pocket track") out of service for the duration of the project, which will limit some operational flexibility along the Red Line in the downtown area.
  • Long-term construction activity at Farragut North has been suspended to provide additional space for customers who opt to use that station as an alternate.
  • All escalator modernization work at Dupont Circle’s north entrance has been suspended so that all three units are available for customer use.

In the event of a service disruption that results in crowding conditions at Dupont Circle Station, Metro Transit Police may temporarily close the north entrance to maintain safety. In addition, it may be necessary for Red Line trains to temporarily bypass Dupont Circle until crowding conditions are resolved. During such disruptions, customers are advised to use Farragut North as their alternate or consider Metrobus or Circulator service.

For additional information, customers are encouraged to visit www.wmata.com/dupont.

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January 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm Leave a comment

George Mason University-Governor’s Proposed 2012-2014 Biennial State Budget Hearing

I was at George Mason University this past January 6th for the Regional Budget Hearing at the Johnson Center. Gary Viall, the Chair of the Virginia Association of the Deaf (VAD) and Cheryl Heppner, the Executive Director of Northern Virginia Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons (NVRC) testified that the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities worked very hard for many years to have Virginia Dept. of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) established.

However, Governor McDonnell proposes to consolidate three state agencies, VDDHH, Virginia Dept. of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) and Virginia Dept. for the Aging (VDA) into one central agency.

Of course, we are opposed to the idea because VDDHH is a vital agency for our citizens that would lose its identity in such a merger. It is the only agency on the state level that provides special services to individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. They’re staffed by specialists and possess the knowledge, communication skills and understanding of crucial needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people that one would be hard put to find elsewhere in state agencies.

Let’s hope that this provision will be eliminated from the Governor’s package.

“Advocacy, advocacy, advocacy…and not necessarily in that order!”

By Doreen Solar, Deaf Outreach Coordinator

January 28, 2012 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

Purple Communications Blog

I strongly encourage each of you to surf to www.purple.us or find Purple Communications on Facebook. Corey Axelrod continues his great commentary on Switched at Birth (Marlee Matlin’s show on ABC Family) and you can leave your comments on the last television episode, “Why is there a need to lash out at hearing people”? However, Corey says it is only until the show runs. We would love to read your comments.

Each Deaf/Hard of Hearing person has a different experience or reaction with hearing people. I grew up with a Deaf mother and a Hard of Hearing father. They both had many hearing friends. They encouraged me to get along with everyone whether they are hearing or Deaf. My father spoke fluently and got along with hearing people famously and my mother grew up with many close hearing friends in her neighborhood and stayed friends until she passed away. I never felt “different.”

I am the only Deaf employee at ECNV and everyone knows some sign language. I do not feel isolated or left out.

One time, a Deaf young professional whose parents are Deaf came here for a meeting with other Deaf professionals who provide services to Deaf/Hard of Hearing persons in Northern Virginia. Anyway, that lady asked if I was the only Deaf employee here and I replied “Yes” with a very positive look. She looked shocked and admitted that she refused to work with people unless they are Deaf. I was, of course, very stunned, but I explained that my parents always had hearing friends. Even to this day, I still have hearing friends and I owe my thanks to my beloved parents.

Of course, Deaf/Hard of Hearing people prefer to be grouped with other Deaf people because of communication accessible. Most are tired of communication barriers. I have learned how to overcome my deafness and advocate by educating the wider society about our culture. If we do not educate them, they will not understand our culture.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Outreach Coordinator

January 28, 2012 at 9:49 am Leave a comment

Writing to Legislators

The advocacy season is upon us and we realize that writing a letter to let your needs be known takes time and for some it can be intimidating; so here are five points to your letter, you can call us and we’ll be glad to discuss this.

  1. Start  with an “INTRO” – Talk about yourself as a caregiver, family member of a person with a disability, person with a disability, and/or advocate and let the person know who you are.
  2. TELL A STORY – Why are you writing (and be specific): to stop cuts, to ask hem to pass a certain bill, to add more services, etc. Try to find the exact language, exact bill or proposed action and use it in your letter.
  3. IMPACT – Remind them of the impact their decision/proposed cut or other behavior will mean for your life or the life of someone you care about.
  4. THANK YOU – Close with a thank you for taking the time to read your letter and for their service.
  5. SIGNATURE – Don’t forget your name and address!

Remember, always try to stay under one page. Lot’s of people may be writing and the readers time is limited. While there may be a lot of people concerned about the issues, NO ONE can tell your story better than you. Always send your letter through at least two of the following means: fax, e-mail, phone call, snail mail. Many offices have a public comment line so create a shorter version of your letter, simply read it over the phone to be recorded on the comment line.

Now that you are fully equipped to advocate, please get out there and let them hear your voice, it really does make a difference!

Article from the ECNV Declaration (Winter 2012 Edition)

January 28, 2012 at 9:09 am Leave a comment

The NewWell Fund

There are likely some Virginians with disabilities who could use a low-interest loan for assistive technology. Fortunately, there’s a program that provides them!

The NewWell Fund is a low-interest loan program that assists Virginians with disabilities to get the assistive technology they need; they also provide Telework loans for individuals working from home who need equipment for their business. Loans can be made to the person with a disability or to a family member.

While not an entitlement (meaning, not every eligible applicant will be able to get a loan), when the NewWell Fund reviews a case, credit issues related to one’s disability are overlooked and that can be a very big deal.

It means that if you had defaulted on a loan because of a disability, that would not be counted against you. NewWell loans may be used for home modifications, automobiles, Durable Medical Equipment (for example, a new wheelchair), and other types of technology that can be used to overcome some aspect of a disability (for example, hearing or vision aids, augmentative communication devices, prosthetics, et al.).

If this program sounds like something you might benefit from, ECNV encourages you to contact the NewWell Fund.

NewWell Fund
1602 Rolling Hills Drive, Suite 107
ichmond, VA 23229
Tel: (804) 662-9000 or (866) 835-5976
Fax: (804) 662-9533
E-Mail: atlfa@atlfa.org

Article from the ECNV Declaration (Winter 2012 Edition)

January 28, 2012 at 9:06 am Leave a comment

From the Editor

Being near the nation’s capital gives ECNV the ability to advocate where advocacy makes a difference! While advocating at events of national import is part of what ECNV does, another part is advocating on behalf of Virginians with Disabilities.

ECNV will be doing that on Feb. 8, 2012 and we invite you to take part as well. By joining us in Richmond or contacting your representatives some other way, you help us all!

We hope you get some good info about contacting your representatives from this newsletter. For info about joining us at the VA General Assembly or general info about contacting your representatives, contact Doris at ECNV.

By Tony Trott, ECNV Peer Mentor & Editor
Article from the ECNV Declaration (Winter 2012 Edition)

January 28, 2012 at 8:33 am Leave a comment

Justice Department Obtains Comprehensive ADA Agreement Regarding the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Developmental Disabilities System

Department of Justice logoDepartment of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of Public Affairs
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Justice Department Obtains Comprehensive ADA Agreement Regarding the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Developmental Disabilities System

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it has entered into a comprehensive settlement agreement that will transform the Commonwealth of Virginia’s system for serving people with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, and will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA and the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Olmstead v. L.C., individuals with disabilities have the right to receive services in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs. The ADA and Olmstead require states to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to live and receive services in the community instead of in institutions.

“As affirmed by the Supreme Court over a decade ago, people with disabilities should be given the same opportunities to participate in community life as those without disabilities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “This agreement will enable people in Virginia who have developmental disabilities to live successfully in their homes and communities. I commend Governor McDonnell for his long-standing leadership on this issue, and we will continue to work with states around the country, as we have with Georgia, Delaware and Virginia, to ensure that people with disabilities are given the choice to live in community-based settings.”

The agreement expands community-based services so that Virginia can serve people with developmental disabilities in their own homes, their family’s homes or other integrated community settings. The agreement will provide relief for more than 5,000 Virginians with developmental disabilities and will have an impact on thousands more individuals receiving developmental disability services. Over the next 10 years, Virginia will expand community services by providing home and community-based Medicaid waivers to nearly 4,200 individuals; providing family supports to 1,000 individuals currently living in the community; and expanding and deepening its crisis services, including a hotline, mobile crisis teams and short term crisis stabilization programs. This expansion will provide individuals the opportunity to transition successfully from its five state-operated training centers to community settings that can meet their needs and prevent new people from being unnecessarily institutionalized.

The agreement will also expand opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to live independently through a fund for housing assistance and enhanced coordination of existing rental assistance programs. Virginia will also offer other supports for community living, including supported employment. Finally, Virginia will implement a comprehensive, robust quality and risk management system to ensure that people are safe, receive the supports and services they need, and have opportunities for real community inclusion. The agreement is court enforceable, and compliance will be monitored by an independent reviewer with extensive experience in developmental disability systems.

The settlement follows a Department of Justice investigation of the commonwealth’s developmental disabilities system, from which the department issued a letter of findings on Feb. 10, 2011, that outlines violations of the ADA. During the investigation and while negotiating the settlement, the Justice Department met with a wide range of stakeholders throughout the commonwealth, including individuals living in the training centers and in the community, their families, nonprofit and for-profit service providers, community service boards, researchers and advocacy groups. The commonwealth worked cooperatively with the Justice Department to negotiate a settlement resolving alleged violations of the ADA.

The Civil Rights Division enforces the ADA, which authorizes the attorney general to investigate whether a state is serving individuals in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs. Please visit http://www.ada.gov/olmstead to learn more about the division’s ADA Olmstead enforcement efforts and http://www.justice.gov/crt to learn more about the other laws enforced by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The agreement in this case is due to the efforts of the following division staff: Alison Barkoff, Special Counsel for Olmstead Enforcement; Jonathan Smith, Chief; Benjamin Tayloe, Deputy Chief; Aaron Zisser and Jacqueline Cuncannan, Trial Attorneys; Joan Yost, Investigator; and Yvonnie Demmerritte, Paralegal Specialist.

12-111

Civil Rights Division

January 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm 1 comment

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