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School Tests High Tech Bus

A Rochester-area school district is the first in western New York to test what officials there are calling the latest student safety technology. The Brockport Central School District has equipped one of its school buses with global positioning system technology -- allowing the bus to be tracked instantly, anywhere along its route. Bud Lowell has more from Rochester.  Go to full article

Freestyle Kayaking Championship Returns to Watertown

For the second year in a row, Watertown will host a major freestyle kayaking competition this weekend on the Black River. Preliminary rounds start today at noon, with the semifinals Saturday, and the finals on Sunday. The event has had to cope with some bad luck. Earlier this summer, a boulder rolled into the wave the kayakers use to perform their tricks. And just two weeks ago, millions of gallons of cow manure floated down the river following a spill near Lowville. Organizer Jamie Mayer says the boulder was removed, the water's clean, and the kayakers aren't deterred. David Sommerstein attended last year's Blackwater Challenge and filed this story.  Go to full article

Tri-Lakes Score Funding in Pataki Visit

As part of his visit to Tupper Lake on Friday, Governor Pataki announced Quality Communities grants totaling $264,000 for more than a half dozen North Country communities.  Go to full article

Commentary: Disabled, or "Just Older"?

Jeff Reifensnyder, of the Massena Independent Living Center, thinks dropping the distinction could benefit senior citizens, and the disabled community.  Go to full article

Growing Older: Disability or Inability?

It's something we all face--growing older. For many of us old age will mean diminished eyesight, hearing, memory and mobility. The U.S. is aging fast. There are more people over 65 now than ever before, and the segment of population 85 and older is growing the fastest. A Georgia Tech study a few years ago found that the percentages of people with disabilities increases significantly with age: 14% by age 40, 30% at age 60, and 46% at age 70. Maintaining independence is a tricky part of growing older. Independence is important to people, but it's not always easy with diminished abilities. And as Todd Moe reports, it's not always easy to talk about, either.  Go to full article

At 44, Still Seeking Her Dream Job

Women with Turner's Syndrome--the disease affects only women--have a damaged X chromosome. Symptoms include infertility, depression and health problems, such as brittle bones and heart ailments. Rebecca Shaney lives in Watertown. She wasn't diagnosed with Turner's until she was 28. When she was 29, she got her master's degree in French. Rebecca is, in her own words, obsessed with French. She's always wanted to be a French teacher. She has taught after school and tutored and been a sub, but she's never landed a full time teaching job. Meanwhile she's cleaned offices, washed dishes, and cashiered. She's currently on disability for a broken hip. She lives well under the poverty line. Rebecca had another job interview this month; we gave her a tape recorder the week before. She brings us this audio diary.

UPDATE: We're proud to update this story. After 16 years of off and on searching, Rebecca Shaney found her first full-time French teaching position this summer. She'll be teaching at the Montessori School in Utica. She got the news in July, and immediately went down to training.

Rebecca will be making a second audio diary for us this September.  Go to full article
Craig Young
Craig Young

Getting a Job: A Success Story

Up to 70% of disabled Americans of working age are unemployed. Two-thirds of those unemployed say they want to work. But barriers to employment include accessibility of worksites, under-education, and public misperceptions about how capable people with disabilities are. And employers don't have time to devote to extra training some people may need. Craig Young is a success story...he's 20 years old, and store manager at the Family Dollar in Gouverneur. He says he couldn't have imagined holding the job a year ago. Greg Warner has his story.  Go to full article
The vigil for Cindy Sheehan in Potsdam.
The vigil for Cindy Sheehan in Potsdam.

North Country Vigils Call for End to War in Iraq

Hundreds of North Country residents gathered at village parks and post offices last night for candlelight vigils. They stood in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a slain soldier who's protesting outside Bush's ranch in Texas.  Go to full article
John and Aggie Pelletieri, his BOCES "1 on 1" aide
John and Aggie Pelletieri, his BOCES "1 on 1" aide

Disability Matters: For Disabled Students, Public School a Challenge and Salvation

Public schools are playing a bigger role in the lives of people with disabilities. Federal law requires that schools provide children and young adults with a free and appropriate education until the age of 21. Sometimes that means a therapist helping a student for an hour each week with a speech problem. In rare cases, kids need full-time, one-on-one assistance, or even a residential program. In New York state, roughly a quarter of the average school district's budget now goes to helping students with special needs. With education budgets strained and local property taxes a subject of controversy, spending for disability programs is often controversial. But as Brian Mann reports, new resources and better teaching strategies are helping young people achieve goals that once would have been inconceivable.  Go to full article

Free, Appropriate Public Education: Getting There Isn't Easy

Public schools are the crossroads where the community at large and people with disabilities meet. The ideal? Kids learn from each other about their differences and similarities; all reach their potential. Parents dreams are fulfilled. And the school budget passes with barely a ripple in the tax rate. But it isn't that easy. Martha Foley talks with Andrew Pulrang, of the North Country Center for Independent Living in Plattsburgh.  Go to full article

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