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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

Plattsburgh Airport Marketed as Montreal's U.S. Airport

Officials broke ground yesterday on a new passenger terminal on the site of the old Plattsburgh Airforce Base. Locals hope the ten million dollar Federally-funded project will help to create a new transportation hub in the region. The military base closed ten years ago, costing Plattsburgh hundreds of jobs. As Chris Knight, supporters say the new airport will benefit the city and could offer new options to travelers in the Champlain Valley and the northern Adirondacks.  Go to full article

Audio Diary: Learning to Live Without Sight

Elizabeth Folwell is an editor of Adirondack Life magazine. She lost her sight unexpectedly... She'll be sharing her audio diary over the next year.  Go to full article
Wil Hansen in his Ford Contour.
Wil Hansen in his Ford Contour.

Disability Matters: Freedom and Independence in a Hand-Controlled Car

Wil Hansen got his driver's license on the third try when he was in his mid-20s. He has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. It mostly affects his legs. He drives with his hands. He and his dad installed a $450 hand control system in his Ford Contour in just a couple of hours. Wil took David Sommerstein for a demo to the gas station and the bank.  Go to full article
George Howard
George Howard

Disability Matters: Everyday Challenges in Getting Around

How many times have you heard this: "If you don't have a car, you can't get around in the North Country." Buses are few and far between. Taxis are scarce and expensive. Most towns are not designed with the pedestrian in mind. It can takes hours, or even a whole day, to run an errand or make an appointment that in a car would take minutes. And limited transportation options restrict job opportunities. For people with disabilities, and especially people who use wheelchairs, these problems are magnified. Accessible vans and ambulettes are plentiful for Medicaid funded trips to the doctor or case manager. But there are few - if any - options for the errands and visits and excursions of everyday life. People with disabilities are too often restricted to their homes, isolated from and invisible to their communities. As part of our series Disability Matters, David Sommerstein reports on one man's efforts to get around on his own.  Go to full article

Emerging from a History of Institutions

Martha Foley talks with Aileen Martin of the Center for Independent Living in Watertown about the changes in thinking and policy surrounding people with disabilities, and how things have changed in the last 40 years.  Go to full article

Disability Matters: Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

This week, during The 8 o'clock Hour, we'll hear again stories of living with disabilities in the North Country. This series first aired in April, to begin a year-long project called Disability Matters. To start our series, we look at everyday life. First, we meet Casey and her family. Casey's a little person; she was born with achondroplasia dwarfism. In just the last year, they've retro-fitted the kitchen and bathroom to give her more independence at home. It may be like dropping a pebble in a pond. Martha Foley has their story.  Go to full article

Black River Cleanup Continues

A massive spill of liquid manure in the Black River flowed slower than expected this weekend. Three million gallons of cow waste entered the river last week when a wall in a holding lagoon burst on Marks dairy farms south of Lowville. Hundreds of thousands of fish were killed. The Hudson River/Black River Regulating District released extra water from Stillwater Reservoir on Friday to help move the manure into Lake Ontario. According to News 10 Now, kayaking, rafting, and fishing outfitters along the river had to cancel hundreds of reservations. Steve Litwiler is a spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Conservation, which is handling the spill. He spoke with Todd Moe.  Go to full article

Disability Matters: At 22, Moving Out

"Group home" is a loaded term. They've been criticized for being too large and impersonal, encouraging neglect or dependence. One alternative is the Individual Residential Alternative, known as an IRA. In an IRA, four to six disabled people will live together in a regular house, with 24-hour staff to take care of them.

There's a new IRA that just opened up in Potsdam for four women. Each of the women has some kind of developmental disability. Amber Treise is cognitively impaired and legally blind. It's not the first time she's tried to live alone. Gregory Warner joined Amber this past April as she checked out her new house for the first time.  Go to full article

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