Showcasing the DNR: Making Michigan’s outdoor recreation more accessible

By Diana Paiz Engle: For More Info, Go Here…

Nine seconds.

That’s all it took. Flat on my back, head raised slightly, core muscles straining as I rode a sled 20 miles an hour down the summer luge track at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park in West Michigan.

Nine seconds to travel 300 feet is fun for just about anyone. Speaking for myself, as someone with a disability, it was more than fun – it was a thrilling personal first.

The truth is that people with physical disabilities don’t often have opportunities to experience speed independently. People who use wheelchairs encounter a lack of both adaptive equipment and barrier-free environments.

People who are blind, as I am, face challenges that are not physical, but obstacles of people’s misconceptions.

My first summer luge experience took place after last week’s meeting of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Accessibility Advisory Council, whose members, appointed by the DNR director, represent disability communities, recreation organizations and industry, and other state government departments.

I was there as a member of the DNR Accessibility Team, an internal team that serves as a liaison between the department and the council. The council had gathered at Muskegon State Park to hear from park supervisor Greg Sherburn and Jim Rudicil, executive director of the winter sports complex, about existing accessibility features and future improvement plans.

Now in its 10th year, the summer luge is the world’s first universally accessible wheel luge track. It includes three different ways for people to transfer from a wheelchair or other mobility device to a sled at the top of the track.

“We want to meet the needs of all customers,” Rudicil said. “It’s an important part of our mission. We embrace the philosophy of universal accessibility and work to solve obstacles.”

Amid A Caregiver Shortage, People With Disabilities Are Filling The Gap In D.C.

By Elly Yu: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd- We will all be asked to help support our community as described in this piece to the extent we can in our common future…

After graduating from college in 2015, Antonio Myers, 25, had some trouble finding steady work. He was a marketing assistant at a nonprofit. Then, he became a mail clerk at a federal agency in D.C. He had two stints of unemployment — one that lasted about 15 months. In between jobs, he helped out at his father’s work.

None of these felt like the right fit.

“Not to dismiss the office world, but when I tried the office world, I was a little more distressed, because I wasn’t as altruistic as I naturally am,” Myers says.

Earlier this month, Myers enrolled at a training program to become a direct support professional at RCM of Washington, an organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Myers has seen DSPs, as they’re called, in action. He has autism, and he went to a school in Rockville for students with disabilities.

“I grew up in a world where I saw direct support all the time,” he says. “What DSPs do, I saw teachers and staffers do that. And I said, I want to do that too. I want to make outcasts genuinely smile.”

Myers is one of 12 students enrolled in “The DSP Academy,” a new program that was launched earlier this year to help people with disabilities train to become DSPs. As part of the six-week academy, students learn things like the history of disability rights, developing day plans for people with disabilities, and CPR. It’s funded through the D.C. Department of Disability Services, which refers prospective job candidates to the program. It’s an effort organizers hope will create jobs and fill a significant gap in caretaking.

ABLE: Coming to Amazon on September 12, 2019

From Youtube: For More Info, Go Here…

ABLE aims to fill a gap of missing conversations within the entertainment world.

In a series of quirky episodes, our hosts (Kallen Blair and Alie B. Gorrie) join various figures in film, television, theatre, and entertainment with real experiences in and with the disabled and neurodiverse communities to discuss how storytellers can create more representative and truthful narratives.

Guests include Ali Stroker, Danny Woodburn, Amy Buchwald, Maysoon Zayid, Evan Ruggiero, John McGinty, Christine Bruno, Ann Talman, Nicholas Linnehan, and Ben Dworken.

Able a Series

Video Discussions about Environmental Illnesses, “Sensitivities”, and Disability

From Seriously “Sensitive” to Pollution: For More Info, Go Here…

It’s not often that we hear people discussing chemical and environmental “sensitivities” and other environmentally linked chronic health problems and disabling  conditions, or how they relate in the bigger picture.

Two such discussions have taken place in August of 2019, and you can watch the videos below.

The first is a discussion that took place on August 5, 2019 with a group of people who shared their thoughts after viewing Marie LeBlanc’s presentation  of “WHO says we need fresh air?!”  at the WOW! Manitou (Wonder of Words) Festival .
(it’s a 49 minute youtube video)

The second is a discussion that was hosted by Sins Invalid and Health Justice Commons called “Crip Bits: Climate Chaos + Environmental Illness”
(it’s a 1hr 2 minute video on fb)

“WHO says we need fresh air?!” includes many slides with quotes from people who have developed  environmental illnesses (EI), environmental sensitivities (ES), multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS),  electromagnetic hyper sensitivities (EHS), lyme disease, toxic mold injury (and others), to create awareness of these disabling, environmentally linked conditions.

Here people discussed things that touched them in the presentation, as well as some of their own experiences.

Mixed Borrelia burgdorferi and Helicobacter pylori Biofilms in Morgellons Disease Dermatological Specimens

By Marianne J. Middelveen, Katherine R. Filush, Cheryl Bandoski, Rumanah S. Kasliwala, Anthony Melillo, Raphael B. Stricker, and Eva Sapi: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd- people with Morgellons symptoms have long been vilified as “nuts”, and I thought this article could go some distance in reducing devaluing of people because medicine can’t or won’t look for a cause…

Morgellons disease (MD) is a dermopathy that is associated with tick-borne illness. It is characterized by spontaneously developing skin lesions containing embedded or projecting filaments, and patients may also experience symptoms resembling those of Lyme disease (LD) including musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiovascular manifestations. Various species of Borrelia and co-infecting pathogens have been detected in body fluids and tissue specimens from MD patients.

We sought to investigate the coexistence of Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) and Helicobacter pylori (Hp) in skin specimens from MD subjects, and to characterize their association with mixed amyloid biofilm development.


New platform creates digital memorials for all veterans in national cemeteries

By ABBIE BENNETT: For More Info, Go Here…

A new searchable online tool from the Department of Veterans Affairs and National Cemetery Administration allows creates digital memorials for fallen service members buried in national cemeteries across the United States.

The Veterans Legacy Memorial is an online memorial space managed by the National Cemetery Administration, which oversees the 136 national cemeteries where 3.7 million veterans are interred.

The VLM creates a profile page for each service member.

To find a memorial profile, go to and search the name of your veteran, using their first and last name.

You can narrow your search by providing the veteran’s branch of service and the cemetery name, along with other information.

Each veteran’s page includes their name, dates of birth and death, last rank held, service branch, cemetery, address and contact information for the cemetery, section of the cemetery they are interred in and the date of their internment.

Upcoming features will include the ability to leave tribute messages, photographs and more to individual profiles.

“Veterans Legacy Memorial ensures ‘no veteran ever dies’ by honoring the legacy of our nation’s veterans, not just in our cemeteries, but in a new and innovative digital setting,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement announcing the new tool. “It enhances the onsite national cemetery experience and extends the experience to those who otherwise are unable to physically visit the cemetery.”

For more information, go to For assistance using the VLM, click here.

Disability Rights Leader Marca Bristo Steps Down as CEO of Access Living

From Access Living: For More Info, Go Here…

Marca Bristo, one of the country’s leading advocates for people with disabilities, stepped down earlier this week from her leadership role as CEO of Access Living, Chicago’s leading disability rights organization, which she founded almost 40 years ago. Bristo resigned due to her cancer prognosis and to have this time with her family. She will retain the title and responsibilities of president.

Executive Vice President Daisy Feidt has been named Acting CEO, and a search will soon begin to pick a new permanent CEO who will sustain Access Living’s national leadership.

“Access Living has a strong plan for interim leadership and combined with its talented staff, we can ensure it will remain a powerhouse in the disability community,” said John Schmidt, the organization’s incoming Board Chair who has been tapped to lead the search committee, and who is a partner at the Chicago law firm Mayer Brown LLP.

Bristo founded and built Access Living from the ground up, and the organization is a fixture in the disability community nationally. She’s a staunch disability rights advocate on the national stage who helped author the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990.

Bristo co-founded and served as the chair for the National Council on Independent Living for many years. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton and approved by Congress as chair of the National Council on Disability from 1994-2002— marking the first time the organization named a chair with a disability.

Then, as the vice president of North America for Rehabilitation International, she participated in the negotiation for the United Nations’ (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the UN adopted in 2006. As president of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, she led the fight for the United States’ ratification of that treaty.

Bristo has been honored with many distinctions including the Distinguished Service Award of the President of the United States; the Henry B. Betts Laureate, considered the Nobel Prize in the disability field; and the 1993 United Way of Chicago Executive of the Year Award.

Pharmacy Discount Cards 101

From America’s Pharmacy: For More Info, Go Here…

I just got a pharmacy discount card in the mail. How does it work?
-Karen S.

A lot of people get pharmacy discount cards in the mail. Sometime people are not exactly sure how they work, if they really are free, or if every pharmacy will accept them.

To answer Karen’s question (and maybe yours) here is exactly how these discount cards work. We’ve also included a couple tips and tricks to help you get the most out of them

1. Is a pharmacy discount card better than a pharmacy discount coupon?
No. They are exactly the same, and they work the the same way. Whether it’s a card, a printout, an app, or just some numbers on a screen, the pharmacist uses the same information: the member number, the group number, the RxBIN, and the PCN number. These numbers are all a pharmacist needs to see in order for you to get you your discount. Pharmacists use these combinations of number all the time, so they will absolutely know how to use them, regardless of the medium.

2. How exactly do I get a discount using a pharmacy discount card or pharmacy discount coupon?
Search for your prescription on
Prices vary from pharmacy to pharmacy; sometimes by a lot. You owe it to yourself search for the best price in your neighborhood. You can search our site anonymously, without commitment or registration. When you find the lowest price in your area, just click on the button that reads “get free coupon.” When the coupon comes up on your phone, show it to your pharmacist. It’s that easy.

3. Do I have to print the coupon?
Nope. You can if you like, but you can always just show your phone to your pharmacist. The pharmacist will know how to use the codes on the coupon. You can also get our app at . That works great too – you have our whole site and the coupons all together on your phone.

4. How do I start using the pharmacy discount card or pharmacy discount coupons?
The next time you get a prescription filled, just show your card or coupon to your pharmacist, or use the America’s Pharmacy app. That is all there is to it. Your pharmacist will know how to use our program. It’s that easy to begin saving. Remember, you don’t have to pay to use our service, or even register.

5. Do I get a better deal using a pharmacy discount card than if I used my insurance?
You might. It is certainly worth finding out. Just go to and search our prices at your local drug stores, then compare them to what you are paying with your insurance.

6. What about Medicaid?
If you have Medicaid, you should use Medicaid. Medicaid will have the best prices available.

7. I see ads about these cards being good for pets. Is that true?
It is true, these cards are great for pet medication if you’re picking it up at your pharmacy. A lot of pet medication is the same as human medication, but pet insurance rarely provides discounts on medication. Most people almost always pay the highest prices for our pets’ medication. Fortunately, you can use the America’s Pharmacy card to get discounts on your pets’ medication as well. You might be surprised by the savings.


Prenatal pesticide exposure linked to changes in teen’s brain activity

By Kara Manke: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd- Nerve weapons, like Sarin, are also organophosphates. Modern OP insecticides do the same thing as nerve weapons but with lower strength and less duration. In a high enough dose, they will kill, and the commercial insecticides that were available in the 1950s did just that to a lot of farmworkers. Dow employees who worked with organophosphate insecticide production were tested weekly for evidence that the substance was affecting their basic biochemistry. They are nothing to fool around with…

Organophosphates are among the most commonly used classes of pesticides in the United States, despite mounting evidence linking prenatal exposure to the chemicals to poorer cognition and behavior problems in children.

A new study led by University of California, Berkeley, researchers is one of the first to use advanced brain imaging to reveal how exposure to these chemicals in the womb changes brain activity.

The study, which appeared this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used functional near-infrared imaging (fNIRS) to monitor blood flow in the brains of 95 teenagers born and raised in California’s Salinas Valley, where agricultural spraying of pesticides is common.

Compared to their peers, teenagers estimated to have higher levels of prenatal exposure to organophosphates showed altered brain activity while performing tasks that require executive control, the study found.

“These results are compelling, because they support what we have seen with our neuropsychological testing, which is that organophosphates impact the brain,” said Sharon Sagiv, associate adjunct professor of epidemiology at UC Berkeley and lead author on the study.

The teenagers were part of the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas(CHAMACOS), a longitudinal study examining the effects of pesticides and other environmental toxins on childhood development. The study was initiated by UC Berkeley investigators more than 20 years ago. Previous CHAMACOS work has linked prenatal organophosphate exposure with attention problems and lower IQ in children.

They found that teens with higher prenatal organophosphate exposure had less blood flow to the frontal cortex when engaged in tasks that test cognitive flexibility and visual working memory, and that they had more blood flow to the parietal and temporal lobes during tests of linguistic working memory.

10 Suspicious VA Hospital Deaths Under Investigation, One Ruled a Homicide: Report

By Donovan Slack: For More Info, Go Here…

Authorities are investigating a string of about 10 suspicious deaths of patients, including one ruled a homicide, at a Veterans Affairs hospital in West Virginia out of concern they were targeted, according to three people familiar with the probe.

In October, the body of Felix Kirk McDermott, an 82-year-old Army veteran who died last year at a VA hospital in Clarksburg, West Virginia, was exhumed and brought to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

A federal medical examiner conducted an autopsy and concluded that McDermott’s sudden death on April 9, 2018, was caused by an injection of insulin into his abdomen – which can kill someone who is not diabetic.

There was no order for the injection in McDermott’s hospital records, and he had no history of diabetes or insulin use to control his blood sugar levels, according to the autopsy report.

“It’s just not right,” his daughter Melanie Proctor told USA TODAY. “I thought my dad was safe there.”

Proctor, whose father had dementia, and her lawyer said investigators with the VA’s Office of Inspector General told them his death is one of about 10 they are reviewing, a figure confirmed by a person briefed on the federal investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Proctor said they told her the other veterans were “all about in the same shape,” and they all received suspicious doses of insulin.

Authorities are investigating a “person of interest” in the case, according to the office of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and a claim filed with the VA by McDermott’s family.