Michigan lawmakers vote to end most juvenile court fees, citing harms

By Lauren Gibbons: Complete Post through this link…

  • Michigan lawmakers approved bills ending most court fines and fees levied in juvenile courts 
  • It was part of a larger overhaul of the state’s juvenile justice system
  • The bills’ passage follows Bridge reporting on how some counties pass the costs of juvenile detentions onto families, leaving many in debt

Michigan lawmakers gave final approval to a series of bills overhauling the state’s juvenile justice system late Wednesday evening, including legislation that would eliminate most court fines and fees currently levied on youth and their families. 

The legislation, which will now head to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature, would keep mandatory crime victim payments and restitution, but eliminate most other references to fines, costs and assessments. They were passed with little debate as lawmakers rushed to finalize a slew of Democratic priorities before the Legislature adjourns for the year. The bills’ passage follows recent Bridge Michigan reporting on the financial burden fines and fees impose on juvenile offenders and their families.

Selma Blair Celebrates 7 Female Disability Advocates In The Chicest Way

By Kelby Vera: Complete Post through this link…

Blair graced the Glamour Women of the Year Awards wearing a custom cardigan that sent a message.

Selma Blair put the spotlight on leading disability activists during the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Tuesday.

While the actor was there to be honored for her own advocacy, she used her red carpet moment to recognize other women fighting for a more fair and accessible world.

Blair, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018, paid tribute to seven female disability activists by wearing a one-of-a-kind cardigan over her lacy dark blue Isaac Mizrahi gown.

The sweater’s designer, cashmere couturier Lingua Franca, noted on Instagram that the piece was hand-embroidered with the names of Alice Wong, founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project; Sinéad Burke, an Irish writer and activist; Keely Cat-Wells, disability rights activist and CEO of Making Space; Maria Town, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities; Andraéa LaVant, founder of LaVant Consulting, a disability-focused strategy and communications firm; and KR Liu, head of brand accessibility at Google.

Cellphones Are a Lifeline for Unhoused People—But Barriers Abound

By Moe Clark: Complete Post through this link…

A lack of internet access and charging stations makes it challenging for unhoused folks to maintain a working cellphone, posing a threat to their safety and ability to follow up with service providers or connect with employers.

As the sun started to set one early October day in Denver, nearly 100 people gathered by the side of Denver’s City Hall for Mutual Aid Monday, a weekly event for unhoused people to get hot food, camping gear, haircuts, and clothes. People sprawled on the grass to eat and chat as ’90s R&B music played from speakers on a table labeled the “Dork Energy Station,” which included a portable cellphone charging station—the latest addition to the weekly outreach event.

“We are out here to raise awareness for a permanent fix,” says Susan Law, a 37-year-old lawyer and volunteer at the event. “People need their phones.”

The idea for the charging station had been sparked a few weeks prior by Law’s friend, Kevin Campbell, at a mental health awareness meet-up in a park, called Dork Dancing. “He said, you know, the music is great, but it would be even better if folks could charge up at the same time,” Law recalled. Now, volunteers have around 30 chargers for people to use during Mutual Aid Monday as part of their pilot program, and they hope to one day install permanent charging stations around the city.

Cellphones can be a lifeline for unhoused people to be able to access critical services, stay connected to support systems, remain up to date on current events, and find upward mobility. But locating outlets to charge them, especially throughout the pandemic, has been a challenge. Many also struggle to pay their monthly phone bill, and phones can easily be lost, broken, or stolen while living on the streets—which can set people back by making it more challenging for them to follow up with service providers or potential employers.

“People tend to be able to access cellphones,” says Benjamin Henwood, a professor at the University of Southern California who directs the Center for Homelessness, Housing and Health Equity Research. “The problem is keeping the phones active.”

It’s estimated that over half of unsheltered people own cell phones, according to research by Henwood and others. But turnover—meaning the phones were lost or stolen within three months—was high.

Medicare Open Enrollment

From CMS: Click through for the full post…

When’s the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

Every year, Medicare’s open enrollment period is October 15 – December 7.

What’s the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. October 15 to December 7 is when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs.

How do people know if they need to change plans?

People in a Medicare health or prescription drug plan should always review the materials their plans send them, like the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). If their plans are changing, they should make sure their plans will still meet their needs for the following year. If they’re satisfied that their current plans will meet their needs for next year and it’s still being offered, they don’t need to do anything.

When can people get information about next year’s Medicare plans?

Information for next year’s plans will be available beginning in October.

Where can people find Medicare plan information or compare plans?

1-800-MEDICARE or Medicare.gov.

Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL)

From ACL: Complete Post through this link…

The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) helps people with disabilities get connected to information about local community resources that support independent living. Launched in 2021 to help people with disabilities access COVID-19 vaccinations, DIAL also provides information about essential services such as transportation, housing support, disability rights, and more.

Call or send a text message to trained staff.

Chat online with trained staff.

For Deaf and hard-of-hearing callers who use American Sign Language
Connect directly to an agent using ASL Now.

DIAL’s staff are trained to work with people of various communication abilities and will spend as much time as needed to ensure effective communication.

Philips Kept Complaints About Dangerous Breathing Machines Secret While Company Profits Soared

by Debbie Cenziper, ProPublica; Michael D. Sallah, Michael Korsh and Evan Robinson-Johnson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and Monica Sager, Northwestern University: Complete Post through this link…

Tainted CPAP machines and ventilators went to children, the elderly and at least 700,000 veterans despite internal warnings. Company insiders said the devices posed an “unacceptable” risk.

The first complaints landed at the offices of Philips Respironics in 2010, soon after the company made a fateful decision to redesign its bestselling breathing machines used in homes and hospitals around the world.

To silence the irritating rattle that kept users awake at night, Philips packed the devices with an industrial foam — the same kind used in sofas and mattresses. It quickly became clear that something had gone terribly wrong.

The reports coming into Philips described “black particles” or “dirt and dust” inside machines that pump air to those who struggle to breathe. One noted an “oily-like” substance. Others simply warned of “contamination.”

The complaints targeted some of the company’s most celebrated devices built in two factories near Pittsburgh, including ventilators for the sick and dying and the popular DreamStation for patients who suffer from sleep apnea, a chronic disorder that causes breathing to stop and start through the night.


By: Kristen Shahverdian, Samantha LaFrance: Complete Post through this link…

Earlier this month, when disability activist Alice Wong submitted her remarks for a virtual talk at Boston University’s School of Public Health, the school made an unusual request: to change what she planned to say. 

Because she cannot speak, Wong requires questions in advance of public appearances. This allows her to type answers ahead of time to more efficiently use a text-to-speech app. In her pre-written responses for her appearance at BU, she included the phrase “F U Dr. Fauci” and the names of several other public health officials she criticized.

Days before the scheduled talk, a school official wrote to Wong, asking that she change “F U Dr. Fauci” to “I disagree with Dr. Fauci” and to remove the names of the other officials. In doing so, the school inadvertently transformed a simple accessibility request into an opportunity to muffle the activist’s speech. 

The BU official claimed the request was in accordance with the School of Public Health’s speech guidelines, saying in an email to Wong that “we do not encourage calling out people who are not present” and “we do not lend our platform to speech that is non-rebuttable.”

In fact, the official free speech policy of the university does not include such civility clauses, but a blog from the dean of the Public Health School, which does not constitute official school policy, does. There, he explains his philosophy, which includes the idea that “We are under no obligation to provide a platform for speech which is not open to reasoned reply.”

Neuroarchitecture Comes to Hospitals in Recognition of Its Effects on Patients

By Dr. Patricia Farrell: Complete Post through this link…

ngd-In the late 50s or early 60s, a psychiatrist took a lot of mescaline and then moved into a state institution for mental illness. He said that the worst thing about it was that he could never find his bed, even if he only walked 30 or 40 feet from it. This was because there were absolutely no personal distingushing aspects to any bed in the institution. He was treated well by the patients, less so by the staff…

Hospitals have no need to be bland, sterile environments that fail to take advantage of new technology to improve patients’ care and emotional health.

The layout and construction of hospital rooms have a significant impact on how well patients receive medical attention and feel emotionally. This insight has led to a shift in hospital design that incorporates neuroarchitecture concepts. The goal of neuroarchitecture, a discipline that merges neuroscience and architecture, is to design spaces that have a positive influence on people’s cognition, feelings, and general well-being. Architects are planning “buildings based on the emotions, healing, and happiness of the user.” The considerable impact of neuroarchitecture in healthcare settings has been discussed in several papers, which highlight the value of thoughtful design in enhancing patient care and emotional well-being.

The idea to recreate traditional hospital design in a way that has a greater impact on the patient’s emotional life rather than simply the medical procedures was first championed by Jonas Salk after his visits to a hospital in Italy. While there, he noticed his changed feelings in terms of more creativity and inspiration, and he used this new change when he planned to build the Salk Institute in California. Design details included natural lighting, the use of color, vegetation, and the shapes of the building. These elements are being utilized by companies such as NAC ArchitectureNBBJPerkins & Will, the Brazilian Academy of Neuroscience & Architecture, and the Center for the Built Environment in California.

Improving mental health by training the suppression of unwanted thoughts

By ZULKAYDA MAMAT AND MICHAEL C. ANDERSON: Complete Post through this link…


Anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and depression markedly increased worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. People with these conditions experience distressing intrusive thoughts, yet conventional therapies often urge them to avoid suppressing their thoughts because intrusions might rebound in intensity and frequency, worsening the disorders. In contrast, we hypothesized that training thought suppression would improve mental health. One hundred and twenty adults from 16 countries underwent 3 days of online training to suppress either fearful or neutral thoughts. No paradoxical increases in fears occurred. Instead, suppression reduced memory for suppressed fears and rendered them less vivid and anxiety provoking. After training, participants reported less anxiety, negative affect, and depression with the latter benefit persisting at 3 months. Participants high in trait anxiety and pandemic-related posttraumatic stress gained the largest and most durable mental health benefits. These findings challenge century-old wisdom that suppressing thoughts is maladaptive, offering an accessible approach to improving mental health.