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The Journal Gazette

Monday, February 04, 2019 1:00 am


Arts United sets example for accessibility options

The Fort Wayne and Allen County Disability Advisory Council would like to shine a spotlight on the exemplary model of supporting the disability community demonstrated by Arts United with the recent snow falls and icy weather.

In discussing with their executive director, Susan Mendenhall, how isolating winter is for people with disabilities because of the piles of snow and treacherous sidewalks, she agreed to ensure that the blue post-accessible parking meter outside their building at Main and Barr streets would remain snow free. Their building crew has been diligent in clearing the mounds of snow between the street and the sidewalk to ensure clear access for the wheelchair ramp of any van as well as to clear a path from the driver's side to the sidewalk.

So much has been done to increase businesses and activities in the city. Arts United demonstrates that each business can do a little bit more to ensure all citizens, including those with mobility issues, have access to the richness of this growing community. We encourage all businesses to consider how they can be more welcoming and accessible during these winter months. Knowing that there is a clear path from the car to the door, especially from accessible parking spaces, can be what it takes to decrease the isolation that so many of those with disabilities feel during these cold and snowy days.

Patricia Hays

Fort Wayne

A moment of cheer amid winter's chill

I wanted to say “thanks” to the Red River driver who picked up our garbage on Jan. 29. Our street was iced over and the wind was howling badly. Our bin had blown into the street and was sitting backward with the lid open. I had just walked out to the curb and straightened the bin as the Red River truck turned onto our street. The driver must have seen me straightening it because he gave me a thumb's up and a big smile. It was a welcome gesture in this depressingly cold weather, snow and ice.

Thank you to him and everyone else who has to be out working in these really bad conditions.

Michael L. Noll

Fort Wayne

Wall rhetoric distracts from more direct threats

Rep. Jim Banks spoke recently in New Haven and continued to escalate rhetoric around immigration. He also misinformed the public by stating that no matter what President Donald Trump said, Democrats bore responsibility for the shutdown of our government.

This is blatant disregard for the fact that the president stated he would proudly take responsibility for shutting down the government over his demand for funding a wall. This is deep faking and points to how Trump soldiers purposely mislead their constituents.

Border security is a real issue, but physical barriers are not a panacea of protection. Blind focus on our borders, in fact, is limiting this country's larger list of security issues.

On Jan. 30, the intelligence community including Dan Coats outlined threats not being adequately handled by Trump and our legislators. Threats needing more focus include disinformation threats from Russia and China and Trump's inadequate perceptions of North Korea, Syria, ISIS and other world hot spots.

It is time for legislators such as Banks, Mitch McConnell and others to expend more time protecting the greater security of the people than the image of a self-obsessed president.

I leave with a biblical reflection that we all could benefit from as we sort through what is reality: “Their own opinion has misled many. ... Where the pupil of the eye is missing, there is no light, and where there is no knowledge, there is no wisdom.”

Nick Wilhelm

Fort Wayne