Thursday, August 31, 2017

September is Fall Accessibility Month!

Fall Accessibility Month sign, with illustration of a person in a wheelchair at the bottom of a flight of stairs, and an orange colored maple leaf

​Accessibility is a little like the weather. Everyone complains about it, at least in the disability community, but even we rarely do anything about it.

Do you see places around the North Country that aren't as accessible as they should be for people with disabilities? Would you like to do something useful to address the problem?

If you have a smartphone and / or access to a computer with an internet connection, we invite you to join our special effort this month to document the accessibility features of businesses in North Country ... starting with restaurants in the Plattsburgh area.

The first step is to download the AbleRoad app, or visit the AbleRoad website, and set up a free account. This will enable you to look up any business in the area and enter a star rating of its accessibility in regard to parking, approach and entry, counters and tables, restrooms, etc. These ratings will then be viewable by people with disabilities who want to know which businesses are accessible, which are not, and which have some accessible features but also some barriers.

For another overview of AbleRoad, watch this video:

Once you register with AbleRoad, call, email, or visit NCCI and we will give you a list of 5 restaurants to visit If you are ready to help, we will give you a list of 5 restaurants to visit. After you rate each place's accessibility using AbleRoad, let us know you are finished, so we can keep track of our progress. We can also give you another list of 5 restaurants if you want to keep going. And of course, you can also give accessibility ratings of any businesses you vist in your everyday. Each business rated in AbleRoad gives us a clearer picture of what's accessible and what isn't in the North Country.

To get started:

Call us at 518-563-9058
Or visit NCCI at 80 Sharron Avenue in Plattsburgh

Join us, and let's see how much we can get done in September!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Paratransit Hearings on September 13th, 2017

ACTION ALERT in bold white letters on a dark red background

The Clinton County Planning Department sent out the following press release, announcing two hearings on September 13, 2017, about their plan to eliminate paratransit and replace it with route deviation ...


P R E S S   R E L E A S E
Clinton County Public Transit

The Clinton County Legislature will be conducting two Public Hearings on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 in the Clinton County Legislative Chambers at 137 Margaret Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901; one Public Hearing will be at 11:00 am and the other public hearing will be at 7:00 pm. Both Public Hearings are for the purpose of considering the replacement of Clinton County Public Transit (CCPT) paratransit service with deviation of the regular CCPT routes. 

A draft plan for the deviation service design can be viewed online at or a hardcopy can be requested by contacting the Clinton County Planning Department at 518-565-4713.

Clinton County does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services.  In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, special accommodations, within reason and upon request at least forty-eight hours in advance of the meeting, will be provided to persons with disabilities.  Please contact James Bosley, Planning Technician, at 518-565-4713 or by email at to request a special accommodation for either hearing.


This is a map showing the areas affected by the proposed change:
We strongly urge people with disabilities who use paratrnaist services to attend one of these public meetings and describe how the proposed changes would affect you. You can also contact us here at NCCI and tell us how the proposed change would affect you and your access to reliable, accessible public transportation. You can call us at 518-563-9058.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Visit Our Social Media Spaces!

Painted style landscape of Lake Champlain with social media icons below, and text: North Country Center for Independence "Empowering people with disabilities"

As summer winds down and things are relatively quiet in terms of advocacy, this seems like a good time to remind everyone of the various ways you can connect with NCCI on the internet. Just click the links to visit, and be sure to "Like", "Follow," and "Share" these sites with other people who may be interested!

Home page icon

All about NCCI's mission and philosophy, services, programs, advocacy, news, staff, and board. Also visit an online events calendar, links to NCCI's social media, and a regularly updated blog with editorials and action alerts.

Email icon
Email Newsletter

Weekly information and updates on NCCI activities and disability issues, sent to a master list of email addresses. If you're not getting them already, click here to subscribe.

Facebook icon

Articles on disability issues and culture, shared daily, along with announcements of scheduled local events related to NCCI and disability matters.

Twitter icon

Short messages and links on disability issues and culture, shared daily. Follow us to get our tweets on your feed, and participate in disability conversations and scheduled chats.

Instagram icon

Photos and video of NCCI events and local disability-related activities. There are only a handful of photos up now, but expect more in the coming months.

YouTube icon

Original videos on NCCI, and shared videos from other sources on disability-related topics. We are working on some individual videos now that we hope to post soon.

GoFundMe icon

Online fundraising for specific NCCI projects benefitting people with disabilities in our area. Our current fundraiser is for the NCCI Homecoming Fund.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Within a couple of days of the shocking and violent march of neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, many disability organizations issued statements about it. For example:

NCIL Statement on the White Supremacist Violence in Charlottesville

AAPD Statement Condemning the Violence and White Supremacy of the “Unite the Right” Rally

ADAPT’s statement condemning racist violence in Charlottesville, VA

We at NCCI share and echo these sentiments.

For these organizations, their members and supporters, condemning the events in Charlottesville in very blunt, specific terms was an obvious thing to do. However, it may not be obvious to every disabled person or disability activist why this is so.

Here, then, are three reasons why a disability organization would speak out on an event like what happened in Charlottesville:

1. Disability intersects with other identities, communities, and issues. Lots of disabled people are also Black, Jewish, LGBTQ, and/or other identities that were explicitly targeted by the hateful rhetoric and actions of the alt-right, neo-Nazi, and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville. Even if disabled people weren't explicitly targeted as disabled people, members of our community certainly were. The disability community is uniquely diverse by definition, and we should all be ready to stick up for all of our brothers and sisters, even if some of us don't feel immediately, personally discriminated against or attacked.

2. Historically, far-right ideologies have NOT been friendly to people with disabilities. Actually, that is an understatement. To cite just one example, disabled people were systematically murdered by state doctors in Nazi Germany, specifically because of how disability was regarded in Nazi ideology. More broadly, ideology of any kind based on the superiority and dominance of one type of person over others almost never bodes well for disabled people, in any historical era. We don't have to have been explicitly named by the tiki-torch carrying racists in Charlottesville to feel legitimately threatened as people with disabilities.

3. Disabled people, and people who care about disability issues, aspire to be fully participating citizens who take full responsibility for what happens in our society. This is happening in our society. Those of us in the disability community also resolve to speak for ourselves, and not simply rely on the good will of others to "take care of us." Again, this means taking responsibility for addressing emerging threats, and not waiting for others to do it for us.

These facts are more than enough to justify and require us to speak out.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Action Alert: Urge Your Member of Congress to Co-Sponsor the TIME Act!

ACTION ALERT in white bold letters on a dark red background

This Action Alert comes from the New York Association on Independent Living ...

H.R. 1377, the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment, or TIME Act, would phase out Section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows employers to pay workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage. This would also force vocational rehabilitation agencies across the country to find meaningful placements for people with disabilities in which their abilities could be maximized and in which they could be successful and valued.

The TIME Act currently has no co-sponsors from New York. Let's get the New York delegation signed on to this important bill!


Email your Representative from Congress and urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 1377.

The following Representatives from NY signed on as co-sponsors last year, but have not yet signed onto the TIME Act, H.R. 1377 this year. Let's be sure to target these Representatives to sign on!

Rep. Louise Slaughter
Rep. Nita Lowey
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries
Rep. Peter King
Rep. Kathleen Rice
Rep. Eliot Engel
Rep. Nydia Velazquez
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
Rep. Paul Tonko

Click here to take action now!


Current Federal law allows the Secretary of Labor to grant special wage certificates to entities that provide employment to workers with disabilities, allowing such entities to pay their disabled workers at rates that are lower than the Federal minimum wage. The practice of paying workers with disabilities less than the Federal minimum wage dates back to the 1930s, when there were virtually no employment opportunities for disabled workers in the mainstream workforce. Today, advancements in vocational rehabilitation, technology, and training provide disabled workers with greater opportunities than in the past, and the number of such workers in the national workforce has dramatically increased. In the 75 years since this became law, studies have shown that fewer than 5% of over 400,000 workers with disabilities ever transition out of segregated, subminimum-wage, sheltered workshop settings to integrated, competitive employment. This outdated model does not provide workers with disabilities with useful, marketable skills to obtain competitive, integrated employment in their communities.

NCCI Twitter Recap - July, 2017