Monday, December 26, 2016

How About A Year End Donation?

Picture of a plant in a pot with a green dollar sign in the leaves with a hand pouring water from a watering can
It’s never fun to ask for money, but with 2016 almost over, you might actually be thinking about making a year-end donation or two to organizations and causes you care about. So, this is just a quick, friendly reminder that you can donate to the North Country Center for Independence.

Donations to NCCI are tax deductible, and individual donations are extra helpful because those funds are generally more flexible than the money we get from government and foundation grants. That means we can use donated funds to make our offices and programs more welcoming, and helps us respond to unexpected needs and opportunities.

You don’t have to donate a lot to be of help. You can make a one-time donation or set up a recurring contribution. It’s easy. Just click the link here to our Donation Page, where you can donate online.

Thank you, and have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2016

About Action Alerts

Action Alerts in large, white capital letters on a plain burgundy background
Every so often, NCCI sends out an Action Alert ... here on this blog, on Facebook and Twitter, and by email.

Action Alerts are announcements of very specific steps we would like you to take to help us achieve some kind of needed change in disability-related policy.

For example:
  • Restore or increase funding for a disability-related program, like independent living centers or home care.
  • Change rules for a disability program to make services better or easier to get, like making it easier for people with disabilities to hire their own personal assistants.
  • Oppose changes in disability policy that would make it harder to get services, maintain equal access, or secure basic civil rights.
Most Action Alerts are about issues happening in New York State. These usually come from the New York Association on Independent Living, a state-wide organization that NCCI is a member of, that coordinates disability issue advocacy among the Independent Living Centers in New York State.

Other Action Alerts may deal with national issues, through national disability organizations like the National Council on Independent Living. And, once in awhile, we will send out an Action Alert about an important disability issue here in the North Country.

Action Alerts usually include:
  1. A brief summary of what we want to happen or not to happen.
  2. Background information on the issue, how it has evolved, and what the stakes are for people with disabilities.
  3. Quick, simple ways that you can make your opinion known to the people responsible for the issue.
Please do take the time to read through Action Alerts when you see them, and respond in the best ways you can. Disability issues are often complex. Policy-makers and elected officials don't always know what works well for people with disabilities and what doesn't. It's always important for citizens to give feedback on important policy matters, but it's even more important for people with disabilities to stay actively involved in issues that are specifically about disability.

Who knows better than people with disabilities what disability policies and programs should look like?

Of course, if you have any questions about Action Alerts, just give us a call or leave a comment. We are happy to discuss any of these issues with you.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Telephone Extensions

Illustration of a 3-D white stick figure holding the handset of a red rotary telephoneNCCI has a new phone system!

When you call, you will now hear recorded messages that will lead you to specific staff member and program extensions, or to voicemail boxes to leave messages. One of the goals of the new system is to make NCCI's offices quieter by eliminating loud phone ringing. It is also designed to make sure you reach exactly the person or program you need or are looking for.

The new recorded messages will direct you and are pretty easy to understand. However, if you would rather prepare in advance, skip the menu, and dial the extension you need as soon as your call starts, here is a list of all the extensions and voicemail boxes, for staff and specific programs:

Reception - Ext. 0
Leave a General Message - Ext. 4
Staff Directory - Ext. 5

Staff Extensions

Ext. 100 - Pam Moser: Office / Ombudsman Assistant
Ext. 101 - Robert Poulin: Executive Director
Ext. 102 - Deb Piper: Assistant Director
Ext. 103 - Michael Sherman: Peer Counselor Coordinator / Independent Living Specialist
Ext. 104 - Amy Gehrig: Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Coordinator
Ext. 105 - Megan Lewis: NY Connects Specialist
Ext. 106 - Tina Recore: Finance Director
Ext. 107 - Elizabeth Davies: MFP Transition Specialist
Ext. 108 - John Farley: Accessibility Consultant
Ext. 109 - Cindy Bryan: Facilitated Enroller
Ext. 110 - Norman Karp: Benefits Specialist
Ext. 111 - Lynden Davies: CDPAP Coordinator
Ext. 112 - Jenna McPherson: CDPAP Assistant
Ext. 115 - Shelly Kozak: CDPAP PA Enroller
Ext. 116 - Patti Killeen: Assistant Ombudsman
Ext. 117 - Christina Walton: Olmstead Housing Subsidy Housing Specialist

Extensions for Programs & Services

Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) - Ext. 201

- Existing consumer- Ext. 111
- Become consumer- Ext. 111
- Be on aide list- Ext. 115
- Timesheet / payroll issue- Ext. 112
- Enrolling new P.A.- Ext. 115

Long Term Care Ombudsman - 518-562-1732

Medicaid Enrollment Assistance - Ext. 109

New York Connects - Ext. 105

Peer Counseling or Advocacy - Ext. 103

Ramps and Home Modifications - Ext. 108

Rides to Medical Appointments - Ext. 103

Social Security, Medicare, and Other Benefits - Ext. 110

Transitioning from Nursing Home to Community - Ext. 107

Housing Assistance - Ext. 117

Monday, November 28, 2016

Get Started with Social Media

Friday, December 2, 2016
2:00 PM
North Country Center for Independence
80 Sharron Avenue
Plattsburgh, New York 12901

This Friday, NCCI will host "Get Started with Social Media," a workshop for people with disabilities interested in using social media. The event is free, and will provide a basic overview of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and several other social media platforms.

Topics will include:

- Key features of different social media platforms.
- Which platform best fits your skills, interests, and personality?
- Privacy, security, and how to make social media a positive experience.
- People with disabilities and disability culture online.

Whether you are experienced, just starting out, or just curious about social media, come join us with your questions, concerns, and ... if you can ... bring your devices!

Last Week on Twitter

Last week on NCCI’s Twitter feed

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Post-Election Reading

If you are trying to sort through what the election results mean for people with disabilities, there is a growing list of articles and statements you can read. Some are dire and gloomy. A few strive for firm, assertive calm. Others are almost optimistic, and could work just as well if a different candidate had won.

Taken together, these pieces help flesh out what is at stake, and what people with disabilities want to see, and don't want to see, from the next Presidential administration.

Ari Ne’eman, - November 9, 2016

American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT) - November 9, 2016

National Disability Leadership Alliance - November 9, 2016

The Ruderman Family Foundation - November 11, 2016

Michael Morris, Huffington Post - November 14, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election Day +1

Whether you are happy with the election's outcome or not, we as people with disabilities are going to need to pay even closer attention to our civil rights and the service structures we relay on. Big changes of ANY kind are always risky, especially for people with disabilities. Although the election is over, now is the time to learn more about disability issues. We can't let it all drop again until the next election.

Locally, we have a new Mayor in Plattsburgh, Colin Reed, and a new state Assembly Member, Billy Jones. We will need to get to know them, and help them to know the disability community better.

We will have to work twice as hard tomorrow as we did yesterday. But people with disabilities are strong. We have to be. We can do it.

Monday, October 31, 2016

NCCI is on Twitter

By now, most people have probably heard of Twitter, though what they’ve heard is often not so pleasant. Is it the tool of choice for sophisticated bullying? Is it a toy for self-important nobodies who think people care about what they ordered in a restaurant? What can anyone possibly say in 140 characters anyway?

Twitter is an acquired taste, but at its best, is an incredible tool of online communication and community-building. It is worth the time to explore, especially if you have a particular interest, like disability life, culture, and issues. Starting today, NCCI will post a recap of everything we shared on Twitter the week before. This will include bits of information, links to interesting disability-related articles, and “Retweets,” that is, copies of things other people on Twitter have said that we think are worth reading.

If you are interested in exploring Twitter yourself, and would like a little guidance, stay tuned for possible trainings here in the North Country. In the meantime, take a few moments to complete our free, completely anonymous Social Media Survey. The results will help give us a better idea of what kinds of social media the North Country disability community uses and would like to use.

Here are last week’s NCCI tweets:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Disability Questions for North Country Election Candidates

Disability issues have been discussed a little more than usual in this year's elections, mostly focused on the Presidential candidates. However, a lot of important disability policy is made in Congress, and by state and local elected officials.

Here are some questions we would like North Country candidates to answer on issues that matter to people with disabilities and their families:

Mayor and City Council

What specific actions should the City government take, beyond bare-bones compliance with accessibility laws, to make the downtown area of Plattsburgh accessible for residents and visitors with disabilities?

County Legislatures

What specific policies and strategies should County governments use to make transportation more accessible, reliable, and affordable for people with disabilities?

Judges, District Attorneys, County Sheriffs

What would you do to prevent harm to people with disabilities from mishandled encounters with law enforcement … including people with cognitive impairments, autism, or mental illness?

State Legislatures

Would you support increasing State Medicaid funding for home care, in order to meet new overtime pay requirements without cutting services that maintain disabled peoples’ basic independence?


Do you support or oppose "ADA notification bills," which seek to prohibit people with disabilities from suing businesses for Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility violations, unless they first give written notice and allow a waiting period, such as 90 days?

We look forward to honest, thoughtful answers to these questions from all the local North Country candidates. Candidates may send replies to Robert Poulin, Executive Director, at: Answers will be shared unedited here on the NCCI Blog, and on NCCI’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Welcome to the NCCI Blog!

Welcome to the newest section of NCCI’s website, the NCCI Blog. This will be the place to go for:

- News about NCCI programs and services.
- Action Alerts on disability issues.
- Personal opinion pieces on disability life.

We are in the process of updating NCCI's website and social media, like Facebook and Twitter. We hope you will come back to visit these sites from time to time over the next few months. You can also help us with these changes by going through this anonymous online survey about the kinds of internet and social media sites and tools work best for you:

Look for new content weekly, right here at the NCCI Blog!