CfDC Minutes — May 4, 2011

ATTENDING: Jack Bernard, Chair; Pam Baker Trostle; Tom Bayer; Marc Lerner; Adena Rottenstein; Samantha Montgomery (welcome, Samantha!); Jill Rice; Monique Kulick; Anthony Walesby; Els Nieuwenhuijsen; Paul Guttman; Carolyn Grawi; Sally Haines; Bob Meyer (welcome, Bob!); Margaret Hough; Doug White; Tracy Wright; Patricia Anderson; Phil Larson; Terry Soave; Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (minutes).

The meeting was brought to order by the Chair and introductions were made around the table.


Jack described the recent Regents’ Meeting at which disability as an issue and the Council were acknowledged, which was an outstanding occasion and a very gratifying one. Several of the Regents talked to Jack during the break; they have been very supportive, and we owe a debt of gratitude to all of them, Regent Julia Darlow in particular.


DOUG: Anna read a message from Stuart Segal, SSD Director, (who could not be present) on the occasion of Doug’s retirement, stating that Doug has made a difference to his life “and to the lives of hundreds or even thousands of students who he has helped over the years.” Jack followed by commending Doug in his role as the Vice Chair of the Council, praising his responsibility and assistance throughout the years. He changed the students’ lives both physically and programatically, working in a quiet, unflagging way; what Doug has accomplished re: accommodations for students in Housing has been pathbreaking.

Carolyn distributed AACIL’s “Access” magazine and reminded everyone about the AACIL Spring Gathering Breakfast, Thursday, May 12th from 7:30-9 am at Kensington Court RSVP online.

Terry, representing the Ann Arbor District Library’s (AADL) Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled (WLBPD), distributed brochures about special events/exhibit re: Benjamin Franklin (in large font) and flyers about upcoming events.

Pam gave out a Proposal for 2011 Differently Abled Week: “I am somebody. What do you want to do with your life. Empowering the differently abled to dream.” The proposal contained suggestions for speakers, for sponsors, and for a potential audience.

Marc gave out cards promoting his WorldTalkRadio series “A Healthy Way to Be Sick.” He will interview Carolyn at the next program. For further information: Contact Marc at: <marclerner at> or 734-913-0868.

Bob wants everyone to know that the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan provides free workshops (800-482-1455) for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, or overweight. The PATH to Better Health (Personal Action Toward Health) is a Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. There is a special 6-week workshop especially for people with Type 2 diabetes to improve their health and manage their symptoms. The Foundation is located at 1169 Oak Valley Drive, AA. For further information, please contact Laurie Gustafson: <lgustafson at>

Adena is looking for members of a focus group on stigma concerning prosthetics. Anna will contact her with a resource.

Paul would like to receive any comments on the recent Commencement regarding accessibility issues; for example, it was mentioned that golfcarts could not get through the crowds. The shuttle does not come until 20 minutes after the close. Please send suggestions to <pguttman at>. Jill said that there was some confusion and crowding in the section set aside for students who are deaf/hard of hearing.


Carolyn and Els gave a Power Point presentation on A participatory action strategy to strengthen community awareness of and participation by people with disabilities in arts and culture in Ann Arbor.

They discussed their steering committee. As a good example, they described progress with access, transportation, symbols, and subtitles at the Top of the Park soon to come into play. They discussed the Washtenaw County study on needs in the community and the subsequent AACIL study. They put together four focus groups including individuals with disabilities and their caretakers as well as people in leadership positions and other stakeholders; and derived three themes:

  1. lack of awareness of accessibility needs;
  2. need for a centralized site for arts and culture;
  3. need for inclusive policies with forethought in construction (best practices rather than just what the law requires).

There are several good examples—the Michigan Theater now has all accessible dressing rooms; the Guthrie Theater has an outstanding website with icons including one for individuals with low income.; the Phoenix has a good index; the Kennedy Center has excellent accessibility. The National Council for the Arts is a valuable resource.

Action plan:

  1. raise awareness; maintain blogs and social networks; review websites for accessibility; work with managers of organizations to provide information, guidance and technical assistance;
  2. have a resources team (e.g., Scott et al) to serve as central connector;
  3. base policies on best practice.

Patricia mentioned “real world” experiences versus Second Life, which lends itself so well to people with disabilities.

Tony mentioned that the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run inquired about how it could become more accessible. Carolyn said that U-M football tickets are now available online and, as required by law, 4 seats are available for people with disabilities.

Discussion of transportation: Night Ride (528-5432) costs and territory covered. People’s Express only till 5 pm; Wave only till 7 pm. All these times impact on ability to get to events.

Arts Alliance is working to market artists with disabilities, hoping that 415 Washington St. can become a venue for this purpose.

Conclusion: Since changes and accessibility improvements take time, Els and Carolyn hope that with this work they can provide a model for work in the future, which, through the incorporation of best practices, eventually will result in Ann Arbor becoming one of the most accessible communities in the future.