Town Needs Strong Advocate For Handicapped

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Recently I have received several telephone calls:

1. A woman who lost an eye in an auto accident and as a result was terminated from her employment following five years with the same employer.

2. A mother called and told me her 32-year-old daughter had been denied admittance to a gift shop because the daughter was confined to a wheelchair.

3. A juvenile school student needed repairs to his wheelchair and did not know where to turn.

4. Two wheelchair-bound men were unable to use a local athletic club because the bathrooms would not accommodate their wheelchairs. (The club had been inspected by the town building department for disability compliance.)

5. The town itself had constructed, at an outrageous cost of $125,000, a "handicapped accessible" rest room immediately adjacent to town hall. A town employee, when asked as to the cost, was told "Don't worry about it, this was grant money!" How many town employees are disabled?

These are just a few examples of the problems that the local taxpayers are confronting. Yes, I know that there is a Town of Payson "Handicapped Awareness Committee," funded by the council. But to date they have promoted a wheelchair basketball game, a handicapped parking enforcement team of three enforcers, one of which was parked outside of Wal-Mart this Saturday for over five hours, and I am not sure how the pavement painting for handicapped parking spaces is coming along.

Now in my humble opinion is the time for the town to face these problems and designate a town advocate to assist the local taxpaying citizenry with their problems. There should be no reason for "handicapped" Paysonites to travel to Phoenix to seek out assistance.

I am sure that the PUBLIC LAW 101-336 is available through our Washington representatives.

Jack Sheahan
Payson

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