The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University
 

New Frontiers for Families needs your help

September 30, 2016 by JoLynne Lyon

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The building that housed the New Frontiers for Families office in Panguitch was destroyed by a tornado earlier this week.

New Frontiers for Families staff members provide after school programs, direct services (wraparound teams and parent peer support), employment support, parenting and education classes for those with complex needs in rural Utah.

Despite the enormous setback, the office has continued to function, but they need your help. A Go Fund Me page makes it easy to contribute to their recovery.

Here is an update from Tracy Johnson, Executive Director of New Frontiers for Families:

The entire building was destroyed, the roof was peeled off and a fire started in the copy room where the furnace was.  The storm brought heavy rain and snow, which caused much of the damage to books, toys and training materials. We were renting the building and it sounds like it is a total loss, and that the building will be demolished.  We working for  no disruption in services so we are continuing to see individuals and families.

All of our books binders and training materials are ruined for upcoming classes (we have a week long training starting next Monday, so we are scrambling).  Some computers, copies, printers, projectors and paper that was is the copy room was destroyed.  We have another location were we provide after school programs that was not destroyed, so we are moving there for now. As we go about our work we are still finding things we have lost: staplers, hole punches, paper cutters,  files, training manuals, etc. We have also lost a lot of toys, books, blankets; things that we have for clients. These were all donations for this we are sad. Many were handmade and meant a lot to us and those who receive them.

We have had so much support from the community, partner agencies, clients and staff in the clean-up and rebuilding (moving things to the storage unit and the after school building). We are so grateful that no one was injured.  We are thankful for the help, donations of time, money and supplies.  Clients are worried about what will happen with their services and supports. They are afraid we will “go away,” so we have had so many calls and taken so much time reassuring them that there will not be a disruption in service.

We are doing ok and we will move forward.  Thank you again for concern!

You can find news coverage of the disaster and aftermath on the Fox 13 website.

Utah gubernatorial contestants agree: Utah health care coverage could be better

September 28, 2016 by JoLynne Lyon

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Utah Republican Governor Gary Herbert and Democratic challenger Mike Weinholtz agreed on Monday that health care coverage could be better in the state.

They disagreed on plenty, including how to expand Medicare coverage and how much Utah policy makers should trust the Federal government to be a good partner. But both candidates said the Utah Legislature has under-performed in expanding Medicare coverage in Utah.

They addressed the issue during a televised debate at Utah State University on Monday, Sept. 26.

“I’m not satisfied,” Governor Herbert said (he was designated as the first to respond to the question). His proposed Healthy Utah plan would have allowed people to “come in and get some health care, but also to get some training and a job,” he said. The plan failed to get through the Utah Legislature in 2015.

“There are opportunities for us to get out there and work with the legislature,” he said. “We’ve got to convince them that that’s the fiscally responsible thing to do.”

Challenger Weinholtz argued that with the Affordable Care Act, Utahns are already paying taxes that would support extending coverage to many more Utahns–but the legislature has delayed doing so. In the end, he said, they expanded Medicare to an additional 9,000 people, but turned more than 100,000 people away. “It’s extremely disappointing,” he said. “That is a moral outrage.”

While the candidates agreed the Utah Legislature could do more for Utah’s uninsured, they disagreed on whether Utah should do more to implement the Affordable Care Act.  If the issue is using federal money for roads or education, lawmakers don’t ask whether the Federal Government would be a good partner, Weinholtz said.

Herbert said that under the ACA (or Obamacare), some health care companies have withdrawn from the ACA insurance exchanges, and some companies failed. He argued Utahns did support Healthy Utah–but the Utah Legislature did not listen to them.

Wanted: Your opinions!

September 14, 2016 by JoLynne Lyon

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The CPD is seeking input from Utahns with disabilities, the professionals who work with them and their families on four key topics: transition (from early intervention to preschool; preschool to kindergarten; school to post school experiences, etc); health care for people with disabilities; mental health as it relates to disability; and employment.

This discussion will help the center’s staff refine its focus over the coming years, so they can better serve the needs of the community. That’s why your opinion matters. Participants can also enter to win a $100 gift card.

Cyndi Rowland, the CPD’s associate director, is hoping for information from a variety of communities in Utah. “We know that there are some particular issues in rural areas that might be different than in urban areas,” she said.

CPD staff members will also reach out to Spanish-speaking and refugee communities.

In hopes of reaching a broader audience, the CPD allows you to participate online and by a toll-free, call-in focus group. You can fill in the survey and participate in calls for each topic–it’s up to you.

For the online survey:

 

You can take this anytime from now until Wenesday, Sept. 28. The survey is broken up into the four topics, plus demographics. Each topic takes about five minutes, so depending on how many you choose to address, plus the brief three-minute demographic section, it should take between eight and 23 minutes to complete. The survey is on the CPD website.

The survey is also available in Spanish.

 

For the statewide call-in focus groups:

While registration is not required, it is encouraged so that moderators know who is participating. You can register, enter to win the $100 gift card, and find more information on the CPD website.  When you call in , you will need this passcode: 7200387#

Two call-in times are provided per day, per topic. Call 1-877-820-7831 at the times below to participate.

  1. Transition: Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  2. Employment: Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  3. Health care: Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  4. Mental health: Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Dr. George Gotto, CPD director candidate

September 2, 2016 by Kelly Smith

The CPD is in the process of hiring a new director, and three candidates are interviewing. Below is a presentation by Dr. George Gotto to staff members and other interested personnel who are invited to provide feedback to the hiring committee. Evaluations and comments should address the strengths and weaknesses of this applicant based on personal interaction, review of the applicant’s vitae, and this presentation. The feedback survey can be accessed here.

Dr. Martin Blair, CPD director candidate

August 30, 2016 by Kelly Smith

The CPD is in the process of hiring a new director, and three candidates are interviewing. Below is a presentation by Dr. Martin Blair to staff members and other interested personnel who are invited to provide feedback to the hiring committee.  Evaluations and comments should address the strengths and weaknesses of this applicant based on personal interaction, review of the applicant’s vitae, and this presentation. The feedback survey can be accessed here.
 

A copy of the Dr. Blair’s PowerPoint is available by contacting kelly.smith@usu.edu.

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