CAC Corner: Robin Savage- Traveling the TRAX

August 7, 2012 by cpehrson

Getting out into the community is important for everyone.  Options for Independence,  a nonresidential Independent Living Center, makes it possible for individuals with disabilities to participate fully in the community.

CPD Consumer Advisory Council member Robin Savage joined OPTIONS for Independence on an adventure to Salt Lake City to spend a day at the New City Creek Mall.

Head shot of Robin and Blake Savage

Robin and Blake Savage

My day started with OPTIONS for Independence waking me up because I slept in and was not ready when they came by to pick me up. Once in the van, we headed to Ogden, Utah to Union Station to board the new Front Runner train for a ride to Salt Lake City. There was a large group of participants attending this OPTIONS activity and it was quite a chore getting everybody loaded on the train. Once on the train, the smooth ride was very comfortable and it was fun looking out the second level window at the scenery as we zoomed down the track.

The train arrived in Salt Lake City and we hurried off the Front Runner and hurried onto the TRAX train for the final ride to City Creek Mall. When we got there, everyone seemed to go their own direction checking out the City Creek Mall. The mall is very big, three stories tall and covers two blocks with a glass covered sidewalk on the second floor connecting the two blocks. It also was very easy to get lost, once inside you could not tell which direction to go because you were surrounded with shops, stores and a lot of people.

There were so many stores to choose from as we were walking around we could not find the Disney store but luckily we noticed it was on the second floor so we took an elevator up to go to it. I went into Macy’s and several other stores and found that the prices were very expensive. There were some stores that were reasonably priced. I found the City Creek Mall to be larger than ZCMI and Crossroads combined.

Once we had been through the mall we decided to cross a street and visit the Salt Lake City Temple where we enjoyed spending time in the visitor center. I enjoyed the small temple display in the visitor center that allowed you to see the many rooms in the Temple.

When we left the visitor center we crossed the road and found an ice cream shop by the mall. While enjoying our ice cream we could see the Church Office building, the Joseph Smith Memorial building, and the beautiful landscaping along the sidewalks. It also brought back memories from my family history mission I served several years ago.

Back at the mall we spent some time finding the gym which was on the third floor. I wanted to go in the gym because my brother built some of the equipment used in the gym.

Next, we realized we needed to find the TRAX stop for the green line which would take us back to the Front Runner Train and our ride to Ogden. I was amazed that OPTIONS staff was able to round up 23 individuals and get us all on TRAX at the correct time so we would not miss the transfer to Front Runner for our ride back to Ogden. In Ogden we all got on three separate buses and headed back to Logan.

I want to thank OPTIONS for Independence for providing a fun and safe activity and ride home. I found this adventure to be a great learning experience and very exciting. It was a wonderful day filled with fun and friends.

Sincerely, Robin Savage

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CAC-looking for new members

July 3, 2012 by cpehrson

The CPD’s Consumer Advisory Council  is currently seeking a new family representative member.  At their recent bi-annual meeting in June,  it was announced that two current members would soon be leaving.   

Shannon Howard will be leaving as a family representative, and the youngest CAC member, Ben Ballam, announced that he would be going on a mission to Hawaii for two years.  Ben’s place will be held while he serves his mission. 

The CAC is now looking for a replacement family representative who can bring their perspectives, ideas, and views to the council.  Interested persons can contact Gordon Richins, CPD Consumer Liaison.

In the words of our CPD Director, Bryce Fifield, “The input and perspective of people with disabilities is critical to our success. We cannot be effective without your help in setting priorities. Participating on the CPD’s Consumer Advisory Council helps us and it helps you. You will meet new people, work with fellow advocates, and help us make a difference in every Utah community!”

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CAC Corner: Introducing the Utah Caregiver Cooperative

June 13, 2012 by cpehrson

This CAC Corner blog is written by Claire Mantonya, Executive  Director of the Utah Developmental Disability Council and an Agency Representative to the CPD’s Consumer Advisory Council.
Head shot of Clair Mantonya

Claire Mantonya

I am very excited to tell you about the new project that the DD Council is funding. It is to help people and families form co-ops so folks who want to get together and share talents and energy can get things that they need to make their lives better. This is an experiment that the Council is trying to address the various needs that people with disabilities and their families may have that are not being addressed through the formal service system.
The concept of co-ops has been around for a long time. A current example is, that some people are members of food co-ops, like the Bountiful Baskets, where people can pay $15 and get a whole lot of fresh produce that would cost many more dollars retail in a store .
We are going to use the ideas, talents, and gifts of people within the disability community to try and help members address the needs that they have. An example is, that sometimes people have trouble finding good staff. Co-op members might end up sharing and paying for staff together to get their needs addressed. Or, maybe people in the co-op might want to start a dinner socializing group that would connect neighbors who like to do similar activities. Co-ops will be a new way to help people connect with their neighbors.
The official title of the co-op is the Utah Caregiver Cooperative. To get connected or to get more information, please contact Marilyn Bown – 801-652-7267 or email her at
Get connected today!

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CAC Corner: Tom Brownlee-You can make a difference

January 9, 2012 by cpehrson

Head photo of Tom Brownlee, happy smile, dark brown hair with fancy goatee beard and mustache

This Consumer Advisory Council Corner Blog is written by CAC Chair, Tom Brownlee.

This upcoming Utah Legislative Session (January 23-March 8, 2012) will be important, as they will decide on money for programs for people with disabilities.  It looks like the governor was gentle (last session) and funded some of these programs we need.

As an advocate, I testified, shared, wrote, and emailed local law makers.  In the past, I have made a difference in doing these things. I have written many representatives and senators and gotten  many responses back from them.

This year I plan to attend my caucus which will be a new experience for me.

Another important election for this year is for the President of the United States (November 6, 2012).  We want all people with disabilities to get out and make a difference and cast their vote.

NOTE:  You can find Utah voter registration information and how to register for an absentee ballot online. 

The AUCD is holding a Disability Policy Seminar in April that will be focusing on presidential election-year issues and how to make a difference with grassroots advocacy.

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CAC members share top concerns

June 28, 2011 by cpehrson

Last week the CPD Consumer Advisory Council members gathered at their semi-annual meeting and identified many of the disability issues that they are currently dealing with.

Under the direction of CPD Director, Bryce Fifield, the eleven members listed the top five concerns in their lives.  As they went around and named a concern, many of the members found that they shared the same ones.  All together, they came up with 36 different areas that are barriers in their lives or the lives of those with disabilities that they work with.

Some of the top issues that were identified include:

  • Services that Medicaid no longer covers, such as dental and optical
  • What is the future for Medicaid?
  • Being aware of and connecting to the best services for individual needs
  • Lack of employment opportunities for those with disabilities
  • Disability awareness in the community; in particular, realizing the accommodations needed for those with unseen disabilities
  • Lack of adult services for adults with ASD
  • Being aware of parent education services and advocacy groups
  • Lack of accessible and affordable housing
  • Use of adapted classroom materials; using age-appropriate materials in the classroom

These topics will continue to be discussed in the monthly CAC blog posts written by CAC members, and other future CPD blog posts on this web site.

The rest of the meeting was spent reviewing the CPD 5-year Core Grant planning areas and identifying where these issues fit into the current CPD project topics and which areas could be addressed in future projects.

All in all, it was a very productive meeting, highlighted by good company, good food, and a good discussion.  It ended with a group photo found at the top of this blog post.

If you have other issues and concerns that you would like to add to the ones listed here, please feel free to comment below.




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