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January 2021

 

 

Mental Health Organization Names CEO

Colleen Merlo has been named CEO of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness (MHAW), a primary not-for-profit provider of mental health-related services in Suffolk County. She replaces Michael Stolz, who is retiring. Stolz had served for 30 years as CEO of MHAW and executive director for its predecessor organization, Clubhouse of Suffolk, Inc. A licensed social worker and a Rocky Point resident, Merlo has worked for more than 20 years in the not-for-profit sector.

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DOT Restricts Animals On Planes

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced that it has revised its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals, which they claim is meant to ensure accommodations for people with disabilities as well as the safety of all passengers and airline staff. Only certified service dogs are to be considered service animals. Therefore, airline carriers should now consider emotional support animals as pets that would travel in the cargo area of airplanes instead of in the cabin alongside other passengers.

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Legs., Advocates Want Subway Access

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has been left in severe financial straits during the COVID-19 economic crisis, but that won’t stop advocates for transit riders with disabilities from advocating for key accessibility commitments that so far remain unmade. Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz, State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, Center for Independence of the Disabled – New York (CIDNY), Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled (BCID), Bronx Independent Living Services (BILS), Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and Riders Alliance all gathered virtually to discuss key accessibility elements of the Fast Forward plan proposed by former New York City Transit (NYCT) Pres. Andy Byford as well as other sought-after improvements.

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Netflix Star Raises Awareness About OI

By Sofie Melledy

Sammi Haney, 9, has a significant role in the Netflix series “Raising Dion.” Haney, who lives with her family in San Antonio, Texas, is an up and coming actor with osteogenesis imperfect (OI). The condition, also known as brittle bone disease, causes a person’s bones to be very weak and can cause many other medical problems. This makes it very easy for an individual with OI to break or fracture their limbs and they may have many injuries by the time they are as young as six years old. According to Haney’s Dad she has broken hundreds of bones in her lifetime just by doing simple things, such as moving around in her sleep or even sneezing too hard.

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DIY Service Dogs with Medical Mutts

When it comes to do-it-yourself projects, training one’s own service dog doesn’t typically show up on anyone’s to-do list. A service dog organization has launched an online program to help owners train their own dogs. Training a service dog is a long and complicated process that until recently, was only done by specialized trainers. It usually takes more than two years to get a service dog from a reputable organization and the costs can go up to $25,000. Learning how to do it oneself makes sense, when most people are stuck at home. “You can’t start training service dogs without a good deal of guidance, even if you’re an experienced pet dog trainer,” said Jennifer Cattet, executive director at Medical Mutts, an group that specializes in medical detection dogs. make mistakes.”

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See These Stories and More in This Edition of Able

NOD Means Business

DOT New Restrictions

Healthcare for All

Cutbacks to Medicaid

Sammi Haney

New Tech Options