Letters

Letters 09-26-2016

Welcome To 1984 The Democrat Party, the government education complex, private corporations and foundations, the news media and the allpervasive sports and entertainment industry have incrementally repressed the foundational right of We the People to publicly debate open borders, forced immigration, sanctuary cities and the calamitous destruction of innate gender norms...

Grow Up, Kachadurian Apparently Tom Kachadurian has great words; too bad they make little sense. His Sept. 19 editorial highlights his prevalent beliefs that only Hillary and the Dems are engaged in namecalling and polarizing actions. Huh? What rock does he live under up on Old Mission...

Facts MatterThomas Kachadurian’s “In the Basket” opinion deliberately chooses to twist what Clinton said. He chooses to argue that her basket lumped all into the clearly despicable categories of the racist, sexist, homophobic , etc. segments of the alt right...

Turn Off Fox, Kachadurian I read Thomas Kachadurian’s opinion letter in last week’s issue. It seemed this opinion was the product of someone who offered nothing but what anyone could hear 24/7/365 on Fox News; a one-sided slime job that has been done better by Fox than this writer every day of the year...

Let’s Fix This Political Process Enough! We have been embroiled in the current election cycle for…well, over a year, or is it almost two? What is the benefit of this insanity? Exorbitant amounts of money are spent, candidates are under the microscope day and night, the media – now in action 24/7 – focuses on anything and everything anyone does, and then analyzes until the next event, and on it goes...

Can’t Cut Taxes 

We are in a different place today. The slogan, “Making America Great Again” begs the questions, “great for whom?” and “when was it great?” I have claimed my generation has lived in a bubble since WWII, which has offered a prosperity for a majority of the people. The bubble has burst over the last few decades. The jobs which provided a good living for people without a college degree are vanishing. Unions, which looked out for the welfare of employees, have been shrinking. Businesses have sought to produce goods where labor is not expensive...

Wrong About Clinton In response to Thomas Kachadurian’s column, I have to take issue with many of his points. First, his remarks about Ms. Clinton’s statement regarding Trump supporters was misleading. She was referring to a large segment of his supporters, not all. And the sad fact is that her statement was not a “smug notion.” Rather, it was the sad truth, as witnessed by the large turnout of new voters in the primaries and the ugly incidents at so many of his rallies...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Northern Michigan ups its...
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Northern Michigan ups its Adaptive Recreation

Ross Boissoneau - April 7th, 2014  

Slowly but surely, Northern Michigan is improving its adaptive recreation scope. Miles of trails, adaptive skiing and sailing, and more mobility mats at beaches are giving people of all abilities access to outdoor fun.

ADAPTIVE SAILING

Barb Hutchens is a member of the board of Disability Network Northern Michigan and a volunteer at Traverse Area Community Sailing (TACS). For years, she’s been instrumental in developing adaptive sailing programs for enthusiastic sailors of all ages.

“The challenges are community awareness, to help people understand that we all don’t have access that able-bodied persons do,” said Hutchens.

TACS’ equipment is specially designed with a joystick, accessible dock, and a lift to help put people in the boat.

Hutchens said adaptive sailing helps persons with nearly any type of disability, whether cognitive or physical.

“We had a woman with a brain injury, and [after sailing] it was the first time she could remember anything about her past. She had sailed before her accident,” she said. “Children with autism find it soothing – there’s a therapeutic effect to being on the water.”

‘WHO THE HELL AM I TO TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN’T SKI?’

Paul Derby of Cadillac suffers from spina bifida, a birth defect in which vertebrae around the spinal cord do not fully form. Typically it leads to leg weakness, paralysis, and/or hip dislocation or scoliosis.

He grew up skiing, but as his condition worsened he was unable to join his family on the slopes.

“I can’t describe what it was like, watching my family ski without me,” he said.

His parents then took him to the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Colorado.

“They said, ‘You will take lessons.’ I said, ‘Yes, I will,’” he said with a laugh.

He worked out to build up his muscles, then visited his neurosurgeon, who suffered from the same affliction, to get permission for the trip.

“She said, ‘They said I’d never be a neurosurgeon.

Who the hell am I to tell you that you can’t ski?’” he said.

Derby is now comfortable on the slopes, as well as being an advocate for others with disabilities.

“Every time I’m out there it means something to me,” he said. “People come up to me, ask me about my equipment. They say thanks for being out here.

“I ski because I enjoy it. But I also ski to show everyone it can be done.”

Derby is also active on the water in the summer. “Another passion of mine is sailing,” he said. But unlike the specially equipped boats used at TACS, he still sails on his family’s boat.

“I’ve found different ways to get around,” he said.

“The adaptation there is in my mind, finding different ways to safely do things on the boat.”

MORE MOBILITY MATS COMING

Mobility mats and beach pathways are solid surfaces installed on beaches. They are designed to enable people in wheelchairs or using walkers and baby strollers to get close to the water.

There are several mobi mats in the region, including Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Clinch Park in Traverse City, Traverse City State Park, Whiting Park in Boyne City, and Petoskey State Park.

Annie Campbell, the director of development of Disability Network Northern Michigan, said those efforts are continuing.

“We hope to raise money by the end of spring to have Bryant Park in Traverse City and Camp Petosega in Alanson accessible through the purchase of beach pathways,” she said.

The success of the program has other parks planning their own, Campbell said.

“A number of different parks have contacted us asking for our input,” she said. “They’re planning on putting in accessible beach and kayak launches.”

ACCESSIBLE TRAILS

Solid surface hiking trails also enable everyone to enjoy the outdoors together. The TART trail, Little Traverse Wheelway, and the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail all provide access for those who wish to walk, run, or use wheeled conveyances.

“TART allows walking, wheelchairs, and hand cycling,” Campbell said. “[It] is one of my favorite parts of Grand Traverse County.”

Programs through schools, at the YMCA, and Northern Michigan Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program through Munson Healthcare’s Physical Rehabilitation Services also offer additional opportunities.

Though advocates say more can be done and needs to be done, improvements continue to be made. Northern Michigan is becoming an accessible vacation and recreation destination, whatever the season.

Petoskey’s Challenge Mountain Offers Year-Round Programs

In 1982, founder Darla Evans took her daughter Chrisi to the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colo. Chrisi had been confined to a wheelchair due to numerous birth defects.

By the end of the week, the five-year-old was skiing with special equipment adapted to her needs. Rather than accepting payment, the director of the program elicited a promise from Darla that she return to Michigan and begin a similar program.

And she did. Today Challenge Mountain offers year-round programs in sailing, kayaking, fishing, biking, and maple sap gathering.

“It’s a safe, comfortable environment for families,” said Elizabeth Gertz Looze, the executive director.

 
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