Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Air Carrier Act Update: ALERT!

Please join the DBTAC - Southwest ADA Center at ILRU for a webcast on “The Air Carrier Access Act Update and Impending Changes”.

Bill Burnell, Manager of Customer First and Regulatory Programs, Continental Airlines Airport Services Policies and Procedures, will present the webcast on "The Air Carrier Access Act Update and Impending Changes” on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 2:00pm Central.

This session is will provide a brief overview of the new amendments to the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (ACAA) and it’s implementing regulation, 14 CFR Part 382 (Part 382) which will become effective on May 13, 2009. The ACAA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in commercial air transportation along with its implementing regulation, 14 CFR Part 382 (Part 382).

Mr. Burnell will discuss how these new amendments apply to both U.S. and foreign carriers, airport accessibility and changes to common services such as flight reservations. He will also address specific changes that may affect passengers who use respiratory assistive devices and passengers who are deaf or hard-of hearing.

Bill Burnell is responsible for ensuring compliance to all regulations involving disability issues set forth by the government at Continental Airlines. Some of the current programs he has implemented include “Project Airport”, an airport tour program that Continental and Memorial Hermann-TIRR initiated at Houston’s Bush-IAH airport, and the “Customers with Disabilities Advisory Board”, a group comprised of several members of the community with disabilities that meets with members of various departments within Continental to offer suggestions and tips on how to better improve disability handling and the product the airline is offering.

To link to this webcast and download accompanying materials visit:
Presentation slides are available in text and PDF as alternate formats.

For instructions on how to access a webcast visit:

Please visit this site ahead of time to test and ensure your computer is configured and updated to participate in the webcast.

For technical assistance, please check out our FAQs (frequently asked questions) at:

Or contact a webcast team member at swdbtac@ilru.org or 713.520.0232 (v/tty).
This webcast is supported through the DBTAC - Southwest ADA Center, a project of ILRU. Southwest ADA Center (www.SouthwestADA.org) is one of ten Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs) funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to provide training, technical assistance and materials dissemination on the ADA and other disability-related laws. NIDRR is part of the U.S. Department of Education.

The opinions and views expressed are those of the presenters and no endorsement by the funding agency should be inferred.

We hope to see you on Wednesday, April 1st, 2009!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Beginner Monoskiing 101

Steamboat TV18's and NRC Broadcasting's Eli Campbell injured his knee early this season and has been unable to ski since the start of the year. We ran into Eli and his lady Erin at Creekside one day, and discussed the idea of monoskiing... it gave him something to look forward to... when the doc would clear him for some strapped-in safe snow sliding! That day was finally yesterday, March 29, coincidentally one day after the anniversary of Craig's ski accident.

Eli's a great snow athlete- one look at his Facebook pictures and you can see he has a thirst for adventure in the woods. So with even more powder coming at us this week, we think we've timed this perfectly! Hopefully Eli will take this lesson to the next step and make some turns.

101 Fitting
Fitting the monoski bucket, foot cage, and outriggers to a beginner stance is primary; you should have an expert help line this out for you. Once you've mastered the basics, you can adapt to a more intermediate stance.

101 Control
Even more so than able-bodied skiing, when monoskiing you must start out slow to control the rig. It's a heavy piece of equipment that can hurt someone; so control of the device is of the utmost importance.

Push forward and backwards, lift up, pivot, and get an overall feel for your balance in the bucket and on the outriggers. Then on a flat surface practice getting up some momentum and stopping yourself. Monoski stops are made by pressing down with your arms and shoulders and pivoting one way or the other, as if the outrigger is doing the job, but it's your body is setting the turn in motion. Once you've mastered stopping the rig on a flat surface, move up the bunny slope to begin working on turning.

Eli did great at the base; he took to the rig right away, and was able to find his balance quickly. As a ski racer and athlete, Eli wasn't learning to ski, he was learning to adapt his existing (excellent) skiing skills to this particular equipment. The concepts are mostly the same, so he had a head start; but even his success far succeeded anyone's expectations!

101 Turning
Turning the rig is similar to turning when standing skiing; your head/eyes and thumbs should direct your turns. If you're overturning, you're looking into the next turn too late. [Overturning on a monoski will cause "wash out," where the ski turns back uphill and the bucket slides
out beneath you.] Prevent this by staying ahead of the turn by always looking to the next side once your turn has begun.

Now you're monoskiing!

Eli made some great turns, first twice down Headwall and then Craig took him to Swinger, and as he picked up momentum he seemed to pick it up, by the wide part of the trail, he was bombing away, turning less, and really getting the hang of it!

Thanks for being such a good sport, and thanks to TV18 for putting together the video of yesterday, we can't wait to see it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Webby Talents," a New Place to Post Your Videos

Webbytalents (WT) is a relatively new video-hosting site for people with disabilities. They've been open since February of 2008 and have gathered thousands of videos since then. We posted our first video to this site in January and it's already up to nearly 300 views.

In this day and age, we network with whoever we can to help spread the word of disability travel, so WT was a no brainer for us to join. The more places we're visual at, the more we help expand the awareness and share our experiences.

WT is a networking site as well as a posting site. You can accrue a long list of friends like you would on Facebook, vote on their videos like you can on You Tube, and even start your own groups like you can with NING. The site is open to any types of (appropriate) videos, and you are requested to share your type of disability (mobility, cognitive, seeing, hearing, etc). Despite whether you think this is "right" or not, we advise you to share if you're open to it so that others can network with you based on disability. As we all know, knowing a lot about one disability doesn't necessarily mean you know them all.

Like with YouTube and Facebook, you are not allowed to post videos that infringe on copyrights, such as using someone else's music for your background, or someone else's videos (a video of a TV show perhaps) or photos.

The site also features a search engine. Research done by typing tags, keywords.

Webbytalents is a space for exchange and sharing which allows:

  • To watch videos
  • Send and share your videos worldwide or with your family and friends
  • To publish your videos, your creations on your blogs, sites and your favorite social networks.
  • To discover new videos and meet people who share your sensibilities
  • Receive feedback from the community on your videos.

We can all become an agent of change and contribute to a better integration of disability in society. Webbytalents is a place that is made so that everyone can express themselves, learn, share experiences, present his association and raise awareness of disability worldwide.

We hope that you'll check out this growing forum for disability videos as we've done; we always felt ours got a little lost in the ginormous community of YouTube and are thrilled that someone has made a new home for ours!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2009 Stars of Tomorrow Youth Ski and Ride Camp, Steamboat Springs, CO

Eighteen super-excited children (ages 6-16) arrived in Steamboat this past Friday for the 1st Annual Youth Ski and Ride Camp at this kid-friendly resort. Whether accompanied by family or coach, everyone had the same goal in mind, to rip it up! Six local skiers joined the 12 others from 5 different states to make a diverse group of abilities and experience.

Unlike the camp's adult counterpart camp in January, "never-evers" were welcome at the youth group thanks to our new partner and Steamboat's new non-profit adaptive sports program STARS who brought some of Steamboat's long-time adaptive experts like Liz Leipold, who helped start the Steamboat Adaptive Program in the early 1970s. STARS has taken over Steamboat Adaptive with the hopes to not only grow and improve the existing adaptive ski program (formerly operated by Steamboat Ski Area) but to add to the currently short list of sports and activities that kids with disabilities can try in Steamboat. Their instructors were invaluable at this camp for tethering sit-skiers and teaching the basics to the many beginner skiers at the camp.

Adaptive Adventures (Evergreen,CO), founders of the Stars of Tomorrow Youth Camp Series, were excited to finally bring this camp to Steamboat, and had a wonderful list of long-time volunteers they count on for expert coaching, including Mau Thompson who brought some of her "Team Mau" racers to the hill to show off their skills. Keep an eye out for 2014 Olympic hopefuls Stephanie Moos and Christopher Miller in a few years!!

By leaning on very loyal local donors as well as expanding the local support list, we were able to continue to offer Steamboat's camp series at a very reasonable price to the campers.

To view more pictures of this event, please visit our Flickr Album for this event.

This was a wonderful event and we hope to see everyone back next year, it was great meeting all these adventurous souls!

Please allow us to extend a very special thanks to:

Adaptive Adventures


Steamboat Ski Area

Resort Quest

Resort Group

Hampton Inn & Suites

GO Alpine

Tid Bits

Photo Express House

Egg & I

Fireside Catering

The Drunken Onion

Creekside Cafe

Sport Stalker

Colorado Event Rentals

Old Town Hot Springs

Mazzola’s Majestic Italian




City Market

Colorado Bagel Company

Friday, March 20, 2009

National Wheelchair Basketball Championships, Denver CO, March 18-21

Due to the start of our first annual kids ski camp this weekend, we had to cut our wheelchair March madness short and catch only two of the four days packed with b-ball games of all divisions, sex, and ages. Thursday we saw the bracket break down quick; the Arizona girls creamed our Denver Nuggets, but double elimination kept them alive until later that night. The mens' league were big, tough, and downright nasty; the toughest matchup we saw Heat-Thunder.

Friday brought no less excitement or talent with the junior leagues squaring off for some intense basketball as well. Word on the courts was that the Dallas teams were going to be the ones to beat... we'll see!

We were incredibly dismayed to skip out on the finals, so you can guarantee we'll be down there next year for the excitement as well. Our GADA Belts were a hit, and we found that this event was the most comprehensive brainstorming session we've had, with hundreds of types and sizes of chairs to look at for additional designs; we hope to have those ready soon!

Wheelchair Basketball has been around since Tim Nugent (in photo with Craig and former NBA Nuggets coach Bill Hanzlik) founded the NWBA in the mid-1940s. This was the largest representation of teams in their 61-year history at the National Championships, with 82 teams all under (mostly) one roof at the new Gold Crown Complex off Alameda and Sheridan. In the past, the event was split into several locations. This year only a few Thursday adult games were played at the Metro College Arena while the junior bracket was played.

In addition to the intense, great games we were able to see, the highlight of our two days at this event was meeting Mr Nugent himself, who has been present at every single Championship since its inception. In addition, three Denver Nugget players showed up on Thursday to sign autographs for the juniors, some of who were also being offered recruiting deals from several universities present such as Oklahoma State.

The NWBA is currently revamping and reorganizing its enormous website, but hopes to get video streams up this year from the event. Wheelchair b-ball rules and adaptations can be found on their site as well if you're intrigued!

We have posted more pictures on Flickr as well.

And now on to our kids camp! What a week!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The New Color Coding in Faucets

This came to us from Mountain Living Magazine's Blog:

"If you’ve ever burned your hand by putting it under the faucet to test the water temperature, then you’ll appreciate this kitchen faucet from Blanco. As stylish as it is functional, the faucet includes light-emitting diodes that colors the water jet to indicate the water temperature: red for hot water, blue for cold. Available in polished chrome and stainless, the faucet’s contemporary design makes it a stylish addition to any kitchen."

But what isn't mentioned is that this is a great idea for people with disabilities who have sensory, touch, or temperature loss as well!

For more information visit blancoamerica.com.

Friday, March 13, 2009

America's Most Rollable Cities

In a recent post we showed you our two favorite online communities for PWD interested in travel. This week one of them is hosting a poll for our collective opinion that we'd like your input on!

Based on an article our friend and colleague Craig Grimes saw titled "America's 10 Most Walkable Cities" from The Daily Green, he began to ponder if the 10 most walkable cities are also the most accessible for people with disabilities, and asked us to help get the word out...

Grimes intends to post a poll for Europe as well next week, so please weigh in on your thoughts about the US for us in the meantime. You have to sign in to post your vote, so if you choose not to do that, post your comments here instead and we'll pass them on. However, please keep in mind that this online community was created by your peers just for travelers with disabilities with a growing wealth of information to share, so we encourage you to join!

The poll is posted here:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Continental Airlines Disability Advisory Board Updates

Hello from Houston!
We have immediate news from the start of this 2-day meeting with Continental Airlines' Disability Advisory Board and their progress over the last six months since our first meeting in October. We're very excited to bring their update to you, as they have indeed taken our advice to heart and brought forth some excellent changes in their day-to-day operations in handling customers with disabilities.

We hope that you will begin to pay attention to the progress and improvements that companies like CO and direct your future business accordingly!

1. Now on Continental.com customers with disabilities can create a personal profile which includes all their special needs so they do not have to enter them for each and every reservation they book

2. Continental has beefed up their disability awareness training through an awareness day and the upcoming changes to the DOT regulations with the addition of 14 CFR part 382, which is an entire subject in and of itself, but is a wonderful new tool and benefit for PWD and their rights when flying.

3. Continental is developing a mobility device plaquard, which we have written about before, that will clearly spell out the simple operation and stowage needs for power wheelchairs and scooters. We'll post that as soon as it's ready!

4. Starting April 1st, lead flight attendants will finally be recognizable by a lead agent ensignia on their name tags so that customers with special needs can address their needs to this agent directly.

5. Starting May 13th, in conjunction with the release of the 382 document, passengers using Emotional Support Animals will be required to give 48 hours notice to the airline in order to prevent the increasing amount of fraud in this area. Note this does not apply to service/working/guide dogs, just psychological assist animals.

6. Also starting May 13th, additional FAA-approved respiration devices will now be accepted. Aside from the currently accepted BAC, ventilators and respirators will be accepted.

7. At many hub airports such as Houston, Cleveland and Newark, TSA has begun to expedite customers with service animals to a ''relieving area'' outside, through security and back, to help PWD meet their connections and therefore book shorter connections. Secure-area (plane side) relief areas are still being studied, but we still hope to help create those someday!

Again we are excited to bring these updates to you from Continental Airlines; please pass them on and stay tuned for more as we continue to progress with this board and its relationships with partners in the air travel industry! Congratulations, Continental!

Monday, March 02, 2009

China Business Opportunities Discovery Trip

Shanghai Spring Tour USA Co is thrilled to offer a unique opportunity to travel to China to find more business opportunities by attending the 6th China International Textile & Apparel Trade Fair in Shanghai, April 20 to May 1st.

You will visit memorable sites, both ancient and modern and enjoy a multitude of unforgettable experiences. During the trip, we will have two days for you to attend the big textile trade fair where you can meet the Chinese, Japanese and Korean manufacturers to talk about the tour business, beside this one we will arrange another day to visit a Chinese commodities whole sale market – Yiwu where you will visit many vendors of different products in the market and have the business talks with the Chinese businessmen and learn how the Chinese business system works.

This trip is designed to help you find many new business opportunities in China!

Please do not wait too long to decide, space is limited. Price: $1800 plus tax.

The 6th China International Textile & Apparel Trade Fare on April 22 – April 24:

Yiwu – a city to find your business opportunity:

For more information
, please contact Jimmy Deng at Spring Tour:

Website: www.spring-tour.com