Monthly Archives: July 2019

Month: July 2019 A national disabled peoples organisation is to pr

first_imgA national disabled people’s organisation is to provide disability equality training workshops to staff from the controversial US-owned company that won the government contract to assess people’s “fitness for work”.Disability Rights UK (DR UK) will provide training to about 1 600 members of staff employed by the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA), which is owned by the US outsourcing giant Maximus.Every member of CHDA staff – including healthcare professionals, managers and reception staff – will go through the training, which will be delivered through about 100 two-hour workshops.Maximus took over the work capability assessment (WCA) contract – which involves testing disabled people’s eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA) – in March from another discredited outsourcing company, Atos.Just five months later, Disability News Service (DNS) reported how Maximus was facing allegations that CHDA discriminates against disabled staff – allegations the company denied – by falling to provide them with the adjustments they need to do their jobs.One former member of staff said at the time: “If they can’t look after the disabled people who are working for them – not recognising their needs and what they need to do the job – how on earth have they got the audacity to make judgments on disabled people coming into their office for assessments?”The decision of DR UK to work with Maximus on a training contract that could be worth up to £100,000 has reignited the argument over whether disabled people’s organisations should engage with companies profiting from the government’s divisive welfare reform agenda.There are long-standing concerns over the WCA, with DNS revealing last month that a coroner had for the first time decided that a disabled man had killed himself as a direct result of being found fit for work.Disabled People Against Cuts said DR UK had “once again sold their legitimacy to the highest bidder”.A DPAC spokesperson said: “This was the organisation that had Craegmoor – a group running institutions and segregated education – sponsor their last conference on ‘independent living’!“DR UK can no longer claim to speak for disabled people. As more and more people reject DR UK, more and more people join DPAC.“Fighting back is our business and business is good because we’re about disabled people’s rights, not a bank balance.”Rick Burgess, co-founder of New Approach, which was set up to campaign for the WCA to be scrapped and replaced, said there was often a “fine line between harm reduction and enabling abuse”, but he added: “Given what we know of the Department for Work and Pensions and Maximus, I have to say that DR UK have betrayed us again and sided with abusive practice.“They will not in any way be able to alter policy or the law, so the WCA will remain a fake medical inflicted by people with disability denial targets.“The time for working with the WCA and making it less harmful has long passed and it has been clear for years that the government never had any good faith intention of implementing harm reduction.”He added: “DR UK are doing their job of laundering government policy, taking the money and making retroactive rationalisations after the fact to save what is left of their public reputation.”Pat Onions, founder of Pat’s Petition, said she was “totally disgusted” that DR UK had “bid for, been accepted, and now are contracted to work with” Maximus.She said: “DR UK say they agree with the rest of us that the WCA is so flawed it needs scrapping.“How on earth can so-called ‘training’ Maximus staff to understand the needs of disabled people ever work?“You can tweak the descriptors and throw money into training, but at the end of the day it is DWP who call Maximus’s and DR UK’s tune.”Onions said Maximus had a “well-documented track record of appalling behaviour towards disabled people”.And she suggested that because contracts linked to the government appeared to make up a significant part of DR UK’s income, the question had to be asked whether it was still a genuine user-led organisation.Gail Ward, co-founder of the user-led Cross Border Alliance, set up by four disabled activists to promote co-operation between Scotland and the north of England, said: “While we knew DR UK were offering their services to train assessors, the fact they have been contracted to do so smacks of a government wanting to silence the voices of disabled people.“These tests are cruel and cause great harm to disabled people, resulting in making their health worse during such processes and cause great fear and distress amongst disabled people, sometimes with deadly consequences.”But Philip Connolly, policy and development manager for Disability Rights UK, defended the decision to work with Maximus.He said: “DR UK won the contact to provide equality training to healthcare professionals carrying out the work capability assessment earlier this year.“We decided, after much deliberation, to apply for the contract because we knew we could provide high quality trainers with personal experience of disability, and therefore could have an impact on healthcare professionals delivering the work capability assessment.“We have always said the WCA is flawed and that hasn’t changed.“We were also very careful to ensure the contract with Maximus specifically allows us to be vocal and clear about the WCA. It is a wasteful and stressful test which doesn’t properly assess people’s abilities.”When DR UK admitted last year that it had agreed “potentially” to work with Maximus, its chief executive, Liz Sayce, said: “We have a duty to disabled people, given the incredibly dehumanising and inaccessible processes that millions of disabled people are going through, to try to improve those issues.”And she said that arguing that DR UK should not work with Maximus, because of its track record in the US – where it has faced a number of scandals relating to discrimination, incompetence and alleged fraud while delivering public contracts – would imply that the company “should work with no disabled people’s organisations at all”.A Maximus spokesman said: “We have a partnership in place with Disability Rights UK, who are providing disability equality and awareness training to all our staff, so they have a better understanding and empathy with our customers.“This was proposed to DWP as part of our planning when we assumed responsibility for the contract.“We work closely with over 20 charities and disability organisations nationally and they support us in our endeavours to improve the customer journey and this includes working with us on training. We highly value their input which is meaningful.”Meanwhile, disabled campaigner and researcher Stef Benstead has been commissioned by the Christian political think-tank Ekklesia to come up with plans for a replacement for the WCA.As part of the research, Ekklesia has launched a survey designed for people with long-term health conditions to explain “what affects their ability to find and keep work, what support they need and what a proper assessment process should look like”.Benstead will analyse the survey results and write a report presenting an alternative to ESA and the WCA, based on the responses to the survey. She was lead researcher on the Beyond the Barriers report – which examined the failings of the ESA system and the Work Programme for disabled people, on behalf of the Spartacus campaign network.And Tom Brake has become the first Liberal Democrat MP to sign up to the WOWcampaign, which aims to force the government into assessing the overall impact of its cuts and reforms on disabled people.By 7pm this evening (Thursday), the WOWpetition had attracted more than 20,100 signatures.If it reaches 100,000 signatures by 13 February, the petition should be debated in the House of Commons.Brake has also written to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, urging him to carry out such an assessment.Picture: Activists protesting in London when Maximus began work on the WCA contractlast_img read more

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Month: July 2019 Labour has tabled an amendment to the governments

first_imgLabour has tabled an amendment to the government’s latest Brexit motion with the aim, according to the party, of breaking the deadlock in parliament and preventing ‘no deal’.Following the heavy defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal last week, the government will put a ‘neutral terms’ motion to the Commons on Tuesday 29th January that will give MPs a vote on its ‘Plan B’. Parliamentarians started tabling amendments last night, after the Prime Minister’s statement.Labour’s proposed change would see the Commons vote on options designed to block ‘no deal’, including Corbyn’s alternative Brexit plan with customs union membership and legislating for a public vote on a deal that has been approved by MPs. It does not commit the party to supporting a fresh EU referendum.Commenting on the amendment, Jeremy Corbyn said: “Theresa May has shown today that she has no Plan B after the comprehensive rejection of her botched Brexit deal by MPs last week. The Prime Minister is both refusing to change her red lines or take the threat of a no deal exit off the table. MPs must now act to break the deadlock.“Our amendment will allow MPs to vote on options to end this Brexit deadlock and prevent the chaos of a no deal. It is time for Labour’s alternative plan to take centre stage, while keeping all options on the table, including the option of a public vote.”Below is the wording of Labour’s amendment.and requires ministers to secure sufficient time for the UK Parliament to consider and vote on options to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a ratified Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration., and that those options should include: i)             negotiating changes to the draft Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration so as to secure a permanent customs union with the EU, a strong relationship with the single market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, and dynamic alignment on rights and standards, in order to command a majority in the House of Commonsii)            legislating to hold a public vote on a deal or a proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of CommonsTags:Labour /Jeremy Corbyn /Brexit /last_img read more

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Month: July 2019 Community Opposition Halts Bryant St Development

first_imgVehement opposition by housing rights activists and Mission community members has forced the developer of the second largest market-rate housing project to hit the Mission District, 2000-2070 Bryant Street, to put his plans on hold.A letter sent by developer Nick Podell’s attorney, Steve Vettel, to the San Francisco Planning Department explains that the developer’s decision to halt the project is a direct response to “comments and concerns we have heard from members of the community.”Podell attempted to force the Planning Commission to approve the project before Proposition I goes to vote in November by invoking the Streamlining Act — a move that did not sit well with some members of the commission. Under this act, the project would have been automatically approved if the commission failed to act within 60 days, which gave the Commission a deadline of September 30.“I think [the developers] knew that the Commission would not have approved the plan in the first place,” said Commissioner Dennis Richards, citing design issues and the lack of a full Environmental Impact Report. “I was surprised. There is a huge time constraint to approve such a large, complicated, and contentious project by September 30,” said Richards. “In my year on the [Planning Commission] we’ve not approved this kind of project on the first hearing.”Even without Podell delaying the project, it might have been delayed in November by Proposition I, the Mission moratorium ballot initiative that, if approved by voters,  will halt new market-rate development for 18 months.Opponents call the nearly block-sized project the “Beast on Bryant” and have objected to it because it adds more market-rate housing to the Mission. The development would also shutter some small businesses and displace rent-controlled tenants — some of whom have met their looming eviction with resistance.Others, including the owners of commercial tenant Inner Mission, are pleased with Podell and his approach to the project and say he has agreed to pay for relocation costs and some rent when they leave their space.“We are disappointed that it was pulled back but understand and are sympathetic to the reasons for doing it,” said Tim Colen, executive director of the Housing Action Coalition, which endorsed the project. “It reflects how difficult it is in San Francisco to build housing and to address the housing affordability crisis. It’s not possible to improve affordability if we don’t build a lot more housing.”“I think that the efforts to stop the project are misguided–and will worsen displacement and housing prices,” he added.“Bryant Street does not want to be a symbol or catalyst for a movement or cause,” said Evette Davis, a spokesperson for Podell. “This is a developer who’d simply like to build housing in San Francisco and if pressing “pause” to take a deep breath and reconfigure the project is what it takes, then that’s what we’re going to do. In the meantime, we’ll continue our conversations with various parties.”The Podell company is now “considering certain revisions to address those concerns, including the mix of uses and the project design” and plans to present the project to the Planning Commission some time before November.While the additional environmental review could take up to two months, this could give the developers time to build support for the project and have it in front of the commission before November.“They are really in a tough spot — but changing the project and possibly getting it approved by November is the best of all worlds,” said Richards. “It’s a squeaker–but it’s possible.”Update: The project’s spokesperson, Evette Davis, confirmed via email that Podell’s intention is to proceed with the development–should San Francisco voters reject the moratorium proposed on the November ballot:“We do expect to proceed with a revised project. We own the property and it is not for sale. We have every intention of returning in November with a revised plan addressing as many concerns as we can. Obviously if the moratorium passes, all housing, other than 100 percent affordable housing, will stop for 18 months.”Disclosure: Nick Podell is a reader member of Mission Local. 0%center_img Tags: Bryant Street • development • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

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Month: July 2019 The interim coach said coming up with the two poin

first_imgThe interim coach said coming up with the two points on Friday night was important following the disappointing loss to the Vikings.“The win was vital for us after losing against Widnes,” he said. “It was nice to get the two points and we worked hard for them too. I think we deserved it.“We were a little bit frustrated at times. You could see glimpses and where we want to get to and do, but we have to do that for longer periods and be consistent.“The lads pulled together and it was good to see a lot of team spirit and them working hard for one another.“Longy has introduced a few things into our attack and it’s hard for all that to sink in at once.“Perhaps we tried to put things on too quickly at times before we had earned the right.“You can see there is a willingness to move the ball though and hopefully we can get a good week’s training and get some more into them.“We are looking to move the ball wider and move defences rather than going down the middle.”He continued: “We did put ourselves under pressure at times. I don’t think our defence was perfect but we scrambled well for each other.“And to only let one try in against any Super League team is a good performance.“We didn’t get the start we wanted but we got over it, settled down and then got on top and rolled down the field.“There was a lot of character in the performance.”last_img read more

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Month: July 2019 Schools closeddelayed Tuesday makeup days to be decided

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As ice remains on roads several days after a winter storm, area schools are announcing closures and delays Tuesday.New Hanover County Schools will be operating on a 2-hour delay for students and staff on Tuesday, January 9.- Advertisement – Principals, custodians, and maintenance workers should report at their normal times. Due to continued icy conditions in school parking lots and entryways, some schools may alter their pick up and drop off procedures and locations.Good afternoon,Out of an abundance of caution New Hanover County Schools will be operating on a two hour delay on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 for students and staff.Principals, custodians and maintance workers should report to work at regular time.Thank you— Tim Markley (@tsmarkley) January 8, 2018New Hanover County Schools say the board will approve the proposed schedule at their meeting tomorrow and the make-up schedule will be announced Wednesday.Brunswick County Schools have followed suit and will also operate on a 2-hour delay tomorrow for students and staff. Related Article: Brunswick County Schools recognizes top educators for 2018Due to continued icy conditions on secondary roads, Pender County Schools says they will be closed for students Tuesday with an optional workday for staff.Click here for the latest closures and delays.last_img read more

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Month: July 2019 Movie looking for crew Words on Bathroom Walls offices open

first_imgScreen Gems studios pairs with Red Cross. (Photo: Dustin Dorsey/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A movie setting up shop in Wilmington is looking for crew members.Sheila Brothers at Wilmywood Daily reports “Words on Bathroom Walls” has officially opened up offices at EUE/Screen Gems.- Advertisement – She says the production is accepting resumes for crew positions only.You can e-mail them to wordsresumes@gmail.com.“Words on Bathroom Walls” is based on a young adult novel by Julia Walton. Production is scheduled to start in April.last_img read more

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Month: July 2019 DMV offering REAL ID driver license during Azalea Festival

first_imgReal ID (Photo: DMV) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —  A DMV mobile office will be set up in downtown Wilmington during the Azalea Festival, offering attendees a chance to get a REAL ID and identification card.The DMV will set up the mobile office on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.- Advertisement – NCDMV examiners, staff from vehicle services and License and Theft Bureau Inspectors will be available to answer questions about driver licenses, vehicle registrations, titles and more on both Saturday and Sunday.The staff will also help citizens learn how to skip the trip to the DMV by utilizing the DMV’s online services and how to obtain a REAL ID.REAL ID is the single form of identification that will make it easier to board commercial airlines and enter federal facilities, including military installations in 2020. Anyone without a REAL ID or passport, will need to provide additional identification.Related Article: Castle Hayne mom battling cancer receives free HVAC unitThe DMV mobile unit will be located at the corner of Grace and Front streets during the Azalea Festival.last_img read more

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Month: July 2019 Community spreads awareness after UNCW student dies of methanol poisoning abroad

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A study abroad trip gone terribly wrong. Family and friends of one former UNCW student are now trying to educate others around the world.“We get online and begin to look and are just floored at this epidemic that’s going on,” said Crystal Turney, whose son died while studying abroad.- Advertisement – When Eric and Crystal Turney got the call, they had no idea what to think. Their son Ryan, was studying abroad in east Asia through UNCW.On a trip to Vietnam, Ryan went out for drinks with his friends. No one ever thought one drink could end his life.“His death certificate says cardiac arrest. He did not have an autopsy, but looking at the medical reports, he was treated for methanol poisoning,” said Crystal Turney.Related Article: UNCW determines they aren’t comfortable accepting students back into Belk Hall and University ApartmentsTurney says Ryan’s drink likely had methanol in it the night before. She says Ryan’s friends told them that he woke up the next day not feeling well. But the methanol was already in his system.“You can’t detect when it’s in your drink. It only takes two ounces of methanol to kill you. Methanol is used to replace ethanol, which is a more expensive substance,” said Lucy Coppola, who was a close friend of Ryan’s.Coppola explains that some foreign countries use methanol to replace real alcohol.Turney explains that the symptoms are easy to miss. She says they are very similar to those of a hangover.The Turney’s message, however, is not to hold back adventure seekers.“We want to share that, don’t stop traveling. Keep traveling. Appreciate different cultures and all of those things that Ryan was doing. But just be safe about it,” said Turney.Since his death in September, Ryan’s family and friends are dedicated to raising awareness of this deadly practice. They want to educate young people so that they can keep living adventurously, just like Ryan did.The Turneys say they have already spoken to some local universities and groups. They also say they are working on starting a foundation in Ryan’s name to educate people on this danger while abroad.last_img read more

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Month: July 2019 Brewery pokes fun at NFL playoffs with Super Bowl beer

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s not Super Bowl Sunday without some good beer to go along with your food. Wrightsville Beach Brewery is brewing up one special drink for Sunday.It’s a call even brewers couldn’t miss. They’re calling it “Pass Interference.”- Advertisement – Wrightsville Beach Brewery Owner Jud Watkins says they will be having a special deal for the drink on Sunday. Watkins says the beer has a little piece of each team in it.He says the name is actually in honor of the New Orleans Saints, after a tough loss to the LA Rams.“Since folks down in New Orleans have been struggling a little bit with the officiating, we thought the most appropriate name for the beer would be “Pass Interference.” It’s a variation of our beer “Gator Tears”, because we heard that the officiating down there was so bad that even the alligators were crying,” said Watkins.Related Article: Patriots owner Kraft denies charges of soliciting prostituteWatkins says the beer is a New England IPA, flavored with some California oranges.last_img read more

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Month: July 2019 VIDEO Women rescued from rip current at Fort Fisher

first_imgFORT FISHER, NC (WWAY) — It’s spring break and many people were out on the area beaches Wednesday to enjoy the beautiful weather, but one trip to the coast almost turned deadly.Witnesses tell us a dip in the ocean went awry for a few young women at Fort Fisher.- Advertisement – Officials say swimmers were on an inner tube and got stuck in a rip current around 2:45 p.m.A witness on the beach caught the scary moments on camera and shared that video with WWAY.In the video, you can see a few Good Samaritans try to help, but then they also got sucked in.Related Article: Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry back on schedule after mechanical issueEventually, a witness called 911 and a park ranger rushed to their aid.Between the ranger and the beach goers who swept into action, everyone managed to get out safe and with no injuries.last_img read more

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