note: response to Paulette Renault-Caragianes’ Guest Commentary here.
SOMERVILLE, MA: Shape Up Somerville’s Mayor Curtatone, who announced on WGBH this week (Boston’s Growing Income Gap, hosted 3/20/11 by Kara Miller) that he is “advising the First Lady on the Let’s Move Initiative,” attempted to get the US Surgeon General’s launch of a major Public Health initiative at the inaccessible Somerville Armory this Friday (March 23, 2012).
As Curtatone is well aware, the Center for the Arts at the Armory facility, along with its many City-sponsored community programs, opportunities, and events – has been nonfunctional, unusable, and inaccessible to an entire class of residents; namely, persons with mobility and ambulatory disAbilities-since it opened in 2009.
The Somerville Armory owners are currently accruing a $500/day fine to the State, as a result of their failure to comply with the State Architectural Access Board’s order to make the Entrance ramp and threshold accessible by June 15, 2011.
Somerville’s Mayor Curtatone was very clearly informed in May 2010, that the Armory cannot be considered a safe and accessible venue for any municipal events until that entrance ramp and other inaccessible features are fixed to industry standards. Curtatone has also been in the recent loop of communications regarding that fine penalty (which began tolling on October 31, 2011) ; and, the resulting suddenly-possible reconstruction plans for the Armory’s sidewalks, entrance ramp and threshold.
Nevertheless, since May 2010, Curtatone has continued to launch new programs and events there frequently- such as the Winter Farmer’s Market, a program of the much-lauded Shape Up Somerville; the monthly Arts Salons; and, of course, his 5th-term Inaugural party this past January .
But at least this week’s potential push to ignore the civil rights of Americans with disAbilities- with the U.S. Surgeon General at his side- failed for Curtatone.
On Friday, March 23, 2012, the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, will formally launch the new Middlesex County’s “Mass in Motion” program activities.
As of 3:30 pm Thursday, that Press Conference has been moved from Somerville’s Armory to a different venue. This was the result of the quick and committed response by a team who “gets” why disability rights and equity is good and necessary for everyone.
Kudos! to these wonderful leaders in the Patrick-Murray administration’s team: Executive Office of Health & Human Services (EOHHS) Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, Assistant Secretary Christine Griffin, EOHHS Office of Disability Policy and Programs, Commissioner John Auerbach, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Eileen Sullivan, Senior Program Director, Office of the Commissioner, DPH- who really did all the work to get the event changed, and to Stacey Monahan, EOHHS Chief of Staff who had the great idea to get the T to provide a shuttle service to and from this event.
Here’s the new announcement:
|****CHANGE OF LOCATION****
MIDDLESEX COUNTY RECEIVES $1.6 MILLION PUBLIC HEALTH GRANT
U.S. Surgeon General to anounce funding in Somerville on Friday
|The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded the Massachusetts Department of Health a $1.57 million Community Transformation Grant to promote health and wellness in Middlesex County.
United States Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, will formally launch the grant’s activities TOMORROW, at a press conference on the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act:
March 23, 2012
10 a.m. Networking & Displays
10:30 a.m. Speaking Program
Now at the Somerville Holiday Inn
30 Washington St.
The grant will help reduce death and disability in the county from health-related factors such as poor nutrition, a lack of physical activity, and smoking. Work will focus on expanding efforts in tobacco-free housing, active living and healthy eating, quality clinical and other preventive services, social and emotional wellness, and healthy and safe physical environments.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) in applying for the Community Transformation Grant. This grant allows for the expansion of MDPH’s “Mass in Motion” initiative, which works to reduced obesity and supports MDPH’s smoking cessation and prevention activities.
MAPC will assist with program coordination in Middlesex County, providing grant coordination, technical assistance, and direct community funding and program management. MAPC will also manage some subcontracts, directly including youth interventions, clinical interventions, mini-grants and some technical assistance providers. Friday’s event will showcase some of the grant’s leading projects and partners.
Cities and towns involved in the Community Transformation Grant include Lowell, Everett, Malden, Medford, Waltham, Cambridge, Framingham, Marlborough, Hudson, Arlington, Belmont, Newton, Watertown, Melrose-Wakefield, Somerville, Stoneham, and Reading.
Join us Friday to learn more.
Questions? Contact MAPC Public Health Manager Mariana Arcaya at firstname.lastname@example.org 617-451-2770 ext. 2050.
above: this notice is actually a barrier for people using the handrails. In addition, it makes it seem as though people with disAbilities are preventing people from locking their bikes in a convenient location. Why can’t a sign simply be posted elsewhere saying, “please don’t park your bikes on ramp handrails?” (or something.)