Family Care worries
For the past 23 years, my daughter, who has developmental disabilities, has received vocational support from one of Dane County's supported-employment providers. Because of that support, she has two jobs, earns a wage and engages in meaningful work with co-workers who care about her and treat her with respect. She has worked in one of her jobs for 23 years and the other for seven years.
My daughter's physical and cognitive disabilities require the support of a job coach for her to be successful at work. After reading 'Dane County Braces for Family Care' (3/2/07), I worry that a managed-care organization, under pressure to be 'cost effective,' will deny these community supports and opt to send my daughter to a segregated workshop.
A state official said, 'We expect every person's needs to be met.' As a parent, my question is, 'Who gets to determine that need?' Being able to choose where she lives and works has been extremely important to my daughter and our family.
I hope the state's plan for Family Care will allow Dane County to continue to offer the same range and quality of services to people with developmental disabilities regardless of their level of disability.
I urge other parents, guardians and consumers to become involved in the discussions about the state's plans to expand Family Care. Our voices must be heard if we want to protect our local system that works so well.
For the past 25 years, adults with developmental disabilities in Dane County have been offered the choice to live and work in the community rather than being segregated in sheltered workshops or in large residential facilities.
In 2006, an independent auditor called our service system for adults with developmental disabilities a 'model for the entire state.' Data from the pilot counties clearly show that Family Care results in more segregation and grouping in vocational services.
At the same time, data from an audit of Family Care are contradictory when it comes to cost-savings for people with developmental disabilities.
While elimination of waiting lists across the state is an admirable goal of Family Care, it should not be done on the backs of Dane County taxpayers. I applaud our county leaders for asking the tough questions about the state's plan and for recognizing that the expansion of managed care to other counties depends on the state taking dollars directly out of Dane County.
Kim Kessler, director, Community Work Services Inc.
It is with much frustration that I read and reread Andy Moore's Close to Home column, 'Wheeling in the Years' (3/2/07). I literally screamed out loud when he announced: 'As I waited at stoplights that I'd have blown off on my bike....'
Well, there you have it. Not only are we observing bicyclists' disregard for the law but now an actual seasoned rider is admitting to it.
Frankly, I admire people who ride their bikes to work and to events all over the Madison area. Good for them! They are exercising as they commute, saving valuable dollars on gas and saving the environment from pollution. All admirable aspects, indeed.
But when bicyclists disrespect the laws of the road ' well, that just really angers me. I work downtown, and I see bicyclists disobeying the laws every day. They drive the wrong way on one-ways and disobey traffic lights and pedestrian walkways.
We all have to obey the rules of the road ' cars, minivans, trucks and bicycles. And with spring arriving, I ask the biking community to brush up on the laws and make sure they are adhering to them. And will the local police departments step up their policing efforts and get tough on these lawbreakers?
Paula Westphal, Cottage Grove
Not so friendly
I wonder if Prevention magazine considered such factors as number of hit-and-runs per year, how often motorists fail to yield to pedestrians, or how often pedestrians have to wave those pathetic little red hand flags at speeding motorists when they named Madison the nation's 'most walkable city' (Fortunes, 3/16/07).
I've lived in many large cities ' New York, Paris, and Washington, D.C. ' and Madison is by far the least pedestrian-friendly city I've ever walked in. The myth of Midwestern friendliness and community is shattered when Madisonians get behind the wheels of their Subarus.
Stopping for pedestrians is the law, of course, but isn't it also a question of the most basic civility? I've been cursed at, honked at and nearly hit by drivers who consider me to be just another thing keeping them from pulling into their driveways.
One reason New York is a safer place to walk in than Madison is the sheer number of pedestrians. The most hardened cabbie can't plow through a sea of people. So to all you walkers out there hesitating on the curb, step out together and hold up traffic.
Maybe then Madison will actually be the most walkable city.
A fan writes
I'm reading Isthmus tonight (3/2/07), and I'm conscious of the range of articles ' from 'Reaching for a Future: Disconnected Kids Need Hope and Opportunity,' to 'County Frets Over New Deal for Long-Term Care,' to 'Farewell to the Arts' Best Friend,' to 'Junior's Farm: A Summer Camp Adventure!' There's a little something here for everyone.
I've always enjoyed Isthmus, but I'm beginning to value it more each week. I'm tired of the daily media that's thrust upon us by two major newspapers and several TV stations that report the same 10 or less stories ' primarily gloom-and-doom with deadly accidents, legal battles and a war that goes on and on.
Thank you for reporting about real people and real local issues in a manner that sees the hope and opportunity, successes and adventure along with honestly discussing dilemmas from a positive perspective.
I enjoy reading Isthmus to learn what's going on locally. It invites me to participate in a community life that's hopeful and empowering. If I read about a dilemma, the story gives me a sense that knowledgeable and sensitive people are working to resolve the dilemma; and at minimum, I'm being informed and can find a way to get involved if I desire.
I enjoy the personal touch of Isthmus. Your paper is more than a means for finding out which movie or performance is happening this week.
Caroline Werner, Oregon
Something's been bugging me for years, and it's finally time to ask: Why do you waste valuable space in The Week on obscure birthdays and 'noteworthy' snippets?
If you eliminated these bits, which I'm betting next-to-nobody reads, you could squeeze in two or three more events we really should know about ' and go to! You'd also spare the poor researcher at Isthmus this thankless task. I vote for more promotion of local events, please.
Sure the money would be nice if the Goodmans gave money to Isthmus like they did to the Atwood Community Center (Fortunes 3/9/07), but do you really want to the change the name of you newspaper to The Goodman?
Mike Sheppard, Fitchburg
Another card to play
Unredeemed value doesn't cease to exist, it gloms onto the black-ink side of each company that sells the cards ('Lost in Starbucks,' 3/2/07). The company has already pocketed the funds the moment the cards are purchased. The only entity for whom the value ceases to exist is the purchaser of the card.
Instead of enacting legislation to force companies to return 80% of the value to the original purchaser, the companies should be required to donate those free billions to local nonprofits in the communities in which the cards are purchased. Food pantries, homeless shelters, libraries, local arts groups, environmental grassroots organizations all would benefit from the windfall.
And improving the quality of life anywhere invariably improves that bottom corporate line.
Nadir of politics
Regarding Kent Williams' review of An Unreasonable Man (3/23/07): The postmortem on this egomaniac has no appeal to me. When I see or hear Ralph Nader or his confused defenders, two things come to mind: George W. Bush and the tragedy that is Iraq. End of discussion.
When I run through the Arboretum and see the 'Stop the Developers' signs, I get so angry it makes me want to run elsewhere, as it ruins my run. Darren Kittleson is looking to build homes on existing lots, no different than if he were to buy and build on a lot in any of the existing developments surrounding the city. The only difference is that this neighborhood was platted many years ago.
The residents who are opposing Kittleson are the worst kind of hypocrites (Madison.gov, 3/9/07). They live and own homes on lots no different from Kittleson's. If they truly believe what they say, then they should tear down their homes and return the land back to nature, losing their investment, just the same as they're demanding of Kittleson.
It's the pits
From The Week in Review (3/23/07), I see that the Dane County Humane Society will pay Robbie Lowery $9,000 for ownership of the confiscated pit bulls after spending $200,000 caring for them. DCHS will pay Lowery? 'Scuse me, but what the fuck?
Nancy Lindsay, Middleton