Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Alberta's 2009-2010 CIP Guidelines and Application form now available

Program guidelines and grant application information are now available
through the following link.

http://www.culture.alberta.ca/cip/default.aspx

The next deadline for applications is January 1, 2010.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Local transportation society receives vital cash injection

Local transportation society receives vital cash injection
Oct 7, 2009

Jerold LeBlanc

Staff writer


A cash infusion by city council has prevented the Wetaskiwin Community Transportation Society from coming to a screeching halt this month.

At its Sept. 28 regular meeting, council unanimously accepted to turn over $26,710 from the Senior Games Legacy Fund.

In 2006, the $50,000 fund was used to buy a van for the group, formally known as the Wetaskiwin Handivan Society.

Major overhaul needed

Society president and Ald. Mark McFaul, said the move is a stop gap measure for a group that needs to undergo a major overhaul if it expects to survive past January 2010.

“The operations costs about $12,000 a month to operate right now, and currently we have about six of that, so basically 50%.

“We are looking at all other aspects, and there are going to be changes, andbe there is going to be some fine-tuning of things to try to bring it in line.

“Our biggest concern is that there is no money to carry us through to resolve some of these issues. Our day-to-day problem is trying to find operating capital. This gives us the operating capital to operate through to January, and then of course, the new budget year kicks in – the City contributes, the County will contribute.

“It gives us quite a bit of breathing space,” said McFaul.

As for how the society has fallen onto financial hard times, McFaul said he’s not 100 per cent sure.

“I think it was the transition period from Senior Homes and Community Housing, which was at the time operating it, to when the point was when Bethany Group took over our Seniors Homes and Community Housing, that didn’t go with the flow.

“At that time, everything was operated through them, and probably funding through the City and County still kept it viable, and they were managing it in all aspects of it,” said McFaul.

“We are looking at all aspects of costs – from maintenance to tires to fuel. I have had talks with our fuel supplier, our tire supplier.

“Actually, we’re going to be piggybacking on the City to buy tires.

“I would have to say that the Co-op is giving us the best price they can, which I appreciate, and we’ve had a little bit of an influx of cash from the County and from the City to keep this viable this year. It’s an important part of the city.”

“I don’t want to say gone, or never, but we would have had to find another way of operating it,” said McFaul.

Ride costs rising

To help offset some of the costs, riders pay $4 per trip, but McFaul said it is increasing to $5.

“I am just guessing the average cost of a ride is $8. The problem being is most people using the services are on very fixed incomes, and $8 is not a doable fee in their lifestyle.

If the service wasn’t available, McFaul said those people would shut ins, and community programs dependant upon the transportation service would suffer.

Local transportation society receives vital cash injection

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Paratransit Driver Convicted Of Assaulting Child With Disability

A driver for paratransit service Pat and The Elephant has admitted to assaulting a 14 year old boy with a developmental disability during May of 2009. Pablo Victor Szerman plead guilty to assaulting the boy, as he left the bus in May, in Prince Edward island.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) – Oct 06, 2009 – A driver for paratransit service Pat and The Elephant has admitted to assaulting a 14 year old boy with a developmental disability during May of 2009.

Pablo Victor Szerman plead guilty to assaulting the boy, as he left the bus in May, in Prince Edward Island Provincial Court on Tuesday September 29th, 2009 .

A paratransit bus is a minibus or van with wheelchair loading capacity which provides door-to-door transportation on demand of people with disabilities.

The boy has a developmental and physical disability. He cannot control the amount of mucous that collects in his mouth and needs to spit from time to time. He attempted to clear his mouth while leaving the paratransit bus.

Szerman wiped the sputum off the van door and wiped it on the boy’s face saying he was going to teach the boy not to spit.

The event was witnessed by the boy’s sister. The police were called and charges laid.

Valerie Gillespie said her son was traumatized by the event. She asks why the driver is still employed by Pat and the Elephant in the transportation of anyone with a disability.

“I put him in that van and I trusted them to take him there,” said Gillespie in tears on CBC radio. “And take him home safely and treat him with respect.”

Gillespie is calling for the driver to be dismissed from providing care to anyone with a disability.

Gillespie said that she, in her job as a resident care worker, would be fired if she reacted the same way to any of the people in her care. She would not be allowed to continue working in the field if she had a conviction for assault, she added.

Gillespie believes other children and adults with disabilities are at risk from drivers like Szerman who assault people in their care.

Szerman admitted the facts and plead guilty. Judge John Douglas gave him a conditional discharge, six months suspension, instructed him to write a letter of apology to the mother and donate $400 to a children’s disability charity.

Pat and the Elephant continue to employ the convicted driver but only for adults until next Fall. At that time Szerman is scheduled to return to driving children with disabilities said Trent Costello, manager of Pat and the Elephant.