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Federal Partners in Transition eDiscussion til May 27

Have you ever thought that there was a better way to do things?  Have you ever wished you could talk to somebody important enough to act on your ideas?  Or maybe just listen to your ideas?  Here’s your chance.  There is an online discussion taking place the next two weeks (May 13-27).  Representatives of the Department of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration (Federal Partners in Transition)   are hosting this discussion and asking the following question:

What legislative and regulatory changes need to happen to effectively implement employment, education, health and human and social security services for youth and young adults with disabilities under public law?

It is a “crowd-sourced” discussion.  Individuals and agencies present their ideas and the rest of us vote their ideas up and down.  In this way, the “cream” of ideas rise to the top.  There were over 100 ideas within 24 hours, and the top idea (with 54 votes) was to eliminate waiting lists.  (Nemo votes for that!)

Participants need to register in order to participate.  In order to participate go to:  In addition, we asked one author a question about their particular idea, and have received half a dozen responses from participants so far.  So Nemo won’t be asking a lot of idle questions…LOL.

Nemo has noted that some ideas on the website are poorly written and difficult to understand.  Some are pure jargon.  A participant might want to draft an idea and have someone else read it before posting.  Otherwise your great idea could be lost in the mix if it is unclear.   And we don’t want that to happen!


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Drive-able Distances and Services: Opinion

carAs I read about the wonderful advances being made in Chicagoland and the nation, I often find myself wondering if there is any way our family can tie-in to them.   Those social groups, work opportunities and  miracle-working professionals inspire me and I am grateful to learn about them and to be in a metropolitan area where wonderful things can and do happen.

Yet, many resources remain out of reach since they are not a “drivable distance” for our family.  We are in the Grayslake area, and we can’t schedule weekly visits to a gifted therapist in Tinley Park or join an athletic team  in West Chicago.   While we can plan to participate in special events in those towns, we hope our day-to-day needs can be met by opportunities that are near us.  But how do we find them?

The idea of a “drivable distance” is one of the key concepts behind  Our news is hyperlocal, meaning we target a specific group of individuals within a specific geographical area — those affected by disabilities in the Lake County, Illinois area.  (You might be familiar with;  they do the same kind of thing.)

TheNemoNews concentrates on resources, opportunities and events that take place within a one hour drive of Mundelein.   We promote news and information that helps us find and support each other here — where we live.

Of course, the “drivable distance” term includes the use of cars, buses, taxis, bicycles and other forms of transportation that are accessible to individuals with disabilities.  And we all know that is spotty.   (We’re hoping to do an article on transportation sometime soon.)  TheNemoNews has settled into the Lake County Area, including news from Lake and McHenry Counties, sometimes Kenosha –driveable.  We occasionally include online resources that are really good.

We welcome your local news, articles and comments.


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Transportation Options Program at LCCIL

The Lake County Center for Independent Living (LCCIL)  is hosting a presentation on transportation options for those with disabilities at 1pm on Thursday, October 11, 2012.   Their address is 377 N. Seymour Avenue in Mundelein.

A representative  from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) will provide an overview of accessible programs offered on CTA and PACE buses as well as use of the Metra Rail System.  Trip planning and safety tips will be covered.  Time for discussion will be provided.

The presentation will describe special programs such as the Reduced Fare Circuit Ride Free and Paratransit ServicesDial-a-Ride will also be discussed.   The program is targeting those with disabilities, seniors and those who support them.

The meeting has been organized by the RTA, LCCIL, and the Lake County Coordinated Transportation Services Committee (LCCTSC).  The LCCTYSC consists of representatives from the Townships of Antioch, Avon, Fremont, Grant, Lake Villa and Wauconda.

For more information contact Allison at 847-949-4440,


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377 Board Initiative in McHenry County

About 25 people  attended a Developmental Disability Task Force meeting on September 19 at the Shah Center in McHenry.   They learned about  a county-wide initiative to create a 377 Board to support the unmet needs of the estimated 5200 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.   This initiative would involve a referendum on the Spring 2013 ballot in McHenry County.

Organizers pointed out that less than one fifth of developmentally disabled individuals currently receive services.   Long-term unmet needs include housing, transportation, life skills supervision, and other services.    Housing is of particular concern, mirroring the state shortage of disabled housing.  Currently, many individuals with developmental disabilities must move away from family and social supports in order to find housing at all.  With the aging of parents, their need for assistance is expected to grow.

Concerned individuals are now contacting members of the McHenry County Board to ask them to approve placement of a referendum on the Spring 2013 Ballot.   The deadline to obtain approval for ballot placement is October 16, 2012.

McHenry is not the first county in Illinois to pursue this kind of board.  Champaign County,  Illinois  has a 377 Board that has operated for several years.  The Board Members are listed here.

For more information on the McHenry initiative contact Options and Advocacy, 815-477-4720.

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Gurnee-Area Educational Transportation Changes Planned

A new program to transport Special Education students in Gurnee area school districts is currently in the works, according to a recent article the Chicago Tribune (TribLocal).  The cooperating districts plan to purchase 12 vans and hire 12 drivers to improve the students experience.  The districts estimate that this will save some money.  Moreover, it will result in better screening and supervision of drivers.

The districts hope to develop their intergovernmental agreement by late May.  The districts involved are Warren Township High School (D121), Woodland (D50) and Gurnee (D56).

Currently, some Special Education students are transported in taxis to receive services that are specifically tailored to meet their special needs and are not available in their home school.

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Transportation “Listening Session” May 24

Community leTransporationaders hope to hear from citizens about the transportation needs of the disabled and elderly on Thursday, May 24th at 7pm.  This “Listening Session” will be held at Lake Forest High School.  It is one of a series of sessions conducted by the Lake County Center for Independent Living.  Findings from these sessions will be presented to PACE to help address county-wide needs.

This listening session will focus on the needs in the townships of Morraine, West Deerfield, Libertyville, Vernon Hills and Fremont.  A collaborative committee of supervisors and others is currently studying special needs for transportation in those townships.

For more information about the initiative or the meeting contact Laura Mellon, Lake County Center for Independent Living, at 847-949-4440 or

A similar initiative in 2010 was very successful.  It resulted in the “Lake County Northwest Demonstration Dial-a-Ride Project” which provides additional transportation services for a coalition of townships including Antioch, Avon, Grant, and Lake Villa.

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