1. Open letter from TARTA regarding funding change proposal
  2. Ability Center discusses social isolation
  3. Latest podcast focuses on Early Intervention
  4. New guide helps with day-to-day activities during pandemic
  5. Ohio DD Council shares stories of Ohioans with disabilities
  6. Board recognizes Staff Persons of the Month
  7. Secretary of Treasurer answers questions about stimulus checks and STABLE accounts
  8. Summary from Superintendent’s June Family & Advocate Forum
  9. July Dinner-Dance canceled
  10. Ohio DD Council shares stories of Ohioans with disabilities
  11. Aging Gracefully newsletter for July
  12. Worth Repeating

1. Open letter from TARTA regarding funding change proposal

The following open letter was sent by Daniel Woodstock, TARTA Board President, and Kim Dunham, TARTA General Manager

Less than a year ago, necessary and radical transformation began at the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA). There really was no other choice. Northwest Ohio needs to get serious about improving public transportation to attract new jobs, new residents, and a new prosperous future for our residents and businesses.

In short order, the TARTA Board of Trustees elected a new President and Vice President, hired a new General Manager, and embraced a proposal for a regional governance and funding structure for the Authority. We are not just talking about a new energy and vision at TARTA – we are making it happen.

As you may already know, recently we met with all seven of TARTA’s governing member communities – Toledo, Sylvania, Sylvania Township, Ottawa Hills, Waterville, Rossford and Maumee. We presented the “Future is Here” – TARTA’s new vision, plans and achievements.

The response from the majority of our local elected officials was appreciation, support and excitement. We achieved something TARTA has not been able to do in recent history with all seven communities voting on our new structure and a ballot initiative. We are proud to say that six communities supported the resolution and felt it was the right time for voters to weigh in on expanding transit service and allow Lucas County to become a member of TARTA.

While Maumee City Council did not pass the resolution and this is not the outcome we hoped for, we continue to be optimistic about TARTA’s path forward. We are optimistic because during this effort, business and community leaders from across the region came together in support of a new TARTA. We need to maintain this type of collaboration and momentum to create a new public transit system built for all communities and all residents.

We still have much hard work ahead of us to create a best in class transit system. Your support and involvement are key. Join us in this next phase and reach out to us at any time. Together, we can achieve a bright, vibrant future for public transportation and this region.

2.  Ability Center discusses social isolation

A few days ago the Ability Center hosted a webinar to address loneliness and isolation during this pandemic. You can listen and view this presentation at this link.

3.  Latest podcast focuses on Early Intervention

Early Intervention is the term used to describe the services and supports that are available to babies and young children with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. Unfortunately, many young families do not know about those services and supports. For that discussion, the guest for this podcast episode is Julie Esparza, Director of the Board’s Children’s Department. Listen at this link.

4.  New guide helps with day-to-day activities during the pandemic

 Recreation specialist Mary Beth Olender has compiled a guide to help individuals get through day-to-day activities and still maintain the guidelines on social distancing. Find it here.

5.  Ohio DD Council shares stories of Ohioans with disabilities

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council has launched its newest web series, Ohio DD Talks. The series will feature Council members, agency leaders and people with developmental disabilities, family members, and community members – to share their stories. Click here for the first installment.

6. Board recognizes Staff Persons of the Month

At its June meeting, the Board of DD recognized two individuals, Sara Fulton and Terri Winters, as Staff Persons of the Month.

The passion Sara Fulton shows for the work and the individuals she serves makes her an exceptional example of a Service and Support Specialist.  Not only does Sara work hard for the individuals on her case load, she works hard to make the work environment a much kinder place. She helps wherever and whenever she can. She is quick with a smile and remembers to decorate for birthdays.

Inclusion, freedom of choice, and everyone has worth. These are the values promoted everyday by Terri Winters, Service and Support Specialist in the Children’s Department. Especially noteworthy is the empathy and understanding that Terri shows to fears and angst many parents feel as their children approach adulthood. Terri is also the union representative for the Children’s SSA unit.

7.  Secretary of Treasurer answers questions about stimulus checks and STABLE accounts

Ohio Treasurer of State Robert Sprague’s office has issued a new list of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) for STABLE Account holders who have received or will receive federal COVID-19 stimulus checks.

STABLE Accounts, which are specialized savings accounts for people with developmental disabilities, help account holders save for the future without counting toward their $2,000 asset limit for federal benefits such as SSI and Medicaid.

Federal COVID-19 stimulus payments sent earlier this year in the amount of $1,200 per person can count against that asset limit for people with developmental disabilities, but not if the funds are deposited into a STABLE Account. For more information click here.

8.  Summary from Superintendent’s June Family & Advocate Forum

Superintendent Mariucci indicated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lucas County Board of DD has been working diligently to meet the needs of the individuals we serve. Working remotely has created some challenges but also some innovations. It is obvious that the way we operate will be different in the future. She has seen so much kindness demonstrated throughout the pandemic. The number of partnerships and collaborations across the Board and Lucas County has been tremendous. She thanked everyone for their kindness.

We continue to receive daily guidance from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DoDD) regarding social distancing and plans to re-start programs. Monday, June 8th, began the process of bringing some staff back into the Lucas County Board of DD facilities, but the majority of staff continue to work remotely.

Nate Turner, President of SALUTE (Self-Advocates of LUcas TolEdo) reported on activities of SALUTE, an organization of self-advocates, that promotes self-advocacy efforts. The group has been meeting via Zoom to keep everyone together and share information. In an effort to stay connected, the group created “Wellness buddies” which involves SALUTE members calling individuals during the pandemic. The purpose of the calls is to touch base with the individual and make sure they know someone is thinking about them, with the hopes of reducing the feeling of isolation. Referrals are received from the Service and Support Specialists who have received consent to share information. The calls have been very successful in that new friendships have developed.

SALUTE has also been building a meaningful relationship with law enforcement and they developed a Power Point presentation to share with law enforcement.

Tammy Eisenreich, Parent Partner, helps families find funding through grants. Grant funds are used to cover things that the insurance usually will not cover. In March and April parents were looking for things to do. She shared strategies for families searching for funding. She recommends families need to look at all local places. There are great resources through the United Way’s 211. Sometimes things open up for a limited time so families need to be prepared to respond quickly. Organizations are giving money. Do the research and know your funding source. The more you are willing to share your story and what you need, the organizations are willing to provide funds.

The last few months software has been the most requested need for families. Some insurances will pay for technology when all avenues have been tried. You need to show supporting documentation to this effect.

Julie O’Hair, Director of Service and Support Administration, said all SSA’s are working remotely and working diligently to meet the needs of our individuals. Ms. O’Hair thanked Nate as she has received many positive comments from SSAs about SALUTE’S efforts with the “Wellness Buddies” calls.

Pat Stephens, Director of Provider Supports, is working with the Department of DD to review assurance forms before allowing Providers to reopen their Adult Day Services programs. They are having Zoom meetings and virtual tours with providers.

Julie Esparza, Director of Children’s Department, said staff are working remotely and doing virtual visits with families. A lot of families like it and some do not. With the summer upon us, staff are planning ahead with families, “What can we do to support you?”

9.    July Dinner-Dance canceled

With the pandemic still with us, July’s Dinner Dance is canceled and August’s Rec Jam is canceled.  No decision has been yet on the dinner-dance scheduled in October.  Board staff are  looking into ways to make reimbursements to those who have already paid should the October date be canceled.

10.  Ohio DD Council shares stories of Ohioans with disabilities

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council has launched its newest web series, Ohio DD Talks. The series will feature Council members, agency leaders and people with developmental disabilities, family members, and community members – to share their stories. Click here for the first installment.

11.  Aging Gracefully newsletter for July

Follow this link

12.  Worth Repeating

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt


The Friday Update is published on Friday mornings by Lon Mitchell, Public Information Manager of the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities. You may subscribe by sending your email address. You may also read the Friday Update on the Board website and on the mobile app

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