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Get a move on: New York needs to move further, faster on accessibility

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disability pride parade

Thousands will walk and roll wheelchairs down Broadway Sunday in the city’s fourth Disability Pride Parade. The pageant is important; more critical is whether people with mobility problems can get from point A to point B.

There’s been some meaningful progress since 2015, but big hurdles remain.

The subway is the primary way to travel — unless you use a wheelchair, because just a quarter of 472 stations have elevators or ramps. Even the stop at the parade’s start, at 23rd St. and Broadway, isn’t accessible. Fortunately, the No. 6 at 23rd and Park Ave South, has new elevators.

Hope for more movement soon, with new Transit Authority President Andy Byford making accessibility a pillar of his system plan. A seasoned disability rights advocate, Alex Elegudin, is the TA’s first accessibility chief.
They need a triple focus on elevators: install more, keep existing ones working and ensure that every outage is instantly and accurately shown on the website and new app.

They also need to fix the universally panned Access-A-Ride, costing a half billion dollars a year. There is a good pilot program allowing less than 1% of the 150,000 users to get rides without the hassle of day-in-advance reservations and shared rides. It’s also much cheaper.

On taxis, there are 2,400 wheelchair-accessible cabs, approaching 20% of the fleet. In two years it will be half. But the yellow taxi monopoly is gone due to Uber and Lyft and other e-hail services, which have 80,000 cars, with a paltry 167 being accessible, meaning very long waits.

Under new Taxi and Limousine Commission rules pushed by Chair Meera Joshi, the apps will need many more accessible cars so that that least 60% of wheelchair accessible rides arrive within 15 minutes. We’re waiting.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-edit-disability-20180713-story.html

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9-year-old genius to graduate university

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Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne

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Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Source nydailynews.com/

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