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  • 07 Aug 2012 3:23 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    Folding Batteries Could Change the World

    By: Parrish L. Stahl

    The jump between this and scooters used by the disAbled community is a really narrow divide. I find it exciting. The big drawbacks to batteries are weight, cost and duration. We owe much of this technology advancement to the space program.

    We have largely solved duration problems and weights are coming down, but will people with disabilities be able to afford the technology that would help them maintain and gain independence? Must we be economically viable to make real systems change an ongoing endeavor? There is always a series of steps that helps things happen for all people.  Everyone needs reliable transportation, safe adequate housing and healthcare, but the system demands that people with disabilities live in poverty to get a safety net.

    We do not do a very good job at telling policy makers why we need access to technology that not only makes life a little easier, but plays a huge roll in making us an asset to the American melting pot instead of a drain. Something as simple as a truly light weight mobility device with a folding battery could make it possible for individuals to transport the device easily with a passenger car.  That would mean many of us wouldn’t need expensive vans.

    Is it not time we look in the mirror and hold ourselves accountable for why change does not happen sooner?  There are certain aspects of our life we cannot control, but there are things we can do.  Reach out and use your voice and together we will all be better off.  I believe one of our largest problems is our collective silence.  Am I wrong, if not, how can our base be energized? 

    The future is coming.  If you would like to read about the folding battery, click on the link below.


  • 17 Jul 2012 5:02 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    Do People with Disabilities Have a Responsibility?

    Parrish L. Stahl

    Trying to work toward an active lifestyle for people with disabilities is a long road.  Some of us have been working for decades to not only change physical access but also long standing systems and the mindsets of well meaning people who all too often have an almost exclusive caretaker attitude.  As much as we need help and support: we are only moving forward if that assistance comes in the right form. 

    We as people are sometimes guilty of letting others do too much for us.  Living with a significant disability is hard work and it is easy to say to ourselves “Look at how difficult my life is; I deserve to not have to deal with this”.  In the short term we get a break, but in the long term we do not get the benefit of life experience if someone takes care of everything for us.  For instance, how does one learn how to set up a household budget if someone else does that?  How do we learn how uncomfortable it is to be late on a bill and what the consequences are, if that never happens to you? People are shaped for better or worse by the things that happen to them.  People learn to make an omelet they enjoy by burning a few eggs and trying different combinations of ingredients until they get it right.

    So much has changed for the better since the Americans with Disabilities Act; although much of the change has been extremely slow in coming.  The idea behind the ADA was a grand desire by society to give all people a level playing field.  Now, in theory, we have access and more open minds.  Does anyone else ever wonder what we are going to do with it?  It is frustrating that for the most part we have access; no we do not live in a perfect world, but access to goods, services, and systems is available and many times is not utilized to its fullest.

    As advocates we hear things like we need more transportation, housing, recreational and entertainment opportunities.  The sad fact is many times hard working individuals are working at increasing access and even organizing recreational events and struggle to get people to be involved.  The question is how can we utilize all of the resources that we have?  Do you as a person with a disability put yourself in a position to let yourself be heard?  Do you make phone calls, write letters, and form relationships with decision makers? 

    It is extremely likely that when you form relationships you will also form allies.  Not just someone to be a caretaker but go to battle with you.  There is a lot of pressure associated with being one of the first to try something new but the rewards are worth it.  A decade ago a woman in a press box was a rarity, now it is more common place.  Someone had to blaze a trail.  A journalist using a wheelchair is not common yet, but hopefully there are young people with disabilities coming behind me who will try.  Every time I cover an event I feel a responsibility to build relationships with my fellow journalists.  What inevitably happens is that disability no longer defines who I am. 

    Are you building relationships?  Are you setting an example for people who are following you?  Do you feel a responsibility to other people with disabilities?

  • 24 May 2012 4:15 PM | Perry Stahl (Administrator)
    17 May 2012 1:42 PM | Jim Cyphers
    Hello everyone, first I'd like to introduce myself. I am a person with a disability. I am an employee of disAbility Connections (D.C.) and work as one of the Independent Living Specialists at D.C. Outside of my regular duties as paid staff here (which also includes being somewhat of a Social Security Disability expert) I've been involved in transportation issues for years advocating for accessable/affordable transportation for everyone. For the past three years I have held a position on the board of the Jackson Ttransportation Authority (JTA) and the LocaL Transportation Advisory Counsil (LTAC). I've been a user of the public transportation system in Jackson for over 30 years and am quit familiar with the needs of people with disabilities for transportation.

    I'd like to invite people to participate in a dialogue concerning transportation and all the issues surrounding it. I'll be posting updates from time to time and responding to comments or questions. My hope is that the information shared will encourage us all and create a positive atmosphere and a feeling of moving forward.
  • 23 May 2012 9:58 AM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    What are your Summer Plans?

    It is almost summer, the damp days of our Michigan Spring are giving way to beautiful blue sky days.  The flowers are in bloom all around exhibiting an  almost endless display of radiant colors. 

    Fair and festival season is upon us.  Is anyone planning to attend Michigan Center’s MI own Carp Carnival in June?  Some of my fondest childhood memories are of spending this time of year on and around Michigan Center Lake.  Camping, fishing, spearing, boat rides, just being outside and bon fires are forever part of my soul. 

    I get angry sometimes that my physical condition interferes with so many activities that I love.  I am always looking for ways to get outside and experience the great outdoors.  It’s funny sometimes how something as simple as the smell of fresh cut grass can make my soul feel lighter. 

    What are your summer plans?  Are local places and events your highlights or will you venture out of town.  Will you be visiting Comerica Park to cheer on our Detroit Tigers?  Will you attend a concert or two?  Visit the drive- in movies in Coldwater.  Are you going fishing, camping , hiking or is a trip to the casino more your speed?  Lets talk about our summer plans or summer wish list.  Do you have a great sugestion?  We can learn a lot from each other.


  • 05 Apr 2012 12:07 PM | Lora Bigcraft (Administrator)

    Welcome to Parish Stahl’s Dynamic Ability Blog.  For several years’ staff and friends of disability Connections have been having discussions about how to use technology to reach out to and engage our community.  More of our people are using and embracing the internet; so it is the perfect time to extend a hand of friendship to our fellow human beings using this technology.

    As a person with a disability, it is my hope that we can have a lively, informative and fun exchange of stories, ideas, issues and concerns we have in common.  One aspect that I hope will make this place unique is the fact that, yes, some of us are people with disabilities, but we are so much more.  We are sportsmen, collectors, fans, hobbyists, parents, partners, athletes and many other things.  Let’s talk about what we are into from the perspective of people with disabilities. 

    People with disabilities are some of the strongest people on the face of the earth.  Our natural ability as problem solvers, out of necessity, can be a source of great strength to others.  Please share this link with your friends and let’s talk….. the more the better.

    I plan to post a new article on the first of each month to get the conversation started, but where this blog goes and how it grows and evolves is up to you.  I will drive, but help me navigate, so we can get where we need to go.  I look forward to connecting with lots of new friends.

  • 18 Aug 2011 3:52 PM | Anonymous

    Angelica is not only an artist with CreateAbility, but a part of the CreateAbility Advisory Board.

    Angelica became interested in Art when she visited a gallery in Jackson in her early twenties.  She was drawn to a painting of flowers.  The price of the piece was more than she could afford and so she decided to paint her own.

    Angelica attended Glossel School of the Arts in Houston where she was living at the time.  After studying there she studied under other artists who were also painters.  She works with both oils and acrylics as her mediums, but her favorite medium is oils.  She likes these oils as they take longer to dry and this allows more time to work with your subject matter.

    Her favorite subject matter is flowers because they reflect life and fragility and “life is fragile”.  She also likes flowers because they offer “soft edges” versus hard lines in work.  

    Her favorite style of painting is loose brush strokes, similar to the style of Van Gogh.  She also likes this style as it allows the artist to put “energy” into the work. 

    Her favorite artist is an American artist named  Sargent who was influenced by Monet.  She likes his work as he paints in a realistic sense and has a good sense of color and he also draws well.  Angelica feels that to be a good painter that good drawing skills are essential as well.  Her other favorite artist is the French artists Pierre, also a painter.   She like his work because he works with a canvas taped to the wall, rather than a stretched canvas that is the common method.  He stretches his canvas after he completes the work and uses his fingers and rags as his primary tools to paint with. 

    Angelica starts her own works by finding something in a picture or still life that draws her interest…usually flowers and more recently faces.    She  starts with a loose sketch, then fills in a more complete drawing then paints.   She also considers the different angles of her subject by viewing it from different angles.

    She likes to get out of her comfort zone by painting people or portraits.  She is also drawn to hands as they offer a variety of subject matter and are a close up, more intimate subject matter, versus landscapes, which are distant.             


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