AbilityMaine new articles–what’s happening from the viewpoint of people with disabilities

The AbilityMaine web site contains both current articles/issues of interest to people with disabilities and the general public and the Breath & Shadow literary magazine. If you want to understand Maine and the world from the point of view of people with disabilities, this is a great resource.

Ability Maine 

Environmental Health Strategy Center Aims to Protect Maine Families from Toxic Chemicals

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 07:55 PM PDT

The Environmental Health Strategy Center is working on several initiatives right now to protect children and adults from toxic chemicals in everyday products and is seeking citizen action to help get the message across to state lawmakers. The two bills of greatest urgency are LD 902 and LD 1181. Both concern a chemical called BPA, which scientists have linked to breast cancer and a higher incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and liver abnormalities in adults as well as brain and hormone development problems in fetuses and young children. A new study also shows a strong connection between BPA levels and childhood asthma.

According to EHSC:

LD 902 would phase out BPA from infant and baby food packaging – a proposal that Maine moms brought to the State by gathering over 800 signatures last year. (Take action on LD 902 here.)

LD 1181, “An Act to Further Protect Pregnant Women and Children from Toxic Chemicals,” will identify which products contain the 49 worst chemicals associated with cancer other illnesses, and take action to get those chemicals out of household products that Maine children encounter every day. The bill would also remove a loophole currently blocking protection from BPA in food packaging for kids and adults.   (Take action on the Healthy Kids Bill here.)

Attending a public hearing is also a big boost to these efforts, whether speaking or just helping to “pack the room and demonstrate solidarity.” 

The BPA hearing on LD 902 is on Wednesday, April 10, at 1 p.m. The Safer Products hearing on LD 1181 is on Thursday, April 11, at 1 p.m. (RSVP here.)

April 11 is also Safer Products Healthy Kids Day, starting at 8:00 a.m. at the Maine State House and continuing through the public hearing that afternoon. “Nothing is more effective for moving lawmakers into action than face-to-face conversations with constituents who really care about getting toxic chemicals away from our kids,” says EHSC.

Find out more about getting involved at preventharm.org, including a clean technology event, Plants to Products: Maine’s Bio-based Products Forum, co-orga2nized with the Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine. The forum is Thursday, October 17, 2013, at the University of Maine, Orono.

Maine’s Largest Medical Marijuana Dispensary Under Investigation

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 11:18 AM PDT

Mike Reynolds reports for Ability Maine:

In mid-March, a tip from an employee led to a state investigation that has resulted in the Wellness Connection of Maine (WCM), which runs four of Maine’s eight dispensaries, continuing operations under a consent decree for twenty violations of state rules which govern the production, cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana. State sanctioned dispensaries were created with the passage of the 2009 voter referendum, which expanded Maine’s existing medical marijuana law, passed in 1999.

Read the complete article: State’s Largest Medical Marijuana Dispensary violated major rules, endangering patients, angering staff

Short Stories and Essays in Breath & Shadow Vol. 10 No. 2

Posted: 08 Apr 2013 09:30 AM PDT

Alex Duvall’s essay, “Tourette,” mixes together the history of the diagnosis and his own personal history with OCD and  Tourette. He speaks to his disability as if addressing a person or a demon,  and uses a poetic style including metaphor and simile. Read the essay, “Tourette.”

W.R. Hilary’s “One More Needle in the Haystack” is a piece of short-short fiction that totally engaged me with its hypnotic language — short, concise bursts of repeated words, sounds, and themes that have a different flavor every time they land.

Why are you always in the hallway, standing in that blue plaid coat with your face pressed against the dirty glass of the door so that they can all see you while the teacher speaks? Throw that damn coat away and wear the one she gave you. I don’t care that it smells like her. Wear it for your own sake.

Read “One More Needle in the Haystack.”

Misti Shupe‘s memoir, “My Hair Dresser Stole my Mojo,” tells the story of how a single haircut changed the author’s life. While many children and adults with disabilities are abused because they’re perceived as easier victims by their perpetrators, Shupe’s diabetes actually protected her from further abuse. However, the lessons of putting on a perfect facade from her childhood live on in the adult Shupe’s life until a rash decision to cut off her hair brings her face-to-face with who and what she really wants to be, a thrilling transformation to witness for Shupe’s family, her readers, and Shupe, herself. Read “My Hair Dresser Stole my Mojo.”

In “The Jungle,” William Ward’s short short, the narrator has a simple disagreement in the checkout line at the store that goes very wrong.

“This is not the jungle,” I reminded myself. “Not the jungle.”

So I did what the counselor taught me. I folded my hands palm to palm at my chest, bowed slightly, and said “Namaste.” But he must have caught my mental subtext that said, “You are one sorry asshole.”

Read “The Jungle.”

Robert Kingett‘s essay, “Into a Memory,” is a lovely piece of memoir, rich in sensory detail. Kingett reveals how hearing William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” takes him back into his childhood and how this poem offered him comfort and escape while the chaos of domestic violence raged around him:

After listening to the first line, I was transported to a memory that I did not even know I had: It is late at night, and I am six. I remember feeling the Braille calendar poised in my lap, my finger tracing the soft indentations of the moons among the days. A sound erupts from the living room and I look up, my ears picking up every shift of the air just a few rooms from me.

Read “Into a Memory.”

Disability Poetry in Breath & Shadow Vol 10, No 2

Posted: 07 Apr 2013 07:38 PM PDT

by Sharon Wachsler

What poetry will you find in the Spring 2013 issue of Breath & Shadow, a journal of disability literature and culture?

Ani Keaton‘s “Withdrawal” uses a spare economy of words to connect the reader intimately to the speaker’s embodied experience:

My back, a twig,
I know each rib intimately
Its size, shape and placement

Read Ani Keaton’s poetry.

Jennifer Ruth Jackson‘s “Again” is a short poem that packs a lot of power. I love it. An excerpt:

Defibrillator paddles bouncingMy body to lifeEach nerve on endRising up to meet you

It starts out seemingly focused on the body’s dys/functions but builds toward another force, leaping into its arms at the end. 

Read Jennifer Ruth Jackson’s poetry.

The next poetry selection in this issue is “Three Tankas by Sergio OrtizLike haiku, tankas are best experienced directly on the page, and also I don’t want to spoil the ending, so I won’t be excerpting any right here. You can learn more about tankas here.

And you can read Sergio Ortiz’s tankas here.

“Elegy for James Eagan Holmes” is offered by high school student, Jordan Jamison. Lines like these really connected me to me to time and place in this poem:

Do you remember that little taco shop called Rodrigo’s near the 7-Eleven, the place that never gave credit and the dusty old TV played Telemundo all day? Did you eat there, did your mother ever pick up carne asada and burritos and chips there on Fridays for you, and would you smile? 

Read Jodan Jamison’s poem.

“Travels of Lip Balm” by Shawn Jacobson tells the story of a man’s day-to-day life as witnessed by a tube of lip balm that keeps ending up in the laundry. It’s a poem full of circles and cycles.

The drier door opens and I fall outafter traveling the drum. . . .He picks me up, his daughter will want this.He returns to folding clothes.

Read Travels of Lip Balm.”

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