SKIL was created by; is driven by; and is focused on persons with disabilities, their families, and communities. We provide Advocacy, Education, and Support with Customer Controlled services to break down and remove existing barriers and bridge social gaps to ensure and preserve Equality and Independence for all.

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Pod Cast Listings

Joe Reinecker Talks with Gwain January About Curb Cuts

Transcribed by Andy Rausch

Joe Reinecker recently sat down for Resource Central to interview Gwain January, Independent Living (IL) Coordinator from the Columbus branch of SKIL. The audio for the interview was less than great as they had a poor telephone connection, so this interview is being presented in its text form here.

Joe Reinecker: Hi, everybody. Joe Reinecker here. Welcome to this week's edition of Resource Central. This week's guest is Mr. Gwain January. [Pauses.] Hi, Gwain. Welcome to Resource Central!

Gwain January: Hi. Thanks for having me.

Joe Reinecker: I wanted to talk to you about your work for a number of different cities concerning curb cuts. How did this project come to you?

Gwain January: When I was hired at SKIL, accessibility issues became part of the job. So I just started going out and looking at private businesses and city-maintained businesses with the ADA (American Disabilities Act) manual to see if they met ADA guidelines.

Joe Reinecker: In what cities did you perform this task?

Gwain January: Pittsburg, Columbus, Baxter Springs, and Galena.

Joe Reinecker: Did the cities get in touch with you about this? How did this come about?

Gwain January: I went to the cities and met with their city councils. I also worked with the Cherokee County commissioners regarding their new jail they built out here... It's kind of a headache because they're always changing council members. They don't write anything down and they make all these promises, and then it carries on and it's really hard to get the cities to do what they need to do.

Joe Reinecker: How difficult was it for you to make them understand what they needed to do?

Gwain January: Sometimes it was just a case of letting them know and talking to their city attorneys, letting them know if they didn't work with us on the ADA issues, we would basically file a grievance with the Attorney General's office at the Department of Justice. It's a lot of work. I spent a lot of time in Galena and a lot of time in Columbus going out and doing a lot of measuring of city-owned and city-maintained buildings.

Joe Reinecker: How long did the project take you?

Gwain January: It took about two weeks in each city to do all the measuring. We were taking pictures and doing the measuring, and then it took probably another week to go back and cipher all that out and type it up and provide the cities with information.

Joe Reinecker: How long have you been with SKIL?

Gwain January: I've been with SKIL for eighteen years. I took a break the first of April, and then I just came back in December. 

Joe Reinecker: Have you gotten any feedback regarding what the cities think of what you did?

Gwain January: I can say the City of Columbus was not proud, because Greg Jones and Rick Knight and Dave Calvert just went out and filed a lawsuit against the city of Columbus.

Joe Reinecker: How did that work out?

Gwain January: That worked out pretty good. I mean, they're all accessible now. They went through and met all the ADA guidelines. There are still some curb ramps that need to be replaced, but they've addressed everything that we had on the transition plan.

Joe Reinecker: Do you have a next project in mind?

Gwain January: I am presently working with the city of Baxter Springs. That's about getting curb ramps done, and they've just within the last six months made six new curb ramps. One is at a major corner at 12th and Military. Their main problem right now is their jail. If they are working with a person who has a wheelchair, they will change the venue of the court.

Joe Reinecker: Will that take two weeks?

Gwain January: That's how long it takes to go out and measure everything. I've done all the measuring in all these towns.

Joe Reinecker: Congratulations on these accomplishments. [Pauses.] Our guest today has been Gwain January. This is Resource Central, and I'm Joe Reinecker. Have a good day, everyone!