by Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker
Bill Bolinger is a 43-year-old Parsons SKIL customer. Bill’s disability story began in 1988 when he was injured in an automobile accident that left his stepfather dead and Bill with several serious injuries, including many broken bones and a life-altering head injury. The thirteen year old now faced a new and then-unrecognizable life with many new difficulties. He then spent the next year at Meadowbrook Rehabilitation Hospital in Gardner. After being discharged, Bill returned to school at Oswego High School in Oswego. After graduation, he started receiving services from a competing independent living center, where he remained for several years.
Beginning in 1996, Bill became a part of the SKIL family. With SKIL’s assistance, he would eventually lead an independent life, enjoying the same freedoms and success as his able-bodied counterparts. Today Bill owns his own home, which he shares with a roommate. He enjoys spending time with friends and playing video games. His hobbies include collecting aluminum cans, coins, and bottle caps.
“I am thankful for everything SKIL has done for me,” says Bill. “Thanks to their help, I have been able to do many things I might not have been able to do otherwise. I am especially thankful for being able to be a productive member of the community. SKIL and [President and CEO] Shari Coatney have been very good to me over the years. They treat me like family.”
By Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker
Everyone hates bad weather. Sure, you'll run into the occasional person who says, “I love this weather,” but everyone else sliding around on the ice, wrecking their cars and falling, aren’t fans. Lately Southeast Kansas has seen its share of severe weather, and there may be more on the way.
Poor weather and the dangerous conditions it causes are problematic for everyone, but they can be especially tough for disabled people, many of whom are frail or have conditions that make them more vulnerable than most. The bad news is, cold weather is here to stay; it may go away for a couple of seasons, but it will inevitably come back. But there is good news, a silver lining. What is that, you ask?
There are things disabled individuals can do to prepare for bad weather and miserable conditions to make their situations slightly better. They won’t magically fix everything, but they’ll help.
“One very important thing people can do is to have their heating elements, whatever those might be, checked each year so they will know they’re dependable and won’t break down and leave them in a bad situation,” explains Chanute Independent Living Coordinator Sharon Traylor.
Another thing people can do is to keep candles and flashlights (with batteries) on hand in case the power goes out.
Traylor also says disabled people should be wary of venturing out into potentially dangerous weather if it’s not absolutely necessary. There are some disabilities, such as people who rely on crutches or have conditions rendering them fragile, that are especially dangerous in icy conditions.
Traylor also says having sufficient food on hand is important, and she stresses the importance of having an abundant supply of blankets.
Beyond these things, it should also be noted that SKIL employees and customers should pay close attention to the organization’s Facebook page, and the Joplin Television stations, when weather is bad to find out if offices are open those days.
Seeking an energetic individual who recognizes the importance of the role of assistive technology in the lives of people with disabilities. This position provides the opportunity to take a leadership role in developing a direct service program based in Parsons, Kansas.
Requirements: Knowledge of assistive technology or technology for people with disabilities/health conditions
- Degree in a field related to assistive technology (education, special education, SLP, OT, PT, etc.)
- Demonstrated skills in teaching, organization, and leadership
- Expertise in assistive technology for individuals who are blind or have low vision
- Experience supervising staff or taking the lead on team projects
Qualified candidate could have the opportunity to collaborate on research projects with University of Kansas staff.
The Federal Trade Commission is getting reports about people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who are trying to get your Social Security number and even your money.
In one version of the scam, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, he says it happened in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. He then says your Social Security number is blocked – but he might ask you for a fee to reactivate it, or to get a new number. He will ask you to confirm your Social Security number.
In other variations, he says that somebody used your Social Security number to apply for credit cards, and you could lose your benefits. He also might warn you that your bank account is about to be seized, that you need to withdraw your money, and that he’ll tell you how to keep it safe.
All of these are scams. Here’s what you need to know:
- The SSA will never call and ask for your Social Security number. It will not ask you to pay anything. It won’t call to threaten your benefits.
- Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You cannot trust what you see there.
- Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you in this way. Do not confirm the last 4 digits. Do not give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you by phone asking for it.
- Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is always a scammer no matter who they say they are.
If you’re worried about a call from someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration, get off the phone. Then call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
If you have spotted a scam, then tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
To learn more, you can go to Fake Calls about your SSN.