Sunday, July 26, 2015

ADA Anniversary; 25 years of progress, but still a long way to go

By setting my last two novels in the early 1980s, I gave myself an advantage (age-wise, I knew how to place the characters' similar life events) and a disadvantage (the Americans with Disabilities Act would be years to come, not enacted until July 26, 1990). But it's still worth noting what could –and might– happen to Everett, the paraplegic character in these books, in his years ahead.

Robert L. Burgdorf, Jr. wrote a lengthy article in The Washington Post about how he (and others) wrote the Americans with Disabilities Act and worked to get it passed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Weekend in the Country

It's no secret that my last two novels include a dendrophilic love of trees, particularly with Reid Conniff, the narrator. He and his beguiling love interest Everett share their affections under the branches of trees in several scenes.

I'm thinking also of the two young men's time as counselors at a disabled kids summer camp in rural Pennsylvania (I based it on a camp where there actually was a disabled kids summer camp).

A new study has proven the obvious, that living near trees is good for your health. Too often urban dwellers forget to re-energize with nature.

"The researchers were able to compare the beneficial effect of trees in a neighborhood to other well-known demographic factors that are related to improved health, such as age and wealth. Thus, they found that “having ten more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being seven years younger.”"

And President Obama just signed a bill designating a million acres of public land as protected from development.

According to the article, "Protecting our lands is about more than just protecting our great outdoors. These designations provide a boost to the local economies of surrounding communities by attracting visitors and generating more revenue and jobs, building on an outdoor recreation industry that already generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year."