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ABLE, DRO file federal lawsuit seeking changes to Dayton Mall bus stop policy


ABLE, DRO file federal lawsuit seeking changes to Dayton Mall bus stop policy

DAYTON, OHIO -- Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) and Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) today filed a federal lawsuit against the Dayton Mall and several of its anchor stores -- Macy's, Sears, and Elder Beerman -- seeking a policy change that would enable people with disabilities who ride public transportation to have effective and equal access to the Dayton Mall.

The complaint alleges that the present policy of the mall, which requires that  the RTA keep the bus stop more than 600 feet from the Mall entrance and which significantly limits the buses that can use the stop, severely impacts people with disabilities and discriminates against them, in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


BSMC Announces Award Winners

The following appeared August 19, 2015 in the Xenia Gazette. Read below, or view on the Gazette's website.

FAIRBORN — The Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Center for Healthy Communities has announced the 2015 recipients of its annual Health Promotion Program Awards. Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (MLPC) and Montgomery County Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) were selected in the established program and new program categories, respectively.


Ohio Access to Justice Summit

On April 29, the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Foundation convened the Access to Justice Summit in conjunction with the OSBA's Annual Convention.


Group says Ohio will be at forefront of debate

Group says Ohio will be at forefront of debate
Elections to feature immigration reform

The following article, written by Lauren Lindstrom, appeared July 24, 2015 in The Toledo Blade. ABLE Senior Attorney Mark Heller is quoted in the article. Read below, or view on The Blade's website.

Ohio is "ground zero" for immigration reform, in part because of its position on the northern border and historic importance in national elections, according to a report issued by a pro-immigration advocacy group released Thursday.

Ohio's Voice, the state chapter of America's Voice, released the report outlining the group's assertion that the state will play a major role in the immigration debate and the 2016 presidential election.

Lynn Tramonte — director of Ohio's Voice and the report's author — calls the state "a microcosm of the national immigration debate," citing stories in several national media outlets about immigrants in Ohio, including stories about an ongoing federal trial in Toledo in which law enforcement agencies are accused of profiling Latinos.

In a Thursday conference call with reporters, several panelists involved with immigration issues in Ohio offered why they believe the state will play a role in the national debate.

Mark Heller, senior attorney for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Toledo, spoke about the trial in which ABLE has accused U.S. Customs and Border Protection of profiling Latinos for stops by agents at the station in Port Clinton.


What's Law Got to Do with It? How Medical-Legal Partnerships Reduce Barriers to Health

The following article, posted by Ellen Lawton and Megan Sandel, appeared on Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Culture of Health blog, and talks about the critical role that civil legal aid can play in addressing people's health. Read the introduction below and the full article on the RWJF website.

What's Law Got to Do with It? How Medical-Legal Partnerships Reduce Barriers to Health

Civil legal aid agencies are a proven resource for clinics to support patient needs and achieve health equity by addressing the social barriers to health.

A lawyer as part of the health care team? It's not as strange as it sounds. Many of the social conditions that impede health, such as housing, education, employment, food and insurance, can be traced to laws unfairly applied or under-enforced, often leading to the improper denial of services and benefits designed to help vulnerable people.


Discrimination trial set to begin

Discrimination trial set to begin; Plaintiffs allege U.S. Border Patrol agents racially profiled Hispanics

The following article written by Lauren Lindstrom appeared June 15, 2015 in The Toledo Blade. Read the intro below and the full article on The Blade's website. ABLE Attorney Eugenio Mollo, Jr. is quoted in the article.

A racial discrimination trial will begin Tuesday in Toledo's U.S. District Court, with plaintiffs alleging U.S. Customs and Border Protection profiles Hispanics for stops and apprehension.

The plaintiffs allege that Border Patrol agents at the Sandusky Bay Station "have engaged in a pattern and practice of targeting persons of Hispanic ethnicity," according to a joint trial brief filed in the court.


Sandusky Ohio Border Patrol Trial to Begin June 16

able 100Sandusky Ohio Border Patrol Trial to Begin June 16

Trial is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Toledo, Ohio on June 16 in the case of Roberto Muniz against the United States Border Patrol. The trial is scheduled to last for eight days. Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) and the law firm of Murray and Murray are co-counsel for the plaintiffs.


TARTA exec says tokens likely to stay

The following article, written by David Patch, appeared Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in The Toledo Blade. Karen Wu (ABLE) was quoted in the article regarding Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority’s decision to increase fares by about 25 percent. Read the intro below, and the full article on The Blade's website.

TARTA exec says tokens likely to stay; Says social services groups' desire justifies the expense

TARTA's top administrator retreated Tuesday from plans to end sales of bus tokens as part of a fare-increase plan, a decision that representatives of several social-service agencies cheered during the first of two hearings about the plan.

While speakers still asked the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority to reconsider its proposal to boost fares by about 25 percent, General Manager James Gee said the alternative is service cuts that would be at least as painful for riders.

"The rate increase is not set in stone, but we're looking at an ugly, ugly budget without it," Mr. Gee told about 50 people in the meeting room at Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service headquarters on Knapp Street during the lunchtime hearing. "Our service is pretty lean as it is. Hurting service is probably worse for customers now than raising fares."


Detrimental effects of lead poisoning plague Lucas Co. homes, children

The following article, written by Lauren Linstrom appeared May 10, 2015 in The Toledo Blade. Read the introduction below, and view the full article on The Blade's website. ABLE Managing Attorney Robert Cole was interviewed for the story.

Detrimental effects of lead poisoning plague Lucas Co. homes, children

The childhood home of Freddie Gray, who died after being injured in Baltimore police custody, setting off nationwide protests, was like so many of the homes in Toledo's central city.

It was rundown and had peeling paint and was where tests show he was exposed to toxic levels of lead.

Aging housing stock in Baltimore and Toledo, and poverty, provide few opportunities for children in low-income families to avoid the threat of lead exposure and the cognitive and physical damage that comes with it.

Mr. Gray, who died on April 12, grew up exposed to high levels of lead paint, was diagnosed with attention deficit problems, and had a history of arrests.

Experts say children exposed to lead are at risk for anemia, behavior and learning problems, lower IQs, and hyperactivity. In pregnant women, lead can cause premature birth and slower fetal growth, as well as risk of miscarriage.

Children who are tested for lead poisoning in Lucas County go to Gloria Smith, a registered nurse and lead case manager for the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. The first screening is a finger prick. If lead levels in the blood are elevated, another blood test is ordered within 90 days to confirm the level of toxicity.


Welcome TLC aims to celebrate, build region's diversity

The following article, written by Matt Liasse, appeared April 13, 2015 in The Toledo Free Press. Read below, or view the contents on the FreePress website.

During a recent visit to Toledo, Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit, an organization that helps immigrant families, spoke about creating economic growth by embracing immigration.

"There are lots of opportunities to connect the dots to better attract, retain and utilize the talents, resources and energy that immigrants and refugees can bring to a community like Toledo and Lucas County," Tobocman said during a March 30 presentation at Toledo's Park Inn by Radisson.

The visit marked Tobocman's second visit to the area as part of a collaboration to bring a similar initiative to Toledo.

Tobocman was invited to speak by the Lucas County Commissioners as part of the new Welcome Toledo-Lucas County (TLC) initiative, which aims to make Lucas County more welcoming to immigrants.

The initiative works with a variety of organizations to celebrate the region's migrant and immigrant heritage while supporting social and economic opportunities for all communities, including minority communities, LGBT communities, disabled communities and more.

Among those involved with the Welcome Toledo-Lucas County initiative include, from left, Welcome TLC committee member Desiree Sakho, Jesus Salas of Advocates for basic legal equality (ABLE), Americorps member Salma Barudi, Americorps member Sarah Allan, Manos Greek Restaurant owner Manos Paschalis, Lucas County Commissioners Carol Contrada, Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon Wozniak, board of Lucas County Commissioners Executive Assistant Brittany Ford, Adelante executive director Guisselle Mendoza, Lucas County Chief of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs Peter Ujvagi, Toledo City Councilwoman Lindsay Webb and Eugenio Mollo Jr. of ABLE.


"Let's Step It Up in 2015!"

The following article by Susan Solle, president of the ABLE and LAWO Boards of Trustees, was published in the January issue of Dayton Bar Briefs, a publication of the Dayton Bar Association.

Let's Step It Up in 2015!

Many of us attended law school because we wanted to be in a profession where we could help people. The idealism of youth. Then we got out of law school, we got the job at the big firm or we hung our own shingle and we started serving our clients. Billing Hours. Collecting fees. Are we helping people? Sure. Sometimes.

Let me tell you a story about Carrie.1 As a nurse, Carrie fully understood the importance of good medical care. When her 79-yearold father became seriously ill, he moved in with Carrie and her son. Her father's limited veteran's benefits barely covered his prescriptions, so Carrie found herself helping him pay his medical costs. As a single mom working two jobs, she had always been careful with her bills; however, as a result of helping her father, Carrie fell behind on her mortgage.


TPS hit over equal access; Action claims 7 districts don't provide English help

The following article, written by Nolan Rosenkrans, appeared Friday, January 30, 2015 in The Toledo Blade. Read below, or view the contents on The Blade's website.

Toledo Public Schools is among seven districts named in a federal complaint filed by parents and children with limited English skills who claim the school systems haven't provided adequate interpreters and often send home information only in English.

The complaint was filed Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division on behalf of the families by Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. and Disability Rights Ohio. Along with TPS, the Ohio Department of Education is named, as are Columbus City Schools, Dublin City Schools, Groveport-Madison Local Schools, Southwestern City Schools, Westerville City Schools, and Whitehall City Schools.

The families and organizations claim that the educational entities have violated several federal laws by discriminating against the families by denying them equal access to education because the children or families have limited to no English skills, and the school systems provide no aid.

ABLE Managing Attorney Robert Cole said the complaint's genesis is Toledo, where Hispanic families and organizations have long said the school system hasn't provided adequate services for families with limited English. Meetings between the district and groups such as Adelante have not produced results, prompting the complaint, he said.


February 2, 2015 Offices Closure


Dayton grants $25K for legal immigration services

The following article, written by By Beairshelle Edme, appeared January 21, 2015 on WTDN/2 News in Dayton. Read below, or view the contents on WDTN's website.

Wednesday, Dayton City Commissioners approved a grant that may have a major impact on immigrants.

The grant for $25,000 is all part of an initiative to make Dayton a friendlier, more welcoming community.

It was awarded to Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), a non-profit firm that provides legal services for immigrants.

The non-profit estimates that through this grant, and more in the future, it will have the funds to aid nearly 5,000 people who are eligible for temporary stays through President Obama's executive action in November.

President Obama's act's are why ABLE is stepping up its efforts and pairing with the city.


Adelante, ABLE host immigration sessions

The following article, written by Kevin Milliken, appeared in La Prensa on January 14, 2015.

Adelante, Inc. and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) teamed up to host an immigration information session on President Barack Obama's recent executive order at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 728 S. St. Clair St., following noon mass on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. The event drew more than 125 people, all of whom packed into a community room at the church.

The session turned out to be a frank discussion on what the president's recent executive order can do for undocumented families—as well as its limits. Several staff members from each agency, as well as Lucas County officials gave up their Sunday afternoon to ensure families understood their options.

"It's so important. It matters. Here we can reach a lot of people, particularly the people who may be able to benefit from this great program," said Patty Hernández, ABLE attorney. "We want to make sure they take full advantage of it."