Category Archives: Press

Call to Action: NY State Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP)

The NY State Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) continues in their endless effort toward finding a cure for Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI). Keith Gurgui, RCAL Systems Advocate, plays a major role in this effort and this SCIRP video. Please take a moment to watch this video and learn how you can help make a difference.

Video Link

The video explains how funding was created for this program in 1988, but taken away 12 years later. The #1 cause of Spinal Cord Injuries are Motor Vehicle Accidents. Initially, Paul Richter created a bill which would collect a surcharge on moving traffic violations, being these violations are linked to these injuries. While the surcharge is still being collected, it is not going to the NY SCI Research Program– it has been reallocated, though this was not the original statute of the law.

To voice your opinion and make a difference for people with SCI,  contact legislators and Gov. Cuomo and state, “I support the return of funds to the NY Spinal Cord Injury Research Program.”

New York State Assembly Members

Click here to contact Governor Cuomo [or call (518) 474-8390]

County Executive Announces a Continued Partnership with RCAL and OFA

County Executive, Mike Hein, announces a continued partnership with RCAL and Ulster County’s Office for the Aging.

Read the full story and more at

Posted: January 10, 2014

 Ancillary Services

Ancillary Services To Be Provided To Eligible Ulster County Seniors

Kingston, NY – Ulster County Executive Mike Hein visited one of the recipients of a recliner lift chair yesterday thanks to the continued partnership between the County Office for the Aging and the Resource Center for Accessible Living (RCAL).  Recliner lift chairs are electric recliners which allow the user to lie flat with feet above heart level and, which when reverted back to a seated position, can gradually lift the user up to standing position without any injury.  Through this partnership effort, several elderly consumers with ambulatory limitations have received lift chairs.

“Today I was excited to meet senior Margaret Hardin, who was a recipient of a recliner lift chair and was pleased to see her demonstrate how the lift chair works,” said County Executive Hein.  “Being able to help and enable seniors to remain in their homes is so important to both the individual and their families.  In actuality, we are able to provide more to those in need due to our community partners who are able to assist and help support local government efforts.  I would like to thank the Resource Center for Accessible Living for their continued service to those who need assistance in our County.”

“It is wonderful to have the help of the professionals of RCAL in helping the County provide our  seniors with this type of assistance so they can continue to live a lifestyle they are used to,” said Anne Cardinale, Director of the Ulster County Office for the Aging.  “It is a win- win for seniors, community organizations and an economic boost as well.”

“Resource Center for Accessible Living (RCAL) is pleased to be partnering with the County Executive’s office to help Ulster County seniors age in place,” said Suzanne de Beaumont, Chief Operating Officer for the Resource Center for Accessible Living, Inc.  “Providing equipment or services can allow someone to remain in their own home and avoid institutional placement. County Executive Hein and his staff understand and support the desire to be independent in the community.  RCAL’s work with the County Executive’s Office has focused on the goal of independent living for everyone.”

Ancillary services are those services that maintain or promote the individual’s independence and addresses everyday tasks.  New York is fourth in the nation in the number of adults sixty and over.  Between 2000 and 2010, the number of individuals sixty and older has increased 15% statewide, however, in Ulster County it has increased by 21.4% during this same time. The need for elder care services will continue to increase.  Data proves that the cost of in-home services provided through an Area Office for the Aging costs $10,000 per year per person to continue to age at home versus an estimated $103,000/year in a nursing home.

According to the Association on Aging in New York, “Investing in community based services will postpone the need for more medically intensive and costly forms of care.”  Contact Anne Cardinale, Director Ulster County Office for the Aging for more information 845-340-3456.

Photo – Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, Ms. Margaret Hardin

– See more at:

RCAL Welcomes the New Board of Directors Officers


Resource Center for Accessible Living, Inc. Welcomes New Board of Directors Officers

KINGSTON, NY (December 9, 2013)— On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, the Resource Center for Accessible Living (RCAL) elected its new Board of Directors Officers.

The newly elected officers, who function as the Board’s Executive Committee, are Paula Kindos-Carberry, president; Bernadette Mueller, co-vice president; Darlene Donofrio, co-vice president; Paul Scarpati, treasurer; Danielle Koeppen, secretary; and Susan J. Hoger, executive director.

“Everyone is looking forward to their new responsibilities” said Hoger.

The Board of Directors is a policy-making board who work diligently to serve to the mission of RCAL.

The board officers, in combination with its members, work to assist in short- and long-term planning for the organization. All participants take an active role in establishing, monitoring, and upholding policies and procedures of RCAL, helping to reach all intended goals and objectives.

Throughout their term as officers, they will be working to promote independent living and RCAL alongside current supporters, while cultivating new relationships with prospects who assimilate with the organization’s vision. The officers’ goal is to expand the services to meet the growing demand from the community.

The new officers are experienced members of the RCAL Board of Directors, having served different positions in previous years. They will continue their involvement throughout their three-year term.

Visit to see an entire list of the Board of Directors and the Resource Center for Accessible Living, Inc.’s mission fulfillment standards.

Our Mission is to assist people with disabilities to open the doors of opportunity and independence in the Ulster County region through self-determination by creating disability understanding and awareness, and access community-wide.


Contact: Janae Myers, Office Administrator
Janae Myers          845-331-0541 ext. 20  

New Olmstead Plan

On 10/11/2013, New York State release its long awaited Olmstead Plan. Below is Hudson Valley’s YNN press coverage of the new plan:

1999 Olmstead Decision takes the floor in Albany

The Olmstead Decision, a plan years in the making, is designed to help de-institutionalize people with disabilities. Friday, members of the cabinet who researched the plan presented their findings to the MISCC, or Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council. And those most likely to be affected by their findings were there to listen. Research shows transitioning out of institutions, ones like OD Heck in Schenectady, could provide opportunities for the disabled to get jobs and start families and for community members to better understand their new neighbors. Our Erin Vannella reports.

ALBANY, N.Y. — “In an institution, you’re pretty much locked up,” said Schenectady resident Clint Perrin.

“Somebody’s telling you what time to go to bed, what time to get up in the morning,” said Buffalo resident Todd Vaarwerk.

“They don’t have a lot of freedom to move around,” said Perrin.

“You move out in the community, expectations get larger,” said Vaarwerk.

Answering the plea for integration, the governor’s office and Olmstead Cabinet met Friday to discuss their next move toward making the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1999 decision a reality.

“There’s always been goals to close institutions. Now it says we must close an institution by this date. So it sort of forces the situation,” said NYS Self Advocacy Administration Administrative Director Steve Holmes.

What the governor calls a matter of civil rights is a plan to move people with disabilities out of more isolated environments and into the community, using money saved from the former to support the latter.

“In the past 10 years, in New York alone, moving people out of institutions to community based services and settings has saved the state over $10 billion,” said Kingston resident Keith Gurgui.

But plan supporters accept change will take time and cooperation. But getting everyone, from the cabinet to the community, on the same page, they say, will be worth the wait.

“Everyone has something to offer. So to say that someone has nothing to offer is bologna,” said Perrin.

“People with disabilities can think about having jobs and starting families and being parts of their community again,” said Vaarwerk

“You can make your choice. If you choose to be on the welcoming side, just don’t say that’s what you feel, actually do it,” said Perrin.


Click on the links below to read other press coverage articles of the MISCC meeting and the plans release: