Disabled voters who face polling station barriers at tomorrow’s general election will be able to secure free legal advice that could help them cast their vote.Disabled people who have been prevented from casting their vote on election day can contact discrimination experts Unity Law through the hashtag #PolledOut (accompanied by the location of the polling station).Unity Law argues that preventing a disabled person from voting could breach the Equality Act, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act.And it hopes to be able to fix some of the problems on the day of the election, ensuring that disabled people who contact them will be able to cast their vote.They have also pledged to take legal action on behalf of disabled people who contact them and are still unable to vote.Unity Law plans to share its data from the day after the election with the Electoral Commission, and the disability charity Scope, which has campaigned in this area.At the 2010 election, Scope found that two-thirds of polling stations had one or more significant access barriers to disabled voters.Unity Law is representing the disabled activist Adam Lotun, who was prevented from voting at last year’s European elections because of an inaccessible polling station.A year on, he has still received no confirmation from his local council that he will be able to vote in tomorrow’s general election.Doug Paulley, a disabled activist who is backing Unity Law’s campaign and was himself once forced to vote in the street because of an inaccessible polling station, said: “Most people agree that the right to vote, and to do so in private, is a fundamental tenet of our democracy. It is a fundamental right, long fought for over the centuries.“To have this denied means that those disabled people who want to vote but are unable or are demeaned in having to vote in the street, or to waive their privacy, are being denied something which nearly every other adult in the UK takes for granted.”Chris Fry, managing partner of Unity Law, said: “It is a scandal that 800 years on from the signing of the Magna Carta, the rights of the individual remain out of reach.”Meanwhile, new research has shown that none of the seven main political parties in England, Wales and Scotland have a website that achieves international standards on accessibility.The disability charity AbilityNet said the results of its new investigation were “bleak” for disabled people, and showed the sites were “difficult and frustrating” to use, while none of them complied with minimum legal standards on accessibility.The charity found that the three best websites belonged to Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, followed by the Greens.The three least accessible sites belonged to the Conservatives, UKIP, and Plaid Cymru.Each site was tested by disabled people with a variety of impairments, while they were also checked by AbilityNet’s accessibility experts.Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion at AbilityNet, said: “What our tests do show is that disabled people are being denied access to information that could help them make an informed choice.“In an election where every vote counts, the political parties should take note and put web accessibility at the top of their agendas.”Another report, by the respite holiday charity Revitalise, has found that, in the UK’s 50 most marginal seats, only three (six per cent) of the websites belonging to councils administering polling stations had adequate online access information on voting for wheelchair-users.The study found that 44 of the 50 websites (88 per cent) had no accessibility information for disabled people at all.
The equality watchdog’s disability commissioner has told UK airlines to “show leadership” and promise to pay full compensation to disabled passengers whose mobility equipment is damaged in transit.Lord [Chris] Holmes spoke out after it emerged that airlines were still relying on a loophole provided by the Montreal Convention that allows them to offer only minimal compensation for wheelchairs and other equipment damaged by airlines, 14 years after a campaign was launched to address the issue.Disability Now magazine launched its Flight Rights campaign in 2002*, after concerns were raised by leading disability consultant Phil Friend, who helped launch the campaign, about the frequency of wheelchairs being damaged or even lost by airlines.But despite European regulations, introduced in 2006, that provided new rights for disabled passengers – which mean airports and airlines must now provide them with free assistance – the issue of compensation for damage and loss to wheelchairs is still unresolved.Under the convention, compensation for damaged items – including wheelchairs – is calculated on the basis of weight rather than value. This week, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told Disability News Service that it had decided to investigate how often mobility equipment was being damaged by airlines or airports across the UK and what measures were in place to support disabled passengers when such incidents occur.The CAA decision came following publicity about the case of disabled actor, writer and director Athena Stevens, whose electric wheelchair – worth more than £25,000 – was badly damaged when she tried to take a British Airways flight to Glasgow from London City Airport.Eight months on, Stevens is still trying to secure the compensation necessary to repair her wheelchair and reimburse other significant financial losses, and this week wrote an open letter accusing both the airline and the airport of breaching her rights, lying, double standards, jeopardising her health, discrimination and appalling customer service.Lord Holmes was highly critical of both British Airways and London City Airport.He said: “Disabled people are often deterred from flying for fear of loss, damage or destruction of their mobility equipment. Athena’s story is a case in point.“She has been left without a replacement chair for eight months. We’re not talking about a suitcase or a set of golf clubs – this is a person’s mobility and independence.”He said UK airlines had a “moral responsibility” to stop hiding behind the Montreal Convention when they damage mobility equipment.Efforts by the European Commission to introduce new regulations that include measures to allow disabled air passengers to receive full compensation for damaged wheelchairs were approved by MEPs more than two years ago, in May 2014.But the European Council – made up of EU heads of state, including UK prime minister David Cameron – has so far prevented it becoming law.Lord Holmes said: “This is an issue which cannot wait any longer. We are therefore calling on British air carriers to show leadership and proactively adopt this policy voluntarily to ensure that disabled people are offered full and, most importantly, timely compensation if their mobility devices are damaged by the carrier.”Phil Friend (pictured) said that he was still frequently asked for advice about mobility equipment that had been lost or damaged by airlines, 14 years after he helped launch the Flight Rights campaign.He said the situation was slightly easier now because companies such as Fish Insurance will insure equipment against damage by airlines, although they will not cover the full cost of expensive electric wheelchairs.But he said: “The whole air travel experience is still back in the dark ages as far as disabled people are concerned. And we are paying the same fares as everyone else.”He added: “The whole experience on air travel is fraught with concerns and enormous anxiety.“Your anxiety levels increase, you’re just not sure what state your chair will be in when you get it back.”He said the 2006 EU regulations had led to “an incremental improvement”, but they had not dealt with the issue of “proper compensation for people who lose very, very expensive equipment”.A London City Airport spokesman said: “We have been in communication with Ms Stevens from the outset and the airport has made every effort to assist her in resolving this situation. Because this is a legal matter we are unable to provide further comment.”British Airways claimed that “in those circumstances when we are responsible, we pay compensation to the value of the damage caused over and above the limits of the Montreal agreement”.But Stevens has told DNS that the airline was lying and that it had told her it “would not pay above [Montreal Convention rates], even if it was seen to be their fault”.*The relevant Disability Now stories are no longer available online other than through specialist archiving websites**The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published advice for disabled air passengers
A note from the editor:For nine years, Disability News Service has survived largely through the support of a small number of disability organisations – most of them user-led – that have subscribed to its weekly supply of news stories. That support has been incredibly valuable but is no longer enough to keep DNS financially viable. For this reason, please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support its work and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please remember that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring, and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… A regulator has been told there are “issues of concern” about the way it deals with complaints against health and care professionals, including those who write dishonest benefit assessment reports.The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) agreed in January to look at concerns about the way regulators deal with complaints about nurses, physiotherapists and paramedics who carry out personal independence payment (PIP) assessments for the outsourcing giants Capita and Atos.It agreed to act after being contacted last year by disabled activist Mark Lucas, who has twice appealed successfully against the results of what he believes were dishonest PIP assessments.Hundreds of disabled people have come forward over the last 18 months to tell Disability News Service (DNS) how assessors working for Atos and Capita wrote dishonest PIP assessment reports on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.Many also raised concerns about the apparent refusal of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to take their complaints about these assessments seriously.Only this week, Lucas received an email from HCPC, explaining that it would not take any further action over his complaint about an occupational therapist who had assessed him for PIP.He believes the assessor deliberately downplayed the seriousness and frequency of his seizures, but HCPC told him it did not believe this had happened and even if it had, “it would be considered a minor error, which would not be capable of amounting to an allegation of impaired fitness to practice”.Lucas has twice been found ineligible for PIP following assessments, but on both occasions was later awarded eligibility for the PIP standard daily living rate after appealing to a tribunal.Frustrated at HCPC’s failure to take another complaint about a PIP assessor seriously, he contacted PSA – which reviews the work of the regulators of health and care professionals – last year.PSA incorporated Lucas’s concerns into its annual review of HCPC, which found this month that the regulator was meeting only four of the 10 required standards for the way it deals with complaints against healthcare professionals, including those who carry out PIP assessments.Last year, before Lucas contacted the regulator, PSA had reviewed 100 complaints made to HCPC, including a small number relating to PIP assessments.David Martin, PSA’s concerns and appointments officer, said the 2017-18 review “concluded that there were issues of concern about the HCPC’s process across all of its activity”, in relation to fitness to practise.These concerns include the way it deals with the initial stages of the fitness to practise process, and how it determines if there is a “case to answer” against a health and care professional.Among PSA’s concerns are that HCPC makes it too difficult for complaints about a healthcare professional to be accepted into the fitness to practise process, while other cases are closed at the initial stage instead of being referred to an investigating committee panel.Martin said HCPC had confirmed that PIP assessment work “should be considered in the same way as any other professional activity of its registrants” and that its procedures “require it to fully consider the concerns it receives about PIP assessors”.He said: “The HCPC was clear that it considers registrants, acting as PIP assessors, are exercising their professional judgement.“It therefore considers that allegations of misconduct or lack of competence when carrying out PIP assessments could constitute a fitness to practise concern to be investigated in accordance with its usual process.”He said HCPC was now “undertaking an action plan” to address the concerns PSA has raised about its fitness to practise processes, and that PSA would probably review further HCPC cases in detail over the next couple of years.A similar annual review by PSA of NMC is due to be published later this year.An HCPC spokesman said: “The PSA audited a sample of 100 of our cases as part of their review of our yearly performance review in 2016-17.“While a small number of these cases related to PIP, the audit was not specifically looking at HCPC’s handling of PIP cases. “HCPC registrants who are employed in assessor roles are recruited because of their skills and experience as registered health professionals. Therefore, their work and conduct needs to comply with our standards. “If in the course of conducting a PIP assessment a concern is raised regarding a registrant’s fitness to practise, ie lack of competence or misconduct, then this will be investigated following the same robust and thorough processes and applying the same tests as concerns raised in relation to any other area of a registrant’s practice.“We have also provided input into the PSA’s review into how regulators approach fitness to practise concerns in relation to PIP assessments and have confirmed our view that the PIP assessment process requires the registrant to employ their professional competencies.“This year we continued to meet the majority of the PSA’s Standards for Good Regulation.“Although we did not meet all the standards relating to fitness to practise, the PSA has acknowledged our on-going work to improve our performance in this area and stated that we have made ‘significant progress during this review period’.“We continue our programme of improvement work to address the issues that were previously identified.”But Lucas was heavily critical of PSA’s efforts to address his concerns.He said PSA was “a joke” and a “toothless quango”.He said: “I am not happy with the way PSA have treated me and it is behaviour that I have been subjected to on many occasions over the last few years.”Lucas said that complaints processes are “designed to abuse” disabled people because they first “promise the earth”, then “forget” the complaint, and finally “communicate the result from the complaint in a letter with preapproved techniques of neutralisation and consolatory phrases like ‘we realise you will be disappointed’”.He said: “This experience of the last few years has given me anxiety over making complaints.“I have spent much time and written many letters, but it is all for nothing because organisations like the PSA are just for show.”
Increasing numbers of local authorities are breaching the Equality Act by designing “dangerous and discriminatory” road layouts that put blind and partially-sighted people at risk of serious harm, say disabled campaigners.The concernshave been raised by the user-led campaign group National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFB UK),which has grown increasingly concerned by schemes being introduced across thecountry.Among thosecouncils it has highlighted are Manchester City Council, Leicester CityCouncil, and Enfield council in north London.In Enfield,the council has introduced bus stops that place blind and disabled pedestriansat risk of colliding with cyclists.The “boarder”bus stops have cycle lanes between the bus stop and the boarding point for thebus.Sarah Gayton, NFB UK’s shared space coordinator, said: “I was shocked at what I saw in Enfield. I had been told it was bad buthad no idea quite how bad it would be. “Anybody can see the designis flawed and is inherently dangerous. “The scheme is a disasterfor blind people. It is difficult to see how this could have been approved asacceptable.”InManchester, the city council plans to introduce more than 30 bus stops inChorlton as part of a new cycling scheme, including 14 boarder bus stops.It alsoplans 17 bus stop “bypasses” or “islands”, which place the bus stop on anisland, with pedestrians forced to cross a cycle lane to reach it.NFB UK points to researchcarried out by Danish researchers which found that the number of collisionsinvolving passengers entering or exiting a bus rose from five to 73 afterbicycle lanes were introduced.Other Danishresearch showed two-fifths of busdrivers across five cities in Denmark had witnessed bus passengers involved incollisions at both the types of bus stops.NFB UK said that it had offered to work with Manchester City Council onthe cycling scheme in August 2018 but its offer was not taken up. It now wantsa halt to the introduction of all further bus stop boarders and bypasses acrossthe country.Many of theseschemes include zebra crossings, and cyclists often fail to stop at thesecrossings, leaving blind and other disabled pedestrians unsure whether they cancross to exit or enter a bus.Last month, NFB UK filmed a succession of cyclists riding through a zebra crossing introduced as part of a bus stop bypass scheme in Manchester, even though a blind man with a white cane was waiting with his cane on the crossing (pictured).Gayton said:“Both the bus stop boarders and bypasses really need to halt until we can worktogether to work out a different solution.”InLeicester, NFB UK points to the removal of controlled crossings at keyjunctions, as part of the Connecting Leicester scheme, which it says has madekey routes from the train station inaccessible. AndrewHodgson, NFB UK’s president, said some of the schemes introduced in London had“created real distress for blind and disabled people”, and that the Enfieldscheme was “dangerous and discriminatory”.NFB UK andthe user-led accessible transport campaign organisation Transport forAll supported a petition delivered to the prime minister last month byEnfield residents which called for stronger equality laws on the design andre-design of roads.The petitionalso calls on the government to force local councils to commission independentequality impact assessments of all road and community re-design proposals andthen “to abide by the findings and recommendations of those assessments”.An Enfieldcouncil spokesperson said it “emphatically” rejected the suggestion that it hadbreached the Equality Act and said that it was “fully committed to equality ineverything we do”.She said thecouncil had engaged with disability organisations including Enfield Disability Action,Guide Dogs for the Blind and Enfield Vision, and had workeddirectly with the Centre for Accessible Environments.She said: “Webelieve that the current design for bus boarders in Enfield does make it clearthat pedestrians have right of way. “Inaddition, the installation of buffer strips, ramps, signage and distinctive pavingall inform cyclists that they are entering an area used by pedestrians and mustgive priority to pedestrians.“In ourresponse to NFB UK, we reiterated that as we continue to deliver thisprogramme, we will continue to explore more ways to constructively engage witha range of community groups. “As part ofthis, we are interested to hear the views of organisations who represent peoplewho are visually impaired/have particular accessibility requirements. “This is thecase in both informing early design work, and also in listening to any specificissues that are raised post-construction.”She saidthat Transport for London (TfL), which funded its Cycle Enfield programme, wasconducting a London-wide review of bus stop boarders, and she added: “We will considerany outcomes of this carefully in conjunction with TfL and if appropriate makeadjustments.”A ManchesterCity Council spokesperson said it was studying more than 1,800 responses to apublic consultation on its proposed Manchester to Chorlton walking routeand cycleway and would “take them into account before the designs arefinalised”.He said thecouncil, along with Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner ChrisBoardman and Trafford Borough Council, was “committed to providing awalking route and cycleway which is safe and accessible for all road users”. He said: “Wehave met with representatives of blind and partially-sighted residents toensure they had the opportunity to review the designs and provided extratime for them to respond to the consultation. “We thankthem for their valuable input into this process and will take their commentsfully into consideration during the process of finalising the designs.”But he saidthe council was “not aware of a specific offer from NFB UK to ‘cooperate’ withus on the design of this scheme”.A LeicesterCity Council spokesperson said it had met national guidelines in removing thetwo controlled crossings, which had “significantly reduced thenumber of vehicles in these locations and their speed”, while alternativepedestrian routes remained available. She said: “We listen to all comments received onschemes we propose. Ultimately, we have to decide what will be the mostsensible solution to achieve a layout where people, not vehicles, dominate.”She said Leicester’s city mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby,had taken part in a blindfolded walk around the city with local sight losscharity VISTA, which included the two sites, and he was now “considering theconcerns raised with him”.Sir Peter said: “I welcomed the opportunity to walkthrough the city with representatives of VISTA and a member of [NFB UK]. “While we have done a lot in recent years to make thecity centre much more accessible to people with disabilities, it was veryuseful to find out what barriers and challenges still remain.”A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
Tags: arts • housing • meda • nonprofits Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Several prospective buyers came and went without comment. Some stopped to talk with the activists and neighbors standing outside. In some cases, the exchanges became heated. Pili Hernández said one potential buyer became incensed when a woman approached him asking his intentions for the building. Pili Hernández said the man told the woman he would put in an offer for $2 million and evict her. That’s the kind of possibility that makes Randy Odell, an upstairs resident of 30 years, uneasy. “It’s no fun having your home threatened.” Odell said. “When you have no right to keep people from coming in and looking at your home, and sussing out the value, it’s very hard to keep my dignity.”Other potential buyers took a more diplomatic approach. Micheal Zook, a San Francisco native and former building manager who was once evicted from a building he lived and worked in for 20 years, now works as a realtor but was considering the building as a potential home for himself, his wife and his children. He talked at length with community organizers about the property and how displacement could be avoided.“It makes me apprehensive about getting involved, but I think it’s necessary to cooperate with the community,” Zook said. He said he sees the neighborhood as good place to raise a family, in part because of the arts center, and that a compromise would need to be reached to keep the center in place but compensate for the value of the real estate.But the devil, as always, is in the details — in this case of what a well-intentioned buyer might actually be able to preserve in the building. Apart from the fact that a new owner may want to live in the building and would thereby inevitably evict at least one tenant, there’s the problem of the rental income covering the cost of the mortgage. Another prospective buyer, Billy, declined to give his last name but said what attracted him to the building was the low price per square foot, which is often easier to find in multi-unit buildings than in single family homes. He also said that the building’s total rental income is about $42,000 per year. “On a million dollar property, that’s a little low,” he said. If one tenant left as the result of an owner-move-in eviction, he said, it might work out, and additional tenants might eventually move on. He, too, would want to keep the mural arts center in place. He said he’s not looking for a place with a commercial space out in front, so Precita Eyes would be a good fit.“Yeah, they could stay. Especially if the community cares about it,” he said. “Kicking them out, that doesn’t even make sense financially unless I can’t pay my mortgage.”One of the three residential tenants is a so-called protected tenant, said a realtor for the site, Chris Farrigno. This means the tenant couldn’t be forced out by an owner-move-in eviction. The arts center, however, is on a month-to-month commercial lease. Erick Arguello of the merchants’ and neighbors’ association Calle 24 spoke at length with at least one possible buyer at the open house.“It’s important for those folks to educate themselves,” he said. But he had some doubts about the ability of a well-meaning buyer to keep everyone in place, for example by building out additional units on top of the existing structure to eliminate the need for an owner-move-in eviction by a buyer who wanted to move in. “It would be up to everyone to come together to find a solution,” Arguello said. “How likely is it for nobody to be displaced?” Toddlers patted paint onto squares of butcher paper outside the Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center on Precita Avenue Tuesday, but the afternoon wasn’t just your average kid’s art class. In front of the colorful building stood neighborhood volunteers and Precita Eyes muralists as well as some local activists, holding signs that read “Please Don’t Buy This Building.”The building at 348 Precita Avenue, where Precita Eyes opened its first of two locations in 1977, is for sale for $995,000 and was open to prospective buyers.Local nonprofits fear a new owner will displace the mural center and the building’s three residential tenants. Instead, they want to buy the building. Their proposal involves the nonprofit Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) and the Community Land Trust making a competitive offer using a seller’s note. The latter depends on the owner offering the buyers a mortgage to purchase the building over the course of three years. Doing so would keep the units there perpetually affordable, but the proposal relies on avoiding a bidding war. “We’re hoping to dissuade other prospective buyers from outbidding MEDA,” explained Nancy Pili Hernández, a Precita Eyes muralist. 0%
0% Two women were walking out of a bar on 16th Street near Mission Street at 10:40 p.m. on Sunday night when they were followed by a 54-year-old man. The man then began some sort of confrontation with the women, at which point a 40-year-old man who noticed the commotion got involved. The suspect who had followed the women pulled out a knife and stabbed the bystander in the arm before fleeing the scene. The victim was left with a non-life-threatening laceration on his bicep and was transported to a local hospital. No arrest was made.Five RobberiesOn Thursday, November 26, at 8:17 p.m., a 25-year-old woman was walking on 25th and Utah streets when she was approached by two men. One of them pointed a gun in the woman’s face while the second stole her backpack. The two men then fled on foot. The woman was not injured and no arrests were made.A 22-year-old man entered his apartment on Mission Street between 16th and 17th streets at 1:40 a.m. on Friday when he felt a sharp object pressed against his back. A 30-year-old man had followed the victim and used an unknown weapon to threaten him while he ran into the apartment and stole the victim’s television. When the victim tried to stop the robber, he was punched in the face and lost consciousness. When the police arrived the victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, including a cut lip. No arrest was made. Tags: crimes • robbery Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% A 39-year-old woman was walking on Mission Street between 13th and South Van Ness streets at around 6 p.m. on Saturday when she was hit over the head with an unknown object. The victim told police she regained consciousness to find her purse missing. She called 911 the next day because her head was still in pain, and was transported to the hospital in non-life-threatening condition.On Sunday, Nov. 29, at around 10 p.m., a 34-year-old man exited a store on 26th and South Van Ness streets, where he was approached by two men in their 20s. The men punched the victim until he dropped his cell phone, which one of the suspects then picked up before the two men fled the scene. The victim was left with some abrasions on his ribs but was not transported to the hospital. The suspects were not arrested.Other CrimesShortly after 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25, an argument escalated between a 45-year-old man and a 52-year-old man men. The younger man punched the older one in the face and then pulled out mace and sprayed him. The suspect fled the scene and was not arrested, and the victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, including a laceration to the lip.Police responded to a call for shots fired on Thursday morning at 2:15 a.m. at 19th and Mission streets, only to find nothing but broken glass and casings. A witness told officers that a man had pointed a handgun into a light-colored, 4-door sedan with someone inside and fired into it. It’s unclear whether anyone was injured because no victim was found at the scene, and no arrest was made.And on Monday at 5:30 a.m. on Dolores Street between Market and 14th, a 27-year-old man was woken up in his apartment by his dog’s barking. He got up and walked to the front door, which he saw slowly closing shut and thought it was the wind. He went back to sleep thinking nothing was amiss, and received a call the next day from the police department that a tablet of his had been recovered.Crime is trauma and the county offers different services. Here is a link to a page of services.Victims of violent crime can also contact the Trauma Recovery Center at UCSF.
Photo courtesy of Eden SteinAnother unknown is the fate of the Graywood hotel – a residential hotel at 3308 Mission St. that was damaged in the fire, displacing some 60 of its residents.“We are anxiously and cautiously waiting to see what will happen with Graywood. We want to make sure the tenants come back,” said Rivera. “And that those units will be protected for that. Its message for folks to ponder on.”Unrelated to the installation, a poster that read “RIP 33 Club” on Wednesday could be been plastered to the wall of the legendary bar that had operated below the Graywood Hotel for some six decades. Because of extensive water damage after the fire, the 3300 club is permanently displaced.Rivera said that the poster paying homage to the bar was not the work of her group.But by Thursday, the Mission Street-side wall and poster had been whitewashed with paint, and parts of the merchant association’s Playa Azul banner were also targeted.It is unclear who is behind the paint job – Rivera wondered if the whitewashing may have been the work of the San Francisco Public Works Graffiti Abatement crew. Inquiries to Public Works about the abatement were not returned by press time.“They just ruined a community art project,” said Stein about the unidentified vandal, but added that the group would not hesitate to restore the banner. Some 1,500 pieces of yellow and red plastic are sending a clear message to the Bernal-Mission community: home is community, and community is built on the people and stories that exist within it, past and present.Arranged to spell out the words “there is no place like…”, the pieces are attached to a fence that separates Mission Street from a now empty lot. Passersby are prompted to fill in the blank.The lot was home to Cole Hardware before a fire last year ended with the demolition of the building that housed it at 3312 Mission St. The business had served the local community since 1982.“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like Mission Bernal, there’s no place like Cole Hardware,” said Eden Stein, president of the Mission-Bernal Merchants Association, about the art installation by local artist Brian Singer. “You get to choose.” The installation is homage to legacy businesses destroyed in the fire, and an attempt to beautify the blighted lot it left behind.“We have empty lots sitting here ever since the fire and it’s important to know that the merchants are strong and that the merchants are going through the process and coming back,” said Stein. “This is a hopeful message to the community. I’m passionate about people not being forgotten.”Also strapped to the fence, next to the installation, is a blue banner announcing the eventual return of Playa Azul, which existed in the building adjacent to Cole Hardware and was also demolished after the fire.Photo courtesy of Eden SteinA photograph of three generations of Playa Azul’s proprietors decorates the banner, along with images of flowers and fish taken from the restaurant’s original signage. The groups worked diligently with the property owners of both lots to install the banner and colorful art installation.In a collaboration with the Mission’ Galeria de la Raza, the merchants association raised money to beautify the block marked by disaster and loss.With help from volunteers from the Galeria, the group spent all day Wednesday installing the public art project. As they were working, Stein said that a woman driving by “slammed on her breaks, double parked and ran across the street” to hug the group, elated by the news that Playa Azul will be returning to the corridor.“We are a tight-knit community, and this is a really special thing for the community,” said Stein. “We want to show that merchants can survive after something like this – we have their backs.”While El Paisa, a Central American restaurant at 3322 Mission St., also damaged in the blaze, reopened its doors earlier this month, Playa Azul’s return will likely take years – the property owners recently started the permitting process to rebuild.“We don’t have control over when these businesses can get through city process to come back and open their doors, “ said Ani Rivera, executive director of Galeria de la Raza. “Our goal was to beautify corner that had a lot of blight and issues of security.”“It changes how people relate to our neighborhood. It feels like a disconnect in the middle of our corridor,” she added, referring to the empty lot. Tags: Bernal Heights • Fires • Galería de la Raza Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0%
Justin Holbrook and Alex Walmsley look ahead to Thursday night’s clash with Castleford Tigers. Audio Playerhttp://www.saintsrlfc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Podcast.2017-08-02.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.New Link!All previous subscribers need to update their subscription if they’re using iTunes.The new link is here or search St Helens RFC Podcasts on iTunes.You can also listen on Stitcher too. Click here to find out more.The Podcast is in association with Wish FM.
The centre took his season’s tally to 12, and saw yellow, in an eventful clash that halted Trinity’s losing run.Saints had battled back from 22-6 down to be within two points early in the second half.But they couldn’t find that killer touch to grab the spoils despite a number of chances.It could have been all so different if Saints had made the best of their rampant start.Mark Percival crossed in the second minute when he polished off a sweeping move following Jon Wilkin’s break.But within a couple of sets, back to back penalties gave Wakefield the field position for Ben Jones-Bishop to cross in the corner.Liam Finn nailing the conversion from the touchline to make it all square.On 15 minutes that ill-discipline cost Saints again.Zeb Taia was pinged for interference as Wakefield hacked ahead on a free play and from the resultant set, Reece Lyne ghosted through the defence.And moments later, after a poor last tackle play, Justin Horo went over to the left of the posts to put Trinity in complete control.Bill Tupou adding to the torment after breaking free of some lack-lustre tackling.At 22-6, Saints needed to hit back quickly and they did just that when Ryan Morgan took Lomax’ pass to send Tommy Makinson over on 26 minutes.Buoyed by the try, the visitors went close as the half progressed.Morgan Knowles was held up with two minutes to go and then a short pass from Theo Fages saw Taia halted right on the line.Saints weren’t going to pass up their third opportunity though and, as the hooter sounded, Lomax found Percival for his second of the game.Wakefield 22 Saints 14 the scoreline at the break.Six minutes into the second half Danny Richardson’s 40:20 got Saints on the front foot – and they took full advantage as a short ball from dummy half saw Luke Douglas crash over.Richardson goaled to bring the visitors within two points and they should have gone ahead when the young scrum half picked up a stray Trinity ball on the right hand side.But, as his pass came inside, Ryan Morgan was tackled off the ball and the chance was gone.Jacob Miller was lucky to not see yellow for the challenge, but Saints couldn’t take advantage of the penalty and repeat set after they forced a drop out.Saints invited Wakefield back on to them with back to back penalties before Morgan almost crossed in the corner.But Bill Tupou ripped the ball out and then raced down the other end of the field.Liam Finn added a penalty to take it out to 24-20 before a chaotic final ten minutes almost brought the points home for Saints.A fantastic flowing move saw Jonny Lomax race away for a certain try but Tyler Randell hit the stand-off high and from behind to halt the chance.He was given a yellow card for the tackle; Saints unfortunate not to be given a penalty try as a result.Saints came again in search of points but were penalised in succession – once for moving off the mark and another for interference after a short kick.That last one saw Mark Percival take ‘yellow’ for disagreeing with the decision.It left Saints with one last flurry at the line in the final minute but in all fairness the chance had already gone and Trinity held on for the win.Match Summary:Trinity: Tries: Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Horo, Tupou Goals: Finn (4 from 5)Saints: Tries: Percival (2), Makinson, Douglas Goals: Richardson (2 from 4)Penalties Awarded: Trinity: 10 Saints: 7HT: 22-14 FT: 24-20REF: G HewerATT: TBCTeams:Trinity: 1. Scott Grix; 5. Ben Jones-Bishop, 4. Reece Lyne,18. Joseph Arundel, 3. Bill Tupou; 6. Jacob Miller, 7. Liam Finn; 17. Craig Huby, 13. Tyler Randell, 20. Keegan Hirst, 11. Maty Ashurst, 12. Daniel Kirmond, 14. Justin Horo. Subs: 8. Anthony England, 9. Kyle Wood, 16. Tinirau Arona, 22. Jordan Baldwinson.Saints: 23. Ben Barba; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 7. Matty Smith, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin. Subs: 6. Theo Fages, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles.
He was selected alongside half back teammate Jonny Lomax and five other Saints.“I am over the moon and very happy,” he said. “It is a massive achievement for me and one I am very proud of.“At the start of the year I didn’t know what the plan was for me. I was training in pre-season alongside Matty Smith – a great player who has done it all in the game. We were both training hard and I wasn’t sure if he would be at seven or I would be, or whether I could have been at six.“I just focused on as training as hard as I could and if I got in the starting team then it was my job to stay there. Justin gave me a chance and we managed to win the first game. I said to myself afterwards that if we kept on winning and I worked hard and did my job then there was no reason why I would be taken out of the team.“That is pretty much how the year has gone and I am very grateful.”He continued: “The first time I had partnered with Jonny (Lomax) was in that first game and I feel as the year has gone on we have become more accustomed to each other and moulded to how each other plays. We feel comfortable playing with each other; Jonny is a class act and an England international.“Jonny is a deep thinker but I know some people look at me and think I’m not. At the end of the day I am as much a winner as anyone else.“If I have a bad game it can be at least three days before I get out of my mood. People don’t see that side of me, but like I said, myself and Jonny work on the pitch and that is the main thing.“If you get two halves who are similar to each other it can go against you. You have to find a middle ground and it is tough to find one that just clicks. We were lucky; we clicked and know where each other is going to be.”Saints will hope that partnership clicks once again this Thursday as Warrington come to the Totally Wicked Stadium in the Semi-Final.“Hopefully Thursday’s game isn’t like the last one which really went down to the wire!” Danny added. “We have beaten them three times this season but know that doesn’t count for anything. We will be making sure that we are preparing for them at their best, because that is what they will be bringing.“We are under no illusions; those games mean nothing anymore and we will be fully focused on getting the win and moving on to the Grand Final.”The game kicks off at 7:45pm at the Totally Wicked Stadium and you can secure your spot by calling into the Ticket Office, tel: 01744 455 052 or online here.