San Francisco Luxury Commute Bus Company Neglects To Provide Access for Commuters in Wheelchairs
Apr21

San Francisco Luxury Commute Bus Company Neglects To Provide Access for Commuters in Wheelchairs

The San Francisco-based luxury coach bus company Leap set itself apart from the country’s competing 3,400 motor coach companies when it started offering luxury amenities, like cold-pressed juice and USB ports, to its passengers for their daily commute. The company has been offering its $6-per-ride tickets for less than a month, but according to the latest reports, the bus company already hit a roadbump. According to a complaint recently filed with the Department of Justice, Leap purposely neglected to make its buses handicap-accessible for passengers in wheelchairs. According to local news publication SFist, neglecting to provide any wheelchair-accessible transportation options puts Leap in violation of public transport laws designated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Furthermore, it appears that Leap made modifications to the original style of their buses (which were purchased through an auction house from the Riverside Transit Agency) in order to remove wheelchair accessibility — and include leather armchairs and bar-style seating options. According to the SFist, “the buses’ manufacturer, North American Bus Industries, confirmed that the purchased and resold models originally came equipped with a wheelchair ramp and interior wheelchair space.” Chris Pangilian, 32, was the man behind the initial complaint, and is also the former transportation engineer for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Pangilian recently relocated to New York City to work for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but having suffered from cerebral palsy, he has been confined to a wheelchair for most of his life and has taken offense to Leap’s blatant disregard of San Francisco’s wheelchair-bound population (and its disregard of federal law). “This is a step backwards,” Pangilian said. “If they had put up a sign that said ‘no whites’ or something like that, there would be national outrage. This is the same kind of violation. There just aren’t as many people affected.” The section of the ADA that Leap is violating, the San Francisco Chronicle states, requires that both private and public transportation companies make vehicles and facilities “readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” However, it appears that Leap may have found a loophole: the Chronicle notes that although the ADA includes “wide-ranging civil rights laws passed in 1990 to prevent discrimination against disabled people,” it does not specifically state that the laws apply to used vehicles. Since Leap bought all four of its buses secondhand, the company may be able to avoid legal penalties — for now. “Not only did they [Leap] fail to maintain accessibility features, as they are legally required to do, they took them out,” said Marilyn Golden, a policy analyst at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. “To remove the...

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North Carolina Highways to Get Signs Marking Car Charging Locations
Dec16

North Carolina Highways to Get Signs Marking Car Charging Locations

As more people look to save money on gas while helping out the environment, the electric car is becoming an increasingly popular choice for Americans looking for their next vehicle. However, many who buy an electric car have trouble figuring out where the nearest car changing station is located — which is why the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is now working to put up highway signs marking the locations of its more than 120 electric vehicle charging stations. According to the Triangle Business Journal, the NCDOT was initially hesitant to agree to the plan, feeling that there weren’t enough electric vehicle drivers in the state, but eventually approved of including signage at each charging station once hearing of the statewide demand for these signs. “We helped them understand that it was a trend that was here to stay, and that the changes we were proposing were changes that they already had the authority to make,” Marcy Bauer, the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center’s Clean Transportation Project Coordinator, told the Triangle Business Journal. Already, NCDOT has made edits to its Highway 1 sign for the “green” McDonald’s in Cary, to notify drivers that the restaurant has a charging station for their electric cars. According to Bauer, more signs indicating the locations of nearby charging stations at shopping centers and restaurants should follow throughout the state. According to the Triangle Business Journal, it takes about eight hours to charge a Nissan Leaf, and about four hours to charge a Chevrolet Volt. As a result, these charging stations aren’t intended for full charges, but rather for topping off electric vehicles’ batteries to get a little further down the road. With electric vehicles’ popularity among the eco-friendly crowd not slowing anytime soon, it’s probable that other states will soon follow North Carolina’s lead with highway signs to mark the nearest spots where people can top up the charge on their cars, at the same time they that refuel with a meal or cup of...

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Flight to Beijing Disrupted by Child Custody Dispute
Sep21

Flight to Beijing Disrupted by Child Custody Dispute

On Thursday, September 4, a United Airlines flight bound for Beijing returned to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. While most returned flights are caused by mechanical problems or even unruly passengers, this detour was caused by an international incident in the making: a mother was believed to be taking her child out of the country without the knowledge of his father, who shares joint custody. United Airlines Flight 897 took off at 12:20 p.m, but received a request from the FBI to return to Dulles when they reached Canadian airspace. The 180 passengers aboard the flight were reportedly told that the plane was experiencing a mechanical problem. It wasn’t until the Boeing 777 landed in Washington five hours after its initial departure that the pilot announced the true reason for their delayed trip. Three individuals were then removed from the plane: Wenjing Liu, also known as Linda Liu, her four year old son, and her mother. The FBI arrested Liu, her son was returned to his father, and her mother was not detained. Liu and her former spouse, William J. Ruifrok III, were awarded joint custody of their son after divorcing in 2013. The child was born in China and is a dual U.S.-Chinese citizen. However, Liu and Ruifrok’s 2014 custody does not allow either parent to travel outside the U.S. without written and notarized consent of the other party before the trip. In a country where an estimated 46,523 divorces are filed each week, this condition is fairly common. Accordingly, taking or attempting to take a child out of the country to obstruct a parent’s custodial rights is considered a federal offense in the U.S. After being removed from the flight, Liu admitted to law enforcement officials that she had violated the custody order by failing to get Ruifrok’s consent. She appeared in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia on Friday, September 5 and again on Monday, September 8 for a bond hearing. Meanwhile, Flight 897 was allowed to depart for Beijing again at 7:47 pm. Similar international parental custody disagreements have gathered worldwide attention and caused significant difficulty: for example, David Goldman had to negotiate for five years to have his son, Sean, returned to his custody the United States after his then-wife took him to Brazil in 2009 and refused to return. These custody disputes, which are legally considered kidnappings, can be made even more complicated if one or both countries involved are not signatories of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction. Seventy countries, including the United States, have signed the Hague Convention, but the regulation only...

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Eco-minded 204 sq. ft. tiny home packs in tons of thoughtful details
Mar17

Eco-minded 204 sq. ft. tiny home packs in tons of thoughtful details

The standards of living in a luxury house are not confined to size of the building rather they are based on the creativity you show while developing a house. This is what has been done by a couple Carrie and Shane Caverly of Santa Fe, New Mexico. This couple has downsized their house to make it simpler and touchy. Shane (a custom builder) and Carrie (an architectural designer) decided to make their tiny house for helping them to reduce their $1,500 per month mortgage payments to cover a  new  monthly expenditures of consumers bills and tenant charges. This house took 3 months to be completely built and it is supposed to be Eco-friendly and worth living. On the other hand, Jetson hold the opinion on its constructions as: The Caverly’s eco-friendly 204 square foot home is built on a 5th wheel gooseneck trailer and features passive solar design, closed cell poly-iso foam insulation, low-E double-paned windows, FSC-certified manufactured wood siding, engineered wood flooring, post-manufacturer recycled framing lumber, on-demand hot water heater, low water incinerating toilet, recycled steel roof that collects rainwater, and grey water collection tank. This portable house has been thoughtfully engineered by this couple and both husband and wife sell replicas of this house at the price of $48,000 apart from designing and coaching assistance. The video of this house can be view at...

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Why You Need to Make 2014 the Year of the Staycation
Jan22

Why You Need to Make 2014 the Year of the Staycation

Being able to take a vacation is a goal every family aspires to. If you can get away from the grind of work, house chores, and the mundane, why wouldn’t you? Of course, taking a vacation isn’t just about breaking away from your tiresome routine. As any healthcare professional worth their salt knows, vacationing reduces stress, makes you more productive when you return to work, and can actually reduce your risk of coronary disease by 32%. Unfortunately, the world still hasn’t fully recovered from the Great Recession, the global economic crisis that destroyed 7.9 million American jobs. Thanks to this seismic shift, 76% of Americans can barely manage to get from paycheck to paycheck, let alone worry about getting away with the people they love most. As gas prices continued to rise and job loss forced families to become more conservative with their spending, the idea of travelling thousands of miles became a pipe-dream for a huge number of people. They say that necessity is the mother of invention; just because Americans couldn’t afford to get away doesn’t mean they no longer needed to. Because of this need, the “staycation” was born. What is a Staycation? A staycation is a vacation where you stay at home or within your local area. Some people quite literally stay at home, reading books, watching movies, and spending quality time with their loved ones. Others have beautiful, natural wonders of the world in their backyards where they can go with friends and family to relax in the fresh air and comforting embrace of mother nature. In a nutshell, if you take vacation time but you plan to stay in your local area, you’re taking a staycation. What Are the Benefits of a Taking a Staycation? Taking a staycation comes with many of the same benefits as the more traditional family vacation. However, because you’re not going far, staycations offer even more to the average American family. Huge Savings Because you don’t have to travel for a staycation, it is one of the cheapest forms of relaxation. Keep in mind, the average price for gas in the U.S. is $3.66 per gallon. That adds up quickly, even if you only plan to go 100 miles for a traditional vacation. By taking a staycation, you avoid exorbitant fuel prices, the cost of hotels, and all the other financial pitfalls that come with traveling. You Don’t Have to Waste Time Travelling When you take a vacation, do you really want to spend your time getting more stressed out? If you have to drive, or even if you have to fly, it can be a completely stressful...

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