Return to Life Concert Series – Jewel

December 21st, 2012

Bloom Arts & Events & Alpha One, in conjunction with Prudential is proud to present Jewel as the next  in the Return to Life Concert Series, Sunday March 10th 2013 at Merrill Auditorium, Portland ME.

With many successful concerts behind us, featuring artists as diverse as Indigo Girls, Rufus Wainwright, Brandi Carlile, & David Bromberg, we are excited to welcome Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Jewel and her Greatest Hits Tour to the Return to Life stage.

Jewel is an acclaimed American singer, songwriter, actress, poet, painter, philanthropist. The three-time Grammy nominee, hailed by the New York Times as a “songwriter bursting with talents” has enjoyed career longevity rare among her generation of artists. With over 27 million albums sold,  her many accolades include Grammy Award nominations, an American Music Award and an MTV Video Music Award.

Jewel releases her first ever greatest hits album on February 5, 2013. The 16-Track collection spans the singer-songwriter’s multi-platinum career, featuring two newly recorded versions of hits with guest vocals by Kelly Clarkson and The Pistol Annies, plus the brand new Jewel single.

Tickets for the Jewel Greatest Hits Tour are available online at www.porttix.com or at the Merrill Auditorium Box Office from Friday, December 21st at 12 noon. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., concert starts at 7:30 p.m. All profits from the concert will go to benefit Alpha One, Center for Independent Living. For information about accessible tickets click here.

Vantage Point with Dennis Fitzgibbons

December 21st, 2012

It’s always fascinated me that the darkest and coldest days of the year have always been full of hope and expectations for the future.

My expectations as a child were of toys and baseball gloves and other fun items for Christmas presents.  As my world view expanded, my hopes and expectations included a growing circle of family, friends, and those who struggled to get by.  My family religious tradition and people of influence in my life instilled a sense of optimism in me that continues to this day.  This year my optimism is higher than it has been for some time.  Let me share with you why I’m optimistic about Alpha One and disability in Maine.

The Homeward Bound program offers us an opportunity to excel as we assist participants with transitioning from nursing homes to their own homes.  It’s the essence of Independent Living!

I’m eager for Alpha One to tell stories of consumer empowerment in 2013 and we will be ratcheting up our use of social media and other media to do so.  I believe that the more we tell stories of consumer success, the more consumers will be interested in pursuing their dreams of independence. Not only will we share feel good stories of individuals leaving nursing homes, having home modifications, acquiring assistive technology, and more; we will also tell our story in terms of “bang for the buck.” Plans are underway to measure our effectiveness as an organization as a cost savings machine.  By demonstrating cost effectiveness, I believe we will be able to increase funding support from both the private and public sectors.

I’m very excited about the 8 employees new to Alpha One over the past year plus-Colleen, Mary, Betsy D, Chris, Tabitha, Matt F, Carly, and Tom.  They are a breath of fresh air with new skills, perspectives, and ideas, and with infectious energy and enthusiasm for the work we do.  At the same time I am thankful for our ‘veteran’ employees who have experience, incredible knowledge, and long-term commitment and loyalty to Alpha One and its mission.

This blend of staffing has us poised to reach new heights in empowering Maine people with disabilities to pursue their aspirations for a more independent life.   It’s why we came to Alpha One – to make a difference in people’s lives – and we do that every day.

Thanks/Dennis

Legislative Roundup with Rep. Matt Peterson

December 20th, 2012

Elections have consequences.

After a historic election cycle in 2012 in which Republicans gained control of both chambers of the Legislature and the Executive branch, Maine voters overwhelmingly showed their support for Democrats in 2012. Democrats now hold majority control in both the House of Representatives and State Senate.

Chamber leadership was organized last week when Representative Mark Eves (D) of North Berwick was sworn in as the 101st Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives and Senator Justin Alfond (D) was elected the 115th President of the Maine State Senate.

The First Regular Session of the 126th Maine Legislature will convene officially on January 8th, 2013. Legislators will have their work cut out for them when they will immediately face a $35.5 million reduction of the current fiscal year’s revenues and a $100 million shortfall in the MaineCare program for the current fiscal year.

To learn more about the Maine Legislature visit here: http://www.maine.gov/legis/

Grace Under Pressure

December 18th, 2012

Much like the great ships of the past, to truly appreciate everything Alpha One does you often have to look below the waterline to the engine room below. Only then can you appreciate all it takes to make this work, seemingly effortlessly, every single day. Of course we all know by now that it usually takes a lot of effort to make things seem effortless.

Agnes Huntley has been the living embodiment of grace under pressure in her work in payroll/Attendant Services for the past 18 years. Back in ‘95, when she first started at Alpha one, it was a one person department under former CFO, Craig Tribuno. “Our early computer systems were dos-based, with huge pin fed paper print-outs sent to the state,” says Agnes. “Back then, we billed around $70k per pay period, in comparison to around $400k now.”

“Alpha One is unique, and it has been a great place to work. I looked forward to coming in every morning. The people here have been the most rewarding thing. Working with People with Disabilities helps to put things in perspective. You don’t complain about a headache when you see someone else with much more serious issues getting here in the middle of a snowstorm. “

“I wouldn’t be retiring if I didn’t think things were being left in good hands,” Agnes continues, in regards to the transition. “The payroll dep’t plays an important part in consumers’ lives, in terms of services – but it is a background role, as they very often will never meet us face-to-face. That they are able to remain in their homes, whether in Portland or Presque Isle, is due in some part to the work we do; that’s a very nice thing.”

With Anne Connolly’s assistance as a consultant, documenting our procedures and highlighting areas where we can be more efficient, as well as recognizing areas for retraining, transitioning from Agnes to Tabitha Lara has been made easier. “Tabitha is very organized, with a strong technical background, which will drive us closer to being a paperless office in the future,” says Agnes.

Tabitha’s background for the past 20 years has been in Healthcare billing, first at Martin’s Point & then Advantage Heath Care. She has found people very welcoming at Alpha One and has been enjoying the experience so far. “I am looking forward to getting more information online,” Tabitha says, “digitizing data & streamlining systems by encouraging more intercommunication between IL staff and the Attendant Services team.  I will be focusing hard in the New Year on ways to minimize barriers and find ways to simplify our process overall.”

As we say goodbye to old friends and welcome new ones, it’s reassuring to know that Attendant Services continues to be in good hands and is looking to the future in 2013 and beyond.

Tips for Accessible Gardening

June 21st, 2012

Summer is here, and it is a great time to get out in the fresh air and work in the garden. Many people find gardening therapeutic; it offers physical as well as mental and emotional stimulation. With the help of special adaptive tools, nearly anyone with a disability can still reap the benefits of indoor or outdoor gardening. With careful planning and the right tools, gardens can be designed to work around most limitations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Maine Grocery Delivery Service

April 17th, 2012

Maine, while gorgeous, often lacks a lot of the ‘modern conveniences’ of smaller states and larger cities, such as Providence or Boston. There has been an increasing number of grocery stores making home shopping and delivery available since as early as 1996. Read the rest of this entry »

Yoga Resources for People with Disabilities

April 10th, 2012

Stretching is always helpful for the body. Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, and currently, close to 11 million Americans are enjoying its health benefits. It is a great way to calm your body, stretch your muscles and even better, it’s accessible to people with disabilities. Read the rest of this entry »

Rep. Matthew Peterson Re-Elected

November 3rd, 2010

On the morning after the election I want to let you all know that Matt Peterson, Independent Living Specialist at Alpha One, was re-elected last night. Matt won by a 2-1 margin. Matt worked hard to represent the people of his district and they recognized that in sending him back to Augusta in an election that saw many incumbents lose their seat in Maine and around the country. We’re all proud of you Matt-keep up the great work!

Return to Life Concert Series 2010: Indigo Girls

November 3rd, 2010

indigo_girls_stillOn Saturday night October 30, Alpha One held its fourth Return to Life concert featuring the Indigo Girls at the Merrill auditorium in Portland, Maine.

I had the pleasure of introducing the evening on stage with Craig Gray, Vice President of Prudential’s Return to Life Program. I thanked the audience for coming and let them know that proceeds from the concert would support Alpha One’s many services for people with disabilities throughout Maine. I added that the concert could not have happened without the generous support of Prudential, our sponsor for the concert series. Next, I introduced Craig who generously praised the work of Alpha One and spoke of Prudential’s pride in being associated with Alpha One. Read the rest of this entry »

Governor to Attend ADA 20th Anniversary Awards

July 21st, 2010

Gracie 005_miniBangor, Maine – July 19, 2010 – The Maine ADA Coalition is pleased to announce the first Denis Pratt ADA Awards on July 26, 2010. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the historic signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed this very day in 1990, the Maine ADA Coalition has initiated these awards to celebrate individuals or organizations that substantially contribute to the implementation of the ADA, while championing and advocating for the disability community. Read the rest of this entry »