Spread the Word, total solar eclipse, and upcoming elections

00:00:00 Speaker 1

Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living WNYIL). Our guest today is Frank Cammarata, executive director with the Erie County Office for People with Disabilities and I'm your host, Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, Frank.

00:00:16 Speaker 2

Thank you, Ernie. It's always a pleasure.

00:00:18 Speaker 1

And we appreciate having you and it's been far too long since we've had a chance to chat. And so a few things have stacked up that your office is concerned with. First, could you tell us about your “Spread the Word” effort?

00:00:33 Speaker 2

Sure, Ernie. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had an event. The first Wednesday of March every year, we celebrate Spread the Word. It started as Spread the Word to end the R Word and has evolved into Spread the Word for Inclusion. So we continue to talk about spreading the word for inclusion and making sure that what is going on in our community has an inclusive lens, making sure that services that our counties are providing are inclusive, making sure that businesses are being inclusive in all their thoughts. You know it's not enough to have the Americans with Disabilities Act, federal law, we still act, have to actually act upon it. And so that's why we have this movement and it's a great organization of people from different agencies and areas of support and service.

00:01:29 Speaker 1

Because we have limited time, something that's coming up in just about a week or so from when this airs is the total solar eclipse which will cover Buffalo and Niagara Falls. I believe you have some words of wisdom about that.

00:01:48 Speaker 2

Well, I hope I have words of wisdom Ernie and yes, that's correct April the 8th at approximately 3:18 in the afternoon we are going to have a total solar eclipse. Buffalo is in the path of totality and so we're reaching out to people in our community to say please be safe. Please be smart. Take it easy if you don't have to go out, please don't. Please stay home because we're expecting possibly 2,000,000 visitors to Erie County. Yeah, it's a lot of people. And so the roads are going to be busy and there's going to be a lot of traffic if you have medical appointments scheduled for that day, we're asking try to reschedule those for either earlier, or earlier that week or later that week because it's going to be difficult to get to emergency services. We're really thinking that that's what's going to be happening. And if you have an opportunity, if you want to view this solar eclipse, we make sure that you are wearing the proper glasses. There are specific ISO rated glasses that everyone needs to wear because we don't want anyone burning their retinas. So you can get those glasses at your local libraries, give a call to the local libraries or the Buffalo Science Museum.

00:03:12 Speaker 1

Terrific. And moving on though, there are a couple of elections coming up that people should know about.

00:03:19 Speaker 2

Yes, there are. There are a couple we have, we're in a presidential election year, Ernie. So April the 2nd, we have a presidential primary coming up and then at the end of the month, we have a special congressional election in New York 26, the New York Congressional District 26, that is going to be a race between Senator Kennedy and Cheektowaga Supervisor Dixon, and they're going to be trying to replace Brian Higgins. So get yourself out there and vote. And please, we ask make sure that you use the accessible voting machine. Right now, New York State is still considering which voting machine to use, and they're only working towards that because we know that there is a real need for that accessible voting machine. But we need people to know that that voting machine is necessary. So use that accessible voting machine and anyone can use it. You don't have to have a disability.

00:04:22 Speaker 1

Frank, we're totally out of time. I'm sure people have questions. How can they reach you?

00:04:28 Speaker 2

Oh sure. And if they could call me at 716-858-6215. Anytime. Any, anything that they ever need with regard to any disability, please feel free to reach out with a terrific resource. There's also 211.

00:04:42 Speaker 1

Thanks so much for being with us.

00:04:43 Speaker 2

All right, Erine, take care.

00:04:45 Speaker 1

You too. You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Frank Cammarata, executive director of the Erie County Office for People with Disabilities. And I've been your host, Ernie Churchwell.