Fort Sill sued for ending contract that employs the blind

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma state agency is suing the federal government in an attempt to block a local military base from ending its contract with a vendor who employs blind workers.

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services filed the lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday. That agency is tasked with expanding independence and economic self-sufficiency for disabled Oklahomans. The lawsuit is against the United States of America, by and through Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of the Army Mark Esper.

The complaint requests a restraining order and injunctive relief to block Fort Sill, the Army post in Lawton, from ending its contract with a cafeteria services vendor.

The argument hinges on the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Act. The law was passed in the 1930s and gives priority to blind vendors, who are licensed as so through the state, when choosing vendors operating on federal property, such as military installations.

The current vendor, David Altstatt, is the Department of Rehabilitation Services-appointed blind vendor for the Army post. The current contract includes one base year and four option years, and Altstatt’s company is in the second option year, according to the lawsuit. In February, the defendants notified rehabilitation services officials that they intended to terminate the contract. The department argues that the defendants didn’t give proper notification to the U.S. secretary of education, who oversees the program. The Oklahoma rehabilitation department requested arbitration with that secretary and defendants in April, according to the lawsuit. In August, the defendants issued a solicitation for a replacement vendor. That solicitation is what the lawsuit attempts to block.

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Raffle for Jeri's House - Enter to Win an iPad 9.7″

Drawing: April  13, 2018

Enter to win an iPad 9.7in

  • Wi-Fi 32GB – Space Gray
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • iPad donated by NanoPac, Inc.

 

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!!!

1 Ticket for $5 ~OR 5 Tickets for $20

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE PRESENT TO WIN!  Drawing will be held on FaceBook live on the morning of April 13th at Nanopac’s office.

You can purchase tickets by contacting Jeri Cooper. 

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Newly Released Videos on HKNC Website

The Helen Keller National Center announces two new training videos for deaf-blind individuals and family members. These videos were developed and are presented by deaf-blind individuals and are fully accessible with captioning and transcripts.

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‘He Can’t Hear You!’: Deaf Man Shot Dead by Oklahoma City Police as Neighbors Scream in Horror

A deaf man carrying a metal pipe was fatally shot by Oklahoma City police on Tuesday night as neighbors frantically tried to tell officers that he couldn't hear their commands.

Magdiel Sanchez, 35, was shot and Tasered on a porch on Tuesday around 8:15 p.m. after he allegedly advanced toward officers following a hit-and-run involving his father, Police Capt. Bo Mathews said Wednesday.

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Oklahoma City Deaf Blind man Creates Gardening service of a small company with the experience of a big company

Oklahoma businessman, Michael Vontress started his own gardening company after working with the Sight Hearing Encouragement Program.  Vontress has Usher’s Syndrome combined with retinitis pigmentosa which has effected his sight and his hearing.

After becoming a client with the Sight Hearing Encouragment Program he began working at others jobs with the help of the organization's job coach, Timothy Oakes.  Vontress was able to acquire a state job through the organization and stayed at the job for some time.  The company he worked for then let Vontress go and he had to consider going back to the typical 9-5 or venture outside the box and gain more independence. He utilized his learning from his job coach and resources from Department Rehabilitation Services (DRS), and realized that he could make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Vontress loves working outdoors and expressed that he has a green thumb and a fondness for nature.  He decided to take a step out of the norm and ventured into the business world.  He established his company, Lawn and Garden by Michael.

"There's nothing better than owning your own business." Vontress stated.  "I can now do what I love and have the confidence in doing it."

Vontress specializes in planting various types of flowers and plant life, care-taking of foiliage and maintain lawn and landscapes of residential and commercial areas.

You can reach Vontress and his services at:

Lawn & Garden by MIchael

(580)-263-9979

vontressmichael@gmail.com


 

Mustang investment advisor named spokesman for Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week

Daniel Meek, investment advisor and accountant from Mustang, relied on assistance from Visual Services’ employment programs to adapt to his vision and hearing disabilities. Meek was asked to represent deaf-blind Oklahomans during Deaf-Blind Awareness Week by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

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Working miracles: New program to provide help to blind/deaf Oklahomans

FOR people who are both deaf and blind, the world can be a daunting place. It’s dark and quiet, and not many people know how to communicate with someone whose senses are limited.

In the U.S., about 70,000 people people live in a dark, quiet world, according to Helenkeller.org. Cassandra Oakes, of Bethany, is one. In 2010, Oakes and her husband, Tim Oakes, started a program to help others who have lost their vision and hearing: Sight-Hearing Encouragement Program — or SHEP.

“I want to teach them to come out of their closets, come on out of their predicament, come out of being mad at the world, come out of that negative energy,” Oakes said.

Through the program, service support providers (SSPs) spend time with their blind/deaf companions, taking them shopping or to lunch or to run errands. They describe the sights and sounds their companions are missing.

(Click to read more...)