Corrections or additions?
These articles by Michele Alperin, Lynn Robbins, and Vivian
Fransen were prepared for the November 8, 2000 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Disabilities Compliance: Does It Work?
Passed 10 years ago in the face of pervasive
against people with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) requires employers, state and local governments, and public
businesses and institutions to provide reasonable accommodation for
disabled persons. Although there are some lapses in compliance, John
Sarno, president of the Employers Association of New Jersey,
that "the ADA is a truly great civil rights law that is a
of how far we have come as a society in integrating people with
into the mainstream."
The ADA covers anyone with a disability that limits one or more major
life functions, such as walking, seeing, hearing, working, or caring
for oneself. The law also covers persons who are considered by others
to have a disability, explains David Lazarus of the Community
Health Law Project, "for example, persons who have been mentally
ill and have recovered, but whom peers now perceive as having a
Sarno and Lazarus will speak at a free conference entitled "Civil
Rights for Persons with Disabilities: 10 Years After-Reality or
This discussion of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its real
impact takes place on Friday, November 10, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30
p.m., at the Community Health Law Project, New Jersey Law Center,
1 Constitution Square, New Brunswick. For information, call
Register by fax only to 732-828-0034.
Employers are required by Title 1 of the ADA to act in particular
ways in order to prevent discrimination against disabled persons:
Employers may not ask about medical or disability information in a
job interview, although job applicants themselves may disclose the
existence of a disability. Employers may require a medical examination
only after they make a "real job offer" but may not withdraw
an offer simply because a disability is revealed by the examination.
person, unless it imposes "undue hardship" on the employer.
Says Sarno: "The employer has to consider ways to help the
with a disability perform the essential functions of the job."
The employer is released from the obligation to reasonably accommodate
only if there is undue hardship, meaning that an accommodation would
be too costly, disruptive, or onerous. For example, says Sarno,
transferring a disabled employee to a vacant job for which he or she
is qualified would be reasonable, creating a whole new position for
the person would impose undue hardship.
process," a conversation in which, says Sarno, "the
and employee discuss alternatives and options and the best way to
meet the needs of the disabled employee."
Sarno, whose organization advises member employers on complying with
the ADA, is very enthusiastic about the effects of the mandate for
interactive process: "The great untold story about the ADA is
the thousands of conversations that take place on a daily basis in
workplaces around the country between employees and employers on the
best way to accommodate the employee with a disability." As a
result of these mandated conversations, he says, "only a tiny
percentage of disputes arising out of the ADA ever reach the point
person unless they can demonstrate there is a "business
A business necessity is when the disabled person is unable to meet
the physical requirements of the job or poses a threat to him or
For example, suppose an employer offers someone a job to work in a
warehouse, where requirements include lifting heavy packages and
ladders to stock shelves. If the medical examination reveals severe
heart or pulmonary disease, the employer can withdraw the offer as
a business necessity.
coverage, but an insurer may offer different insurance to different
classifications of disabilities, for example physical versus
Under Title 2 of the ADA, state and local governments
must assure that all of their programs and services are accessible.
They are required to have self-evaluation and transition plans,
Lazarus, "meaning that you take a look in the mirror and see what
you are delivering and whether it is accessible to persons with
Lazarus claims that compliance of municipal governments in New Jersey
has been wanting, particularly in terms of the self-evaluation and
transition plan requirements. In a survey of about 50 municipalities
in Bergen County, the Community Health Law Project found that they
were very sparsely compliant; most did not have self-evaluation or
transition plans. ADA regulations for state and local governments
also require all new public buses and commuter trains to be
Title 3 of the ADA mandates that public accommodations, like shopping
malls, hotels and motels, and sports arenas, cannot deny goods or
services because a person has a disability, cannot offer only unequal
or separate benefits, and must offer services in the most integrated
setting possible. Compliance to Title 3 in the state of New Jersey
varies, depending on whether a facility is new or already existing:
All new facilities must comply with both the ADA and with New Jersey’s
longer-standing barrier free sub-code to its Uniform Construction
Code. The barrier-free sub-code covers architectural and access
for example, accessible routes of travel, handicapped parking,
sidewalk grades, cut curves, restroom access, and necessary turning
radiuses. "Before a store or commercial facility can be
says Lazarus, "a local inspector inspects the premises."
For existing facilities where physical barriers to disabled persons
need to be removed, compliance is entirely complaint-driven. "The
problem is that no government entity exists that requires compliance
for facilities built before the ADA and the barrier-free subcode,"
says Lazarus. "For example, if a place was built before these
laws, but could be made accessible with a ramp, there is no one to
ask whether this can be accomplished without exceptional cost and
from Brooklyn Law School in 1969. After law school he worked for the
Legal Aid Society of the City of New York, then moved to the Legal
Services Corporation in New Jersey, and, finally, in 1976, to the
Community Health Law Project, which serves primarily the disabled
and the elderly. Lazarus received a bachelor’s in business from Penn
State University in 1966.
Sarno became involved with the disabled through the helping
He graduated with a B.A. in psychology from Ramapo College in 1977
and received a master’s in counseling and a law degree, both from
Seton Hall University. Sarno spent nearly 10 years working as a
to people with disabilities and then practiced general law for about
10 years. Since 1995 he has been using his expertise in disabilities
as president of the Employers Association of New Jersey.
Sarno believes that "the ADA has been an unequivocal success and
that it will continue to evolve." As evidence of possible future
directions for the ADA, he cites a national committee that is studying
whether the use of genetic information is something the ADA should
cover or whether a new law is required.
Lazarus raises a potentially less positive development for the ADA:
a major case on disability law that is now before the U.S. Supreme
Court, which, he says, "will directly impact whether states are
bound by the ADA." Although the course of the ADA’s evolution
cannot be predicted, its effects on disabled Americans living today
are measurable and clear, he says: They are living more normal and
productive lives and contributing more effectively to their families
— Michele Alperin
@BIG LETTER = Scientists and researchers working in central New
pharmaceutical labs might pass over notice of an upcoming lecture
by a professor whose credentials combine mathematics and biology.
But people with a passion for science are apt to be challenged and
perhaps enlightened by a topic that draws upon the latest advances
in mathematics, biology, and physics.
Arthur T. Winfree of the University of Arizona comes to Princeton
University to give a lecture entitled "Total Eclipse of the Heart:
Electrical Vortices and Fatal Heart Attacks." Sponsored by
University’s Graduate School Centennial Series, which features
alumni of the graduate school, this lecture is open to the public
at no charge on Sunday, November 12, at 4 p.m. at the Frist Campus
Center. A reception follows the lecture. For more information, call
"My presentation has a catchy title, but it is not going to be
about human interest topics so much as about the mathematical physics
of waves in heart muscle," says Winfree during a telephone
from Tucson, Arizona, where he is completing a sabbatical year. He
adds that anyone looking for practical tips, such as what changes
in diet promote heart health, will not find such information as part
of his remarks.
"I’m not a medical doctor," says Winfree, who has worked with
some of today’s most brilliant cardiologists and medical researchers.
"My focus is on basic biology and mathematical constructs to
understand the peculiar dynamics of electrical waves."
Highly regarded as both an experimental mathematician and theoretical
biologist, Winfree has a reputation for looking deeply into a
chemical, or biological phenomenon and extracting a mathematical gem.
For example, his work on the three-dimensional waves of electrical
potential that control the timing of heart muscles has shown that
they can have a mathematical shape that leads to cardiac arrhythmias.
Winfree was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1945, and he had two
brothers and one sister. The family moved up and down the East Coast
as his father pursued a career in life insurance. "I knew from
an early age that mathematics would be an important part of my life’s
work," says Winfree, who speaks highly of the excellent teachers
who introduced him to the intellectual stimulation of geometry and
biology in the 10th grade.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics at
University, he went on to earn a PhD in biology from Princeton
(Class of 1970). He taught at the University of Chicago and Purdue
University before arriving at the University of Arizona to serve as
professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, teaching both graduate
and undergraduate courses. He has done stints as a visiting scholar
at such institutions as the University of Montreal, the Center for
Nonlinear Studies in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the Oxford University
Mathematics Institute in England, Osaka University in Japan, and the
University of California.
Winfree’s honors and awards are legion, including recognition as
of the Norbert Wiener Prize of 2000 to 2004 for innovations related
to biological rhythms and the Einthoven Award conferred by the
Royal Academy of Sciences InterUniversity Cardiology Institute. In
1982 he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and
in 1984 the coveted John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Prize.
Winfree has generated scores of publications and journal articles
since 1970, as well as being the author of three books: "When
Time Breaks Down: The Three-Dimensional Dynamics of Electrochemical
Waves and Cardiac Arrhythmias" published in 1987, "The Timing
of Biological Clocks" published in 1986. (Note: For those who
want background reading for the November 12th lecture, check your
library or local bookstore selling used books for "The Timing
of Biological Clocks" (published by Freeman and Sons in 1986),
which is now out of print.)
"The conceptual and factual advances in this field are enormous
over the past 20 years," says Winfree, who has devoted a
part of his life during this sabbatical year to updating the third
edition of "The Geometry of Biological Time," originally
in 1980 with a third edition due early next year. This book, according
to promotional materials, "describes periodic processes in living
systems, and in non-living analogs, in the abstract terms of systems
theory . . . emphasizing such topics as phase singularities, waves,
and mutual synchronization" and is rich in technical graphics.
For those who are left somewhat baffled with such scientific jargon,
Winfree offers the following explanation on his work relating to
vortices and the way the heart functions: The heart is an organ with
muscular walls that pumps blood through the circulatory system.
of the heart are triggered by moving electrical waves. When
the rate of this action is once per second. . . To understand the
role of electrical vortices, it’s helpful to picture electrical
that spin on the surface of the heart, in a sense chasing their tails
in circles within a very short period. Complete rotations occur 10
times each second. The use of the term vortices communicates the
of these rotations, which are akin to the action occurring in the
eye of a hurricane. Understanding these dynamics helps one begin to
unravel the mysteries when an organism suffers a fatal heart attack.
While a thorough appreciation for the complexities of Winfree’s work
requires solid knowledge of the fine points of mathematical theory,
his work may help hold the key for researchers to better understand
the role of mathematics in leading us further down the road to
about the inherent rhythms of how our bodies work.
— Vivian Fransen
@BIG LETTER = The key to creating an Internet-based newsletter is
to give contributors ownership of their published content. "Get
the publishing team to make the E-newsletter theirs," says Lori
Martinsek, vice president of Publication Services in Champaign,
On Tuesday, November 14, at 11:30 a.m. at the Doral Forrestal,
will show how to create a website that is easy for the publishing
team to launch and update, and inviting for clients to read. She will
discuss the need for initial web planning sessions where you identify
the key content providers and create enthusiasm and confidence within
the publishing team.
The New Jersey Communications Advertising & Marketing Association
luncheon is entitled "Launching the E-Communications Center
Reinventing the Newsletter." Cost: $40. Call 609-799-4900.
can be reached at 217-398-2060, extension 230.
With Martinsek’s approach, each content provider becomes a publisher.
He or she defines his topic of focus and its title. This title becomes
a hot button on the web site, which will link to his content. You
empower him by giving him ownership of the information that is
and the software tools to post it on the date and time he decides.
A graduate of Framingham State College of Massachusetts, Class of
1977, Martinsek grew up in a family-owned printing business. She later
developed the content, delivery, and database for Microsoft Computer
Dictionary 3/e for print and Web use.
"The problem with a lot of printed company newsletters and
is that they are out of date before they are published," says
Another problem is that the E-newsletter does not enough information.
The employee or client doesn’t have a way to get more in-depth content
specific to his individual needs. The solution, says Martinsek, is
to give him access to a website with hot links and an interface to
a relevant database that can provide reports and statistics.
To keep readers coming back, Martinsek suggests making the
interactive and personalized. Newsletter editors should encourage
the reader to identify his topics of interest. Then, whenever new
information is published, that reader can receive an E-mail alert.
Better yet, says Martinsek, include a link to the updated content.
Another technique is to post a bulletin board on the website that
answers frequently asked questions with E-mail access for readers’
A good interactive web-based publication can, in some cases, do away
with printed policy manuals and replace meetings, says Martinsek.
At the CAMA meeting, Martinsek will introduce Publication Services’
"E-Communications Center," a tool for publishing and managing
information on the web. With this system, says Martinsek, "a new
website can be posted within 48 hours with a splash screen and button
links, as well as administration tools. The content providers do not
need programming experience. They will just type their material
onto customized templates. The process is similar to using Microsoft
The CAMA presentation is geared for anyone looking to launch an
newsletter or website, or streamline the production process of a
publication within a company.
Says Martinsek: "Giving the members of your newsletter team
is the key."
— Lynn Robbins
You will know we are truly in the digital age when
believes an image sent by E-mail is more dependable than an envelope
sent by Federal Express. Until that time, the Art Directors Club of
New Jersey has scheduled a technology expo entitled "Harness the
Power of Digital Files" on Tuesday, November 14, 4 to 10 p.m.
It will be at L’Affaire Hall, 1099 Route 22 East, in Mountainside.
Cost: $60 including a buffet dinner and workshops. Register online
(www.adcnj.org) or call 201-997-1212.
Among the 20 exhibitors are Adobe Systems, Agfa, Epson America,
Printing Co., Gravity Systems, Polaroid Graphics Imaging, Fotocare,
Educational seminars start at 6:45 p.m. Bruce Wade of Innovative
Folding Carton will discuss proofing, which he believes is the most
important issue between designers, clients, and printers. "The
ability to convey expectations accurately is crucial to a successful
end product," says Wade.
Joe Zugcic, who has a commercial photography studio, will discuss
producing digital job master files, the effect of Newton Rings, and
how to use channels to examine a raw scan. He will also show how to
retouch large files.
Glen Russen of ChromeWerk Graphics will identify effective ways
to create images for direct-to-print or direct-to film reproduction.
Brian Yeats, of Quality Graphics Center, will talk about the
effects of PDF files — their cost, speed, and color accuracy —
and what effect this format will have on the printing industry.
Look for a 36 percent increase in responses to direct mail ads, say
David Marfiewicz and Pam Conover
present the new generation of printing-on-demand digital offset
with variable data — inserting people’s names in direct mail
which produces the better response.
Position your furniture according to the ancient Chinese
principles of Feng Shui and you will prosper, promises Jade
who gives a seminar on the subject on Wednesday, November 15, from
6 to 9:30 p.m.
Dressler, owner of 108.OM Public Relations in Wrightstown,
entitles her seminar, "Feng Shui in the Business Environment:
Position Yourself for Success." Her clients have included Macy’s,
Aveda, and New Jersey state government division headquarters. The
$50 seminar — included a take-away packet and a $40 gift
towards Dressler’s follow-up, onsite consult — will be at
House, 32 Bridge Street in Lambertville. Call 215-598-9231.
Use Feng Shui in your office, and your work space will work better,
says Marion H. Zukas of MHZ Designs, on Main Street in Cranbury
(609-655-5050). She will present a similar program, "Feng Shui
on the Job: Work Spaces that Work," for the Hightstown/East
Business & Professional Women on Tuesday, November 14, at 6:15 p.m.
at the Coach & Four. Cost: $17.50 for dinner, but the program itself
is free. Call 609-426-4490.
Though Feng Shui dates from 5,000 years ago, modern companies like
Coca Cola are turning to Feng Shui experts. The soda pop company
Feng Shui experts for the design of its Atlanta headquarters. Closer
to home, the Holistic Health Association of Princeton had employed
the services of a Feng Shui consultant when it moved to its new space
on Nassau Street.
Some of the principles seem obvious: Unclutter your desk. Clean up
the trash at the entrance to your office. Put a green plant in just
the right spot. Who needs an expert to figure this out?
Less intuitive is the rule saying that the top honcho in the office
should have the office located as far away from the door as possible,
in the left hand corner. And that you should put a spot of yellow
in just the right place.
Does it work? Maybe. But a Feng Shui-d space all by itself will not
guarantee success, and it didn’t protect the Holistic Health
of Princeton. After moving to its Feng Shui-d office — for
reason, and after more than 20 years in existence — the HHAP went
Is there one tried and true way to structure content
and write for interactive media? A panel will address that topic for
Moving Images Professionals (ITVA) on Wednesday, November 15, at 6:30
p.m. at the Olive Garden. Cost. $10. Call 609-987-9207.
Panelists are John Loven, Victor Davis, Lena Lattanzi and Robert
Gengerke. Loven designed his first interactive program for
and Clothier stores in 1983. Davis is a veteran writer/producer who
has made the successful transition from video to interactive media;
he has worked at NBC and NJN and been a corporate video producers
for such firms as GE and Lucent.
Lattanzi is an interactive industry veteran who has worked
with writers to create engaging programs for many Fortune 500
including GE, Lockheed Martin Delta Airlines, Prudential and
Gengerke, a writer/producer/director, is owner of New York-based Magic
Box Communications and co-produced Sperry’s first interactive
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