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Release: April 25, 2001

UI law students join transportation experts at April 28-29 forum

IOWA CITY – Two University of Iowa College of Law professors will join local and national experts as panelists discussing "The ADA and Beyond" at the April 28-29 Alternative Transportation Forum. The forum begins at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday at the Sheraton Hotel in Iowa City.

The forum will address the broad range of transportation policies and issues that rural and urban communities across Iowa must confront and resolve, including those relating to automobiles, trails, paratransit, bus, rail and air service and, foremost, alternative "green transportation."

Coalition Chairperson Marilyn Belman says communities should care deeply about public and private transportation services, given the changes in the business climate in downtown Iowa City and other towns. "It is a revitalization issue that touches on environmental concerns, social and economic transportation and quality of life," she said.

Barbara McMillen of the Federal Highway Administration, ADA expert Michele Ohmes, and "Asphalt Nation" author Jane Holtz Kay will make this an exciting conference, said Belman.

Geoff Larson and Mandy Southard are second-year law students enrolled in the University of Iowa Clinical Law Program. They work closely with the Coalition and provide legal and technical assistance on several issues, including parks and recreation, paratransit, accessibility of businesses and public and private facilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Their efforts are supervised by Clinical Professor Len Sandler, who is also co-director of the Law, Health Policy and Disability Center.

Larson will discuss who is eligible to use paratransit services, what recourse riders have when they are denied service or have problems, how the courts and agencies have handled these issues, and what communities are doing to improve their services. Southard will focus on the ADA's minimum requirements and the level of service now provided by the Johnson County SEATS paratransit program. Sandler will be available to field and answer questions about federal and state laws and cases.

Other "ADA and Beyond" panelists are Michele Ohmes, Tom Brase, SEATS Operations Supervisor; Jane Nelson-Kuhn, director of the Black Hawk County Independent Living Center; and Brian McClatchey, who is in charge of the University of Iowa Bionic Bus service.

The forum is hosted by the Johnson County Coalition for Persons with Disabilities and other organizations. For more information about registration and about the forum, contact Marilyn Belman at (319) 338-3946.