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Special Olympians ride in Boxford

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  • Special Olympians ride in Boxford

    Special Olympians ride in Boxford

    Sixty-two athletes from around New England competed in last Saturday's Massachusetts Special Olympics Fall Equestrian Event at Windrush Farm in Boxford.

    Rex Trailer and Goldrush, of the former TV show ''Boomtown,'' were on hand as athletes competed in two classes - rider skills and rider/horse compatibility, said Windrush associate director Josselyn Shaughnessy. Gold and silver medalists included North Weekly area residents Daria Koudriacheva of Everett, Laurie Najuch of Haverhill, Michael Cassidy of Winthrop, and Alyson Ward of Atkinson, N.H.

    ''These athletes have qualified all year, and this will be the final event,'' Shaughnessy said before the tournament. ''It's pretty neat to see all these athletes parading.''

    The Special Olympics provides sports training and competition for people who are mentally challenged or have related developmental disabilities. Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation uses horseback riding as therapy for physically, emotionally, and mentally challenged children and adults.

    Windrush's pilot program of hippotherapy - physical therapy on horseback - got a boost last month when Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Massachusetts awarded the organization a $10,000 grant. Begun last spring, the program serves nine physically challenged children, Shaughnessy said.

    Shellfish subject of Ipswich forum

    About 30 shell fishermen, state and local fisheries officials, researchers, and planners met recently at Ipswich Town Hall to exchange information about aquaculture and shellfish restoration projects in Ipswich, Gloucester, Essex, and Rowley.

    According to Jerrard Whitten, senior environmental planner for the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, which cosponsored the North Shore Regional Shellfishing Roundtable, dialogue centered on efforts to strengthen the area's soft-shell clam fishery, which has suffered over the years as a result of coastal pollution.

    Shellfish bed stocking projects are under way in several communities, and Whitten said participants at the meeting discussed ways to increase the volunteer labor pool available to work on the projects. One possibility being considered involves discounting shellfish license fees in exchange for a commitment to work on restoration projects, Whitten said.

    Another possible avenue would award credit to college students who tend predator nets, capture wild clam seed, and perform other aquaculture activities, according to Joe Buttner, who coordinates the Northeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center at Salem State College.

    Tech program helps challenged

    The best part of the ''assistive technology'' program that Jeanne Hannoosh has used since January is that it lets her operate a computer independently - writing e-mail letters to her son in Brooklyn, N.Y., and reading the online version of a nursing magazine she used to flip through before losing the use of her hands 41/2 years ago.

    ''The most important thing about it is it has given me privacy to operate my computer on my own. So my word is my own, and I don't have anyone else listening to what I have to say,'' said Hannoosh of Boxford, who uses her mouth to operate a ''quad joystick'' that enables her to type messages and surf the Net.

    Thanks to a state-funded program developed by Easter Seals, Hannoosh, who is quadriplegic, said she feels safe when she's home alone since she can use her head to turn on a phone near her bed and make calls. In-home technology also enables her to turn on lights, fans, the TV, VCR, and CD player.

    Hannoosh is among 163 Massachusetts people served by the Easter Seals Assistive Technology Independent Living Program. A spokeswoman for Easter Seals, which contracts with the state to provide services, said the program fills a gap for people who aren't working and therefore don't qualify for federal vocational rehabilitation services but are past eligibility for school-based assistive technology programs.

    The Legislature first provided $618,000 for the program in the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission budget for fiscal year 2000, said Easter Seals vice president Nancy Anderson. Last year, the appropriation grew to $858,000, but Anderson fears the current state budget crisis may jeopardize the program. Although the fiscal year ended June 30, legislators are still laboring over budget figures in the face of plummeting revenue.

    ''The fact that it is this late is a problem. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission can't tell us to go ahead with these people who are waiting ... because they don't know what the money is going to be to pay for it,'' said Anderson.

    The program has a waiting list of 60, she said.

    Hannoosh, 48, was diagnosed at age 22 with a steadily advancing spinal cord disease called syringomyelia. She became a quadriplegic four years ago and, until recently, depended on her husband, Chuck, and other caregivers for simple daily tasks most people take for granted. Hannoosh said the technology that Easter Seals set up in her home in January lets her participate in life and not just ''watch the world go by.''

    Local women win recycling contest

    When research showed that citizens least likely to recycle are males between the ages of 20 and 40, state environmental officials decided to try a promotion they figured those men would find hard to resist: a contest that ties recycling to the chance of winning New England Patriots tickets. Two North Weekly area women profited from that marketing decision this fall.

    Michele Horgan of Amesbury and Marissa Fazio of Everett won tickets to the Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 Patriots games through the state's ''Recycle & Win Super Bin Contest,'' a $245,000 campaign implemented for the state by The Rendon Group, a Boston public relations and advertising firm. In all, four men and three women have won tickets since the contest began in September, said contest spokeswoman Melissa Hurley.

    It works like this: Citizens call 1-800-CLEAN-UP or log onto to register for the contest, which is promoted during Patriots pre- and postgame shows on WBCN radio. Once registered, contestants are mailed a sticker to display on their recycling bin in curbside recycling communities, or on their vehicle in drop-off towns. Since the registration process requires ZIP codes, contest officials can figure out which days citizens are supposed to recycle in their communities. Each week, two names are chosen at random from a different region of the state, and Rendon Group staff stake out the municipal recycling center or the person's neighborhood to see if he or she is recycling and displaying the sticker, Hurley said.

    Hurley said 1,000 people have registered for the contest, which continues through Dec. 22. One grand prize winner will get a four-day trip to the Super Bowl in February. All game tickets are donated by WBCN, said state environmental affairs spokesman Doug Pizzi.

    Pizzi said money to fund the contest came from the Clean Environment Fund via unredeemed beverage container deposits. Stepped-up recycling is a big component of a state solid-waste master plan that calls for reducing municipal waste by 70 percent over the next 10 years, Pizzi said. He added that although 90 percent of Massachusetts residents have access to a local recycling program, only about half recycle on a regular basis.

    ''So the time is really ripe for an education program,'' he said.

    This story ran on page N2 of the Boston Globe on 11/11/2001.
    © Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.