Board or Committee Meeting
Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm




THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2021 – 6:00 P.M. ZOOM



  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call
  3. Approval of Minutes from CAC for Person with Disabilities Meetingon February 26, 2021.
  4. Discussion o what to post on the CAC's website
  5. Prosand Cons of Transportation Available to People with Disabilities - Brent Debnam
  6. American Sign Language (ASL) - Kyla Clark
  7. General discussion
  8. Next meeting
  9. Adjournment 


The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. with Chairman Nicholas presiding. Roll was called with Valerie M.A. Nicholas, Chairman; Phyllis Nobles; Kyla Clark; Brent Debnam; Mike McLaughlin; Erin McLaughlin and Kim Rau, Clerk present.

The Minutes from CAC for Persons with Disabilities Meeting on February 26, 2021 , approved as corrected.

Chairman Nicholas reminded the committee members that today is one year since the COVID-19 Pandemic hit. She encouraged everyone to be safe; keep your masks on, wash your hands and social distance. She is scheduled for her first vaccine on Friday at

Washington Adventist Hospital. Discussion about who on the committee had received their vaccines.

Brent Debnam was tasked at the last meeting with giving the committee some pros and cons on using Metro Access:

Pros 1) great service for short distance trips like local doctor appointments,

               2) different ways to schedule appointments in person, on the phone with dispatch and automated on-line, automated service, on-line).

                   Cons:  1) bad customer service,

                              2) dispatch may mix up your trip

                                  3) drivers' attitudes,

                                  4) not show up at all, there were times he missed college courses or doctor's appointments because of scheduling issues,

                                   5) sued for assault by drivers on the riders, bad track record, high rate of accidents due to intoxication and other issues.

    Brent Debnam - Ideally, if the City were to purchase a van to provide transportation for persons with disabilities it would need to have multi-seating, a wheelchair lift, functional for everyone. Drivers would have to be vetted well, have experience with people with disabilities.Call one number for transportation service and indicate form of communication at that time as well as provide an app for riders to use.

    Chairman Nicholas wants to reach out to Metro Access to invite them to a meeting to discuss the transportation issues raised by Brent and ask what improvements they are going to make.

    Mike McLaughlin told the committee about a recent telephone conversation with a friend who works for General Motors. His friend has confirmed that autonomous cars are coming much quicker than we think, which will be great for people with disabilities.

    Kyla Clark provided the committee with a Resource List she has prepared to be added to the committee's website. She found the information on the State of Maryland website addressing community living, housing, transportation, and employment. She is going to add assistance during COVID to the resource list.

    Kyla Clark talked with Carrie Quigley (the City's Sign Language Interpreter). Carrie Quigley will be providing information about assisting deaf people that can be posted on the committee's website. Carrie Quigley provided Kyla with recommendations for clear masks that don't fog up. Chairman Nicholas asked Kyla to share the information with her so that she can purchase some of the masks.

    Chairman Nicholas wants to have the link for these masks added to the committee's website.

    Mike McLaughlin told the committee that two weeks ago Erin had a seizure. They are not sure what caused the seizure and are having some tests done. Erin remembers being dizzy and her hands shaking.

    Mike McLaughlin said the General Assembly Session is quickly coming to the end. He will reach out to Arc Maryland to see what key bills they're focusing on.

    Erin McLaughlin reminded the committee members to "Be yourself, everyone is precious in your own way".

    Discussion about meeting frequency. Chairman Nicholas thinks the committee should continue meeting every two weeks to get things rolling and then start meeting monthly.

    Next meeting, Thursday, March 25, 2021, 6:00 p.m. Zoom.

    During the meeting, Brent Debnam went to Metro Access website to see what steps they are taking to address COVID. He found that all passengers are mandated to wear a mask while riding, and passengers must take seat at the rear of the van. They no longer ring the door for the passenger for door to door service. There must be absolutely no conversation between customer and driver. Brent thinks this could be a bad thing, if something happens and rider can't communicate with the driver. Chairman Nicholas wants the link to Metro Access also on the website.

    Discussion about what provisions Metro Access provides for deaf individuals.

    Phyllis Noble will research some articles to post on the CAC's website.

    Mike McLaughlin told the committee about a book written by Cathy Snow, "Disability is Natural". Mike said it's a great book about disability being a natural part of life. He suggested having her speak at a meeting down the road. Mike will send link to her website. It was suggested this book could be a recommended read on the website.

    Now that everything is starting to open, Chairman Nicholas would like to schedule dinner with the committee at Olive on Main Street.

    Before the meeting adjourned Erin said she wants everyone to "stay safe".


    There being no furhtr business to come before the committee the meeting adjourned at 6:54 p.m.

    Clerk to Council



    Approved: 3/25/2021