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Chalk Fest
In Project: Brainiacs

The Lodo Chalk Festival June 1 and 2, 2013 is a memory, but at least some of it was recorded for posterity and today we will share it with you. Enjoy!

Today's show also includes Paula Rhoads' proposal to recycle the CU Medical Hospital buildings at Colorado Blvd. and Ninth St. in Denver to create permanent housing for people disabled by traumatic brain injuries, and other intellectually disabled people compatible with TBI.

Because TBI is the largest cause of disability, it also offers great opportunity if existing medical advances can be applied. But if the numerous brick buildings are not demolished, there is a multimilliondollar benefit off the top.

Paula proposes a VILLAGE, which would be a gated community with a brick wall around the property from Eighth Street to Eleventh, from Colorado Blvd. to Clermont, which incidentally also includes the VA hospital at 1055 Clermont on real estate adjacent.

The emergency room on 11th Street was built in 2005, making it less than 10 years old for a new record low for plans to demolish it. The ICU building with 62 rooms behind the old hospital was built in 1996, making it only 17 years old. The old hospital along Colorado Blvd. was built in 1965, but includes 300 rooms already stripped of asbestos.

Paula wants it all, and a Triple Tessla MRI machine also, so she can examine everyone's brains and determine who had trauma, because brain trauma or brain disability will be the standard to reside there. It is not a homeless hotel or dumping ground.

It would be a therapeutic protective permanent housing coop with a "rent reduction" factor allowing disabled people to contribute their remaining skills to earn a rent reduction. This benefits THE HOUSE by reducing costs and increasing self determination. Caregivers would have credentials in brain injury care so they can understand and tolerate and appropriately respond to the behavioral problems TBI survivors experience from cognitive deficits.

Plans include creating social and recreational amenities internally, with support groups, theater, live entertainment venue, group outings, billiards, ping pong, gym, a string of hot tubs, choir practice, Bible studies, karaoke bar and whatever other activities members decide to create. Other plans include sheltered workshops, and retail spaces to include pharmacy/drug store, barber/beauty salons, convenience stores, thrift shops, grocery store, clinician offices, chiropractor, various restaurant venues, massage therapy, and others.

Special needs could be accommodated by renovating specific floors to the needs of a group. For example, folks with sleeping disorders might choose to be on a floor offering their activities when they are awake at 2 a.m., and hot meals instead of cold leftovers. Maybe others would choose a floor modified to reduce sound and light problems. Others might be sequestered to a building for people who legally smoke marijuana. Others might choose an all-female floor.

Paula already decided the Research Lab, which is eight stories on the southeast corner of Ninth and Colorado Blvd., should become a building serving disabled people with children. Then when Paula's prescriptions wear off and she falls asleep at 7 p.m., there is a kid's space with adult supervisors to help with homework or explain Paula's disability issues. Children meet other kids with similar issues and have a protected environment supplementing family support.

As brain research proceeds, researchers would find hundreds of subjects in one place. Also, those hundreds of subjects have opportunity to get support for what they can still do, instead of isolation and loneliness.

Families exhausted by caring for a family member might place them in this VILLAGE, find rest and regain employment. Weekends might still find family together on the croquet court or in the string of hottubs, on the putting green or ... creating a new program in the VILLAGE.

Paula does not propose a new prison, a lockup psych ward or a collection of all mentally ill needing a place to stay.  She proposes accurate targeted care for a specific type of mentally disabled person who has behavioral issues that don't mix well with others, but who would benefit from a therapeutic protective environment.

It won't be more cost efficient than this.

How to pay for it? House Bill 1318 establishing uses for the recreational marijuana tax revenues allocates the first $40 million annually to school capitol construction, then contributes to the old age pension fund and other uses.

When Rep. Singer introduced this bill in committee, the published estimates these tax revenues could be $130 million annually was the floor, but Rep. Singer also stated the revenues can't accurately be predicted and they could also be four times that much.

If $10 to $15 million were allocated to TBI disabled permanent housing, the plan could include acquisition of vacant but habitable school buildings around the state to create disability housing everywhere, thus assisting communities in helping disabled people stay near families and where they know the community. The communities could participate. The schools would get funding for buildings  they don't want, thus relieving them of a problem.

In addition, purchase of this campus of buildings would put millions back into Bob Benson's budget for CU, at least in the short term until other funding is established to fill the shortfall. Maybe Mr. Benson could imagine this campus becoming a luminary on brain research, opening great potential for grant funding and the subsequent increase in student enrollments.

There is legislative precedent for correlating the source of funds to a need, and in this situation, some TBI use medical marijuana and have been paying taxes already. This is an appropriate method of establishing a revenue stream for a disabled population where there is no likely other possible source on the horizon.

Considering that, statistically speaking, brain injury is the most likely way a person could become disabled, the numbers are also the opportunity. Restoring disabled people to use of their remaining skills could be as simple as establishing a place to congregate and make it happen.

It's time to abandon the disproved historical attitudes that mental disfunction was a result of genetic flaws, and face the truth that brain injury offers great potential for recovery in today's medical advances.

It's time to create a nonprofit group to explore the details to create a VILLAGE that will benefit society in numerous ways. Colorado could have fewer federal lawsuits embarassing the state over its inhumane deceitful treatment of the mentally disabled. Colorado could stop incarcerating the brain injured at a cost of $30K per person per year (which does not result in a reformed person on release) and provide helpful assistance at a far lower cost.

Above all the rest, Colorado citizens would experience a more serene community, not just because mentally disabled people are no longer stressed to the breaking point, but also because each citizen knows Colorado has established a care center in case they ever need it.

OK, Paula wants to be the developer. Will you join this effort? Contact wheeeee2007@aol.com or 720-237-4515 or tell your legislator this is a good idea that deserves exploration.

Published: 6/08/2013 0 Comments
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Producer: prhoads
Locally Produced: Local Production
Theme: Community Issues and Advocacy
In Project: Brainiacs
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Generic
Rating: TV-G
Language: English