There is a brand new water park in San Antonio, Texas, that is designed to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of physical limitations or other special needs a person may have. Via Sunny Skyz:

Morgan’s Inspiration Island in San Antonio, Texas, is making sure kids with disabilities don’t miss out on all the fun this summer.

Every section of the the new water park is wheelchair accessible and guests with special needs are admitted at no cost.

Other features of Morgan’s Inspiration Island include waterproof RFID (radio-frequency identification) wristbands so parents can keep track of their kids, a seven-story lighthouse and a water play area called Rainbow Reef, which has water that can be warmed for guests with sensitivity to cold.

In a press release, owner Gordon Hartman said the team behind Inspiration Island consulted with water park professionals, doctors and experts in special education and special needs, as well as received input from local teachers, parents and caregivers.

The park also offers private areas for guests to transfer out of their personal wheelchairs to waterproof ones.

“We recently unveiled with the University of Pittsburgh revolutionary new wheelchairs propelled by compressed air,” Gordon said. “Our guests in expensive battery-powered wheelchairs can’t afford to get them wet, so we have special Morgan’s Inspiration Island PneuChairs.”

They really did try to think of everything a person with special needs might need to be able to enjoy this unique water park, including providing water proof undergarments – free of charge – for people who may need them.

The fully handicapped accessible water park was preceded by Morgan’s Wonderland, which is an amusement park that was designed to be enjoyed by people with and without special needs, after the parents of Morgan Hartman noticed that Morgan, who has physical and cognitive limitations, wanted to be with other kids at a hotel pool, but the able bodied kids appeared to be uneasy about playing with a special needs child. So Morgan’s parents decided to make a place where all kinds of kids could come together and have fun, in the spirit of friendship and inclusion:

The tipping point occurred in 2005 when Gordon observed Morgan wanting to play with other vacationing kids at a hotel swimming pool, but the kids were leery of Morgan and didn’t want to interact with her.  Then and there, Gordon resolved to create opportunities and places where those with and without disabilities can come together not only for fun but also for a better understanding of one another.  That led to the construction of Morgan’s Wonderland in an abandoned quarry in Northeast San Antonio.  It’s apropos that the butterfly is the symbol of this unique theme park; soaring to one success after another is now commonplace.

When it celebrated its grand opening April 10, 2010, Morgan’s Wonderland became the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.  The completely wheelchair-accessible park features more than 25 elements including rides, playgrounds and other colorful attractions.  From the very beginning, anyone with a special need has been admitted free of charge, no questions asked.

It is Morgan’s fervent hope that everyone with a special need – young and older, healthy or ailing, introspective or outgoing – will be touched in a very special way by Morgan’s Wonderland:  a shrine of inclusion, an oasis of friendship, an unforgettable wonderland…Morgan’s Wonderland!

[…]

Our vision is to establish a special place where smiles and laughter lead to wonderful memories with family members, friends and caregivers.  We want Morgan’s Wonderland to be a place where the common element of play creates an atmosphere of inclusion for those with and without disabilities, encouraging everyone to gain a greater understanding of one another.

Morgan’s Wonderland is just like any other theme park except for a culture and environment that assures 100 percent enjoyment by every person who enters through the Welcome Center.  Unfortunately, countless children and adults with special needs do not have access to facilities that enable them to fully enjoy outdoor recreation.  Morgan’s Wonderland has begun to change that.

And now there is a fabulous water park for the enjoyment of all as well. Morgan Hartman’s parents also established a school nearby for people with special needs between the ages of 12 to 24 where they can learn skills that will help them fulfill their potentials, and they are involved with adaptive sports and physical rehabilitation services.

The admission prices to both parks for non-disabled people are very reasonable and military discounts are offered. Morgan’s parks also host live entertainment and special events. May Morgan’s parks enjoy long and successful futures, and may they inspire others around the country and around the world to create similar projects. Fun without barriers, what a beautiful concept!

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

So I turn on the TV this morning to find Maria Bartiromo talking about upscale toy kitchens for little kids. How upscale?

This upscale:

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If you go to the Pottery Barn page, they have stuff that will make the dweller of a tiny house or a Manhattan apartment (but I repeat myself) weep with envy.

I love it.

As a pro-Western values, cisgender, capitalist, anti-abortion Christian woman, I find it exhilarating.

What this tells me is that “you, dear girl or boy growing up in America today, can, through hard work and purpose, grow up to buy yourself, from your own earnings, the best appliances and modern conveniences for preparing your family delicious meals in the comfort of your own home.”

Add to that, “and when your kids are little you can get them beautiful toys if you have the room and can afford to.” (As you may remember, I consider living within your means one of the twelve adulting steps.)

It warms my capitalist heart.

If you can afford it, buying your children an upscale miniature kitchen is a better option, and I speak as a mother, than buying them a tablet. My experience is that kids will pick up computer skills in no time at all, but they will need time to learn social and everyday management skills as they grow up. Getting mini appliances is “a good thing,” as Martha Stewart says.

We didn’t have the room in our house when my son was growing up for a Pottery Barn mini-kitchen, but he did have one drawer for his toy pans and plates and a Queasy Bake Oven,

He asked for a children’s cookbook when he was five, and has been cooking ever since. Most of his friends cook, too.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’ll be looking at the grown-up kitchen toys at Williams Sonoma.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog. She still has the Queasy Bake oven.

Missouri Star Quilt Company bdlg 1
This is a travel day for me as we fly back home from Missouri so I don’t have a lot of time to post so let me tease what’s coming by giving those men in our audience who either are married or want to get married two excellent instructional videos on how to stay married for a long time.

Now let’s meet a pair of men who have made this trek for their wives

Although I don’t have him on camera the first fellow I met had driven all the way from Pittsburgh PA who also made the trip. (that’s a drive of 12 1/2 hours!)

Now I don’t know these three men, the two on camera or the 3rd off camera beyond the brief conversations we had, but let me tell you what they all have in common, a marriage that works.

Because any man who is willing to invest the hours involved in such a trip, particularly by car, for his wife’s happiness is a man who understands how marriage works.

If I was Missouri Star Quilt Company I’d take head shots of them, put it on a map of the US and create a Husband’s Hall of Fame for guys like that who come all this way to put a smile on their wife’s faces.

Of course it’s possible they might come from the BBQ at Hank’s and Tanks but that’s another post….

Uncertainties are never good for the insurance industry. The current debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act and the new American Health Care Act is creating uncertainties that may soon jeopardize the whole healthcare industry. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is committed to a return to the Obamacare exchange next year, but the same can’t be said for other insurers.

This state of limbo is causing more problems than anticipated. In fact, health care uncertainties are starting to hurt millions of Americans, even before the new AHCA is signed.

Obamacare in Trouble.

The Affordable Care Act is clearly in trouble. The series of uncertainties that have been covering ACA now leave many counties with no health plans to sell in 2018. Insurance companies are pulling out of these counties, citing the uncertainty around the Republicans’ health care bill and the future of healthcare law in general as the reasons for the move.

Republicans’ efforts to drive Obamacare into collapse is becoming increasingly successful. Unfortunately, it is also causing millions of Americans to lose access to affordable health insurance in just a few months. This is a situation no one can afford to face, especially without a new health care bill to replace the ACA.

The latest statistics by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reveal 47 counties with zero health insurance plan to sell. While Blue Cross and Blue Shield Illinois is committed to making a return next year, companies like Anthem and Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City are exiting their respective markets. Anthem is leaving Ohio with one fewer option, while Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City has pulled out already.

The Political Incentives

It is easy to see why Republicans don’t want to fix the problems with ACA. Republicans and the Health and Human Services Department of this administration are using the failing health insurance market as an excuse to repeal Obamacare. The approach is a smart one, at least from a political standpoint.

Without a clear replacement for Obamacare, however, this will only lead to more problems. The 23 million Americans that will lose health care under the House version of AHCA may even lose their healthcare before the new healthcare bill passes the Senate.

A Push for More Certainty

What the Trump administration and Congress need to do is create a climate of certainty. The health law and policy department of Hofstra Law recently compiled studies that suggest plugging the ACA while formulating a better, stronger AHCA are the things to do to reverse the damages being done today. Students who are studying for their health law degree are using the current healthcare debate as the perfect case study.

It is also unfortunate to note that such an ideal situation may never be implemented. As mentioned before, the political incentive of a failing Obamacare is too good for the Republicans to miss. We can only wait and see as Republicans try to formulate a better AHCA and get it passed as quickly as possible, regardless of the consequences that come with the new healthcare bill.