American Scene: Appeals court overturns NYC accessible-taxi ruling

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NEW YORK — A federal appeals court struck down a ruling Thursday that would have required New York City to give taxi licenses only to vehicles that are wheelchair accessible - disappointing disability advocates upset that fewer than 2 percent of city cabs can accommodate wheelchairs.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t require the city to demand that cabbies serve the disabled. Instead, the court ruled, in this case, the ADA only bars the city Taxi & Limousine Commission from discriminating against disabled people seeking a license to drive a cab.

The law “prohibits the TLC from refusing to grant licenses to persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to own or operate a taxi,” the justices wrote. “It does not assist persons who are consumers of the licensees’ product.”

The decision was a blow to disability advocates, who had heralded the lower court ruling that declared access to such services “a basic civil right.”

FLORIDA

Girl dies while playing miniature golf in Orlando

ORLANDO — A medical examiner says an 11-year-old New York girl was electrocuted while trying to retrieve a ball from a pond at a time-share resort’s miniature-golf course near Orlando.

Orange County deputies say Ashton JoJo cried out in pain Wednesday afternoon as she stepped into the 2-foot-deep pond. Orange Lake Resort guest Christopher Burges of Alabama heard her screams and tried to rescue her. He was also injured.

The girl died shortly after arriving at Florida Hospital Celebration.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Orange-Osceola medical examiner confirmed electrocution as the cause of death Thursday. Inspectors say it appears that electrical breakers for the pond’s pump were improperly replaced.

MICHIGAN

Missing 4-year-old boy found buried at home

MOUNT PLEASANT — The body of a 4-year-old boy missing for a week was found buried Thursday at his home, a family spokesman said.

Carnel Chamberlain’s body was found under a wood porch or deck at the home on the reservation of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, 70 miles north of Lansing, Kevin Chamberlain said.

Mr. Chamberlain, the tribe’s former chief, said he had no details about what led investigators back to the house after many days of searching woods, ponds and the tribe’s wastewater-treatment areas.

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