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News, Tips & Bargains : Directory Eases Way for Disabled

March 13, 1994

A hefty directory--big enough to make some telephone books look puny--is available for disabled travelers.

"The Travelin' Talk Directory" is written and published by Rick Crowder, who founded Travelin' Talk, an international network of disabled people who share information on accessibility and services in their hometowns.

Two-thirds of the directory's 550-plus pages are devoted to network members who are listed geographically. So if the wheelchair lift in your van breaks down in Hendersonville, N.C., for example, you can call the member there, who can tell you where you can get it fixed, along with tips on equipment, accessible hotels, campgrounds and theaters.

Other sections in the directory cover tours and travel agents, lodgings that use bed frames that accommodate lifts for moving from wheelchairs, and other organizations and resources.

Crowder, an Air Force veteran who uses a wheelchair, says he accumulated much of his information when he started the network. His advice and comments are delivered in a folksy style. The directory, he says, is "not just an accessibility guide, it's a directory of people put together by people for people who happen to have disabilities."

The directory costs $35, including postage. To order a copy, send a check or money order to "Travelin' Talk," P.O. Box 3534, Clarksville, Tenn. 37043. For more information or to join the network or subscribe to the newsletter, send a business-size, self-addressed stamped envelope to the same address.

State Department Upgrades Passports

U.S. passports, which are periodically changed in an ongoing effort to thwart terrorists, drug traffickers and smugglers, among others, are being upgraded again. The latest innovations include special inks and a "security thread" embedded in the paper to foil counterfeiters and forgers. The State Department is also testing a digitized-photograph that can be printed directly on a passport page.

The new blue passports are being issued now, but travelers who have current, valid passports do not need to replace them until the normal expiration date.

A Third Delay at Denver Airport

The twice-delayed opening of Denver's $3.2-billion International Airport has been postponed again--this time until May 15. Officials said problems with the automated baggage system, which will move passenger luggage from check-in areas to the planes, are responsible for the delay.

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