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Voters Narrowly Reject Plan To Let Handicapped Ride Golf Carts

March 11, 1986

PAW PAW, Mich. (AP) _ A proposal that would have allowed handicapped people to use golf carts on the streets of this southwestern Michigan village has been turned down by a 17-vote margin.

The proposal was put before the voters Monday by the Village Council at the urging of Gene Shipley, whose son and daughter have used golf carts to get around village streets for about two years.

″They got used to a little freedom and now it’s removed from them,″ said Shipley, whose son David and daughter Margaret suffer from a genetic disorder that affects bone joints and stunts growth.

″Everybody in this town was in favor of this,″ Shipley said. ″But when it took the effort to cast the vote, nobody showed up to vote.″

Village Clerk Charles Cusumano said the vote in the community of 3,200 was 242-225 against the referendum.

Now Shipley said he’s faced with spending thousands of dollars to give his 23-year-old son, David, and 21-year-old daughter, Margaret, the freedom to get around by themselves.

″Either we stay home or buy an expensive vehicle,″ Shipley said. He is a part-time courier for a hospital and his wife runs an antique store in Kalamazoo.