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Access Press - Minnesota's Disability Community Newspaper

Author Archive

Editor’s Column – March 2017

The Minnesota legislative session is in full swing and moving at a very rapid pace, with deadlines for legislation to be heard in both chamber committees by March 10. "The first committee deadlines were adopted in 1971 as part of the Permanent Joint Rules. There were two deadlines, one for bills in the house of ...

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Editor’s Column – February 2017

Since the Minnesota legislative session started, there have been hundreds of new bills introduced, including two that are of interest concerning caregivers, home care and home care agencies. Both were introduced on February 6, and both were authored by Sen. Jerry Relph (R -St. Cloud). Together the bills are aimed at easing the workforce shortage ...

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Editor’s Column – January 2017

We have celebrated the beginning of the New Year. I am glad we have 2016 behind us, but I'm also apprehensive of the upcoming political changes. The year was not a choice one for me personally; I lost several very close childhood friends, and most importantly, my father, whom I have tried and will continue ...

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Thanks to all! Help us bring you your news

Thanks to all! Help us bring you your news Access Press, Minnesota’s disability news source, is marking 26 years of providing news and information for Minnesotans with disabilities, their family members, caregivers, friends, and allies. We recently celebrated 14 years of honoring the legacy of our founding editor, Charlie Smith, with our annual banquet. For 2016 the Access Press Charlie Smith Award was presented to ...

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Editor’s Column – December 2016

As the year wraps up, I’ve got a few things I’d like to look back on and people I’d like to recognize. First off, there’s Cliff Poetz, the 2016 Charlie Smith Award winner. We had a great celebration last month recapping his advocacy work. Charlie Larkin, retired director of the Institute on Community Integration, introduced ...

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Editor’s Column – November 2016

On November 4, at the 14th annual Charlie Smith Awards banquet, we celebrated Cliff Poetz, the winner of the 2016 award. Cliff has been advocating for people with disabilities for decades. I’m proud to say that I’ve known and seen Cliff’s extraordinary advocacy skills, his ability to stay focused on a particular topic and his ...

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Editor’s Column – October 2016

Dear Governor Dayton, I hope your hip surgeries were successful. I haven’t heard much more about it or your rehabilitation in the news, so I am assuming it all went well without any resulting restrictions on your movement. I also hope you aren’t living with a lot of residual pain. On top of all that, you live daily with the stress ...

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Editor’s Column – September 2016

As I started writing this month’s editorial, I knew I wanted to avoid starting out with my continuing concerns about the critical shortage of direct support staff (DSP) personal care attendants (PCAs) in the disability community. I’ll get to that, but lucky for me and you, we have happy news to focus on first: the Charlie Smith award banquet coming up on ...

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Editor’s Column – August 2016

After focusing pretty hard for the last few months on home-based care and PCA reimbursement rates, it’s probably no surprise that I have a couple related events to talk about this month. One of them is the Direct Care/Workforce Summit held by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) on July 26, the same day ...

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Editor’s Column – July 2016

This month I have two things to talk about. One is not surprising: a livable wage for personal care attendants. The other is related and timely: the celebration of the ADA’s anniversary. America’s Independence Day has just passed. I value my country’s democratic freedoms, and the Fourth of July always provides a good reminder not to take them for granted. But the ...

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Editor’s Column – June 2016

Editor’s Column – June 2016 The 2016 Minnesota legislative session was a disappointment. It does not seem like anything was voted into law that will be helpful to Minnesota’s senior population, disability community, working poor or other disenfranchised groups. Oh, there was a little funding for staffing at the state hospital and a few other mental health provisions that were needed and positive, but our legislators could ...

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Editor’s Column – May 2016

There is a crisis in the disability community and it has been going on for years. About ten years ago, I got an email from someone with a significant disability who said that his staffing issues were getting out of control, and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could go on. This person was ...

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Editor’s Column – April 2016

The sporadic warm temperatures over the last few weeks have been welcome. I think this is the earliest I’ve been out running the dog on the trails. But even though it’s 50 degrees, the wind chills can catch you off-guard without enough layers, so be careful going out and always plan on it getting colder before you get home. A March 29 ...

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Editor’s Column – March 2016

What a winter. It’s March and there’s barely any snow on the ground. I don’t think I’ve had to wear my heavy winter coat (or—for those of you who know me, my heavy winter poncho) more than once or twice this season. Traditionally, though, March is the snowiest month so keep your fingers crossed whichever way you want this to go. ...

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Editor’s Column – January 2016

This month we’re following our commentary in the December issue on physician-assisted suicide with another one, also by a knowledgeable, persuasive critical thinker and renowned disability advocate. This topic has been controversial in the disability community, and among the general public, for a long time. In my lifetime, I’ve followed the Karen Ann Quinlan case in 1975, then Dr. Jack Kevorkian in ...

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Editor’s Column – December 2015

We finally got some snow on the ground with just a few days left in 2015—and then it melted in our 40-degree week. We can only hope that the rest of the winter is as mild as it’s been. Good news from Commissioner Myron Frans of the Minnesota Management and Budget Department on the state’s financial forecast. The available balance ...

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Editor’s Column – November 2015

Over the last couple years we’ve had some very influential locals leave Minnesota to contribute to the disability community in a bigger way. The most recent is Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano, vice president of programs for the  Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul, who has been selected to be Gallaudet University’s eleventh president. Gallaudet University was established in 1856 as a grammar school ...

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Editor’s Column – October 2015

As an end note to my last column,  I would like to make a few clarifications. The correct terminology is the Olmstead Subcabinet as appointed by Governor Dayton rather than a subcommittee. The Olmstead Subcabinet is chaired by Commissioner Mary Tingerthal, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and includes a total of eight state departments and two ex-officio ...

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Editor’s Column – September 2015

As I write this, we’re still enjoying the last days of summer, but warm weather is just about over. While the kids are back in school, they’re also still romping on the playground in t-shirts and shorts. Many of them are probably looking forward to cold and winter sports. But those of us using wheelchairs are not as eager for the ...

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Editor’s Column – August 2014

No need to talk about the weather this month: it’s been pretty perfect. Besides, there’s just too much else going on. There were several landmark anniversaries in the last few weeks. First was the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I spent Sunday, July 26, with many friends, colleagues and allies at the Minnesota History Center at a celebration ...

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Editor’s column – July 2015

We at Access Press are very proud to be celebrating our 25th anniversary. It seems almost impossible that 25 years has passed. I can’t imagine Charlie Smith, the founder of Access Press thinking the paper would survive a quarter century and still be relevant, making legislative change and engaging a strong readership. I sure couldn’t have imagined in 2001 that I ...

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Editor’s Column – June 2015

We are having what always seems to me as the normal pushing-out of a Minnesota spring: lots of rainy and humid weather interrupted by a day or two of sunny, warm summer. We have several items to be thankful for out of this year’s legislative session. There will be a five percent increase on income eligibility standards for Medical Assistance for older ...

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MN-CCD seeks qualified applicants

MN-CCD Seeks Applications for the Managing Director Position The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD) seeks qualified applicants for the position of Managing Director. MN-CCD is a 501.c.4 non-profit membership organization.  Members of the MN-CCD are organizations that serve or advocate on behalf of people with disabilities.  The MN-CCD seeks to influence, promote and change ...

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Editor’s Column – May 2015

I’m wearing a short sleeve shirt today for the first time this season. I’m sitting in my office with the window open, too, and am very comfortable. Summer warmth has officially begun. I hope it sticks around. The end of the 2015 legislative session is around the corner. The gavel will fall to end the session ...

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Editor’s Column – April 2015

I was certainly ready for spring, and during mid-March was thinking about putting away the winter blankets, the winter clothes and lounging in the nice sunny warmth. Why not? We had that great streak of June temps, even one day at 84°, and then “BANG,” we were reminded again that we live in Minnesota where cold temperatures are just a ...

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