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Access Press - Minnesota's Disability Community Newspaper

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Families call for state intervention, parental fees ‘out of control’

Families call for state intervention, parental fees ‘out of control’ High fees are keeping too many Minnesota families out of the Medical Assistance/ Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) program. Families in the program make many sacrifices to pay fees meant to keep children with disabilities healthy and living in the community. More than 50 parents and children gathered January 28 in Roseville to share their ...

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Longtime community leader Bjerkesett gave many a place to call home

Longtime community leader Bjerkesett gave many a place to call home Countless people with disabilities have enjoyed accessible housing, thanks to Michael Bjerkesett. Bjerkesett’s death January 18 sent shock waves through his large circle of friends and triggered an outpouring of sadness from around the world. Family and friends recall his twinkling eyes, ready smile and zest for life. A celebration of his life was held ...

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Care crisis plays out at capitol

Minnesota’s home care crisis continues to play out at the capitol. More pay and benefits for home care workers are at the forefront for several groups. Advocates got mixed news after Gov. Mark Dayton released his budget last month. Supporters for increased pay are working against a backdrop of thousands of job vacancies in the home ...

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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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Providing digital access – Accessible360 helps make websites, apps accessible

Providing digital access – Accessible360 helps make websites, apps accessible Since 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has ensured equal opportunity for Americans who live with physical and mental conditions that limit their means. While wheelchair ramps, closed captioning and wider doorways have become commonplace, the digital realm still lags behind. Accessible360, founded by entrepreneur Mark Lacek, seeks to fix that oversight. The company’s purpose ...

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Radio Talking Book – February 2017

Aging Eyes Initiative Seniors faced with vision loss are often riddled with anxiety and stress. A few years ago, SSB started The Aging Eyes Initiative to meet the growing need to provide services to seniors losing vision.  This program trains people currently working with seniors to provide a first level of support to seniors in the ...

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History Note – Many women played key roles in the passage of the ADA

In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women's History Month. A special presidential proclamation is issued every year to honor the extraordinary achievements of women in the United States. Countless women with disabilities have played key roles in the disability rights movement, the movement from institutionalization to community living, education reforms and the passage of the ...

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In Memoriam – February 2017

Moran was a skilled interpreter Deaf and hard-of-hearing Minnesotans remember Kathy Moran for her work as an advocate as well as a skilled interpreter. Moran was honored in January at a Minneapolis memorial service. She died weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. “She wanted to make sure that deaf folks could participate in life as fully ...

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Excessive regulations compound the state’s care crisis

Excessive regulations compound the state’s care crisis Minnesota’s providers of home and community based services for people with disabilities face a serious workforce crisis. The Star Tribune reported last year that there are 9,000 open positions in this field. This dilemma has been years in the making and can be attributed in part to a shrinking labor pool, greater service demands and ...

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People and Places – February 2017

People and Places – February 2017 Six Twin Cities arts groups receive arts access grants Six Twin Cities arts organizations have been awarded ADA Access Im­provement Grants by VSA Minnesota. The nonprofits will use grants, totaling $67,320, to make arts programs more accessible to people with disabilities. Funded projects include Artabil­ity, part of People Incorporated, St. Paul, which encourages mental health through visual ...

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People shouldn’t have to live in poverty to get help they need

On February 1 I testified on behalf of Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) before the Senate Committee on Human Services Reform and Policy. We support the governor’s budget increase for Minnesota Supplemental Aid—Housing Assistance (MSA-HA), but we also request consideration for MNCCD’s other top priorities: Enhancements and upgrades to Consumer Directed Community Supports ...

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Medicaid a worry – Disability groups rallying for spend-down, among other issues

Medicaid a worry – Disability groups rallying for spend-down, among other issues As the 2017 Minnesota Legislature chugs toward the first bill deadline March 10, Minnesotans with disabilities are working to make sure their voices are heard. More than 600 bills had been introduced as February began. That crush of legislation makes it crucial to make the case for policy and funding changes. Disability Matters Day at the ...

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This oldster urges others to stay involved in legislative issues

“We are the oldsters," my friend said the other night. It's no wonder I don't always read Access Press the minute it arrives. (Excuse me Tim) Let me explain. As I start reading the news coming out of the capitol, I'm keenly aware that names are different, but some of the issues may be the same. ...

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Regional News in Review – February 2017

Human rights offices are proposed Gov. Mark Dayton's two-year budget plan seeks an additional $2.3 million to add human rights offices in Rochester, Duluth, and Worthington. Each office would have two employees. Currently, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights has offices in St. Paul and St. Cloud. The budget would also add a second employee at the ...

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Polar Plungers start time of chills, thrills

Polar Plungers start time of chills, thrills Polar Plungers teamed up with the St. Paul Winter Carnival Vulcan Crewe, law enforcement and Special Olympics Minnesota during the 2017 carnival. The Vulcan Snow Park at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds included a Polar Plunge event January 29. Teams donned their finery and jumped into a poll of icy cold water to raise money for ...

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Scott Adams Cartoon – February 2017

Scott Adams Cartoon – February 2017    

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Accessible Events and Opportunities – February 2017

More events information: VSA Minnesota is here. The website has a large calendar at in the upper right hand corner of its home page. For information on galleries and theater performances around the state join the Access to Performing Arts email list at access@vsamn.org or call VSA Minnesota, 612-332-3888 or statewide 800-801-3883 (voice/TTY). To hear ...

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Feb. 2017 issue

Here's the Feb. 2017 issue, please note you may need to create a log in to read and/or download the .pdf. Enjoy!    

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Minnesota Legislature starts complex, contentious session

Minnesota Legislature starts complex, contentious session The 2017 Minnesota Legislaturegaveled into session January 3, launching one of the most potentially complex and contentious sessions in recent years. State lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton must reach agreement on a two-year budget for the state, or face a crippling government shutdown like the one in 2011. All side must also reach agreement on what ...

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Goodbye to 2016: One year of victories, losses for our community

Goodbye to 2016: One year of victories, losses for our community Farewell to 2016, a year with many changes for Minnesota’s disability community. Here is our look back: JANUARY • A Twin Cities woman with a visual disability received an $185,000 payment from Medical Transportation Management, to resolve a claim of discrimination. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights made a finding of probable cause that discrimination occurred related ...

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Winter requires preparation

Winter has Minnesota in its grasp, so be prepared for ice, snow and cold. People with disabilities should always take extra precautions to stay safe. Being prepared before heading out into potential bad weather strikes is essential. Almost all television stations and the National Weather Service also offer weather updates via smart technology. Find your community’s resource ...

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History Note: Parallels in Time offers fascinating history of disability

In commemoration of the 45th Anniversary of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities in 2016, the council has released a revised Parallels in Time. It combines the original Parallels in Time, documenting the history of disabilities from 1500 B.C to 1950 published on the 25th anniversary of the Council, and Parallels in Time 2, ...

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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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Staying healthy in these stressful times

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. But the goal of this article is to get us all to play! And be happy. And be healthy. For the sake of sounding very dramatic, it’s imperative that we, in particular, take care of our health and our lives, facing some of the stresses going on ...

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Gains in services must be protected

When I was injured more than 55 years ago, I knew of no state services for people with disabilities. I stayed at home with mother, dad and brother. Dad, mom and brother acted as personal care attendants (PCA) for me in the early years. Then my brother was drafted into Army and was killed in ...

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