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Access Press - Minnesota's Disability Community Newspaper

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A time of crisis

A time of crisis   Almost 28 years ago Charlie Smith saw the need and had the vision of providing a source of news for the disability community, not only in the Twin Cities, but for greater Minnesota. Charlie’s vision came to fruition with the first issue of Access Press in May 1990, just prior to the passage of the ...

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Snow-covered sidewalks are impeding accessibility

Snow-covered sidewalks are impeding accessibility It’s “snow” joke. Heavy snowfalls this winter have left hazardous conditions for Minnesotans with disabilities. Weeks after the January 22 storm that dumped more than one foot of snow on parts of the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota, people were still struggling with snow-packed and icy sidewalks. Snow and ice removal is an annual concern for ...

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2018 session gets rolling February 20

A short session, a looming election and more than the usual political acrimony loom over the Minnesota’s Legislature’s 2018 session. The gavel falls Tuesday, February 20 and disability advocacy groups will be ready. Hanging over the state capitol this session is a political and legal dispute that could tip control of the Republican-led Senate. DFL Gov. ...

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Editor’s Column – Feb 2018

Well, the second time Minnesota hosted the Super Bowl has come and gone. The underdog Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41–33, which took away some of the sting from the Eagles victory over the Vikings two weeks earlier. People always pay attention to the Super Bowl commercials, and there were some excellent commercials that ...

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From Our Community: Agenda for people with disabilities should respect their choices

By Heidi S. Smith, John Wayne Barker and Michael Kraines What do people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) want as far as work choices? And, what do others think they want, or want you to believe? Certain sources are saying that half of the individuals with I/DD want to work in competitive integrated employment. They are ...

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Weigh in on upcoming Olmstead Plan amendments

Weigh in on upcoming Olmstead Plan amendments It’s time to weigh in again on Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan. The plan guides state agencies in ensuring that Minnesotans with disabilities can live, learn, work and enjoy life in the most integrated settings possible. An annual amendment process led by the state’s Olmstead Implementation Office is meant to gather input on proposed plan amendments and potential ...

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History Notes: Fergus Falls buildings’ demolition could mark end of an era

A decision to tear down most of the buildings at the old Fergus Falls State Hospital/Regional Treatment Center marks the end of many years’ efforts to preserve the campus. If City of Fergus Falls officials are successful in seeking $8.9 million in state bonding to demolish the buildings, only one iconic, vacant tower building would ...

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In Memoriam – February 2018

Anderson was dedicated to serving others Frank Anderson’s desire to help others included work with refugees abroad and service to Minnesotans with disabilities. Anderson died in late January in a motor vehicle accident near Red Wing. He was 63 and farmed in the Zumbro Falls area. Four days before his death, the main barn at Anderson’s ...

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People and Places – February 2018

True Friends appoints new leader John LeBlanc is the new president and chief executive officer at True Friends, a nonprofit agency that provides life-changing experiences that enhance independence and self-esteem for children and adults with disabilities. “I am thrilled to be leading such an inspiring organization that has a strong foundation created by Ed Stracke,” said LeBlanc. ...

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Regional News in Review – February 2018

Malcolm to lead health department Former Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner and veteran health care executive Jan Malcolm is returning to lead the state agency. Gov. Mark Dayton announced the appointment January 31. Malcom will lead at a time when the state faces questions over senior housing and care center problems. Malcolm led the department under Gov. ...

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The year in review: 2017 was a year of challenges for Minnesotans with disabilities

The year in review: 2017 was a year of challenges for Minnesotans with disabilities Another year is finished, and we look back at all of the things that happened, good and bad. Access Press wishes the best for its readers in 2018. JANUARY The 2017 Minnesota Legislature gaveled into session January 3, launching one of the most potentially complex and contentious sessions in recent years. Republican House and Senate leaders and ...

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Stracke spent career as a ‘True Friend’ to many

Stracke spent career as a ‘True Friend’ to many Many happy campers have Ed Stracke to thank for their memories of summer and winter fun. Stracke stepped down January 1 as president and chief executive officer of True Friends, which provides camping and outdoor experiences for Minnesotans with disabilities. He has spent more than 33 years leading the organization. Stracke’s career with people with disabilities, ...

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Accessible Events – January 2018

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 a weekly listing ...

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HISTORY NOTE: Resolve to learn more about the history of disability

Looking for a new year’s resolution for 2018? Why not resolve to learn more about the history of disability around the world? Many excellent resources are online. Here are a few: One treasure trove is the Disability History Association (DHA). From the stories of post-World War I accommodations for workers in Europe to the complicated history ...

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FROM OUR COMMUNITY: Neighbors can intervene, help isolated elders

AARP has completed a report on the Framework for Isolation in Adults over age 50. The report defines isolation as the experience of diminished social connectedness stemming from a process whereby the impact of risk factors outweighs the impact of existing protective factors. A person’s lack of social connectedness is measured by the quality, type, ...

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YOUR LETTERS ARE WELCOME

Access Press welcomes letters to the editor and commentary pieces from readers, on topics of interest to Minnesota’s disability community. Letters should be no more than 500 words, with 750 words per commentary. Ask the editors if more space is needed. Letters and guest commentaries must be signed by the authors or authors. With letters, a ...

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In Memoriam – January 2018

Education pioneers are remembered Minnesota lost two of its special education pioneers in late 2017. Both were remembered by their colleagues near year’s end. Mary Lee Enfield is remembered for her compassion for children with learning disabilities, and her tireless efforts to force changes in state education laws. Enfield died in September 2017 at age 85, after ...

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Regional News in Review – January 2018

Safety program is proposed All too easily, vulnerable adults can wander off from their homes. That can be a dangerous problem in places like Minnesota where temperatures can dip well below freezing. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, is concerned about the number of such incidents in her state. She sees the problem as preventable with simple ...

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Radio Talking Book – January 2018

Happy New Year from Radio Talking Book! On New Year's Day and every day we wish you joy, fulfillment, and treasured moments. Best wishes for a happy 2018 from everyone at Radio Talking Book.   Weekend Program Books Your Personal World (Saturday at 1 p.m.) presents “The Power of Meaning” by Emily Esfahani Smith, followed by “Hallelujah Anyway” by ...

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People and Places – January 2018

MNCCD announces leadership change The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) announced leadership changes at its annual meeting in December in Minneapolis. One loss that will be keenly felt is that of departing Board Chairman Randall Bachman. Bachman has stepped down from the board, after leading the consortium through a state of transition. He is the ...

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Autism added to medical cannabis program

Autism added to medical cannabis program Autism spectrum disorders and sleep apnea have been added to the list of qualifying conditions for Minnesota’s medical cannabis program. Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger announced the decision November 30. The news was greeted with enthusiasm by some people with family member with autism spectrum disorder as the treatment has proven helpful in ...

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Give a newspaper subscription and help our readers in need

  Looking for a last-minute tax  deduction for 2017? Why not consider a donation to Access Press? A $30 gift can provide a one-year subscription to a reader in need. Access Press provides the in-depth news and information Minnesotans with disabilities and the elderly rely on. We cover happenings at the state capitol, at city halls, and ...

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Old lights and cords welcomed by ProAct recycling program

Old lights and cords welcomed by ProAct recycling program Opportunities lacking for people with disabilities Clear out non-working holiday lights and electrical, phone and appliance cords while creating jobs for people with disabilities. The nonprofit ProAct is kicking off its Holiday Lights Recycling effort in conjunction with several east and south Twin Cities metro cities. “Keep your lights and cords out of the trash and ...

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In Memoriam – December 2017

Moffatt was young advocate Jennifer Elizabeth Moffatt not only was the 2017 Miss Amazing Teen Queen for Minnesota, she also advocated for people with disabilities and emergency services in in her home community of Edina. Moffatt, 20, died on Thanksgiving. Moffatt won the title in April and represented Minnesota at the national competition. She was part of ...

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Accessible Events – December 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 a weekly listing ...

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