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Access Press - Minnesota's Disability Community Newspaper

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Uncertainty is the watchword as session is winding down

Uncertainty is the watchword as session is winding down These are troubling times for Minnesotans with disabilities and their allies. Mixed news on proposed health and human services budgets at the state capitol has many advocates wondering what more they can do to gain support. Although several programs are in line for funds, two efforts that haven’t yet gained budget traction are the Best ...

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Be aware of weather, stay safe this season

Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 17-21, but Minnesotans have already seen tornadoes and severe thunderstorms this year. That’s why it’s crucial for people with disabilities to be prepared well before thunderstorms roll in or a tornado siren sounds. Have a plan and be ready. Pay attention to weather and know what terms mean. A severe ...

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Challenges remain: Capitol accessibility improvements praised

Renovation of Minnesota’s capitol is nearly complete. The verdict on accessibility by members of the disability community is primarily positive, with a few things that could be improved. Curt Yoakum, assistant commissioner in the state’s Department of Administration, said a staff team recently toured the restored capitol with Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD). The capitol ...

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History Note: Life in, after institutionalization is documentary focus

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month was in March. But it’s never too late to see videos prepared by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (MnCDD), to learn about historical efforts and accomplishments to advance the cause of integration and inclusion for people with disabilities. Faces of Inclusion and Integration tells powerful stories of lives changed. The ...

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Rotunda rings with calls for change, but is it enough?

Rotunda rings with calls for change, but is it enough? People with disabilities, their caregivers and allies packed the state capitol rotunda repeatedly in March to make their needs know. Having a presence has been a theme this session. On April 7 members of the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities stood outside the House chambers, as that body began work on the health and ...

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From our community – April 2017

Spend-down limits must be fixed so people can live in dignity My name is Rik Seiler and I live in St. Paul. I sustained a traumatic brain injury in 2014 when a car slid into me on an icy patch of Highway 169 in Shakopee. I had just rescued a 19-year-old driver whose car had flipped ...

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Accessible Events & Services – April 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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Radio Talking Book – April 2017

Podcasts A podcast is a digital audio or video recording that can be downloaded from a website to a media player or computer. For some time now, SSB has been working with a podcast site called Blind Abilities that specializes in making podcasts that are about blindness and limited vision. You can access Blind Abilities on ...

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In Memoriam – April 2017

Becklund a pioneer in home care A pioneer in home health care, independence and dignity has died. Rhoda Arlene Becklund died March 14. She was 79 and lived in Minneapolis. Becklund was founder and longtime owner of her own home health care companies, and Becklund Outreach, an affiliated nonprofit. She opened her own agency in 1984. She ...

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Regional News in Review – April 2017

Work center faces maltreatment claims An investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) alleges serious maltreatment of some clients at the Adult Training and Habilitation Center in Hutchinson. The report stated that a staff member inflicted emotional, physical and sexual abuse on five clients dating to January 2017. The alleged incidents took place in a ...

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April 2017 issue

Here's the pdf of the April 2017 issue.  Please note you may need to create a log in to read and/or download the file. Enjoy!    

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People and Places – April 2017

Floor hockey champions crowned North Suburban and Brainerd/Pillager are this year’s adapted floor hockey champions. The teams won titles in the Minnesota State High School League tournament, held March 17-18 at Bloomington Jefferson High School. Titles were awarded for co-ed teams whose members have physical disabilities (PI) and developmental and cognitive disabilities (CI). North Suburban defended its ...

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More oversight seen as needed for home, community services

More oversight seen as needed for home, community services More oversight is needed for programs that provide care and services for people with disabilities and the elderly, according to a report from the state’s legislative auditor. The 84-page report, which focused on $2.4 billion in home and community-based services spending and providers, was hailed by disability coalitions ARRM and Best Life Alliance for shedding ...

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Mixed news with surplus, federal cuts

Following the money at the state and federal levels has a renewed urgency for Minnesotans with disabilities and their allies. The February 28 announcement of a $1.65 billion state surplus for fiscal year 2018-2019 and a $743 million ending balance for the current biennium, has generated calls for more spending on caregiver programs and an ...

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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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History Note: Protests, podium appearances created lasting ADA images

During March, Women’s History Month, Access Press honors women who played a role in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They are sometimes described as the “mothers” of the ADA. This month is a look at some of the women whose actions created lasting images linked to the ADA’s passage. Information is ...

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Low caregiver pay prevents people from succeeding

Low caregiver pay prevents people from succeeding By Jeffrey P. Straub My wife and I are the parents of a 26-year-old with cerebral palsy. Joshua was born 10 weeks premature and had an inter-cranial bleed that resulted in spastic quadriplegia. Despite his disability, he has graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University with a double major in history and creative writing (with honors). He is ...

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Consumer-Directed Community Supports eyed for change

Consumer-Directed Community Supports eyed for change The push for more self-direction through the Consumer-Directed Community Supports (CDCS) program has met a positive response from legislative committees in recent weeks. Whether a good reception means funding to expand and change the program remains to be seen. The Arc Minnesota is one of the groups leading the charge for more people with disabilities to ...

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Choices, integration are working for many, but are threatened

At age 25, our son was presented options about where he could live and work. He chose to live in a residential group home with three other gentlemen with disabilities, and 24-hour live-in staff. At about the same time, he chose a nonprofit day training and habilitation program that helped with employment opportunities. Soon our son ...

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People & Places – March 2017

People & Places – March 2017 For many people with disabilities, finding and retaining a job is a priority. In Minnesota, surveys indicate that 50 percent of people with intellectual disabilities and 40 percent of people with physical disabilities who are unemployed want to work. In his latest budget, Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed new employment services to ensure more Minnesotans with ...

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In Memoriam – March 2017

Herndon led on and off the court John Herndon is remembered as a student leader on and off of the Southwest Minnesota State University basketball court. The straight-A student and Mustangs wheelchair basketball team captain died February 14 after going into cardiac arrest during practice. The team is more like a family, with players recruited from around ...

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Regional News in Review – March 2017

Safety concerns highlighted Some lawmakers are demanding answers after a Fox 9 investigation highlighted safety concerns involving Metro Mobility, a taxpayer-funded ride service for the elderly and people with disabilities. Sandra Kline was seriously hurt after one of her rides. She was trying to exit a lift when it malfunctioned and her wheel chair tipped. She ...

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March 2016 issue

Here's our entire March 2017 issue in pdf format. Please note you may need to create a log in to print or download this copy. Enjoy!    

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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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