GOOD NEWS Page 3
Volume 29, Number 6
June 10, 2018
NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE
Services face uncertainties after veto
TWIN CITIES, MN PERMIT NO. 4766 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
by Access Press staff
SERVICES To page 5
When someone is useful only matters if you value people by their use. Corinne Duyvis
Senators Jim Abeler and John Hoffman, flanked by many disability community members, spoke out against the vetoes.
Supports, special education funds fall to governor's veto pen by Jane McClure Months of work disappeared with a few pen strokes as Gov. Mark Dayton May 23 vetoed the 2018 Minnesota Legislature’s major bills. Dayton nixed the tax and supplemental budget bills, sparking a war of words with the Republican-led House and Senate. The vetoes include money to rectify a looming seven percent cut in waiver services and cuts to children’s mental
MOFAS celebrates 20 years Page 7
health residential facilities. (See related stories.) Emergency school funding for special education was also a huge casualty of the veto pen. A special session doesn’t appear likely, so many initiatives community members worked hard to pass are now set aside until 2019. That’s a tough pill to swallow for Minnesota’s disability community. Many people spent the final weeks of the session putting in long hours to advocate
Lack of progress on mental health Page 4 City becomes autism-friendly Page 6 First-ever awards given Page 9 Orchestra unveils new concerts Page 11
VETO To page 7
People Incorporated founder devoted life to others by Access Press staff Rev. Harry Maghakian is remembered as someone who helped transform the care of Minnesotans with mental illness. What began as a program for homeless veterans needing a place to go evolved into the nonprofit People Incorporated, one of the Upper Midwest’s largest community mental health services providers. Maghakian died May 15 at age 94, with family members at his bedside. But his work to help people with disabilities live with hope, dignity and purpose continues today. His work began at Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church in St. Paul in 1962, in what was then a struggling neighborhood. He and his wife Judy bought a home in the community and dedicated themselves to helping others. In an interview for a People Incorporated publication, Maghakian said “Together with this unique congregation, we discovered a line that gave us our direction. ‘The agenda of the church must be written by the world.’ We all took this seriously and worked to bring new life to this aged building with banners, color, a message of hope and belonging. We were energized by the people who came in, looking for a place to call home.” “It was as quiet revolution. We didn’t know it at the time,” the publication stated. “Setting up in an inner-city church
One of the biggest disappointments of the 2018 legislative session is the failure to address a seven percent cut to the funding many Minnesotans with disabilities rely on to live, work and participate in their communities. The first round of the cut takes effect July 1. With no special legislative session to address the cut and other budget issues, many Minnesotans with disabilities face additional challenges on top of the critical workforce shortage. The first cut will affect tens of thousands of Minnesotans who receive what are called “unbanded” services under the Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS). Other cuts could take effect in the future, affecting thousands more people. What was considered to be an interim fix to the initial cut was cast aside by Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of this year’s supplemental budget bill. After a high-profile advocacy campaign, Dayton, the House and Senate had reached agreement as to how to rectify the cut. But changes to address the cut were wrapped into a larger funding package that Dayton said he simply couldn’t support. As of Access Press deadline, there was no sign of a special session to address the cut or other outstanding budget and tax issues. The Best Life Alliance, a consortium of more than 130 groups that has worked tirelessly on the staffing wage and supports issues, had a strong response. “What should have been a no-brainer for legislative leaders and Governor Dayton – to quickly pass a fix to the regulatory policy glitch causing the cut and return tens of millions of dollars back to disability services – was allowed to get swept up in the political mudslide of this legislative session,” said Best Life Alliance Chairperson Judy Marder. Marder is the parent of a child with disabilities. “Now, parents like me, people with disabilities who direct their own support services, and organizations which provide community-based supports, are left struggling to understand how to fill the gaping hole where this funding would have gone.” A May 23 disability community rally planned to urge Dayton to sign the budget bill turned into outcry over the veto. Speaker after speaker said they were disappointed in the failure to address the funding cut. Best Life Alliance members said they’ll continue to push for a special session. While the veto is a set-back that will have huge ramifications for many people across the state, it is not the end of their advocacy. They are committed to continuing to work this summer and
Rev. Harry Maghakian is shown with his wife Judy. basement so that men in a nearby board house would have a place to go. Vets who were sick with what we now know was mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol … We didn’t know much about mental illness, but we found out.” A nearby boarding home for homeless veterans was a catalyst. “We saw them
wandering around in a daze every day, therapeutically addicted,” Maghakian said in an interview. “We opened the basement, set up some chairs, a coffee pot, and some ashtrays, and took down the No Smoking signs. Taking down the walls that isolated us from them. They shared their despair. their voices and stories touched the very meaning of what it means to be human beings in community. They became our mentors in helping shape a program that cares about the dignity and common good of everyone.” Four other Presbyterian Churches joined the effort. Maghakian described the start of People Incorporated as a “people power” movement right from the start. Volunteers helped found a halfway house for men in recovery. Board members rolled up their sleeves and helped with everything from painting walls to hiring staff. “We chose our name without a lot of thought,” Maghakian recalled when People Inc. reached its 40th anniversary. “We said, ‘Well, we’re dealing with people, what about ‘People Incorporated?’ We had that ‘just do it’ kind of attitude.” “But it really says something about who we are. We saw people being treated as less than human, and came together to help, adding in others along the way.” In an interview with the Pioneer Press,
Access Press thanks the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR) and its members for their generous support!
FOUNDER To page 4
June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
Tim Benjamin Over the past couple months, I’ve written to you here and we’ve contacted you online to ask for your help and support as Access Press faced some real financial challenges. Many of you in turn reached out to others in the community to make Access Press’s needs known. For instance, the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation and the MOHR PR Committee, as well as John Wayne Barker, Executive Director of Merrick Inc., made announcements about Access Press’s statement of need. Thanks to all for getting the word out. Your expressions of confidence in the value of the paper are deeply appreciated. And what a response we’re receiving! On behalf of the Access Press Board of Directors and staff, I want to express our gratitude to everyone for your financial generosity to keep Access Press solvent, and for your many statements of appreciation and confirmations of the importance of the information we supply the disability community. Aaron Hustedde from the Wallace group and Mike Kraines from
CHOICE stopped by the Access Press office to give us almost $8000 in donations from their membership conference the previous week. And Handi Medical, our longtime advertiser, gave us a $5,000 check with their best wishes. The donation from these groups is so rewarding to all of us at Access Press. All the donations we’ve received recently, large and small, say that the paper and website remain relevant and serve a need that is recognized throughout the community. The Board of Directors and staff of would also like to extend a special thanks to the UCare Foundation for its generosity. This month the foundation approved a $75,000 grant proposal to help us develop a new 21st century strategic plan, along with a marketing plan and other needed analyses. We are looking at rebuilding our website to make it more accessible and to increase accessibility to all the mobile platforms that people are using today. We are in a good place now financially and able to do the things that need to be done over the coming year to secure a long future for Access Press. We will be forming an advisory
"Thanks to all for getting the word out. Your expressions of confidence in the value of the paper are deeply appreciated."
Access Press Executive Director Tim Benjamin accepted donations from MOHR members and Mike Kraines from CHOICE. committee to work with the Board of Directors to help plan out this future. We will continue to engage you, our readers, and will be designing a survey to find out from you how we can make Access Press a more successful and usable resource for you. We are going to need your input on drop sites, subscription options to the paper and online, and other ways to distribute Access Press through organizations and directly to you. For instance, we will be developing a new rate for bulk subscriptions for organizations to send them out to their members. We will seek your ideas on how best to make the most use of each copy of Access Press. Keep your letters and donations coming, and know that you have re-energized everybody involved in producing Access Press. We hope to keep serving this
community as long as you need us. I can’t end a column without talking about the Legislature, but this legislative session seems to have been doomed from the first day, in my opinion. The governor asked lawmakers not to give him a bulk omnibus bonding bill filled with tax cuts and policy changes or he would veto it. Well that's what the Legislature gave the governor and the governor did not take much time to follow up with a veto. We are now stuck with a 7% decrease in funding to most areas of the Department of Human Services and many other agencies. This may be politics, but it isn’t how government is supposed to work. Enjoy the beautiful summer that’s suddenly arrived, and we’ll talk next month. n
Souls were not ‘forgotten’ due to the work of many people by Access Press staff A new book details the story of the reform movement that laid the groundwork for a modern mental health system in Minnesota. The Crusade for Forgotten Souls recounts Minnesota’s reform movement that broke the stigma surrounding mental illness, publicized the painful truth about the state’s asylums and resulted in the first legislative steps toward a modern mental health system. The book, which was published earlier this year by University of Minnesota Press, is by Susan Bartlett Foote, an emeritus professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She is also a past chairperson of the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission. Foote is married to former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenbeger, who is remembered for his efforts on health care reform at the federal level. Her work brings a deep perspective on public health history to the book.
In the book Foote describes the early advocates for compassionate care of the mentally ill, and how they fought for change. The hero of the story is Engla Schey, who worked in state institutions in the 1940s and 1950s. Foote’s diligent research brought Schey’s story to life. Schey kept detailed journals. She wrote about her own experiences as a worker and gave insight into what state institutions were like when electroshock therapy, strapping residents to chairs and deplorable conditions were the norm. The journals were drawn on extensively for the book and bring the words of workers and residents to life. Schey, the daughter of Norwegian immigrants, transformed from low-paid state hospital worker to effective and compassionate advocate and mental health rights activist. In her time, the residents were called “inmates.” They were among more than 12,000 Minnesotans with mental illness living in
Volume 29, Number 5 Periodicals Imprint: Pending ISSN
Co-Founder/Publisher............................................................................................................Wm. A. Smith, Jr. (1990-96) Co-Founder/Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief.............................................................................. Charles F. Smith (1990-2001) Board of Directors................................................. Mohamed Alfash, Stephen Anderson, John Clark, Kristin Jorenby, ..............................................................................................................Jane Larson, Julius Williams, Kay Willshire, Mark Zangara Advertising Sales......... Michelle Hegarty, 612-807-1078 Cartoonist......................................................Scott Adams Executive Director.....................................Tim Benjamin Production........................................................ In-Fin Tuan Managing Editor........................................ Jane McClure Distribution............................................ S. C. Distribution Business Manager/Webmaster......... Dawn Frederick EDITORIAL: Editorial submissions and news releases on topics of interest to persons with disabilities, or persons serving those with disabilities, are welcomed. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. Editorial material and advertising do not necessarily reflect the view of the editor/publisher of Access Press. ADVERTISING RATES: Display Ad: $12 to $28 per column inch (size and frequency of run). Classified Ad: $14, plus 65¢ per word over 12 words. DEADLINE: 25th of each month. CIRCULATION/DISTRIBUTION: 11,000 copies are distributed the 10 th of each month through more than 200 locations statewide. Approximately 450 copies are mailed to individuals, including political, business, institutional and civic leaders. SUBSCRIPTION: $30 per year. Low-income, student and bulk subscriptions available at discounted rates. ABOUT ACCESS PRESS: A monthly newspaper published for persons with disabilities by Access Press, Ltd. Application to mail at Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at the St. Paul, MN 55121 facility. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Access Press at 161 St. Anthony Ave, Suite 901, St. Paul, MN 55103. INQUIRIES AND ADDRESS CHANGES should be directed to: Access Press, The Capitol Ridge Inn Offices 161 St. Anthony Ave; #910, St. Paul, MN 55103; 651-644-2133; Fax: 651-644-2136; email: email@example.com www.accesspress.org
seven state institutions. Many people were in state hospitals because their families simply didn’t want them, or because they had behaved in a way that others found to be unacceptable. Schey’s work led to action to improve conditions, “The Crusade for Forgotten Souls.” The campaign was remarkable in that it was spearheaded by many ordinary people. People from faithbased institutions, hospital workers and self-advocates joined together to make a difference. Foote’s former father-in-law, Unitarian minister Arthur Foote, was also deeply involved in the movement for change. Arthur Foote served at Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul from 1945 to 1970. Another central figure in the reform movement who was central to their cause was Luther Youngdahl, Minnesota’s Republican governor from 1946 to 1951. Youngdahl challenged his own party on the issues of institutionalization and
called for reform. Yet another person in the story is Minneapolis Tribune reporter Geri Hoffner. Hoffner researched and wrote a 12-part series about the treatment of state hospital residents. Her reporting outraged the public as she publicized the disgraceful treatment of people in state institutions. Working together, their efforts led to the first legislative steps toward change in Minnesota’s mental health system. Although they met staunch resistance, eventually Minnesota would transition to a position of national leadership in its treatment of people with mental illness and other disabilities. The work of the advocates should not be forgotten today. The book is available online and in bookstores. Learn more at www.upress. umn.edu ■ The History Note is a monthly column sponsored by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, www.mnddc.org or www.mncdd.org and www.partnersinpolicymaking.com.
June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
CHARLIE SMITH AWARD DETAILS FORTHCOMING
Access Press’s future looks brighter thanks to generous supporters
John Wayne Barker, CEO of St. Paul-based Merrick Inc. spoke for newspaper contributions at the recent MOHR conference.
Heartfelt thanks to all who have contributed to Access Press in recent weeks and months. Donations large and small have come in after the newspaper board, and staff outlined the financial pressures we were facing. We are thankful for all of you and have enjoyed the notes from people who rely on Minnesota’s disability news resource. You have each made a huge, positive difference. We also appreciated the work of the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation or MOHR, and John Wayne Barker of Merrick Inc. for initiating the $10,000 challenge to its members to support Access Press challenge of the MOHR to pledge of donations to meet the Access Press’s immediate financial needs. We immensely humbled by the support of this essential statewide organization. Handi Medical came across with a $5,000 donation which was also a huge blessing and with this we can continue moving forward. A big thank you also goes to UCare foundation, which has approved a generous grant to the newspaper. This funding in part helps us set the future direction for Access Press. These gifts and much other help us continue to bring you the news of Minnesota’s disability community and help us plan for the future ahead. While we continue to seek supporters, advertisers, and subscribers, our situation is not as bleak as we once feared. These donations and many others have helped us recognize our need to
be a sound informational source for the disability community. We can’t thank all these folks and the many individual donations that have come in. We are truly thankful! Thank you If a group is considering seeking contributions for Access Press, donation envelopes are available for your event or gathering. The award pays tribute to an individual who serves the state’s disability community. People from a wide range of backgrounds and sectors of the disability community have won the award in the past. The banquet is a unique event for Minnesotans with a wide range of disabilities enjoy attending and celebrating community accomplishments with us. Typically, in June the nominees are sought for a November award presentation. Earlier this year the newspaper board decided to cancel the annual award banquet, in light of the newspaper’s financial circumstances. The award nomination and review process are very rewarding for our staff and board, but both take time. The banquet itself is always delightful, but it also takes a great deal of staff and volunteer time, as well as resources. Many generous sponsors have supported the banquet in the past. However, just as times have changed for newspapers, the banquet may need a fresh look as well. Watch the July issue for more details about the 2018 Access Press Charlie Smith award and next steps. ■
Children's mental health programs in peril, no fix in sight One difficult issue the Minnesota Legislature didn’t resolve centers on children’s mental health. State lawmakers didn’t fix a looming problem that affects children’s mental health. Almost a dozen residential treatment centers for children with serious mental illness could lose $4.5 million annually in federal funding. Hundreds of Minnesota young people could be affected, starting next year. Effective May 1, 2018, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stopped funding for the children’s residential mental health facilities after a review. A Minnesota Department of Human Services review determined that the facilities are classified as “institutions of mental disease.” Federal law dating from the 1960s dictates that Medicaid cannot fund any facility that falls under that definition. The law affects facilities with more than 16 beds, where more than half of the people are being treated for a mental illness or substance use disorder. After a CMS-ordered review the state reclassified 11 facilities. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Minnesota points out that with the revocation of the state’s longstanding exception for children’s residential treatment, 580 children’s residential mental health and substance use disorder beds in 11 facilities will lose a crucial source of funding. Advocates say the facilities are badly needed, to help children and youth stabilize their lives. State lawmakers anticipated the federal decision and appropriated state funding to compensate for lost federal dollars in the 2017 session. But that money is only available through April 30, 2019. Unless
the legislature acts, counties must bear 100 percent of the costs after that date. Extending the coverage to the end of the biennium, on June 30, 2019, would have cost the state $791,000. The proposal ultimately didn’t make it through in 2018, even though it would have only cost $791,000. “Children with a mental illness and their families rely upon residential facilities for intensive treatment,” said Sue Abderholden, “The counties lack the resources to fund 100 percent of the costs for this vital part of our continuum of care.” NAMI Minnesota hopes to work with state leaders to stabilize the children’s mental health system and develop a long-term plan for children’s residential mental health treatment. Residential mental health treatment facilities for children are in high demand. State officials have estimated that there are about 109,000 children who live with serious mental illness. Minnesota has recently lost needed beds and is losing more. Last year the St. Cloud Children’s Home was shot down after state regulators raised red flags about its operations. That eliminated 60 beds. This year Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis that it is closing its 30-bed residential treatment program at St. Joseph’s Home for Children in Minneapolis. NAMI has called for state lawmakers to authorize an additional 80 psychiatric residential treatment facility to address the current shortages. State officials have estimated that more than 300 children must go out of state for treatment annually. ■
June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
FROM OUR COMMUNITY
Too much important work left undone on mental health issues by Samuel Smith, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill ( NAMI) Minnesota After months of work, the House, Senate and the governor seem unable to reconcile their differences on the omnibus financial bill. That bill contained funding that would have addressed key issues facing Minnesota’s mental health system. While it was a positive step to pass a bonding bill in the final hour of the session, too much important work is left undone. The school safety package included $5 million for school-linked mental health grants, as well as increasing the safe school levy to hire counselors, school social workers, and other school support personnel. It has now been two years since the shocking Star Tribune report on the use of solitary confinement and the legislature has still not taken action. NAMI was very disappointed that a requirement for a yearly report from the Department of Corrections on the use of solitary confinement was not included in the final omnibus bill. We would like to thank Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River) for his tireless advocacy on this issue. The lone bright spot was the passage of a bonding bill with several meaningful projects for the mental health community. NAMI is especially pleased with the $30 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds for permanent supportive housing projects for people with a mental illness, $28.1 million for local mental health crisis centers, as well as funding for a Scott County Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) facility and SMART center in Dakota County for crisis intervention training. NAMI is grateful to Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester), Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), and Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) for their support to invest in our mental
health system in this year’s bonding bill. NAMI is most disappointed that the governor and the legislature could not reach a deal on a supplemental budget. There are a number of urgent problems that need to be addressed. Here are some of the key pieces in the bill that would have made a difference for children and adults living with a mental illness: • Children’s Residential Mental Health Treatment: CMS determined this month that most of Minnesota’s children’s residential mental health facilities are Institutes of Mental Disease and therefore cannot receive reimbursement from Medicaid. This decision places 580 beds across 11 mental health facilities in danger. Without bridge funding, the counties will be responsible for 100 percent of the costs starting in May of 2019.
• Mental Health Parity: Under current law, private health plans that cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment must do so at an equal level with other medical or surgical benefits. This still is not happening. The omnibus bill would have created a working group with all the stakeholders, including the health plans, to work together and develop a plan to start proactively enforcing mental health parity. • Suicide Prevention: The omnibus bill included funding for online, evidence-based suicide prevention training for teachers. This would have ensured that every teacher had access to an effective suicide prevention training across the state and especially in Greater Minnesota. • Suicide Prevention: $969,000 for a suicide prevention hotline. • Primary Care: Allows for a primary care residency slot to run four years instead of three years. This psychiatry residency slot was previously funded but could not be used because a residency for psychiatry is for four years and not three. • Opioids: Over half of all opioid prescriptions are filled for people living with mental illnesses. There is an urgent need for resources to address the opioid epidemic in Minnesota that is not going to be met this year. “We were repeatedly told that this year the legislature was eager to ‘do something’ for children and adults with mental illnesses,” said Sue Abderholden, NAMI Minnesota executive director. “This makes the almost certain failure to pass a supplemental budget even more disappointing. The pressure will be on next year to make good on these promises and take action to continue to build our mental health system.” Samuel Smith is public policy coordinator for NAMI Minnesota. ■
YOUR LETTERS ARE WELCOME Access Press welcomes letters
those issues as they affect Minnesotans. to the editor and commentary Form letters will not be published. pieces from readers, on topics of Because Access Press is a non-profit interest to Minnesota’s disability publication and must follow regulations community. Letters should be no on political partisanship, political more than 500 words, with 750 endorsement letters are not published. words per commentary. Ask the That is true for candidates’ endorsements editors if more space is needed. as well as for ballot questions. Before The Capitol Ridge Inn Offices Letters and guest commentaries making a submission writers are always 161 St. Anthony Ave; #910 must be signed by the authors or encouraged to contact the newspaper to St. Paul, MN 55103 authors. With letters, a writer’s discuss ideas or to ask questions about Phone: 651-644-2133 Fax: 651-644-2136 hometown is published but From Our Community submissions, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org not a street address. Please send at 651-644-2133 or access@accesspress. Website: www.accesspress.org contact information in case the org. Let the newspaper staff know if editors have questions about accommodations are needed to submit a a letter or commentary. Contact information isn’t letter or commentary. published unless the writer specifically requests that Letters and commentaries reflect the view of the the newspaper do so. Pictures of the author can be authors and not the views of the staff and board of published with a guest commentary but aren’t required. directors of Access Press. Access Press asks that letters and guest commentaries Deadline for the print edition of the newspaper be specifically written for the newspaper. Letters must is the 25th of each month, with publication the have a focus on disability issues and ideally, a focus on following month.
FOUNDER From Page 1 current People Incorporated CEO Jill Wiedemann-West said, “Harry left a huge footprint in terms of working with vulnerable individuals in our community.” Today People Incorporated is a nonprofit organization that serves people with mental illness in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area. It now operates more than 60 programs including children’s programs, crisis residences, programs to help the homeless, residential programs, treatment services, case management, and in-home health services. It serves more than 13,000 people each year. Maghakian had a remarkable life story. He was born a few years after his parents fled the Armenian genocide in Turkey during World War I. They settled in California. As a young man he enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought with the 10th Armored Division, earning a Purple Heart. He went into real estate after the war, married and had two children. But he was called to the Presbyterians ministry and was ordained in 1962. That change of heart led him to the Summit-University neighborhood. People Incorporated helped launch many programs that are still in place today. Some have been spun off to other entities. These include the Loft Teen Center, which is now housed with Jimmy Lee Recreation Center, and the Liberty Plaza housing program, which created more than 170 apartments. More housing for people with mental illness and sober housing became possible, by buying up and renovating homes. A clinic, children’s programs and other outreach are also to Maghakian and his fellow volunteers’ credit. “We opened the door of the church,” Maghakian said in a video on the People Incorporated website. “We had
free cookies and coffee. We got ash trays there for them to smoke, which is against my principles, but we said that’s an enticement of how you minister. But that’s where it started.” Maghakian and his wife Judy traveled the world after his retirement in 1990. They continued to serve people in need. He finally retired from active ministry in 2014. He is survived by his family. Services have been held. ■
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
SERVICES From Page 1 fall leading into the next legislative session to find ways to address the seven percent cut and to continue to strengthen community-based disability services. But frustration is huge. “The legislative process has failed not just more than 32,000 Minnesotans with disabilities who will now face a seven percent cut to the funding they receive to access supportive services to live and work in their communities,” said Marder. “It has also failed approximately 100,000 direct care staff and caregivers whose dedicated, life-changing work is already undervalued in the current rate structure.” “I am aghast this would be allowed to happen in a state that once led the nation in its commitment to people with disabilities, their independence and quality of life,” Marder said. “If the State of Minnesota expects to uphold its commitment to people with disabilities and supporting their best lives, not acting to stop the cut is not an option. The Best Life Alliance, its partners and the dozens of legislators from both parties who worked hard to develop legislation to stop the cut will be continuing the fight and calling for Governor Dayton and legislative leaders go to special session to address this critical issue.” The Minnesota Department of Human Services in late February announced the seven percent cut, prompting a scramble during the legislative session. The cut is a result of a regulatory conflict over rate-setting policy between the state and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).CMS flagged the seven percent after model adjustments as an issue when the state submitted its waiver amendment in fall 2017. The request for the federal match of seven percent was removed by the state. The result is that several thousand Minnesotans with disabilities, who rely on home and community-based services and supports, will lose tens of millions of dollars in services and supports. The cut affects the DRWS, which sets the funding rates people receive for supportive services. A few years ago, the Minnesota Legislature added needed increases to support service enhancements and support direct care staff recruitment and retention. The cut has a complex history. The seven percent refers to a one percent increase passed in 2013, a five percent increase passed in 2014 and a one percent quality add on rate increase passed in 2015, totaling seven percent The rate increase is considered an “after model adjustment” meaning it is added to an individual’s disability service rate after their framework rate has been established. The rate increases were passed with changes to the DWRS, the tool used when setting rates for individuals. There are two components within that tool that are important to know about. One is banding, established and put in place for individuals already receiving a waiver rate as of December 2013. The state did this to ensure that individuals who will see a drastic change in their rate once they convert to the DWRS can do so gradually, allowing for services to be adjusted. Individuals not already receiving a waiver rate when the DWRS was implemented in 2014 were put directly onto their DWRS rate. These individuals are referred to as “unbanded” and they will take the first cut. When the DWRS system was established a mechanism was included that would automatically adjust rates every five years to equal the rate of inflation. This first adjustment occurred beginning July 1, 2017 with an average overall system increase of about 8.5 percent. The only individuals to see the full immediate impact of the adjustment were “unbanded” individuals. The immediate impact of the cut will be to those individuals that have “unbanded” rates (about 27 percent of the people receiving home and community-based services). Others whose rates will be un-banded beginning July 1 are also affected, since they are the individuals who also saw the full impact of the inflationary increase. Once banding ends, the seven percent after model adjustment will be removed for all individuals. That state’s coverage for the federal match ends June 30. It is expected that all unbanded individuals will receive a new service authorization with a new rate effective July 1. Currently, banding is set to expire on December 31, 2019. On that date everyone else will see the cut’s impact. “Stopping this cut is not providing new money to disability services; it is simply maintaining the funding the state committed to my daughter and others who access
Speaker after speaker described what the cut to waiver services will mean. disability services,” said Marder. She and many others said the cut is turning back the progress made toward properly funding services, to raise the low wages of direct care staff and retain talented workers. One point Best Life Alliance is emphasizing is that the cut
is especially devastating as the rest of the state’s economy moves forward. Information from Best Life Alliance, ARRM and MOHR was used to prepare this article. ■
June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
REGIONAL NEWS Autism Friendly Austin a success A southern Minnesota community’s initiative around autism is a success. Autism Friendly Austin provide activities for families with children on the autism spectrum, including respite nights at the local YMCA. Parents get a break and children have time to meet and play with other children. Children can play basketball, swim in the pool and enjoy other activities. “It’s great,” said John Halvorson, as he dropped off eight-year-old Kirby. “It’s nice to get out. It’s also good for him to get out and mingle with other kids.” Austin, a southern Minnesota city of 25,000, may best be known as the home of Hormel and Spam. But it has become one of the first cities nationwide to launch a concerted communitywide effort to make itself more welcoming to citizens with autism. The Autism Friendly Austin project has enlisted schools, businesses and residents in working to accommodate people with autism. “This is one of only a handful of towns in the nation that I have heard of doing this,” said Ellie Wilson, executive director of the Autism Society of Minnesota. “I think the citywide effort is really special.” More than 3.5 million Americans are on the autism spectrum, according to the Autism Society of America. One of every 59 children has autism, according to research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In
Man with disabilities killed by train
A Rochester man was struck and killed by a train May 18, after his mobility scooter got stuck in tracks near his home. Ricky Allen Thalacker, 58, was identified by Rochester Police Department officials. A witness told the Post Bulletin he was stopped nearby when he heard the train’s horn sounding. He looked up to see Thalacker struggling to dislodge his scooter from where it was stuck. He then saw the accident. Thalacker was thrown by the train’s impact. The train was unable to stop in time. Residents of Central Towers Apartments, a housing complex for seniors and people with disabilities where Thalacker lived, expressed shock and sadness that their friend and neighbor was killed in the accident. He was remembered as a kind and friendly man who liked to joke around, and who never complained about living with multiple disabilities and health issues. He enjoyed sports, especially the Green Bay Packers, and visits with his grandchildren. The accident is under investigation. Anyone using a scooter or wheelchair is urged to be especially cautious when
Minnesota, it’s estimated that more than 70,000 people have autism, either diagnosed or undiagnosed. Autism Friendly Austin is a program of the Hormel Historic Home, whose mission includes providing educational opportunities for all people. The home began offering some autism-related programming in 2010, sponsoring summer day camps and other activities for autistic children. Last year, the Hormel Home began exploring the idea of expanding its efforts. A community task force suggested the goal of making Austin an autismfriendly city. A gift from a former Hormel executive who wishes to remain anonymous allowed the home to hire Mary Barinka last fall as a community autism resource specialist. Barinka, who has a 16-year-old daughter with autism, believes she may be the only person in the country running crossing railroad or light rail tracks, because of the possibility that a wheel can get caught. Ample time should be allowed to safely cross tracks. (Source: Rochester Post Bulletin)
Special education facility hailed
The Karner Blue Education Center in Blaine doesn't look particularly special from the outside. Thanks to thoughtful design and robust staffing, school district officials here say it's making an extraordinary difference for the 115 special education students who attend. It's spacious, ultra-quiet, with plenty of spaces for kindergarten through eighth-graders with autism, emotional and behavioral disorders, and cognitive disabilities to take timeouts and reset overloaded senses or amped-up emotions. Karner Blue is the model the Fargo and West Fargo school districts are seeking to emulate with a $4.3 million renovation at Fargo's Agassiz School to create a special education facility. Two classrooms will take up to 16 kindergarten through fifthgrade students this fall, with capacity expanded up to 64 students by fall 2019. The facility is being designed not only for current needs but anticipated
a comprehensive, citywide autism program. Barinka’s own experience helping her daughter navigate the world was important in knowing the needs of autistic people and how to make others aware of them. So far, the autism program has gotten support from nearly a dozen businesses. Business owners said it’s easy to take part and that it benefits all their customers, not just people with autism. Autistic people often focus intensely on a topic or a hobby. So the Spam Museum has invited autistic students to make presentations on their areas of interest. “We had topics ranging from historic cameras to bugs to Matchbox cars,” said Savile Lord, the museum’s executive director. “They set up their own little tables and told our visitors about their areas of interest.” The museum also has a “Spambassador” who’s a high school student with autism. He coaches the museum on the needs and wants of autistic people, such as a quiet room to retreat to when a situation becomes overwhelming. “Lots of these things affect our patrons and our customers and the people who walk through our doors,” Lord said. “So for us to be aware of those things and be ready to accommodate them is important.” (Source: Star Tribune) growth, as well as being open to taking in students from other area school districts in North Dakota's South East Education Cooperative, Associate Superintendent Bob Grosz said. Grosz said staff will be highly trained, with a low student-to-teacher ratio and a constellation of services in place to help students. "We truly want to meet the students where they are at," he said. Officials from Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School District say that in the four years Karner Blue has been open, the calm atmosphere, small class sizes — five to seven students — and wraparound services the school offers have made it a place parents don't want their children to leave — even when they are ready to return to their home schools. (Source: Fargo Forum)
Police change interpretation policy
Three St. Catherine University ASL students’ class project has result in policy changes in St. Paul Police Department communication with the deaf community. “Interactions with the police can be stressful and difficult, and clear communication is important,” wrote
students Catherine Fensom, Liza Leja and Pat Schmatz. “The potential for misunderstanding is high when the interpreter has limited language skills.” Police and representatives from the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, as well as six deaf community group representatives, met to help shape policy changes. The previous policy said an officer must make a “qualified” interpreter available before taking a statement from a deaf person who is under arrest. The new policy specifies the interpreter must be nationally certified. Officers were previously required to provide victims or witnesses with a pen and paper or other way to communicate. The new policy says they may provide through an interpreter. One of the groups involved in providing feedback to police, Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (HEARD), said in a statement Tuesday they “have a number of concerns with the policy and are working with our communities to develop a public response.” One concern that has been raised is that police were supposed to have a national certified interpreter available for the past four years. That was part of a 2014 settlement with deaf community activist Douglas Bahl, after incidents during a 2006 traffic stop. The police department is currently facing another lawsuit, in a separate case. For a project for their deaf culture class, Fensom said she and her classmates decided, “with the climate in today’s society regarding police officers, we thought it would be interesting to look at relations between police and the deaf community.” (Source: Pioneer Press)
Accessible van is fundraiser focus
Gilbert Hoppe put pictures of his hearing aids on a Facebook sales site for $1,000 with a handwritten note: Pair of hearing aids for sale or trade for a good vehicle. While his quest for an accessible vehicle initially met snide comments, other stepped in to help him raise funds. “It was pretty rude, the way some of them were talking,” said Hoppe, 75, a veteran who lives in North Mankato. But he was pleased when a spaghetti dinner fundraiser and an online campaign raised about $20,000. “Gilbert was ready to give up his hearing so he could get a car to get to and from the VA in Mankato,” said Jena Marie Faue, who helped organize the fundraiser at the Eagle Lake American Legion Post 617. Others who had never met Hoppe also helped. “It surprised me at first,” Hoppe said of the event. “I felt glad that people wanted to help me.” Hoppe, who served in the Army from 1962 to 1966 in REGIONAL NEWS To page 15
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
Sen. Jim Abeler, left, and Norm Munk of PRI Inc., right, listened to speaker. (below) A larger crowd gathered in the capitol hearing room.
VETO From Page 1 for dozens of bills that had made it through the committee deadline process. One big push in mid-May was the Best Life Alliance’s social media campaign to ask for restoration of the seven percent cut to waiver services. That effort generated more than 1,000 tweets and retweets, many with pictures of the people whose services would be affected. People with disabilities, who’d planned a rally May 23 urging Dayton to sign the budget bill, turned the event into a call for action. They joined Senators Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) and John Hoffman (DFLChamplain) to speak against the veto and outline what its impacts will be. Some called for a special session. “I just don’t know what to say,” said Abeler. He and Hoffman were especially frustrated by the loss of the fix to the seven percent cut. “The most vulnerable people in our state are hurting … this is the core of what government is about, protecting those in need,” said Hoffman. Self-advocates and organization leaders also expressed unhappiness with the vetoes. “We’re already strapped and shorthanded,” said Rick Nelson, CEO of MWB Residential Services, a new Ulm-based residential services provider. “We have 23 job openings … The funding has been stagnant for many, many years.” Nelson said the seven percent cut takes back a promise of support that is critical to many people. “It’s not just about funding,” he said. It greatly impacts entire families, employers and their hometowns. “It’s about having people present. It’s about having people living and working in their communities.” “We’ve come down here many times and spoke up,” said David Sprague, part of the LifeWorks self-advocacy group. Many self-advocates said they are sad and frustrated by not having anything to show for their work. Others spoke of how the lack of funding will only add to the critical workforce
shortage for direct care and support services, citing the very high turnover that already occurs. The turnover affects peoples’ trust in their staff members. “It hurts. It really hurts,” said Kelly Kausel, an Apple Valley parent of a child with disabilities. “This is not going to help people.” She and other parents said they worry about the impacts on their families, and people who rely on support services to live and work in the community. House and Senate leaders objected to the vetoes, saying they weren’t given enough time to respond. But Dayton repeatedly warned during the session that he didn’t want to see major initiatives wrapped into large bills. But that is exactly what happen. Dayton described the 2018 session as “very irresponsible.” He also called the session “worst managed legislative session I’ve ever seen," Dayton said. In his press conference announcing the vetoes Dayton listed his objections to the 990-page supplemental spending and tax bills. He criticized tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy. Not enough resources toward the state’s opioid epidemic and
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eldercare crisis were other key concerns. Dayton in a letter to state lawmakers said that while there were good initiatives in the bill, legislators knowingly prevented their enactment by putting them into a bill with many agency cuts and policies he didn’t support. He described the bill as having good features “combined with a lot of junk." House and Senate leadership responded strongly. “This session wasn't a failure, our governor was a failure,” said House Speaker kurt Daudt (R-Crown). The impacts on many fronts are substantial, especially with the veto of the omnibus supplemental spending bill. Many disability community initiatives were in that legislation. The vetoed tax bill included the emergency education funding, much of which would have aided special education programs statewide. Special education funding is a huge worry as that was wrapped into the vetoed tax bill. Dayton sought $138 million in new emergency
school funding to help districts with budget shortfalls. The growing demand for special education services is driving the spending statewide. Minnesota Public Radio recently reported that Minnesota school districts spent $2.2 billion on special education alone last year, up 26 percent in a decade. More than 141,000 students receive special education services for physical impairments, or 16 percent of the state’s students. Unfunded mandates are a growing worry, as school districts have to not only fund their own students but also charter school attendees. Charter schools for special education students respond that they need more money to offer specialized services. There was already little to celebrate before the vetoes. At its end-of-session gathering May 22, the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) noted that several of its priorities, including changes to ConsumerDirected community Supports, Medical Assistance enrollment, complex care and brain injury waiver qualifications, hadn’t made the cut. Other key proposals including the effort to restore funding for incontinence products, were rolled into the omnibus spending bill. Sighs of relief could be heard as some damaging bills didn’t pass this session. One, which was fought by groups including the This is Medicaid alliance, would have taken health care away from more than 20,000 Minnesotans, and cost local governments and taxpayers more than $160 million every year to ramp up and maintain more staff and systems. The bill would have placed costly and complicated new monthly reporting requirements on thousands of Minnesotans receiving health coverage through Medical Assistance. Over the past few months, more than 155 nonprofit Minnesota organizations formally opposed these bills. Minnesotans from across the state spoke up and shared their stories about how adding barriers to health care would harm their neighbors and their communities. “This was the right conclusion,” said Susie Emmert of the This Is Medicaid coalition. “It reflects a core belief held by all Minnesotans -- that all of us deserve to see a doctor or get the treatment we need, when we need it.” “We extend our thanks to Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators on both sides of the aisle who opposed these proposals, so Minnesotans can get the care they need,” said Patrick Ness of This Is Medicaid. One bit of good news was that the MNCCD Children’s Work Group’s effort to require health plan coverage of sensory integration therapy and cognitive therapy for children was signed into law. Some health plans in Minnesota cover the therapies while some do not. The change is expected to address inconsistency in in terms of access for children who need these services based on whether they have Medical Assistance or commercial coverage and what type of commercial insurance they have. Another is that the effort to make Minnesota’s state parks more accessible. What began as a $20 million ask to wound up with $500,000. That provides design money so some projects can be shovel-ready. Access Press will continue to track legislation that does take effect July 1 and outline the implications in future issues. ■
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
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MOFAS: Twenty years of awareness The Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) reached an important milestone this spring, marking 20 years of efforts to raise awareness of fetal alcohol syndrome disorder and the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The organization provides public education and advocacy, operates a clinic, helps people who live with the disorder and works to have fetal alcohol syndrome disorder recognized as the disability it is. In 1998, Minnesota First Lady Susan Carlson founded MOFAS. She served as board president for many years and was honored May 10 at a celebration at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis. “Fetal alcohol syndrome disorder has been around as long as humans and alcohol have co-existed, yet prenatal alcohol exposure continues,” said MOFAS Executive Director Sara Messel. “But we know what works and have an ambitious goal to prevent the disorder entirely in Minnesota in the next 20 years.” MOFAS has worked to find effective ways to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and to spread the word that there is no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. Its Family-Centered Long-Term Recovery Supports program addresses root problems for women with a history of substance use disorders who are pregnant or parenting young children. The program works by connecting participants community resources at a cost of only $705 per family per year. Only four of 298 participants birthed babies with prenatal substance exposure over a period of 3.5 years. Improving diagnostic capability is another MOFAS accomplishment. An accurate diagnosis can help someone reach full potential, paving the way to needed services and supports, stronger treatment plans, greater understanding and acceptance, more realistic expectations, and better quality of life. Minnesota has fewer than 1,000 diagnostic appointments for fetal alcohol syndrome a year. About 7,000 babies with prenatal alcohol exposure are born here annually. MOFAS opened its own clinic—the second-largest in the state—in 2012. In its first year the clinic assessed 11 patients, and in 2017 it assessed 112 patients. The organization is a steady voice at the state capitol,
Arne and Susan Carlson
launching its Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Day in 2008 with 73 advocates. This year 183 advocates attended. Over the years MOFAS has many positive law changes and programs to its credit, to improve the lives of those with fetal alcohol syndrome disorder. Increased funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the opening of a family-centered long-term recovery supports program in Rochester, foster parent and paraprofessionals training, and raising community awareness about alcohol consumption during pregnancy are huge accomplishments for the nonprofit. MOFAS has several additional projects underway, touching virtually every aspect of prevention and intervention, and has big plans for the future. The organization will expand its work substantially in the area of prevention, spending half its resources on prevention by 2020, as well as continue its work on education, justice, and health equity for people who live with the disorder. ■
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
PEOPLE & PLACES
Cassie Dong accepted The Arc Minnesota Intern Leader of the Year award.
Debbi Harris (left), The Arc Minnesota Mission Leader of the Year, with her son Josh.
Karen Powell received congratulations for her Arc Value Village Volunteer of the Year honor from Shawn Monaghan (left) and Neil Helgeson (center), Co-Chairs of The Arc Minnesota Interim Board.
THE ARC MINNESOTA
Susie Emmert (center, with her son Max) and Patrick Ness (right), Co-Conveners for This Is Medicaid, recipient of The Arc Minnesota Public Policy Leader of the Year, are shown with Neil Helgeson (left), Co-Chair of The Arc Minnesota Interim Board.
The Arc Minnesota presents statewide awards The Arc Minnesota’s annual meeting this spring was highlighted by the presentation of Leader of the Year awards. Seven individuals and organizations were honored for their contributions that further the nonprofit’s mission of supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and advocating for their human rights. Karen Powell of Edina received Arc’s Value Village Volunteer of the Year award, which recognizes a person who demonstrates an ongoing commitment to supporting the mission of the Arc through service at its Value Village thrift stories. Powell was recognized for being a tireless volunteer at Arc’s Value Village store in Richfield, volunteering more than one shift in a day on many occasions. Arc’s Value Village stores have raised more than $26 million since 1982. The Pioneer Endicott Building in St. Paul was honored as Arc’s Value Village Thrift Partner of the Year. This award recognizes an organization that has shown exceptional commitment to support through supporting through volunteerism or donations. Pioneer Endicott Building residents have donated 50,000 pounds of goods to the thrift stores, making a profound and positive impact. The Arc Minnesota Intern Leader of the Year honor was presented to Cassie Dong of Woodbury. Dong was recognized as an individual who has participated in experiential learning, which could include a field placement, internship or a student consulting project. During her tenure, she set design standards and implemented a consistent brand look and feel across the communications materials. The Arc Minnesota Public Policy Leader of the Year Award was given to This Is Medicaid. The award recognizes an individual or organizations that work toward system change to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. This Is Medicaid is a working coalition of more than 50 organizations that share the belief that Medicaid, known as Medical Assistance in Minnesota, must be protected and preserved for people with disabilities and individuals with low incomes. The Self-Advocacy Leader of the Year went to Fairmont resident Jonathon Wolner. Wolner is honored
...because everyone has limitless potential.
Debbie Harris, shown with her son Josh, is a Mission Leader of the Year honoree. as an outstanding self-advocate who speaks up for himself and others. Wolner is a leader in the selfadvocacy movement in southwestern Minnesota. He serves on the board of the area People First group, is president of the local Aktion Club and is an active participant in the Olmstead Academy. The Arc Minnesota Mission Leader of the Year award was to both an organization and an individual. Special Olympics Minnesota received the honor for an organization, given to a community or corporate partner who has made significant impact in promoting human rights and community inclusion. Special Olympics Minnesota was recognized for its statewide leadership in creating opportunities for inclusion A second Mission Leader of the Year award given to an individual or family who has made a significant impact to further the Arc Minnesota’s mission was presented to Debbi Harris of Eagan. She has been active as a board and public policy committee member. She is a regular host of home visits with elected officials, where people with disabilities and their families share their stories, discuss disability program and policy issues, and offer solutions to challenges they face with current services and/or policies. ■
Resources for Individuals, Families and Employers 800.829.7110 MyMRCI.org
June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
Disability issues take on urgency CHILDREN & FAMILIES ATTEND PACER SYMPOSIUM PACER Center’s annual symposium on children and young adults with mental health and learning disabilities is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed, Aug. 8 at the Mpls. Convention Center. Registration fee of $35 includes lunch. The national keynote speakers include Dr. Steven Schlozman, associate director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he practices child and adult psychiatry; Rosemarie Allen, president and CEO for the Institute for Racial Equity and Excellence, the lead agency for ensuring equity in educational practices throughout the nation; and David Stember, clinical psychologist and maintains faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital. He is a recognized expert in cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, learning, and behavioral disorders. Many topics will be
covered by speakers and in breakout sessions. FFI: www.pacer.org PACER WORKSHOPS SAMPLING PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any disabilities. Workshops are at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, unless specified. Workshops are offered throughout the state. Advance registration is required for all workshops. At least 48 hours’ notice is needed for interpretation. Ask if workshops are live-streamed. Check PACER’s website and link to the newsletter of statewide workshops that allows participants to pick and choose sessions catered to their needs. Paths to Employment: Exploring the Options is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thu, June 21, 2018 at PACER Center. A panel of representatives from Minnesota's Special Education, Career and Technical Education, Vocational Rehabilitation,
EVENTS PRESENTERS ARE NEEDED Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities hosts its annual health and wellness conference, Healthy Independent Living for People with Disabilities Sept. 25 at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church, Mpls. Matthew Sanford is the keynote speaker. This is the second year for the conference. Registration is open, as are requests for presentations. Presenters are needed. Any interested people with background in health and wellness can submit a proposal at www.123formbuilder.com/form-3688146/ FFI: www.mnccd.org SELF-ADVOCACY SUMMIT SET Autism Society of Minnesota has announced its first-ever AuSM Self-Advocacy Summit, presented by Anime Twin Cities. Save the date of Sept. 22. It will include a keynote presentation and nine breakout sessions featuring topics including mental health, executive functioning, sensory needs, employment, relationships, and more. This event is for individuals on the spectrum, by individuals on the spectrum. Visit the AuSM Bookstore, network with peers, and visit with vendors who support adults on the spectrum. Additional details about the summit will be announced soon. Registration opens soon. FFI: www.ausm.org DELAYS TO BE ADDRESSED A long and growing waiting list for services provided by the Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation program has led to an indefinite delay in receiving the employment services that many Minnesotans with disabilities are eligible to receive. A public forum sponsored jointly by the Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council and Vocational Rehabilitation Services will explore how the greater statewide workforce development system can help to meet the employment needs of people with disabilities. The forum is 1-3 p.m. Mon, June 11, at the Minneapolis North WorkForce Center, 800 West Broadway Ave., Mpls. All are welcome to attend. FFI: Karla Eckhoff, email@example.com
LEADERSHIP PARTNERS IN POLICYMAKING DEADLINE SOON Minnesotans with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities are encouraged to apply for the Partners in Policymaking, a nationally recognized free leadership training program. Eight sessions are held over nine months, starting in September 2018. Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities created the program to increase advocacy skill levels. Sessions cover the history of disabilities and parent, self-advocacy and independent living movements, inclusive education, supported living, competitive employment, and avenues to influence county, state and federal legislative processes. Sessions held at Crowne Plaza Aire, Bloomington. Application deadline is July 9. FFI: Brenton Rice, 612-242-6589, http://bit.ly/2EICOQ0
INFO & ASSISTANCE MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT OFFERED NAMI Minnesota offers more than 300 free educational classes statewide each year, along with help in navigating the mental health system. NAMI also has more than 70 free support groups for people living with a mental illness and their families. NAMI Minnesota offers more than 300 free educational classes statewide each year, along with help in navigating the mental health system. In the Twin Cities NAMI has about two dozen family support groups, more than 20 support groups for people living with a mental illness, anxiety support groups, groups for veterans and other groups. Led by trained facilitators, groups provide help and support. Parent resource groups are facilitated by a parent who has a child with a mental illness and who has been trained to lead support groups. A group meets 6:30-8 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday at Eagle Brook Church, 2401 East Buffalo St., White Bear Lake. FFI: Jody Lyons 651-645-2948 x109.
and WorkForce Center systems will share information to help youth with disabilities get started on a career path, ways the programs work together, and how youth can access these services. Information will primarily address options available to in-school youth, but some information about programs for out-of-school youth will also be presented. Tech for Teens Club: Building Websites is 10 a.m.-noon Sat, June 23 at PACER Center. The workshop will introduce teens with disabilities to the basics of coding for the internet with HTML and CSS. Students will create their own unique website and publish it on the Internet using Mozilla Thimble. Students will experiment with code and see the results online in real time. This workshop is designed for students with basic computer skills, but no previous coding knowledge is required. Students of all abilities are encouraged to attend. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-5372237, www.pacer.org
YOUNG ADULT NAMI CONNECTION is a free support group for persons ages 16-20. One group meets 7-8:30 the first and third Thu at Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Ave., St. Paul. A group also meets 7-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thu at Dental Office of Dr. Crandall & Associates, 2300 East Highway 96, White Bear Lake. The group is facilitated by young adults who live with mental illnesses and are doing well in recovery. A full calendar of all events is offered online. FFI: 651-645-2948, www.namihelps.org VISION LOSS GROUP OFFERS ACTIVITIES Vision Loss Resources provides free and low-cost activities in the Twin Cities for people who are blind or visually impaired. Life skills classes for those with low vision; card games, craft classes, book clubs, walking groups, dinners out, special outings and technology classes are among the offerings. Participants need to RVSP to participate, at least three working days prior to an event. The calendar is also available on the Vision Loss Resources website and as a printable large-print PDF document for those who wish to print their own or additional copies. FFI: RSVP hotline, 612843-3439; activity line and audio calendar, 612-253-5155, www. visionlossresources.org MCIL HOSTS CLASSES AND ACTIVITIES The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living provides many life skills classes as well as fun outings and events for people with disabilities. MCIL is at 530 N. Robert St, St Paul and most activities are there or start there. Classes and events are listed on the website, www.mcil-mn.org. Click on “Classes Groups and Sessions” for updated information or to print their calendar. Please give two weeks’ notice if the alternative format or other accommodations are needed. Events are free, accessible and mostly scent-free. NEW! A People of Color with disabilities group has started meeting, 5:30-8 p.m. the third Thu of each month. FFI: 651-603-2030 ILICIL OFFERS OPPORTUNITIES ILICIL Independent Lifestyles, 215 N. Benton Drive, St. Cloud, offers a number of classes, events and other opportunities for Minnesotans with disabilities in central Minnesota. The center offers its own programming and hosts other groups. The free mental health discussion group 6-:30 p.m. Mon. Learn to live life to the fullest and support each other. The center has a full schedule of activities including support groups, martial arts, Nordic walking and more FFI: 320-267-7717
ADULT SUPPORT GROUPS OFFERED AuSM offers free support groups for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Groups include those for adult family members, women with autism spectrum disorders and independent adults with autism. Groups meet at 2380 Wycliff St. FFI: 651-647-1083 ext. 10, www.ausm.org PARKINSON’S DISEASE SUPPORT GROUP The St. Cloud Area Support Group meets 1-2:30 p.m. the third Mon of each month at ILICIL Independent Lifestyles, 215 N. Benton Drive, St. Cloud. Free. Open to those diagnosed with Parkinson’s, their families, caregivers and the public. The group provides support, education, and awareness about the disease. FFI: 320-529-9000 DEMENTIA CAREGIVERS SUPPORT Jewish Family Service of St. Paul, in partnership with Sholom Home East and the Alzheimer’s Association, facilitates a caregiver support group for people who are providing care to a loved one suffering from dementia. Designed to provide proven resources and methods for caregivers who are caring for someone at home or considering in-home services or a transition to assisted living or long-term care. Meets 3-4 p.m. on the second and fourth Mon of each month in the Community Room at Sholom Home East, 740 Kay Ave., St. Paul. Free and open to the public. RSVP. FFI: Grace, 651-690-8903, glundquist@ jfssp.org, or Cassandra, 651-328-2014, firstname.lastname@example.org
VOLUNTEER READERS SOUGHT Volunteers are a valuable resource at Radio Talking Book, broadcasting local news and information programs to blind and print-impaired listeners from sites in Duluth, Fergus Falls, Grand Rapids, Mankato, Rochester, St. Cloud and the Communication Center in St. Paul. The goal is to provide accurate and timely information to thousands of listeners throughout Minnesota and across the nation. FFI: Roberta Kitlinski, 651-539-1423 OPEN THE DOOR TO EDUCATION Help adults reach their educational goals and earn their GED. Tutor, teach or assist in a classroom with the Minnesota Literacy Council. Give 2-3 hours a week and help people expand their opportunities and change their lives through education. Provides training and support and accommodations for volunteers with disabilities. FFI: Allison, 651-251- 9110, email@example.com, http://tinyurl.com/ adult-opportunities
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FAMILY SUPPORT GROUPS help families who have a relative with a mental illness. A group meets at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Wed at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1524 Co. Rd. C-2 West, Roseville. FFI: Anne Mae. 651-484-0599. OPEN DOOR ANXIETY AND PANIC SUPPORT GROUPS help people cope with anxiety disorders. One group meets 6:30-8 p.m. the second and fourth Thu in Room 104, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul. Another group meets 6:30-8 p.m. the first and third Thu at Woodland Hills Church, 1740 Van Dyke St., St. Paul. A PEER SUPPORT GROUP is offered for LGBTQ adults living with a mental illness. The group meets 1-2:30 p.m. Sat, Living Table United Church of Christ, 3805 E. 40th St, Mpls. FFI: David, 612-9203925, 651-645-2948.
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
ENJOY! Courage and Triumph: A sensory-friendly show The Minnesota Orchestra performs its first fullorchestra sensory-friendly family concert 2 p.m. Sat, July 14, at Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. Tickets are $12. Assistant Conductor Akiko Fujimoto leads the Minnesota Orchestra for the performance, which is designed for patrons of all ages and abilities, including those on the autism spectrum and those with sensory sensitivities. The concert, Courage and Triumph, is hosted by local music therapist Lyndie Walker and features cellist Nygel Witherspoon. The 60-minute program, which follows the format of a standard family concert, includes music from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, West Side Story, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Stravinsky’s Firebird. Sensory-Friendly Concerts give community members more freedom to choose how they engage in live-music experiences, and provide a judgmentfree space where individuals of all abilities can enjoy classical music together. Concerts take place in a relaxed environment where audience members are welcome to be who they are and move, vocalize, clap ARC IN THE PARK The Arc Minnesota hosts Arc in the Park, 5-7:30 p.m. Wed, June 27 at Como Park Pavilion, 1119 Midway Parkway, St. Paul. It’s a free evening of family fun and a great place to connect with families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and get to know more about The Arc Minnesota. With music, food, carousel rides, face painting, games, treats and more, there is something for everyone. RSVP by Wed, June 14. FFI: www.thearcmn.org NEW ART OPPORTUNITY The St. Paul Saints baseball team and its home at CHS Field in St. Paul host Showings with the Saints at Andy’s Gallery. The art shows are set up in cooperation the Show, a nonprofit arts group that promotes diversity in art and welcomes artists from all backgrounds. The events are free and are welcoming artists of all abilities. Artists can show a wide range of work during a baseball game. The artists will be recognized during the games. FFI: firstname.lastname@example.org SUMMER IN THE FOREST Metropolitan Center for Independent Living and TUGG offer chances for organizations to see the film Summer in the Forest. The documentary film that explores the life and work of Catholic activist, author and philosopher Jean Vanier. Vanier created L’Arche - a community for people with disabilities - a commune at the edge of a beautiful forest near Paris all the while revealing the universal need for love and companionship. There are now 150 of these communities around the world. Different ways to show the film are offered. FFI: email@example.com, www.summerintheforest.com 23RD ANNUAL AUSM GOLF CLASSIC Autism Society of Minnesota’s 23rd Annual AuSM Golf Classic tees off at the new Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo Mon, Aug. 6. AuSM Golf Classic participants will enjoy the exciting new course while networking with professionals from across Minnesota. In addition to 18 holes of a golf in a scramble format, the event will feature lunch, a silent auction, contests to win exciting prizes, and an awards banquet sponsored by Fox Sports North. All proceeds benefit local autism community programs and services. Sponsors and silent auction donations sought. FFI: Monika Kopet, 651-6471083 ext. 27, firstname.lastname@example.org (sponsorships), www.ausm.org MCKNIGHT THEATER ARTIST FELLOWS WORKS IN PROGRESS Katharine Horowitz and Regina Marie Williams present new works at Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave., Mpls. Performances feature actors with disabilities. Horowitz’s work will be performed in ASL with an immersive soundscape and no audible spoken language. Some supertitles will be used. Williams’ work features improvisation and clowning. ASL offered 7 p.m. Tue, June 12, 7:00 PM. Katharine's piece will be performed in ASL. Regina's will be ASL-interpreted. Free. FFI: 612-332-7481, email@example.com EQUIVOCATION Walking Shadow Theatre Company presents a timely political thriller, at Gremlin Theatre, 550 Vandalia St., St. Paul. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Tue, June 12. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Wed, June 20 and 2 p.m. Sun, June 24. Tickets $1026. ($5 or pick a price for patrons using access services.). FFI: 1-800-8383006, www.walkingshadowcompany.org UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL Theater Latte Da presents the mystery of a 113-year-old returned library book, at Ritz Theater, 345 13th Ave. NE, Mpls. AD and ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, June 14. Tickets reduced to $17.50 for ASL/AD patrons and one guest; phone: 612-339-3003, www.latteda.org CAROL BURNETT: AN EVENING OF LAUGHTER AND REFLECTION WHERE THE AUDIENCE ASKS THE QUESTIONS The famed actress and comedienne appears at Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave. S., and Mpls. ASL: offered 8 p.m. Fri, June 15. Tickets $59 to $179. Limited seats available at the lowest price level to patrons using ASL interpreting services on a first-come, first-served basis. Prices apply for up to two tickets for each patron requiring ASL interpretation or captioning. Additional seats may be sold separately and at regular price. FFI: 612-3397997, firstname.lastname@example.org WEST SIDE STORY Guthrie Theater presents the musical about 1950s New York City gang rivalry and romance at Guthrie Theater, Wurtele Thrust, 818 2nd St. S., Mpls. ASL and OC offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, June 23. ASL and AD offered 1 p.m. Wed, July 11 and Sat, July 21. Free sensory tour at 10:30 a.m. OC offered 1 p.m. Wed, July 11 and Sat, July 21. AD and OC offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, July 13. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, July 20. Tickets reduced to $20 for AD/ASL, $25 for OC (regular $15-67). FFI: 612-377-2224, www.guthrietheater.org LOVE NEVER DIES A touring company presents the Phantom of the Opera sequel, at Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls. OC offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, June 28. ASL offered 1 p.m. Sun, July 1. AD offered 6:30 p.m. Sun, July 1. Tickets $44 to $135. Limited seats are available at the lowest price level to patrons using ASL interpreting or captioning services on a first-come, first-served basis. Prices apply for up to two tickets for each patron requiring ASL interpretation or captioning. Additional seats may be sold separately and at regular price. Audio description receivers may be used in any price level in the theaters. FFI: 612-339-7007, https://hennepintheatretrust.org
ADA & MENTAL HEALTH: REMOVING THE STIGMA Minnesota’s 28th annual celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act is 1-4 p.m. Thu, July 26 at the Science Museum of Minnesota, 120 Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. This yearly collaboration of many disability organizations is a good opportunity to celebrate success at look at challenges ahead. The focus is on current mental health issues. Enjoy entertainment, speakers, an official proclamation, light refreshments and more. ASL interpretation, audio description and open captioning provided. Ask about other accommodations. The ADA celebration, admission to the Science Museum and its exhibit Mental Health: Mind Matters exhibit are free. Guests are asked to preregister at www.disability.state.mn.us/ada. Omnitheater admission and parking cost extra. Watch organization websites, including State Council on Disability, for more details. FFI: Accommodations, call Cindy Tarshish at ADA Minnesota, 651-603-2015 or email@example.com FELLOW TRAVELERS Minnesota Opera. Presents a 1950s love story and its complexities, at Cowles Center for Dance & Performing Arts, 516 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. OC offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, June 16 and 23 at 7:30 and 2 p.m. Sun, June 17, 7:30 p.m. Tue, June 19 and 26 and 7:30 p.m. Thu, June 21. Sung in English with English captions projected above the stage. AD offered 2 p.m. Sun, June 17. Braille, large-print programs and infrared listening systems available. Tickets $29-104; reduced to half-price for AD patrons. FFI: 612-333-6669, www.mnopera.org POSTMORTEM Theatre in the Round Players presents a murder mystery, at Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Avenue, Mpls. AD offered 2 p.m. Sun, June 17. Tactile tour at 1 p.m. upon request based on reservations. Large-print programs and assisted-listening devices available at every performance Tickets $22. Other discounts available. FFI: 612-333-3010, www.theatreintheround.org ROOTS AND WINGS One Voice Mixed Chorus celebrates LGBTQ Pride Weekend and 30 years of performances at Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, June 23. Tickets $15-$50. FFI: 651-298-1954, www. OneVoiceMN.org BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY Park Square Theatre presents the area premiere of a mystery tale, at Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage, 20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, June 29. OC offered 7:30 p.m. Fri-Sat, July 27-28, 2 p.m. Sun, July 29. Assistive listening devices available. ASL available by advance request. AD/OC single ticket discount is half-price for patron and one guest with code ACC (regular $40, $60; previews $27, $37). Other discounts available. FFI: 651-291-7005, www.parksquaretheatre.org
or otherwise respond to the music freely at any time. Come early for pre-concert activities, including opportunities to try orchestral instruments, engage in creative movement, participate in collaborative art-making, learn more about the program, and meet musicians. This is a concert for all ages to enjoy. Braille and large print playbills and assistive listening devices are available. Originally conceived and designed in 2013 by Orchestra musicians in partnership with local music therapist Lyndie Walker of ToneWorks Music Therapy, the Minnesota Orchestra’s full-orchestra sensoryfriendly concert in July is the first of its kind at Orchestra Hall, and has been designed with support from an accessibility team composed of orchestra staff. The Orchestra’s 2018-19 season will continue to expand the Sensory-Friendly Concert Series, featuring five Family Concerts (comprising three distinct programs) which will all be Sensory-Friendly experiences. Save the dates of March 10, May 12 and July 28, 2019. FFI: 612371-5656, www.minnesotaorchestra.org
at Orchestra Hall, Target Atrium, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. Program is targeted to arts administrators. Roger Ideishi, program director and associate professor of occupational therapy at Temple University in Philadelphia, will speak about a global wave of sensory friendly, relaxed experiences at cultural arts venues including museums, performing arts, zoos, and even comedy clubs. OC offered 11 a.n.-12:30 p.m. Fri, July 13. For additional accommodations, contact Maren Levad at 651-259-3480 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Free; pre-registration is requested by July 9 online at EventBrite: https://mnaa-sensory.eventbrite.com. FFI: MNAccessAlliance@gmail.com FRENCH TWIST Flying Foot Forum presents an inspiring evening of dance, theater and percussion set in a Paris sidewalk café, at Park Square Theatre, Andy Boss Thrust Stage, 20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, July 7. OC offered 7:30 p.m. Fri-Sat, July 13-14; 2 p.m. Sun, July 15. Assistive listening devices available. ASL available by advance request. AD/OC single ticket discount is half-price for patron and one guest with code ACC (regular $40, $60; previews $27, $37). Other discounts available. FFI: 651-291-7005, www.parksquaretheatre.org GUYS & DOLLS Lyric Arts Company of Anoka presents the story of the bright lights of Broadway, at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage, 420 E. Main St., Anoka. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sun, July 15. Lyric Arts reserves seats in Row I for parties including persons using wheelchairs or with limited mobility. ASL interpreters are provided at the first Sun performance of each regular season production. A limited number of seats near the interpreters are held in reserve for ASL patrons until three weeks prior to the performance. If no ASL seating has been reserved weeks by Sun, June 24), the ASL interpretation will be canceled and seats will be released to the general public. When ordering tickets, please indicate the need for seating in this section. Assisted listening devices available upon request. Tickets: $30-34; $5 discount for ASL seats. FFI: 763-422-1838, www.lyricarts.org DISNEY'S NEWSIES Chanhassen Dinner Theatres presents a story inspired by the New York City Newsboys Strike of 1899, at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, 501 W. 78th St., Chanhassen. ASL offered 6 p.m. Wed, July 18, show at 8 p.m. Limited seating in ASL area, first-come first-serve. Tickets $15 discount off regular price: Wed eve regular $75. FFI: 952-934-1525, www.ChanhassenDT.com ART SHOW: EMMA ERSPAMER AND JON LEVERENTZ The work of Emma Erspamer and Jon Leverentz is featured through July at
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IMAGINING THE FUTURE Envision the future as expressed by artists ahead of their time, at Mpls Institute of Arts, 2400 2rd Ave. S., Mpls. ASL offered 1 p.m. Sun, July 1. Interpreted tours begin by the Information Bar in the upper lobby on the first Sun of the month at 1:00, except as noted differently. Other interpreted tours and memory loss tours can be scheduled through the Visitor Experience office. Free. FFI: 612-870-6323, www.artsmia.org TOUR FOR PEOPLE WITH MEMORY LOSS At 10 a.m. on the first Tue of every month the historic James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul, offers a sensory-based tour designed for people with memory loss and their caregivers. Each themed tour, usually an hour or less, highlights three rooms and is followed by an optional social time until 11:30 a.m. with pastries and coffee. Private group tours are available for care facilities. Next tour is Tue, July 3. Free but reservations required. FFI: 651-297- 2555, www.mnhs.org THE STATE OF ARTS ACCESS FOR PERSONS WITH DIVERSE SENSORY AND COGNITIVE ABILITIES Minnesota Access Alliance presents a workshop about current rends and the future of arts access for Persons with diverse sensory and cognitive abilities,
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
PEOPLE & PLACES Fraser receives $2.6 million for new clinic Fraser, a provider of autism and early childhood mental health services, received a $2.6 million grant from the Peter J. King Family Foundation to support the building of the Fraser Woodbury Clinic, a state-of-the-art mental health clinic. This will be the seventh clinic for Fraser. Fraser Woodbury Clinic, located at 721 Commerce Drive, will provide autism treatment, early childhood Rendering of Fraser's new Woodbury clinic driving across town to receive treatment.” mental health treatment, The 27,000 square foot clinic is being constructed and pediatric therapy services. It is scheduled to open including research-based lighting, acoustics and design June 25. features to enhance treatment outcomes. “This is the There is a huge demand for autism and mental health first autism project, worldwide, designed based on services throughout the Twin Cities, and especially in quantitative perceptual building performance standards the Twin Cities east metro, where there are few service focused on the hypersensitivity of children and adults providers. Families are often forced to travel great on the spectrum,” said Steve Orfield, President of distances to receive services. Fraser staff estimates that Orfield Labs. The firm is an advisor on the project and more than 1,200 families will be served at the Fraser industry-leading researcher and building designer. Woodbury Clinic in the first year. Fraser has been raising funds for the Fraser Woodbury “We are deeply grateful to the Peter J. King Family Clinic capital campaign since 2015. So far, including the Foundation for their incredible generosity. This gift grant from the Peter J. King Family Foundation, Fraser will help us to provide Fraser’s life-changing services to has raised more than $6 million. thousands of children and families in the east metro,” Fraser provides direct care to more than 10,000 said Diane Cross, Fraser President and CEO. “This will children, teens, and adults each year through healthcare, have a positive ripple effect on families for years to housing, education and employment services. come. We will be able to serve more families waiting for services and reduce travel times for families already
Maple Grove musician is winner
Three young musicians and a group ensemble are winners of the 2018 VSA International Young Soloists Competition, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Maple Grove resident Madeline Sheard was honored. She plays the cello. Sherard received a $2,000 Madeline Sheard award and was able to participate in pre-professional development activities including rehearsals and roundtable discussions with music professionals. She also performed on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage May 30. “Congratulations to each of these outstanding musicians. They are shining examples of world-class artistry and exemplars of the capacities and capabilities of people with disabilities,” said Betty Siegel, Director of VSA and Accessibility at the Kennedy Center. The annual honors are for emerging young artists, ages 14–25, from all over the world who have disabilities and demonstrate exceptional musical talent. Sheard, age 18, studies with Mina Fisher and has won numerous competitions, including Schubert Club, Thursday Musical and Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s Minnesota Varsity Competition. Her solo engagements have included the LaCrosse Symphony Orchestra and the Salon se Lève Young Artist Concert Series. Sheard studies chamber music with the Artaria Chamber Music School and has attended summer festivals. She is principal cellist of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies and will tour internationally with them this summer. Sheard, who has a hearing loss, is grateful for the chance to share her music with others.
New grants promote better lives for people with disabilities
The Minnesota Department of Human Services has awarded $946,878 as part of a new disability services innovations grants program. The grants are intended to support people with disabilities in the community. The Minnesota Legislature appropriated funding for innovative ways to improve outcomes for people with disabilities in employment, where they live and connection with others in their communities. “We’re excited about expanding opportunities for people to live, work and engage in their communities in a meaningful way,” said Assistant Human Services Commissioner Claire Wilson. “Community partners have offered creative ways to give people with disabilities many more options to live the life they want.” The small innovations grants program awards between $1,500 and $100,000 to individuals and organizations to work with Minnesotans with disabilities. The small innovations grants have been awarded to: *ACT (Advocating Change Together), central Minnesota, $3,500 for a community garden in
Cambridge and a “Remembering Our Past” historical project on the evolution of disability services. *All Star Academy ASA, Twin Cities metro area, $20,960 to educate parents and other adults of diverse cultural groups on autism and other disabilities so they can help their families access services. *Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Twin Cities metro area, $50,000 to provide shared living options and supports for people with disabilities. *Bridges MN, Twin Cities metro area, $100,000 to develop a web service to provide people with disabilities options for housing, potential roommates and supports so they can move out of group homes if they wish. *Can Do Canines, Twin Cities metro area, $20,000 to train and match assist dogs to help people with diabetes monitor low blood-sugar levels. *Cook County Public Health and Human Services in northeastern Minnesota is receiving $75,303 to support community employment of people with developmental disabilities. *Dakota County Library, Can Do Canines Twin Cities metro area, $100,000 to train library staff on disability inclusion and develop more inclusive online and physical library environments for people with disabilities. *Dakota County, $100,000 to partner with Lyft on a transportation model for people with disabilities that can be replicated throughout Minnesota. *Hammer Residences, Minnetonka, $25,000 to increase transportation services to support community integration. *Lifetrack, Twin Cities metro area, $98,453 for
intensive employment support services for people with disabilities with criminal backgrounds. *Mad Hatter Wellness, Twin Cities metro area, $15,000 for workshops on safety and sexual health. *Mental Health Minnesota, $80,000 to support peerto-peer employment groups for people with mental illness statewide. *Natalis Outcomes, Twin Cities metro area, $86,112 for employment supports for adults with mental illness. *Project for Pride in Living, Twin Cities metro area, $30,000 for its program to help families with mental and physical disabilities who have been homeless increase their self-reliance and build a foundation from which children can thrive. *Residential Services of Northeastern Minnesota, $100,000 to increase community integration of people with disabilities through matches with community members. *SMILES (Southern Minnesota Independent Living Enterprises and Services) Center for Independent Living in southern Minnesota, $42,550 for a sidewalk safety campaign in Mankato. The effort will bring together people with disabilities SMILES and other community members on accessibility and other neighborhood issues and include events and a media campaign. The small innovation grants program is one of three innovation grants programs DHS offers, alongside the microgrant program and the large innovation grants program. In 2017, DHS awarded $1.8 million in the large innovation grants program and awarded a contract to Arc Minnesota to administer a micro-grants program that is currently underway. More information on the micro-grants program is available on the Arc Minnesota website. More information on all of the innovation grants programs is available on the department's website.
Military plate proceeds help groups
Minnesota’s Support Our Troops license plates provide funding for programs that help military veterans, including veterans with disabilities. The state’s Department of Veterans Affairs in May announced four winners of competitive grants. Organizations can seek $1,000 to $100,000 in funds, for programs to support and improve the lives of Veterans and their families. “Congratulations to our most recent recipients for their commitment to serving Minnesota Veterans,” said Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito. “And I also thank those Minnesotans who purchase Support Our Troops license plates. Without support from the thousands who are ‘driving home their support’ every
PEOPLE & PLACES To page 13
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
PEOPLE & PLACES PEOPLE & PLACES From page 12 day, these grants would not be possible.” Community Action Partnership, Hennepin County, will use $90,000 to provide case management assistance and rental subsidies for veterans and their families who are at risk of eviction. Every Third Saturday, Inc. will use $50,000 to provide case management assistance for Veterans and their families who have made recent positive changes in their life, such as exiting homelessness, or completing a mental health or a substance abuse program. Freedom Flight, Inc. will use $37,500 to purchase a mobility impaired/accessible hot air balloon basket, trailer, and other related equipment. Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will use $100,000 to purchase a handicapped accessible van to transport wheelchair bound Veterans, and other Veterans, to various US Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities. Deployments and military service can put a strain on families, finances and health. Purchasing a Support our Troops License plate helps Minnesota military, veterans and families in several ways including an array of counseling services, emergency financial assistance, community education, outreach to diverse communities, and Helping Homeless Veterans secure shelter and access to benefits.
Winners Announced in 2018 Minnesota Job Honor Awards
The Minnesota Job Honor Awards, an initiative that recognizes Minnesotans who have overcome barriers to employment, has announced its top honorees for 2018. The awards Frank Murillo were presented in partnership with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce at the Workforce Solutions Forum on May 9 in Minneapolis. Business leaders from across the state assembled to witness the ceremony, in which biographical videos described honoree efforts to win life-changing jobs. Frank Murillo of Eden Prairie was honored for his work at General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis. Diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, Murillo was dedicated to finding meaningful employment. “Some jobs are menial, and many people get bored doing the same thing over and over again,” said Murillo, “People with disabilities, some of them like to do those repetitive tasks.” With the help of Opportunity Partners, a nonprofit provider of support services for people with disabilities, Murillo found an ideal match in the mail room and document scanning center at General Mills. “We're a company that values inclusiveness,” said Erin Dunn, Director of Global Business and Employee Services at General Mills, “Frank displays all the qualities that we look for in any employee: he's
trustworthy, enthusiastic, and a good team player.” Securian Financial Group in St. Paul was honored for its longstanding commitment to hire disadvantaged candidates, including people with disabilities. Securian partners with Lifeworks Services, a nonprofit serving people with disabilities in the Twin Cities and greater Mankato area. “Securian is a leader. They’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Lifeworks CEO and President Jeffrey Brown. “Our history with Securian goes back about a quarter of a century. They want to make a difference in their community, and they want to make a difference in people's lives. I have huge respect for that.” Other honorees include Coleman Company, Inc. of Sauk Rapids. The company was honored for its work to provide education and occupational training for young adult refugees. Also, Telisha Madison of Duluth was honored for overcoming homelessness and finding career success. Lead sponsor of the Minnesota Job Honor Awards is ManpowerGroup.
Work group members are named
Minnesota’s Olmstead Implementation Office has reestablished its Community Engagement Work Group for 2018-2019, with eight returning members and 12 new members. More than 90 applications were received for the spots, which was a great community response. The first group was launched in September, 2016, with the ambitious goals of helping to define best practices for public input, shaping the communications plan, and developing the framework of a new community engagement plan. Its recommendations were brought to the Olmstead Subcabinet for approval in December, 2017. Strategic priorities recommended by the group were used by the implementation office in many ways, including the start of development of the community engagement plan and evaluation tool. The Olmstead Office is collaborating with Department of Human Right’s Civic Engagement work to build this tool. With more work to be done, the Olmstead Subcabinet approved a new community engagement workgroup charter in May. The new members will convene in July and complete their work in June 2019. Members will review public input process and communications efforts, and work on the Olmstead Community Engagement Plan. A focus will be to identify best practices and strategies to build equitable engagement with diverse and underrepresented communities with disabilities Members are Val Barnes, West St. Paul; Robyn Barton, Inver Grove Heights; Natalie Beazer, Brooklyn Park; Amy Burke and Reyna Crow, Duluth; Jessica Cambronne, Sauk Rapids; Beth Dierker, Hopkins; Mohamed Dirshe, Andy Dreisewerd and Jane Strauss, Minneapolis; Reva Jones-Simmons, Oakdale; Brian Schreifels, Rosemount; Leah Simmons, Brad Teslow and Kjensmo Walker, St. Paul; Javid Spaulding, Cook; Lilli Sprintz, St. Louis Park; Lauren Thompson, Champlin; Jenna Udenberg, Two Harbors and Terry Wilding, Faribault The next Olmstead Subcabinet meeting is 10:30 a.m.-noon Friday, June 22 at Minnesota Housing, 400 Wabasha Street, St. Paul, Suite 400. Meeting information can be found at www.mn.gov/olmstead and the public is invited to attend in person or by phone. Follow Olmstead on Facebook, www. facebook.com/MNOlmsteadPlan/ or sign up for the electronic newsletter https://signup.e2ma.net/ signup/1846169/25709/ ■
He wanted all to play ball
Former Minnesota Twins player Frank John Quilici is remembered not just for his professional sports career, but also for his commitment to sports for all children. Quilici died in May after a long illness. He was 80 and lived in Burnsville. Quilici played second base for the Twins in the 1960s. He was part of the Twins’ American League championship team that lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a sevengame World Series. He later served as coach, manager, and broadcaster for the organization Quilici, who later became an insurance company executive, was honored with the Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service in 2013. He also was a former member of the board of directors of the Twins Community Fund and president of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. One of the causes he championed was that of accessible Miracle League ball fields so that children with disabilities can enjoy baseball. The Minnesota Twins issued a statement: “Frank not only exemplified professionalism as a player, coach, manager, and broadcaster for the Twins, he also served as a community leader in the Twin Cities working to make sure youth had recreational opportunities and contributed to many other charitable causes.” He is survived by his wife Lila, four children and their families, and other family members and friends. Services have been held.
Spencer was children’s advocate
An advocate for children with disabilities is remembered for her decades of activism. Dorothy "Dottie" Cederberg Spencer, 90, died in St. Paul. In the early 1970s then-Gov. Wendell Anderson appointed Spencer to what is now the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Spencer was born in 1927 in North Dakota. Her father was a Swedish Lutheran minister. The family lived in several places including Chisholm, Grantsburg, Wisc, and Churchbridge, Saskatchewan, where she was the valedictorian of the (four-person) class of 1945. She went on to graduate from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. She was an inner-city school teacher and then became a stewardess. She married Merrill Harvey Spencer. They moved to Madelia. Spencer was a tireless advocate for the disabled, serving on the state council and the Minnesota Epilepsy League, now the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota. She returned to teaching and was deeply involved with the Madelia Public Library. She moved to St. Paul in 2014, after the death of her husband. Spencer is survived by six children and their families, as well as siblings and many friends. Services have been held.
An experienced group of actors with disabilities brought a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to the Lakeville Area Arts Center June 7. ProAct Playhouse took the stage for the production “We’ve tailored a lot of the roles to meet each individual’s needs and strengths,” said Amanda Thomm, director. The latest offering was inspired by the group’s 2017 presentation of “Romeo and Juliet.” ProAct Playhouse has been known to tackle disability topics with an edge of comedic flair that communicates messages in an entertaining fashion. The troupe began nearly 10 years ago out of a life skills class at ProAct in Eagan. Some of the actors have been with the group since its founding. ProAct serves individuals with disabilities, most from Dakota County. Part of its mission is to provide community-integrated opportunities in the performing arts, and a platform from which to share their talents. Thomm said most of the play centers on love and relationships, which are relatable themes for everyone. “One of the challenges has been to translate the antiquated language of the original play,” she said. Headquartered in Eagan, ProAct serves people with developmental and other disabilities, brain injuries and other barriers to employment and community inclusion. Most of the people served are from the Twin Cities area, southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
ENJOY! From Page 11
Vision Loss Resources, 1936 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls. Lobby hours 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Mon-Fri. Free. Coordinated by VSA Minnesota. FFI: 612-332-3888. http://vsamn.org/artists-disabilities/exhibit-program/ MORE EVENTS VSA MINNESOTA VSA Minnesota is a statewide nonprofit organization that works to create a community where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in and access the arts, at http://vsamn.org. The website has a comprehensive calendar at the upper right-hand corner of its homepage. For information on galleries and theater performances around the state join the Access to Performing Arts email list at email@example.com or call 612-332-3888 or statewide 800-801-3883 (voice/TTY). To hear a weekly listing of accessible performances, call 612- 332-3888 or 800-801-3883. Access Press only publishes performance dates when accommodations are offered. VSA Minnesota advises everyone to call or email ahead, to make such that an accommodation is offered, as schedules can change. VSA Minnesota can also refer venues and theater companies to qualified describers, interpreters and captioners. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES • http://c2net.org (c2: caption coalition, inc., which does most of the captioned shows across the country. • Facebook is another way to connect with performances. • Connect with Audio Description across Minnesota http://tinyurl. com/ d34dzo2. • Connect with ASL interpreted and captioned performances across Minnesota on Facebook http:// tinyurl.com/FBcaption. • Minnesota Playlist, updated website calendar with all the ASLinterpreted, audio-described, captioned, pay-what-you-can shows and other features. Go to http://minnesotaplaylist.com/calendar • Arts festivals are held throughout the state. Check: www. exploreminnesota.com/index.aspx, http:// festivalnet.com/state/ minnesota/mn.html, www. fairsandfestivals.net/states/MN/ ABBREVIATIONS: Audio description (AD) for people who are blind or have low vision, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Open captioning (OC) for people who are hard of hearing, and sensory-friendly (SENS) performances.
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
Polar Plungers start time of chills, thrills
RADIO TALKING BOOK
TAKE THE LISTENER SURVEY Radio Talking Book is completing a listener survey in June. The goal is to contact the more than 1,300 listeners with RTB radio units in their homes to learn how often they tune in, which programs they find valuable, which they avoid and what they’d like to hear more of. All comments will be kept confidential, and will help respond to listeners’ needs. The State Services for the Blind staff looks forward to listener input.
PAST IS PROLOGUE* Monday – Friday 9 a.m. The War Within, nonfiction by Alexis Peri, 2017. During World War II the German army circled Leningrad, beginning one of the longest and deadliest sieges in modern history. Read by John Potts. 13 broadcasts; begins Wed, June 13. BOOKWORM* Monday – Friday 11 a.m. Take Me With You, fiction by Catherine Ryan Hyde, 2014. A man who recently lost his son travels to Yellowstone with unexpected companions: two orphans with nowhere to go. Read by Esmé Evans. 10 broadcasts; begins Mon, June 25.
BOOKS AVAILABLE THROUGH FARIBAULT Books broadcast on the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network are available through the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library in Faribault. Call 1-800-7220550, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The catalog is online at www. mnbtbl.org, click on the link Search the Library Catalog. Persons living outside of Minnesota may obtain copies of books via an inter-library loan by contacting their home state’s Network Library for the National Library Service.
THE WRITER'S VOICE* Monday – Friday 2 p.m. Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember, nonfiction by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, 2017. A woman who suffered a stroke shares her writings, compensating for thoughts she can no longer retrieve. Read by Connie Jamison. Nine broadcasts; begins Thu, June 21.
Listen to the Minnesota Radio Talking Book, either live or archived program from the last week, on the Internet at www. mnssb.org/rtb. The sampling published monthly in Access Press doesn’t represent the full array of programming. Many more programs and books are available.
CHOICE READING* Monday – Friday 4 p.m. Where Am I Now?, nonfiction by Mara Wilson, 2016. Former child star Mara Wilson tells the story of her journey from accidental fame to relative but happy obscurity. Read by Pat Muir. Eight broadcasts; begins Mon, June 25.
Call the Talking Book Library for a password to the site. To find more information about Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network events go to the Facebook site, Minnesota Radio Talking Book.
PM REPORT* Monday – Friday 8 p.m. A Higher Loyalty, Nonfiction by James Comey, 2018. Former FBI director Comey shares his experiences from the highstakes situations in his career. He explores what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions. Read by John Holden. 12 broadcasts; begins Tue, June 12.
Audio information about the daily book listings is also on the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) Newsline. Register for the NFB Newsline by calling 651-539Access Press is featured at 9 p.m. Sundays on the program “It Makes a Difference.”
Fit For the Presidency?, nonfiction by Seymour Morris, Jr., 2018. If Americans were to apply the standards used by
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executive recruiters, would a Presidential candidate make it past the front door? Read by Marylyn Burridge. 15 broadcasts; begins Thu, June 28. NIGHT JOURNEY* Monday – Friday 9 p.m. The Night Market, fiction by Jonathan Moore, 2018. Detectives investigating a crime are kept in a decontamination trailer, then lose all memory of the facts. Read by John Mandeville. 12 broadcasts; begins Wed, June 27. – V, L OFF THE SHELF* Monday – Friday 10 p.m. Turtles All the Way Down, fiction by John Green, 2017. A girl with anxiety disorders joins a search to find a runaway billionaire. Read by Jack Rossmann. Eight broadcasts; begins Mon, June 18. The Little Red Chairs, fiction by Edna O’Brien, 2016. A mysterious shaman comes to a small Irish town, where a beautiful woman turns to him for healing. Read by Michele Potts. Nine broadcasts; begins Thu, June 28. – V, L, S POTPOURRI* Monday – Friday midnight The Land Between Two Rivers, nonfiction by Tom Sleigh, 2018. A journalist recounts his tours in Africa and the Middle East. Read by Don Lee. 10 broadcasts; begins Tue, June 12. – L Border, nonfiction by Kapka Kassabova, 2017. A writer returns to Bulgaria, which she left 25 years before, to explore the boundaries it shares with Turkey and Greece. Read by Arlan Dohrenburg. 15 broadcasts; begins Tue, June 25. GOOD NIGHT OWL* Monday – Friday midnight Lila, fiction by Marilynne Robinson, 2014. A young woman who grew up on the run marries an Iowa preacher, and tries to make sense of her new life. Read by Esmé Evans. Nine broadcasts; begins Wed, June 20.
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AFTER MIDNIGHT* Tuesday-Saturday 1 a.m. Among the Survivors, fiction by Ann Z. Leventhal, 2017. Raised to always fear what might happen next, Karla tries taking risks that lead to a fulfilling life. Read by Jodi Lindskog. 10 broadcasts; begins Fri, June 15. – L, S Winter Sisters, fiction by Robin Oliveira, 2018. Two young girls lost in a blizzard are found, and have suffered an unspeakable trauma. Civil War military doctor Mary Sutter provides healing and seeks justice. Read by Michele Potts. 13 broadcasts; begins Fri, June 29. – L, G Weekend Program Books Your Personal World, 1 p.m. Sat, presents How Healing Works by Wayne Jonas, followed by Living in a Mindful Universe by Eben Alexander and Karen Newell. Both are read by Beverly Burchett. For the Younger Set, 11 a.m. Sun, presents Expelled by James Patterson and Emily Raymond, read by John Mandeville; followed by The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken, read by Jim Tarbox. Poetic Reflection, noon Sun, presents Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering edited by Hal Cannon; followed by Leonard Cohen: Poems and Songs, both read by Scott McKinney. The Great North, 4 p.m. Sun, presents November’s Fury by Michael Schumacher, read by Chris Colestock. ABBREVIATIONS: V – Violence, L – Offensive Language, S – Sexual Situations, RE – Racial Epithets, G – Gory Depictions
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6
Loss of housing a worry
With the sale of Brooklyn Center’s Earle Brown Terrace senior living facility, residents were notified that they had to be out by June 15. Dozens of people are scrambling to find new housing after being told this month that the facility where they live is being sold and will close. The same thing is happening in Bloomington. The two cases are causing worry for people with disabilities and seniors, at a time when there is an affordable housing shortage. Residents of Earle Brown Terrace learned in a May 1 letter that their leases and home-care services are being terminated due to the June 15 closure, a decision that management officials say partly stems from years of low occupancy. That gives them six weeks to leave — a timetable that their families are decrying as too tight to find new housing, especially for residents who are low-income, have disabilities or may lack relatives to help them. Some families are quick to praise staff efforts to help residents navigate their options, but many describe the quick time frame as a hardship and say they wonder whether building managers could have let them know sooner. The news has left 73-year-old resident Johnetta Dysart grieving the loss of friendships, as her neighbors disperse to different facilities. "I'm angry," Dysart said. "This is my home and they are taking it away from me." What angers her, she said, is the time frame seniors have been given to leave. (Source: Star Tribune)
Germany, has been fighting cancer since 2012. He lost a kidney in 2014. His wife has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and Hoppe has taken on caring for her as well. Both husband and wife are on oxygen. The pair have a son, Jim, who lives with them. He helps take care of them and drives them to medical appointments. Anderson, who had been among the first to jump in and defend Hoppe online, helped out with the event all the way from her college in South Dakota. “I am so happy that we were able to do this simple act of kindness,” she said. “It just makes you feel good at the end of the day knowing that you helped someone else out.” (Source: Mankato Free Press)
Student with disabilities remembered
United South Central High School student Anna Aadsen died in July 2017 from complications from Aicardi syndrome, a genetic disorder. This spring her classmates, the graduating seniors at the school in Wells, dedicated a rock monument in her honor. They and their teachers credit Aadsen with teaching them valuable life lessons. Anna Aadsen used a wheelchair. She couldn’t speak but interacted frequently with her schoolmates. “Even though Anna couldn’t speak, she still told a story,” said Terri Seedorf, her case manager at United South Central. “The United South Central school district and the administrators, the teachers, the students — everyone here just embraced her life.” “People learned empathy; people learned courage,” Seedorf said. “Her life was taken too soon. She wasn’t done finishing her story. Her memory will always be in our hearts. This is just one way to let this small community know that we truly cared for her and her family.” Aadsen would have graduated this year. She was honored at the graduation ceremony in early June. (Source: Albert Lea Tribune)
Drug is linked to disabilities
Duluth resident Shawn Bolf, 44, is among a growing number of people living with mefloquine poisoning or mefloquine toxicity. Its symptoms include vertigo and double vision. The condition is believed to stem from taking the antimalarial drug mefloquine, which Bolf and many other military personnel were required to take. Bolf was deployed to Afghanistan in January 2010 as a member of the Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard. Bolf contends he shouldn't have been prescribed the drug and shouldn't have been required to keep taking it in Afghanistan, even when he developed symptoms so severe that he had to be medically evacuated to Germany before
his three-month mission was complete. The U.S. Department of Defense had issued a memorandum four months before Bolf's deployment warning about the potential risks of mefloquine and identifying a different drug that should be used instead. Medical professionals have disagreed about the drug’s impacts but the issue has caught the attention of Congressman Rick Nolan. “Situations like this are heartbreaking and tragic and cannot go unchecked,” Nolan said in a statement. “I intend to call for immediate action by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to further investigate the use of this drug and its consequences and how we might best remediate the great harm and damage that has been caused to some of our servicemen and women.” Mefloquine was developed in the 1960s. Back then there were concerns about the drug's “neuro-psychiatric effects.” It was nonetheless the military's antimalarial drug of choice for 25 years, not really abandoned until 2013. It is now considered a drug of last resort. (Source: KSTP TV, Duluth NewsTribune)
Children’s facility to East Bethel?
A month after Forest Lake city officials said no, a proposed psychiatric treatment center for children and teens is getting a warm welcome from people in East Bethel. “It’s an opportunity for our community to address a serious crisis in our state,” said East Bethel Mayor Steven Voss. “We are embracing this project.” He spoke at a recent community gathering. The proposed move, to a 36-acre east
REGIONAL NEWS From page 6
Brooklyn Center's Earle Brown Terrace senior living facility bethel site, is meeting more support than opposition. Some neighbors have raises concerns. Others said the facility is needed. If all goes as planned ground would be broken this year and the facility open in 2019. The Hills Youth and Family Services has been seeking a space for a 60-bed treatment facility for clients age 6 to 17. The Duluth-based nonprofit ran up against storing resistance in Forest Lake, where a longtime stables and horse farm would have become its new home. While community members and the Planning Commission there support the facility, the mayor and some City Council members campaigned gained the project and it was dropped. But in East Bethel, the Duluth-based nonprofit is meeting a positive response. The $26 million project, which will provide 150 new jobs, is praised for its innovative approach to children’s mental health issues. The facility is badly needed according to mental health advocates. Other communities reached out after Forest Lake city leaders rejected a needed zoning change for the facility. Hills officials describe the response in East Bethel as “night and day” when looking at what they experienced in Forest Lake. Hills is working with East Bethel city officials to secure a site. (Source: Star Tribune)
on children who were eight years old, the study relied on 2014 data from the health and special education records of 9,767 children in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. As part of a nationwide network of studies funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring Network, the Minnesotaspecific study shows the rate of ASD is higher than the national average. The CDC found that, on average, 1 in 59 or 1.7 percent of children was identified as having ASD in communities where prevalence was tracked by the network. This is the first time Minnesota has been involved in the network’s work. “Minnesota's higher prevalence rates could be due, in part, to the concentration of services and supports in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area,” said Amy Hewitt, the principal investigator for the Minnesota study. The Minnesota study is unique in relation to other ADDM Network studies because, in addition to examining data from white, black and Hispanic populations, it also collected information on two immigrant groups with large populations in Minnesota -- Somali and Hmong. The study found no significant statistical differences in prevalence rates between Somali and non-Somali children or between Hmong and other children. The prevalence finding was 1 in 26 for Somali children and 1 in 54 for Hmong children. "While both these numbers may look very different from the overall Minnesota average of 1 in 42, the sample sizes were too small to be able to tell if these differences are real or occurred by random chance," Hewitt said. "By being able to expand our study area beyond the borders of Hennepin and Ramsey counties in future studies, we will be able to gain a better perspective on autism rates among all Minnesotans, including those of Somali and Hmong descent." “Understanding the prevalence of autism in Minnesota communities is a critical first step as we make plans to ensure access to services from childhood through adulthood,” said Hewitt. “We hope that as a result of the MN-ADDM project, the differences uncovered in this study will help us better understand health disparities in our state and to expand Minnesota's autism support services and workforce network.” (Source: University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration)
Rate of autism brought to light
A new study by the MinnesotaAutism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network at the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration identified 1 in 42 children or 2.4 percent of the observed population as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Minnesota. Focused
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June 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 6