May 2018 Edition - Access Press

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May 10, 2018


Service cut, work rules in limbo as session end nears




by Access Press staff

LIMBO To page 13

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at it.


The clock is ticking as the 2018 Minnesota Legislature nears its May 21 adjournment date. Many disability-related issues hung in the balance as Access Press went to press. People with disabilities and their advocacy groups are tracking a wide array of bills as the session draws to a close. Omnibus bills, including finance bills, were making their way through the process as April ended and May began. House and Senate floor passage of various financing and policy bills then sends the measures to conference committees to hammer out differences. Gov. Mark Dayton has made it clear he doesn’t want state lawmakers to be back for a special session, so the pressure is on to get things done. The controversial Medical Assistance/Medicaid work and volunteer time requirements, which met objections from many disability service groups and the This is Medicaid Coalition, are still a focus of concern. As of newspaper deadline the requirements hadn’t been voted on. Opponents of the measure are still wary of floor votes, and the measure coming up. Dayton has threatened to veto the measure, but could be placed in a tough spot if the requirements are slipped into a larger bill. If the requirement provision happens, more than 20,000 Minnesotans could be affected. Opponents of the measure said it would create onerous reporting requirements and could have consequence of causing people to lose health care coverage and supports needed to survive. The work requirements are also seen as creating very costly and staffintensive demands on county and state human services staff. It could also force people who are working to go on permanent disability, rather than deal with ongoing, complex reporting requirements. One issue many people are watching closely is the looming seven percent cut to home and community-based services. The House and Senate have each placed a priority on stopping the cut, which would create upheaval in the lives of many Minnesotans with disabilities. The Senate’s proposal would delay the cut but not stop it entirely. Another issue that has been the focus of intense lobbying this session was complex care, or enhanced rate for high needs personal care attendant services. For the past few years, self-advocates and disability

Stephen Hawking

A family enjoyed a vacation at Jay Cooke State Park. Improvements to four other state parks are in play in the 2018 bonding bill.

Bonding needs for state parks, DHS facilities are still in play Accessibility improvements to four Minnesota state parks, as well as improvements to state academies and Department of Human Services (DHS) treatment facilities remain on the table as the 2018 Minnesota Legislature approaches its May 21 adjournment date. The Minnesota Council on Disability is leading the charge on the state parks funding, which would provide $20

NEWS DIGEST Art, history displays open Page 8

million to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to design, develop and complete comprehensive packages of accessibility improvements and upgrades at Fort Snelling, Minneopa Nerstrand Big Woods, and William O'Brien state parks. The improvements are anticipated for day facilities, campground areas, trails, parking facilities, interpretive buildings and exhibits, BONDING NEEDS To page 5

New advocacy group forms Page 5 Live Well grants approved Page 7 MOHR announces awards Page 9

Health care survey reveals cost increase worries by Access Press staff How do Minnesotans feel about health care costs, especially against the backdrop of possible changes to Medicare and Medicaid? A survey of more than 1,000 state residents shows that while the vast majority have health insurance, respondents are worried about the rising costs of health care. Drug prices are a concern, as are looming changes at the federal level. Recently the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (MNCDD) replicated a 2004 health care costs survey. Minnesota Healthcare Attitudes 2018 shows that while the health care landscape has changed since the launch of the Affordable Care Act, some familiar worries remain. The original survey was launched when then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed former U.S. Senator David Durenberger to head the Minnesota Citizens Forum on Health Care Costs. The forum was asked to address a crisis in affordable health care. Its 18 members traveled the state for three months, conducting town hall meetings and listening sessions. Members gathered ideas from fellow citizens on what the state's health care system should look like. At the time Pawlenty said the forum would likely find much common ground

HEALTHCARE OUTLOOK One-out-of-four Minnesota adults (27%) believe they will be worse off in 3 years regarding access to good quality, affordable healthcare. With regards to your access to good quality and affordable healthcare, I believe in 3 years we will be… (Q13) (n=1,009) Worse off

Better off

About the same

Do you know someone with a developmental disability? Yes Immediate Family/Self

Yes Acquaintance

















Indicates statistically significantly higher or lower than other figures in the row, at 95% confidence level

Households with a person with a developmental disability are more likely to have a pessimistic near future outlook regarding healthcare quality and affordability, as compared to all other households. 26

on health care reform, and would find solutions to help cut health care costs for Minnesotans. The forum worked with the Minnesota Board on Aging and MNCDD to develop and conduct a 20-minute telephone survey of a representative sample of 800 Minnesotans. “When this study was first commissioned 14 years ago, a pressing issue was running buses to Canada to buy prescription drugs. In this study,

2395 MN Attitudinal Study: Healthcare Services & Costs

a pressing issue is the high cost of prescription drugs and the need for government oversight,” said Sen. John Hoffman (DFL- Champlain). One-fourth of the current respondents stated that they will be worse off in three years, when considering access to good quality, affordable healthcare. In households with a family member with a developmental disability, this pessimism

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May 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 5


Tim Benjamin With spring’s new growth comes the end of the legislative session, and as usual very little has been done at the Minnesota capitol. In recent years, it is always a waiting game; each side is waiting to see who will fold first. Who’s going to cut taxes and who will get blamed for no tax cuts? Who is going to vote for the state’s highest priorities and who will vote only for what has the general public’s current attention, to get themselves re-elected? If you’re not there almost every day you know only a small part of the truth, since the news media relay so few of the real facts, the full and truthful details. The general public that calls for spending reductions does not always know the ramifications of not spending money today. Far too often, those budget cuts that look so good in the short term cause bridges to collapse or prisons to have space and staff shortages

or Minnesota to fall far behind in public transportation. They also mean real trouble for home- and community-based healthcare support programs. I am afraid that more people with disabilities will die before legislators increase funding to home- and communitybased programs. I am worried that it is going to take a catastrophic incident before the general public demands the legislature do something. But even then you never know. It seems pretty obvious to me that we need to increase our mental health care resources for school-aged youth, but recently a suburban city council refused to vote in favor of building a multi-bed psychological health facility for youth. In March, one state legislator told disability advocates that his highest priority was to pass into law funding to help stop the crisis in home- and community-based

In recent years, it is always a waiting game; each side is waiting to see who will fold first. Those budget cuts...also mean real trouble for home- and communitybased healthcare support programs.

"Minnesotans have a great deal of goodwill. You can shame people into doing the right thing. I do not know if you can say that in most parts of the country anymore." services. However, it is not a priority at the end of April. I know that it is not up to one legislator or one committee chair to make sure something gets funded, but people are actually dying. I have seen legislators crying when they hear testimony about how terrible it is in the community to find good caregivers. They are appalled at stories of people sleeping in their wheelchairs because no one came to put them to bed, or hearing stories about people staying in bed for a long holiday weekend because they could not find anyone available to help them. They’ve heard reports of people having to have amputations or dying from infection from untreated wounds and pressure sores. They know that people with disabilities have been diagnosed with PTSD because of the worries and stress of not having caregivers. Many people are struggling every weekend to find caregivers, and they often need to ask people to work long stretches of time because another caregiver got sick and there’s no backup or relief staff. Newly hired caregivers are being trained at agencies’ cost, and then they often lose their investments in PCAs, when someone recently taught never shows up for even the first shift on their own. Family relationships and friendships are being destroyed because of overwork and underpayment. PCAs are leaving their caregiving jobs to take jobs in retail for an increase wage of 25 cents an hour. In another newspaper, the author quoted

a news celebrity who said, “Minnesotans have a great deal of goodwill. You can shame people into doing the right thing. I do not know if you can say that in most parts of the country anymore." It is difficult to think that a civilized society needs to be shamed into doing the right thing. Are they saying that society should not be obliged to help provide for those who cannot fully care for themselves? What if society were not so much obliged as obliging? When I look up obliging in the thesaurus the words helpful, kind, considerate, agreeable, willing, cooperative and accommodating come up. I do not know if any of these words are in the Bill of Rights or the U.S. Constitution, but they are certainly implied in the Golden Rule and the rules for my life and describe the kind of community I want to live in. If you get a chance before the legislative session ends, call your legislator and ask them to support the PCA program and help solve the crisis. Let them know that they can’t wait for later, because there is no safe “later.” The crisis is happening and if we do not do something, the most vulnerable people in our communities will be hurt and most of the hurt will be invisible—except for the occasional sad story on the news. We don’t need tears and head-shaking; we need better rates for the state’s caregiving programs. We have to make a change now. ■


Documentary influenced work on behavior modification by Access Press staff The documentary CHANGES, which marks its 50-year anniversary in 2018, not only gave a view on the little-seen institutional life, it showed how behavior modification made a positive difference for residents at Faribault State Hospital. Those who championed behavior modification also inspired others who saw such techniques as helping people with developmental disabilities. The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities recently posted a link to CHANGES, and to a 2006 interview with Travis Thompson, a licensed psychologist, and professor in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota. Thompson was shocked at the sad state of affairs at Faribault,in 1968. He developed behavioral intervention programs for the residents. The film, which the group struggled to

fund, drew the attention of investigative journalist Al Austin. Austin for many years led the award-winning I-Team investigative unit at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. He later produced documentaries for PBS. Austin died of cancer in April at age 83. “Al Austin, then a reporter for WCCO television, heard about the film and asked to see it. Al was notorious for his deadpan countenance, but he was clearly moved when he saw the film,” said Thompson. “He and a WCCO film crew spent a day at Faribault shooting new professional footage he could use on air, and he did a lengthy report about Faribault State Hospital into which he spliced footage from our film. People at the CBS network evening news in New York apparently received a feed of the film and used a segment of our film for the lead in on Walter Cronkite's evening news several days later.”

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: January 25, 2017. 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:

Thompson recalled: “In the months and years after the film had been created we continued to make strides at Faribault, then fed in part by the strange collection of staff from Faribault, my grad students and (post-doctoral students) who met at my home in south Minneapolis every Wednesday evening to read relevant journal articles and discuss how they applied to our work at Faribault. We called it a Seminarty because it was half seminar and half drinking beer and eating potato chips while we enthusiastically explored our next steps at Faribault. I have never known such a dedicated and enthusiastic group of people with great mutual respect for one another and a shared vision of science-based reform.” Thompson recalled the roles of Faribault administrators Roger Johnson and Eric Errickson. “They had initiated the changes at Faribault while other people with less character would have

sat on their hands or gone fishing. The new administration at Faribault was unsympathetic with our efforts and after several months terminated our contracts and sent us packing. But the film ‘Changes’ still exists that documents our earliest efforts to improve the lives of people who had been largely forgotten and who had no future.” The film and books published about the work “provide lasting evidence that good things can happen to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities, even under daunting and dispiriting circumstances.” ■ The History Note is a monthly column sponsored by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, or and

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SCHOOLS REACH AGREEMENTS The Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced April 26 that it has reached collaborative agreements with 10 Minnesota public school districts and charter schools to reduce disparities in suspension and expulsion rates for students with disabilities and students of color. The state’s analysis showed Minnesota students of color comprise 31 percent of the population, yet receive 66 percent of all suspensions and expulsions. Students with disabilities comprise 14 percent of the population, yet receive 43 percent of all suspensions and expulsions. Those with settlement agreements include Bloomington School District, Cass Lake-Bena School District, Mankato School District, North St. Paul-MaplewoodOakdale, Robbinsdale School District, Best Academy Charter School, Dugsi Academy Charter School, Mastery Academy Charter School, Prairie Seeds Academy Charter School and St. Paul City Charter School. State officials are continuing negotiations with additional school districts and charter schools. Another round of agreements is anticipated in the weeks ahead. “I want to thank the leaders of these 10 districts and charter schools for coming to the table, having productive conversations, and identifying their own solutions tailored to their independent communities to address the statewide problem of disparities in discipline. These leaders are not alone with dealing with these disparities—but they are the first to stand up, lean in and drive toward solutions. In our meetings with school districts and charter schools, we heard time and again that Minnesota can do more to support our educators and students to achieve success in the classroom and in life. Kids simply can’t learn if they are not in school. These agreements are a crucial step in ensuring we are doing all we can to help Minnesota students develop their interpersonal and learning skills so they can thrive,” said Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey. The agreements don’t involve student discipline decisions made by school officials when safety was a concern or a student was in possession of a weapon or illegal drugs. Agreements focus on schools finding alternatives to suspension for challenges such as disorderly and disruptive behavior, verbal abuse and other non-violent offenses. More than a third of all suspensions and expulsion decisions reported throughout Minnesota every year are for insubordination, disruptive and disorderly conduct. The agreements are intended to alleviate disparities in suspensions and expulsions to allow every student the chance to participate fully in education, to partner with educators to address the implicit bias that influences perceptions of student behavior, and to increase student

SURVEY From Page 1 was particularly pronounced. Respondents indicated fear of potential federal cuts to Medicaid, rising costs of healthcare premiums, deductibles and co-pays, and decreased access to health insurance and medical services for people with preexisting conditions and disabilities. But other results today are more optimistic than 14 years ago. Today, one key finding is that the vast majority of the respondents had some kind of health insurance coverage (92 percent). More than half or 56 percent of survey respondents have private health insurance through their employer, and another 8 percent recently purchased insurance through the Health Insurance Exchange recently. Forty percent have some kind of government-provided healthcare coverage. The split is 21 percent Medicare and 19 percent Medicaid. Medicaid coverage has grown from seven percent in 2004 to 19 percent in 2018. On average, Minnesotans with government-provided healthcare coverage (Medicare or Medicaid) had more positive perceptions of their overall health coverage and care, as compared to Minnesotans with private insurance. This seemed due, in part, to frustrations over confusion related to the billing and payment process, as well as by the “baffling” array of plans available, and uncertainty in how to “navigate the options.” As for attitudes on “public or government-run” versus “private” health insurance coverage, Minnesotans are evenly split. In order to assess Minnesotans' attitudes on government healthcare policies, the question was asked: “Do you think it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage, or is that not the responsibility of the federal government?" Just over half (54 percent) of all respondents believe the federal government is responsible for ensuring that all Americans have healthcare coverage. There are concerns that potential cuts or caps at the federal level will have a negative impacts on Minnesotans who utilize Medicaid. The majority of Minnesota respondents (60 percent) believe the federal government should continue to “honor the commitment” to match the state's spending for Medicaid, as opposed to putting a limit on federal Medicaid spending. If cuts are needed, then the respondents recommended that provider rates be reduced rather than cutting services or covering fewer people. Cost issues vary

Two-thirds of Minnesotans (65 percent) who have any kind of health insurance coverage believe their cost for premiums and additional costs have been going up over the past couple of years. But these perceptions of rising


Settlements reached on school suspensions tied to race, disability

Students with disabilities will benefit under the settlement. and community engagement. The agreements allow school officials to develop unique strategies to retain local control in student discipline decisions, maintain effective learning environments that promote academic success, and offer alternatives to suspension that keep students in school. “There is no cause greater than providing a great education to all children,” said Superintendent Rochelle Johnson, Cass Lake-Bena Public Schools. “We must all find pathways to keep children in schools as well as make that school time a positive experience in their lives.” State Rep. Carlos Mariani Rosa leads the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership. “Closing academic gaps can’t be done without advancing civil rights and with the state’s help, our schools can do that while designing better ways to create safe schools where all students learn.” Justin Tiarks, principal at St. Paul City School, said the agreements acknowledge that education is changing. “Since implementing restorative practices, we have seen a reduction in suspensions of 90 percent sustained over two years and we have not expelled a single child. We

solve problems by pulling students and families into a web of support and community instead of pushing them away. With the right supports, alternatives to exclusionary discipline do exist.” “PACER supports the collaborative efforts of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, school districts, and charter schools to address discipline disparities,” said Paula Goldberg, PACER executive director. “Through our work with families of children with disabilities, we see the negative impact that exclusionary discipline practices have on students’ ability to learn.” The agreements are in effect through 2021. Districts and charter schools will implement a three-year plan to ensure that data collection, discipline policies and behavior management strategies are consistently implemented across the entire system. Reporting and training requirements must be met. Schools will participate on a state-led Diversion Committee, to share best practices to reduce suspensions and eliminate disparities, implement implicit bias training and increase student engagement. Community engagement is a key focus. ■

costs are not as severe as they were in 2004, when 89 percent of respondents believed the same thing. These perceptions of rising costs made a difference in whether people actually went to the doctor when they thought they needed to. But red flags remain about care postponed due to costs. Just over one-third of Minnesotans (38 percent) have delayed medical treatment because of the cost they would have to pay. Of those Minnesotans who have delayed treatment, one-half, or 19 percent, had a serious or

somewhat serious condition or illness. Drug costs are another worry. When it comes to the government's role in the pricing of drugs, the majority of Minnesotans (83 percent) believe the government should play a role in drug pricing, with 39 percent stating that the government should be very involved in controlling prices. Thirty-nine percent of Minnesotans give their overall health coverage and care a less than good rating; onethird (32 percent) gave a good rating, and 28 percent gave better than good ratings. ■

FREE PARKING and paratransit van dropoff locations near the Capitol for persons with disabilities.


Closest to the Capitol & Senate Building. Sherburne Ave. and Capitol Blvd. 20 indoor spaces. Out of the cold & snow with direct tunnel access.


Closest to the State Office Building. Rice Street, south of Aurora Avenue. 10 covered spaces, connected to the tunnel system.

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Seven percent formula cut has potential to greatly disrupt lives This legislative session has become unexpectedly crucial in determining the future of disability services. Currently, Minnesota uses a formula called the Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS) to calculate the financial support that individuals receive for home and community-based services such as centerbased supported employment, or lifeenriching day programs, among others. Because of conflicts between Minnesota’s DWRS and federal Medicaid regulations, individuals relying on these services could see drastic reductions in funding, resulting in an inability to access services that provide them opportunities to live fulfilling and community-engaged lives. My daughter Lisa was born with hypotonic ataxic cerebral palsy and an anti-thrombin III deficiency. This means she has poor muscle tone, erratic balance and poor motor planning. This, combined with other medical complications, puts her at considerable risk of injury, and despite using a walker to assist her balance, she often has some nasty bruises as evidence of recent falls. Lisa’s disabilities limit the kind of jobs she can do. After several years struggling with unsatisfactory job placements, Lisa came to Rise, a non-profit disability service provider. The job she was offered was a gift from Heaven. She works five days a week with 12–14 other people with disabilities, several of whom she has known since she was a child. The work she does is real work – not a made-up task. Working at her computer, she enters information into databases for businesses which contract with Rise. She is expected thoroughly and accurately transcribe data, and she is proud of her productivity. Occasionally, her office receives specialty contracts and, because of her reading ability and willingness to try new projects, Lisa is often asked to


by Chris Poppe

Lisa and Chris Poppe could lose needed supports if a threatened cut becomes reality. work on these contracts, a welcome and enjoyable challenge. Her job also provides opportunities for enrichment classes like art, cooking and American Sign Language. These breaks from routine are fun changes, but she usually can’t wait to return to her data entry job. I cannot emphasize enough how devastating this funding cut would be to services my family relies on. For Rise, a seven percent cut is an $850,000 decrease per year. This is money that provides wages to direct support professionals, who help people like Lisa learn new skills, while also assisting them with the physical and sometimes emotional challenges presented by their disabilities. Every day, Lisa is safely transported from her apartment to her office, where works in a safe, productive and

stimulating environment. You cannot imagine how difficult it was to send Lisa to unfulfilling and inappropriate jobs prior to Rise. Lisa is now proud of the fact that she doesn’t just have a job, but a good job – and one she is good at. Organizations supporting those with disabilities provide unique and often underrepresented services in our community. The unemployment rate among people with disabilities is over double that of the general population, and cutting funding to the DWRS would only increase it. This is an unacceptable waste of the energy and intellect of vibrant, vital people. By assisting people like Lisa in finding the best job for them, and supporting them as they pursue active and purposeful lives, organizations like Rise provide a much-needed support system. A funding cut like the one being

debated may appear to be a quick-fix without substantial impacts, but I assure you, the impact would be monumental. A cut this significant would directly impact thousands of your neighbors who rely on these supports. Minnesota can point with pride to current supports which assist people with disabilities in living full, complete lives, with homes, jobs and relationships they are proud of. But we cannot be content with previous work. It is imperative that we rise to new challenges and ensure that every citizen lives up to their potential. Lisa is a great example of the effect these services have on individual’s lives. Rise has assisted her in developing professional competence as she fulfills regular tasks and takes on challenging new ones. I urge lawmakers to take action and prevent this drastic cut to disability services. Many Minnesotans rely on services funded by the DWRS, and more still rely on this funding to keep the direct care workforce competitive. A cut this significant would leave disability services depleted and would put every provider’s ability to sustain their programs in jeopardy. We are all only temporarily ablebodied. Any of us is only one icy patch, intractable infection, or missed step from experiencing a life not dissimilar from Lisa’s. I hope others recognize the importance of these services, and do everything they can to stop this cut. Whether it’s organizing friends and family, or contacting legislators directly, we need to work together to ensure that everyone knows the impact of disability services, and knows how devastating this cut would be to both the disability community and Minnesota as a whole. Editor’s note: The Poppe family lives in the Twin Cities. ■


People of color with disabilities meet to address issues; join them We are people working to increase the awareness of civil rights to persons of color with disabilities and the general public. We have convened a group for people of color with disabilities to address the many complicated issues our culture faces as a marginalized community. Our purpose is to bridge communication and build power among communities of color persons with disabilities. This is a great opportunity to serve the growing diversity in our communities as we look to the future of Minnesota. We have come far with many accomplishments throughout Minnesota. However, there is more work to do. Our desire is to illuminate the narrow thinking that constricts our efforts in promoting full equity, and the total immersed inclusion of people of color with disabilities. Some of that constriction is the lack of affordable accessible or adaptable housing, underemployment and lack of employment opportunities. This also includes the lack of accommodations within the workplace as well as the continued violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by building owners not allowing persons with disabilities to freely access their

buildings. The federal government recently eliminated provisions in the ADA requiring building owners to meet the accessibility requirements within the law. The building owners blame lawyers filing lawsuits against them for 27 years of ignoring and/or violating the law under the premise that the disabled are causing an undue hardship for them. There are significant disparities in the availability of support and services among people of color with disabilities. The most important and vital of these is adequate quality and equality health care. We also need adequate resources for victims of sexual assault and other personally harmful crimes against members of our culture. We cannot express how important this issue is and how it impacts everyone. It will help us work toward understanding the complexities of being a person of color with disabilities. This initiative is the first step in challenging longstanding systems of oppression and leadership that have stood in the way of equity and inclusion. It is the kind of change that is needed in order to create a catalyst that can help create policy that embraces the successes and contributions of people

of color with disabilities within community. The systems and leaders of government, business and politics continue to not recognize people of color with disabilities as leaders and change agents. This results in not having a voice that is heard and a lack of recognition of our gifts as contributing members of society. We request your help in addressing these issues. Please join us for our monthly meeting at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living every third Thursday of the month, 6:30 to 8 p.m., 530 Robert St., St. Paul. We provide a safe space for open discussion on matters and issues related to being a person of color with disabilities and all that intersects with those identities. The stronger our presence, the louder our voices, the more powerful our action, the more likely our movement will be sustained. This article was submitted by group members Alison Canty and Kenneth Brown. For more information, contact Canty at or Brown at ■

and other public use areas. Fort Snelling State Park is at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers in the Twin Cities, and centers on the pre-statehood fort and Native Americans. Minneopa State Park is in Blue Earth County and was set aside more than a century ago to preserve Minneopa Falls. Nerstrand Big Woods is just northeast of Faribault. William O’Brien State Park is in Washington County. Erica Schmiel is working on the parks bonding issues for MCOD. She recently told a Minnesota Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) gathering that signs are positive for some level of parks access funding this session. Gov. Mark Dayton has $10 million in his public works or bonding bill toward accessibility improvements. The state council has lined up many supports for the parks access funding. They include the Supporters include the National MS Society, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America-MN and Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. Another focus has been on the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center. In April acting DHS Commissioner Chuck Johnson and Department of Administration Commissioner Matt Massman visited the facility to highlight the importance of improving and maintaining aging care and treatment facilities for people with mental illness, disabilities and chemical dependency. Dayton’s 2018 public works bill includes $63.4 million for improvements at treatment facilities operated by DHS. The funding would finance renovation and new construction projects to shore up buildings in urgent need of repairs, improve treatment and safety, and help the agency comply with court-ordered transfers of sex offenders. “This investment will allow us to make long-overdue repairs to psychiatric hospitals, group homes for people with disabilities and many other facilities that care for more than 12,000 vulnerable Minnesotans every year,” Johnson said. “These facilities are critical to our mission and our ability to serve patients and clients, and right now we have too many crises to count. We just can’t afford to put off basic improvements any longer.” The single largest request is for $18.62 million, to address the most urgent maintenance problems. The work includes replacing roofs, windows, doors and exterior walls; upgrading heating, ventilation and air-conditioning; electrical and plumbing improvements; and tuck-pointing and paving. The funding will allow the agency to do some of the necessary work on DHS’s nearly 200 care and treatment facilities. Because repairs haven’t been adequately funded in the past, completing all of the work needed would cost $136.9 million. Dayton’s final public works recommendations make tackling deferred maintenance at all state facilities a top priority. Noting that it is far more costly to repair buildings and other infrastructure once they fall into poor condition, Massman said the fiscally responsible approach is to fix problems before they become a crisis. “It is simple common sense that fixing a leaking roof sooner rather than later is better for the house and the wallet,” Massman said. “Governor Dayton’s public works proposal would make commonsense investments to repair aging public buildings in the St. Peter and Mankato area and across Minnesota before the problems and price tag get even worse.” In addition to asset preservation funding, the governor’s public works recommendations for DHS also include: • $16.19 million to remodel three buildings on the St. Peter campus for the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (M<SOP). The plan provides new program space and adds 50 new beds for Community Preparation Services, a less restrictive setting for clients in the later stages of treatment. The new beds will make it possible for the program to comply with a growing number of court orders to move clients into community preparation. • $13.88 million to design and construct two secure assisted-living facilities on the St. Peter campus for MSOP clients who have been provisionally discharged by the courts but have age-related or medical conditions and cannot live on their own without help. • $2.2 million to install new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment and bring the electrical system up to current standards in the dietary services building in the St. Peter campus. Staff who work in the 50-year-old facility prepare about 730,000 meals annually for patients and clients. • $5.79 million to design and remodel vacant space for a specialized admissions unit to evaluate new patients at the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center. The project also includes a small crisis unit for patients whose behavior may be disruptive. • $6.75 million for extensive roof replacement and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning and other repairs at Anoka. (Information from DHS was used to prepare this article.) ■

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Improvements to four other state parks are in play in the 2018 bonding bill.

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REGIONAL NEWS Forest Lake leaders reject residential treatment facility

A proposed $18 million psychiatric residential treatment facility won’t be able to locate in Forest Lake. The Forest Lake City Council rejected Cambia Hill’s proposal to purchase Shadow Creek Stables and transform the property into a residential treatment facility. Cambia Hills is part of the Hills Youth and Family Services in Duluth. The 60-bed facility would have served children ages 6 to 17 who suffer from mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. But despite the critical need for the facility, the council voted 3-2 against a zoning text amendment that would have The Hills Youth and Family Services and Duluth Public Schools allowed the project to move ahead. have delivered new life to a school building abandoned near the Dozens of people expressed support for the woods below Hawk Ridge in Duluth project, including Sue Aberderholden, executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota, and Charles Johnson, acting commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Family members of children with mental health issues also spoke of the need for the project. “Minnesota has not had the capacity to meet the needs of children and youth with serious and complex mental health conditions,” Johnson wrote in a letter to the council. “Cambia Hills is an important part of filling this gap.” City staff recommended the zoning change. But neighbors fought the project, as did Mayor Ben Winnick. Winnick said there were too many unanswered questions about the project. Another argument was potential loss of property taxes. Jeff Bradt, president and the CEO of Hills Youth and Family Services, said the organization would not pursue legal action against the city. Instead a new site will be sought. “There isn’t time for that,” he said. “The state wants us to open by July 2019.” (Source: Pioneer Press)

Medical cannabis costs a worry

Medical cannabis has helped many people with specifics disabilities or those suffering chronic pain. But the costs and the unwillingness of some doctors to write prescriptions are issues state officials are looking at. The Duluth News-Tribune looked into the issues and found that patients may find more difficulty obtaining medical marijuana certification at certain hospitals. Medical practitioners register with the state before they can prescribe medical cannabis. State officials get complaints about not being able to find a practitioner to certify a patient from all over Minnesota. Finding a doctor can be one challenge. Income may also be a factor in holding down the number of participants from some parts of the state. The average monthly costs for medical cannabis is $150. But that can be after the costs of the first visit to certify a patient, another $200 state charge to place a patient on the registry, and then $50 every succeeding year. A patient must be recertified each year. State data shows growth in the patient registry every month since the program started accepting patients in June 2015. The curve became steeper starting in August 2016, when intractable pain became a condition for which marijuana could be prescribed. As of March 31, 9,435 patients were enrolled and in active status in the registry, the Office of Medical Cannabis reported. That was up from 5,119 a year earlier. Nearly two out of three Minnesota patients who received medical marijuana are certified for intractable pain. This summer, autism will be added to the list of eligible conditions. (Source: Duluth News-Tribune)

Metro Mobility contract raises concerns

Some unionized Metro Mobility drivers oppose a proposed $31.8 million contract with a nonunion firm, saying it will lead to the loss of nearly 100 jobs. But the contract won Metropolitan Council approval April 25. The council, which operates Metro Mobility, said Maple Grove-based Transit Team ranked the highest in the competitive bidding process. Metro Mobility is the federally mandated

transportation service for riders with disabilities, who cannot use regular buses and trains. The five-year contract being considered by the council involves transporting people to adult day programs throughout the metro, part of services provided by Metro Mobility. The service is currently provided by Ohio-based First Transit, which employs unionized drivers. The council is not required to hire companies that only employ unionized drivers. Its Transportation Committee recommended approval. Bill Wedebrand, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 120, said he is concerned members will not be provided with health care and retirement benefits, should they be hired by the new company. “Our concern for our members losing their employment is a very serious issue for us, but the potential negative impact to the ridership that utilizes this service is also a huge concern,” Wedebrand said. Many of the vulnerable clients who use the service have established relationships with drivers, and “consistency and continuity is very important,” he said. Mike Richter, president of Transit Team, told the council's Transportation Committee that the firm will try to hire as many existing drivers as possible “to smooth the transition.” The company offers annual pay increases, life insurance, free turkeys at Thanksgiving and holiday bonuses. The Teamsters union wants the council to review the bids again. (Source: Star Tribune)

Disability parking is lost

Since 2015, Minneapolis resident Patricia Fox has had a reserved parking space in front of her home because of her multiple sclerosis. But this year, her parking space will be moved to make way for a bike lane. “[This] is the ultimate insult of someone who has trouble with mobility being vacated from a spot that helps them function in society by making way for ablebodied bikers,” Fox said. Bike lane additions draw praise but also protests from residents, motorists and business owners who lose parking and driving lanes. The projects reinforce Minneapolis' reputation as one of the nation's most bike-

friendly cities. The city added 75 miles of bike lanes between 2011 and 2017, and the 2011 Master Bicycle Plan identified $284 million in projects to be completed by 2040. High-traffic corridors are priorities because they connect several schools, parks and libraries and are frequently the sites of car crashes, said Nathan Koster, city transportation planning manager. The lanes are seen as providing traffic calming and safety for pedestrians. Minneapolis street projects typically include crossing signals with audible timers, crosswalk markings, pedestrian ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a protected bike lane. City staff said they have worked with affected residents to find accessible parking But Fox said moving her parking space across the street poses safety hazards. The MS that weakens her muscles can make crossing the street hazardous. “If the parking spot is across the street, then I'd have to jaywalk because I don't trust myself to not fall,” she said. “I have [fallen] before by walking down to the corner and crossing legally … I agree that bike lanes are a progressive idea, but I don't agree with putting citizens in danger as a result of that.” City officials describe the situation as one with “tradeoffs.” (Source: Star Tribune)

New school for special needs students

Construction is expected to get underway late this year on a $4.5 million school in Montevideo to serve special education students in west central Minnesota. The city of Montevideo, its Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative signed a letter of understanding to construct the new special education facility. If all goes as planned the new school could welcome its first students in August 2019. An 18,000-square-foot facility on city-owned property about one block north of Minnesota Highway 7 on the city's east side is proposed. It will be designed to serve an expected enrollment of 30 to 40 students with special needs. The instruction will focus on students with autism, mental health and severe emotional and behavioral needs. Southwest West Central Service Cooperative anticipates staffing the facility with up to 30 special education professionals. The cooperative provides services to schools, cities and other members in the 18 counties of southwest Minnesota. Its services to schools includes assistance in special education and professional development. Montevideo's EDA will finance, construct and own the facility and lease it to the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative. The lease revenues will be structured to retire the debt for the project, after which point the building may be owned by the cooperative, said Montevideo City Manager Steve Jones. The project was undertaken after the Southwest West Central Cooperative completed a study to determine the need for a facility to serve special education students. The project not only meets an education need, it also has economic development benefits to Montevideo. Along with creating 30 new professional jobs in the community, the school will be purchasing services in the community. It will also provide special education services close to home for some Montevideo students, Jones said. (Source: West Central Tribune)

Family, school district clash over education

A family whose teenage daughter rarely attends school is at odds with St. Louis Park Public Schools over the student’s proper educational setting and supports. The REGIONAL NEWS To page 15

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Live Well grants help Minnesotans stay in communities The Minnesota Department of Human Services is awarding more than $7.5 million in grants to programs throughout Minnesota to help elders with a wide range of needs. Since 2001, Live Well at Home grants have helped older Minnesotans remain in their homes rather than move to nursing homes or other more expensive settings. The latest grants go to 53 organizations. “Minnesota is a recognized national leader in helping elders to remain independent,” said Acting Human Services Commissioner Chuck Johnson. “Through the Live Well at Home grants, we partner with local organizations throughout Minnesota to help older people stay in their homes and communities and to support family members and friends who provide most of the care for older Minnesotans.” The latest recipients are listed by region:

Central Minnesota

• Assumption Community Service, Cold Spring, $195,110 for Rural Stearns Faith in Action to expand home and community-based services to the St. Cloud metro area. • CentraCare Health, Long Prairie, $662,015 for a community gym and therapy pool. • Foley Area C.A.R.E., Foley, $70,095 for education, volunteer recruitment and other services. • Helping Hands Outreach, Holdingford, $95,170 to open an adult day center, provide respite and support to area family caregivers. • Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Mora, $33,242 to develop a wellness center, offer health education classes and expand other services. • Lakes and Pines Community Action Council, Mora, $160,511 to improve its volunteer network that provides chore and home delivery services; $238,370 to help elders experiencing homelessness to stabilize housing; and $313,037 to promote aging in place. • Partners, Rothsay, $60,000 to sustain services in Rothsay, Carlisle and Foxhome and expand health promotion, service coordination and transportation. • Paynesville Area Living at Home Block Nurse Program, Paynesville, $76,465 to continue providing and coordinating community-based services. • Pelican Rapids OAKS Living At Home Network, Pelican Rapids, $75,233 to strengthen caregiver and companion services.

Korean Services Center's Beyond Comprehensive Home Care project. individuals, including Native Americans, LGBTQ and low-income elders • Tri-Community Living at Home Block Nurse Program, Newfolden, $85,262 to provide home and community-based services. • Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Crookston, $106,272 for the Caring Companion Program, which provides companion services for elders eligible for public programs as well as affordable services.

Southern Minnesota

• Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota, Winona, $203,416 to promote healthy aging for 2,500 highrisk elders in 40 south central and southeastern Minnesota counties, support caregivers, prevent falls and improve selfmanagement of chronic disease. • Faith In Action, Red Wing, $53,059 to work to expand parish nursing, respite providers and caregiver support. • Granite Falls Living at Home Block Nurse Program, Granite Falls, $92,154 to provide transportation, in-home respite care, caregiver support groups and to work with Granite Falls paramedics to serve a population that does not qualify for traditional home health services. • Interfaith Caregivers Faith in Action in Faribault County, Blue Earth, $127,400 to expand access to services that allow elders to maintain independence in their homes. • LaCrescent Area Healthy Community Partnership, LaCrescent, $98,327 to support elders in Caledonia with the household help, caregiver support and transportation services. Northern • United Community Minnesota Action Partnership, • Aitkin County Marshall, $80,000 to CARE, Aitkin, purchase a wheelchairGranite Falls Living at Home/ Block Nurse Program $59,728 to expand accessible minivan that access to in-home caregiver respite will provide affordable transportation. services and counseling services. • Argyle Hope Program Living at Home Twin Cities metro Block Nurse Program, Argyle, $97,966 to • CAPI USA, Minneapolis, $140,048, maintain and expand volunteer services to help North Minneapolis and for elders. Brooklyn Center Hmong elders sustain • Arrowhead Economic Development independent living. Agency, Virginia, $85,232 for the Senior • Centro Tyrone Guzman, Minneapolis, Care Consultation Program to expand $72,290 to use creative, culturally responhome-delivered meals, screen and sive strategies to help caregivers and serdevelop plans to reduce risk and provide vice providers working with Latino elders. customized community supports. • Como Park Living at Home Block • Care Partners of Cook County, Grand Nurse Program, St. Paul and Falcon Heights, Marais, $80,118 to administer volunteer $91,783 to provide a wide range of services. services and for care coordination, • DARTS, West St. Paul, $68,701, for chronic disease coaching and caregiver transportation services, including a “Sunday consultation. Drive” to give caregivers respite, primarily in • City of Stephen, $82,275 to expand, Dakota and Washington counties. integrate and maintain community • East Side Elders, St. Paul, $137,900 support services. to provide a variety of services that allow • Home at Heart Care, Clearbrook, elders to remain in their own homes for as $222,504 to create, manage and pilot an onlong as possible. line digital transportation coordination model. • East Side Neighborhood Services, • Lake of the Woods Senior Citizen Minneapolis, $290,946 to help Hennepin Council, Baudette, $73,764 to renovate County elders better manage chronic entries to Brink community center. conditions and live independently. • Legal Aid Service of Northeastern • ESR, Inc., Cottage Grove, $10,131 to Minnesota, $54,366 to provide nonprovide chore and homemaking services for criminal legal services. elders in the eastern metro area. Services • Living at Home of the Park Rapids are provided by adults with disabilities. Area, Park Rapids, $182,710 to mobilize • Family Pathways, North Branch, volunteers and community resources. $317,648 to expand services for elders in • Northwoods Caregivers, Bemidji, a five-county area, including increasing $327,832 to increase caregiver support participants in social and in-home respite services for at-risk families and

programs. • Hamline Midway Living at Home/ Block Nurse Program, St. Paul, $91,500 to expand several services and improve service coordination. • Korean Service Center, Minneapolis, $196,169 for the Beyond Comprehensive Home Care project to help Korean and other immigrant elders maintain health and independent living. • Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors Program, Minneapolis, $87,431 to help atrisk elders live independently and to assess needs of older Somali residents and plan enhanced services. • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, St. Paul, $400,000 to launch the Neighbor to Neighbor Companion Service, first along the Highway 10 corridor between St. Cloud and Brainerd. • Lyngblomsten Services, St. Paul, $132,388, to provide in-home respite services for people caring for elders with Alzheimer’s, including short-term, virtual in-home services. • Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care, North St. Paul, $123,682 to expand provider training on advance care planning, palliative care, hospital and care for veterans. • Minnesota Stroke Association,

Roseville, $35,143 to provide tools and resources for caregivers to help elders remain in their communities. • Neighborhood Network for Seniors, St. Paul, $71,653 to increase its volunteer corps that reduce burdens on family caregivers and provide services. • Nokomis Healthy Seniors Program, Minneapolis, $107,158 to help elders in the greater Nokomis area remain independent with access to services. • North End-South Como Block Nurse Program, St. Paul, $91,838 to provide a wide range of services. • Our Lady of Peace, St. Paul, $99,192 to expand core home and communitybased services in Highland Park and part of Macalester-Groveland neighborhood for elders and caregivers. • Pillsbury United Communities, Minneapolis, $69,272 to implement the East African Caregiver Support Network in Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. • Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, Minneapolis, $78,330 to expand capacity to make homes accessible. • Sabathani Community Center, Minneapolis, $110,545 to expand its Health Outreach Program, including linguistically relevant health screenings to give non-English speaking adults greater access to free clinical services. • Southeast Seniors, Minneapolis, $89,398 to provide companionship and a wide range of additional services. • St. Anthony Park Area Seniors, St. Paul, $57,215 to continue providing services to elders and enhance outreach. • Urban Partnership, St. Paul, $97,389 to help older African Americans and other elders find resources to prevent chronic illness, maintain healthy living and retain housing. • Volunteers of America-Minnesota, Minneapolis, $399,296 to provide culturally specific caregiver support for Hmong, African-American and Somali communities, expand health and wellness programs, sustain a community health worker service for Minneapolis Public Housing residents with chronic disease and provide education on Medicare and Medicaid systems. ■

May 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 5

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Exhibits provide past and present-day look at many aspects of life with mental illness Historic artifacts and current patient artwork from the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter are featured in two unique public showings Two new exhibits provide a look back at 150 years of care and treatment at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter and offer a glimpse into the creative and artistic minds of women and men who are currently patients at the facility. State of Mind | A History of Minnesota’s First State Hospital, which runs May 12 through Dec. 15 at the Treaty Site History Center, 1851 N. Minnesota Ave., St. Peter, features relics and photos from key periods in the hospital’s history, as well as storyboards, video and more. Selected from the hospital’s own extensive collection, the artifacts help tell the stories of patients, staff and how the treatment of mental illness has evolved in the 150 years since the facility was established. “Its name and buildings have changed many times over the decades, but public curiosity about the Security Hospital has been constant,” said Minnesota Security Hospital Executive Director Carol Olson. “This is a

rare opportunity to view artifacts not often seen by the general public and to experience the facility’s captivating history up-close.” The history center is the home of Nicollet County Historical Society. Find directions and hours at www. A separate exhibition, Changing Minds II: Work by Patients at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center, will be on display May 4-27 at the Arts Center of St. Peter, 315 South Minnesota Ave. The show includes more than 150 original works of visual and literary art created over the past two years by artists working independently and those who participated in year-round art and writing classes facilitated by Arts Center staff. “For many patients, art is an important part of their therapy,” Olson said. “It helps them express themselves, learn about themselves and to recognize and take pride in their talents and skills.” A reception with music by treatment center residents was held May 4. Find directions and hours at ■

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PEOPLE & PLACES Variety of programs win first MOHR awards The Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR) has honored several groups with its inaugural MOHR Life Enrichment Awards. The awards cover a wide range of activities for people with disabilities. Fifteen organizations were chosen through a competitive process. “Having a good life involves connecting with the people around us and being involved in our community and activities outside of work,” said Mike Burke, MOHR president. “Nonprofit service providers are innovators when it comes to enriching the lives of the individuals with disabilities and they deserve more credit for their work.” Awards are being given across the state at program sites.

AWARDS To page 10

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PEOPLE & PLACES Worcester honored for her work

UCare Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Marketing Officer Ghita Worcester was selected by the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST as a 2018 Courage Award winner. She was saluted for a career dedicated to opening doors to care for those who need it most. The 2018 Courage Awards celebrate Minnesota women and companies in health care who have taken a Ghita Worcester risk and demonstrated courage in navigating the unknown to help the health care industry move boldly to transform its future. Worcester was nominated for working tirelessly to return UCare’s service to state public program members in the recent past. She and other 2018 Courage Award winners were recognized at the 2018 TRUST Forum networking reception and dinner hosted by the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST April 11, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. “Ghita has helped lead UCare through a remarkable turnaround. Her commitment to UCare’s members never wavered, even when facing great challenges. She earned this award for her concerted efforts over an impressive career of ensuring access to community-based health care for Minnesotans of all ages and circumstances,” said UCare President and CEO Mark Traynor.

Worcester brings more than 35 years of health care management experience to her role at UCare. She provides strategic direction for marketing, provider relations and contracting, business development and strategy, public relations, legislative, regulatory, government programs and community outreach activities. Worcester oversees the organization’s federal and state health care reform efforts and policy formulation related to national and state health policy issues. She is a champion of health equity and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of UCare’s strategic and operational plans. Before joining UCare, Worcester served as Director of Policy and Operations for the University Affiliated Family Physicians (UAFP), the management company that started UCare in 1984. Worcester has been honored in the past for her work. In 2015, she was recognized with a Women in Business Award by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and has served on several community boards and committees.

Tanzanian disability rights activist is celebrated

The University of Minnesota has recog-

AWARDS From Page 9 Burke said it’s important for service providers to honor the choices of people with disabilities, who often want to participate in meaningful activities and community routines along with their friends. Day programs help navigate community interactions for individuals and give them more options that they otherwise wouldn’t have. “It’s part of creating a holistic life pattern and having people become a part of many things outside of work.” Minneapolis-based AccessAbility Evening Stars provides after-hours social opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enrich their lives. Highly accommodating, safe and inclusive, its dinner and movie nights, dances and games are growing more popular. Participation reached 975 people in 2017, a 20 percent increase over the previous year. Evening Stars registered 12 bocce ball athletes to compete as individuals and three unified doubles teams for Special Olympics competitions. Chippewa Enterprises’ Worksite Wellness and Community Garden partnership in Montevideo began in 2016. Tapping the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, it is increasing healthy eating and healthy lifestyles for its staff and the individuals served. Raised planting beds were built and Montevideo High School got involved. The group faced many challenges, and learned about the best plants to grow together, germination, weather, construction and basic garden needs. For three years suburban Minneapolis CHOICE has utilized its innovative health and wellness program, SHAPE, to benefit the people it serves. Fitness and exercise, strength and balance, yoga, meditation, sensory integration and nutrition are offered to program participants. CHOICE staff recognized the many barriers to healthy lifestyles that people with disabilities encounter, including costs, supervision and support, lack of control over eating choices, and need for adaptive equipment. In the rural community of Hoffman, Grant County DAC in 2015 created a tremendous community outreach and work vehicle centered on produce. DAC's own greenhouse gives individuals with disabilities a source of pride, purpose and excitement to see plants grow from tiny seeds into healthy food and floral products. Participants are paid for their work are also able to meet and interact with greenhouse customers. Merrick’s Ambassadors for Respect and Anti-Bullying Handbook began as an anti-bullying training for fourth-graders in 2013. It has grown to 89 presentations to 2,403 students and 138 teachers in 12 elementary schools and a statewide training handbook. The partnership with the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities teaches students about accepting differences and people first language. Participants share their own stories about being bullied, and lead interactive activities to promote acceptance. Mankato-based MRCI provides performing arts opportunities for people with disabilities as part of a partnership with The Arc Southwest. The Innovators theater group involves individuals with disabilities, who choose a play

nized one of its own. Hubert H. Humphrey International Fellow (1983-84) alumnus N’nyapule Madai, of Tanzania, was awarded the 2017 University of Minnesota Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals. He was honored at an event in April which was part of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship celebration. Sandy Vargas, former president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, and former director of African programs and International Director of Athlete Leadership Programs at Special Olympics, Kathryn Clark, were among those on hand to honor Madai. During Madai’s visit to Minnesota, he also did community outreach with several organizations: Operation Bootstrap Africa, African Development Center, H20 for Life, ARC of Minnesota, Pacer Center, UMN College of Education and Human Development and Institute on Community Integration and Special Olympics Minnesota. While at the Humphrey School, he was a social welfare officer in his homeland’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, where he was involved especially with the rehabilitation of people with disabilities. He was also the executive secretary of both the National Committee for the Disabled and the National Committee of the World Assembly on Aging. He was also involved in undertaking a survey of rehabilitation facilities in Tanzania. Madai is currently officially retired but remains as an assistant commissioner for social welfare in Tanzania.

PrairieCare Child & Family Fund announces awards

The PrairieCare Child & Family Fund has awarded $100,000 in grant funding to five Minnesota school districts to support mental health education and training to those

and their roles. The cast rehearses with assistance from an MRCI volunteer. Participants discover previously untapped talents, learn teamwork and how to take direction while gaining confidence to perform in front of others. Midwest Special Services is a founding partner in the Show Gallery Lowertown, a nonprofit art space in St. Paul. MSS coordinates an annual exhibition, CoLab. The event highlights the work of artists with disabilities who are paired with professional artists. Art takes on many forms, from visual arts to poetry, photography, videography and flamenco dance. CoLab grew from 12 artist pairs in 2015, to 15 in 2016 and 22 in 2017. Creating a forum for people with disabilities to stand up for themselves and to be heard, Twin Cities-based Opportunity Partners started the Committee of Advocacy & Leadership (COAL) in 2011. The purpose is to “ignite” in everyone the power of advocacy. COAL involves more than 50 members with disabilities across several Opportunity Partners campuses and programs. The program is led by participants. Twin Cities-based Partnership Resources Inc. offers the PARTnerships visual arts program. Individuals with disabilities trained with professional artists to produce prints, calendars and cards. Card sales peaked at more than 100,000, with more than $250,000 in sales. Studio arts classes feature professional teaching artists. The program provides experiences for people with disabilities in the visual arts, music therapy, glass-making, clay and ceramics, the performing arts and more. Polk County DAC in Crookston created a multi-sensory environment within its facility to relax or stimulate its participants based on a “sensory diet.” The space helps people to increase their attention span, keep their heads up and smile, sleep longer, eat faster and improve their muscle tone. People who have used the sensory room have enjoyed many benefits ranging from improved functionality to less agitation. Rochester-based PossAbilities created Striving Toward Achievement, Recognizing Strengths (STARS). This led to more than 250 hours of volunteer service. Increased time in the community has opened people up to new experiences and adventures, and improved their communication and social skills. Participants made meals, shoveled out hydrants, rang bells for the Salvation Army, caroled around town and handed out goodie bags to kids at a medical center. Participants at Rise tell stories and express their vision through works of art, in Art Speaks. More than 200 individuals take classes at the Hennepin and Anoka County Rise locations. Art can be abstract, as participants use microfiber dusters, rolling pins, yarn and foam pieces. The creations are on display at more than a handful of public venues, including government buildings, coffee houses and corporate offices. Udac grows produce for donation for a Duluth food shelf in Duluth. People with disabilities helped build garden beds and created wheelchair access. They planted and tended vegetables and reaped the harvest. Gardening experts taught best practices. Healthy eating and the importance

who support or provide educational services to youth. The PrairieCare Child & Family Fund began in March 2016. Fund leaders received 39 proposals for funding totaling more than $1.2 million, and selected districts based upon the overall impact and sustainability of their proposed programs. Districts selected are Faribault Public Schools, Le Sueur-Henderson Public Schools, Paynesville Public Schools, Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools and Prodeo Academy. The awards mark the second series of grant funding awarded by the PrairieCare Child & Family Fund. The amount awarded increased based upon the overall success of fundraising and the quality of the proposals received. The purpose of the non-profit 501(c) 3 is to support mental health innovations in education, services and research. “We received so many great proposals throughout Minnesota, both metro and rural communities. We were inspired to increase funding to impact more students and families,” said Rhoda Michaelynn, the co-chair of the grants committee. The goal is to help create sustainable education programs for district and program staff to better identify and work with students who may be struggling with poor mental health. Many of the proposals included regular staff education and seminars as well as curriculums that will be implemented into the daily educational routine for kids that promote resiliency and mental wellness. “The five school districts receiving grants will be providing better mental health support to their students, staff and communities. We are proud to be their partners,” said board member Sandy Nicholson. The school districts selected provide board representaPEOPLE & PLACES To page 13

of supporting area farmers were discussed. Partner Essentia Health is exploring options for oncology patients to utilize the space for fresh air and meditation. WACOSA, near St. Cloud, has a goal of providing experiences that help people with disabilities to discover the full measure of what makes life fulfilling and beautiful. Learning from an art therapist, multiple artists and other professionals, WACOSA participants gain knowledge and experience in a number of art mediums, including painting, drawing, ceramics, photography and music. Art shows to display and sell works are held. West Central Industries in Willmar built a studio for artistic expression. Participants can learn the fundamentals of percussion, acoustic and bass guitar, ukulele, piano and vocal performance. Or they can choose to create artwork. A 16-member choir trained for months and has performed several times. Long-term care facilities and a hospital have become favorite venues. The program has had the added effect of opening up new volunteer opportunities. ■

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Disability issues take on urgency EVENTS ADAPTIVE SPORTS EXPO Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute presents an adaptive sports discovery expo, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at University of Minnesota, Mpls. Recreation and Wellness Center, 123 Harvard St. E. Learn about alpine skiing, rowing, floor hockey, yoga, sailing, lacrosse and many other adaptive sports. Meet representatives of many sports organization. Register online at discoveryoursport. FFI: 612-775-2279 SAVE THE DATE FOR MNCCD Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with

LEADERSHIP PARTNERS IN POLICYMAKING 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, FREE TRAINING The Emerging Civic leaders program wants to increase the number of wellprepared people with disabilities who are involved in their communities. Want to be on a local board or commission, or even run for office? Seeking help in developing leadership skills? Training offered by Independent lifestyles Inc. Center for Independent Living and District 742 Community Education offer four two-hour leadership sessions at ILICIL, 215 N. Benton Drive, Sauk Rapids. Register by June 5. Classes start June 7. FFI: Val Young, 320-281-2012,

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 our 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, 651-2519110,,

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES A MOTHER’S REST A nationwide organization that provides year-round personal care, special events, in-home respite care and fellowship opportunities for mothers, spouses and other caregivers of extra needs children and adults. The group is building a network of bed and breakfast inns to help support needed respite retreats. A retreat is set for the Waller House Inn in Little Falls for Mother’s Day weekend. The organization looks for host sites and sponsors. FFI: SUPER SATURDAY Attend Super Saturday for Children’s Mental Health Awareness. NAMI Minnesota offers a series of free classes on children’s mental health 9:3011:30 a.m. and noon-2 p.m. Sat, May 12 at Mpls School District Office, 1250 W Broadway Ave. Classes include recognizing early warning signs, understanding early episode psychosis, mental health crisis planning for families, helping students succeed, mental health 101, and transitions. Classes also offered in Spanish. FFI: 651-645-2948, 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 out PACER’s website and link to the newsletter of statewide workshops that allows participants to pick and choose sessions catered to their needs. Tech for Girls Club: Lego Robotics is 10-11:30 a.m. Sat, Jun 22 at PACER Center. Make a motorized machine using the colorful blocks? Don’t miss this exciting hands-on workshop for middle school girls with disabilities focusing on building techniques, basic programming, and simple machines. Led by the Green Girls, a team of middle school students from Eagan Robotics, the workshop will give participants the opportunity to design and build something cool that moves on its own. PACER’s 14th Annual Housing Resource and Info Fair is 9 a.m.-noon Sat, June 2 at PACER Center. Families can meet with service providers, state and county representatives, along with representatives from referral organizations to discuss housing options, services, supports, and related issues for children and young adults with disabilities. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237, CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS NAMI Minnesota hosts free events to help people and families. A class to help young people who have experienced psychosis and/or their family members and loved ones understand symptoms, causes and treatments of psychosis is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tue, May 15 at NAMI Minnesota, 1919 University Ave. W, Suite 400, St. Paul. Participants

Disabilities hosts its annual health and wellness conference, conference, Healthy Independent Living for People with Disabilities Tue, 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. FFI: FREE LEGAL FAIR OFFERED Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) and UCare team up for the inaugural UCare Healthcare Legal Fair, 8:30 a.m.-noon, Wed, June 6, 2018 at InterContinental St. Paul Riverfront Hotel, 11 E Kellogg Blvd. The free

resource and education event will inform the public about the connection between health and well-being and legal needs. Free but pre-registration is required before Thu, May 31 for free wills and estate planning clinic and legal checkup clinic to identify life issues and legal solutions. Enjoy door prizes and a complimentary continental breakfast. Browse resource tables from community partners. 9:30 a.m. K=keynote address by Dr. Kathryn Freeman from the Bethesda Family Medicine about how legal needs affect a patient’s health. FFI Andrea Palumbo, 651-228-9823,

who have experienced psychosis will learn how to self-advocate and get back to work or school and achieve recovery. An interactive Hope for Recovery workshop will provides families and individuals with information on mental illnesses, practical coping strategies, and hope for recovery. The workshop is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat, May 19 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 115 4th Street N., Stillwater. Preregister. FFI: 651-645-2948,

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 online and as a printable large-print PDF document for those who wish to print their own or additional copies. FFI: RSVP hotline, 612-843-3439; activity line and audio calendar, 612-253-5155,


PARKINSON’S SUPPORT GROUP The St. Cloud Area, Parkinson's Disease 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

MENTAL HEALTH MONTH May is Mental Health Month. NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and dozens of other organizations are involved in community education about mental illnesses, including creating awareness that effective treatments are available, and that people can and do recover. NAMI Minnesota offers over 500 free educational classes and presentations 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. Groups include family support groups, 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. 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. Family support groups help families who have a relative with a mental illness. 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 to 8:00 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. Meets 1-2:30 p.m. Sat, Living Table United Church of Christ, 3805 E. 40th St, Mpls. FFI: David, 612-920-3925, 651-645-2948. 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 Hwy 96, White Bear Lake. The group is facilitated by young adults who live with mental illnesses and are doing well in recovery. A calendar of events is online. FFI: 651-645-2948, 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

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,, or Cassandra, 651-328-2014, 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. 530 N. Robert St, St Paul. Classes and events are listed at Click on “Classes Groups and Sessions.” Please give two weeks’ notice if the alternative format or other accommodations are needed. Events are free, accessible and mostly scent-free. FFI: 651-603-2030 ILICIL OFFERS OPPORTUNITIES ILICIL Independent Lifestyles, 215 N. Benton Drive, St. Cloud, offers several 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. Nordic walking starts up again Mon, April 16. 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,


on St. Paul’s Front Porch!


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ENJOY! THE ART OF WE Upstream Arts hosts it annual gathering 6-7 p.m. Thu, May 17 at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. Enjoy free hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Add stories to interactive story gardens. Program is at 7 pm, with storytelling (including an excerpt from recent Art of (e)Motion performance) and the ever-engaging live auction. Free but space is limited, and guests must RSVP. FFI:


To honor the life of the Craigslist personals section, artist Alison Bergblom Johnson hosts an event in her loft during the Minneapolis Art-A-Whirl studio crawl, 5-10 p.m. Fri, May 18, noon-8 p.m. Sat, May 19 and noon-5 p.m. Sun, May 20, at A-Mill Artist Lofts , 315 SE Main St., Mpls, on the sixth floor of the Clean House section of the building. Use the blue or green elevators, and take a right from either elevator to midway down the hall to reach the event. Craigslist’s personals section has been dark since March 2018 due to new federal anti-trafficking legislation. This memorial builds on a several years-long project Bergblom Johnson has created documenting links between bipolar disorder, hypersexuality and hookup culture, specifically on Craigslist. “The stories I record for audio installations explore gender roles as relates to casual sex, and tells stories that are sometimes joyful, sometimes difficult, and sometimes in between,” Bergblom Johnson said. “I also approach this work with awareness of disability, particularly the manic side of bipolar disorder.” This work features audio installations, pamphlets, artist books, photographs of the past installation and mp3 downloads for audio of the stories for sale, and a free participatory space to create one’s own letter to Craigslist on the occasion of its death. Bergblom Johnson is a multi-media artist whose work often approaches uncomfortable, difficult subjects. Her work connects to larger political movements, particularly women’s and disability rights, as well as explorations of sexuality. Some of the venues she’s performed at include Patrick’s Cabaret, the Northfield Artists Guild, and The New Sh!t Show, in addition to the Minnesota Fringe Festival. She is a published essayist and has been an artist in residence. FFI:

THE PRINCESS NIGHTINGALE SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development and Mu Performing Arts present a Hans Christian Andersen adaptation, at SteppingStone Theatre, 55 Victoria St. N., St. Paul. AD offered 7 p.m. Fri, May 11. ASL offered 3 p.m. Sun, May 13. Tickets $10 when VSA is mentioned. FFI: 651-225-9265, www. BROADWAY MIXTAPE LIVE! SHOWSTOPPERS A touring company presents Broadway favorites, at Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington, St. Paul. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, May 11. Tickets $29 ticket plus fees. If using ASL, request seating on main floor between rows D – H in the 303-306 area, FFI: 651-224- 4222, CRENSHAW Stages Theatre Company presents the tale of a boy and his imaginary cat friend, at Hopkins Center for the Arts, Jaycees Studio, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins. SENS offered 10 a.m. Sat, May 12. All tickets to SENS performances are $10. This production is not available online; to reserve, call 952-979-1111, opt. 4. FFI: CANDY BOX DANCE FESTIVAL Mathew Janczewski’s Arena Dances, Black Label Movement and Taja Will present a series of dance performances May 5-10 at Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S., Mpls. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sat, May 12. Ticket $20 in advance for full day of performances ($24 at the door), ARTshare members free, other discounts available. Workshops and In-progress showings additional. FFI: 612-326-1811, www. THAÏS Minnesota Opera presents a musical story of lust and religion, at Ordway Music Theater, 345 Washington St., St. Paul. Braille, large-print programs and infrared listening systems available at Patron Services in Ordway’s first level lobby. OC offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, May 12, Tue, May 15, Thu, May 17 and Sat. May 19 and at 2 p.m. Sun, May 20. Sung in French with English translations projected above the stage. AD offered 2 p.m. Sun, May 20. Tickets reduced to half-price for AD patrons (regular $25-165). FFI: 612-3336669, METROMANIACS Theatre in the Round Players presents a play set in aristocratic Paris, at Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Ave., Mpls. AD offered 2 p.m. Sun, May 13. 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. LET’S TALK: COLOR BLIND CASTING Penumbra Theatre hosts an interdisciplinary panel discussion, at the theater at 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul. ASL offered 7 p.m. Mon, May 14. A reception with light refreshments is offered at 6 p.m. Free. FFI: 651-224- 3180, http:// UNDER THIS ROOF Full Circle Theater presents a tale of race, gender, aging, disability and love set in the 1940s, at Guthrie Theater, Dowling Studio, 818 2nd St. S., Mpls. AD, ASL and OC offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, May 17. All tickets $9. FFI: 612- 3772224, DR. SEUSS’S THE LORAX Children’s Theatre Company in partnership with the Old Vic, presents Dr. Seuss’s classic tale, at Children’s Theatre, United Health Group Stage, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Mpls. AD and ASL offered 7 p.m. Fri, May 18. ASL offered 5 p.m. Sun, May 20. To reserve ASL/AD seating, visit: https://my.childrenstheatre. org/single/ PSDetail.aspx?psn=6262 and click on the ASL or AD link at the bottom of the page. SENS offered 7 p.m. Fri, June 8. FFI: www. Assistive listening devices, induction loop system, Braille programs and sensory tours available upon request Tickets start at $15. Other discounts available. FFI: 612-8740400, WHOEVER YOU ARE Stages Theatre Company presents Mem Fox’s story-poem, at Hopkins Center for the Arts, Mainstage, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins. AD and ASL offered 1 p.m. Sat, May 12. OC offered 7 p.m. Fri, May 18. Tickets $16, discount for AD/ASL patrons at $12. Other discounts available. FFI: 952-9791111, opt. 4, DIVAS & DESSERTS GALA Twin Cities Women's Choir presents a Mother’s Day-themed concert, at Millennium Hotel, 1313 Nicollet Ave., Mpls. ASL offered at 7:30 p.m. Sat, May 12. Reception at 6 p.m. Tickets $35. FFI: 612-333-8292, www. LORD GORDON GORDON History Theatre presents the world premiere of a tale of Minnesota's greatest con man, at History Theatre, 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul. ASL and AD offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, May 19. OC offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, May 26 and 2 p.m. Sun, May 27. Tickets reduced to $20 for ASL/AD/OC patrons (regular $26-50). The accessible entrance is on the east side of the building off Cedar Street. The theatre has six spaces for wheelchairs, plus companion seats. Hearing enhancement devices and Braille or large print playbills are available. FFI: 651-292-4323, THIS BITTER EARTH Penumbra Theatre presents the story of a couple and the politics of their love, at Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, May 19. Tickets $40, senior 62+ $35. Discounted tickets $5 with code ‘ACCESS’ on 7:30 p.m. Wed, May 2, 9, 16. ASL patrons: For $5 discounted ticket, contact Dahlia Stone at or 651224-3180. FFI: HAIRSPRAY JR. Youth Performance Company presents the rollicking tale of a teen’s dance party ambitions, at Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, 1900 Nicollet Ave, Mpls 55403. Recommended for grade three and older. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, May 19. Tickets $15. VSA discount applies. Other discounts available. FFI: 612-623-9080, THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE Commonweal Theatre Company presents the ultimate sixth grade battle, at Commonweal Theatre, 208 Parkway Ave. N., Lanesboro. AD offered 1:30

p.m. Sun, May 20, with pre-show at 1:10 p.m. Ask in advance for a tactile tour. Please make AD reservations at least one week in advance. Two-week notice requested for a Braille program. Five-week notice requested for ASL interpreting. Assistive listening devices available at the box office. Special seating available for persons with mobility issues. Tickets reduced to $15 for AD and ASL patrons (regular $35). Other discounts available. FFI: 507-4672525 or 800-657-7025, INTO THE WOODS Lakeshore Players Theatre presents Stephen Sondheim’s fairy tale interpretations, at the new Hanifl Performing Arts Center, 4941 Long Avenue, White Bear Lake. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sun, May 20. If no ASL seats are reserved within two weeks of the performance, the ASLinterpretation will be cancelled. Tickets $25. Reduced to $10 for ASL patrons, who can purchase tickets online with a direct link that is active until two weeks before the performance. The $10 ASL seats highlighted in purple have the best view of the interpreter, are only visible via this link, and will not be released to the public until the Mon after the ASL reservation deadline. Assisted listening devices available. Other discounts available. Recommended for ages 10 and older. FFI: 651-429-5674, http:// AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE Guthrie Theater presents an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic, at Guthrie Theater, McGuire Proscenium, 818 2nd St. S., Mpls. AD, ASL, OC offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, May 25. OC offered 1 p.m. Sat, May 26 and Wed, May 30. AD and ASL offered 1 p.m. Sat, June 2, with free sensory tour offered at 10:30 a.m. Tickets reduced to $20 for AD/ASL, $25 for OC (regular $15-67). FFI: 612-377-2224, OUR TOWN Duluth Playhouse presents the Thornton Wilder classic at NorShor Theatre, 211 E. Superior St., Duluth. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, May 31. Tickets $25$35, student $25. To reserve an ASL viewing seat, call 218-733-7555. FFI: THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN Ten Thousand Things Theater presents a musical tale of riches, and caring for others as well as yourself, at Open Book 1011 Washington Ave. S., Mpls. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, June 1. Tickets $30, Pay what one can for under age 30, $18 for patrons with vision loss attending AD show and companion. FFI: 612203-9502, email: for AD show reservations.

FLASHBACK The senior ensemble Alive & Kickin presents an all-new show of music from the 1970s through 1990s, at Bloomington Center for the Arts, Schneider Theater, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington. Includes some performers with disabilities. Opening-night champagne gala after-party. 7:30 p.m. FriSat June 8-9 and 15-16, 2 p.m. Thu and Sun. June 10, 14, 17. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, June 16. (Notify the box office to request best seating for the service.) Tickets $32. Other discounts available. FFI: 952-563-8575, http:// 14TH ANNUAL 10-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL Lakeshore Players Theatre presents 10 short plays from around the world, at the new Hanifl Performing Arts Center, 4941 Long Avenue, White Bear Lake. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sun, June 10. If no ASL seats are reserved within two weeks of the performance, the ASL-interpretation will be cancelled. Tickets $22, reduced to $10 for ASL patrons, who can purchase tickets online with a direct link that is active until two weeks before the performance. The $10 ASL seats highlighted in purple have the best view of the interpreter, are only visible via this link, and will not be released to the public until the Mon after the ASL reservation deadline. Assisted listening devices available. Other discounts available. FFI: 651-429-5674, STEEL MAGNOLIAS Lyric Arts Company of Anoka presents the story of strong Southern women, at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage, 420 E. Main St., Anoka. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sun, June 10. Tickets $26-30; $5 discount for ASL seats. 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 3 weeks prior to the performance. If no ASL seating has been reserved three weeks before the show (Sun, May 20), the ASL interpretation will be canceled and seats will be released to the public. When ordering tickets, please indicate the need for seating in this section. Assisted listening devices are also available upon request. FFI: 763422-1838, DIANA KRALL: TURN UP THE QUIET WORLD TOUR 2018 The acclaimed jazz pianist and singer performs at Ordway Music Theater, 345 Washington, St. Paul. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Tue, June 12. Braille, large-print

ENJOY! To page 13

A POWERFUL PRESENCE Mpls Institute of Arts, Target Gallery, 2400 Third Ave. S., hosts interpreted tours at 1 p.m. first sun of the month, starting at the upper lobby information bar. ASL offered 1 p.m. Sun, June 3. Free. Other interpreted and memory loss tours can be schedule through the visitor experience office. FFI: 612870-3000, 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, June 5. Free but reservations required. FFI: 651-297- 2555, ALEC SWEAZY: 11TH ANNUAL SOLO RECITAL Digital accordionist and pianist Alec Sweazy performs at 7:30 p.m. Tue, June 5 at Mount Zion Lutheran Church, 5645 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls. free will donation. Refreshments and his CD, AlecTricity will be available. FFI: http:// OPEN FLOW FORUM The Artists with Disabilities Alliance Open Flow Forum is the first Thu of the month, 7-9 p.m. at Walker Community Church, 3104 16th Ave. S., Mpls. Upcoming dates is June 7 before the group takes a summer break. Open Flow allows artists with disabilities to share visual art, writing, music, theatre and other artistic efforts or disability concerns. The gathering is informal and fragrance-free. Bring refreshments as well as your recent artistic creations to share. Free. Facilitators are Tara Innmon, Dan Reiva and Kip Shane. Fully accessible, but anyone needing special accommodations, contact Jon at VSA Minnesota, 612-332-3888 or LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL Jungle Theater presents the legendary Billie Holiday’s life in song, at Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, June 7. Contact the theatre to request an ASL-interpreted show. Tickets reduced to $19 plus fees (regular $37 plus fees). FFI: 612-822-7063, www. DAT BLACK MERMAID MAN LADY Pillsbury House Theatre presents a performance about embodying gender, at Pillsbury House Theatre, 3501 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, June 8. Ask about an AD show. Tickets Pick-a-price (regular $25). FFI: 612-825-0459,

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Final Weeks! Must close May 27 by TODD KREIDLER based on the screenplay Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner by WILLIAM ROSE directed by TIMOTHY BOND

A psychological thriller

An Enemy of the People Now – June 3 by HENRIK IBSEN a new adaptation by BRAD BIRCH directed by LYNDSEY TURNER

612.377.2224 •

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ENJOY! ENJOY! From Page 12 programs and infrared listening systems available at Patron Services in Ordway’s first level lobby. If using ASL or Captioning, recommended seating locations (subject to availability) are: ORCH-RGT G 307-310, ORCH-RGT H 308-311, ORCH-RGT J 309-312. Tickets: $58-$141; FFI: 651-224-4222, 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: $10-26. ($5 or pick one’s price for patrons using access services.) FFI: 1-800-838-3006, www. UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL Theater Latte Da presents the story of a Dutch library and a very overdue 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. FFI: 612-339-3003, QUEEN Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus presents the music of Freddie Mercury and Queen, at Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th St. S., Mpls. ASL offered 8 p.m. Sat, June 16. Tickets reduced to half-price for ASL patrons (regular $25-48 in advance). Listening devices, largeprint and Braille programs available on request. FFI: 612-624-2345, ART SHOW: EMMA ERSPAMER AND JON LEVERENTZ The work of Emma Erspamer and Jon Leverentz is featured through July at 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. MORE EVENTS VSA MINNESOTA VSA Minnesota is a statewide nonprofit organization

PEOPLE & PLACES From Page 10 tion from many social, economic and cultural classes throughout the state of Minnesota.

United Family Medical, Mitchell Hamline Law are honored

Organizations and individuals working to address health issues in the community received the 2018 Ramsey County Public Health Award at a meeting of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners in April. The annual awards, sponsored by St. Paul - Ramsey County Public Health, recognize individuals and groups who have made exceptional contributions to improving health by advancing health equity in the county. Shoreview resident Eugene Nichols was honored for his leadership in reducing youth access to tobacco products and his long-standing work promoting health, mental health and well-being. United Family Medicine and the Mitchell Hamline School of Law won an award for their partnership to help clinic patients address legal issues that affect health. “Our 2018 award winners worked on a range of different issues, but all demonstrated a common understanding that partnership and collaboration are

LIMBO From Page 1 groups have argued for a higher rate of compensations for care staff who work with people with higher needs for service. As of newspaper deadline, additional funding for this effort hadn’t been secured. Both the House and Senate have worked to get the higher rate into statute. That is seen as giving advocates a leg up for the 2019 session. Another high-profile issue this session is protection for elders and vulnerable adults, which has been rolled into the House omnibus health and human services financing bill. Part of this effort involves the creation of a working group to look at licensing for assisted living and dementia care programs. The House working group has representation from disability advocacy groups. Efforts are underway to get representation in the Senate, with groups set up through the Senate Eldercare and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act.

(l-r) Third Small Cat, Susanne Dagmar Olsen Second Dalmation Dog, Clare Sierra


The 2018 Art Show & Sale runs through ay 19, 2018; weekdays, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., and Saturdays, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. All artwork will be available for sale during the show. The show is free and the public is welcome. Your gift will help create a broader opportunity for artists to sell their work and contribute to the longevity of the Art of Possibility. Show sponsorships and donations are meaningful ways to help people with disabilities reach for their full potential through art. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the show. Your support makes a difference. Donate:

that works to create a community where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in and access the arts, at 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 access@ or call VSA Minnesota, 612-332-3888 or statewide 800-801-3883 (voice/TTY). To hear a weekly listing of accessible performances, call 612332-3888 or 800-801-3883. Access Press only publishes performance dates when accommodations are offered. Contact the venue to find out the entire run of a particular production and if discounts for seniors, students or groups are provided. 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.

essential to advancing health equity,” said Ramsey County Board Chair Jim McDonough. “Many hands coming together is the best way to solve health challenges in our community.” The award presentation coincided with National Public Health Week, April 2 -8. “Public Health is uniquely positioned to facilitate and encourage partnerships between people and organizations across the private and public sector to advance health equity” said Anne M. Barry, director of St. Paul – Ramsey County Public Health. “The awards we present during National Public Health Week underscore that it’s up to all of us to advance health and racial equity by addressing the social, environmental and behavioral factors that impact health.” In 2015, United Family Medicine partnered with the Mitchell Hamline School of Law to launch a medical legal partnership at the health care provider’s primary healthcare clinics. The partnership enables Mitchell Hamline law students to provide legal assistance to patients under the supervision of a university staff attorney. The Medical Legal Partnership team is on‐site three days a week, meeting with patients in a location they know and trust. The partnership has been successful in helping patients at the

clinic address legal issues that affect their health and the health of their families. Over the course of the partnership, the students and managing attorney have met with more than 300 patients. While some patients are referred to external sources, the partnership team takes on a variety of cases. Many patients have basic questions that can be addressed with education and do not require legal counsel. Major issues addressed include understanding short‐ term disability, the Family and Medical Leave Act, employment discrimination and employee rights, immigrant laws and rights, landlord tenant laws, and the basics of Social Security. There are 14 medical legal partnerships in Minnesota. The honored collaboration is the only one at a community health center in Ramsey County. “A regimen of medications may hold a patient's asthma at bay, but her condition cannot be cured until the mold and vermin droppings in her apartment are addressed. Her living conditions will continue to impact her health without remediation by the landlord and the issues likely affect the entire building, not just a single unit,” said Ana Pottratz Acosta, supervising attorney and clinical instructor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. “These are symptoms of substandard housing, and the condition

Another issue to be reconciled between the House and Senate is to repeal the incontinence products bulk purchasing program, which was passed at the last minute in 2017. The Senate has included $2 million in its health and humans services financing bill toward a repeal. The House has no such financing language, so several groups are working to make sure the financing is found in both chambers. The lone notable disability-related measure signed into law by Dayton is a measure that cracks down on people who falsely claim that an animal is a service animal. Service dog training groups, and people who rely on service dogs, led the charge to have sanctions passed against people who falsely claim that an animal is indeed a service animal and not a pet, or a therapy or companion animal. Dayton signed the bill into law April 26. ■

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES • (c2: caption coalition, inc., which does most of the captioned shows across the country. • Facebook is another way to connect with performances. • Sign up to connect with Audio Description across Minnesota http:// d34dzo2. • Connect with ASL interpreted and captioned performances across Minnesota on Facebook http://

• Minnesota Playlist, with a recently updated website calendar with all the ASL-interpreted, audio-described, captioned, pay-what-youcan shows and other features. Go to http:// • Arts festivals are held throughout the state. Check:, http://, www. 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.

may have a legal solution: an order to make the landlord comply with contractual, statutory, or other requirements. It may be unlikely that she would have access to the guidance needed to bring legal action.” Nichols is a longtime community leader and volunteer who has generously donated his time and talents to improving health and advancing health equity in Ramsey County. A retired 3M Health Care Division manager, Nichols currently serves as Board Chair at Open Cities Health Center, chairs the African American Leadership Forum-Health and Wellness Group and serves on Shoreview's Human Rights Commission. He is also a member of St. Paul – Ramsey County Public Health’s Community Health Services Advisory Committee, and chairs the Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Team. Nichols was nominated for his tireless efforts to engage the community, raise awareness and ensure citizen’s voices are heard on a range of issues from healthy eating, active living and tobacco use, to nurse home visiting, mental health and well-being. Nichols is credited with a great ability to facilitate dynamic community dialogue and skill in guiding collaborative partnerships to stay focused to achieve their goals. ■

DIAMOND HILL TOWNHOMES Diamond Hill Townhomes is a great property located near the Minneapolis International Airport. We have spacious two and three bedroom townhomes that are HUD subsidized and rent is 30% of the total household’s adjusted gross income. Diamond Hill Townhomes may be accepting applications for our large number of mobility impaired accessible units. Please contact us for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Please call 612-726-9341.

May 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 5

Polar Plungers start time of chills, thrills

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THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT Listeners can now enjoy Radio Talking Book on their handheld mobile devices. The SERO app is available on both Apple iOS and Android platforms.

for the Blind (NFB) Newsline. Register for the NFB Newsline by calling 651-539-

On iOS: go to the App Store and search for Sero. Select the “Serotek Corporation” button and download the app. On Android: go to the Play Store, pick the “Navigation Drawer,” and search for Sero. Select “Sero (formerly iBlink Radio)” and download the app.

Donate to the State Services for the Blind at

Access Press is featured at 9 p.m. Sundays on the program “It Makes a Difference.”

CHAUTAUQUA* Tuesday – Saturday 4 a.m. Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits, nonfiction by Chip Colwell, 2017. Who owns the past, and the objects that connect us to our history – the museums that care for the objects, or the communities whose ancestors created them? Read by Lannois Neely. 12 broadcasts; begins Thu, May 17.

On both platforms: run the app and select the “Reading Services” category. Then swipe down to Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network and select it. A password is needed to access the stream. Call 651-539-2363 or toll-free 1-800-722-0550 to receive one.

PAST IS PROLOGUE* Monday – Friday 9 a.m. Blitzed, nonfiction by Norman Ohler, 2017. On the eve of World War II Germany was a pharmaceutical powerhouse with cocaine, opiates and methamphetamines, reaching all the way to Hitler himself. Read by Arlan Dohrenburg. 11 broadcasts; begins Mon, May 14.

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., 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.

American Sanctuary, nonfiction by A. Roger Ekrich, 2017. Jonathan Robbins of Connecticut sided with the British during the Revolutionary War. Capital punishment by the British created one of our nation’s first constitutional crises. Read by Stevie Ray. 11 broadcasts, begins Tue, May 29.

Listen to the Minnesota Radio Talking Book, either live or archived program from the last week, on the Internet at www. The sampling published monthly in Access Press doesn’t represent the full array of programming. Many more programs and books are available.

The Milk Lady of Bangalore, nonfiction by Shoba Narayan, 2018. A writer returns to India from Manhattan, and forms a friendship with the local milk lady. Read by Esmé Evans. Eight broadcasts; begins Wed, May 30.

The Bridge to Brilliance, nonfiction by Nadia Lopez, 2016. A woman establishes a middle school, and faces difficult odds beating the downward spiral that traps urban kids. Read by Scott Brush. Nine broadcasts; begins Thu, May 24.

CHOICE READING* Monday – Friday 4 p.m. The Schooldays of Jesus, fiction by J.M. Coatzee, 2017. Two adults and a young boy become refugees on their way to the city of Estrella. Read by Andrea Bell. Nine broadcasts; begins Tue, May 22.

GOOD NIGHT OWL* Monday – Friday midnight The Complete Ballet, fiction by John Haskell, 2017. The plots of several ballets explain a man’s life in the LA underground. Read by Andrea Bell. Seven broadcasts; begins Wed, May 23.

PM REPORT* Monday – Friday 8 p.m. Glass House, nonfiction by Brian Alexander, 2017. Financial engineering seemed a positive development in the 1980s, but instead has ruined companies and towns. Read by Therese Murray. 14 broadcasts; begins Wed, May 23.

AFTER MIDNIGHT* Tuesday-Saturday 1 a.m. Bop Apocalypse, nonfiction by Martin Torgoff, 2016. Disparate elements combine to create the early drug culture. Read by Peter Danbury. 15 broadcasts; begins Thursday, May 17. – V, L, S

OFF THE SHELF* Monday – Friday 10 p.m. My Cat Yugoslavia, fiction by Patjim Statovci, translated by David Hackston, 2017. A refugee in Finland meets a talking cat, who accompanies him home to Kosovo to confront his demons. Read by Don Lee. Eight broadcasts; begins Thu, May 24.

Anatomy of a Miracle, fiction by Jonathan Miles, 2017. A man who became paraplegic years ago suddenly rises from his wheelchair. Is it a medical breakthrough, or a miracle? Read by Pat Muir. 17 broadcasts; begins Wed, May 30.

Audio information about the daily book listings is also on the National Federation

POTPOURRI* Monday – Friday midnight The Amorous Heart, nonfiction by Marilyn Yalom, 2018. A scholar outlines the history of the “heart” symbol across the world’s cultures. Read by Marylyn Burridge. Eight broadcasts; begins Mon, May 14.

NIGHT JOURNEY* Monday – Friday 9 p.m. The Heavens May Fall, fiction by Allen Eskens, 2016. Detective Max Rupert and attorney Boady Sanden are friends on opposite sides of a controversial murder case. Read by Don Gerlach. 12 broadcasts; begins Mon, May 21.

BOOKWORM* Monday – Friday 11 a.m. A Time of Love and Tartan, fiction by Alexander McCall Smith, 2017. Residents’ lives intersect at an Edinburgh apartment. Read by Myrna Smith. Nine broadcasts; begins Thu, May 17.

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.

THE WRITER'S VOICE* Monday – Friday 2 p.m. An American Family, nonfiction by Khizr Khan, 2017. This memoir by a Gold Star parent is the story of an immigrant family’s pursuit of the American dream. Read by Brenda Powell. 11 broadcasts; begins Tue, May 15.

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May 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 5

dispute is at the center of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court this spring. The 16-year-old girl’s 133 IQ is in the 99th percentile. She routinely earns A+ grades on individual assignments, even in honors courses. But she struggles with anxiety and depression, often sleeps past noon and has had poor school attendance since ninth grade. She is behind in credits to graduate. School district officials content that the girl’s parents had declined accommodations, such as an easier course load and a shorter school day. The parents have also rejected a specialeducation referral, saying it’s for “stupid kids.” Instead, the family sent the girl to a boarding school in another state. But school district officials said the parents had a change of direction after learning the school district might have to pay for boarding school, if the girl is placed in special education. One challenge is that the school district has been unable to evaluate the girl for various disabilities, due to low attendance. The school district determined the girl did not have a disability and did not qualify for special education services. The parents disagreed and hired four experts to testify at a special-education due-process hearing. Administrative law judge James Mortenson sided with the family. He found the girl met criteria for two disabilities — emotional and behavioral disorders and other health disabilities — and was eligible for special services based on her poor attendance and being behind in credits. He ordered the district to pay for the family’s experts and provide the girl with one-on-one instruction with a special education teacher. The district is asking federal judge to overturn Mortenson’s decision. (Source: Pioneer Press)

Northwest Residence employee accused of rape

A woman with severe intellectual and physical disabilities was sexually assaulted by a male caregiver who worked the overnight shift at a Northwest Residence Inc. group home in Little Canada. It also appears that the group home may have violated state law requiring that concerns about abuse be immediately report. Patrick Daniel Hackman, 27, of St. Paul, has admitted to law enforcement that he sexually assaulted the resident in March, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court. Hackman has been charged with one felony count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct of a victim who is mentally impaired or physically helpless. He also has been disqualified by the Minnesota Department of Human Services from direct contact with vulnerable persons receiving services from state social service agencies. The woman has quadriplegia and is nonverbal. It remains unclear if the victim was abused by Hackman previously, in large part because group home staff did not immediately report suspicions as required under Minnesota's vulnerable adult law. Staff observed other instances where Hackman would go into the victim’s room and close the door. The criminal complaint said that staff found his behavior to be “highly unusual.” But employees failed to report, even throwing away what could have been evidence of sexual abuse. A spokesman for Northeast Residence, a nonprofit based in White Bear Lake that operates 25 group homes in the Twin Cities metro area, told the Star Tribune that the organization has retrained its staff on policies and procedures regarding reporting suspected maltreatment. This marks the second time this year that a male caregiver in a state-licensed group home has been charged with sexually assaulting vulnerable women. In January, a 58-year-old caregiver, Patrick Arthur Jansen, repeatedly assaulted two female residents at a Sauk Rapids group home. In both assault cases, the male caregivers worked the overnight shift, which is when group home residents are particularly vulnerable, according to Roberta Opheim, the state ombudsman for mental health and developmental disabilities. “When residents are alone and sleeping, that is by far their most vulnerable time," Opheim said. "Group homes need to

be far more sensitive to this fact and schedule staffing to minimize this kind of horrific occurrence.” (Source: Star Tribune)

Liberian caregivers fear deportation

Minnesota has the largest Liberian immigrant community in the United States. Many people have taken jobs as caregivers or medical professionals. But immigration changes could put the community at risk. That is raising flags for Liberians who have permanent residency as well as the skilled care facilities and personal care attendant agencies that employ many people from the African country. “All immigrants, and Liberians in particular, are critical to our workforce,” said Nichole Mattson, an administrator with the Good Samaritan SocietySpecialty Care Community. “Without them, we would not be able to fulfill our mission here. They have been influential in referring people to the health care field and new employees our way.” Rev. James Nyebe Wilson II oversees a St. Paul church that will celebrate its 130th anniversary this October, but his mood these days is far from celebratory. The priest in charge of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Van Buren Avenue said these are tense times for him and other members of Minnesota’s Liberian community, many of whom face removal to an impoverished West African nation they have not been back to in decades. Wilson is a U.S. citizen, as are his wife and two adult daughters. But he believes up to 4,000 Liberians with a more temporary status could be forced to leave by March 2019. President Donald Trump has declined to renew a long-standing immigration policy that has allowed thousands of Liberians to remain in the U.S. almost since the onset of the nation’s civil war more than 28 years ago. With their temporary protected status expiring within a year, entire families may be uprooted. Labor organizers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota say several nursing home management companies — whom they’ve sometimes tangled with on labor issues — are considering working with them on a joint advocacy campaign, though nothing is finalized. (Source: Pioneer Press)

City poised to finally approve accessibility plan More than 20 years after a deadline to

make St. Paul parks accessible to people with disabilities, the city of St. Paul has put together a multimillion-dollar plan to rebuild a recreation center, replace entry doors and otherwise bring its parks system into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Though the department has made accessibility improvements to buildings and facilities for years, an ADA transition plan to identify all the modifications needed for compliance wasn't approved until this year. "We, I believe, ought to have had this plan by about 1992," Deputy Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Korum told the Parks and Recreation Commission in April. "We didn't, but we do now." The plan identifies 33 projects that will cost more than $150,000, plus staff time, to be completed between 2018 and 2025. They range from installing a $25 Braille



elevator sign at North Dale Recreation Center to replacing automatic entry doors at the Como Visitor Center for $66,325. The list also includes two large-scale projects that have been in the works for years: the $11 million rebuild of the 45-year-old Scheffer Recreation Center and the nearly $20 million renovation of the Como Zoo seal and sea lion exhibit. The parks department is up for reaccreditation this year, a process that for the first time requires a Disabilities Act transition plan. That's why the department is acting now, Korum said. Staff members at each of the city's recreation centers completed accessibility assessments last fall, and their findings were incorporated into the plan, Korum said. More facility assessments are planned for the spring and summer, and the plan will be updated accordingly. (Source: Star Tribune)

Counties are part of partnership

The University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) has announced that Ramsey County and Scott County have been selected as its community partners for the 2018–2019 academic year. Due to both finalists’ strong proposals, it marks the first time in its six-year history the program will assist two partners in a given year. RCP, housed within the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, seeks to connect students’ innovation, ingenuity, and fresh perspectives with local government agencies to learn about their needs, conduct research and develop solutions. In the coming months, staff will define the scope and purpose of individual projects before matching them with courses offered at the University in fall 2018 and spring 2019. “We’re very excited about our upcoming collaborations with Scott and Ramsey Counties,” said RCP’s Director Mike Greco. “Each community brings to the table a unique set of issues and projects. Working with staff, residents, and other partners in these communities will provide U of M students with incredible experiential learning opportunities, while increasing each county’s capacity to remain resilient in the face of rapid economic, social, and environmental changes.” Ramsey County’s proposal identified up to 18 potential projects, including improving access to county service facilities, removing transportation barriers to employment, increasing housing stability and building resilience among youth and vulnerable populations. “The RCP partnership is a wonderful opportunity for our organization to advance and align our strategic priorities and goals of well-being, prosperity, opportunity and accountability,” said Ramsey County Manager Julie Kleinschmidt. “This program will allow us to collaboratively develop innovative strategies that prepare Ramsey County for future growth in community resiliency and sustainability and support our vision of a vibrant community where all are valued and thrive. Our staff are very excited to partner with U of M students to establish the framework for programs and initiatives that will directly benefit our residents for several years to come.” Scott County’s proposal identified 14 potential projects, including planning for autonomous vehicles. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Scott County to have access to the

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resources and cutting-edge research the University of Minnesota can share,” said Scott County Board Chair Tom Wolf. “This partnership will allow us to examine policy, project, and program initiatives—identified by our community—in a well-defined and collaborative way.” Beginning in September, the University and counties will collaborate on more than a dozen multidisciplinary projects to advance resilience and sustainability. (Source: Ramsey County)

Volunteers help provide ramps

After Debora Blakeway had back surgery, she needed a wheelchair ramp for her house in St. Paul. But some builders wanted more than $8,000, she said. Others offered rental ramps, but for the equivalent of a monthly house payment. Blakeway had been living on disability for some time “so I didn't have that kind of money.” Rebuilding Together Twin Cities came to her rescue. It is a community revitalization organization that relies on volunteers to provide services such as ramps to homeowners with limited financial resources. Blakeway soon met the Ramp Crew, a group of retired Honeywell employees. Since forming in 2012, they have built more than 30 ramps for people in need. They've donated almost 4,400 hours, the equivalent of two full years of work by a full-time builder. Members of the crew come from all aspects of Honeywell, said supervisor Armand Peterson of Maple Grove. “We have manufacturers, design engineers, technicians, managers," he said. "The repartee is pretty interesting sometimes. But we don't even talk about what we did for a living. We get together and enjoy ourselves, and enjoy helping some people when we can.” Surprisingly, the crew is without jobs for the upcoming build season. Rebuilding Together Twin Cities has sent out a call for ramp applications in the Twin Cities area. (They're looking for homeowners in need of new roofs, as well.) Interested people can receive an application by e-mailing homeowners@ or by calling 651-776-4273. There are several criteria for homeownership, income and age that must be met to be considered. Blakeway, whose ramp was built in 2014, no longer needs a wheelchair. But with continuing back problems and surgery, she relies on the ramp to provide a safe walking surface to get to her part-time job at Land O'Lakes as a product evaluator. (Source: Star Tribune)

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May 10, 2018 Volume 29, Number 5

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