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Nominations due!

Volume 24, Number 5

With no change, trains could leave riders behind by Jane McClure

When light rail trains begin operations on the Central Corridor or Green Line route in 2014, getting to some stations may be easier said than done. Sidewalks leading to stations are broken, narrow, overgrown with brush and trees, or are poorly lit. And that’s where there are sidewalks. Many areas have sidewalks on only one side of the street or have no pedestrian connections at all. The Green Line Walkability Study: Routes to Rails in the Central Corridor was recently released by the District Councils Collaborative. It is seen as the first step in making changes. The Trains - p. 14

May 10, 2013 Final days of session

Families, facing pressure, call for support at capitol

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Twin Cities. MN Permit No. 4766 Address Service Requested

by Jane McClure

Cuts to services for people with disabilities are having a devastating effect on families who are draining savings accounts and selling assets to pay for their children’s care. Adults who have lost assistance are struggling to meet even basic needs. But until state legislators find a way to raise revenues, their challenges will continue. That was the message self-advoSteve Larson, The Arc Minnesota’s public policy director, explains the plight of families as self-advocates look on. cates and families took to the Photo courtesy of The Arc Minnesota capitol in April during a series of events centered on the annual Disability Day at the Capitol April 25. The legislative session adjourns May 20. As Access Press went to press, legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton were continuing to work on the tax bill. Numerous potential revenue sources are in play, ranging from increased income on the wealthiest Minnesotans to taxes of clothing, cigarettes, many consumer services and even over-the-counter drugs. Most disability advocacy groups, including the Arc Minnesota, are staying neutral as to how the state should raise revenues. But they are urging that something be done. Legislature's final days- p. 3

Deadline June 30

Nominations needed for 2013 Charlie Award Many people provide exceptional service to Minnesota’s disability community. We all know them. We see them working to make change, at the capitol or in our neighborhoods. We may benefit from a law they helped pass or a program they started or a facility they helped to design or build. Honor that exceptional person or group with the 2013 Access Press Charlie Smith Award. The award is a high-profile way to thank those who go above and beyond in service to Minnesotans with disabilities. Nominations are now open and will close June 30. Get out your calendars and reserve Friday, Nov. 1 for the 11th Annual Charlie Smith Award Banquet. The banquet returns to the Minneapolis Airport Marriott. The highlight of the banquet is the presentation of the Charlie Smith Award and the winner’s speech. The award is given in honor of the late Charlie Smith Jr. founder of Access Press, and a longtime disability community activist and journalist. The banquet, organized by Access Press, honors a member, group or organization in Minnesota’s disability community for outstanding service. Winners are always very pleased and moved by the award. Last year’s winner, activist Charles “Chuck” Van Heuveln, said it was one of the greatest things that had ever happened to him. “All the Charlie Smith award winners have been very humbled, gracious and appreciative of being honored by their community,” said Tim Benjamin, Executive Director of Access Press. “Charlie was very influential in the way the disability community thinks today and his indirect The Charlie Smith Award presentation is a highlight of the influence is still strong in each of the winners.” Access Press annual banquet. “Last year’s winner and his work were not very well known. I think his seAccess Press file photo lection surprised many for this reason,” said Brigid Alseth, chairperson of the Access Press Board. “Once his story was shared, however, I heard comments such as ‘Now I understand!’ Nominating someone for the Charlie Smith Award is a community process and helps us celebrate an extraordinary citizen and sometimes, we get a valuable history lesson.” The 2013 award nomination period closes June 30. Early nominations are appreciated. The nominations are open to any Minnesota individual, family, organization or group that serves Minnesotans with disabilities. Self-nominations are not accepted. The nominations remain confidential and are known only to the newspaper’s board and staff until the winner is announced. The newspaper board will review the nominations in July and select a winner in August. Read about the winner and the nominees in the September issue of Access Press. Nomination forms are available on the newspaper’s website, www.accesspress. org or by calling the office at 651-644-2133. Contact the newspaper board at if there are question. Anyone needing accommodations to make a nomination may call the newspaper office. The banquet will again be held at the Minneapolis Airport Marriot in Bloomington. This setting offers a very accessible and comNominations needed - p. 15

“ And

in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln


The Autism Society of Minnesota has named its new executive director. Page 8

Access Press recently hosted journalists from around the world. Page 4 Lobbying 101 was an education for this father-turned-activist, who reflects on lessons he learned. Page 4

A state facility’s time capsule offered up a blast from the past for a curious crowd. Page 7

Apollo Center’s drop-in space for people with mental illness has closed, leaving a void in the community. Page 10

INSIDE Accessible Fun, pg 11 Events, pg 12 People & Places, pp 8-9 Radio Talking Book, pg 13 Regional News, pg 6

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Tim Benjamin By the time you read this, the Minnesota Legislature may have gone into special session, or we might have gotten lucky and our 2013 legislative session will be completed. There were rumors on May 3 that the legislators wanted to wrap up within two weeks. Time will tell if they make it—but only a little time is left. A couple months ago I told you that I was feeling a little disconnected at the capitol; maybe others, including our lawmakers, were feeling the same. Many unexpected controversies arose in this session, with unpredicted outcomes, considering that the body was single-party-controlled. Maybe the DFL party had forgotten how it works to lead after so many years of not being the majority party. Several of the issues concerning people with disabilities were shelved, although we thought they would be slamdunks. There was a lot of controversy over the tax plan that Gov. Mark Dayton laid out, and as I write this on May 7, no tax bill has passed. Obviously, without knowing what the revenue situation is, it’s hard for

legislators to vote on other funding bills that will need new revenue. The DFL clearly wants to demonstrate fiscal responsibility. I was under the impression, and it was Dayton’s election platform, that we were going to raise taxes and undo the damage to health and human services programs that had taken place over the last 10 years. I sure didn’t expect our DFL legislature to cut programs and maintain high parental fees and co-pays. But indeed, after the debate over the Health and Human Services Omnibus bill, it seems like program cuts and increases in co-pays and parental fees are in our future. Without knowing what funds are available, the issues concerning Medical Assistance eligibility remain in limbo. It does look like one hundred percent of the federal poverty guideline (approximately $600) will remain the MA qualifier for people with disabilities, leaving us with less income than nondisabled Minnesotans on the same state-funded programs. In one bright spot for some, it does appear that the spousal disregard will remain in the omnibus bills. That is probably because the spousal disregard does not increase state costs. But the disregard still needs authorization by the federal government, according to the federal Affordable Healthcare Act. There was a bill introduced by Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL – Minneapolis) that arose from a grassroots idea to increase research funding for traumatic brain

injury and spinal cord injury (“Get Up Stand Up for the Cure”). Matthew Roderick, the idea man behind the bill, did not expect much opposition, but there was plenty. The late Christopher Reeve learned this lesson in his quest for cure not care, although Reeve eventually did recognize that care is vital, and that dignity and quality-of-life deserve funding as well as research. Reeve was quadriplegic for approximately nine years before his death, which was caused by infected pressure sores. What killed him was a challenge for all paralyzed people that require care above all, and secondarily, better research about wound care and prevention. Roderick has written for Access Press a thoughtful summary of his first-year of in-depth legislative experience and the lessons he’s learned. The most important message of his lobbying efforts is that you cannot give up: get up, speak up. There is always one more person you can convince and one more year to introduce your legislation and prove it is good for the state and money spent well. He has an uphill battle to convince legislators and some in the disability community. He has persuaded a lot of folks in the disability community already, though. If it isn’t funded at the state level, maybe it should be at the federal level, where such legislation may have more of an impact. We’ve had several false starts, but it looks like spring is finally here after a long, cold and difficult winter. Enjoy the sun, the air, and even the rain…and stay safe. ■


Accessible to all, community sings were entertainment Singing together in a park, under the trees or even under a moonlit sky, may sound quaint today. But during the early to mid-20th century, community sings were a very popular and accessible form of entertainment. At a time when people with disabilities and senior citizens had very limited access to parks and recreation programs, anyone could attend and sing along. During World War I, community singing was man-

Volume 24, Number 5 • Periodicals Imprint: Pending ISSN Co-Founder/Publisher Wm. A. Smith, Jr. (1990-1996) Co-Founder/Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief Charles F. Smith (1990-2001) Board of Directors Brigid Alseth, Steve Anderson, Kristin Jorenby, Kim Kang, Elin Ohlsson, Halle O'Falvey, Carrie Salberg,Walt Seibert and Kay Willshire Cartoonist Scott Adams

Advertising Sales Michelle Hegarty 612-807-1078 Executive Director Tim Benjamin Assistant Editor Jane McClure Business Manager/Webmaster Dawn Frederick Production Ellen Houghton with Presentation Images Distribution S. C. Distribution

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 does not necessarily reflect the view of the editor/publisher of Access Press. Paid advertising is available at rates ranging from $12 to $28 per column inch, depending on size and frequency of run. Classified ads are $14, plus 65 cents per word over 12 words. Advertising and editorial deadlines are the last day of the month preceding publication, except for employment ads, which are due by the 25th. Access Press is a monthly tabloid newspaper published for persons with disabilities by Access Press, Ltd. Circulation is 11,000, distributed the 10th of each month through more than 200 locations statewide. Approximately 450 copies are mailed directly to individuals, including political, business, institutional and civic leaders. Subscriptions are available for $30/yr. Lowincome, student and bulk subscriptions are available at discounted rates. 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 care of The Kelly Inn Offices; 161 St. Anthony Ave; #910 St. Paul, MN 55103; 651-644-2133 Fax: 651-644-2136 email:

dated by many states including Minnesota. Singing was a way to keep spirits up, propagate patriotism, and solidify cultures. A statewide community song chairperson was given the task of making sure that every county and township had volunteer community songleaders and regular gatherings for singing. Community sings were especially popular in Minneapolis from 1919 through the late 1950s. People would gather in large groups, sometimes 10,000 strong, and sing in neighborhood parks on summer evenings. The city’s parks competed against each other for the annual prize of “the best singing park,” in a competition co-sponsored by the Minneapolis Park Board and the Daily News, and later the Minneapolis Tribune newspaper. Each park had a small bandstand for the songleader to use. For a long time the Park Board provided an employee to oversee the community sings. But even when funding couldn’t be provided, as happened during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the sings continued. Winners first got a banner and from 1924, a large silver traveling trophy. If a park won three years in a row, the singers got to keep the trophy and a new trav-

Logan Park was the site of many large community sings. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

eling prize was created. The banners and trophies were highly coveted. In 1920 Riverside Park and Logan Park tied in the scoring, and had to have a two-concert sing-off so a winner could be determined. Logan Park won by one point. The Tribune extensively covered the sings, publishing pictures, news stories and even every sing’s scoring by judges. The park standings were regularly published. Having a good community songleader was essential to having a park full of singers. One 1930 newspaper headline declared, “Minneapolis is teaching America how to sing.” The accompanying article emphasized that anyone could join and sing, even a “bathtub baritone.” The article described how about 400,000 people would participate in community sings that year, which earned the city worldwide attention for the events. One sing that year at Powderhorn Park drew about 45,000 people. For more information about the Minneapolis community sings of the 20th century, read the books Minneapolis Park History note - p. 6

May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5

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An argument for change Balancing the state budget on people with disabilities Over the past decade, disability services bore a significant burden when balancing the budget; hundreds of millions of dollars were cut from these services or fees for those services were increased. Here are a few examples from the past five years:

Cuts in 2011 • Funding for disability services was cut by 1.5% in 2012 and another 1.5% in 2013. An additional 1.67% cut is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2013 and will last until the end of this year. • Wages were cut by 20% for personal care attendants (PCAs) who support their family members with disabilities. This cut was later overturned in a legal challenge by PCAs, their family members and providers.

Higher Fees in 2011 • The fees that some Minnesota families pay for the services to keep their children at home or in the community

were raised, when Minnesotans as a whole were not asked to contribute more in taxes.

Cuts in 2009 • Funding was cut by 2.58% for services that help people with disabilities live in the community and become more independent. • More than 900 homes for people with disabilities received an additional cut. These homes previously received extra funding to meet the higher needs of their residents. • The number of PCA hours that a person with disabilities could receive each month was reduced. • Cuts were made to dental care and to occupational, speech, and physical therapies. Disability advocates have only been able to restore a portion of these cuts. • Funding for new community services for people with disabilities was scaled back, resulting in longer waits by individuals and families for those services.

• The amount of spending money for people with disabilities to cover clothing, hygiene items, transportation and other needs (called the Personal Needs Allowance) was cut by 26% for 10,000 people with disabilities and by 10% for 6,000 others. • The Renter’s Credit saw $51 million less funding. This provides tax relief to low- and moderate- income Minnesotans, including people with disabilities.

Cuts in 2008 • Programs that help people with disabilities learn independent living skills and that help families with special expenses incurred when raising their child with disabilities were cut 1.8% • Funding for new community services for people with disabilities was scaled back, meaning $68 million less for those programs and longer waits for those needing those services. ■

Raise revenues, protect disability services from cuts The Arc Minnesota position During this legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature should approve and Gov. Mark Dayton should sign a twoyear state budget that increases revenues. Revenue increases raised fairly are necessary to help prevent further cuts to disability services and supports and to increase investments in those services.

Why revenues should be raised For a decade, Minnesota has faced state budget deficits almost every year. To eliminate these deficits, solutions typically relied on cutting state services, borrowing from schools, and shifting money from other sources of revenue. Disability services bore a significant burden when balancing the budget; hundreds of millions of dollars were cut from these services over the past decade. These cuts have not balanced our budget. More importantly, they have caused harm to people with disabilities and their families and have not enabled Minnesota to meet the needs of Minnesotans with disabilities or adequately invest in their abilities and talents.

• 3,600 Minnesotans with disabilities wait for services that will help them be more independent and be part of our communities. • One in 88 children is now diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Minnesota families are becoming more vocal about the need for services so their children can succeed in school and in life. • Special education funding is inadequate – a barrier to success at school for children with disabilities. • Many families already pay unaffordable fees for the services that help keep their children with disabilities at home or living in the community. • People with disabilities continue to have higher rates of unemployment and lower rates of participation in the labor force than people without disabilities. The state faces a $627 million budget deficit for the next two years, not counting inflation. Failure to raise adequate revenues will mean that disability services will again be among the targets for budget cuts, and that investments in

people with disabilities will continue to lag behind current and future needs.

Legislative action in 2013 Dayton’s budget for the next two years includes increased revenues from higher income taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Minnesotans, increased taxes on tobacco products, the end to some exemptions from corporate taxes that include foreign royalties and foreign operations, and taxes on internet sales. The Minnesota House and Senate have proposed raising revenues on the highest income earners, with the House also considering an income tax surcharge on the wealthiest Minnesotans to finish paying school districts back for delayed payments that erased deficits in previous state budgets. The Senate is also considering raising higher revenues from tobacco products, and it is proposing to expand the state sales tax to clothing and a number of services purchased by consumers. ■

Information provided by The Arc Minnesota.

Legislature's final days - from p. 1

Calls for changes rising as state lawmakers wind down “For a decade, Minnesota often cut disability services to help balance the state budget,” said Steve Larson, senior public policy director of The Arc Minnesota. “People with disabilities and their caregivers saw hundreds of millions of dollars in funding reductions, service reductions and fee hikes.” He and othKelly Kausel, Heidi Myhre and Tim Kasemodal presented ers are asking that the distheir stories to the news media. ability community be Photo courtesy of The Arc Minnesota spared further cuts. Larson said he and others were “surprised and shocked” when House and Senate health and human services budget proposals showed a $150 million cut. One issue is parental fees, which affect about 8,000 families statewide. Parental fees coupled with high out-of-pocket costs are hitting families hard. Over the past two years the Kasemodel family of Excelsior has had to withdraw more than $800,000 from retirement savings, to survive the recession and help pay for their son Thomas’ needs. He is 15, lives with multiple medical conditions and autism. Gastrointestinal issues have resulted in very aggressive behaviors when he is in pain. Tim Kasemodal, Thomas’ father, said the family had to place Thomas in a group home in spring 2011. Then their family was hit by salary cuts. “Parental fees go up immediately with increases in incomes, but decreasing them due to local income is a cumbersome process, and the decrease is sometimes minimal,” Kasemodal said. “Fees for Medical Assistance services are not adjusted unless your income drops by over 10 percent.” His family’s parental fees are at the same level or exceed their federal income tax each year. The Kasemodels also pay high out-of-pocket costs for out-of-state medical treatment and supplements for Thomas. The nutritional supplements alone cost almost $400 per month, a cost not covered by insurance or Medicaid. Co-pays for medication are covered by insurance but not by Medicaid. Parents can seek a credit for out-of-pocket expense but only after a long appeal process. “Does it seem fair that the current parental fee calculations only add to the financial hardship of families already struggling with such tough financial decisions?” Kasemodal said. He is urging state lawmakers to

reduce parental fees. “Does it seem fair to balance the budget on the backs of already financially and emotionally drained parents?” Other families are also struggling to pay for therapies which benefit their children. Apple Valley resident Kelly Kausel has an autistic son. Noah Kausel is four and has benefitted greatly from applied behavior analysis or ABA therapy. He interacts with other people and can go out in public without being afraid. But after a private insurance provider stopped paying for Noah’s therapy, the family had to apply for Medical Assistance. “From a financial standpoint, the cost of treating young children with autism using applied behavioral therapy is actually a huge cost savings to the state,” Kausel said. “It’s a lot easier and less expensive to treat people when they are children.” Kausel is asking state leaders to fund early intervention programs and that insurance coverage for therapies be mandated. Kausel also asked that a $12 million allocation for early intervention be supported, as proposed by Dayton. For updates in the final days of the session, go to Larson’s blog on The Arc Minnesota website, at Another source of information is the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities blog, at More information on state issues is on page 13. ■

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Guest commentary

Citizen Lobbying 101: Get up, speak up, don’t give up by Matthew Rodrieck

Many years ago I drove a yellow 1972 Monte Carlo, one in a long line of beaters or as they used to be called in my neighborhood, a hoop-dee. At one point I decided to write things on that hoop-dee. It had quotes from Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and a few quotes from friends who got a black Sharpie to doodle with when I picked them up. One quote has stayed with me. My friend Bart wrote “Cynicism is the refuge of a second-rate mind.” I’ve been thinking about it since I got a call recently from Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) to tell me that the Jablonski Rodreick Spinal Cord Injury-Traumatic Brain Injury Research Grant Bill didn’t make it into the budget. The bill contained a request for an annual $4 million allocation to support curative research. I wasn’t thoroughly stunned, because the writing’s been on the wall since the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget numbers came out. But I was disappointed. In spite of my tendency toward cynicism, which I’ve always considered a natural response for anyone who’s paying attention, I was still holding out hope that we might squeeze it through. I Twitter-bombed the film I made with thenMinnesota Viking Chris Kluwe (not truly a disability simulation but rather a shameless effort to use celebrity as a vehicle to draw attention to an intensely personal and publicly important issue) as a last-ditch effort to draw attention to our legislative effort. In spite of several thousand views of the film, it did not generate the traction I was hoping. So we will put our legislative effort to bed for a few months and let support from so many of you act as the antidote for my temptation to be cynical. I brought this idea to Hayden, my senator, almost two years ago. He graciously listened to our story and consequently offered to author the bill. The idea was born out of my son Gabe’s July 2008 spinal cord injury. Gabe was injured while body surfing on a student exchange program in Costa Rica. In the almost five years since his injury science has made some very significant breakthroughs toward potential curative therapies. But the market is too small to expect an injection of capital. Our hope was that we might convince legislators and citizens that this would be a fine example of the need for public investment. We made our case in every committee, and were mostly well received. Our approach was threefold: 1. Tell the story of

what it’s like to live with an injury. 2. Make the case for a return on investment due to the plus-$1 billion dollar expenditure for the ongoing annual healthcare costs of our community and 3. Educate legislators regarding the promise of what is now a rapidly moving field of research. Legislators were almost unanimously receptive and supportive. During the Senate HHS Finance Committee debate, Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) said “This is a bill whose time has come.” Not everyone agreed. There was some vocal opposition from within our own disability community early on in the process, and quite possibly some discomfort with the message of some in the community who seek to ameliorate the effects of their injuries. This initially surprised me. But in my efforts to understand the dissenting voices, I grew to recognize that my son and family were beneficiaries of the services that these same voices had fought so hard to win. At the same time my hope is that they have heard the voices of our coalition who seek a more complete healing from their injuries, not unlike the treatment one would seek for a broken leg or a stroke.

At the end of the day, we could not compete with a shortfall that left many stunned and certain to feel shorted in the future. I listened to many make a final and for some a desperate appeal at the last House HHS Finance Committee in hopes that they wouldn’t be left out or wanting. We are having a political dialogue in our communities and country that hinges on the choice between austerity and investment, notions of personal freedom and responsibility to our neighbors. I refuse to be accused of the cynicism that may be the symptom of a second-rate mind. This “Citizen Lobbying 101 Class” that I’ve taken has taught me many things, but most importantly that we all need to Get Up and Speak Up. While we all tend to pay attention to the big national political issues, it’s the local decisions that likely affect us the most. In our case speaking up is for those who cannot Get Up and Stand Up, without a lot of help. We intend to be back the next session to do just that, and we hope that you would join us, at ■ Matthew Rodrieck lives in Minneapolis.

Access Press meets guests from Azerbaijan, Czech Republic by Access Press staff

Murad Mammadov’s quest to learn about educating children with disabilities recently took him from his home in Baku, Azerbaijan to Minnesota. Mammadov was fortunate to have been chosen by the United Nations Organization to intern in the United States and learn more about special education programs. Mammadov spent several weeks on the East Coast and with the Minnesota State Council on Disabilities. He visited many organizations, including Access Press, in his quest to learn about how to create a more favorable environment for children with disabilities in his own country. Although Mammadov’s background is in accounting, he has a strong interest in helping special needs children and a passion to help create a better Azerbaijan. Mammadov was just a young man in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh when armed conflict took place from February 1988 to May 1994 between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Over the years, there have been many attempts for peace in his homeland. Thus far there have been only agreements concerning civil rights between the two parties. Mammadov was given “Hope” by many adults during the war. Now, he is taking on the personal responsibility to return that “Hope” to the children. “Many people gave me many things but the most important thing I was given was hope, now I have an opportunity to return that hope,” He said. He went on to say, “with hope and an appropriate

Murad Mammadov and Tim Benjamin in front of the State Council on Disabilities offices after an afternoon of enjoyable conversation. Photo by Linda Gremillion

education the children from Azerbaijan with special needs will become an asset to their communities. Each Azerbaijani deserves dignity, especially our children with disabilities.” We went on to speak about people first language and as we talked, he recognized how people first language offers a little bit of dignity to the children.” One learning experience in this country centered on people first language, which is respectful to people with disabilities. “I will remember people first language, it will be my first lesson I give to my associates and coworkers as we creating the new model and methodology in educating our children with needs; even though it doesn’t translate, in our language well, Guest interview - p. 5

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May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5

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Reform 2020 aims for easier reporting REFORM 2020 UPDATES of suspected maltreatment Reform 2020 is a bipartisan initiative to reform Medical Assistance— Minnesota’s Medicaid program—to better meet the challenges of rising health care costs and a growing aging population while still providing Minnesotans the services they need to lead fulfilling lives. The Minnesota Department of Human Services has asked the 2013 Legislature to approve several components of the initiative, some of which are contingent on federal approval. by Alex Bartolic and Jean Wood

Minnesota was at the forefront nationally decades ago in helping people with disabilities move from institutions to homes in the community. This continuing trend has meant more choices and flexibility in how people with disabilities access and use supports and services as well as more opportunity to lead personally fulfilling and meaningful lives. Being an active participant in community brings more personal responsibility and opportunity but can also bring the possibility of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. These risks are mitigated by a strong adult protection system. That is why key components of Reform 2020 include proposals for an improved way to report concerns about these serious issues and for additional resources to support timely response by the adult protection system. Minnesota state law encourages reporting of suspected maltreatment and requires protections and services to those considered to be “vulnerable adults.” A vulnerable adult is defined in law as any person 18 or older who is a resident of a group home, nursing home, patient of a hospital, or other facility or an adult who receives services licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services or the Minnesota Department of Health. Also included are individuals who have a physical, intellectual, emotional or other condition that impairs their ability to care for themselves and protect themselves from maltreatment. regardless of where they live or the services they receive, Under current law, each county is responsible for designating a Common Entry Point for receiving and responding to reports of suspected maltreat-

ment of vulnerable adults. Across Minnesota, more than 160 different phone numbers are designated to receive calls reporting suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation. This complexity significantly reduces the effectiveness of the system. People who want to make maltreatment reports sometimes need to make two or more phone calls to reach an appropriate party to take a report. Gov. Mark Dayton’s Reform 2020 proposal this legislative session would make the reporting process simpler and more accessible. It creates a single, statewide response center anyone can access to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation. This system would be web-based and include a central database that would provide information useful in improving quality of care for people with disabilities and the elderly. The DHS Office of the Inspector General has also asked the Legislature for additional resources to support timely maltreatment investigations as well as implementation of licensure of some services for people with disabilities not currently licensed. When the response center is rolled out, a public outreach campaign would begin to raise awareness of issues of maltreatment and provide information on how to recognize and report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation. County adult protection units would have new funding to strengthen their ability to provide for adult protection. Reform 2020’s primary focus is the best outcomes for people. As we aim to ensure people receive the right services, at the right time, in the right way, it’s imperative that we make as strong as possible the means by which the safety and dignity of all citizens are honored and preserved. ■ Alex Bartolic and Jean Wood are the Minnesota Department of Human Services directors, respectively, of the Disability Services and Aging and Adult Services divisions. Learn more about Reform 2020 and Minnesota’s adult protection system on the DHS website at For more information about services for people with disabilities, contact the Disability Linkage Line® at 1-866-333-2466.

—————— In Memoriam —————

Thorson was first ‘Handiham’

Helmerichs was a pioneer

Ellie Heller cared for children

Edna “Eddy” Thorson, 75, was Courage Center’s first “Handiham.” She pioneered use of amateur radios by people with disabilities. She died April 13. Thorson, a Grand Meadow native, had muscular dystrophy. She stopped attending school in sixth grade, when she began using a wheelchair. She stayed home, running a phone answering service, using ham radios and making dolls. Nuns from Rochester helped her move to the Twin Cities in about 1985. Thorson earned the top license for ham operators and could easily tap out 30 words a minute in Morse code. She was nationally recognized as one of America’s outstanding young women for her volunteer work with the American Red Cross. She was a longtime resident of the Cunningham, a Minneapolis residence for people with disabilities. Thorson asked that she have no funeral services. Instead a tree will be planted at the Cunningham in her memory. ■

Activist Sally Graner Swallen Helmerichs died April 28 after a one-vehicle accident near her Edina home. She was 80 and was recently honored by The Arc Minnesota as one of its heroes and pioneers. Disability rights became the focus of her life because of the severe developmental disabilities, including Angelman’s syndrome that her two oldest sons faced. Helmerichs was one of the first women to lobby the Minnesota Legislature, dedicating herself to raising awareness of developmental disabilities and the need for support. She directed the Community Health Education Network for The Arc, an E-library of resources to help people with disabilities expand independent living skills. She also did workshops for direct care staff, medical professionals, and police officers to work more effectively with people with disabilities. Helmerichs received the 2002 ARC Minnesota Betty Hubbard Family Advocacy Award, in recognition of her lifetime of dedication. She is survived by her husband Robert, three sons and seven grandchildren. One son preceded her in death. Services have been held. ■

Ellie Heller, who cared for more than 60 foster children, including many with disabilities, died April 18 in Pelican Rapids. She was 89. She was a strong advocate for children and co-founder of the Minnesota Foster Care Association. Daughter-in-law Georgia Heller Duncan, said that many children she cared for had autism, fetal alcohol syndrome and other disabilities. Heller served as a foster parent until two years ago. She and husband Einar and their family lived for 40 years in Spring Lake Park. Heller also was a volunteer advocate for what was then called the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC), said her son-in-law, Mel Duncan. In 1985, Heller and her husband moved to Akeley, to be near their son Terry and help run his resort. Her husband preceded her in death. She is survived by her son, foster children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Services will be held in June in Pelican Rapids. ■

Guest interview - from p. 4 showing dignity is imperative,” Mammadov said. Benjamin and Assistant Editor Jane McClure also hosted a delegation from the Czech Republic and Slovakia last month. The group of media professionals was part of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International’s Group Study Exchange. The group represented print and broadcast journalists and advertising professionals. Access Press was one of several media outlets the group visited, in the Twin Cities and in rural Minnesota. The group discussed how Access Press produces its print edition and also discussed media ethics and challenges facing print media. Visitors also heard a presentation on the history of Twin Cities neighborhood and community newspapers. ■

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REGIONAL NEWS Backlog of cases alarms advocates Minnesota regulators charged with protecting vulnerable adults have been falling behind in their duties. The backlog of pending maltreatment investigations has doubled in the past four years. The agency responsible for looking into complaints has failed to report the problem to the Minnesota Legislature as the law requires. The situations alarms advocates who are demanding change. The backlog of pending maltreatment investigations grew to 724 cases at the end of 2012, according to figures released by the Department of Human Services (DHS). Roberta Opheim, a state consumer advocate for people in mental health and developmentally disabled programs, said the growing backlog is troubling. “If the backlog is doubling, that means they are not doing the investigations they need to get done,” Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, who chairs a committee that oversees the agency’s budget, told the Star Tribune. “That means it’s going to cost more money because you presumably have to hire more investigators to do the job. It’s important to protect the well-being of the people in our care.” DHS Inspector General Jerry Kerber said the growing backlog does not mean the agency is unable to protect vulnerable adults. He said investigators prioritize cases, taking the most serious allegations first; some cases that may be delayed are less urgent or do not involve an immediate threat to safety, he said. But Kerber also said state officials hear from families of vulnerable adults and others who aren’t getting investigation results. The agency, he said, is meeting its statutory requirements by notifying those involved when investigations stretch on. DHS is asking state lawmakers to restructure some licensing and monitoring functions in home- and community-based services. ■ (Source: Star Tribune)

Student videos spotlight disabilities

Families can try out travel

One by one, students appear in the video they know their entire school will see. While teens tend to shun labels, these students willingly show theirs. Anoka High School students made the videos, in which they spoke openly about their disabilities. The video has helped educate everyone at the school. “Before the movie, they, like, kids, wouldn’t even talk to me,” said ninth grader Jordan Peschong. “They said, ‘I didn’t even know you had a disability.’” He was injured while in child care years early, and sustained injuries from shaken baby syndrome. He is stressed in crowds and is bothered by loud noises. Anoka special education teacher Ann Sarazin asked her students if they wanted to make the videos as a way of teaching others about disability. Working with members of the Anoka High School student council, the teens came up with the idea of a Disabilities Week at Anoka, where mainstream peers could learn about a different disability each day, and what it’s like to be a student living with a disability. The video was shown to the entire high school student body and met a very positive response. ■ (Source: KARE 11 News)

Travel can be stressful for anyone, but for children with autism, crowded airports and security screenings can be a difficult experience. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Autism Society of Minnesota have launched a new program to help children and families prepare for air travel. “We were really nervous about how the airport would go, it’s a lot of new things all in the same day,” Matt Nielsen told KARE-11 News. Two of Matt and Melissa’s four children, five-year-old Charlotte and two-year-old Elaine, were diagnosed with autism. The family follows a strict routine to help the children. The training allows families to see how airport travel would work, without the travel. Families and children can face the sensory issues associated with travel and use that experience on a trip. Volunteers lead the families through every step in the airport process, from security, to finding their way through the crowds, and even practicing the boarding process and finding their seats. The Autism Society says it’s a helpful lesson not only for families, but for airport workers too. Families interested in signing up for the monthly airport visits can sign up through the Autism Society of Minnesota’s website, or through Fraser, an autism services provider, at ■ (Source: KARE 11 News)

Facility is under investigation A Chisholm assisted living facility is under scrutiny by the Minnesota Department of Health. State officials began an investigation after a developmentally disabled man was found unresponsive in a urinesoaked chair. Documents related to the case were released in mid-April in the investigation of Hillcrest Terrace of Chisholm. Reports indicate that the man, who is diabetic, had to be taken to the hospital after he was found unresponsive in his room earlier this year. The man’s care required that his blood sugar levels be monitored daily. But his blood sugar was found to be low, and he had a urinary tract infection. His room at the care facility was filthy and in disarray, with mold present. The room also had a strong smell of enzymatic cleaner, which staff would pour onto the carpet straight from the bottle without diluting. The man has since returned to the facility and been given a new room. ■ (Source: WCCO TV. Star Tribune)

Guilty plea in scooter accident A Hibbing man has pleaded guilty in the traffic death of a 78-year-old man who was riding his mobility scooter on a road in northern Minnesota. Lyle White pleaded guilty April 23 in Itasca County court to criminal vehicular homicide. Court documents indicate that White drove his pickup over a hill in September 2012. The truck collided with Eugene Paul Zeroth of Princeton, who was riding a scooter. Under a negotiated plea, White would receive a sentence of more than four years in prison. The prison sentence would be stayed and White would be placed on supervised probation for 10 years, with conditions. Those conditions include White serving a year in jail or six months in jail and a year on electronic home monitoring. Sentencing is set for June 24. ■ (Source: WCCO TV)

Bankruptcy affects Scooter Store outlets The Scooter Store, a Texas-based company that supplies power wheelchairs and scooters to people with limited mobility, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Last month’s bankruptcy filing in Delaware comes after federal agents raided the company’s South Texas headquarters earlier this year, and amid Congressional scrutiny of whether TV ads by The Scooter Store and a rival company target people who don’t need scooters, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary Medicare spending. The Scooter Store has shed hundreds of jobs in recent months, with its workforce dwindling from about 2,400 down to about 300. The company’s bankruptcy filing cited changes in health care laws and government investigations as financial burdens. It listed assets between $1 million and $10 million, and liabilities between $50 million and $100 million. Call to Minnesota outlets of The Scooter Store found disconnected numbers or messages stating that stores were operating with limited staff and not taking new orders. ■ (Source: Associated Press, Access Press staff)

History note - from p. 2 System by Theodore Wirth and City of Parks by David C. Smith. The group Minnesota Community Sings is trying to bring those days back, with an event May 18 in Minneapolis. Information about that event is on this month’s Accessible Fun page. ■ Information for this article came from Minnesota Community Sings. The History Note is a monthly column sponsored by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, and

May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5


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St. Peter Treatment Center time capsule opened after more than 50 years

Retired St. Peter Regional Treatment Center employee Martin Larson and maintenance supervisor Pat Kennedy labor to open the time capsule. Photos courtesy of Minnesota DHS

Employees, clients and retirees gathered at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center’s Tomlinson Gym recently to open, with some effort and a cloud of dust, a time capsule. The time capsule was uncovered during a remodeling project. Items inside dated from the 1950s and early 1960s. The time capsule was inside the wall of Schantz Hall, which was completed in 1961 and opened in 1962. The building is named for Dr. Sam Schantz, a former medical superintendent. “There was a plaque on the wall so we knew it was in there somewhere,” said Jamie Fromm, a supervisor with the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, which operates in the building where the time capsule was found. “But they wouldn’t let me take

down a wall just to find it. Ever since the remodeling started, I’ve been excited to get it out and see what’s inside.” Maintenance Supervisor Pat Kennedy and retiree Martin Larson pried open the time capsule lid on April 4. Larson, who retired from the St. Peter facility in 1981, pulled out a stack of papers and a set of keys. Included were several pictures, a copy of the patient newspaper from 1961, a civil service salary plan (1959-1961), a hospital Christmas card and a budget presentation to the 1961 Minnesota Legislature, along with numerous other mementoes. Larson began working at the facility on Easter Monday 1950, according to the St. Peter Herald newspaper. He worked as a security guard and carpenter at St. Peter and in St. Paul as the public welfare’s representative at the state architect’s office and a consultant in planning the new security hospital. He retired in 1981. Larson has written two books about the state hospital. He told those at the time capsule opening that Schantz Hall was the first of three treatment buildings built in the 1960s. Attendees at the opening crowded around the time capsule to get a closer look and share memories. Many recognized the names of those mentioned in the uncovered materials. Some also talked about what might go into the next time capsule. “It’s fun to think that in 50 years another group of people could be right here opening up a time capsule we’ve buried,” Fromm said. “I hope we can do as well as the people who put this one together.” The St. Peter Herald has a gallery of pictures

online of the time capsule opening, at http:// State programs for persons with disabilities have operated at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center since 1866. At that time state lawmakers approved the building of a state hospital for the insane, hoping to reduce the growing amount of mentally ill people in jails throughout the state. They first had to find an area willing to deed 20 acres of land for the hospital. While many communities were reluctant to consider being the home to the hospital, St. Peter leaders bought a 210-acre farm for $7,000 and lent it to the state. The first patient checked in December 6, 1866. In 1911, the St. Peter Hospital for the Insane officially opened. It became the Minnesota Security Hospital and later parts of the larger St. Peter Regional Treatment Center. ■

Sixth grader wins national award Louie McGee is no ordinary sixth-grader. McGee, a student at Highland Catholic School in St. Paul, was honored April 10 with an engraved silver medallion to recognize his selection as one of Minnesota’s top two 2013 youth volunteers for The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. The award was presented at an all-school Mass and assembly. Highland Catholic is the parish school for Lumen Christi Catholic Community in St. Paul. McGee, who is blind, was honored for leading a team that has raised more than $40,000 over the past six years. McGee and his team participate in an annual fundraising walk to fight diseases that cause blindness. Not only did McGee receive a medal, he also received $1,000 and an all-expensepaid trip in early May to Washington, D.C. There he joined 101 other top honorees from across the country for several days of national recognition events. During the trip, ten young people were to be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2013. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. All middle and high schools in the U.S., along with all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of HandsOn Network, are eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award last November. Each state has two honorees, one in middle school and one in high school. Also feted are a select number of Distinguished Finalists from each state and the District of Columbia. In selecting the winners, criteria are looked at including personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth. ■

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Mankato area business expands

PEOPLE & PLACES Goodwill prepares to open new store

Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota, which provides skills training nonprofit for people with disabilities, will open its first Minneapolis store in November. Retail sales, which help fund Goodwill’s many programs, grew 23 percent to $57.6 million last year. The new store is at 60 th Street and Nicollet

Avenue S. and is designed by DJR Architecture and developed with Wellington Management. The store will be Goodwill’s 34th location in the region and will be its first two-story store. This is Wellington Management’s second partnership with Goodwill/Easter Seals. The St. Paul-based commercial and residential developer was involved with a Goodwill store in Coon Rapids several years ago. Wellington will own the Minneapolis site, which was most recently occupied by a restaurant. The property acquisition and development costs are $2.5 million. Goodwill had hoped to open a new store recently on Lyndale Avenue in South Minneapolis, but dropped those plans in the face of community opposition. A Burnsville store has also been placed on hold due to concerns in that city. ■

Autism Society of Minnesota names new executive director Jonah Weinberg is the new executive director of the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM). Weinberg’s appointment took effect April 15. Weinberg brings decades of non-profit and public sector leadership experience with organizations across the United States and internationally. His focus is on education, advocacy, and organizational excellence. He comes to Minneapolis from Cleveland where he worked with a broad range of organizations focused on serving people with physical, cognitive and behavioral challenges He also has served as executive director for two non-profit organizations serving that region’s Latino community. Weinberg looks forward to expanding the visibility and impression of AuSM. “In order to get the attention and research-funding necessary to bring about an impact for the nearly 100,000 people living with autism in Minnesota, it’s vital that we share their stories with friends, neighbors, community leaders and elected officials,” he said. “It’s important for people across the entire state to be aware of the incredible resources this organization has developed over the past 42 years.” AuSM Board of Directors President Todd Schwartzberg said, “Weinberg’s expertise will help not only to continue the great work done by AuSM, but will also expand collaborations and initiatives with those

Jonah Weinberg Photo courtesy of AuSM

with whom AuSM works and serves in the community.” Established in 1971, the Autism Society of Minnesota is committed to education, advocacy and support designed to enhance the lives of those affected by autism from birth through retirement. Visit for more information. ■

MRCI Workforce, which provides job opportunities for people with disabilities, has announced is moving a $3 million expansion of its Mankato facility. Construction should begin this summer. When the expansion is finished in early 2014 it will initially house 90 clients supported by 40 MRCI staff members. In the future, numbers are expected to more than triple. The new 25,000-square-foot facility will house programs previously on Front Street and in the former Highland Plaza strip mall. MRCI workers do product packaging, light assembly work and other jobs for a wide range of regional companies. The old facilities didn’t have loading docks or easy truck access, which limited opportunities to take on more work. MRCI will continue to operate it 85,000-squarefoot facility The Mankato City Council, operating as the city Economic Development Authority, recently approved the sale of the five-acre parcel for nearly $200,000, according to the Mankato Free Press. Founded in Mankato 60 years ago, MRCI has since expanded to Fairmont, New Ulm and three Twin Cities suburbs. Clients earned more than $3.1 million in wages in 2011, about half through center-based production jobs and half at community-based jobs ranging from restaurants to supermarkets to manufacturing firms to warehouses. The nonprofit organization also provides skills training and leisure activities for clients. MRCI has nearly 1,000 employees in all of its programs. ■

May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5

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PEOPLE & PLACES Support professionals elect board The Direct Support Professional Association of Minnesota recently held board elections. New board Chairperson Bridget Siljander is a career direct support professional. She has been involved with DSPAM since 2007, and led the board from 2007 to 2009. She will be working to engage more direct support professionals and nurture leadership, and promote public policy activities. She is the parent of a teenager with cerebral palsy. Siljander has been very active statewide, and nationally, on workforce development. Jennifer Walton, vice-chair, has worked in human services for a wide variety of positions, from nursing home dietary aide to group home supervisor. Since 2010, she has worked in management at Midway Training Services. Donald Krutsinger, past president, grew up with a brother with developmental disabilities. He has a longtime career as a residential program coordinator and direct support provider for a number of Twin Cities organizations. Mike Harrison, treasurer, went into full-time direct care work after being displaced from his job as a factory worker. He is starting his second year as treasurer. Idelle Longman, director, has served on the Hennepin County Local Advisory Council and the state’s Special Education Advisory Council. She was recently appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to the Statewide Independent Living Council and has served on City of Edina committees. Catherine (Kat) Gordon, director, works as the PAS Services Coordinator at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living. She has worked there for more than five years as a direct support professional and office worker. Jim Loved, director, has spina bifida. Loved has depended on direct support professionals for almost 30 years. Loved served 13 years on the board of the Spina Bifida Association of Minnesota. Board members and directors Ruka Oba, Theo Nah and Lisa Evenson are all direct support professionals. Oba and Nah work for Hammer Residences. Evenson works for Lutheran Social Service of Adams. ■

Fraser School wins accreditation Fraser School has been awarded the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA). Fraser School is known for its inclusive environment, where children with typical needs (without disabilities) and children with special needs contribute to each other’s development in unique and life-changing ways. NECPA Accreditation is reserved for exceptional early childhood programs that substantially exceed minimum state licensing requirements. NECPA is a nationally recognized accreditation that follows a rigorous process of self-study, surveys of parents and staff, verification by early childhood education/child care professionals, and a final review by the NECPA Board of Commissioners. As an NECPA accredited program, Fraser School has maintained its place among a select group of early childhood education centers nationwide distinguished by their quality, their commitment to young children, and their dedication to excellence. Fraser School is a division of Fraser, Minnesota’s largest and most experienced provider of autism services. Fraser also serves children and adults with more than 60 types of mental and physical disabilities. ■

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Pg 10 May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5

Apollo Center closing leaves clients without support APOLLO Resource Center, Ramsey County’s only drop-in center for people with mental illness, closed May 1 after more than 36 years. Like many other programs it is a victim of funding cuts and shifts in how services are delivered. Clients were told of the closing during a January meeting with center staff. The center was run by People Inc. Other related programs including independent living skills training, Artability and other services will continue to operate. Funding that had been used to operate the drop-in center will be redirected to a job placement services. Most people who worked at the center have been reassigned. For the past several weeks staff worked to find other resources for the clients who rely on the drop-in center for support. Some fear winding up in inpatient programs for adult foster care without the support the center provided. Those who rely on the center described the closing as a shock, with some comparing it to being punched in the stomach. But the closing is representative of a trend in mental health funding, Tim Burkett, CEO of People Inc., said in an interview with City Pages. As public support for mental health services are cut, the remaining dollars are focused on programs with measurable objectives. That is a threat to programs with harder-to-quantify rates of success such as a drop-in center. Apollo Resource Center lost $300,000 in county funding in early January. During 2013 budget deliberations last year, Ramsey County staff explained that they have to find more value with fewer dollars from the state. Nearly $60 million has been cut from Minnesota mental illness programs in the last four years, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota. That doesn’t include the proposed $150 million in health and human services budget cuts currently under scrutiny at the capitol. Those cuts, if adopted, would take effect in the 2014-15 biennium. The Apollo Resource Center has served adults from Ramsey County as well

as Washington County. It was housed in different community locations, most recently in the basement level of the Dale Street Place (formerly Redeemer Arms) apartment building at Interstate 94 and Dale Street in St. Paul. Dale Street Place is a residence for people with disabilities. The drop-in center, which opened in 1976, served about 30 people per day. It has also faced budget cuts in the past, but managed to stave those off. Clients and supporters did mount a similar campaign earlier this year, calling and writing elected officials to save the drop-in center. But their efforts fell short, because the county doesn’t have enough money to keep the center open. The closing and diversion of funds for supported employment program is part of a larger effort to retool Ramsey County’s community support services. County officials are directing Apollo center clients to the Ramsey County mental health services, which are offered to two locations on University Avenue in St. Paul. Call 6512-266-7890 or go to to find services. Clients can be assigned case managers and find support groups. NAMI Minnesota doesn’t have a drop-in center but has support groups and classes. Call 651-645-2948 or go to and click the tabs. The closest drop-in centers are in Minneapolis and Hennepin County, where there are seven centers. Go to the Hennepin County adult mental health website at hennepin-support For a list of other area drop-in centers, check http:// Due to changes in programs, always call to see if a center is still offered or if a program is operating. ■

May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5 Pg 11


ACCESSIBLE FUN Welcome to the Access Press Accessible Fun listings. Readers looking for additional opportunities to enjoy the arts have these options: For information on galleries and theater performances around the state, join the Access to Performing Arts email list at or call VSA Minnesota, 612-332-3888 or statewide 800-801-3883 (voice/TTY). To hear a weekly listing of accessible performances, call 612-332-3888 or 800-801-3883. On the web accessible performance listings are found at, or,, or http:// (c2: caption coalition, inc.), which does most of the captioned shows in Minnesota and across the country. Sign up to connect with ASL Interpreted and Captioned Performances Across Minnesota on Facebook (or Sign up to connect with Audio Description Across Minnesota Performances on Facebook at Want to attend a show but not finding the accessible services needed? Contact the performing company as far in advance as possible to request the service. Arts organizations can borrow a captioning display unit from VSA Minnesota for free. Call the Minnesota Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-627-3529 with the number of the arts organization box office. With video relay a caller’s video phone number automatically connects to a sign language interpreter when making a call to another caller who does not have a VP.

Arts Accessibility grants available Access to the arts for people with disabilities has increased in recent years, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Access Improvement Grants for metro arts organizations are available through VSA Minnesota with money from Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Nonprofit arts groups in the seven-county metropolitan area can apply for grants of up to $15,000 to help make their arts programming, activities and facilities more accessible to people with disabilities. Deadline is May 17. Potential projects anything that helps to remove barriers and more effectively serve and attract artists, audience members, board or staff with disabilities. FFI: VSA Minnesota, 612-332-3888, or

Artists around town Upstream Arts, a Mpls-based program for artists with disabilities, offers a number of programs and services for artists. The mission of Upstream Arts is to enhance the lives of adults and youth with disabilities by fostering creative communication and social independence through the power of arts education. The program website has a blog that is always worth checking, to see what activities Upstream Art staff and artists are doing in the community. The blog is updated regularly. Visit

Changes in Time 20% Theatre Company Twin Cities presents the world premiere of E.B. Boatner’s work at Minneapolis Theatre Garage, 711 W. Franklin Av., Mpls. We are all at the mercy of the social, psychiatric, medical and technological constraints of our times. Rain was born before Christine Jorgensen made headlines with her 1952 sex change operation. The word “transgender” was not in the common vocabulary then, and not for a while. These three short snapshof plays—Wishes, Dresses and Changes—follow the story of Rain/Lorraine/Laurence through his transition from the 1950s to the mid-1990s. This production has adult language/content—and is recommended for ages 15 and up. ASL show is 7:30 p.m. Mon, May 13. Tickets are $5-25 sliding scale (pay what you can/want); cash/check only at the door. Advance tickets recommended. FFI: 612-227-1188; tickets@ or

Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll’s children story is presented by Children’s Theatre Company at Children’s Theatre Company, United Health Group Stage, 2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls. AD and ASL shows are 7 p.m. Fri, May 17. Tickets include a discount so ASL/AD patrons should ask about special price rates (regular $16-40). FFI: 612-874-0400;,

On the Town Bloomington Civic Theater presents the energetic World War II musical at the Bloomington Center for the

Minnesota Community Sings presents A Thousand Voices in the Park, 5:30 p.m. Sat, May 18 at Powderhorn Park, 3400 15th Av. S., Minneapolis. $5 per person is requested to help cover event costs. Singers will gather near the community center at the southeast end of the park. If it rains, the event will move to the Powderhorn Community Center gym just east of Powderhorn Lake. All songs will be led by Bret Hesla and Mary Preus, with José Antonio Machado. Song sheets will be provided, including sheets in Braille. The park and gym are fully accessible. All ages and voices are welcomed. Minnesota Community Sings wants to bring back the large community sings of yesteryear, which are described in this month’s History Note on page 2. Volunteers are needed to help that day and with pre-event

Arts, Schneider Theater, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington. AD show is 7:30 p.m. Fri, May 17. ASL show is 2 p.m. Sat, May 25. Tickets are reduced to $23 for AD/ ASL ($30 regular, $27 senior, $23 age 25 & under); FFI: 952-563-8575;,

Free to Be, You and Me Marlo Thomas’ charming children story about uniqueness is presented by Youth Performance Company at Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, 1900 Nicollet Ave., Mpls. AD and ASL show is 7:30 p.m. Sat, May 18. Tickets are $12, student 18 & under or senior 62+, $10. FFI: 612-623-9080,

Primrose Path Based on the novel Home of the Gentry by Ivan Turgenev, the play is presented by Guthrie Theater Company at the Guthrie Theater, Wurtele Thrust Stage, 818 2nd St. S., Minneapolis. Captioning is 1 p.m. Wed, May 22 and 7:30 p.m. Fri, June 7. ASL show is 7:30 p.m. Fri, May 24 and 7:30 p.m. Thu, May 30. AD show is 1 p.m. Sat, May 25, (with sensory tour) and 7:30 p.m. Fri, May 31. Tickets are reduced to $20 for AD/ASL, $25 for Captioning (regular $24-62). FFI: 612-377-2224, TTY 612-377-6626,

Man of La Mancha Rochester Repertory Theatre presents the tale of Don Quixote and his pal Sancho Panza at the Rochester Repertory Theatre, 103 7th Street NE, Rochester. ASL show is 8 p.m. Fri, May 24, sponsored by The Sertoma 700 Club. Tickets are $22; student/senior discount. FFI: 507-289-1737,,

Flint Hills International Children’s Festival Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Rice Park, 345 Washington St., St. Paul, host the annual festival for children and families. It features school day events May 28-31 and family weekend activities June 1-2. Outdoor events are free and indoor shows are $5 but tickets are limited. Check the website for a full list of shows and accessibility options, as well as recommendations on age-appropriate activities. There are ASL and AD shows starting June 1. Tickets are $5. FFI: 651-224-4222,

Blithe Spirit Noel Coward’s comedy puts a man between his deceased wife and current spouse. It is performed by Commonweal Theatre Company at Commonweal Theatre, 208 Parkway Ave. N., Lanesboro. AD show is 1:30 p.m. Sun, June 2, with a pre-show at 1:10 p.m. and a tactile tour at 12:30 p.m. by advance reservation.

Photo by Ed Dillon and Sarah Farley and

publicity. Check the group’s Facebook page or website at or email ■

Tickets are $30; student $15. FFI: 507-467-2525 or 800-657-7025;,

Tesla Nimbus Theatre Company presents a new play about the genius Nikola Tesla, at Nimbus Theatre, 1517 Central Avenue, Minneapolis. AD show is 8 p.m. Fri, June 7. Tickets are reduced to $8 (reg. $15 Fri.-Sat., $10 Thurs., Sun.). FFI: 612-548-1380,,

The Fantasticks Skylark Opera presents the Broadway musical romantic comedy at E.M. Pearson Theatre at Concordia University, 312 N. Hamline Ave., St. Paul. Captioning is 7:30 p.m. Thu, June 20 Tickets are $20 to $43. Discounts available for child ($10), student ($20), senior 65+ ($38), MPR member, first-time patron ($35), season subscriber, group, front row ($25).FFI: 612-343-3390 or, ■

Access Press welcomes your events Access Press welcomes news of organization galas, fundraisers, charity walks, art shows, theatrical productions and other special events for our Accessible Fun pages. Items must have a tie to the disability community and be accessible. Deadline is the 25th of the month, with publication

on the 10th. Call 651-644-2133 or email with questions.

Pg 12 May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5

UPCOMING EVENTS Activities for adults Independent living classes offered The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living offers free and accessible classes on living independently for people with disabilities. Most classes are held at 1600 University Ave., #16, the green tile building at University and Snelling, St. Paul, unless specified. A new event is a happy hour gathering, with different activities. Meet at 4-7 p.m. Wed, May 23 at Como Zoo for social time. Also, the start of summer means trips to the Nicollet Mall farmers’ Market again, starting 1-3 p.m. Thu, June 20. Yet another fun event coming up is 1-5 p.m. Tue, May 28 with cooking and social night at MCIL. A full calendar of all events is offered online. Enjoy field trips, knitting and crafts, wii fun, cooking, and classes to help with everyday living. Classes include the Working Well with a Disability series. 1:30-3 p.m. Wed June 189 with a goal setting and awareness workshop. Learn about advocacy 10 a.m.-noon Tue, June 11. Other upcoming classes include how to make responsible choices, decision-making and bus training. Bus training is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wed, April 17 and May 15. Cook with others and enjoy social time 1-6 p.m. Tue, April 30 in the MCIL kitchen. Weekenders outings are for those who are tired of sitting home all weekend. Meet other people who share similar interests and want to meet new people. Guests are welcomed. Meet at Minneapolis’ Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group 10 a.m.-noon Fri, May 1.Please bring spending money for weekenders events. All other events are free of charge, accessible and mostly scent-free. Please RSVP and give two weeks’ notice of needed accommodations. FFI: Corbett Laubignat, 651-603-2028,, Cindy, 651-603-2037,, MCIL will be closed May 27 for Memorial Day.

Youth and families PACER offers workshops PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with disabilities. Workshops are at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, unless specified. Workshops for May include Planning for the Future: Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Options, 6:308:30 p.m. Tue, May 28. Attorney Lori Guzmàn, founder of Guzmàn Law Firm, P.A. and parent of a child with multiple disabilities, will discuss what families should consider when planning to protect and assist a child with disabilities in the transition to adulthood. She will answer such questions as: What is guardianship? What is a conservator? When are they necessary and how are they established? What are the options for less restrictive alternatives? When are other options more appropriate? Advance registration required for all workshops.. FFI: 952838-9000, 800-537-2237 (toll free), Parents with disabilities group MCIL offers a support group for parents with disabilities, Learn from and grow with others who are dealing with the intricacies of disability and parenting responsibilities. Everyone’s experience is valuable and questions are important. The group meets the second Monday of each month, with its next meeting 5-7 pm. Mon, May 13 at MCIL, 1600 University Ave. W., St. Paul. Preregistration requested. RSVP: Corbett, 651-603-2028,

Mental illness in children The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota (NAMI Minnesota) hosts a free, two-hour workshop for parents and teachers on recognizing warning signs of mental illness in children, and how early intervention and treatment is essential for their success. It is 10 a.m.noon Tue, June 11 at NAMI Minnesota, 800 Transfer Rd., Suite 31, St. Paul. The workshop meets the continuing education requirement for teachers. Pregister. FFI: NAMI, 651-645-2948.

Information and assistance Seniors can seek healthy food To increase seniors’ access to nutritious foods, the Minnesota Department of Human Services announced the launch of a new one-page application for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for Minnesotans age 60 and older. At the end of 2012, only 50.5 percent of seniors eligible for SNAP were accessing it. Currently, more than 500,000 Minnesotans are on SNAP. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Application for Seniors is for seniors-only households. The application is one page, two-sided, with additional attachments, including instructions and resource information. Previously, seniors needed to complete a combined application for food, cash and health care benefits, which all others interested in applying still need to complete. The department is working with counties, community groups and outreach organizations to get the word out about the new application. Seniors interested in applying for SNAP should contact their county social service agency. Mental Illness support groups NAMI-MN free support groups for families who have a relative with a mental illness. NAMI has about two dozen family support groups, more than 20 support groups for people living with a mental illness, anxiety support groups, groups for veterans and other groups. Led by trained facilitators, the various groups provide help and support. FFI: 651-645-2948 Partners and Spouses support group meets 6:45 p.m. the first Tue of each month at Falcon Heights United Church of Christ, 1795 Holton St. FFI: Lois, 651-788-1920, or Donna, 651-645-2948 ext. 101. Open Door Anxiety and Panic support, meets at 6:30 p.m. the first and third Thu at Woodland Hills Church, 1740 Van Dyke St., St. Paul and 6:30-6 p.m. on the second and fourth Thu at Goodwill-Easter Seals, 553 Fairview Ave. N., St. Paul. FFI: 651-645-2948. NAMI Connection peer support group for adults are led by trained facilitators who are also in recovery lead NAMI Connection groups. One group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tue, . A group meets at 6:30 p.m., on the 4th Tuesday of the month, at Goodwill-Easter Seals, 553 Fairview Av., St. Paul (The group previously met at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.) FFI: Shelly, 651-228-1645. Bi-weekly adult recovery groups meet at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Wed at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1524 Co. Rd. C-2 West, Roseville. FFI: Will, 651-578-3364. A family support group meets in St. Paul on the second Wednesday of each month from at 6-7:30 p.m., at Goodwill-Easter Seals, 553 Fairview Ave. N., St. Paul, in room 123. FFI: Sonja, 651-357-2077. A group also meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1524 Co. Rd. C-2 West, on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. FFI: Anne Mae, 651-730-8434

Chronic pain support group MCIL offers a peer support group for people who live with chronic pain. The group will start meeting 6:30 the first and third Thursday at MCIL, 1600 University Ave. #16, St. Paul. Group members will discuss what chronic pain is and how it affects people. FFI: Cindy Langr, 651-603-2037, GLBT group meets Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) offers a GLBT support/social group that meets 6-7:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at 1600 University Ave. W. #16, St. Paul to discuss topics related to being a part of the GLBT community and dealing with a disability. Dinner is provided. RSVP at least 2-3 days in advance, as group cancels if fewer than three people sign up. FFI Corbett Laubignat, 651"603"2028, UCare meetings”UCare hosts informational meetings about its UCare for Seniors Medicare Advantage plan. Meetings are held all over the region. UCare for Seniors has more than 75,000 members across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. UCare serves Medicare-eligible individuals and families enrolled in income-based Minnesota Health Care Programs, such as Minnesota Care and Prepaid Medical Assistance Program; adults with disabilities and Medicare beneficiaries with chronic health conditions and Minnesotans dually eligible for Medical Assistance and Medicare FFI: 1-877-523-1518 (toll free),

Volunteer, Donate Share a smile Brighten the day of a senior citizen in north or southwest Minneapolis and have fun. Visit an elder and do things together: movies, games, crafts or just friendly conversation. Hang out with an elder on a regular basis and do things that you both enjoy, like watching a movie, building stuff, playing games or friendly conversation. One-time or ongoing opportunities through the NIP Senior Program. FFI: Jeanne, 612-746-8549, srvolunteer@neighbor, or Help with arts calendar VSA Minnesota is seeking a volunteer or volunteers to assist with the compilation of the monthly VSA Minnesota arts calendar. The calendar lists accessible performances, films, galleries and events throughout the region. FFI: Jon, 612-332-3888 or 800-801-3883, Voice/TTY, 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 just 2-3 hours a week and help people expand their opportunities and change their lives through education. The literacy council provides training and support. Accommodations for volunteers with disabilities. FFI: Allison, 651-251-9110,, Volunteer with RSVP Volunteers age 55 and older are eligible to receive free supplemental insurance, mileage reimbursement and other benefits through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) sponsored by Volunteers of America of Minnesota. RSVP/Volunteers of America of Minnesota and AARP Foundation need volunteers with good budgeting and organizational skills to help manage finances of older or disabled low-income individuals. Have a few hours a month to volunteer? Money Management Program staff will train and match you with someone in the community. FFI: 612-617-7821. ■

Kent’s Accounting Service, LLC

Kent Fordyce Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor 2013 2005-2012

6371 Bartlett Blvd Mound, MN 55364 Fax: 952-472-1458


May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5 Pg 13

Radio Talking Book May Sampling Changes made for custom audio transmissions The Communication Center and the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library in Faribault are making changes to better service clients. One change is to have just one phone number to call. The new number for custom audio transcriptions is 651-539-1422. The equipment number remains 651-642-0885. Further changes will announced in the future.

Weekend Program Books Your Personal World (Saturday at 1 p.m.) is airing You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) by Tammy Strobel, and 8 Habits of Love by Ed Bacon; For the Younger Set (Sunday at 11 a.m.) is airing Touched by Cyn Balog, and Racing the Moon by Alan Armstrong; Poetic Reflections (Sunday at noon) is airing Everyday People by Albert Goldbarth; The U.S. and Us (Sunday at 4 p.m.) is airing Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask by Anton Treuer.

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. Phone is 1-800-722-

Providers eye payment delays Personal care attendant (PCA) service providers around Minnesota are dealing with a payment delay for home and community-based services that could have serious consequences for small service providers. The payment delay affects claims submitted and scheduled to be paid for both the June 4 and June 18 payment dates. Some providers note that they will be hard-pressed to even cover a temporary or short delay, by being forced to dip into savings or take other measures to cover a possible shortfall. Some expressed surprise at the measure and what they saw as a lack of notice to plan. The payment delays apply to services covered under Fee-for-Service (FFS) Medical Assistance. The payment delays also don’t apply to services provided through MinnesotaCare or Medicare crossover claims The Minnesota Department of Human Services notified providers recently telling them they must plan appropriately for this interruption in payment. The program won’t provide payment advances. Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) is required by law to delay payment for certain Medical Assistance services in June 2013. The law requires MHCP to delay payments normally made in June 2013 (the end of the fiscal year) until the first payment of July 2013. These payment delays apply to inpatient hospital services, non-hospital services, and Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). To comply with the requirements, MHCP will process payment delays by applying a reduction to feefor-service (FFS) claims. The type of reduction and the payment dates affected depend on the service. It affects a multiple of services ranging from home care services to day training and habilitation. MHCP will apply the delays to incoming claims only until reaching the required amount of savings, so some providers may not experience delays at all. Claims that are affected will pay zero. MHCP will apply the delays on the second payment cycle of the month of June, which occurs on June 18, 2013. Providers will receive the delayed payments on the next payment cycle, July 2, 2013. MHCP will report the reduction as a legislative cutback on the claim and will report Group/Adjustment Reason Code CO 45 on the remittance advice. Anyone with questions may call the MHCP Provider Call Center at 651-431-2700 or 1-800-366-5411. ■

0550 and hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The catalog is online and can be accessed by going to the main website,, and then clicking on the link. Persons living outside of Minnesota may obtain copies of books by contacting their home state’s Network Library for the National Library Service. Listen to the Minnesota Radio Talking Book, either live or archived programs from the last week, on the Internet at Call the staff at 651-642-0500 for a password to the site. See more information about events on the Facebook site for the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network. Facebook is a free social networking web site. Register at

Access Press is one of the publications featured at 9 p.m. Sundays on the program It Makes a Difference Past is Prologue • Monday – Friday 9 a.m. The Blood of Heroes, Nonfiction by James Donovan, 2012. 13 broadcasts. Begins May 29. The last stand at the Alamo is recognized as a defining moment in American history. But it was only one part in the history of the formation of Texas. Read by John Potts. The Writer’s Voice • Monday – Friday 2 p.m. The Convert, Nonfiction by Deborah Baker, 2012. Eight broadcasts. Begins May 15. Margaret Marcus was raised in the postwar New York City area, left and converted to Islam, abandoned her country and Jewish faith, and permanently embraced a life of exile in Pakistan. Read by June Prange.

The Dog Lived (and So Will I), Nonfiction by Teresa J. Rhyne, 2012. 11 broadcasts. Begins May 27. Shortly after Teresa got her beagle, she was told of his tumor and the prognosis of one year of life. But she fought it not knowing she would soon have her own cancer diagnosis. Read by Jan Anderson. PM Report • Monday – Friday 8 p.m. The Presidents Club, Nonfiction by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, 2012. 22 broadcasts. Begins May 27. Formed by Eisenhower, the Presidents Club is complicated; its members are bound by Oval Office experience yet are rivals for history’s favor. Read by Charlie Boone.

Night Journey • Monday – Friday 9 p.m. The Malice of Fortune, Fiction by Michael Ennis, 2012. 18 broadcasts. Begins May 15. Pope Alexander sends courtesan, Damiata, to Imola to learn the truth about his son’s murder and he holds her own son hostage. Once there, she becomes a pawn in political intrigues of the pope’s surviving son, the Duke Valentino. V - Read by Neil Bright. Off the Shelf • Monday – Friday 10 p.m. Penelope, Fiction by Rebecca Harrington, 2012. 10 broadcasts. Begins May 13. When Penelope O’Shaunessy sets off for Harvard, her mother has lots of advice. But no amount of advice or coaching will prepare Penelope for the people she meets at school. L - Read by Licia Swanson.

The Deep Zone, Fiction by James M. Tabor, 2012. 15 broadcasts. Begins May 27. A disease outbreak sends a team of scientists on a desperate hunt for a cure –from a top-secret federal agency to a violence-prone area of Mexico to the bottom of earth’s deepest cave. L - Read by Dave Schliep. Potpourri • Monday – Friday 11 p.m. Show Dog, Nonfiction by Dean Josh, 2012. 15 broadcasts. Begins May 21. The United States has more than two million pedigreed dogs who participate in more than 2,000 dog shows annually. Jack is one of those dogs. Read by Audray Rees. Good Night Owl • Monday – Friday midnight The Last Warner Woman, Fiction by Kei Miller, 2012. Eight broadcasts. Begins May 22. Adamine was sent from Jamaica to live in England after she discovered she had the gift of “warning.” There, she was met with fear and locked in an institution. As an older woman, she wants to tell her story. L – Read by Ann Reed. After Midnight • Tuesday – Saturday 1 a.m. Drain You, Fiction by Beth Bloom, 2012. 10 broadcasts. Begins May 22. Quinlan’s life is a predictable mix of fashion, parties, and boring job. Then she meets James and finds out that the Los Angeles canyons are crawling with gangs of the undead. Now her goal is to stay sane, cool, in love, and alive. L - Read by Mitzi Lewellen. ■

Abbreviations: V – violence, L – offensive language, S – sexual situations

Did you know that Access Press is a nonprofit organization? One of the reasons we’re able to continue to bring disability related news to our readers is thanks to our advertisers. We ask that you take the time to support them with your dollars—and to take the time in thanking them for their support! Accessible Homes LLC Accessible Space Accessibility Design Accessibility Options, Inc. Advocating Change Together AgStar Amery Regional Med. Center American Ramp ARC Greater Twin Cities ARC Minnesota Assoc. of Residential Resources Axis Healthcare BDC Management Blue Cross/Blue Shield Brain Injury Assoc. of MN Break–Thru Home Care Brain Injury of Minnesota Break-Thru Home Care Calvary Center Apartments Camps of Courage& Friendship Camp Winnebago Capable Partners Capstone Services LLC Care Planners Inc. Comm. Educ. Netwk on Disabilities Comm. Involvement Programs Cooperating Comm. Programs Cornerstone Solutions Courage Center DeafBlind Services Diamond Hill Townhomes Dungarvin Minnesota, LLC East Suburban Resources Ebenezer Care Center Ebenezer Park Apartments Equal Access Homes EquipALife Family Foundations MN Fraser Friendship Adventures Gillette Children’s Spec. Healthcare

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Pg 14 May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5 Trains - from p. 1 collaborative, which includes representatives from several Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods, wants more input from people with disabilities as it works on future connection plans. The light rail line, which opens in 2014, will connect downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Not all of the connections to its 16 stations would be in the form of sidewalks. One huge gain could be a $1.4 million elevator in downtown St. Paul, at the Central Station at Fifth and Cedar streets. The so-called “vertical connection” would provide access between the skyway system and the rail line. Without an elevator those trying to get to and from downtown destinations riders would have to travel several blocks out of the way and outside. Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, and Sen. James Carlson, DFL-Eagan, have authored bills to require the City of St. Paul and Metropolitan Council to include the elevator. St. Paul-based Advocating Change Together is among the groups calling for the connection. ACT Co-Director Rick Cardenas has testified before state lawmakers this spring. “I’m more confident of this getting done than I have been,” Cardenas said. He is a downtown resident. Metropolitan Council, which is building the rail line, has about $800,000 in grant funding available for the elevator. Having the city pay part of the cost has been debated but city officials have no funding for a match. That’s where the state could help. The connection would be on a vacant lot where the old Bremer Bank stood for years. The area has been eyed for development. In one online discussion group, a commenter described an elevator as “beautification.” Cardenas said it is a need, not an extra. More input is needed all along the light rail line from people with disabilities. “I don’t walk, I wheel. How’s that going to work?” said Darrell Paulson, a disability rights advocate who is working with ACT. Paulson said the access to and from stations will not only determine rail ridership by people with disabilities, it will also determine whether people with disabilities can take advantage of new housing and job opportunities along the rail line. He pointed out that obstacles that others can easily step around or over, ranging from outdated curb cuts to overhanging brush and branches are barriers for people in wheelchairs. Much of the work on the survey was done by volunteers and a Macalester College student intern. In summer 2012 more than 400 people traveled central Corridor to check sidewalk conditions. Surveys were done in neighborhoods and online. More than 2,000 comments were collected. Data was then pulled together to reach a set of conclusions. Broken and uneven sidewalks, and place where there are no sidewalks are the biggest needs to be addressed, according to the survey. But the biggest obstacle to new or improved sidewalks may be costs. Last month the St. Paul City Council approved sidewalks in the West Midway over the objections of a number of property owners. Owners are assessed for part of the cost of sidewalk installation and are then responsible for keeping sidewalks clear of ice and snow.

Rail cars were towed along the Central Corridor tracks last month in a test run. Passenger service is to begin in 2014. Photo from The Governor's Blog

Another high priority found in the survey is the need to address environments that are challenging, such as narrow sidewalks, sidewalks where there are no buffers between walkers and traffic, and traffic signals that don’t allow enough time for safe crossings. Some of the most dangerous places for walkers are Interstate 94 exit and entrance ramps, and private parking lot curb cuts. Improved crosswalk markings, warning signs, extended signal times and a public safety campaign are suggested as ways to counter the problems. A third priority identified in the survey is the need for more trees, green space and benches along walking routes. While all stations had concerns raised about pedestrian safety, lighting issue and sidewalk conditions, some issues are unique to each area. One concern raised in the Snelling area is that there isn’t a comfortable way to get across Interstate 94. The freeway bridge has narrow sidewalks and the Aldine Avenue pedestrian bridge feels deserted and unsafe to some. At Fairview Station, respondents also said they didn’t feel safe going beneath I-94 on the Fairview sidewalks. Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon said the survey is “an incredibly proactive step to take.” He wishes Minneapolis neighborhoods had done a similar study before the Hiawatha or Red Line light rail began service. He said sidewalk connections to that light rail line, as well as community development, haven’t worked as envisioned. Gordon said there may have been too much focus on moving cars during the Hiawatha planning and not enough focus on bikes and pedestrians. The University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Neighborhood Partnerships for Community Research program and more than 30 community groups were involved in the study. It can be seen at ■

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May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5 Pg 15

Nominations needed - from p. 1

2003—Margot Imdieke Cross, Minnesota State Council on Disability Making the banquet a success means relying on many community members for support. One way to help the banquet is to serve as a sponsor. Three levels of sponsorship are offered, using titles that reflect terms used historically in the newspaper industry. Keyliners Level - $200. The keyliners pasted up newspaper pages. If you are a keyliner sponsor: • Your logo will be displayed at a table • Your organization/company name will be listed in the 2013 Charlie Award Banquet program • Your organization/company will be recognized in our November and December 2013 newspapers • You will have one (1) free website ad (your month of choice), a value of $100

The Charlie Award Silent Auction is always a hit. File photo

fortable space for the silent auction and raffle, cash bar, pre-dinner music and conversation and the banquet itself. The facility offers plenty of parking and easy front-door drop-off. Previous winners of the award are: 2012—Charles “Chuck” Van Heuveln, community activist 2011—Jeff Bangsberg, consultant, legislative activist 2010—Steve Kuntz, Minnesota DEED 2009—Anne Henry, Minnesota Disability Law Center 2008—Pete Feigal, co-founder of Tilting at Windmills 2007—Jim and Claudia Carlisle, People Enhancing People 2006—John Smith, University of MN 2005—Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD) 2004—Rick Cardenas, co-director of Advocating Change Together (ACT)

• Your organization/company will be listed on a special banner, on display during the 2013 Charlie Award Banquet • Your organization/company will be recognized by our emcee during the 2013 Charlie Award Banquet • A table will be named in your organization/ company’s honor the evening of the event • A free Access Press subscription, a value of $30 • One (1) Directory of Organizations listing, good for one year, a value of $60 Donations will also be needed for the newspaper’s annual silent auction and “pick your prize” raffle. Past prizes have included theater and sports tickets, gift certificates, art and more. Access Press Office Manager Dawn Frederick handles the sponsor, silent auction and raffle. Contact Dawn at 651-644-2133 or at to be a sponsor or to make a donation. ■

Proofreaders Level - $300. The proofreaders would check newspaper pages for errors. If you are a proofreader sponsor: • Your logo will be displayed at a table • Your organization/company name will be listed in the 2013 Charlie Award Banquet program • Your organization/company will be recognized in our November and December 2013 newspapers • You will have two (2) free rotating website ads (your months of choice), a value of $200 • Your organization/company will be listed on a special banner (on display) during the 2013 Charlie Award Banquet Editor-in-Chief Level - $400. This denotes the leader of the newspaper. If you are an editor-in-chief sponsor: • Your logo will be displayed at a table. • Your organization/company name will be listed in the 2013 Charlie Award Banquet program • Your organization/company will be recognized in our November and December 2013 newspapers • You will have two (2) free rotating website ads (your months of choice), a value of $200


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FOR RENT Lewis Park Apartments: Barrier-free housing with wheelchair users in mind. Section 8 subsidized. One- and two-bedroom units. For more information on availability call 651-4889923. St. Paul, MN. Equal Opportunity Housing. Oak Park Village: We are accepting applications for the waiting list for one-bedroom wheelchair accessible apartments. Section 8 subsidized. Convenient St. Louis Park location. Call 952-935-9125 for information. Equal Opportunity Housing. Calvary Center Apts: 7650 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, MN. A Section 8 building now accepting applications for our waiting list. Call 9 am to 4 pm, Mon – Fri 763-546-4988 for an application. Equal Opportunity Housing. Holmes-Greenway Housing: One- and two-bedroom wheelchair-accessible apartments. Section 8 subsidized. Convenient SE Minneapolis location. Call 612-378-0331 for availability information. Equal Opportunity Housing. FOR SALE 1999 FORD E 150 160,000 odometer reading, with free crow river lift & a rare 10-inch drop floor with hand controls and memory shift control. A good vehicle for a quad or those with limited hand functions. This Ford 150 runs well too. Cost $7500 or best offer. Any questions can be directed by phone to Eric at (651) 283-3524.

Pg 16 May 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 5

May 2013  

Minnesota's Disability Community Newspaper

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