March 2014 Edition - Access Press

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He’s AusM . . . Page 9

Volume 25, Number 3

Weigh in Disability policy leader John Tschida leaves solid legacy on key state plan of service to Minnesotans

March 10, 2014 Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Twin Cities. MN Permit No. 4766 Address Service Requested

by Access Press staff

by Jane McClure

The Olmstead Plan, Minnesota’s roadmap to improving services to people with disabilities, is awaiting more community input. Draft modifications will be posted online in mid-March and the public is asked to weigh in with further changes. The Olmstead Plan is a way for Minnesota to document its services provided to individuals with disabilities and to guide where service improvements are needed. Every state is supposed to have a plan. Olmstead plans, which get their name from a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision, are meant to ensure that people with disabilities are able to live, work and enjoy life in the most integrated setting desired. Olmstead plans are supposed to include analysis of current services, concrete commitments to increase integration and to prevent unnecessary institutionalization, and specific and reasonable timeframes for implementation. The Minnesota Olmstead - p. 14

John Tschida, a disability advocate, author and friend to many, is the new director of the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research in Washington, DC. While Tschida’s new appointment is a huge plus nationally, his depth of knowledge, advocacy skills and political savvy will be missed in Minnesota. The institute is part of the U.S. Department of Education and leads much of the nation’s work to understand and reduce barriers in education, employment and community participation for people with disabilities. Tschida succeeds fellow Minnesotan Charlie Lakin, who served as director from 2011 to February 2014. Tschida said he will miss his Minnesota friends and urged each of them to continue their advocacy efforts. “It truly takes a village,” he said. He also urged everyone to start bringing in younger self-advocates to “build the bench,” using one of his usual Longtime Minnesota disability community leader John sport analogies. He took a leave from his Tschida is the new director of the National Institute on post as Allina’s director for public policy Disability Rehabilitation and Research in Washington, DC. and innovation. NIDRR is part of the U.S. Department of Education. He worked for Allina Health and Cour- Tschida most recently led public policy work for Allina age Kenny Institute and the institute’s pre- Health and Courage Center. decessor, Courage Center, for the past 15 where they will be closer to one of their two years. A well-known author on disability and adult sons. Tschida’s friends and colleagues health care issues, Tschida has written numerwere quick to praise him. Joel Ulland, assistant ous articles on disability, health care and pubdirector for legislative affairs for UCare, said, lic policy for local and national newspapers “John is a close friend of mine and he will truly and magazines. be missed. He has a gift for understanding and He and wife Rachel and daughter are movTschida leaves legacy - p. 13 ing from Eagan to the Washington, D.C. area,

Legislative session starts with a flurry The 2014 Minnesota legislative session was a whirlwind of activity in its opening days, with dozens of hearings, bill introductions and rallies. Minnesotans with disabilities are in the thick of things on dozens of issues. Jam-packed rallies have been held. More disability advocacy groups and their issues will be in the spotlight in the weeks ahead. (See page 3.) At a pre-legislative and legislative rallies and meetings, Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities leadership has

urged everyone to be mindful of the fast pace state lawmakers are moving this session. Momentum this far seems to be in the community’s favor, but it will mean moving quickly as a myriad of bills and amendments move through the process. The rallies have been highlights of a short legislative session. Since the first gavel fell February 25, legislators have quickly starting shaping plans for the state’s estimated $1.2 billion surplus. They have rapidly passed emergency heating assistance, worked on a number of tax issues, held initial sessions on raising the minimum wage and the use of medical marijuana. Attention is also focused on the need to raise Medical Assistance income standards, with hearings getting underway in late February. There is also attention being paid to the state change from Personal Care Attendant programs to Community First Services and Supports, and any possible law changes this session that would affect the program. The program, which was to start April 1, has been pushed back to October 31. Many are waiting for potential clarifying changes on the program. While much work is going on behind the scenes, rallies have gotten much attention and prompted a focus on key issues. One of the largest rallies was Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlain), Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) and Rep. Tom Hunt- March 4, when more than 1,000 advocates from ley (DFL-Duluth) shared a lighter moment as they discussed legislative issues with the across the state, including people with disabilities, Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. their family members and caregivers, filled the Photos courtesy of ARRM Legislative session update - p. 13

“True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous and conflicting information.” — Winston Churchill


Northland 300 was a wintry success. Page 7 2014 bonding bill includes requests for improvements at St. Peter campus, state academies. Page 3 Quality council issues bear scrutiny during session. Page 4 It’s “snow” fun. Read about Metro Mobility, parking changes. Page 6 Dance troupe brings lively, unique show to the Ordway. Page 12

INSIDE Accessible Fun, pg 12 Events, pg 11 People & Places, pps 7-10 Radio Talking Book, pg 13 Regional News, pg 6

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Tim Benjamin Many of us knew it was just a matter of time before the rest of the country recognized John Tschida’s tremendous abilities and he would be called off to do something bigger. Well, the president of the United States has appointed a new director of the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research, and it is our old friend and Courage Center’s Vice President for Public Relations and Research, John Tschida. John, his wife Rachel (who has also been a leading figure in Minnesota’s disability community) and their teenage daughter recently left for Washington, DC, each of them excited to undertake a new adventure in their family’s life. Tschida has filled a leadership role in the Minnesota disability community for quite some time. His keen intelligence, unbelievable powers of recall, strong ethics and sense of loyalty—plus the fact that John is just a fun guy to be around—will mean that he will certainly be valued in D.C. and missed in Minnesota. I don’t remember our first meeting, but I do remember getting a call from him after I had accepted the job as executive director at Access Press. John

was calling, he said, to introduce himself and to tell me that if I needed anything concerning the paper not to hesitate to contact him. Shortly after that phone call, the Board of Directors asked me to contact Tschida to see if he would mentor me through the transition after the loss of our founding director. Along with several other incredible people, John became one of my mentors and a go-to guy whenever I had any questions about journalism, disability legislation or public policy. John seemed always to have an answer to my questions, and could also usually suggest other people to contact for more information on the topic. Best of all for Access Press readers, if we ever needed an authoritative article quickly, I could always depend on John to turn something around within a day or two, and often with an email timestamp that was well into the night. We’re all grateful for John’s work and proud of his achievements, and we wish the family well on their new journey. With the budget income forecast as good as it is at $1.23 billion, there is real hope for the 5% campaign legislation to be passed. I only wish now that it was the 25% campaign, and that we could see the reimbursement rates for supportive services rise to a standard where our care providers could live a more comfortable life in their chosen profession. In other legislative developments, it seems like the Olmstead plan has gotten a kick-start and there are high expectations of real progress in developing this

very extremely important document. Every state is required to have an Olmstead plan in the near future, moving people with disabilities into community settings that offer more opportunities and more self-direction than ever before. With the METO lawsuit, the courts have directed the Minnesota state government to produce a comprehensive plan for people to live in the most integrated setting that they prefer. The document needs to have an assessment tool to define “quality of life,” and as you can imagine, assessing the quality of someone’s life is rather subjective and difficult to determine. This document will be the roadmap for life with disabilities in Minnesota for quite some time. There’s still no news on the Community First Service and Supports program from the federal government. The federal government has to approve the state’s proposal for how Minnesota will provide services, mostly personal care attendant services, to conform to the Affordable Care Act. Because the state hasn’t yet received federal approval, the start date has been pushed back to October 31. This is probably a good thing because it allows DHS an opportunity to get the provider agencies better informed on how it will affect their services—and possibly their financial bottom line. Have a good month and hope to see you at the capitol. P.S. This has been a rare weather-free editorial, because really, in March 2014, what is there left to say?


Winter Paralympics Games began 38 years ago The 2014 Winter Paralympics wrap up March 17 in Sochi. This month’s People and Places news notes that one Minnesotan, Aaron Pike of Park Rapids, is on the United States team. Teams began competition March 6, after opening ceremonies March 5. While sports for people with disabilities date back to the 1800s, the notion of organized games with international competition is a newer idea. All Paralympic competition has its roots in London in 1948. The Stoke-Mandeville Games for the Paralyzed, held outside of a hospital that treated injured military veterans, featured 16 athletes competing in archery. The competition was held at the same time as the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. The games were promoted by Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, head of the Stoke-Mandeville Hospital’s Spinal Injuries Unit. He believed sports competition would help hospital patients physical and in spirit. Guttmann’s games were considered revolutionary and an aid in helping veterans recover physically and in spirit. Two years after the first Stoke-Mandeville competition, about 60 athletes joined in. Dutch athletes joined their British counterparts for the second

round of competition. The games soon were widely replicated by veterans’ facilities around the world. The popularity of the games grew and in Rome in 1960, 400 athletes from 23 countries competed in the first Paralympic Games. Sports offered were archery, basketball, swimming, fencing, javelin, shot put, club throwing, snooker, swimming, table tennis and the pentathlon. The winter games are the newer of the two Paralympic competitions, starting in Sweden in 1976. These were the first Paralympics to include athletes with visual impairments as well athletes in wheelchairs. Almost 200 athletes from 16 countries competed in alpine and Nordic skiing for amputees and visually impaired athletes. Ice sledge racing was a demonstration sport. In Sochi sports are wheelchair curling, ice sledge hockey, alpine skiing, biathlon and cross country skiing or Nordic skiing. Each of the skiing and biathlon events has different subcategories divided by type and level of disability, including physical and cognitive disabilities. “Paralympic” is a word using the Greek preposition

Volume 25, Number 03 • 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, Elin Ohlsson, Halle O'Falvey, Carrie Salberg, Walt Seibert and Kay Willshire

Advertising Sales Michelle Hegarty 612-807-1078 Executive Director Tim Benjamin Managing Editor Jane McClure

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Editorial submissions and news releases on topics of interest to persons with disabilities, or persons serving those with disabilities, are welcomed. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. Editorial material and advertising do not necessarily reflect the view of the editor/publisher of Access Press. 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. News, display advertising and classified advertising deadline is routinely the 25th of the month. When the 25th falls on a weekend, deadline is the next Monday. 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. Low-income, 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:

“para.” That means beside or alongside. Adding the word “Olympic” is meant to show how the Olympic and Paralympic movements function side-by-side. Over time athletes with a wider array of disabilities were able to become involved in the Paralympics. Since the 1988 Summer Games of Seoul, Korea and the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France, the Paralympic Games have been held in the same places as the Olympics Games. That is thanks to an agreement between the International Olympics Committee and the International Paralympic Committee. The Sochi Games featured a flame uniting ceremony, which included a nod to the past. Flames from 46 different Russian cities, plus a new Heritage Flame lit in Stoke Mandeville came together to form the Paralympic flame for the final days of the relay. The event was part of a new tradition recognizing Stoke Mandeville as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement in 1948. ■ The History Note is a monthly column sponsored by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, and mnddc/pipm

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State bonding eyed for academies, St. Peter campus by Access Press staff

New and renovated buildings at Minnesota state academies for people with disabilities and improvements to the Minnesota Security Hospital are among the projects included in Gov. Mark Dayton’s 2014 bonding bill. Dayton announced his recommendations in January. The bonding bill is expected to be a key focus of the 2014 legislative session, which began February 25. The bonding bill is being reviewed as many legislators would like to get their districts’ projects included. The 27-page bill covers more than $1 billion in projects statewide. Cities, counties, state departments and other groups submitted their requests in 2013. The submittals topped the $2.8 billion mark, so many proposals didn’t make the cut. It sometimes takes several attempts before a bonding request is funded, so many proposals are repeat submissions. One key request is for $63 million for the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center—including $56.3 million to design, construct, furnish and equip new residential, program and activity facilities at the upper campus of the Security Hospital in St. Peter. This will allow for better services for the civilly committed patients and greater safety for patients and staff. It is part of a long-range strategic plan for the facility. The St. Peter Regional Treatment Center’s Minnesota Sex Offender Program would receive $7.405 million to design, remodel and construct, furnish and equip existing buildings on the center’s lower campus to make them useable for the sex offender treatment program. In the St. Peter Herald newspaper, Rep. Clark Johnson (DFL – North Mankato) said that the funding is one of his top priorities. “The people in the know— the folks who work there—have been telling me about how we need to re-invest in the facility,” said Johnson. “To them, it is about providing the safest place possible for employees and the patients. The need for these improvements became more apparent

recently when the hospital reported its first homicide in 30 years.” Another high-profile project is replacement of Frechette Hall, the boys’ dormitory on the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (MSAD) campus in Faribault. The building was built in 1967 and is named for Edward Frechette. Frechette began working at MSAD in 1906 as a house parent, and was well-liked by students and faculty. Dayton is proposing $6.5 million toward demolishing and replacing Frechette Hall. The rest of the recommended $1.65 million allocation would be used for converting other campus space into living quarters during the dormitory construction period. MSAD has estimated costs at $810,000 for 2014 and $9.9 million for 2015. Frechette Hall has been criticized for its design. The building has poor lighting, which creates problems for students and staff communicating with American Sign Language (ASL). Dormitory rooms are small and there is limited gathering and activity space. The building needs new heating, cooling and ventilation systems, and is not very energy-efficient. The new dormitory would include study rooms, meeting spaces and social areas where students could interact. It would also be designed for ease of ASL use. This is not MSAD’s first request for funding for Frechette Hall. Funds were allocated previously for building design. It went through two design processes as the first process resulted in plans that were deemed too costly. In 2011, MSAD sought state funding to remodel the dormitory. The request was also in the supplemental bonding bill that was brought forward but not passed in 2013. One MSAD project Dayton didn’t include is $1.5 million to complete renovation of Pollard Hall, a second boys’ dormitory. Funding was requested to complete a renovation project which began five years ago. Work on Pollard Hall would include replacement of

Disability Day at the Capitol is March 18 Disability Day at the Capitol is Tuesday, March 18. Self-advocates from around Minnesota are urged to make the trip to St. Paul to rally for change and tell their stories to state lawmakers. Disability Day at the Capitol is free but participants need to preregister. The registration flyer is at http:// Contact Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance at 1-800-669-6442 or info@brain to register and ask questions. The day’s agenda starts at 10 a.m. with registration in the capitol rotunda. A legislative briefing will follow at 10:30 a.m., prior to the 11 a.m. rally. Many speakers from advocacy groups and the self-advocacy community will also speak. At noon participants can meet with lawmakers or have lunch on their own. Information is at for anyone wishing to be better prepared for the day.

Sponsors are: Advocating Change Together, Direct Service Professionals of Minnesota, Minnesota Association of Centers for Independent Living, Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, People First of Minnesota, Self-Advocates Minnesota, The Arc Minnesota and The Youth Legacy Foundation. For parking and other information, visit Two ongoing events for disability groups are MN-CCD’s Tuesdays at the Capitol and Friday membership meetings. Due to construction the Tuesday events are 10 a.m. in the Transportation Building, Cafeteria, 395 John Ireland Blvd. The Friday membership meetings are at noon in 500 North, State Office Building, 100 Rev. Martin Luther King Blvd. ■

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Above: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Academy for The Deaf Right: Frechette Hall, Faribault, MN Photos from & Faribault Daily News

heating, ventilation and cooling systems. Another MSAD request that wasn’t approved was for $15,000 for a feasibility study to determine if an older, unused building on the campus could someday become a museum and employment center. Dayton has proposed $2 million for asset preservation projects at MSAD and at the State Academy for the Blind, also in Faribault. If this request is funded, it would focus on projects that would provide energy savings, security upgrades, and infrastructure replacement and restoration. The Minnesota Department of Human Services would receive $70.722 million if all of Dayton’s recommendations are approved. DHS is also recommended for $4 million, to make improvements to state facilities around Minnesota. Dayton is also recommending $40 million for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA). This funding would be used to build or rehabilitate housing, including permanent supportive housing. The MHFA would allocate the funding on a statewide basis. Some of the governor’s project recommendations include making facilities accessible for persons with disabilities, including $6.95 million to the Duluth Economic Development Authority. This money would be used to make the newly renovated NorShor Arts Center accessible to people with disabilities. The total project cost is more than $22 million. Hennepin County would receive $3.75 million for St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development. The state funding would go toward a $12 million facilities replacement project for the center, which serves more than 2,000 children each year. St. Louis County would receive $2 million toward a $20 million office building. The building would be shared by Range Mental Health and the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency. ■

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Self-advocates play a crucial role at capitol Editor’s note: Heidi Myrhe lives in West St. Paul and is one of the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) All-Star Advocates. She doesn’t let disability keep her from making a difference for her and others. The following is excerpted from comments she made at a legislative kickoff event. by Heidi Myrhe

I was born in the hospital right behind the Minnesota state capitol. I was born with multiple disabilities, adopted as a baby and raised in Minnesota. I live my life with multiple disabilities, every day. Who knew I would be at the capitol speaking about Heidi Myhre my disability someday? Growing up, I did not know this is the way I was going to go in my life. Being a self-advocate makes me happy. There are days when I am not happy being a self-advocate. That is ok to not be happy as a self-advocate all the time. I am a self-advocate and I volunteer and publicly speak to help better the lives of people with disabilities and the people around them. I have volunteered a lot to help people with disabilities to have the services they need to live the best they can. I stand up for what I believe in. I have met and made a lot of friends along the way, doing this in my life. Speaking up for myself and others makes me feel good about who I am. I am giving back to the community.

To me being a self-advocate means having the power to take care of myself the best way that I can. It means being able to ask for help when it is needed. I’ve learned to respect the people I have to work with, so I can get the help I needed. I’ve learned not to give away my whole disability. I want to have choice in where I live, how I get places, who my support person is and where I go for health care. It is my life and I want to be involved in what is going on in my life. I am learning, too, that not all advocacy is about public policy. I want you, as self-advocates, to get involve in other things to round you. Learn about what is going on in the community so you can talk to people about many things around you in your life. Meet people from other agencies that have the same passions as you do. Learn how to get along with other people who have different disabilities. I have been at the capitol and learned ways to make life better for myself and others. I go to hearings to learn about issues that are going on in Minnesota and the United States. I talk to legislators about things I am concerned about in the community and in my life too. My tips for the day: Get to know your legislator, in the community and at the capitol. You can call them, email them and set up a time to see them. Prepare your story ahead of time. Put your heart and soul into your story to them. Do not be afraid of the legislator about your situation. Tell the truth to them. Share a fact sheet about what you are talking about if you can find one to give to them. Do an elevator speech and keep it very short. Hand out your story to the legislators as you see them and they can put it in their pocket. If I made a difference in one person’s life, I have done what I set out to do in my life. ■

Ensuring services meet the needs of all by Steve Larson, Senior Policy Director, The Arc Minnesota

Over the past four decades, Minnesota has made major strides in moving its system of supporting people with disabilities, from one based in institutions to one where people are supported in their communities across the state. We can be proud of this accomplishment. What we haven’t developed is a comprehensive, statewide system to ensure that the services are of the highest possible quality and are meeting individual needs. A system of ensuring quality is needed for a number of reasons: • Instances of abuse and neglect of people with disabilities in recent years make improvements to our quality assurance system more urgent. The 2011 Jensen court settlement in favor of individuals with disabilities who were handcuffed and shackled at the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options program shows

that abuse and neglect can still occur. • State licensing of disability services may ensure those programs comply with minimal standards, but it does not ensure that the programs are meeting the needs of those they serve. • Better systems of ensuring quality will help us determine if services are using public funding as effectively as possible. Steve Larson • Minnesota’s system of improving service quality should be more proactive to prevent problems from occurring. We can take steps in 2014 to start creating that statewide system. The Arc Minnesota and its local affiliate in Rochester, The Arc Southeastern Minnesota, are promoting a bill this legislative session, based on recommendations from the State Quality Council. This council was created with the mission of improving Minnesota’s system for ensuring the highest possible quality of disability services and supports. The bill, H.F. 1897, is authored by Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL - Rochester). Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) in the Minnesota Senate; as of this writing, we do not have a Senate bill number yet. H.F. 1897 provides funds for: • Statewide surveys of people with disabilities that will help identify opportunities for improvements. • Reviewing current data collected and identifying significant trends that need action. • Three regional quality councils will lead local efforts to improve quality and implement alternative licensing systems, which empower persons with disabilities to be heard. One of the councils that would receive funding is Minnesota Region 10 Quality Assurance. This innovative program evaluates services based on the input of the recipients and their support circle and assesses whether recipients are satisfied with those services and getting their needs met. You can learn more about the program at • Continued funding for the State Quality Councils. The cost of this legislation is $2.1 million. Minnesota spends $2 billion each year on services and supports for people with disabilities. The relatively small amount of money spent under this bill is a wise investment, one that can result in big improvements in service quality. The Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Dayton should support this investment. If you are interested in more information and in developing a better system of quality assurance in Minnesota, contact me at or 651-604-8077. ■

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Macalester College to host showing of The Real Story Macalester College is hosting a screening of The Real Story, the Access Press documentary about media coverage of disabilities in Minnesota. The screening, which is free and open to the public, is 7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 13 at the John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Lower Level, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center. The campus center is fully accessible. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion. For details on the event, contact For a campus map, visit maps Access Press produced The Real Story, a 30minute, broadcast-quality documentary on the role of small, independent news media in covering the underrepresented stories of the disability community in Minnesota. The documentary was made in collaboration with Verso Creative, with funding from UCare. The documentary explores the history of disability advocacy, activism, struggles and accomplishments over the past 40 years. Many sources were drawn on to make the documentary, including early newsletters of nonprofit organizations, the beginning of Access Press in 1990 and the mainstream media. The topics examined include stereotypes, biases and successful self-advocacy efforts. The documentary depicts attempts to change attitudes by creating an environment where people can realize that individuals with disabilities deserve to be treated with respect, not with pity. Those who see the documentary can learn more about how “pity” works against people with disabilities, and how news coverage depicting people as heroic or inspirational can hurt more than it can help in dispelling stereotypes The documentary features many individuals who made and reported on the news. reported on the events and told their stories. It highlights the power of media in promoting the social inclusion, legal rights and well-being of those with disabilities. This documentary matters because the disability community is the largest minority and is very diverse. Irv Zola, Brandeis University sociologist and polio survivor, said “Disability is the one minority group that we can all become a member of at any time. We are all just one banana peel away from joining the disability civil rights movement.” Access Press is one of the very few disability news sources in the country and it is widely regarded as a source of balanced disability news. In the film, one individual interviewed said, “What I love about publications that focus on disability issues is that they focus on the facts. They focus on what’s going on. They don’t get caught up in the emotional aspects of disability.” Access Press can facilitate additional showings of The Real Story and can provide copies of the documentary for $25. Contact the newspaper office for more information, at 651-64-2133 or Visit media/ for more information. ■

Suzy Gray, center, her sister Sherry Gray, right and Sherry’s husband are shown in a scene from The Real Story. Photo courtesy of The Real Story

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Families feel shortchanged by changes Minnesota is overhauling its system for determining how to direct $1.7 billion toward caring for people with disabilities, so that they can live more independently. The state is moving from a system of 87 counties setting rates to a statewide system. Loren Colman, assistant commissioner of the state Department of Human Services, said some providers were paid more than others, depending on where the recipient lived. But that is changing. “That’s the root of the problem—that there has not been a uniform way to look at the needs of the individual and calculate what are the costs associated with providing those services,” Colman told Minnesota Public Radio. Seven years ago the federal government said the patchwork system made Minnesota out of compliance with federal regulations. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services required the state to move from a county-based system to a statewide one. The new rate-setting tool began January 1. But since then service providers and families have struggled with changes in funding levels. Service providers and their clients are gradually learning whether their individual rates are projected to go up or down. In the Twin Cities metro area, some providers say the vast majority of changes they’re seeing suggest the payments will be going down. Some families have lost one-third or more of funding for programs such as group homes and day training. Advocates for people with disabilities said lower rates would mean fewer services. ■ (Source: Minnesota Public Radio)

Lowertown ballpark gets kudos Plans for a new baseball park in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood are winning high marks from people with disabilities. The plans for the new ballpark, which will replace old Midway Stadium in 2015, show 70 wheelchair spots, as well as 70 padded, movable folding chairs for friends, family or caregivers. Another 180 seats are for fans with limited mobility. Those seats will provide at least 24 inches of legroom, and they’ll be at the same elevation as the concourse. City and St. Paul Saints officials have said their intent is to exceed code requirements established by the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act, Standards for Accessible Design. The ballpark, which will be used by the minor league team, prep, college and other teams, may be one of the most accessible facilities in the country. Plans also call for ADA-accessible entrances and vehicle drop-offs, clearer signage marked with Braille and color contrasted directions, four elevators, and 10 single-occupant restrooms. Annie Huidekoper, vice president of community partnerships for the Saints, told the Pioneer Press, “The Lowertown Ballpark will be wonderfully accessible.” Information about the ballpark construction timeline and design is at ■ (Source: Pioneer Press)

Guardian decision changes eyed

Mental illness crisis team provides help

Minnesota has long given guardians the legal authority to have their wards disconnected from lifesupport technology. That could change as a result of a Minnesota Supreme Court hearing in February. The court heard arguments as to whether or not court approval should be required for end-of-life decisions. Guardian cases rarely are discussed by the state’s highest court. The issue centers on the case of the late Jeffers Tschumy. Tschumy, who was developmentally disabled, was under guardianship starting in 2008. He suffered severe brain damage after choking on food in 2012. Tschumy had no family and no health care directive. Allina Health System asked that a Hennepin County judge allow Tschumy to be removed from life support, either by clarifying that his guardian or the court could make the decision. The court authorized the life-support cutoff but denied the guardian’s request for the sole power to make that decision. Tschumy died in May 2012 a few days after the order was issued. In 2013, the state Court of Appeals reversed Hennepin County’s ruling, reasoning that end-of-life decisions shouldn’t be dictated by the court. People on both sides of the issue packed the hearing room. When attorney Bob McLeod said that the current system has worked well and without controversy, Justice Barry Anderson cut him off, saying that an absence of complaints doesn’t necessarily mean it is working. But McLeod countered that court approval could hamper and add anguish to an already difficult process. “Guardians act in the best interest of the ward,” he said. “It’s what they need to do. It’s what they must do.” It’s not known when the court will rule. ■ (Source: Star Tribune)

A team of professionals including psychiatric nurses and drug counselors, along with adult peer support specialists, can come to the doorsteps of Twin Cities teens as they learn to live with mental illness. At a time when most counties in Minnesota suffer chronic shortages of mental health services and long waiting lists at residential psychiatric facilities, the goal of the new Assertive Community Treatment, or ACT group, is to intervene early and keep teens from needing institutional care. “This is really to see if we can catch those young people before they are inundated with the system, before they are in state mental health hospitals or … incarcerated,” Diane Ferreira, ACT program manager for People Incorporated, told the Star Tribune. People Incorporated is running one of four Minnesota teams formed to help young patients. The team approach has been used nationally to keep mentally ill adults from needing institutional care, or to expedite their moves out of institutions by giving them support back home. The latest Minnesota data show adults spending 60 percent less time in institutions the year after they receive ACT support compared with the year before. Applying the approach to struggling teens is new in Minnesota. It has been tried in only a handful of states. People Incorporated got state approval to form a youth ACT team after lawmakers voted in 2011 to allow public programs such as Medical Assistance to pay for it. A similar team for youth in Ramsey and Dakota counties has been formed by Guild Inc. Two other agencies have created teams in northeast and southeast Minnesota. ■ (Source: Star Tribune)

Snow affects paratransit, parking Metro Mobility, which operates paratransit services in the Twin Cities region, has asked riders to be mindful of winter weather when scheduling trips this winter. Riders have been asked to reschedule non-urgent trips when they can, due to high demand for service coupled with poor street conditions. “Metro Mobility typically provides an average of 6,400 rides per day,” said Metro Mobility Manager Andrew Krueger. “So far this winter, we’ve had several days where we topped 7,000 rides. High demand

for service, combined with the wintry conditions, results in delays and longer trips for customers.” Metro Mobility is also asking everyone who uses its service to make sure sidewalks, steps and driveways are clear of snow and ice to safely and reliably give customers a ride. “We need people to shovel,” said Krueger. “Sidewalks and steps that are snow and ice covered are dangerous for passengers, as well as the drivers who Regional News - p. 15

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February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2


Riders enjoyed lots of snow during the Northland 300. Photo courtesy of Northland 300

Snowmobilers raise funds and hopes along the trail Snowmobilers of the 26th Annual Northland 300 not only had pristine riding conditions, they exceeded the $4 million mark while raising funds for Special Olympics Minnesota. The event was held in January along Minnesota’s North Shore. The event is limited to 125 snowmobilers. Special Olympics Minnesota provides year round sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities that contribute to lifelong physical fitness, personal growth and achievements. This year’s Northland 300 honored longtime snowmobiler Billy Meister. Just weeks after participating in the 2013 Northland 300, Meister died in a snowmobile accident on the St. Croix River. His father, Bill “Pooker” Meister, carried a torch dedicated to his son. Meister and Special Olympics athlete and fellow Northland 300 snowmobiler, Steven Eull, lit the “Flame of Hope” on a new cauldron built by Northland friends. The lighting was part of the opening ceremony January 23. Kathy Karkula, volunteer event director, led the opening ceremonies. Participants were greeted by Mayor Randy Bolen and President of Two Harbors Chamber of Commerce Gordy Anderson. Special

Olympics athlete Louis Nosan sang the national anthem, with the Two Harbors American Legion Color Guard. After the ceremony snowmobilers left Superior Shores in Two Harbors, traveling more than 300 miles to Grand Ely Lodge in Ely. Cold weather didn’t deter the riders as they enjoyed excellent snow conditions and trails groomed by the Voyageurs Snowmobile Club and the Ely Igloo. At Grand Ely Lodge another ceremony was held, with speakers Denise Jordan, manager of Grand Ely Lodge; Ely Mayor Ross Petersen; the VFW/American Legion Color Guard, Deacon Greg Hutar of St. Anthony Catholic Church and Ely resident Jay Mackie, who sang the national anthem. After a free day of riding January 24, the snowmobilers traveled back to Superior Shores for a banquet and awards ceremony January 25. The group celebrated the raising of $167,139 ($105,486 cash plus $61,652 in-kind donations). This brings the all-time total to more than $4 million for Special Olympics Minnesota. The Baker’s Dozen or top 13 fundraisers brought in $55,596. Pooker Meister, Rob Dombrowsky and Mike Townsend raised funds in memory of Billy Meister. Several awards were presented, including a new award honoring Billy Meister. Dombrowsky won the Billy Meister Newbie Award, for the participant who demonstrates outstanding contributions in his or her first or second year. Chuck Munson won the John Marschall Tough Luck Award for tough luck, but not stupidity. Bob Parker won the Tom Patterson Northlander of the Year Award for going up and beyond the call of duty. Jason Reinsch won the Steve Jaeger Spirit Award for believing in the team spirit. Dave Clausen won the CJ Ramstad Unsung Hero Award for the participant who quietly does good for the ride. Janel Vorel won the Old Into Gold Award for turning in the most used cell phones as part of the fundraiser. Many prizes were awarded during a raffle, including a new snowmobile, resort and fishing vacations, cash and gift cards and certificates. To learn more about the Northland 300 and Special Olympics Minnesota, visit www.north and FaceBook – Northland 300. ■

Playground drive moves ahead Turtle Lake Elementary PTA Playground Leadership, a group working to raise money and build an accessible playground in Shoreview, has received a $10,000 investment from Mattamy Homes. A Canadian-based homebuilder with operations across Canada and the United States, Mattamy Homes is the builder for the new North Oaks Charley Lake Preserve community. “Mattamy Homes is pleased to make a gift to ‘A Playground for Everyone.’ We take exceptional pride in building homes for families and this same pride extends to supporting initiatives that enhance the quality of life for a community. This project reflects many of the same values our company embraces, both in business and philanthropy—values of innovation, inclusion and the spirit of community,” said Steven Logan, Division President. The Turtle Lake Elementary Playground Committee has secured $132,904 toward the campaign goal to raise $280,000 by April 1. For information on this project and the benefits of inclusive play, or to make a contribution, visit ■

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Hennepin County, VEAP celebrate human services center opening Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department (HSPHD) and Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People (VEAP) held a joint grand opening ceremony February 4 to celebrate the two organizations’ collaboration in the new service center at 9600 Aldrich Ave. S., Bloomington. Residents on the southern end of the county can access a range of county human services, as well as the community resources and connections VEAP has offered for more than 40 years. “Hennepin County is proud to partner with VEAP,” said Fifth District Hennepin County Commissioner Randy Johnson. “Offering all of Hennepin County and VEAP’s resources under one roof, in the community, will help Hennepin County clients to get the help they need more quickly, and achieve independence that much sooner.” VEAP is a multiservice human services organization established in 1973 by a group of churches in Richfield. VEAP serves residents of Bloomington, Richfield, Edina and a portion of south Minneapolis, with the largest food pantry in Minnesota, transportation for low-income seniors and an array of additional social services. “VEAP could see that the need in our community was growing, we had to take action to ensure that the people who were struggling would get the help they needed,” said Susan Russell Freeman, Executive Director of VEAP. “This meant purchasing and renovating our new community service center, inviting Hennepin County to join us, and partner with us in deepening all areas of service to the community. We are very pleased with what we’ve all been able to accomplish even in the first month of service.” The VEAP Community Service Center is part of the county’s human services regionalization plan, which moves human services delivery from one downtown facility to six locations around the county, closer to where clients live, work and attend school. The new location in Bloomington is the second human services hub to open. Another office opened in October 2012 with Community Emergency Assistance Programs and the Osseo Public Schools, at the Northwest Family Service Center in Brooklyn Center. Four more offices are scheduled to open over the next two years, in Hopkins, north Minneapolis, downtown Minneapolis and south Minneapolis. The county’s main human services office at Century Plaza closes for good after that, most likely in 2015. For more information about the Hennepin County regionalization plan, visit ■

Pg 8 February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2

PEOPLE & PLACES One Minnesotan on Paralympics team The 2014 Paralymics Winter Games in Sochi will feature one Minnesota athlete. The games began March 9 and continue through March 17. Aaron Pike of Park Rapids will compete in alpine skiing. He competed in the 2012 London Summer Games in track and field. The U.S. team, which includes six guides for visually impaired athletes, is comprised of 22 women and 58 men. The team features 32 returning Paralympians who have won a combined haul of 50 Paralympic medals. “It is a very exciting time for the Paralympic Movement, and we are honored to announce the largest team we have ever sent to a Paralympic Winter Games,” said United States Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun. “I am confident that this group of talented athletes is going to represent our country well both on and off the ice and snow. With the expanded platform of television coverage provided in partnership with NBC, these athletes are not only going to captivate the country, but also inspire Minnesotan on Paralymics team - p. 10

Aaron Pike at the 2012 London Summer Games Photo from

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February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2


He’s AusM Harrison Heinks, a 15year-old Edina student who has autism, wore his design for the 2014 Steps of Hope event T-shirts in early March. His design was selected by the Autiusm Society of Minnesota because it best captured the look and feel of their family fun walk. On his design submission form, Heinks stated that “Shoes are a perfect example of the journey we all go through—especially a person who has autism.” ■

Harrison Heinks Photo courtesy of Autism Society of Minnesota

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Pg 10 February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2

Fraser, Opportunity Partners are grantees

PEOPLE & PLACES Fraser School awarded Parent Aware 4-star rating Fraser School was recently awarded a 4-star rating from Parent Aware. Parent Aware wants all Minnesota children to be ready for kindergarten, providing free, research-based tools and resources to make informed choices about high quality early learning opportunities. This quality rating is valid for two years. Fraser School is a childcare center and preschool known for its inclusive environment, where children with typical needs and children with special needs contribute to each other’s development in unique and life-changing ways. Parent Aware evaluates and rates child care and early learning programs. “It took a lot of hard work and dedication from our staff to be awarded this type of rating,” said Deedee Stevens-Neal, Fraser School Director. “Fraser School is honored to be given a 4-star rating from Parent Aware.” 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. For more information, visit: ■

UCare’s UCare Fund awarded grants recently that support the efforts of two organizations working to improve the health and well-being of Minnesotans with disabilities. The UCare Fund is a communitydirected initiative of UCare, the fourth-largest health plan in Minnesota. Fraser was awarded a $44,059 grant to support, enhance, and extend the significant first-year momentum of Fraser’s innovative wellness initiative for adults with disabilities who live in five independent living program apartments. Fraser is in Minneapolis. Opportunity Partners, was awarded a $10,000 grant to support the purchase of specialized training and the development of supplemental internal curriculum for “Safe Boundaries,” a program to support open communication, positive work relationships, anti-bullying,

and healthy self-concept to help deter physical, emotional, and social harm for adults with disabilities. Opportunity Partners is in Minnetonka. “UCare has long valued partnerships with counties, agencies, and providers to extend our mission to improve the health of Minnesotans, especially those who are underserved,” said Ghita Worcester, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Marketing, UCare. “We are excited to award UCare Fund grants in 2012 to public health, nonprofit, and community-based organizations working to improve health outcomes.” In 2012, UCare distributed 31 community grants totaling $1,065,944 and three research grants totaling $197,592 to Minnesota organizations working to improve the health of people of all ages, ethnicities, and abilities. ■

Hofmeister at helm at Tamarack Joe Hofmeister is the new chief executive officer at Tamarack Habilitation Technologies, Inc. Hofmeister now assumes Tamarack’s day-today management responsibilities, and will lead the medical technology innovator’s strategic commercialization efforts. Located in Blaine, Tamarack Joe Hofmeister Habilitation Technologies, Inc. is a medical technology product development and manufacturing company specializing in ankle-foot biomechanics, friction management technologies and wheelchair seating. Marty Carlson, Tamarack’s founder and former chief executive officer, will continue to maintain an active role at Tamarack, working as the company’s chief engineer. Tamarack will continue to be a familyowned business. Carlson is enthusiastic about Hofmeister’s new senior leadership role. “Joe’s background matches Tamarack’s existing opportunities perfectly. We have a large and growing backlog of innovative intellectual property (IP) in the arenas of orthotics & prosthetics,

rehab technology and wound prevention & healing,” he said. “Joe’s experience spans the spectrum from IP licensing for a university to coordinating the global commercialization of emerging medical technologies. He has worked with and for small and large corporations and, at mid-career, is taking this top management role in a small technology company with a potentially big future. I am very happy to have Joe ‘on board’ and anxious to see what he and the team accomplish.” Hofmeister brings a unique perspective and business acumen to Tamarack that will help fuel the company’s product development and commercialization plans. Formerly working as the senior manager of strategic marketing and business development for coloplast, a Minneapolis-based medical device manufacturer, he also brings other experiences. He previously worked for the University of Minnesota Office for Technology Commercialization, spent 10 years in marketing, product development and business development leadership positions with American Medical Systems, and also worked in East Asian technology and business development roles with Muranaka Medical Instruments. Murananka is Japan’s largest medical instruments company. ■

Vinland Winter Walkabout a success

Minnesotan on Paralymics team - from pg. 8 the next generation of athletes following in their footsteps.” The winter games include five sports. The sports are sled hockey, wheelchair curling, alpine skiing snowboarding, biathlon and cross-country skiing. There will be 72 medal events, with 34 apiece for men and women and four for mixed teams. Athletes will use five venues. Almost 700 athletes from around the world are expected to take part in the 10 days of competition. Fifty athletes represented Team USA at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Notable increases came from the addition of 10 athletes competing in the debut of snowboard cross at the Paralympic Winter Games and from the Nordic skiing (biathlon and cross-country skiing) team tripling in size over the past four years. The Sochi Games are the first Olympic or Paralympic Games (either summer or winter) for the Russian Federation. ■

The Vinland Winter Walkabout, Vinland Center’s fifth annual 3K snowshoe walk, was a success. Despite wintry weather February 22, many people turned out for the event in Loretto. More than $50,000 was raised, exceeding the fundraising goal. Participants enjoyed a walk and were able to warm up in Vinland’s lakeside chalet for fun and prizes. Proceeds benefit Vinland Center and the people with disabilities it serves. Platinum sponsors were Bremer Bank, Kraus Anderson and New Horizon. Gold sponsors were Restart Inc. and Robert S. Starr Foundation. Silver sponsors were AIS, the Larkin Hoffman law firm, Loretto Lions Club and Visions. Bronze sponsors were Access Press, Dominion Diagnostics, Hanratty & Associates, Midwest Sound, Minnesota Recovery Connection and Torké Coffee. ■

February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2 Pg 11

Don’t be on the fence about this conference

UPCOMING EVENTS Advocacy TAAC appointees sought Metropolitan Council Seeks applicants for four vacancies on the Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC), which advises the council on management policies for special transportation services in the region, including Metro Mobility. The TAAC was created by the Minnesota Legislature and must include riders and advocates for older people and the disability community, as well as representatives of service providers and other appropriate agencies. Applicants are sought from four districts. District B includes western Hennepin, Carver and Scott counties, except for New Prague. District E include parts of Anoka and Ramsey counties. District F includes Washington County and part of Ramsey County. District H includes most of Dakota County. At least half of the committee must be certified as ADA paratransit eligible under the Americans with Disabilities Act and be active users of public ground transportation in the metro area. Terms are up to four years, concurrent with the council’s, and would expire in January 2015. The deadline for applications is April 30. FFI: David Russell, 651-602-1662,

Youth and families Host Home families sought Building Community as a Host Home Family is a 90minute workshop that will be offered by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota for families interested in becoming LSS Host Home providers. Through Host Homes, people open their homes and share their lives to provide another opportunity for a child or adult with disabilities to live more fully in their community. The free information session is 10-11:30 a.m. Wed, March 12 at 2485 Como Ave. Pre-registration is required. Host Homes reflects LSS innovative service design, My Life, My Choices, giving individuals with disabilities greater choice, freedom and responsibility in the decisions that shape their quality of life. My Life, My Choices ensures Minnesota’s people with disabilities have access to the services they need and are empowered to lead full, rich and rewarding lives. To complete the registration form, visit 1cxtuZS. FFI: Hmong family group meets Hmong families enrolled in St. Paul Public Schools, with a child with an intellectual or developmental disability, can join the Hmong Family Group. The free networking group from The Arc Greater Twin Cities meets 5:307:30 p.m. Fridays April 11 and May 2 at the St. Paul Public Schools Administration Building, 360 Colborne St., St. Paul. The entire family is welcome to the group’s meetings. While parents attend the informational segment of the meeting, children enjoy games and activities. Meals, transportation, interpretation and childcare are provided at no cost to families. The group is free but preregistration is required. FFI: 952-915-3624 PACER offers workshops PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any kind of disabilities. Workshops are at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, unless specified. Advance registration is required for all workshops. Check out PACER’s website and link to a new bimonthly newsletter of workshops statewide that allows participants to pick and choose sessions catered to their needs. One upcoming workshop is From Naughty to Nice: The Road to Positive Behavior Interventions, at 6:30-9 p.m. Tue, March 18 at PACER Center. Challenging behaviors in children and youth are often misunderstood. This workshop will explore the purpose of behavior, offer strategies and tips for changing challenging behaviors, and discuss supports and interventions that can help sustain appropriate behavior at school, at home, and in the community. Another upcoming workshop is Transitioning to Employment and Independent Living, for parents of students in ninth grade and older and professionals, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Minnesota AgrAbility Project holds its 21st Annual Fenceline Conference March 16-17 at the Holiday Inn and Suites in St. Cloud. Every year former, current, and new AgrAbility participants along with other individuals interested in the Minnesota AgrAbility Project gather for the two-day conference. The conference provides the opportunity to learn about the most recent advances in technology. Farmers can gather ideas for making life safer and more efficient on the farm and learn from others who have recovered from serious illness or injuries. The conference gives participants time to network with one another, discuss the challenges of farming with a disability and how it effects on the entire family. The theme of the conference for 2014 will be “Keeping the Family Farm Alive.” Topics include an AgrAbility update, legislative update, seating and positioning session for wheelchair users, investing for the future, future planning, caring for caregivers, the four myths of pain and an introduction to Farm Rescue. Vendors will be on site, highlighting and providing demonstrations on new products. Time will be available to visit with the vendors to learn more about products and services that are available to help overcome the barriers farming with a disability may present. Vendors will be on site, highlighting and providing demonstrations on new products. Time will be available

to visit with the vendors to learn more about products and services that are available to help overcome the barriers farming with a disability may present. The Minnesota AgrAbility Project helps farmers and their families find the right solutions to barriers they face while farming with a disability. The Minnesota AgrAbility Project is dedicated to helping farmers work more safely and independently, and offers practical solutions for a healthy and productive life in agriculture by providing on-site farm consultation, low-interest loans, education and training, safety planning, financial planning, support and advocacy, and a peer support network. It is a partnership of the University of Minnesota Extension Service, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Department and EquipALife a statewide Community based organization. Its work is supported through a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the US Department of Agriculture. For information, call 763-479-8239, toll-free 866-535-8239 or visit ■

Wed, March 19 at Roseville Branch Ramsey County Library (Community Program Room), 2180 Hamline Ave. N., Roseville, Planning for employment is an important step in preparing young adults with disabilities for life after high school and this workshop will provide plenty of help for that transition. FFI: 952-838-9000, 800-5372237 (toll free),

penalties associated with health care reform. 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,

Information and assistance Free help with house painting The Metro Paint-A-Thon helps low-income seniors and people with disabilities continue to live independently in their own homes, enriching their lives and their neighborhoods. The deadline to apply is April 14. Each August, thousands of volunteers scrape, prime and paint these homes at no cost to the homeowner. The effort brings stability and renewal to neighborhoods in cities throughout the seven-county metro area. This year, volunteers from companies, congregations, civic groups, and schools will paint homes during the summer, culminating the weekend of August 2-3. To qualify, homeowners must own and occupy a single-family home, in need of paint, but not in need of major repairs. The home must be in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott or Washington counties. The homeowner must be 60 years of age or older, or have a permanent physical disability (if under age 60) and meet monthly income guidelines. FFI: 612-276-1579, Vet Connection Group meets in Minneapolis NAMI Vet Connection gives veterans the opportunity to talk with other veterans and share their experiences, and the successes and hardships of the reintegration process. The group meets 2:15-3:45 p.m. Mondays at the Mpls VA, 1 Veterans Drive, in Room 1B-102 (1st floor). FFI: Rebecca, 612-801-7415 or Brian, 651-645-2948 x116. UCare meetings UCare hosts informational meetings about its UCare for Seniors Medicare Advantage plan, as well as informational meetings about the UCare’s new UCare Choices and Fairview UCare Choices health plans available on MNsure, Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace. Learn about the various plans, as well as key dates and

Mental health support offered NAMI-MN offers 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, groups provide help and support. A full calendar of all events is offered online. 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, 651-7881920, 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

Events - p. 15

Pg 12 February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2 Groundbreaking AXIS Dance Company at the Ordway March 21

ACCESSIBLE FUN Welcome to the Access Press Accessible Fun listings, a sampling of theater, music, arts, walks, runs, dances and gala events for our community. Readers looking for additional opportunities to enjoy the arts have these options: VSA Minnesota unveiled its new website on February 17. The site at has a large calendar at in the upper right hand corner of the home page. VSA Minnesota would like feedback on the design, so users should weigh in on the site or at or 612-332-3888 ext. 2. The new website is intended to be easier for volunteers to maintain and expand. Users of the site should change their bookmarks if they haven’t already done so. 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. Another web events listing is (c2: caption coalition, inc.), which does most of the captioned shows in Minnesota and across the country. Facebook is another way to connect with performances. Sign up to connect with Audio Description Across Minnesota (http:// Connect with ASL Interpreted and Captioned Performances across Minnesota on Facebook http://

Walk for Autism The Fraser Walk For Autism, presented by BMO Harris Bank, starts at 7 a.m. Sat, April 12 at the Mall of America Rotunda. The family-friendly event is filled with sensory-friendly activities, games, therapy animals, great prizes and giveaways. All partici-

pants receive breakfast and an official Fraser Walk for Autism tshirt. Register as an individual walker or a member of a walk team. Register online before the event or register that day. FFI: Rose Rosario, 612-798-8343,

Rise Above Seizures The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota’s 12th annual gala, Rising Above Seizures, is 6:3010 p.m. Sat, April 12 at the Radisson Blu Mall of America, 2100 Killebrew Drive, Bloomington. This year’s event features America’s Got Talent Finalist / Indoor Kite Flyer Connor Doran. Tickets start at $100. Cocktail attire is suggested. Enjoy dinner, silent and live auctions and entertainment. Proceeds benefit Minnesotans with epilepsy. FFI: 800-779-0777, ext. 2310.

Diana Ross is headliner PACER Center’s annual benefit will feature Diana Ross, one of the most remarkable entertainers of all time. The benefit is Sat, May 3 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. As lead singer of The Supremes, Ross helped shape the sound of popular music, achieving the unprecedented feat of 12 number one singles. Ross earned six number one singles and 31 top ten hits as a solo artist. She is also an Oscar-nominated actress and winner of both Golden Globe and Tony Awards. The benefit supports free PACER Center program. s for children with disabilities and their families as well as PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Tickets start at $70 and include Ross’ performance plus silent and live auctions. A post-concert patron party is included with tickets valued at $150 or more. FFI: 952-838-9000,

Red and White Ball Opportunity Partners will host

AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s most acclaimed and innovative ensembles, will perform one night only at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul. The performance is 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 21. A pre-show talk is set for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $48. Under the artistic direction of Judith Smith, the company of seven dancers—with and without disabilities—challenges the possibilities of movement, expanding and enriching the art form itself. This remarkable performance will include “what if would you” by Victoria Marks, “Full of Words” by British choreographer Marc Brew and a new work by Amy Seiwert. Hailed by famed choreographer Bill T. Jones as the company that “showed me what dance could be,” AXIS shows are a melding of contemporary dance and disability culture. “AXIS gives a powerful performance that opens eyes, defies perceptions and transcends contemporary dance,” said Ordway Artistic Director of its benefit The Red and White Ball at 5:30 p.m. Sat, April 12 at the Marriott Minneapolis Northwest. 7025 Northland Drive N., Brooklyn Park. This year’s event, which features KARE-11’s Karla Hult as emcee and social hour, dinner, games, dancing and auctions, has a baseball theme. Red, white or black cocktail attire should be worn. Tickets are $85 and all proceeds support Opportunity Partners’ programs. To sponsor the event or donate an auction item, contact Dawn Piburn at 952-912-7448 or To volunteer, contact Liz Burgard at 952-912-7454 or

World Music and Dance Dayna Martinez. “The company challenges the stereotypes of dance and what the body can do as well as the intricacies between the dancers in a way that mesmerizes you.” The company was featured on the Fox Network competition “So You Think You Can Dance” and filmed a video recently for AOL. Founded in 1987, the dance company has paved the way for a powerful contemporary dance form called physically integrated dance. In 1997, Smith led the company to new heights by expanding from in-house choreographers to various commissions from outside the company. Since then, their performances have won numerous awards. AXIS has recently expanded its education and outreach programs creating Dance Access for Adults and Dance Access/KIDS! The company has toured extensively performing nationwide, as well as in Russia, Europe, and Siberia, in more than 120 cities. The troupe has received many honors including seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards. AXIS was one of five companies named ‘Best Dance Companies in San Francisco’ by CBS San Francisco in 2011 and one of the Bay Area’s top 10 high-impact arts nonprofits by Philanthropedia (2010). Under Smith, the company has commissioned works by such movement innovators as Bill T. Jones, Stephen Petronio, Joe Goode, Victoria Marks, Ann Carlson, David Dorfman, Alex Ketley, Joanna Haigood, Sonya Delwaide, and Margaret Jenkins and worked with world-renowned composers Meredith Monk, Fred Frith and Joan Jeanrenaud. Additionally, AXIS’ own choreographers have created numerous repertory works expanding AXIS’ repertory to over 75 works. For tickets or information about accommodations, call 651-224-4222, TTY 651-282-3100. The website is ■

FFI: 952-930-4286,

FFI: 507-289-1737,

Agnes of God Bloomington Theatre and Art Center presents a powerful story of faith, love and mystery, at Bloomington Center for the Arts, Black Box Theater, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington. AD show is 7:30 p.m. Fri, March 14, ASL show is 7:30 p.m. Fri, March 21. Tickets are reduced to $15 for AD/ASL (regular $22, $20 senior, $17 age 25 & under). FFI: 952-563-8575; boxoffice@,

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Stages Theatre Company presents the story of a boy whose day goes downhill quickly, at Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins. Sensory-friendly show is 10 a.m. Sat, March 15. ASL show is 1 p.m. Sat, March 15. Tickets $15, child/ student $12; discount for AD/ ASL/OC: $11, child/senior 60+: $9. FFI: 952-979-1111, x4,

Gidion’s Knot Pillsbury House Theatre presents a drama that is set at a parent-teacher conference, at Pillsbury House Theatre, 3501 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls. The play is not suitable for children under age 14. AD show is 7:30 p.m. Sat, March 15. ASL show is 3 p.m. Sun, March 16. Tickets are pay what you can. FFI: 612-8250459, http://pillsburyhouseand

Rounding Third Rochester Repertory Theatre presents the story of two illmatch Little League coaches, at Rochester Repertory Theatre, 103 7th St. NE, Rochester. ASL show is 8 p.m. Sat, March 15, Tickets $20; student/senior $18.

Matisse: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls, hosts a special show of Matisse’s work. ASL event is 1 p.m. Sun, March 16. For tickets special exhibition admission is charged ($20, $16 senior/student). A (usually) free ASL-interpreted public tour is offered at 1 p.m. on the first Sun of each month. Start by the Information Desk in the museum lobby. Interpreted tours may also be scheduled on other days. On the second Fri and Sat of each month at 10:30 a.m., free tours are offered for visitors with memory loss, Alzheimer’s and their friends or care partners (March 14-15, April 11-12, May 9-10, June 13-14, etc.). Assisted listening devices, wheelchairs and verbal description tours are available. FFI: 612-870-3131, 612-870-3140 or TTY 612-8703132; or

Our Town Thornton Wilder’s drama about the people of Grover’s Corners is performed by Theater Latte Da at the Lab Theater, 700 N. First St., Mpls. ASL and AD shows are 7:30 p.m. Thu, March 20. Tickets are reduced to halfprice for ASL/AD patrons and one guest (regular $35-$45). FFI: 612-339-3003, 612-3337977,

The Things They Carried History Theatre presents the story of a man’s journey to Vietnam and then back again, at History Theatre, 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul. ASL and AD shows are 2 p.m. Sun, March 23. Tickets are reduced to $20 for ASL/AD patrons (regular $30-40). The

Accessible fun - p. 15

February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2 Pg 13

March Sampling

Radio Talking Book New signal coverage for east-central Minnesota Residents of east-central Minnesota should notice a difference in Radio Talking Book signal quality. In early February engineering staff worked with Minnesota Public Radio to install new equipment in the Hinckley area.

Books available through Faribault Books broadcast on the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network are available through the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library in Faribault Call 1-800722-0550, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The catalog is online at, click on the link Search the Library Catalog. Persons living outside of Minnesota may obtain copies of books via inter-library loan 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 previous week, on the Internet at Call the Talking Book Library for a password to the site. To find more information about Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network events go to the Facebook site at RadioTalkBook. Audio information about the daily book listings is also on NFB Newslines. Register for NFB

Newslines by calling 651-539-1424. Access Press is one of the publications featured at 9 p.m. Sundays on the program It Makes a Difference.

cious things to eat and drink. Michael Pollan writes of these but also of how cooking involves us in a web of social and ecological relationships. Read by Myrna Smith.

Weekend Program Books Your Personal World (Saturday at 1 p.m.) is airing The Slow Fix, by Carl Honore, and Ten Years Later, by Hoda Kotb; For the Younger Set (Sunday at 11 a.m.) is airing Shadow on the Mountain, by Margi Preus, and The Elites: Privileged Positions, by Emily Flint and Quinn Xi; Poetic Reflections (Sunday at noon) is airing The Earth Avails, by Mark Wunderlich, and The Exchange, by Sophie Cabot Black; The U.S. and Us (Sunday at 4 p.m.) is airing Black White Blue, by William Swanson, and Augie’s Secrets, by Neal Karlen.

Bookworm • Monday – Friday 11 a.m. Muckers, Fiction by Sandra Neil Wallace, 2013. Nine broadcasts. Begins March 31. A lot is riding on Red O’Sullivan’s scrawny shoulders: the football season, his family’s legacy, maybe the entire identity of the town. Their Arizona mining town has been clinging to the side of the mountain but all the copper veins are used up. L - Read by Phil Rosenbaum.

Chautauqua • Tuesday – Saturday 4 a.m. Shores of Knowledge, Nonfiction by Joyce Appleby, 2013. 10 broadcasts. Begins March 18. When Columbus first returned to Spain from the Caribbean, he inspired many to search for the exotic animals and plants of the New World. What they found changed the natural sciences in addition to the lives of those who were being “discovered.” Read by John Potts. Past is Prologue • Monday – Friday 9 a.m. Cooked, Nonfiction by Michael Pollan, 2013. 16 broadcasts. Begins March 18. The four classical elements, fire, water, air, and earth, transform the stuff of nature into deli-

The Writer’s Voice • Monday – Friday 2 p.m. The Unseen Trail, Nonfiction by Michael O. Hanson, 2013. Six broadcasts. Begins March 25. Using a GPS device and trekking poles, Hanson, who is blind, plotted and completed the majority of the Appalachian Trail without outside assistance, showing the power of technology and independence for those without sight. Read by Mike Piscitelli. Choice Reading • Monday – Friday 4 p.m. The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, Fiction by Edward Kelsey Moore, 2013. 12 Br. Begins March 17. Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat is home away from home for these women, dubbed “the Supremes” by high school pals in the 1960s. Over the next four decades, they weather life’s storms together. L - Read by Natasha DeVoe.

Radio Talking Book - p. 14

Legislative session update - from p. 1 capitol rotunda. They called for a five percent rate increase for home and community-based services that support people with disabilities and older adults in Minnesota. The bills seeking the increase are S.F. 1993 and H.F. 2408. Nine legislators lined up to speak, along with Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and self-advocates. The 5 % Campaign is one of the most high-profile efforts this session. Supporters of the increase note that almost 100 percent of disability provider revenue comes from government sources. Due to repeated cuts and rising costs over the past decade, this revenue is insufficient for most providers to offer caregiver staff adequate wages. Care providers struggle with high staff turnover, which in turn has a negative impact on clients. If approved, a five percent rate increase would enable providers to offer more competitive wages, increase staff retention, and continue to ensure that

people with disabilities and older adults receive a consistent, high quality standard of care. The chief House author of the increase legislation called the economic forecast good news for the 92,500 Minnesotans receiving home and community-based services and 91,000 caregivers. Rep. Jerry Newton’s (DFL-Coon Rapids) bill was introduced with 77 coauthors. Chief Senate author Kent Eken (DFL- Twin Valley) was joined by 40 co-authors in nine identical bills. The co-authors include Republicans and DFLers. “A rate increase for Home and Community-Based Services is the major issue that wasn’t addressed in 2013,” Eken said. “The forecast tells us we have the resources to address this priority in 2014.” Steve Larson, co-chair of The 5% Campaign advocating for the increase, said, “The 123 community organizations involved in the campaign are most gratified by the number of legislators who have signed on as co-authors. Now, with today’s forecast, we are en-

ergized and hopeful that the five percent increase will get signed into law.” The increase would cost approximately $84 million for the remaining year of the biennium. Most of the five percent increase is directed to caregivers providing quality care for older adults and people with disabilities in community settings. Hundreds gathered March 3 to call for passage of the Safe Schools Act, which would broaden legal language on bullying in schools. (See page 15.) Yet another large crowd descended March 6 for a mental health rally. The Mental Health Legislative Network, a coalition of more than 30 statewide organizations concerned about the quality and availability of mental health services in Minnesota, gathered to address key issues including funding and policy concerns that will affect the mental health community. ■ (This article was compiled with information from The Arc Minnesota and NAMI Minnesota.)

Tschida leaves legacy - from p. 1 resonating with his audience. He could start his day explaining to an elementary school class what it is like to live with a disability and in the afternoon provide a detailed presentation about Medicaid payment policy to a group of policymakers and legislators. Both presentations would be understandable for the audience and interesting to listen to. I will certainly miss his sense of humor when we are in committee hearings at the Minnesota capitol that go until midnight but I am guessing he will not miss those late nights. Steve Larson, senior policy director of The Arc Minnesota, describes Tschida as a coalition builder, who helped everyone work together to expand the influence of the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD). “His knowledge, leadership and grant writing skills have helped create a much stronger voice for the disability community.” “John has been a terrific leader on disability policy in Minnesota,” said Pamela Hoopes, Legal Director, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid/Minnesota Disability Law Center. “His encyclopedic knowledge of disability issues, combined with the amazing political savvy that made him such an effective advocate are irreplaceable. He has been a treasured ally on policy issues for many years, and I will miss his intelligence, wit, determination, and elegance. In his absence, I will hold him in mind as the paragon of effective, classy advocacy.” Attorney Anne Henry of the Disability Law Center said her work with Tschida has been “simply amazing.” “What a remarkable person! We will all miss his invaluable and wise leadership on Minnesota’s disability and health care policy. Minnesota’s disability community is very fortunate and proud to have John with his incredible suitcase of talents, keen intellect, broad experience, vast knowledge, common sense, a very well developed sense of humor and a stellar ability to work with a wide range of people heading to

Washington DC to lead an organization of such national importance.” Alex E. Bartolic, director of Disability Services at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, called Tschida “a trusted and effective advocate for innovations in service delivery to be responsive to people with disabilities in real and meaningful ways.” “An unparalleled master of disability policy issues and trends.” is how Jan Malcolm, vice president, public policy, community benefit for Allina Health and president of the Courage Kenny Foundation described Tschida “His broad knowledge of and contributions to evidence-based research has made him an indispensable resource to policy makers, to Courage Center and now Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute and Allina Health leaders.” Kevin Goodno, Chair, Government Relations Practice, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., called Tschida a man of integrity who has earned his influence through hard work, integrity, intellect, and personal commitment to all individuals with disabilities.” Courage Kenny Institute hosted farewell event on February 20 which was attended by many friends and colleague despite a winter storm. Tschida also said goodbye February 14 at a MN-CCD legislative kickoff. Tschida has been on the MN-CCD board and led its public policy work for many years. Tschida was born and raised in St. Paul, and graduated from Macalester College. He and his family lived in St. Paul for many years before moving to Eagan. In a 2001 interview with Access Press, he described how he sustained a spinal cord injury. He was riding his bicycle to work on September 9, 1993. He doesn’t remember how the accident happened but he flew over the bike’s handlebars and hit a lamppost. It was his sons’ first day of kindergarten. Prior to his accident, he worked as assistant director of the House of Representatives Public Information Office and edited the Session Weekly magazine. His job was held open and legislative friends raised $12,000

to help with medical and home remodeling costs. He told Access Press “After my accident, I got frustrated seeing things at the capitol that weren’t happening to benefit people with disabilities. Instead of just writing about the issues, I wanted to get my hands dirty and make a difference. Growing up in a large Catholic family, guilt was certainly part of my mother’s parenting toolbox, and she always used to tell us ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’. I knew the legislative process, I knew a bunch of people who worked in the legislature… if guys like me aren’t going to advocate, who’s going to do it?” Tschida left state politics and went to Washington, D.C. as a research fellow at the National Rehabilitation Hospital Center for Health and Disability Research. He also earned a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University, focusing on health care. In 1999 the opportunity to work at Courage Center brought him and his family back to Minnesota. His work has involved research, writing and lobbying at the capitol. In the Access Press interview, Tschida said, “The disability community is very broad and I would not presume to give anybody advice. What I think is that there needs to be an honest and open debate within the disability community about our differences. The community is not monolithic, and our differences are important. There is a huge difference between having an acquired disability, a congenital disability, a developmental disability, or mental illness, and some folks don’t want to talk about this. But I think that it could be healthy and helpful for the advocacy community and for people with disabilities in general to discuss our differences. It could also be very educational for the able-bodied community. It’s always beneath the surface and it’s something that makes people uncomfortable to talk about, but it will make us stronger. We tend to talk within our circles, but there’s a lot that we can learn from each other and a lot of similarities . . . And differences are okay it can be helpful to acknowledge them.” ■

Pg 14 February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2 Olmstead - from p. 1 plan will ultimately have key impacts on the lives of the more than 500,000 Minnesotans with disabilities. The plan covers employment, housing, transportation, supports and services, lifelong learning and education, healthcare and healthy living, and community engagement. The Minnesota plan is considered to be an evolving and changing document, according to state officials. The state has an interim state office overseeing plan development and will have a permanent office overseeing the plan and needed changes going forward. Minnesota’s draft Olmstead plan was released in fall 2013. The current revision process involves numerous state agencies and departments, as well as many individuals and advocacy groups who are encouraged to make comments. Getting a plan put together involves a lot of moving parts and keeping everything continuing forward, said Olmstead Implementation Office Interim Director, David Sherwood-Gabrielson. Not only is the plan taking shape, office staff and subcabinet must monitor various pieces of state and federal legislation, as well as program changes that will affect the plan. Members of the subcabinet and disability community are also in the process of hiring a permanent Olmstead office director. Implementation office staff and state department representatives on the subcabinet met February 20 to review progress with disability community advocates and Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, who leads the Olmstead Subcabinet. Prettner Solon had to weigh in by phone as bad weather kept her in northern Minnesota. Another Olmstead Subcabinet meeting is planned for April 14, as the group works toward filing a report with United States District Court Judge Donovan Frank by April 22. State agencies are requested to weigh in by early April. The court monitor, who is watching the plan carefully for compliance, has asked that the update be limited to 20 pages. The latest steps in Minnesota’s plan process are expected to bring a revised draft, between April 15 and late May, and a round of public listening sessions similar to those held in 2013. The goal is to have the latest version of the plan ready by mid-July. Kristen Jorenby, who is working with the Olmstead office, said everyone needs to be mindful of deadlines and the process moving forward. “Six months may sound like a long time, but in reality it’s coming up pretty quickly,” she said. There will be topic areas where concerns and issues cannot be addressed in the time frame laid out, she said, so there will be an alternative process to address concerns. Among concerns needing additional attention are mental health and corrections. In 2011 Frank set the plan in motion when settling a legal case against the former Minnesota Extended

Olmstead transportation forum scheduled Comment on transportation issues for people with disabilities at a forum organized by the Minnesota State Council on Disability (MNSCOD), Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and Minnesota Department of Transportation. The forum is 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, March 26 at the DHS Building, 444 Lafayette Road, Room 5137, St. Paul. Participants must register on MNSCOD’s website ( by Friday, March 21, if they wish to attend the forum and share their stories. The public can participate at DHS, at videoconferencing sites around the state or online via web-streaming. The forum is part of implementation of

Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan and its transportation topic area. It is the first of several opportunities to participate in the state’s work toward access to reliable, cost-effective and accessible transportation choices that support the essential elements of life such as employment, housing, education and social connections. Other events will be held over the next couple of years. Expanding flexibility in transportation systems is the March 26 focus. Presentations are planned, along with time for community members to comment on Minnesota’s multi-modal transportation system. While comments will be sought on public transit, agencies are interested in hearing about all modes of transportation. ■

Treatment Options (METO) facility in 2011. The state was sued for the mistreatment of METO residents. Court Monitor David Ferlager weighed in on the plan in December 2013, and Frank issued another order in January. Frank provisionally accepted the plan, subject to Ferlager’s report as to further submission by the court plaintiffs’ legal counsel, and the executive director of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. They then get to file comments or objections, and then the state need to file its plan update. Frank has indicated that he expects everyone to address progress needed to move more people with disabilities from segregated to integrated settings; to address the number of people who have moved from waiting lists; and the results of any and all quality of life assessments. “The court needs to be in a better position to evaluate whether the settlement agreement is indeed improving the lives of people with disabilities, as promised and contemplated by the settlement

agreement itself.” Frank is also asking that everyone involved in the plan and its implementation continue to work together and move the plan forward. Ferlager, for his part, noted a number of technical and topic area concerns with the plan. One issue he has asked for more focus on is quality of life, which office staff and subcabinet members discussed at length February 20. The subcabinet agreed to work with the Center for Outcome Analysis on a quality of life assessment tool, to help with a survey and information gathering. One challenge Ferlager noted is the ability to survey people with a wide range of disabilities. The subcabinet talked about surveying as many as 10,000 Minnesotans. Some surveys could be done online, while others would have to be done face to face. Ferlager also indicated that the plan need work in other areas including transportation, housing, and technology and assistive technology. Minnesota’s plan and related documents are at http:// Check the site frequently for updates. ■

Radio Talking Book - from p. 13 PM Report • Monday – Friday 8 p.m. Exit the Colonel, Nonfiction by Ethan Chorin, 2013. 15 Br. Begins March 24. After years of aggression and isolation, Libya got an unexpected lifeline – the rise of al Qaeda and the war in Iraq turned Libya into an ally. But Gaddafi’s feints toward reform engendered a movement that was too powerful to put down. Read by John Demma.

Off the Shelf • Monday – Friday 10 p.m. When She Came Home, Fiction by Drusilla Campbell, 2013. 7 Br. Begins March 24. Frankie Byrne Tennyson stunned everyone when she decided to enlist in the Marine Corps. Now she is home from serving in Iraq, but the home she returns to is full of challenges. However, the greatest challenge lies within herself. L – Read by Jenny O’Brien.

Night Journey • Monday – Friday 9 p.m. Accused, Fiction by Lisa Scottoline, 2013. 11 Br. Begins March 25. When thirteen-year-old Allegra walks into Rosato & Associates alone seeking representation to free a man she believes was wrongly convicted of her sister’s murder, Mary DiNunzio is compelled to help. L – Read by Janelle Mattson.

After Midnight • Tuesday – Saturday 1 a.m. The Tell, Fiction by Hester Kaplan, 2013. 11 Br. Begins March 27. Mira and Owen’s marriage is tested when Wilton Deere, an aging former TV star, moves into the grand house next door. With plenty of money and time to kill, Wilton is charming but ruthless as he inserts himself into the couple’s life. L - Read by Carol Lewis. ■ Abbreviations: V - violence, L - offensive language, S - sexual situations.

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February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2 Pg 15

Safe Schools bill makes another run at passage

Hunter Sargent showed off the shirt he designed with an anti-bullying message. Photo courtesy of The Arc Minnesota

At 37 words, Minnesota currently has the shortest bullying prevention law in the United States. While many disability advocacy groups are among the 120 groups calling for changes, their efforts are running into resistance from some lawmakers and educators, who say the changes would be too complicated and costly to implement. Last year the Minnesota House passed the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, but it stalled on the Senate floor due to threat of a filibuster. Hundreds flocked to the capitol March 3 to support the act’s passage this session, with powerful stories of how bullying has affected their lives. Some students have switched schools because of bullying. A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who were bullies and/or victims of bullying in childhood were more likely to experience psychiatric problems as adults ten years later, such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide, when compared to those who never experienced bullying. The 2014 Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Accessible fun- from p. 12 accessible entrance is on the east side of the building off Cedar Street; the theatre has six spaces for wheelchairs, plus companion seats; hearing enhancement devices and Braille or large print playbills are available. FFI: phone: 651-292-4323 or 651-491-7967,

Othello William Shakespeare’s powerful tragedy is presented by the Guthrie Theater, on its Wurtele Thrust Stage, 818 2nd St. S., Mpls. AD shows are 1 p.m. Sat., March 29 and 7:30 p.m. Fri, April 4. Captioning is 1 p.m. Wed., April 9; 7:30 p.m. Fri, April 11. (Captioning by c2 inc.) ASL shows are 7:30 p.m. Thurs., April 17 and Fri., April 18.

Act is 20 pages long. It would require training and education for school personnel and students on strategies for addressing and preventing bullying and for reporting incidents of bullying. The proposed law would clearly defines bullying, would require schools to collect data on bullying and report that data to the estate, and would provide state assistance to schools to implement the law. When appropriate, it would establish a procedure for addressing bullying in students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or 504 Plan. But the bill has faced opposition due to implementation costs, which critics say could run from $5 million to $25 million statewide. Other groups, including faith-based and private school groups, believe reporting requirements could invade student privacy. Another objection is that the bill would tell private schools how to handle discipline and that it provides specific protections based on gender issues. Free speech issues have also been raised. PACER Center and The Arc Minnesota are among the disability advocacy groups supporting the Safe Schools Act. Paula Goldberg, executive director at PACER Center and Julie Hertzog, director, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, released a statement after the rally noting that every year 13 million American children are bullied. “That’s almost one in every three students and it’s likely affecting someone you know and care about,” they stated. One self-advocate supporting the bill is Hunter Sargent, a Plymouth man with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. He knows first-hand the harm that bullying can cause and its lingering effects. As a student, he was repeatedly bullied by those who targeted him because of his disability. One bully beat him repeatedly and once, badly bloodied his nose. When a doctor told Sargent years later that he had suffered a broken nose previously, he was convinced that the bully had caused the injury. Sargent is now committed to ensuring that students today don’t go through what he did. He not only testifies on behalf of the bill, he has written and performed a rap song about his experiences and the need to end bullying. He and his wife Hollynd have also produced t-shirts with an anti-bullying message that Tickets are reduced to $20 for AD/ASL, $25 for Captioning (regular $29-71). FFI: 612-377-2224, TTY 612377-6626,

Lonely Soldiers: Women at War in Iraq History Theatre presents the stories of women at war, at History Theatre, 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul. ASL and AD shows are 2 p.m. Sat, March 29. Tickets are reduced to $20 for ASL/AD patrons (regular $30-40). The accessible entrance is on the east side of the building off Cedar Street; the theatre has six spaces for wheelchairs, plus companion seats; hearing enhancement devices and Braille or large print playbills are available. FFI: 651292-4323 or 651-491-7967, ■

Events - from p. 11 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, 651228-1645. 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 family support group meets in Oakdale on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, from 7:00-8:30 p.m., at Canvas Health, 7066 Stillwater Blvd., in the community room. FFI: Dan, 651-3418918. A group also meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wed 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

Volunteer, Donate Give a puppy a break Can Do Canines Assistance Dogs has a puppy training program at the Waseca Federal Prison. But help is needed from residents of that area to help, so that puppies can become successful assistance dogs. Volunteers are needed twice a month to provide furloughs in their homes to work

on the puppy’s house manners and social skills. This also means taking them in their training cape to stores, restaurants, etc. to expose them to social settings. Can Do Canines will provide all supplies and training; host families will provide love and affection. FFI: Laurie Carlson, 763-3313000 x113,

reflects his Native American heritage. PACER officials contend that bullying should not be seen as a rite of passage or acceptable behavior. PACER is sharing the story of a Minnesota child with disabilities, whose family had to ask PACER for help to stop bullying at her school. “Put yourself in the shoes of one particular student with disabilities, a child two to three times more likely to be a target of bullying than her peers. For weeks on end she had suffered physical and emotional harm. Her hair had been pulled, she had been kicked, punched, and called every imaginable name. She had fled the school bus in fear and often stayed home altogether. The girl’s parents met with school administrators more than once and nothing was done. The principal’s advice: ‘Just ignore it and it will stop. But simply ignoring behavior does not make it stop,” Hertzog and Goldberg said. ■ Regional News - from p. 6 escort them. The lack of safe, cleared spaces also slows down our service, making passengers late for their appointments and drivers late for the next customer.” Metro Mobility is asking everyone to make sure that areas are cleared not only for passengers and drivers, but for their vehicle lifts. The winter weather also is affecting parking in many cities, with Minneapolis and St. Paul imposing one-side street parking bans and other cities enforcing winter regulations. For information, check with individual city offices. ■ (Source: Metro Mobility)

CLASSIFIEDS Access Press Classifieds are $14 for the first 12 and 65¢ per word thereafter. They must be prepaid. Mail 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:

FOR RENT Lewis Park Apartments: Barrier-free housing with wheelchair users in mind. Section 8 subsidized. Oneand two-bedroom units. For more information on availability call 651-488-9923. 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.

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@, or

ACCESSIBLE HOME FOR SALE Handicap accessible 4 BR, 3.5 bath home. Ceiling track in master bedroom to bath, roll-in shower, liftin garage to back door, with wheel-on elevator to the basement. Incl. a new roof, updated kitchen with granite, landscaping, trek decking, light fixtures, exterior doors, and an oversized double garage. All appliances included. Located near Canton and Sioux Falls, SD. Go to to see photos. 308 Douglas Street. Or call Martha at 605-376-2871.

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 and accommodations for volunteers with disabilities. FFI: Allison, 651-251-9110,, ■

DRAMA INTERACTION CLASSES Adaptive Theatre Program welcomes all abilities 7 years old - Adults. Classes meet 1x week at Opportunity Partners in Minnetonka. Act, Sing, Dance, & Perform! For more info, call 952-220-1676 or go to: prog.html

Pg 16 February 10, 2014 Volume 25, Number 2

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