January 2024 Edition - Access Press

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January 2024


Preparation takes place under cloud

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Deaf community and COVID-19 Page 3 Access Press board openings Page 4 Grants are awarded Page 6


By Jane McClure The 2024 legislative session starts February 12, with caution that this is likely to be much more of a policy year than one focused on spending. That’s because a structural budget deficit is looming. Disability advocacy groups are putting final touches on their legislative agendas. That includes the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD), which is expected to approve its legislative asks set by tier in early January. The three tiers used indicate how much time and attention MNCCD will put on each issue. The tier status ranges from priority items for the consortium to focus much of its energy on to items groundwork is being laid for and then the lowest tier items, which are championed by other organizations. One need consortium members discussed in December is to have a soonto-be-hired lobbyist review the agenda and make suggestions before tiers are set. 2024 is a policy as well as capital projects bonding year. One intent in bringing forward items that have financial implications is to have those matters on state lawmakers’ radar for 2025, which will be a budget year. That may be what happens to such important issues as enhanced rates. In early December, Minnesota Management and Budget officials announced that they estimate an extra $2.4 billion in the two-year budget cycle that began in July. While that may bring visions of new programs and services, it also brought a huge caveat. Higher spending estimates in health and human services, including long-term care for people with disabilities, free school meals for all, and education could mean that the state's budget will not be balanced beginning in 2026. That prompted Gov. Tim Walz to indicate that he plans to hold the line on 2024 spending. State officials are warning that the state budget surplus could be easily consumed by these and other programs added during 2023. Spending the latest project surplus would put the state in the crosshairs of a $2.3 billion shortfall starting in the summer of 2025. State lawmakers used the $17.5 billion surplus to pass the largest budget in state history, at $72 billion for the biennium. The gains were widely celebrated as bringing needed supports and services to people with disabilities of all ages. State budget officials said the latest state budget is just part of the picture. Education spending is up, projected $205 million above budget for FY 24-25 and $112 million for FY26-27. Enrollment in Minnesota schools is about 5,000 students higher than expected. That and higher costs for universal free school meals have driven numbers up. But the greatest projected increases are in health and human service spending. For FY24-25 the projection is $495 million above budget. That grows to $564 million above budget for FY26-27. Much of the increase has been attributed to rising costs of home- and community-based care for people with disabilities. Costs for services and compensation are rising, combined with more demand for such services. Services, that keep people out of nursing homes, are expected to cost $355 million more than previously estimated in the current two-year budget cycle and $513 million more in the next.


The St. Paul skyway tower shone during its construction a decade ago.

Skyway safety changes are eyed, but tower still closed after year Cracking down on downtown property owners who don’t maintain skyways is a key focus of city ordinance changes made in St. Paul. But the next step disability rights activist want is to have a shuttered skyway tower reopened. The ordinance changes take place in January, after approval by the St. Paul City Council in December. St. Paul City Council Member Rebecca Noecker championed the changes in an effort to make the downtown skyway system cleaner, safer and more welcoming. The ordinance changes are among several

Use the Access Press Directory to find services and supports Pages 8-9 New center in Eagan Page 10 Enjoy art exhibit Page 15

ideas in the works for the downtown skyway system, which has been a flash point for crime and poor conditions in places during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical changes to parts of the skyway system are anticipated over the next several months, using almost $1 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars allocated to the city. The area in question centers on the Central Station for Green Line light rail, where a stair and elevator tower has been closed since December 2022. The tower was closed after SKYWAY To page 3

Access Press takes a look back at the year 2023 Recycle those 2023 calendars! It was a year of historic legislative changes, big accomplishments and at times, tough losses. Here is our annual look back.

January 2023 There were high hopes for the 2023 Minnesota Legislature, as disability advocacy groups prepared for session’s start. One highlight was to be more appearances at public hearings, in contrast to the past COVID-19 pandemic years of everything online. The Minnesota Council on Disability presented a comprehensive legislative agenda. The annual legislative forum had a twist. Rather than hearing from state lawmakers, attendees heard state council members and selfadvocates outlining key issues. Affordable and accessible housing, reforms for working people with disabilities, and dealing with the direct care crisis were among issues to be championed during the upcoming session. An array of other asks, on mental health, criminal justice and special education, also came forward. The West St. Paul City Council and Dakota County Board approved a new mental health crisis center. Thirty-four people spoke during a council public hearing. A majority of the crowd— roughly four out of five—supported the crisis center, speaking in favor of mental health services. A minority of residents spoke in opposition, citing safety concerns. Dakota County and Guild Services proposed the facility.

More in-person events were held at the capitol in 2023. This one was led by ACT. The Minnesota Department of Health added irritable bowel syndrome and obsessivecompulsive disorder to the list of qualifying medical conditions for participation in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program.

February 2023 Stout chains and padlocks on the doors told the story as St. Paul’s downtown skyway tower remained inaccessible. People with disabilities


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had to trek at least a block away for elevator access, and dealt with limited overnight hours. The skyway tower, which was at the center of a high-profile accessibility battle a decade ago, was closed in late December 2022. It was a fast start for the 2023 Minnesota Legislature. Typically the first weeks of session are spent on committee organization and YEAR IN REVIEW To page 5

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EDITORIAL More must be done to make skyways safer, accessible to all It’s winter in Minnesota. If you live, work or enjoy activities in a city’s downtown that has a skyway system, you are likely spending time up there. And if you are a skyway user, chances are you’ve encountered broken glass, trash and criminal behavior. Maybe you have been a crime victim, or have worried that you would be victimized. Problems in skyways escalated during and since the COVID-19 pandemic. Skyways are also places where people bent on criminal behavior tend to gather. Robberies and assaults are all too common. So are groups of people using or selling drugs. Even loud, rowdy behavior can be intimidating for those of us who are unable to fight back and defend ourselves. People who are without shelter go to the skyways for protection from the elements, which is understandable. Many people don’t bother others and are quietly trying to exist. But when there are no public restrooms or facilities to even wash one’s face, it is difficult if not impossible to practice good hygiene. The impacts of that are felt by other skyway users. Every skyway system operates a bit differently in Minnesota. In Minneapolis, skyways are privately owned. St. Paul’s skyway system was built by the city, and operates through agreements with building owners. The owners there are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the system. Owners work with police, a skyway governance council and downtown organizations to keep things operating smoothly. That system can hit bumps when property owners don’t want to cooperate. Then there is the issue of skyway access for those of us who want to more easily use transit in downtown St. Paul. When Green Line light rail was in the planning stages more than a decade ago, questions were

Every skyway system operates a bit differently in Minnesota. In Minneapolis, skyways are privately owned. St. Paul's skyway system was built by the city and operates through agreement with building owners. That system can hit bumps when property owners don't want to cooperate. raised about access from street level to the skyway system. Nothing was on the drawing boards. The late Rick Cardenas was a downtown resident and lifelong disability rights activist. He was one of the leaders who repeatedly raised the issues of access to transit. He and his allies knew all too well the challenges of getting into the skyway system around the clock. Even though St. Paul city officials set skyway hours, too many buildings lock their doors earlier than they are supposed to. That leaves people with mobility issues struggling to find their way home. Metropolitan Council officials finally added the tower, which was dedicated in June 2014. It provides an elevator and stairs near Green Line Central Station and a busy 4th Street bus stop.

Or at least it did. The downtown skyway tower closed December 27, 2022 after two men were shot and killed there. The tower has remained closed, awaiting physical changes to the structure. People with disabilities who had relied on the tower and its elevator have had to find other access points. They have done so for a year. A year! It isn’t known when the tower will be in service again. Metro Transit has indicated that it will reopen the tower when the transit agency can regularly provide what is called an official presence there, with more security and police. We will be glad to see that need met. We have to ask, was the tower designed to inadvertently become a problem waiting to happen? Its location is one that is important, with proximity to rail and a key bus stop.

But it and the adjacent skyway became lookout points for people engaged in criminal activity. Hindsight is always 20-20 but could anything have been done to prevent that? It’s encouraging to see some changes coming up for those of us who rely on the St. Paul skyways for access. Led by City Council Member Rebecca Noecker, St. Paul City Council members in December 2023 adopted ordinance changes designed to crack down on skyway owners who don’t maintain their properties. The changes, which had unanimous support, allow the city to do needed maintenance work and then assess property owners. That takes effect in early 2024. City officials are also promising the needed changes in the skyway near Green Line Central Station, with about $850,000 for cleaning and design improvements. Another $50,000 is eyed to pilot a new security camera and intercom system for that area. Deep cleaning and repairs were promised by the end of 2023. More changes are to come through the hiring of a consultant to look at the skyways and more safety changes. It has taken a long time to make the Central Station area safer. A lot of us have had detours, including detours late at night and in inclement weather, because a tower that was sought by us and built for us has been padlocked shut. When a street or highway is closed even for a few weeks, there’s a great hue and cry. No one can get around! The detour is terrible! Oh, the horror! But for downtown St. Paul residents, especially those with disabilities, one of their important routes has been closed for a year. And it may be closed even longer. Why is that considered acceptable?

HISTORY NOTE Mass transit actions opened the door for better rider access Mass transit systems have operated in major U.S. cities since the 1830s. Horse-drawn streetcars and omnibuses initially carried people to and from their destinations. Even with improvements in the 19th century, the vast majority of mass transit systems weren’t accessible to people with disabilities. It was just another barrier that kept people at home, unable to attend school, go to work and take part in community life. Anyone without family or friends to help with transportation was out of luck. There was also the issue of transit systems ownership. An example is found in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and how the core cities and suburbs had separate streetcar and bus systems. The first talk of a regional “metropolitan transit commission” was in 1950. The head of the state’s railroad and warehouse commission called for changes. That proposal launched years of debate between legislators, city and suburban officials, and transit advocates. The commission was finally established by the

Minnesota Legislature in 1967. One of the first significant steps toward improvements in transit was passed 60 years ago by Congress. The 1964 Urban Mass Transit Act. The act initially provided $375 million for large-scale urban public or private rail projects, in the form of matching funds to cities and states. The act also created the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, which is now known as the Federal Transit Administration. The act is recognized by many historians as one of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s most successful Great Society efforts. Actually, President John F. Kennedy’s speech to Congress laid the ground for the federal government to become involved in local transportation funding. Kennedy saw transit and transportation systems development as ways to promote urban renewal and development. Johnson carried the idea forward when he succeeded Kennedy as president.

The act and its related funding launched expansion of transit and transportation systems nationwide, providing funding to help expand existing systems and build new ones. It would take longer for the needed access improvements to be seen. The Urban Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1970, known as UMTAA, made key transit funding and development changes. Most importantly, UMTAA mandated that transportation planners prepare environmental impact analyses, hold public hearings and make what were described as “special efforts” to accommodate elders and people with disabilities. That was followed in 1974 by the National Mass Transportation Assistance Act, which included a provision calling for reduced fares or people with disabilities and elders. More access-related changes followed . Paratransit began to emerge in the 1970s, with a focus on disability ridership. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was strengthened

to place stronger emphasis on providing rehabilitation services to people with severe disabilities. It is meant to provide an array of services including enhanced transportation. Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 spurred along the development of paratransit and ridership options for those who live with disabilities. Paratransit services around the nation saw skyrocketing demand for service as they were added. We now see Metro Transit adding incentives to get riders with disabilities to use regular route transit due to demand on Metro Mobility. Read about Metro Transit and its history at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Transit_ (Minnesota) The History Note is a monthly column produced in cooperation with the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Past History Notes and other disability history may be found at www.mnddc.org

EDITORIAL: Editorial submissions and news releases on topics of interest to persons with disabilities, or persons serving those with disabilities, are welcomed. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. Editorial material and advertising do not necessarily reflect the view of the editor/publisher of Access Press.

Website: accesspress.org email: access@accesspress.org phone: 651-644-2133 Editor............................................................................................................................................................................................. Jane McClure Board of Directors...........................................Tim S. Benjamin, John Clark, Adrienne Coatley, Mark Daly, Brendan Downes, ..............................................................................................................................................Catherine Hunter, Jane Larson, Kay Willshire (Chair) Business Operations and Advertising Manager..........................................................................................................Mary Graba Production........................................................................................................................................................................................ In-Fin Tuan Digital Production..................................................................................................................................Tricia Donovan, Scott Stadum Co-Founder/Publisher Wm. A. Smith, Jr. (1990-96) Co-Founder/Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief Charles F. Smith (1990-2001) Editor-in-Chief/Executive Director Tim Benjamin (2001-2020)

DEADLINE: 15th of each month. CIRCULATION/DISTRIBUTION: Distributed the 1st of each month through more than 200 locations statewide. Approximately 750 copies are mailed to individuals, including political, business, institutional and civic leaders. SUBSCRIPTION: Free and accessible to anyone in MInnesota, visit www.accesspress.org to subscribe. ABOUT ACCESS PRESS: A monthly newspaper published for persons with disabilities by Access Press, Ltd. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Access Press, PO Box 40006, Industrial Station, St. Paul, MN 55104-8006. INQUIRIES AND ADDRESS CHANGES should be directed to: Access Press, PO Box 40006, Industrial Station, St. Paul, MN 55104-8006; 651-644-2133; email: access@accesspress.org Website: accesspress.org

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of information. Peterson would like to use her MDH grant to support deaf communities in the fight against COVID-19. Contact her at svetlana@ kisasl.com


of Safety and Inspections, Greater St. Paul Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), and the Capitol River Council’s Skyway Governance Committee for several months on the changes. The most significant change proposed would specifically add an abatement process for skyway issues such as trash, broken windows and doors, and graffiti. Angie Wiese, DSI director, said the abatement process would be similar to that used for property owners who fail to shovel snow, cut grass, or address poor property conditions. Property owners are notified of a problem with any kind of abatement. If the property owner doesn’t address the problem by a set deadline, city crews do the work and the property owner is billed. There is a legislative hearing process, with the option for property owners to appeal to the City Council. “Abatement works really well for unresponsive owners,” said Wiese, adding that “Abatement is just a fancy word for do the work and then charge you for it.” Trash and vandalism in the skyways have sometimes created obstacles for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Along with the ordinance and skyway design changes is a program through Ramsey County Workforce Solutions, said Wiese. People who use services at Listening House, a drop-in day shelter on east 7th Street, can become employed to pick up litter in the skyways and along downtown streets. That has a cost of $750,000, also in ARPA dollars. Tina Gassman, president of BOMA, said the group’s 300 members include about two dozen who have properties along the skyway

From page 1

two men were shot and killed there. Metro Transit has not indicated when the tower will reopen. The skyway area eyed for improvements centers on the tower. It extends from Alliance Bank to the Victory Ramp, between East 4th and 5th streets, and over Cedar Street into the crime-ridden Press House Apartments. No set timeline for the work has been announced. All of this could be tied to a larger redevelopment plan. City and Metro Transit/ Metropolitan Council officials hope to market a vacant lot adjacent to part of that skyway for redevelopment next year. Another effort is to hire a consultant to look at skyway safety and improvements that could be made. The closing of the tower has long been a sore point. Disability rights activists led by the late Rick Cardenas challenged Metropolitan Council over the lack of a direct skyway connection between Green Line light rail, Metro Transit bus service and the skyway. As a growing number of people moved downtown, that connection became more critical. The connection was finally approved, built and then dedicated in 2014. A large group of activists happily attended the dedication. But the tower, which providing critical access, quickly became a hangout for loitering and for people who wish to commit crimes. It was padlocked shut after the shooting and has been closed ever since. Noecker worked with the city’s Department


From page 1 Plan for rally days Many groups are holding their annual legislative updates and rally days. One of the first rally days announced is ARRM and MOHR’s Disability Services Day at the Capitol,

Additional resources People with hearing disabilities can find resources online to answer questions about COVID-19, vaccines and more. One good source is the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Go to https://mn.gov/deafhard-of-hearing/ The website included a wide range of information, and has thorough COVID-19 resources as well. MDH offers regularly updated resources for people with numerous disabilities. Many links are offered for laypeople, school staff, caregivers health professionals and others. Go to http://tinyurl.com/4uym3vr4 Follow the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing, at https://mn.gov/deaf-commission/ Or go to Disability Hub for useful links, at https://disabilityhubmn.org/ Another tip for people seeking vaccines is to follow these organizations on Facebook, as vaccine clinics may be posted more quickly on there. Masks can be an issue With COVID-19 and other illnesses making appearances this winter, many people are masking up again. Masks can make communication very hard for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, masks can help decrease the spread of COVID-19. According to MDH, people may remove their masks when asked to do so by someone who is deaf or hard of hearing if they can keep a safe social distance of six feet. A clear mask or plastic face shield can be worn so the face can be seen. A number of vendors sell masks with clear windows, where a person’s mouth can be seen and lip[s can be read. Do an Internet search for “face masks with clear windows” and several options can be found. Of course, people may also use speech-totext apps, or write notes on paper or mobile devices. But face masks with clear windows offer accommodations for people who read lips. Access Press provides coverage of COVID-19 through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health.

on March 19. Access Press would like to feature that information in Jane McClure’s blog and in our events calendar. Contact the editor at jane@ accesspress.org. Events listings can be added on the website, at www.accesspress.org, under the listings tab.

Face masks with clear windows are an aid in communication.


For many people, taking on COVID-19 means simply going to a clinic and getting a vaccine. For people with disabilities, accommodations and specific forms of outreach are needed. Not everyone communicates in the same way, so extra consideration and accommodations must be provided. Svetlana Peterson is one of many Minnesotans working to keep people safe from COVID-19. She is a community outreach advocate for Greater Minnesota and works as an an advocate for deaf communities. She is searching for event organizers to collaborate with so that she can provide assistance to deaf communities. She works for the Deaf Community Support Center/Keystone Interpreting Solutions, based in St. Paul. She is working on COVID-19 awareness and vaccine issues through the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Peterson was born in Russia. She was adopted and wound up living in Minnesota. She has lived in Minnesota for 23 years. After high school and college, she did public health specialty work for about five years. Then she decided to do something different and began her current job. Peterson said she has had an “amazing journey” with her career. Her work on COVID-19 issues focused on resources for media, collaboration with different organizations and providing workshops or webinars. She also has been involved with many vaccine events. Her biggest goal for 2024 is to start webinar presentations. “It would help deaf communities and hearing people welcome to join and watch us to learn about COVID-19,” she said. Peterson is also looking for more ways to be involved with vaccine events and workshops. Working in rural areas and continuing to do outreach and get more people vaccinated are the biggest challenges she has faced. But she sees her work as providing important support the Greater Minnesota’s deaf community, to help people find access to resources and COVID information. Peterson was asked what she would want to be the biggest takeaway or main point about how COVID-19 has affected Minnesotans with disabilities. She said the biggest point to consider is that people haven’t had equal access to information. There is a need to establish and promote trusted sources


Hearing disabilities pose challenges with COVID-19 but help is available

People with hearing disabilities have found help with COVID-19 vaccines

system. “Frankly, they have been sick and tired of keeping up their end of the bargain, when the skyway system is not kept up to the proper standards.” While BOMA members aren’t happy that the city would have to spend money on what Gassman called “bad actors,” members support the abatement process and other changes coming forward. Another part of the ordinance changes puts a hard date of March 31 on when property owners must submit security and surveillance camera plans to DSI. Weise said that replaces the “nebulous annual requirement” that was in place. Minnesota has various skyway systems in downtown areas, and on college and university and larger corporate campuses. Every system was built differently, and has

different rules of ownership and operation. St. Paul began developing its skyway system in the 1960s. The city built the system and works with building owners on policies including operating hours. The skyway system has long served downtown workers, and has evolved to also become a passageway for a growing number of downtown residents. A growing unsheltered population and criminal behavior escalated during the recent pandemic. Some building owners have asked for earlier closing times to combat the problems. But that can force skyway users to go outside at night to get to and from their destinations. A version of this article appeared in MyVillager newspaper.



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FROM OUR COMMUNITY Active members are needed for the Access Press Board of Directors Serving on the Access Press Board of Directors is a rewarding way to serve Minnesota’s disability community and help support our newspaper and website. There’s still time to apply for 2024 board openings. Your involvement is needed to help us bring news and information to Minnesotans with disabilities, and to keep Access Press thriving for years to come. Access Press exists to promote the social inclusion and civil rights of people with disabilities by providing a forum for news, features and commentary to benefit people who are often invisible and marginalized in mainstream society. Access Press got its start in 1990 – the same year that the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed. It is one of the few multi-disability news sources in the United States. Much has changed since then.

But we continue to strive to provide news and information by and for Minnesotans with disabilities. Board members bring expertise and lived experiences to address the needs of readers with disabilities, working with staff and contributors. Board members can be people with disabilities, people who work with or volunteer with disability service organizations, people who have family members with disabilities, or people who consider themselves to be allies of the Minnesota disability community. Board members are volunteers. Most are not involved in day-to-day operations of Access Press. Involvement can be as little or as much as a board member can contribute. Board officers play more active roles. Board members can serve on committees or take on special projects.

The board oversees and works on fundraising efforts on behalf of Access Press including but not limited to annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, various gifts, advertising and corporate sponsorships. Board members participate in developing, implementing and monitoring advertising, editorial and social media policies. Board members will also be involved in upcoming strategic planning. Board members serve three-year terms. Terms start in January, with a maximum of three terms or nine years. Board members who reach term limits may continue to serve on board committees. Board membership requires attending regularly scheduled board meetings unless excused by the president. The board meets every third Tuesday of the month from 3:30-5 p.m.

Participation from Greater Minnesota is especially welcomed. Board members join meetings virtually. Board members can typically expect to engage in board activities five hours or less per month, depending on committee assignments. Board members are expected to participate in one or more committees, attend extra meetings whenever necessary, and help plan and attend special events. Candidates with expertise in legal issues, human resources, financing, and/or fundraising are especially urged to apply To complete the initial application to join the board, visit https://accesspress.org/about/joinour-board/ We look forward to you joining us! Access Press Board of Directors


PEOPLE AND PLACES Whelping center for assistance dogs welcomes first puppies

Can Do Canines, a nonprofit that raises and trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities, welcomed the first two litters of puppies to be born at its new Whelping and Growth (WAG) Center in November. In August 2023, Can Do Canines purchased a property in New Germany—about 45 minutes southwest of its New Hope location. Can Do Canines bought this site, which is in addition to their current facility, to serve as a whelping center. Whelping is the process of a dog giving birth. The new WAG Center

is where puppies born into Can Do Canines’ breeding program spend their first five to six weeks of life. For several years, Can Do Canines volunteers had opened up their homes to care for these dogs. Whelping homes welcomed the expecting mom about ten days before her due date and continued the care through the first five to eight weeks of her puppies’ lives. The volunteers provided continuous care to the dog and pups, with Can Do Canines offering 24/7 support through the process.

The organization opened this new center to help ease the burden on these volunteers by instead offering shifts at this new location, where the Can Do Canines breeding coordinator will office. The WAG Center’s first residents were moms-to-be, Sasha and Flurry, both yellow Labrador Retrievers. Sasha delivered seven Lab puppies (five yellow and two black) on November 6. Flurry followed closely behind, delivering eight Labs (four yellow and four black) on November 9. The puppies transitioned from the nursery wing to the toddler during their stay, receiving nurturing care from staff and volunteers. The next stop for these 15 puppies was each of the two prisons that Can Do Canines partners with for this service. Can Do Canines works with

seven prisons throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. While inmates at five of these help raise and train the organization’s older dogs, litters of young puppies spend time at either Federal Prison Camp – Duluth or Chippewa Valley Correctional Institute. At these, select inmates work with these pups from ages 5 weeks to 10 weeks to wean them from their mom and help them establish independence. Soon, the puppies will join the household of one of Can Do Canines’ volunteers for further training before their eventual placement with a client with a disability. More information about Can Do Canines, its WAG Center, and its Prison Program can be found at www.candocanines.org.

opportunities to remain prepared for the widespread adoption of new technologies, and proposes policies to safely test and deploy connected and automated vehicles. Minnesota Assistive Technology Advisory Council members were announced. Harmony Kuller, Minneapolis, was reappointed. Nicole Peterson, Maplewood, was appointed to a new seat as a program representative. The Minnesota Assistive Technology Advisory Council provides consumerresponsive, consumer-driven advice to the state for the planning of, implementation of,

and evaluation of activities carried out under the federal Assistive Technology Act grant.

Several appointments are announced Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan have announced appointees, including people who will serve on disabilityrelated groups. The State Rehabilitation Council has two new appointees. Crystal Hellekson, East Grand Forks, is the disability advocacy group representative. Hellekson replaces Addyson Moore. Katie Legrid, Minneapolis, fills a new seat as a current or former recipient of vocational rehabilitation services. The State Rehabilitation Council is responsible for advising state government on the performance of Minnesota's vocational rehabilitation programs. One new appointee is on the Ombudsman Committee for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. Jamie Harthan, Two Harbors, replaces Lisa Harvey. Harthan is the consumer representative. The Ombudsman Committee for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities advises and assists the ombudsman in developing policies, plans, and programs to benefit persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities, chemical dependence, and emotional disturbance. The State Rehabilitation Council has four new members. Ben Coady, Rochester, is business, industry or labor representative, replacing Karen Leddy. Deanne Curran, Farmington, is parent training and information center member, Barb Ziemke.

Thomas Delaney, Becker, is Minnesota Department of Education representative, replacing Lindsey Horowitz. Deborah Gleason, Minnetonka, is statewide independent living council representative, replacing Linda Lingen The State Rehabilitation Council works jointly with the Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Program to develop goals and priorities, assess customer satisfaction, conduct needs assessments, and seek citizen input through public forums. The Governor's Council on Connected and Automated Vehicles has new and returning members. Heidi St. Clair, Inver Grove Heights, replaces Vicky Rizzolo. Hannah Alstead, Minneapolis, replaces Amber Backhaus. Ryan Daniel, St. Cloud, was reappointed. Neal Foster, Jr., Eagan, replaces Dan Chen. Phil Magney, Minnetonka, was appointed, as were Myrna Peterson, Grand Rapids; Damien Riehl, St. Paul; Kyle Shelton, Minneapolis; Bret Weiss, Golden Valley, and Patrick Weldon, Medina. Tammy Russell, St. Paul, replaces Jacob Frey. Joan Willshire, Minneapolis, replaces John Hausladen. The Governor’s Council on Connected and Automated Vehicles reviews developments in connected and automated vehicle technology and intelligent and emerging transportation technology, explores partnership

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January 2024 Volume 35, Number 1 From page 1 informational hearings. Lawmakers took a deep dive into key issues ranging from taxes, legalization of marijuana, paid family leave and abortion rights. One big issue was that of Minnesota’s workforce, including the workforce for people with disabilities and elders. Much attention was being paid to the personal care attendant and home care workforce shortage, which became catastrophic and even fatal in some cases. One family testifying on that issue is the family of Dennis “Denny” Prothero. Prothero died after months of inadequate care, which led to amputations and health issues. His family members had to struggle to provide care, without adequate training and support. The History Note marked 50 years of Special Olympics, describing an early partnership between young program athletes and professional hockey players.

March 2023 It was a raucous and energetic return to the halls of state government. The first big legislative rallies, for Disability Advocacy Week and Disability Services Day, drew huge crowds, in a sign of things to come. Groups continued make the case for legislation including measures to better compensate direct support staff and compensate them for driving clients. With the first bill deadline on March 10, there was much activity to get measures through for further action. The rallies were like old times as people got together, made signs and caught up. One message repeatedly shared is that with a large budget surplus, this is the year to take action on disability requests that have been languishing for years. Two longtime disability service organization announced new leadership. Matt Kramer, a veteran executive and government official, took the helm at Vision Loss Resources. He came to the nonprofit from the University of Minnesota. Business and nonprofit leader Tonia Teasley was the new chief at PACER Center, Teasley succeeded longtime executive director and PACER cofounder Paula Goldberg, who died in May 2022. Goldberg had led PACER Center since 1977. The deaths of former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger and former State Rep. Lee Greenfield were mourned. Both were disability champions. April 2023 Lifelong Northland resident Scott “Scottie” Anderson was remembered as someone who enjoyed the outdoors, and was eager to share his love of sailing. He was a tireless advocate for Northland area residents with disabilities. He died after a bout with cancer. Anderson sustained a spinal cord injury and became a T-5 paraplegic after an accidental gun discharge. He was an early promoter of and participant in adapted sports in northern Minnesota. The Minnesota Mental Health Network continued to deliver the message that the state needs to build its mental health system. Many needs for many different constituencies had to be addressed. Children’s mental health, employment accommodations, stable housing, suicide prevention, adequate reimbursements for services and addressing the ongoing workforce shortage were among topics championed at the capitol. The ability to access proper care when it was needed, and break down barriers to care, were also emphasized.

At the 2023 Mental Health Day on the Hill, advocates gave legislators tiny foam bricks, to indicate the importance of building a quality mental health system. Nationally known disability rights advocate Judy Heumann was honored for her pioneering work on an array of disability rights issues, after her death. She was known for her book Being Heumann.

May 2023 All eyes were on a federal class action lawsuit involving Minnesotans with disabilities who live or lived in corporate adult foster care or group homes. The case returned to U.S. District Court in St. Paul on May 12. Before the court proceedings, disability rights activists gathered to protest what they saw as an inadequate proposed settlement. The “Integration Now” rally was meant to draw attention to the settlement, and the need for more to be done to help Minnesotans with disabilities as they seek to integrate into their home communities. Minnesotans for Direct Support Improvements raised objections to the case, which had been winding through the courts for several years. Light 50 candles and sing “Happy Birthday” to the Minnesota Council on Disability (MCD). The council celebrated its founding in 1973. Countless staff members, volunteer council members and allies have worked under the council’s umbrella on a myriad of issues over the past five decades. The council was one of many initiatives that came out of the groundbreaking 1972 Governor’s Conference on the Handicapped, which was championed by then-Gov. Wendell Anderson. Advocates were tracking the end of legislative session, and hoping that 2023 would not be a repeat of the chaos at the 2022 session’s end. June 2023 The federal COVID-19 public health emergency declaration ended, but the disease is still a threat, especially for those with disabilities or compromised immune systems. Changes started to kick in for state and federal programs. An extension of a pandemic benefit allowed parents of children under age 18 and spouses to continue serving as personal care assistance (PCA) workers for their family members for another six months. The federal government approved the extension until November 11, 2023, and the final human services budget bill signed by Gov. Tim Walz in May included funding for the extension. But timing caused some confusion. Advocates celebrated an unprecedented and successful legislative session, with financial and policy gains on numerous fronts. The first state law changes began July 1. Vera Gammon, known as Minnesota’s Helen Keller, was recalled in the History Note. Born in 1898, she was left blind by illness at age four. About two years later, she lost her hearing. Gammon’s life changed when she was placed at what is now the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (MSAD) in Faribault. In her first days there, she learned three words. She flourished, became a talented communicator and writer, and developed many skills and interests. July 2023 People with behavioral health disabilities are among whom the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and City of Minneapolis discriminated against. An 89-page report from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) described in great detail the longstanding issues of misconduct. The DOJ also announced that city and MPD leaders agreed in principle to resolve the issues



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Disability rights and accommodations were outlined in articles leading up to the election. found through a court-enforceable consent decree with an independent monitor. This is an option to contested litigation, which could take many years to resolve. A settlement in a lengthy federal court case centered on living choices won approval. While intervenors didn’t get what they sought in the class action case of Murphy versus Harpstead, they used the court case to mobilize on issues and draw new people into self-advocacy. At issue was a legal settlement negotiated by the Disability Law Center and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), and whether that settlement addressed issues raised by the Disability Law Center on behalf of Minnesotans with disabilities who want to live in the least restrictive settings possible. U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank’s ruling concludes that the settlement warrants approval. Summer ended the 2022-2023 adapted sports season for Minnesota prep athletes in track and field, bowling and softball.

August 2023 The death of Barnett “Bud” Rosenfield was felt all across Minnesota. Rosenfield, Minnesota’s ombudsman for Mental Health

and Developmental Disabilities, died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack July 8. He was 57 years old. Rosenfield had served as ombudsman since December 2021. He was appointed to the post with a long record of committed service to Minnesotans with disabilities. Before that he had served at the Minnesota Disability Law Center, where he had served as supervising attorney. Tributes poured in. Many Minnesota families with disabled children celebrated changes to the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act or TEFRA. Medical Assistance (MA) under the TEFRA option allows MA eligibility for children with disabilities in families that have incomes too high to qualify for MA. TEFRA is the federal law that sets the rules for this option. TEFRA often covers costs private insurance providers don’t or won’t cover. It is a very beneficial program in some ways, families note. It covers many costs of equipment, home and transportation modifications, equipment, therapies, home and community-based waiver services and much more. But the fees created YEAR IN REVIEW To page 13


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Doctors turned out for a legislative rally

We may be accepting applications for our large number of mobility impaired accessible units. Please call us for more information.

January 2024 Volume 35, Number 1

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PEOPLE & PLACES Montgomery boy inspires a disability story Montgomery resident Taylor Hindermann hopes to inspire and advocate for more special needs inclusion with her debut children’s book, Kip’s Funny Little Feet. The story follows Kip, a young boy with mobility issues, learning to walk with the help of supportive braces. With a mission to inspire acceptance and understanding, Hindermann’s book introduces children to supportive braces, discusses what they are used for, and explains how someone may feel who has to use these braces. Kip’s Funny Little Feet is set to release in April 2024 and will be available on Amazon. Pre-orders will be available on Kickstarter until January 5. Kip's story is one of determination and self-acceptance, as he overcomes obstacles and finds the strength to walk with the help of supportive braces. Kip’s Funny Little Feet is based on the real life story of Hindermann’s youngest son, Kip Hindermann. The heartwarming story is beautifully illustrated by Lezanne Bianchina. Bianchina has illustrated other books.

Kip’s book is a celebration of diversity and the strength that comes from understanding and accepting what makes each of us special. With Kickstarter, there are multiple reward tiers available to support all budgets. Many of the tiers include book donations which will be given to local schools, Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic Hospital, Capable Kids, or another organization at the purchaser’s request. Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic Hospital and Capable Kids have all been an integral part of Kip’s journey. The Kickstarter goal is $7,000 to cover printing of the book, exclusive Kickstarter rewards, and marketing costs. There will be both a soft cover and hard cover available and measures 8.5” by 8.5”. The Kickstarter campaign can be accessed at www. kipsfunnylittlefeet.com and visitors can click the “Notify me of launch” button to be notified when pre-orders can be made.

Taylor Hinderman and her son, Kip.

Grants help aging, disabled Minnesotans to stay in their homes Four programs in Northwest Minnesota received grants. One is the Villa St. Vincent/ Benedictine Living Community, Crookston, which received $107,000. The project will fund improvements to entrance/exits and kitchen accessibility for four assisted living units. Infrastructure will improve care for those with dementia and physical disabilities, with a door alarm to prevent accidental elopement. Three Southern Minnesota programs were funded, including Three Rivers Community Action, Zumbrota, with $159,000. Grant funds will enhance older adult programming to provide new long-term supports and services including homemaker, chore and respite help while also expanding the volunteer transportation program. More than 20 Twin Cities programs were funded. One is Ebenezer Society Foundation, St. Paul, with a grant of $184,000. M Health Fairview and Ebenezer Society are renovating St. Joseph’s Hospital to become the Fairview Community Health and Wellness Hub in St. Paul. The Hub will provide wraparound services including mental health and substance use treatment, free food distribution and Ebenezer’s adult day care services. Another Twin Cities program that received a grant is Rebuilding Together Minnesota, Minneapolis, with $156,000. Priorities include increasing the number of low-income older adults who receive home accessibility modifications; expanding outreach to Indigenous communities, communities of color and organizations working with Native American residents; and increasing outreach to veterans and veteran-focused organizations. Seven Central Minnesota programs were awarded grants. These include Breath of Life Adult Day Service, Brainerd, with $59,000. Breath of Life will purchase a wheelchair accessible van, eliminating a barrier to serving people who use wheelchairs. Another is the Lower Sioux Indian Community Morton, with $212,000. The grant will help improve elders’ physical


More than $9.5 million in new state grants will help aging Minnesotans stay in their homes longer through services such as caregiver support, housekeeping, retrofitting to prevent falls and other assistance. Live Well at Home grants will go to 45 organizations to support aging Minnesotans. Research shows that people are happier and have better health outcomes when they can live in their homes longer, rather than moving into institutionalized care like nursing homes. Projects funded in the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ latest round of grants include: • Updating multiple assisted living units in Crookston to provide better accessibility and safety features for memory care residents. • Reducing the racial gap in homeownership by preserving homeownership and generational wealth among older adults in Indigenous communities and communities of color. • Expanding caregiver services in five west metro counties, including underserved Scott and Carver counties, with additional support in Hennepin, Sherburne and Wright counties. “These grants are critical to the well-being of aging Minnesotans and the organizations that support them,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “Not only do most people prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible, but the services funded by the grants are also cost-effective and deliver better health outcomes.” Among the nine Northern Minnesota grantees is Access North Center for Independent Living, Hibbing, which received $271,000. The project will help older adults with accessible entrances and improved accessibility throughout their homes. Access North also facilitates tub cuts, grab bars and other accessibility accommodations. Another recipient is Aitkin County CARE, Aitkin, with $54,000. The grant will help older and disabled adults stay in their homes by assessing their need for help. Funds will also go toward emergency respite care, a chore program and food delivery, among other types of assistance.

DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead

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PEOPLE & PLACES ProAct, Inc. has announced the opening of its new leisure center. The center, which is located at the disability service provider’s Eagan headquarters, is designed to provide accessible and inclusive recreational opportunities for participants, with a special focus on serving older adults with disabilities. ProAct has been serving people with disabilities for more than 50 years. The new leisure center is part of the organization's ongoing commitment to maximizing individual potential for greater self-sufficiency. The center provides a space for social events and gatherings, as well as for workshops, classes, crafts and other activities chosen by participants. “We are thrilled to open this new leisure center and provide our ProAct participants a safe and inclusive space to enjoy recreational activities,” said Stephanie Osman, senior program manager of day support services at ProAct’s Eagan and Hudson sites. “Moreover, the new center is especially catered to older adults with disabilities, with specially trained staff and stimulating activities and programs that may not be available at more traditional senior centers. At ProAct, we are committed to enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, and this new center will help advance our mission.” The leisure center is fully accessible and designed to accommodate individuals with a wide range of disabilities, providing a safe, relaxing place for socialization, fun and activities. To learn more, visit www.proactinc.org.

Eglinton is promoted by MDI Jeanne Eglinton has been promoted to the role of vice president of employment services for MDI. With more than 35 years dedicated to supporting individuals with disabilities in her career, Eglinton has made significant contributions to MDI Jeanne Eglinton since joining as the director of employment services in 2014. “Jeanne’s passion for empowering individuals with disabilities has contributed greatly to our environment where employees with disabilities thrive,” said Eric Black, president and CEO of MDI. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Jeanne as a valued member of the MDI team.” Under her leadership, Eglinton played a critical role in the development and 2017 launch of MDI’s Unified Work program. The groundbreaking initiative has flourished with her at the helm over the last six years, offering in-person and virtual classes to equip individuals with disabilities across Minnesota with the soft skills necessary for success in the workplace. Since its creation, the program has

had 200 employees graduate and has expanded beyond MDI. It now offers services to outside organizations and community members facing employment barriers. Eglinton and her Unified Work team are on track to achieve their bold goal of impacting 2,500 lives by 2025. “I am incredibly fortunate to do purposedriven work at MDI,” said Eglinton. “I am passionate about creating workplaces that welcome people with disabilities – a skilled, enthusiastic and ready-to-work sector of Minnesota’s talent pool – and am grateful that I get to advocate for them every day.” In further recognition of her expertise and commitment to building a more inclusive, person-centered state, Eglinton has also recently been appointed to the board of directors for Disability:IN Minnesota. MDI is a Minnesota manufacturer and nonprofit social enterprise with the mission to provide employment opportunities and services for people with disabilities. It creates high-quality plastic containers to ship, pack and store products, and offer product assembly and packaging services for organizations across the country, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. To learn more, visit mdi.org.

New officers for MNCSILC The Minnesota Statewide Independent


Aging adults have a new place for leisure

ProAct clients enjoyed the new space. Living Council (MNSILC) has elected new officers. Deborah Gleason of Hennepin County is chairperson. Rosalie Eisenreich of Ramsey County is vice chairperson. Crystal Hellekson of Polk County is secretary and Stephen Larson of Crow Wing County is treasurer. Judy Sanders of Hennepin County will serve as parliamentarian and as member-at-large. Agency members include Ed Leacher, State Services for the Blind; Anne Paulson, Vocational Rehabilitation; Jacob Schueller, Center for Independent Living Director (SEMCIL). Officers will begin their positions January 1. MNSILC is a federally funded program. it is a federally mandated council of community volunteers appointed by the governor. The council works collaboratively with the state’s centers for independent living (CILs) and coordinates activities with other entities in the state that provide services similar or complementary to independent living services. The duties of MNSILC are under authorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 and include developing the state’s plan for independent living; and monitoring, reviewing and evaluating the implementation of the plan.

Duties also include coordinating activities with other entities in the state that provide services similar to or complementary to independent living services, such as entities that facilitate the provision of or provide longterm community-based services and supports. All council members are appointed by the governor for one, two or three-year terms. At least 51 percent of the council members must be people with disabilities. For more information, contact the council coordinator at mnsilc1215@ gmail.com.

MNCCD has new board members The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with disabilities (MNNCCD) has new board members. The 2024 MNCCD Board members are co-chair Jason Bergquist, Main’l Services; Jennifer Walton, Accord; Kayte Barton, community member; Alicia Munson, Arc Minnesota; Marnie Falk, Gillette Children's Specialty Health Care; Cindy Guddal, Courage Kenny; Trevor Turner, Minnesota Council on Disability; Abigail Vavra, Fraser; Jonathan Murray, community member; and Jeff Bangsberg, community member. MNCCD is a broad-based coalition of advocacy and provider organizations, working PEOPLE AND PLACES To page 13

Vaccines: Protect Yourself and Others COVID-19 is still spreading in the community. It still causes people to get sick

and some will have to go to the hospital. To protect yourself and your family, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying up to

date on your COVID-19 vaccines.

When you arrive at the vaccine site, make sure to let

staff know you might need extra help. Scan the QR code to visit: health.state.mn.us/ communities/equity/about / covid19_disabilities.html

Access Press received a Community Engagement and Diverse Media Grant from the Minnesota Department of Health to provide information about Covid-19 and vaccinations to our readers and the community of people with disabilities. There will be many informational items we will share with you.

January 2024 Volume 35, Number 1

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REGIONAL NEWS Metro Mobility riders ride free In order to reduce demand on paratransit, Metro Transit officials are continuing to emphasize that Metro Mobility riders can ride regular route transit for free. The Free Fare Pilot program gives certified Metro Mobility customers an incentive to consider other transportation options. “Metro Mobility means independence and opportunity for thousands of people in the region who have a disability, as well as their advocates and personal care assistants,” said Charles Carlson, Metropolitan Transportation Services executive director. “But as demand for the service continues to grow, and workforce shortages persist across the transportation industry, both the service and customers can benefit from the relief on the system that the pilot can provide.” Carlson expected Metro Mobility ridership for 2023 to exceed two million, nearing pre-pandemic levels. He attributes high ridership, in part, to a growing and aging population. “Metro Mobility is a critical service for many,” Carlson said. “For some riders, using the fixed-route system is a way to gain greater freedom and independence, and this can also help ensure there’s capacity for other riders on Metro Mobility.” The pilot program continues through 2024. Learn more about the program and other changes coming to Metro Mobility at https://metrocouncil. org/Transportation/Services/Metro-Mobility-Home.aspx (Source: Metro Mobility)

Anoka program in violation An investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has found that the city of Anoka’s crime-free multi-housing program violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against tenants with mental health disabilities. In a 10-page letter to city officials, the DOJ alleges the city discouraged tenants struggling with mental illness from seeking emergency help — even when their health and safety were at risk. Under the crime-free housing program, tenants who are the subject of excessive “nuisance calls” are subject to eviction. The DOJ found the city considered mental health 911 calls nuisance activity. “It is not a nuisance if you’re feeling suicidal,” said Sue Abderholden, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Minnesota. Listing other conditions, she said, “These are mental health issues. And they shouldn’t be treated as a crime,” she said. The DOJ also alleges the city notified landlords of potential nuisance calls and encouraged landlords to evict tenants who were the subject of the calls. Sometimes those communications included personal details about tenants’ mental illnesses. The DOJ report reveals of the calls for service, many show the city often did not enforce its nuisance ordinance against individuals without mental health disabilities who engaged in similar activity as people with mental health disabilities. Abderholden said the report made her “livid.” “Actually, to think that someone is calling 911 Because they’re experiencing a mental health crisis. And then it comes back to basically discriminate against them in terms of their housing situation is just untenable.” In a statement, DOJ Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said using a so-called “crime-free” housing ordinance to invoke fear and prevent people with mental health disabilities from exercising their right to access housing and seek emergency assistance is discriminatory. Clarke called the city’s practices a “scheme cloaked as a public safety measure that targets people with disabilities.” The DOJ provided minimum remedial measures necessary in its letter to the city. It’s asking the city to change its policies and procedures, designate an ADA coordinator, and train staff. The DOJ concluded if a resolution can’t be reached, the city may face a lawsuit. (Source: Minnesota Public Radio) Business gets a boost Highland Popcorn is set to open late January or early February in the Highland Village Center, with a retail storefront and a wholesale component to package products for stores including the nearby Lunds & Byerlys. The business, which has been years in the making, got a $45,000 boost in December from the St. Paul City Council and outgoing Council Member Chris Tolbert. The funding came from a longtime city sales tax program, which allows council members to earmark funds for projects in

their wards. The business will offer butter popcorn, cheese corn, caramel corn and seasonal flavors like peppermint crunch. It will also sell other treats. The store's workforce will be predominantly people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, said founder Shamus O'Meara. O’Meara and his son Conor, host of the radio show Conor’s Corner, have planned the business for several years. The work tasks and setup are planned for people with disabilities. An original location on the University of St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus fell through at the last minute a few years ago, after many months of planning and negotiation. Highland Popcorn is meant to be a space to hang out, O'Meara told the Pioneer Press. So there's plenty of seating -- and different textures, too, from traditional chairs to benches to soft pillows on modular boxes. The space is bright and colorful, and they'll have a portable stage to host live events or podcast recordings, O'Meara said. Light fixtures are designed to look like popcorn. There's also a sensory room for those who need it. By day, O'Meara, who lives in Highland Park, is an attorney and a former chair of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities. However, as he admitted with a laugh, “35 years as a lawyer doesn't prepare you for anything in the retail popcorn business.” To support various aspects of the business, O'Meara has assembled a who's who of partners, including some of the top names in marketing, disability services, and, yes, the popcorn industry. (Source: Pioneer Press, Access Press staff)

Injunction issued in disability case Ramsey County District Judge Timothy Mulrooney has issued a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of a measure, passed this spring by the Minnesota Legislature, which could reduce the size of disability pensions for some former law enforcement officers and firefighters. Under that provision, former public safety workers receiving disability pensions could see a portion of their pensions reduced if their

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income from another job, combined with their pension, exceeded what they would be earning if they had continued in their original jobs. The Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), which initiated the legislation and is being sued by an association representing disabled former public safety workers, is evaluating all its legal options in response to the order, said John Stiles, a spokesman for Attorney General Keith Ellison, in a statement. A hearing on the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit is slated for Jan. 31. The primary aim of the legislation is to provide state-reimbursed treatment of public safety workers, mainly police, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A surge in PTSD claims since 2020 — largely in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered by a police officer, but also across the state — has stressed the state's public safety disability pension funds, PERA officials told state lawmakers. It also has had a major impact on local police departments who have seen their numbers drop as officers go on permanent disability. The legislation requires public safety workers diagnosed with PTSD to undergo 24 to 32 weeks of therapy, paid for by the state, in hopes that many of them will be able to return to work. Most of the law, including that provision, remains in force and is not affected by the temporary injunction issued Monday. However, the legislation also specifies that public safety workers already receiving disability payments could see those payments reduced, under a complicated formula that depends on how much they earn in non-public safety jobs after they leave their departments. The Minnesota Duty Disabled Association sued PERA and sought the temporary injunction. (Source: Star Tribune)

New delivery method for patients Minnesota will add dry herb vaporization to the list of approved delivery methods in the state’s medical cannabis program. Under

state law, the new delivery method will be available to patients beginning Aug. 1, 2024. Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham approved the new delivery method to provide an additional fastacting option for patients. Currently, patients enrolled in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program have three fastacting options – sublingual tinctures, oilbased vaporizers and combustible smoking. Fast-acting products can take anywhere from one to 15 minutes for the effects to set in. These products tend to last anywhere from one to four hours. Dry herb vaporization provides patients with an alternative to combustion smoking. The Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) received seven petitions to add new delivery methods during the 2023 process. Petitions for plants, concentrates, oil and weed nuggets, and rosin were dismissed, while the petition for dry herb vaporization was moved forward. The failed petitions were not supported by peerreviewed studies that demonstrate evidence of benefit to patients. OMC also received petitions to add conditions including anxiety, attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and opioid use disorder. None were approved due to a lack of evidence or because they had been previously considered. As in past years, OMC conducted a formal petition process to solicit public input on potential qualifying medical conditions and delivery methods for medical cannabis. Minnesotans submitted petitions in June and July. When the Minnesota Legislature authorized the creation of the state’s medical cannabis program, the law included nine conditions that qualified a patient to receive medical cannabis. Today, the list of qualifying conditions is 19. Under state rules, the commissioner of health each year considers whether to add qualifying conditions and delivery methods. For a complete list of qualifying medical conditions visit https://www.health.state.mn.us/ people/cannabis/patients/conditions.html

January 2024 Volume 35, Number 1


What can be better than an afternoon or evening at the movies? Whether a new feature is out or an old favorite has returned for a showing, movies are a great escape. While many home options are available for movie buffs, going to a theater is a fun experience. Access Press focuses on Minnesota theaters that offer accessibility. Almost all theaters have some area for wheelchair or power scooter seating, as well as companion seating. Many theaters offer assisted listening devices of some type. Accommodations for other visual, hearing or sensory disabilities vary by theater and can change over time, so call or email a theater to see what is new. Keep in mind that some small town theaters, which may be operated by a solo owner, volunteers or a mix of volunteers and staff, may not have the same accommodations found in larger theater chains. Minnesota has almost 160 theaters according to the website Cinema Treasures. Find these theaters at https://cinematreasures.org/ Be aware that not every movie is designed to be accessible, so having assistive technology available doesn’t guarantee the chance to see a new movie. Here’s an overview of technologies and technology resources: Rear Window Captioning displays reversed captions on a light-emitting diode (LED) text display which is mounted in the rear of a theater. Patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing use transparent acrylic panels attached to their seats to reflect the captions, so they appear superimposed on the movie screen. The reflective panels are portable and adjustable, enabling the caption user to sit anywhere in the theater without bothering patrons in

surrounding seats. DVS Theatrical presents concise descriptive narration of visual cues, including actions, settings, scene changes, facial expressions and silent movement, through an FM or infrared system, making movies more meaningful to people with vision loss. The moviegoer hears the narration on a headset. CaptiView closed caption viewing systems allow moviegoers to read movie dialogue. Digital Theatre Systems or DTS superimposes open captions over the bottom of movie theater screens. Fidelio is a wireless audio system that delivers descriptive narration for people with vision loss and amplified sound for people with hearing loss. Patrons can get a compact audio receiver with a plug-in headset at the box office or bring their own headset. Descriptive narration and closed captioning availability are subject to the content made available from distributors. Additional options are available. The American Council of the Blind has an audio description project to enhance movies as well as museums, national

parks and live events. It includes many links to audio-described DVDs, Bluray discs, television programs and more. Visit www.acb.org for more information. Captionfish, at www.captionfish.com, can help moviegoers find captioned films by city and theater. Here’s a list of theaters and access options: AMC Theatres has theaters in Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Edina, Inver Grove Heights, Mankato, Mounds View and Roseville. AMC offers assisted listening devices at all of its theaters, according to the main AMC website. Some theaters offer closed captioning, CaptiView and Fidelio. Ask about services and showings for patrons with autism. FFI: www.amctheatres. com, https://www.amctheatres.com/ assistive-moviegoing CEC Theaters has theaters in Albert Lea, Alexandria, Andover, Bemidji, Fergus Falls, Marshall, Mountain Iron, Owatonna, Winona and Hudson, WI. Sensory-friendly showings are offered at locations that have had requests from the community. Theaters offer audio description, closed caption devices, disability access and hearing assisted listening devices. FFI: www.cectheatres. com Cinemark Theatres operates Cinemark River Hills Movies 8, Mankato. Contact the theater to ask about accommodations. FFI: www.cinemark. com Emagine Theaters are in Delano, Eagan, East Bethel, Lakeville, Monticello, Plymouth, Rogers, Waconia and White Bear Township. Theaters offer open captioning, assisted listening devices, personal open caption devices and descriptive video devices. FFI: www. emagine-entertainment.com/accessiblescreenings/ Landmark Theatres has closed the Edina Cinema and Uptown Theatre. Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis

remains open. Landmark offers several types of accommodations. FFI: www. landmarktheatres.com Mann Theatres has locations in Baxter, Champlain, Edina, Grand Rapids, Grandview and Highland in St. Paul, Hibbing and Plymouth. Contact theaters to learn about accommodations. FFI: https://manntheatres.com/ Marcus Theatres are in in Duluth, Elk River, Hastings, Hermantown, Oakdale, Rochester, Rosemount, Shakopee and Waite Park. Marcus has assisted listening devices and CaptiView at all of its Minnesota locations. Closed captioning, open captioning, descriptive narration and assistive listening devices are also available. FFI: www. marcustheatres.com/amenities/theatretechnology/accessibility-devices Odyssey Theaters are in Detroit Lakes, Hutchinson and Rochester. Ask about accommodations. FFI: http:// www.odysseytheatres.com/ Science Museum of Minnesota has an omni theater. Theater admission is separate from museum admission, and tickets should be purchased in advance. Amplified audio units and written scripts are available, as is audio description or DVS Theatrical for most films. Wheelchair and companion seating are available. if a group is bringing its own ASL interpreter, special lighting is available with one week’s notice. FFI: 651-221-9444, https://new.smm.org/ visit/accessibility-amenities ShowPlace ICON has one Minnesota theater, Showplace ICON at West End, St. Louis Park. It offers assistive listening devices, closed captioning and descriptive video services. FFI: www. showplaceicon.com St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis and was taken over by the MSP Film Society. Ask about accommodations at https:// mspfilm.org/access-services/ FFI: https://mspfilm.org/meet-the-new-main/

TH A NK YOU to the Advertisers Say s s re P s s e c c A t r o p p u who s

Accessible Space Ampact/Americorp AmRamp At Home Apartments BrightPath City of Minneapolis Compassion and Choices Disability Hub Gillette Children's Guthrie Handi Medical Hennepin County Lutheran Social Services

Management HQ Mete and Bounds Metro Transit Minnesota Dept of Health Mid MN Legal Aid (MMLA) Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Minnesota Department of Human Services Minnesota Housing Finance Agency/Olmstead Implementation Office Minnesota State Arts Board

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Mitchell Hamline MCIL MRCI NHHI Planned Parenthood Trellis True Friends UCare University of MN Research Wingspan


From page 5 huge financial issues for many families. A fully accessible and private restroom, with changing facilities, was featured at the Minnesota State Fair.

September 2023 With primary and general elections statewide, voters were being reminded to know their rights under guardianship and conservatorship. Persons under guardianship and conservatorship in Minnesota can vote. This is often misunderstood, by people in those roles, family members of people with disabilities and even election officials. Graduates of the 2022-2023 Partners in Policymaking Program looked back on their accomplishments and celebrated completion of their program. The internationally known program has a long history of helping people learn to advocate for themselves and their family members. United States Federal District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank was announced as the winner of the 2023 Access Press Charlie Smith Award for 2023.The award is given to Minnesotans who provide outstanding service to people with disabilities. Nominations come from community members. The winner is chosen by the Access Press Board of Directors. “Judge Frank’s work has been crucial in matters that affect the daily lives of Minnesotans,” his nomination stated. “He has been fair and thoughtful, and has been able to advance critical needs through his work. He sees the needs of the community and his rulings back that up. Recognition is long overdue for rulings that protect people with disabilities.” October 2023 Debate over use of restraint roiled Minnesota’s schools, law enforcement community and justice system. At issue is a new state law that places limits as to how students can be physically restrained. The law change was part of the 2023 education bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz. How the


From page 10 to change public policy to improve the lives of people with disabilities through building awareness, providing education, and engaging the community. The board has a few open seats for organizational and community members. FFI: https://www.mnccd.org/

Equitable Health Care Task Force members named The Equitable Health Care Task Force was established by the Minnesota Legislature during its 2023 session, charged with examining inequities in how people experience health care based on race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, age and disability. The task force will identify strategies for ensuring that all Minnesotans can receive care and coverage that is respectful and ensures optimal health outcomes. Members will conduct community engagement across multiple systems, sectors and communities to identify barriers for these


From page 6 wellness by supporting existing resources and adding two new physical health resources. Elders will have opportunities for social interaction twice a week, instead

law is interpreted has generated weeks of controversy, with many law enforcement agencies statewide removing student resource officers or SROS from schools. In a key win in a 2021 class action lawsuit filed by Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Disability Law Center, U.S. District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz ruled that special education students are entitled to comprehensive school instruction in an academic year leading up to their 22nd birthday. Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Disability Law Center took up the class action on behalf of students whose special education services were cut short in violation of federal law. Under state law, school districts had ended instruction for special education students on July 1 following their 21st birthday. Four out of five Minnesota nonprofit leaders said they 're grappling with job vacancies and reported more workforce shortages than peers nationwide, according to a new national survey. That includes nonprofits that serve people with disabilities.

November 2023 The wheels turned toward the start of Minnesota’s 2024 legislative session, with bonding requests falling into place. 2024 is a bonding year. The requests take shape many months in advance, with some repeats. Many requests would provide accessibility improvements, for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Those include state buildings, colleges and university facilities and state parks. An array of facilities that specifically serve people with disabilities also have requests in. Readers were urged to prepare for winter, inside and outside. Information was provided about everything from home heating assistance to keeping sidewalks cleared of snow and ice. People need to learn their local unit of government rules on when walks should be cleared and about available help. Robin Harkonen, executive director of the East Range DAC, is the new president of the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR). Red Wing resident Larry Bale was honored by ProAct, Inc., a non-profit providing in-

Scott Anderson's death was deeply felt in northern Minnesota disability and outdoors circles. center, virtual and community-based services for individuals with disabilities, Bakle and ProAct celebrated Bale’s 50 years of service. Bale was recognized as part of ProAct’s annual service awards tradition, which celebrates the achievements of participants. Part of the event featured singing by the Red Wing Men’s Chorus, which Bale belongs to.

December 2023 A lack of transparency, poor communication and declining enrollment are among concerns that led multiple groups to criticize leadership of Minnesota State Academies for the Blind and Deaf. The issues were accompanied by proposed solutions during a special town hall, during which a gym full of members of the deaf and blind communities expressed grievances to MSA leadership. Deaf academy alumni have been the most vocal about problems, recently sending a letter of no confidence directed to MSAD leadership. A new report from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community

population groups that result in diminished standards of care and foregone care. The task force is also charged with identifying promising practices to improve the experience of care and health outcomes for people in these population groups. Its work will conclude with recommendations for changes in health care system practices or health insurance regulations to address identified issues. Those recommendations will be included in reports submitted for legislative consideration and posted on the Equitable Health Care Task Force webpage. “Year after year, the data show Minnesota is one of the healthiest states with some of the worst health disparities,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Brooke Cunningham said. “One of my primary goals as commissioner is to make sure all Minnesotans have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This task force is a critical component of our work, and I could not be more proud of the quality and level of expertise represented of twice a month. Goals include better nutritional health and less isolation through increased participation in a new elder congregate dining program. Read the complete list of program recipients at https://mn.gov/dhs/media/news/#/ detail/appId/1/id/604423

among these members.” Task force members represent an array of constituencies, while some are general members. Sonny Wasilowski is a member representing disability communities MDH will convene the first meeting of the task force on January 17. All meetings of the task force will be open to the public.

Clark releases new book Touch the Future: A manifesto in Essays is the latest book by St. Paul author and poet John Lee Clark. Clark is a deafblind poet, essayist, historian and actor in the Protactile movement. In a series of paradigm-shifting essays, Clark reports on seismic developments within the deafblind community and challenges the limitations of sighted and hearing norms. In "Against Access," he interrogates the prevailing advocacy for "accessibility" that re-creates a shadow of a hearing-sighted experience. In

Integration (ICI) outlined staffing challenges, inadequate wage increases, burnout and depression as part of COVID-19’s legacy among the professionals who support people with disabilities in their daily lives. The report showed that direct support professionals (DSPs) worked more overtime hours and took on new duties during the pandemic as many of their colleagues were unable to work. The average hourly wages grew 13 percent, to $16.58, during the April 2020 to July 2022 period. But it wasn’t enough to adequately cover living costs. By 2022, about two-thirds were working additional weekly hours due to the pandemic. The Access Press gala and fundraiser returned from its hiatus, with an event at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank was honored with the prestigious Charlie Smith Award. Those present also remembered the late Tim Benjamin who led Access Press for more than 20 years.

"Tactile Art," he describes his relationship to visual art and breathtaking encounters with tactile sculpture. He offers a brief history of the term deafblind, distills societal discrimination against deafblind people into "distantism," sheds light on the riches of online community, and advocates for "Co-Navigation," a new way of exploring the world together without a traditional guide. Clark is currently Bush Leadership Fellow, a core member of Protactile Language Interpreting National Education Center, and a research consultant with the Reciprocity Lab at the University of Chicago. He is a member of the inaugural class of Disability Futures Fellows and the recipient of a National Magazine Award for the essay “Tactile Art” as well as the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry magazine.

Make the news! Receiving an award? Joining a board? Moving to new space? Winning a race? Filling a top post? Send us your “boast”! Marking a key date?



St. Joseph's Hospital

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Access Press welcomes submissions for the People and Places pages. Submissions are due by the 15th of each month. Email: access@accesspress.com


January 2024 Volume 35, Number 1

January 2024 Volume 35, Number 1

RADIO TALKING BOOK Program changes and new books Radio Talking Book is making a program change this month. Snippets, 6 a.m. Sun, will be replaced by the Curious Mind— science and esoterica from Scientific American and other sources. The Curious Mind’s current slot, 1 p.m. Sun, will be replaced by a new program, Rolling Stone—featuring readings from Rolling Stone magazine. 2024 starts with 22 new books premiering in January. Anyone wishing to comment about programming or ask about books can call 651-539-2316 or contact joseph. papke@state.mn.us All about Radio Talking Book Radio Talking Book is not just for listeners with visual disabilities. Anyone with difficulty reading or turning pages can enjoy the service. Enjoy programming on a hand-held mobile device, for either iOS or Android. Visit the Apple App Store for iOS, or Google Play for Android, and download the Minnesota Radio Talking Book app. The sampling published monthly in Access Press doesn’t represent the full array of programming. Listen to RTB’s live or archived programs online at www. mnssb.org/rtb, and learn more about programs. Missed a book broadcast? Access it for one week following its original broadcast in the online weekly program archive. For help accessing the archive, contact Ronnie Washington at 651-539-1424 or SSB.Equipment@state.mn.us. If the book’s broadcast is no longer available in the archive, contact staff librarian Dan Gausman at 651-539-1422 or dan.gausman@state.mn.us. Books broadcast on the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network are available for loan through the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library in Faribault. The catalog is at www.mnbtbl.org. Click on the link Search the Library Catalog. Call the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library at 800722-0550, Mon-Fri, 9 am-4 pm CST. For updates, go to the Facebook site Minnesota Radio Talking Book. Audio information about the daily book listings is on the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) Newsline. Register for NFB Newsline by calling 651-539-1424. The NFB-NEWSLINE service provides

access to more than 500 magazines and newspapers. To learn more, visit www.nfb. org/programs-services/nfb-newsline Chautauqua* Monday – Friday 6 a.m. Screaming On the Inside, nonfiction by Jessica Grose, 2022. A New York Times opinion writer dismantles 200 years of unrealistic parenting expectations and empowers today’s mothers to make choices that actually serve themselves, their children, and their communities. Read by Pat Muir. Eight broadcasts; begins Tue, Jan. 23. Bookworm* Monday – Friday 12 p.m. Olav Audunssøn 3 Crossroads, fiction by Sigrid Undset, 2022. The third volume in the Nobel Prize–winning author’s tumultuous, epic story of medieval Norway—the first new English translation in nearly a century. Read by Don Lee. 10 broadcasts; begins Thu, Jan. 11. Harold, fiction by Steven Wright, 2023. A uniquely humorous and deeply profound novel from a legendary stand-up comedian that follows the thoughts of a 1960s third grader during a single day at school. Read by Stuart Holland. Seven broadcasts; begins Thu, Jan 25 The Writer’s Voice Monday – Friday 1 p.m. Surrender, nonfiction by Bono, 2022. A memoir from Bono, lead singer of U2, about the remarkable life he’s lived, the challenges he’s faced, and the friends and family who have shaped and sustained him. Read by Robb Empson. 21 broadcasts; begins Tue, Jan. 2. Journey to Japan, nonfiction by Sarah Deschamps, 2023. A young Minnesotan family moves to Tokyo dreaming of adventure, only to face the challenges of their infant’s rare disease. Read by Jack Rossmann. 11 broadcasts; begins Wed, Jan. 31. Afternoon Report* Monday – Friday 4 p.m. The Fight of His Life, nonfiction by Chris Whipple, 2023. A revelatory, news making look at how President Joe Biden and his seasoned team have battled to achieve their agenda during two years of crises at home and abroad. Read by Jan Anderson. 11 broadcasts; begins Mon, Jan. 15.

OPPORTUNITIES Info & Assistance Many classes available NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has a wide variety of free and inperson online mental health classes. Choices include Hope for Recovery, Transitions, Ending the Silence, Understanding Early Episode Psychosis for Families, In Our Own Voice, Family to Family, Positive Psychology, Creating Caring Communities, smoking cessation, a suicide prevention class called QPR – Question, Persuade and Refer, a special QPR class for Agricultural Communities and more. NAMI MN’s Online Support Groups' new and improved platform, HeyPeers, provides a safe, easy to access environment exclusively designed for online support group meetings. The classes and online support groups are designed for family members and caregivers, persons living with a mental illness, service providers, and also the general public. Find a complete listing of classes and how to join in by going to namimn.org and click “Classes” or go to https://namimn.org/education-publicawareness/classes/scheduled/

Children and families PACER Center workshops sampling Many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources are available for families of children with any disabilities. Some inperson workshops are offered at PACER Center, at Greater Minnesota locations and also offered online. Other workshops are online and livestreamed at this time. Advance registration is required for all workshops. At least 48 hours’ notice is needed for interpretation. Check out PACER’s website and link to the newsletter of statewide workshops that allows participants to pick and choose sessions designed for their needs. Access Press only lists a sampling of the workshops offered. Tech for Teens Club: Minecraft Design

Challenges is 10:30 a.m.-noon Jan. 13 at PACER Center. Participants will be given a design challenge to be completed within the world of Minecraft. Come ready with Minecraft knowledge and creativity. Rising to the Challenge of Behaviors at Home, at School, and in the Community is noon-1 p.m. Jan. 17. online. Supporting a child or youth with challenging behaviors can be difficult. Learn how to address their mental health and behavior challenges, improve responses to behavior challenges and how to use positive support and restorative practices to prevent behaviors and improve relationships and learning. Low Vision Tools to Support Independence is 2-3:15 p.m. Feb. 7. Online. The workshop will provide an overview and demonstration of devices and apps to support individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Tools will address magnification, reading with text-tospeech and daily living. Planning an IEP Team Meeting When Your Child has Mental Health Challenges is noon1 p.m. Feb. 14. Online. The workshop will provide parents and others with information to help them prepare for a positive IEP team meeting to support their child’s mental health needs in school. Participants will work through an example of an IEP, discuss what each section means, learn how to advocate for changes and more. Boost Focus and Attention with Assistive Technology is 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thu, Feb. 15. Online. Focus is the executive function ability to ignore distractions, while attention is an active awareness on something specific. The workshop will explore tools and strategies that can boost both of these abilities. Tools and Resources to Help Build Social Skills is 1-2 p.m. Feb. 21. Online. Learn about the importance of social skills and how to build them. Tools and resources covered will be appropriate for all ages. FFI: PACER, 952838-9000, 800-537-2237, www.pacer.org

The Tragic Mind, nonfiction by Robert D. Kaplan, 2023. A moving meditation on recent geopolitical crises, viewed through the lens of ancient and modern tragedy. Read by MaryBeth Redmond. Four broadcasts; begins Tue, Jan. 30. Night Journey* Monday – Friday 7 p.m. Moscow Exile, fiction by John Lawton, 2023. A spy thriller, moving from postWWII Washington, D.C. to a KGB prison near Moscow’s Kremlin in the late 1960s. Read by Stuart Holland. 16 broadcasts; begins Wed, Jan. 3. – L The Zero Night, fiction by Brian Freeman, 2022. A woman has been kidnapped. Now Jonathan Stride must decide if her husband wants her back...dead or alive. Read by Mike Tierney. 12 broadcasts; begins Thu, Jan. 25. – L Off the Shelf* Monday – Friday 8 p.m. Small Mercies, fiction by Dennis Lehane, 2023. An all-consuming tale of revenge, family love, festering hate, and insidious power, set against one of the most tumultuous episodes in Boston’s history. Read by Lynn Middleton-Koller. 11 broadcasts; begins Mon, Jan. 8. – L, R Nights of Plague, fiction by Orhan Pamuk, 2022. Part detective story, part historical epic—a bold and brilliant novel that imagines a plague ravaging a fictional island in the Ottoman Empire. Read by Carl Voss. 31 broadcasts; begins Mon, Jan. 23. Potpourri* Monday – Friday 9 p.m. Winters in the World, nonfiction by Eleanor Parker, 2022. Interweaving literature, history, and religion, an exquisite meditation on the turning of the seasons in medieval England. Read by Michelle Juntunen. 9 broadcasts; begins Thu, Jan. 4. On Decline, nonfiction by Andrew Potter, 2021. Essays surveying the current problems and likely future of Western civilization. Read by Stevie Ray. Four broadcasts; begins Wed, Jan. 17. Abominations, nonfiction by Lionel Shriver, 2022. A striking collection of provocative essays from a prize-winning, New York Times bestselling author. Read by Eileen Barratt. 12 broadcasts; begins Tue, Jan. 23.

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All times listed are Central Standard Time.

Abbreviations V – violent content R – racial epithets L – strong language S – sexual situation G – gory descriptions Good Night Owl* Monday – Friday 10 p.m. How to Sell a Haunted House, fiction by Grady Hendrix, 2023. A thrilling novel that explores the way the past—and one’s family—can haunt a person like nothing else. Read by Cintra Godfrey. 15 broadcasts; begins Mon, Jan. 8. – L, V The Ferryman, fiction by Justin Cronin, 2023. A riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia—where the truth isn't what it seems. Read by Jim Gregorich. 18 broadcasts; begins Mon, Jan. 29. – L RTB After Hours* Monday – Friday 11 p.m. An Island Wedding, fiction by Jenny Colgan, 2022. A delightful summer novel that will sweep listeners away to the remote Scottish island of Mure, where two very different weddings are about to take place. Read by Karen Ray. 12 broadcasts; begins Mon, Jan 1. – L Hotel of Secrets, fiction by Diana Biller, 2023. A romance set a Viennese Victorianera hotel that is equal parts screwball comedy, epic love story, and thrilling mystery. Read by Michele Potts. 12 broadcasts; begins Wed, Jan. 17. – L, S, V Weekend Program Books Your Personal World, 1 p.m. Sat, a rebroadcast of Toxic Positivity by Whitney Goodman, read by Beverly Burchett.. For the Younger Set, 11 a.m. Sun, presents The Rat Queen by Pete Hautman, read by Parichay Rudina. Poetic Reflections, noon Sun, presents A Film in Which I Play Everyone by Mary Jo Bang, read by Mary Knatterud; followed by Vote Coyote! by Loren Niemi, read by Jim Ahrens; followed by All Souls by Saskia Hamilton, read by Jim Ahrens. The Great North, 4 p.m. Sun. presents Born of Lakes and Plains by Anne F. Hyde, read by Tony Lopez.

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Winter Art Show at ICI Emerging photographer Hannah Rousar is one of seven artists with disabilities who are displaying their work at Art for All’s newest exhibition and sale in the gallery at the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain. The show runs through Feb. 16 and includes paintings, mixed media, ceramics, and photography. It was created as part of Art for All: The Stephanie Evelo Program for Art Inclusion at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Community Integration. Works by Katharine Fitzgerald, Sam St. John, Geordy Levin , Linda Hood, Donna Ray , and Paul Carlson are also included in the exhibition. The shows advance the program’s mission of not only supporting emerging and professional artists with disabilities, but also bringing their work into wider community spaces to enhance understanding of the artists’ vision of the world. The exhibit is at 2025 East River Parkway, Mpls. FFI: https://ici.umn.edu/ Save date for expo Save the date of Sat, April 20, 2024 for the Discover Abilities Expo, a showcase of all-things adaptive sports and recreation in Minnesota. Organizers hope to have more than 60 organizations that provide some sort of adaptive sports or recreational opportunities in Minnesota on hand. Designed both for individuals with disabilities (primary user of services) to learn about and try adaptive recreational opportunities as well as healthcare professionals, educators, students, volunteers and more to learn about adaptive sports and recreational opportunities. University of Minnesota Recreation & Wellness Center in Mpls. and organized by the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Sports and recreation Team. FFI: 612-775-2311, daniel. edmondson@allina.com Save date for Fetching Ball The 35th anniversary Fetching Ball Gala, celebrating Can Do Canines, at Radisson Blu Mall of America on Sat, Feb. 17. Enjoy dinner, inspiring stories, games, and silent and live auctions – all benefiting the service dog organization. Emcee is Rena Sarigianopoulos of KARE-11. FFI: Melissa Herman, 763-331-3000, ext. 115, mherman@candocanines.org Open Flow Forum The Artists with Disabilities Alliance meets via Zoom 7-9 p.m. the first Thu of the month. Upcoming dates: Jan. 4 and Feb. x. Virtually join artists with disabilities and supporters to share visual art, writing, music, theater and artistic efforts or disability issues. Facilitators are Tara Innmon and Andy Sturdevant from Springboard for the Arts. Anyone

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Currents: Adaptation, Brilliance, and Joy



January 2024 Volume 35, Number 1

Drew Maude-Griffin

An exhibit featuring the work of artists with disabilities is on display through Feb. 25 at the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul. Emerging Curators Institute 2022-23 Fellow Drew Maude-Griffin curated Currents: Adaption, Brilliance and Joy. The group exhibition features interdisciplinary works by artists Victoria Dugger, Ariella Granados, Aurora Levins Morales, Kelley Meister and Lynda Mullan. They each consider the ways disabled artists guide art patrons forward through the present, and inevitably toward futures that prioritize and embrace all the complexities and joys of radical access and care. The exhibition is made possible through Emerging Curators Institute, with generous support needing accommodations including ASL interpreting or captioning should contact Sturdevant at Springboard. Funding is available for access needs. FFI: 651-2940907, resources@springboardforthearts. org, openflowmn@gmail.com. Resources to Enjoy! The Enjoy! listings are for arts events as well as banquets, fundraisers, walks and other fun events by and for disability services organizations. Schedules may be subject to change, so check with a venue or organization before making plans. Arrange for disability accommodations well in advance at any event. Disability service organizations typically send e-news blasts and have social media. Both are other ways to find out about events.

from exhibition partner the Minnesota Museum of American Art. Admission to the downtown St. Paul museum is free. In moving through the initial year of the fellowship, Maude-Griffin explored varied approaches to curatorial practices as part of a cohort of four distinct fellows. Maude-Griffin is an interdisciplinary artist, author and educator whose work explores illness, disability and the complex politics of care. Drew creates multisensory artworks as a way of making visible the unseen realities of their illness. Their work is made with the intention of honoring and building community with other sick and disabled people, as well as broadening how everyone thinks of, practice and experience care. The Minnesota Access Alliance (MNAA) provides an Accessible Arts & Culture Calendar for arts patrons who use accessibility accommodations such as audio description, captioning, ASL interpreting and sensory-friendly accommodations. Link to more details at https://calendar.mnaccess.org. Be sure to check the listing or venue to find out any COVID-19 protocols and if an advance reservation is needed for an accessibility service. Accessible events can be submitted to the MNAA Calendar (MinnesotaPlaylist. com) To receive a free monthly events calendar, email mactfactor@icloud.com and/or info@mnaccess.org. Ask for the entire events list or specific lists for ASL interpreting, captioning, audio description,

Maude-Griffin is a recent graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, with a BFA in drawing and painting, and a teaching Artist minor. Fiber sculptor Victoria Dugger, filmmaker and photographer Ariella Granados, essayist and artist Aurora Levins Morales and painter Lynda Mullan have their work featured in the exhibit. One striking piece is by Kelley Meister, who used long COVID medication and supplement bottles that once lined medicine cabinets and bedside tables are repurposed, reclaimed and activated with neon portals. Emerging Curators Institute is a first of its kind in the region. The institute cultivates critical dialogue around curatorial practice and unique development opportunities for Minnesota-based emerging curators of diverse backgrounds. FFI: www. emergingcurators.org To learn more about the museum, get directions and find instructions on transit and parking, go to mmaa.org

sensory-friendly accommodations or disability-related topics. For other accessibility resources or upcoming webinars presented by MNAA, sign up for emails at https://mnaccess.org Post your event online Access Press is moving more event listings online. There is a word limit and we require that those posting information include event costs as well as accommodations. Are ASL and AD offered? Is there companion seating? A quiet room? Fidgets? COVID-19 protocols? Accommodations are much more than a ramp for many of us. That kind of information can help someone decide whether or not to attend an event.


Looking for participants to assist with a research study being conducted at the University of Minnesota investigating how tactile defensive individuals describe their clothing requirements and their experienced clothing barriers. If you identify as neurodiverse and have experienced hypersensitivity and/or hyposensitivity to clothing or touch, please contact Chukwuma Udezeh udeze002@umn.edu with the subject line “Identifying Clothing Requirements”. Participation will also require that you live in the United States, are at least 18 years old, and are able to respond to survey questions in English. Survey participants will also receive a $10 Starbucks digital gift card. Please reference our online ad for more details.


METES & BOUNDS MANAGEMENT Company manages the following Section 8 & Section 42 (Tax Credit) properties in Minnesota. Income and rent restrictions apply. Section 8 Boardwalk Wayzata 952-473-0502 Dewey Place/The Pines Foley 320-968-7791 Greenwood Wadena 218-631-2575 Highwood Homes Prior Lake 952-447-6961 Linderhof Park New Ulm 507-354-5964 Mission Oaks Plymouth 763-559-5770 Rustic Creek Two Harbors 218-595-1018 Todd 27 Long Prairie 320-732-6154 Town Square East Grand Forks 218-773-3631 Victory Duluth 218-722-2629

Chill out at Art Shanties Art Shanty Projects returns to the frozen water of Bdé Umán / Lake Harriet in South Minneapolis this winter for the organization's 20th anniversary season. Jan. 20 through Feb. 11. Public hours are 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. every Sat and Sun. Kicksleds are available as mobility aids, and there will be ASL interpreters and audio describers available daily from 11 am–2 pm. The event is free, with a suggested $10-20 sliding scale donation at the gate. The program includes 18 shanties that stay up all month and more than 20 performances + art actions that pop up throughout the village at different times throughout the run. Visit an array of shanties, take part in numerous activities and enjoy music and performances. FFI: www.artshantyprojects.org

Section 42 (Tax Credit) Abbott Apartments Mpls 612-338-5588 Crosby Country Crosby 218-546-8400 Eastwood Village Oakdale 651-773-1949 Nature's Edge St. Cloud 320-203-7726 Parkside Rochester 507-281-9003 Valley High Rochester 507-536-4797 Valley View Byron 507-775-2821 Metes & Bounds is an equal housing opportunity housing company FIND YOUR NEW HOME WITH AT HOME APARTMENTS. Call 651-224-1234 or visit AtHomeApartments.com for an apartment or town home Equal Opportunity Housing

Classified rates: $20 (first 12 words); $1/word beyond 12. Deadline: 20th of each month. We will email total cost of classified ad. Email your classified to access@accesspress.org

January 2024 Volume 35, Number 1


Pg 16

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Onstage this winter


adapted by JEFFREY HATCHER from the original by FREDERICK KNOTT directed by TRACY BRIGDEN

conceived and performed by BILL IRWIN

Now – January 28

January 20 – February 25

February 17 – March 24

Accessibility services (ASL-interpreted, audio-described and open-captioned performances) are available on select dates. Visit www.guthrietheater.org/access for details.


The Guthrie Theater presents an Irish Repertory Theatre production produced by Octopus Theatricals

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