March 2024 Edition - Access Press

Page 1

Changes in collecting disability info

How are people with disabilities counted as part of the U.S. Census? After a backlash from activists, the U.S. Census Bureau has set aside proposed changes to questions about disability.

The changes were to be part of the 2025 American Community Survey. The argument against changing the questions is that changes could artificially reduce the number of disabled people counted by more than 40 percent.

In mid-February the Census Bureau announced that it would retain the current American Community Survey disability questions for year 2025 after researchers and the disability community pushed back. The current set of six questions in the survey are already criticized as being very limited, and not effective in showing a range of types of disabilities. Consideration has been sought for people living with mental health issues, developmental disabilities and chronic health issues such as long COVID.

The American Community Survey is an ongoing survey that provides vital information on a yearly basis about the nation and its people. Information from the survey generates data that help inform how trillions of dollars in federal funds are distributed each year. Survey numbers in turn affect resources for various programs, housing and education. It also is used when enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and looking at the programs the ADA is tied to.

Census Bureau Director Robert Santos posted on his blog that bureau staff will meet with disability community advocates, to decide what changes are needed for the survey questions. He said, “We will continue our work with stakeholders and the public to better understand data needs on disability and assess which, if any, revisions are needed across the federal statistical system to better address those needs.”

The Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics have reviewed the public feedback. They’ll work on changes, which have to be approved by the federal Office of Management and Budget.

The Census Bureau is preparing a final proposal to federal officials for approval regarding the changes proposed to other topics including household roster, educational attainment, health insurance coverage, labor force questions, solar panels, electric vehicles and sewage disposal.

The final proposal will be submitted in spring 2024, accompanied by a Federal Register notice detailing the final recommendations and seeking public comment.

The survey is considered to be the most comprehensive survey of American life. Its many topics include disabilities. But it illustrates the challenges in getting a handle on the number of disabled people in the U.S. In some cases not everyone wishes to self-disclose a disability.

Estimates of number of disabled U.S. residents can vary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2023 that up to one in four adults or 61 million people have a disability.

The existing survey asks respondents to answer yes or no questions about hearing, seeing, concentrating, remembering or making decisions because of a physical, mental or emotional condition. Questions cover whether or not a respondent can walk, climb stairs, dress himself, bathe

A hurried 2024 legislative session means uncertainty for many bills

As February drew to a close, uncertainty was a watchword at the state capitol. Everyone was waiting for Minnesota’s budget forecast to be released February 28. That happened as this issue went to press.

The forecast in turn will let Gov. Tim Walz, legislators, state department and agencies, and disability advocates know how much if any money is available in 2024.

Typically after the February forecast legislative leaders release spending targets, It’s not even clear yet if the House and Senate will announce spending targets in 2024.

That of course depends on whether or not there is money to be spent.

The message Minnesota disability rights advocates, their organizations and allies

have been getting this session is to not make fiscal asks. If anything, fiscal changes brought to the capitol would be used to lay groundwork for 2025, which is a budget year.

Minnesota’s budget and economic outlook remains stable in the current biennium, according to the state’s Office of Management and Budget. But in December 2023, state officials warned about a significant structural imbalance that constrained the budget outlook for fiscal 2026-2027.

As of late 2023, the current fiscal year 2024-2025 surplus was projected at $2.4 billion, up $808 million from the end-ofsession estimate. That was attributed to factors including higher expected consumer spending, corporate profit growth and the

SESSION To page 5

Lung damage due to COVID-19

Page 3

Parking problems

Page 2

True Friends seeks support Page 4

Education benefits eyed Page 8

Changes at Interact Page 6

Jobs are a focus at the new Highland Popcorn shop in St. Paul

The new Highland Popcorn store in Highland Village Center in St. Paul is not your typical retail shop. The people who work there are mastering new skills while earning a paycheck—something most employees do and take for granted. But for the 10 employees at Highland Popcorn, it is a big deal. The majority have intellectual or developmental disabilities, and for them, just landing a job can be a challenge.

“It’s tough for these people to find meaningful, sustaining employment,” said Shamus O’Meara, the founder of Highland Popcorn and a Highland Park attorney whose son Conor works at the shop.

O’Meara opened the nonprofit retail and wholesale business to help Conor and others like him find steady work. Conor is on the high verbal end of the autism spectrum. “This gives him and his coworkers an opportunity to make friends and get out into the community,” O’Meara said. “They’re dedicated workers who just needed opportunities.”

O’Meara served as chair of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities for six years. “We learned about the absence of jobs for these people and how to give them opportunities to live as independently as they can,” he said.

O’Meara found his employees through Midwest Special Services (MSS), an employment program for people with disabilities. “We’re excited about this opportunity with Highland Popcorn,”


Johnson said MSS currently has 60 clients who are still looking for work. “We look forward to a successful partnership with Highland Popcorn,” she said.

Highland Popcorn sells five varieties of Gold Medal brand popcorn—movie theater-style;

Julie Johnson, the president of MSS. “The workers will gain skills they can use elsewhere.” caramel; cheese-flavored; Wowza, which combines those three flavors; and a seasonal feature, which currently combines peppermint, white chocolate and candy-cane flavors.
O’Meara’s employees perform a variety of tasks starting with popping the popcorn. Flavors are added before the mixture is spread out on cooling tables.
U.S. CENSUS To page 3
A 2023 rally is photographed by a member of the crowd. Disability rally days get underway in March. FILE PHOTO
POPCORN To page 3
Conor and Shamus O'Meara display Highland Popcorn's wares. The St. Paul shop just opened.

Proposed legislation could make getting around more of a challenge

Most of us who live with disabilities don’t spend a lot of time worrying about zoning and land use issues. But we should.

The 2024 Minnesota Legislature is considering bills to eliminate what are called “parking minimums” for new developments. This has already been done in more than 50 cities, including Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul. Developers can build up to a maximum number of parking spaces allowed under a specific zoning type. Variances can be sought if more parking beyond a maximum limit or cap is needed. But this type of regulation allows developers to not provide a minimum number of parking spots if space is tight or if there are other considerations. A new apartment building might have fewer residents who rely on personal vehicles, for example.

A similar move is afoot in Congress.

This kind of parking requirement doesn’t affect existing buildings. But the change means developers can erect new buildings without providing any off-street parking at all. While this is seen as modernizing zoning codes and providing what is defined as “best practices” for land use and climate change, it raises red flags for some of us with disabilities who must drive to get around.

At a recent news conference, Sen. Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis) claimed that regulations governing parking are arbitrary and capricious. He used examples in Twin Cities suburbs to back his argument, citing the amount of how much parking is required for bowling alleys in different cities. That and other parking regulations vary, city to city.

Fateh’s bill is called the People Over Parking Act. He and his allies, including


Our plea is for balance. Consider that none of us choose to be disabled, yet one in four of us becomes disabled in the course of a lifetime. Not all of us want to have to drive to our destinations. But we sometimes have no choice.

several progressive groups, argue that mandates force developers to build more parking than is needed. Building parking facilities and creating lots is seen as making housing more expensive, at a time when more affordable housing is desperately needed. Parking lots, garages and ramps are increasingly expensive, with parking ramp costs cited at $40,000 or more per stall.

The act would take away local zoning authority and would instead have a statewide law that gives developers and property owners the right to decide for themselves how much off-street parking is needed.

Groups that represent cities across Minnesota have already expressed opposition to the act. One issue, of course, is local control.

Another issue is the ability to finance new development. We have also heard some developers state quite plainly that if they cannot include some amount of off-street parking in a development, it is more difficult to obtain financing.


If you live with a disability or disabilities, and rely on a motor vehicle as primary transportation, not having an accessible parking space is a huge problem. So here is our familiar message: Please don’t forget us.

We agree that housing is increasingly more expensive for everyone. Many of us who live with disabilities don’t worry about granite countertops or rooftop patios or the latest fancy refrigerator. We just need safe, affordable places to live, with door widths and counter heights that work for us. We need to safely be able to get in and out of a bath or shower.

Please consider that not all of us can easily walk or bike or take transit to our destinations. Many of remember our days of bike commuting, of walking a few miles to an office, or hauling groceries on the bus or light rail. For many of us with disabilities, those are no longer things we can do.

Some of us still need to drive. We cannot travel for many blocks on scooters or in motorized wheelchairs, let alone with a

walker or cane.

While not all of us with disabilities have blue parking placards, we still have to drive to get around.

The debate over parking brings to mind the Minneapolis ban on new drive-through services from a few years ago. Existing drive-through services can stay in place but new ones aren’t allowed.

We understand the need to reduce reliance on motor vehicles and the seriousness of emissions and climate change. We understand the need to reduce dangers to pedestrians who have to be wary at drive-through entrances and exits. But drive-throughs are how many of us get our medications, do our banking and pick up our food.

And drive-through services are also a zoning issue.

Our plea is for balance. Consider that none of us choose to be disabled, yet one in four of us becomes disabled in the course of a lifetime. Not all of us want to have to drive to our destinations. But we sometimes have no choice.

Putting disabled people in a position of having to compete for on-street parking, and possibly traveling a few blocks with a disability to get to and from a parked vehicle, creates difficult situations. It could deny us potential housing options when we want to stay in our home communities.

Our elected officials should consider a parking minimum that has a set number of disability-signed spots for residents and for business patrons. That would be a reasonable compromise.

Please don’t forget us.

Brown versus Board of Education opened doors for disability education

One frequent lesson in school history classes centers on Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The legal fight, which ended 70 years ago, is remembered for integrating public schools. Many people may not realize that the historic civil rights case also played a key role in prohibiting segregation on the basis of disability.

The case was decided in May 1954. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren delivered the unanimous ruling, decreeing that statesanctioned segregation of public schools was a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling ended a “separate but equal” precedent the high court had set in another case, Plessy versus Ferguson.

Histories of Brown versus Board of Education tell us that it took more than a year to decide how the ruling would be imposed and how states were to start implementing desegregation plans. Both the original ruling and the 1955 follow-up met much resistance. This not only came from racial segregationists. It came from some

constitutional scholars, who believed the high court overstepped its authority.

For students with disabilities, their parents and their allies, the key finding in Brown versus Board of Education is that “separate facilities are inherently unequal.”

The 1954 decision was hailed as opening doors for every student. But it took a long time for that to happen. Inclusive education for children with disabilities was one of the first goals of the parents' movement that was growing at that same time. Parents were demanding better options for their disabled children, especially children with developmental disabilities. They spoke out against sending their children to state institutions.

In 1953, one year before the Brown decision, legendary advocate Elizabeth Monroe Boggs prepared the Association for Retarded Children position statement, ''Education Bill of Rights for the Retarded Child.” It stated that every child, including those with developmental disabilities, “has the right to a

program of education and training suited to his particular needs and carried forward in the environment most favorable for him, whether that be the community public school, the state residential school or his own home.”

Boggs was not only a scientist and researcher. She was also the mother of a son with developmental disabilities. She cofounded the National Association of Retarded Children in 1950, served on the organization's board of directors from 1950-1953, and as its president from 1956 to 1958. She held numerous state and federal posts related to disability.

The Brown court case and the parents’ movement were instrumental in disability legislation at the state and federal levels, including the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975, which we know today as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. Both were also factors in the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

Many people across the United States took the fight for a free and equal public education


email: phone: 651-644-2133

Editor ............................................................................................................................................................................................ Jane McClure

Board of Directors

Tim S. Benjamin, Mark Daly, Brendan Downes, Catherine Hunter, ................................................. Jane Larson (Chair), Brandon Miller, Lynda Milne, Manley Olson, John Tschida, Kay Willshire Business Operations and Advertising Manager Mary Graba

Advertising Sales .......................................................................................................................................................... Katarina Mulheran

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)

to court. Others joined school boards and disability advocacy organizations. One of the cases was Mills versus the District of Columbia Board of Education. Mills held that no child could be denied a public education because of “mental, behavioral, physical, or emotional handicaps or deficiencies.”

The question of resources came up in the 1972 Mills case, as school district representatives cited the need for adequate federal funding to provide education. The judge responded that funds must be spent equitably so that no child is excluded from a public education consistent with his needs and ability to benefit.

A disability timeline, with links and details on court cases, is on the MNCDD website.

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

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.

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 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: Website:

March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 2

Lung inflammation, damage linked to COVID-19 merits caution, scrutiny

Editor’s note: In our work with the Minnesota Department of Health to promote the need for COVID-19 vaccines, we are featuring stories about a wide range of topics related to COVID-19. This month’s focus is on lung inflammation. Lucy’s story is one of My COVID Story to be featured on our website.

My name is Lucy. I work in communications. I also have an active side business making and selling jewelry and knitted items. I volunteer with my children’s schools, our church and a few community groups. My family and I live in Eagan.

My family and I have been attentive about keeping up on our vaccines and boosters to combat COVID-19. My husband had a mild bout with COVID-19 at the tail end of the Minnesota State Fair. Our son was also ill at about the same time.

We have always masked up, washed hands and tested frequently. I have arthritis and it’s important for me to stay active and keep moving.

After Thanksgiving, I became quite ill with COVID-19. Being flat on my back for a few weeks was no fun. My family really had to pick up the slack with household chores and Christmas preparations. I had to take a leave of absence from my job and cancel some holidaytime craft shows that I sell my wares at.

I developed pneumonia and inflamed lungs. It was terrible! I felt terrible. My lungs hurt so much. All I could do some days was make squeaking noises.

Talking hurt! (My children may have liked that.)

At one point I had acute respiratory distress syndrome and had to go to urgent care.

I am now using an inhaler for breathing problems. My lungs do not hurt as much. There are days when the pain returns.

I am back at work but have had to cut back on my volunteer activities and my side businesses. I miss all of those things.

My arthritis has been affected because I


From page 1

the popcorn is placed into one of three containers–cups, buckets or bags, with prices ranging from $3.99 to $11.99.

Highland Popcorn also sells chocolate chip cookies and soft drinks manufactured by Minnesota-based Northern Soda, which specializes in 1950s-style root beer and other flavors. The store has ample seating for patrons who choose to eat there. O’Meara hopes the spacious room will become a gathering place for meetings, events and socializing. Highland Popcorn also sells packaged popcorn wholesale to other outlets, including the nearby Lunds & Byerlys.


From page 1

himself or perform everyday tasks. Another factor with questions is deciding the level of difficulty of tasks and activities.

The proposed changes would have four choices: no difficulty, some difficulty, a lot of difficulty' and cannot do at all. A person would be counted as disabled if they answered ''cannot do at all'' or ''a lot of difficulty'' for any

am not as physically active. I was in a water aerobics class that disbanded during the pandemic and I have not found a substitute.

The big worry for me is worrying about permanent lung damage. My doctor said that is possible. I am being monitored very carefully. It could take a year or more for my lungs to recover. I am hopeful that will happen.

I would urge everyone to get vaccinated

against COVID-19, despite what happened to me. I cannot imagine what would have happened had I not been vaccinated. The outcome could have been much, much worse.

From Access Press: There is much good information online about COVID-19 and its impacts on a patient’s lungs and respiratory health. According to a recent study shared by the University of Minnesota, one in four COVID-19 survivors had impaired lung function one year later.

Older patients, those with more than three chronic conditions, and those with severe cases improved slower than other patients over time, a Dutch study showed.

A team led by University of Amsterdam researchers evaluated diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO), spirometry results, and health-related quality of life (HRQL) in 301 COVID-19 survivors who underwent at least one lung-function test from May 2020 to December 2021. Median patient age was 51 years, and 56 percent were men.

The study involved 349 patients total.

Of the 301 participants who had lungfunction testing, 30 percent had mild, 44 percent had moderate, and 26 percent had severe or critical COVID-19. Older age, higher body mass index, more chronic conditions and


an honor to

be able to support Highland Popcorn and how it’ll benefit the community, said Douglas Loe, general manager of the Lunds & Byerlys at Highland Bridge. According to him, the popcorn will be prominently displayed along with a

task or function. A test run showed that the percentage of respondents defined as disabled dropped from 13.9 percent to 8.1 percent with the new questions.

The Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.based public policy research nonprofit, has done its own analysis to provide guidance on how to more accurately estimate the disabled population in the US. The institute hosted an online forum in late February to discuss how to measure disability in a more inclusive

printed explanation about the mission of Highland Popcorn.

Conor O’Meara, 26, is excited about his new job. “I like meeting the customers,” he said. He has another job making pizza at Parkway Pizza in South Minneapolis, and in his spare time he produces a podcast called “Conor’s Corner,” which focuses on sports “and a little politics,” he said. He started the podcast while he was enrolled in Focus Beyond, a Saint Paul Public Schools


Its recommendations include:

Consult with disabled researchers and advocates when evaluating disability measurements. Any new measures should be undertaken only with deep and meaningful engagement with the disability community.

Explore alternative survey questions that would more accurately and fully capture the disabled population. The current and proposed set of disability questions do not

the presence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung diseases other than asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were more common among patients who had severe infections than among those with mild cases.

A total of 47 percent of patients were hospitalized. On admission, 86 hospitalized patients received low-flow oxygen, 15 required high-flow oxygen, and 29 needed invasive mechanical ventilation. Thirty-nine patients were admitted to the intensive care unit and stayed for a median of six days.

The study indicated that COVID-related lung damage can be reversed to some degree over time.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has detailed information on what COVID-19 can do to a patient’s lungs. The web link below includes information on the different medical conditions COVID-19 can create, and the short-term and long-term impacts on lung health.

Advice given includes how to stave off less severe lung damage. Of course, everyone needs to avoid getting sick. Mask up, keep vaccines current, wash hands and avoid being with sick people.

It’s also important to manage chronic health conditions and disabilities. Take medications and monitor conditions as directed.

Proper nutrition and hydration can also help patients avoid complications of COVID-19.

Johns Hopkins experts also remind everyone that vaccines can aid in the healing process, even if a person becomes ill. People who have not been vaccinated may not heal as smoothly.

Read about the Dutch study at https://www.

Read information from Johns Hopkins at conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/whatcoronavirus-does-to-the-lungs

program that teaches independent living skills to high school graduates ages 18 to 22.

Only 5 percent of adults with autism are currently employed, according to Shamus O’Meara. He is hoping that his new store will improve the employment outlook for his workers and others like them.

Highland Popcorn is open from 10 a.m.6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from noon-5 p.m. Sundays. It is closed on Mondays when its employees prepare the popcorn for Lunds & Byerlys and other retail outlets. A grand opening of the shop is tentatively planned for March.

This story originally appeared in MyVillager, a St. Paul neighborhood newspaper.

reflect the entire disability community. Evaluate the potential impacts of any future proposed change in disability questions. The Census Bureau should consider how a change in its questions may impact the ability of disabled people to receive the supports and protections they need.

This article was compiled by Editor Jane McClure with information from the Urban Institute, U.S. Census Bureau and other news sources.

March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 3

True Friends Camp Courage facilities replacement needs your help

True Friends Camp Courage has been a Minnesota and regional asset for almost 70 years, providing experiences that have enriched and changed the lives of thousands of people with disabilities. The nonprofit agency provides life-changing experiences that enhance independence and self-esteem for children and adults with disabilities.

True Friends programs include Camp, Respite, Retreats, Team Building, Therapy and Adaptive Riding, and Travel; serving over 25,000 individuals annually. With locations near Maple Lake, Annandale, Eden Prairie, and Bemidji, True Friends serves individuals from Minnesota and throughout the United States.

The 305-acre Maple Lake location was built with intention and great care all those years ago to ensure each individual felt welcomed and valued in a safe environment—and its buildings have served campers well.

After more than 50 years of year-round use, one of Camp Courage’s most popular buildings is in need of a refresh. We at True Friends need help from our dedicated supporters, to build upon support we have received from the 2023 Minnesota Legislature and foundations.

Our current pool and gym can no longer support the thousands of participants we serve every year. The volume of individuals served at Camp Courage has grown past the capacity the facilities can accommodate. The ventilation system and equipment that keeps the pool running was built in the 1970s and is not efficient. The gym is simply too small and does not allow enough space for large group activities.

True Friends has taken steps to invest in a new Recreation Center to replace the existing pool and gym. The new building will provide enhanced accessible amenities including a temperature-controlled, state-of-the-art pool with zero entry, as well as a spacious gymnasium for sporting events and large group gatherings, as well as a stage to support performing arts opportunities.

Our new Recreation Center will provide

enhanced accessible amenities for individuals of all abilities to continually improve the experiences we provide.

In May of 2023, True Friends was awarded $10 million from the Minnesota Legislature . We launched a capital campaign to raise the remaining $6 million needed to fulfill project goals. We are seeking funding through grants, as well as donations.

In October 2023, True Friends was awarded $1.25 million in matching gifts from the Sundet family and the Otto Bremer

Foundation. These two entities have agreed to match any gifts or pledges to the project dollarfor-dollar up to $1.25 million. These gifts, along with the matching dollars, will support the construction of a new Recreation Center at Camp Courage in Maple Lake.

The $1.25 million given by the Sundet family and the Otto Bremer Foundation and the matches will go toward the total base cost of the $16 million project.

Pending fulfilled financial goals, construction will begin in Fall 2025. But

we face challenges. We just learned that construction cost estimates have risen another 8-10 percent.

Our current and former campers tell our story:

Camp Courage was built on the pretense of being a place that was made for us, and this place is still made for us,” said Billie, a long time Camp Courage camper. “I used to tell my friends at school about it and I would say ‘It felt like a piece of heaven to me,’ a heaven in the sense that everyone is welcome, everyone is accepted, that is another thing that True Friends means to me, that’s the biggest thing that True Friends means to me, is overall you are accepted. Disability and all.”

“This is a great place,” Kari, a Camp Courage camper, said describing her True Friends experience. “I became a quad amputee and this place made me feel normal again. I was able to do every activity here. Never felt out of place.”

Visit for future project updates. To learn more about True Friends, visit, call 952-852-0101, or email

Help Access Press as we make transitions with our new delivery service

Dear readers,

Access Press has been bringing you news and information about Minnesota’s disability community since 1990. We’ve been through a lot of changes over the years. Our staff has changed. We went from for-profit to nonprofit status, and added a volunteer board.

We were one of the first Minnesota community papers to have a website. We’ve moved offices a few times and now work virtually.

A big change was made starting with the February issue. Newspapers do what are

called “bundle drops.” That is, we take papers to a destination. Papers are left there for people to pick up.

We’ve worked with various bundle drop vendors over the years. Most recently we had worked with Independent Delivery Service (IDS). The St. Paul company had delivered many newspapers and fliers since 1973. But after losing a large delivery account, IDS shut down at the end of 2023.

The closure forced many papers to scramble for new delivery options, including Access Press. While we don’t have the challenge of hiring people to deliver papers

door to door, we had to find other options. We did bring on two new bundle drop contractors and we are pleased to work with them. We also made changes to our bundle drop list, contacting as many places as we could reach. The list was dated and needed a review. We’ll continue to refine the list, adding and dropping bundle drop location The reality is that fewer public places allow papers to be distributed at their locations. Free papers can get messy and that understandably causes frustration for those who have to keep public spaces tidy.

Here is what we need from readers. If you see our papers at a public location, and sometimes seems amiss, let me know. I can work with our board to address it. You might see too many papers, old issues or other problems. We at Access Press need to know so we can make corrections.

Readers can help us monitor drop sites and let us know if they see problems. We also may consider adding drop sites if readers suggest them. Contact me at 651-6442133 ext. 1 or email me at jane@accesspress. org

Learn about civil rights for people with developmental disabilities, courts

An Unfinished Journey: Civil Rights for People with Development Disabilities and the Role of the Federal Courts is offered 1-4:45 p.m.

Tuesday, March 19 at the Diana E. Murphy U.S. Courthouse, 300 S 4th St, Minneapolis. The reception is 5-7 p.m. The event was put together over the past 10 months by an outreach committee appointed by the U.S. District Court. Chief Judge Patrick Schiltz asked the federal court to work on an initiative focused on developmental disabilities and the federal court’s role in advancing rights. The committee includes people with disabilities, family members, professionals, attorneys and judges.

The initiative includes creation of 21 banners illustrating Minnesota’s history and a three-hour continuing legal education course that will describe the progression from the state’s founding in 1858 through today. The banners will be debuted at the reception along with a short program, a juried art show, with music and spoken word performances by people with developmental disabilities.

This event provides a free half-day of Continuing Legal Education (CLE), followed by a public reception with educational exhibit and a juried art show of works created by artists with developmental disabilities. Application will be made for

three hours of CLE credit, including ethics and elimination of bias.

The first panel will provide an overview of the history of the struggle to secure civil rights for people with disabilities, with particular attention to the role of the federal courts and the State of Minnesota in this struggle. Panelists are Professor Elizabeth Schiltz, University of St. Thomas School of Law, and Bahram Samie, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. The panel will be moderated by (Ret.) Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

The second panel will explore the ethics, best practices, and challenges relating to class settlements and communications, focusing on Welsch and Jensen. Panelists are Daniel Gustafson, Gustafson Gluek PLLC; Michael Fargione, McEllistrem, Fargione, Rorvig & Moe, P.A.; Shamus P. O’Meara, O’Meara, Leer, Wagner & Kohl, P.A.; and Anne Barry, University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The panel will be moderated by Honorable Donovan W. Frank, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

The third panel will focus on needs and accommodations for lawyers with disabilities from law school and the bar exam and throughout public and private practice. Panelists are Emily Eschweiler,

Minnesota Board of Law Examiners; Paul Floyd, Minnesota State Bar Association, Wallen-Friedman & Floyd; Sierra Grandy, University of Minnesota Law School (2024 J.D. candidate); and Allison Quinn, Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Moderator is Lauren Clements, Littler. The program is presented in conjunction with the District of Minnesota’s Public Outreach Committee, and is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Minnesota Governor’s

Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Minnesota Disability Bar Association and MSS.

Please direct any accommodation requests to Rebeccah Parks at Rebeccah_Parks@mnd.

People need not register for the reception but space is limited for the CLE classes. Registration for the CLE is at http://tinyurl. com/4jn5uffk

March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 4
Mechanical systems in the facilities are at the end of their useful life TRUE FRIENDS The gym floor is old and worn. FIND US ON FACEBOOK! We post daily updates from our Minnesota disability partners

Was a compromise reached on use of restraint in Minnesota schools?

As February ended, it appeared that middle ground had been reached on the controversial issue of school resource officers and how they can use physical restraint on students.

On the table are proposed changes to part of the 2023 education package. The sections in question limit the extent to which officers can restrain students. Officers cannot use prone restraint, and using any kind of hold that inhibits a student’s ability to breathe or communicate distress. The exemption is to prevent bodily harm or death.

After the bill was signed into law last year, some police and sheriff’s departments began pulling their officers out of schools. The contention was that the law wasn’t clear.

Legislation was brought forward early in the 2024 session, but it again generated controversy for not being a solution.

Use of restraint has long been an issue in schools, especially when it involves students with disabilities. Prone restraint use against special education students has been outlawed for about a decade.

There was a strong push in recent years to expand that type of protection to all students. There has also been renewed attention to the dangers restraints can create.

The 2023 law also requires school districts to report incidents in which physical holds are used on students. Reporting of incidents starts in July 2024.

How the 2023 law is interpreted generated


From page 1

months of controversy. Some called for a special legislative session last year. What’s now proposed is a bill that would

on the 2024 general election ballot that raises the sales tax 3/8 of 1 percent. This money would provide additional funding for accessible, affordable housing. The tax would potentially raise about $440 million per year. The intent would be for the tax revenues to supplement and not replace existing housing funding.

exempt school resource officers from the ban on prone restraint. Training would be required starting in 2025. Educators, law

are other second-tier proposals.

Third tier bills are legislative requests that require the least amount of support from MNCCD. One of these is led by the Minnesota Disability Law Center, which is calling for public service and accommodation rights for people with disabilities.

enforcement and the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST Board) would work together on a model policy for schools. The intent of the policy would be to minimize use of prone restraint.

Different ideas have been on the table, including a series of trainings for school resource officers. One training session proposed would be on youth rain development. There would also be a focus on working with students with disabilities.

The bill has been to the House Public Safety Finance and Policy and Ways and Means committees, and the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety and Education Policy committees. It has had several amendments.

Getting changes started in the committee process hasn’t been easy. Law enforcement advocates worry about limits on what officers can do. Parents and advocates argue that students have been harmed. The parents included Sen. Judy Seeberger (DFL-Afton) whose own special needs child was injured by a school officer. She said officers could benefit from training.

“To suggest we’re creating issues where they don’t exist is offensive to me and my family,” she said.

The bill numbers are HF3489/SF3534. Go to to track these and other bills.

of the shortest legislative sessions in recent memory. Some committees got a late start, which is adding to questions.

Another wild card is that state lawmakers are dealing with more than 1,300 bills. It’s likely many will not be acted on this session.

The short session means it is crunch time to get bills to move along. March 22 is the deadline by which bills have to be heard in committee to move ahead. Otherwise, it’s wait until next year.

The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) is working on its priorities, which were recently set by consortium membership. The consortium places legislation in tiers, indicating the level of organizational involvement. While each piece of legislation has its individual and/or organizational champions, the tier system is used to allocate consortium time.

One third tier item is tied to the state’s housing shortage. A broad-based, separate coalition is leading on Our Future Starts at Home. The request is to have state legislators put a constitutional amendment

Four items are in the top tier. One is a fix to enhanced rate language and additional enhanced rates. A second is changes to the Medical Assistance income and assets limits. A third is changes related to disability accommodations provided by transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft. The fourth is to provide direct care support when someone is hospitalized.

Top-tier bills get the lion’s share of MNCCD and lobbyist time and attention.

Second tier items typically are led by another party. MNCCD provides a lower level of support. Tier two items this session include working toward a sunset date for subminimum wage, eliminating Medical Assistive for Employed Persons (MA-EPD) premiums, reviews of long-term services and supports, improving consumerdirected services, building more inclusive and accessible playgrounds, and teaching training on ableism and disability justice. Accessible individualized education plans, an inclusive education pilot for home care workers, opening MinnesotaCare for home care workers and providing student grants and loan forgiveness for home care workers

Other third tier issues are accessible prescription labels, an opt-out for personal care attendant earned sick and safe time, and Gillette Children’s So Minnesotans Can Move initiative.

Another request is for the Department of

Human Services to study overtime, sleep overnights and shifts of more than 24 hours. Changes to Personal Care Attendant and Community First Systems and Supports program policies is another ask, from the Minnesota First providers Alliance.

The Best life Alliance is seeking a disability waiver rate increase

A request for PCA paid family medical leave premiums as taken off of the table and will instead be discussed with the governor’s administration as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.

March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 5
Albright Townhomes Minneapolis 612-824-6665 1 BR Cornerstone Creek Apartments Golden Valley 763-231-6250 1 & 2 BR (for developmentally disabled individuals) Diamond Hill Townhomes Minneapolis 612-736-9341 2 & 3 BR Elliot Park Apartments Minneapolis 612-338-3106 2 BR Franklin Lane Apartments Anoka 763-427-7650 1 & 2 BR Hanover Townhomes St. Paul 651-292-8497 1 BR Hilltop Manor Eveleth 218-744-5169 1 BR Hopkins Village Apartments Hopkins 952-938-5787 1 & 2 BR Village Apartments Hopkins 952-938-5787 1 & 2 BR Lincoln Place Apartments Mahtomedi 651-653-0640 2 BR Olson Towne Homes Minneapolis 612-377-9015 1 BR Park Plaza Apartments Minneapolis 612-377-3650 1 & 2 BR Prairie Meadows Eden Prairie 952-941-5544 2 & 3 BR Raspberry Ridge Hopkins 952-933-3260 1 BR Slater Square Apartments Minneapolis 612-340-1264 EFF & 1BR Spirit on Lake 612-724-3029 1 & 2 BR Talmage Green Minneapolis 612-623-0247 2 BR Trinity Apartments Minneapolis 612-721-2252 1 BR (sr) Unity Place Brooklyn Center 763-560-7563 2 BR Vadnais Highlands Vadnais Heights 651-653-0640 3 BR Visitation Place 651-647-2550 1, 2 3 BR Willow Apartments Little Falls 320-632-0980 1 BR Woodland Court Apartments Park Rapids 888-332-9312 1 BR HOUSING FOR VETERANS AT RISK OF HOMELESSNESS Veteran's East Apartments Minnneapolis 612-208-1712 EFF Veteran's & Community Housing Minnneapolis 612-333-0027 EFF TRELLIS MANAGEMENT MAY BE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for our accessible waiting lists at the following affordable communities: We may be accepting applications for our large number of mobility impaired accessible units. Please call us for more information. 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? Please don’t be late! Access Press welcomes submissions for the People and Places pages. Submissions are due by the 15th of each month. Questions? Call 651-644-2133 or email access@accesspress. org near-term U.S. economic outlook. What has raised a red flag is higher estimates in health and human services and education total spending in FY 2024-2027, resulting in a negative structural balance in the next biennium.
about the forecast is just one factor. Another caveat is that 2024 is one


Interact sees change in leadership

Jeanne Calvit, founder of Interact Center for the Arts, has stepped down after almost three decades as the arts organization’s artistic director and leader. Calvit’s retirement was effective February 14.

Calvit founded Interact in 1996. In a letter on the organization website, she said:

“I am proud to say that with the help and support of our incredible arts community, an exceptional staff of dedicated arts collaborators and mentors, the families and friends of our artists, and most important of all – our company of theater and visual artists with disabilities – Interact has been a vital part of the Twin Cities professional arts community for almost 30 years.”

Under Calvit’s leadership Interact won two Ivey Awards as well as multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. The nonprofit in 2018 received an Innovation Award from the Minnesota Department of Human Services inå recognition of the quality of work coming out of its studio. That allowed for the virtual gallery launch.

Interact has had numerous collaborations with theaters. Visual artists work in galleries throughout the region.

Calvit and the Interact board began planned for the future and leadership succession before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Interact moved creativity sessions for theater and visual arts online, hosted virtual

Harrison-Hadler is new ombudsman

Lisa Harrison-Hadler is the state’s new Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. The appointment was announced by Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

Harrison-Hadler has served as the Deputy Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. She has been leading the agency during the appointment process, after the death of Barnett “Bud” Rosenfeld last year.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed Ombudsman,” said Harrison-Hadler. “While our previous ombudsman’s time at the agency was far too brief due to his tragic passing, I look forward to carrying forward the critical work that he did at OMHDD on behalf of our clients and stakeholders.

The office’s complaint investigation and resolution services, review of deaths and serious injuries, public reports, and advocacy to improve the service system are essential elements of Minnesota’s disability services landscape. I am excited to support and lead our passionate and dedicated staff in protecting and promoting the rights, justice, inclusion, and informed choice of our clients.”

Previously, she was the Regional Ombudsman for Southeast Minnesota and the Southwest Metro. Prior to joining the Office of Ombudsman in 2012, she worked as the community advocacy and development manager, independent living manager and independent living coordinator with the Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living. Harrison-Hadler earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Stout.

The Office of Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities protects the rights of Minnesotans through individual and systemic advocacy. The office is charged with promoting the

exhibits and produced Interact’s first-ever virtual theater event, Zoomtopia.

Joe Price, who joined Interact in 2023 as operations manager, succeeds Calvit. Price is the father of a disabled child. He has a long history as an artist himself, as program director for the U of M/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, and most recently as Department Head of Theater and Dance and Producer of Tent Theater at the University of Missouri.

“After working side-by-side with Joe for the past year, I know he is the best person to take Interact forward into the future.” Calvit said. Her next task is to go through almost 30 years of Interact history on film and in articles and testimonials and to create a living archive that will document and share Interact’s story.

Read Calvit’s story at https://interactcenterarts. org/jeanne-calvit-announcement/

Another key person at Interact, art teacher Deborah Ann Helmke-Wodtke, died in February. She was 71 and lived in Brooklyn Park. She was a hairdresser until a stroke in 1991 left her paralyzed on the left side of her body. She attended Hamline University and after graduating, found her dream career of teaching art to disabled adults at Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. She worked there for many years until her own disability made it too difficult to continue.

highest attainable standards of treatment, competence, efficiency, and justice for persons receiving services for mental illness, developmental disabilities, chemical dependency, or emotional disturbance. The office oversees work done by state agencies, local school districts, and county social service agencies that monitor, provide, or regulate services or treatment to clients. OMHDD also oversees work done by programs and facilities licensed, registered, or certified by the Department of Human Services or Minnesota Department of Health providing services for mental health, developmental disabilities, chemical dependency, and emotional disturbance.

“I am pleased to select Lisa Harrison-Hadler as the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities,” said Walz.

“Lisa has extensive experience serving and advocating for compassionate care, treatment, and justice for all Minnesotans. She is well prepared to take on this role, and I’m grateful for her continued leadership and state service.”

“Lisa Harrison-Hadler is a true servant leader who is dedicated to protecting the rights of all Minnesotans,” said Flanagan. “By advocating for the dignity, fair treatment, and inclusion of all Minnesotans, she is making our state better for everyone. I look forward to working with her.”

New board members named New board members have joined the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (DSAMn). The new members will help DSAMn fulfill their mission to empower individuals and families, to create community, and to celebrate the abilities of people with Down syndrome.

John Estrem is the CEO of Hammer/ NER, one of the largest disability services providers in Minnesota. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Estrem has spent his 35-plus year career in ministry and Human Services.

In 2012, he was appointed CEO of Hammer Residences. In the past 12 years, Hammer has grown significantly, most recently with an acquisition of Northeast Residences, another non-profit provider in the east metro area). They now provide services at 68 locations in the east and west metro. Fifty-nine of these locations are homes and none are an innovative apartment program with 24-hour supports. Hammer & NER also provides case management services, care coordination and operates Hammer Travel. Prior to his role at Hammer NER, he was the executive director of Episcopal Community Services and CEO of Catholic Charities. Estrem has spoken as a housing expert at DSAMn’s statewide conference and he is the former Board Chair of ARRM, the association of disability and housing and support providers.

Dr. Carrie Muench is a board certified pediatrician who has practiced outpatient pediatrics in the west metro area over the last two decades. She has volunteered at several organizations that support individuals with Down syndrome, including the DSAMn, Jack’s Basket and Gigi’s Playhouse. She is currently on leave from outpatient medicine due to the needs of her family, but remains active in local volunteering and is currently participating in the Minnesota Partners in Policymaking course to learn about more ways to support the disability community. Muench has three children. her youngest has Down syndrome.

Dr. Michele Olson is a board certified pediatric dentist and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Minnesota Dental Association and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry. She received her bachelor of science in zoology and chemistry at North Dakota State University and earned her doctor of dental surgery from the University of Minnesota. She worked as a general dentist prior returning to the

University of Minnesota where she earned a certificate in Pediatric Dentistry. She also completed a fellowship in leadership and education in neurodevelopmental disability through the University of Minnesota. She is a clinical director of Special Smiles for Special Olympics and the faculty advisor for the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry Student Chapter. Olson and her husband have two children including a teenage daughter with Down syndrome.

Tara Solem is the district manager and water planner for Lake County. She is a resident of Two Harbors and longtime volunteer with the DSAMn - most recently has serving as DSAMn's Duluth and Northern Minnesota Parent Group cofacilitator. In addition, Solem is a recent graduate of Partners in Policymaking. Tara has three children. Her youngest has Down syndrome.

Appointees are announced

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan have announced appointments to boards, commissions and committees that work with the state.

John Fechter, Wyoming, was reappointed to the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing. The Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing serves as the principal agency of the state to advocate on behalf of the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing Minnesotans by working to ensure those persons have equal access to the services, programs and opportunities available to others.

Jacqueline Buffington, Duluth, was reappointed to the State Competency Attainment Board. Buffinton serves as a mental health professional with experience in competency attainment. The State Competency Attainment Board creates


March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 6
Jeanne Calvit
GO BEYOND YOUR GAMBLING HABIT. FREE GAMBLING RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE. We believe in the power of Independent Living! Contact us today! 651-646-8342 530 North Robert St, Saint Paul MN 55101 Live your most independent life, follow your path! Responsive PCA Choice Services Independent Living Services ADA Information & Referral Covid Community Coordination Transitional and Housing Services Contact us today! 651-646-8342 530 North Robert Street Saint Paul, MN 55101

The new Kaposia Library in South St. Paul joined the Dakota County Library system with a grand opening in February that showcased the building's many modern features and inviting design.

Dakota County leaders, federal lawmakers and local officials pointed to the library's importance as a place for learning and for gathering. It is the county’s most accessible and inclusive library.

Library services have expanded beyond traditional books and research work. Technology has changed and broadened the services that are available, Dakota County Library Director Margaret Stone said.

“What we're also seeing is as communities change, communities need libraries for other reasons — it's the space in the building that people are looking for now," Stone said, calling the library a community hub for social, educational and work gatherings.

One highlight of the new library is accessibility. It is 16,000 square feet on one floor, improving access for all users. It also has a calming room for people who need a comforting space while visiting, and a fully accessible entrance.

Other features include an interactive children's area with a light display, activity wall and other learning resources; multiple study rooms and meeting spaces to accommodate groups of different sizes and iLab creative space equipment, including a 3D printer.

The library also has a Quiet Zone, which celebrates South St. Paul history and features mosaic art and a fireplace. Outside, users will find an outdoor reading space, a pollinator-

Eight from LSS honored with awards for excellence in leadership

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) has recognized eight honorees statewide who received the 2023 President’s Leadership Excellence Award. The award recognizes exceptional employees who demonstrate outstanding leadership, inspire colleagues, drive innovation, and build community.

Some of the awards are for people who work in disability services. Alaina Ericksen is the senior director of Partners in Community Supports or PICS. PICS offers expanded choices and services for individuals with disabilities, older adults and their families. Within two years as the PICS senior director, she led and helped achieve several initiatives, including implementing new outreach efforts to reach rural families and a new business system that offers enhanced solutions to serve more than 1,850 program participants and 3,000 caregivers supporting them.

Jared Griffin is the senior director at Camp Knutson, where his unwavering commitment to campers with identified needs shines through in his work daily. He seeks to provide the highest quality camp experience for all campers and partner staff through Camp Knutson’s first-class camp facilities and programming. His passion for the camp's mission is contagious, inspiring others to join the cause. Under his leadership, the camp continues to grow with generous donor support, dedicated camp staff, and retreat partnerships. Colleagues admire his ability to thrive in challenging situations, offer creative ideas, and lead with compassion and optimism.

Shanon Kalbrener is a regional director for


friendly garden, on-site parking, including EV charging stations and a bike rack.

The $11.4 million project was paid for mostly with the county's share of federal American Rescue Plan Act funding approved during the pandemic.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar applauded Dakota County and cities like South St. Paul for meeting the community's needs.

“Every time a kid reads a new book or gets interested in reading and gets off their phone

LSS Disability Services. Colleagues describe her as a creative thinker, outstanding coach and tireless go-getter who is continually seeking ways to help individuals supported by LSS to grow and lead fulfilling lives. She also leads her team with positivity and inspires others to strive toward their best work.

Melody Raw is a designated coordinator for LSS Disability Services. Since 2017, Raw has played a key role in launching and growing the LSS Employment First Services Program for people with disabilities. She provides leadership and coaching that has resulted in many individuals finding not only finding jobs, but also improving their lives in other ways. On top of her daily job responsibilities, she served as a Healthy Hero during the pandemic and supported individuals in several homes affected by COVID.

and actually learns new things, you've got to remember that's our purpose as citizens — to continue this tradition and pass on this torch of learning," Klobuchar said.

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig thanked city and county leaders for supporting public libraries, especially for children in the community. She recalled attending the Kaposia Library groundbreaking in 2022.

“Now, we are standing in a world-class facility for the citizens of South St. Paul," Craig said.

Other honorees are Erin Sutton, senior director of advocacy; Kathy Sauve, program director for LSS Youth Services in Brainerd; Elizabeth Saevig, senior director of grants and Kim Prinsen, program director for LSS Housing Services

“I am grateful for the unique skills, knowledge and dedication each honoree brings to our organization,” said Patrick Thueson, president of LSS of Minnesota.

Kaposia Library is the 10th location in the Dakota County Library system and the county's first new library in 15 years.

The library project was championed by Kathleen A. Gaylord, a former Dakota County commissioner and South St. Paul mayor. Dakota County Board Chair Joe Atkins recognized Gaylord, South St. Paul Mayor Jimmy Francis and city council members for their years-long pursuit of a new library, along with support from South St. Paul Public Schools.

The former South St. Paul Library building dated to 1927 and while it was well-used and much-loved, access was a challenge. The city approached Dakota County in 2020 with a proposal to stop operating its city-run library and join the county library system.

The name Kaposia honors the Mdewakanton Dakota people and their seasonal village along the Mississippi River in the area of South St. Paul and St. Paul. The library features a translated description of the Kaposia name in Dakota and English.

“To showcase our language — it just doesn't get any better than that," said Andy Vig, director of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community's culture exhibit. The tribal community assisted with the Kaposia translation.

The Kaposia Library is open Monday–Wednesday from noon–8 p.m., Thursday–Saturday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and closed on Sundays. Learn more at

“Their passion for excellence and innovative thinking helps LSS inspire hope, change lives and build community.”

LSS of Minnesota began in 1865 when a Lutheran pastor and his congregation opened an orphanage for children near Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota. Today, with 2,500 employees and 10,000 volunteers, LSS helps one in 65 Minnesotans through services that inspire hope, change lives and build community.

March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 7 Accessible, Affordable Housing Call 800-466-7722 TTY/TDD 800-627-3529 For adults with qualifying disabilities. Over 50 barrier-free apartment communities & homes throughout the Metropolitan Area, Greater Minnesota & throughout the Midwest. Locations also available in many other states. Income limits apply. Immediate openings in Hibbing, MN! Affordable Senior Apartments For qualifying senior households age 62 or better. Metro & Greater MN locations available. Accessible apts, available for seniors in these locations. Income limits apply. Immediate openings in Worthington and Albert Lea, Minnesota Housing with Care* * 24-hour Assisted Living Services * Adult Foster Care * Independent Living Services * Eligibility for or selection of ASI services is not requred to qualify for housing. ASI services are not available in all locations. CORPORATE ADULT LICENSE FOSTER WITH ASLEEP OVERNIGHT STAFFING AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY IN METRO AREA Call Today! Travel with True Friends! Check out our Travel Catalog to plan your adventure: More than 20 destinations in 2024, including: Country Jam USA Magic of Disney Ultimate NASCAR Wisconsin Dells Tanque Verde Ranch Royal Caribbean Cruise And many more! xxxxx
Access, accommodations are offered at new Dakota County library
SIGN UP for e-news and print edition subscribe


New higher education center offers assistance to students

As a means of increasing college options for Minnesota students with intellectual disability, the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration (ICI) has unveiled a new Inclusive Higher Education Technical Assistance Center. The center is collaborating with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as it implements a competitive grant process this spring. The grants will provide up to $1.425 million in the first two years of the program (fiscal years 2024 and 2025) to eligible Minnesota higher education institutions that create or enhance postsecondary education programs providing meaningful credentials upon graduation to students with intellectual disability.

“Universities want to increase enrollment of students from diverse backgrounds, and there is nobody more excluded from higher education than people with intellectual disability and people with disability of any kind, for that matter,” said ICI Director Amy Hewitt.

Established by state statute in the 2023 legislative session, the Technical Assistance Center is coordinating and providing expertise on Minnesota’s inclusive higher education opportunities and providing information to students with intellectual disability and their families, educators, and state agency staff. It is also collaborating with state education officials on the grant program. Mary Hauff, director of ICI’s Minnesota Inclusive Higher Education

Nursing home workers to strike

Hundreds of nursing home workers across the Twin Cities will go on a one-day strike March 5. Workers will stage a one-day strike on March 5 to protest being overworked, understaffed and underpaid.

As Access Press went to press workers at 10 nursing homes had announced an intent to strike: St. Therese Senior Living in New Hope; the Estates nursing homes in Excelsior, Fridley and Roseville; the Villas at The Cedars in St. Louis Park; Cerenity Humboldt in St. Paul and the Villas in Robbinsdale.

Staff said they are burning out from taking extra shifts because of staffing shortages, and that aren’t getting the wages or benefits they deserve.

Jamie Gulley is the President of SEIU Health Care for Minnesota and Iowa, the union representing these nursing home workers. Travis Burth is a union member. Burth has worked for three years at Cerenity at Humboldt Nursing Home. He currently works there as a chef and has been part of the push at the capitol to improve conditions for nursing home workers.

Cerenity Senior Care said in a statement it supports “SEIU Healthcare Minnesota’s position that our associates deserve a wage increase. Associates who work in senior living communities are hardworking, compassionate people who are committed to the care of Minnesota’s elders.”

It also said the legislature needs to fund higher wages for caregivers: “Humboldt has been conducting good faith negotiations for some time and have offered economic incentives at levels higher than market trends. Cerenity-Humboldt will continue to make every effort to reach a satisfactory settlement with our associates represented by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.”

In an interview with MPR, Burth said many care workers regard residents as family.

“So taking this action to go on strike, even for one day, it's a hard decision for us to make. We think it's important to make that decision, however, because of the stakes and what's at issue. And what really is at issue here is that the conditions for workers in nursing homes have deteriorated such that we we're working short, we're working doubles, we're working many days in a row, workers reporting working 20, 30 days in a row. And it's just not sustainable, and so we are taking this action to highlight the conditions in nursing homes and to call for change.”

(Source: Minnesota Public Radio)

Help available for employers

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is rolling out the Employer Reasonable

Consortium, is director of the new center.

“We’re optimistic about the enthusiasm we’ve seen thus far for bringing substantially more opportunities for higher education in Minnesota for students with intellectual disability,” Hauff said. “There are a number of colleges and universities that are, in fact, now pursuing inclusive higher ed initiatives on their campuses. And in conversations with the existing programs, we know there is interest

Accommodation Fund. The funds are for small to medium-sized employers who can request reimbursement for expenses relating to reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities.

Across Minnesota, people with disabilities are working in every kind of job. Some have adapted some part of their job so that it fits how they work with a specific disability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to pay for the cost of reasonable workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities. The new fund from the State of Minnesota is reimbursing small and mid-sized Minnesota businesses for the cost of those accommodations.

The purpose of the new Employer Reasonable Accommodation Fund is to remove any perceived or real financial barriers to hiring and retaining employees with disabilities. For job seekers with disabilities, the fund can take away some of the worry about applying for jobs and asking for needed accommodations.

A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment that enables a person with a disability to do their job. Reasonable accommodations might include better lighting, a standing desk, ASL interpreting, specialized software, and more. A list of some common examples of accommodations can be found at https:// qualifications.jsp

The fund provides details on how the program works, eligibility requirements, and much more. The program coordinator, Ray McCoy is also available to answer any questions and guide employers through the simple reimbursement process. he can be reached at or by calling 651-539-2318.

(Source: State of Minnesota)

DHS purchases Minneapolis housing

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has purchased the new SoPHI apartments at 811 E. Lake St. in Minneapolis.

The 48-unit building includes studio units, as well as modern common areas and a bike storage room. It even is to have a new Los Compos restaurant.

Finance & Commerce reports that DHS has paid $7.575 million to buy the building with plans to launch a new kind of amenity package. The state plans to provide residential and support services in an integrated setting for clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illness.

DHS Health System CEO Marshall Smith explained the project in a news release announcing the acquisition.

“Our programming at the SoPhi apartments will give our clients with disabilities and mental illness the support

in improving and expanding their offerings.”

The center will support colleges and universities to design, implement, and evaluate post-secondary education programs consistent with Minnesota standards that are best-practice, research-informed, and aligned with national accreditation standards.

“They will be truly inclusive programs, where students are part of the fabric of college life and not segregated to separate

they need to live more rewarding and independent lives in an integrated community setting,” he said. “It’s an exciting new level of care that prepares them to be more self-directed, make choices about their lives that most of us take for granted, and participate more deeply in the community where they live, work and play.”

The project has three goals. One is to expand much-needed housing options and quality of life for clients who are able to live more independent lives. It will provide 24/7 staff support to help them to live, work and participate in the community successfully.

It substantially reduces the cost of caring for clients compared with group homes or adult foster care settings. It substantially reduces the number of staff necessary to provide the same level of care.

Minneapolis-based North Bay Cos. developed the building, which opened in 2023. Unit sizes range from 461 to 547 square feet, according to the website. The website indicates that no units are available.

The price works out to $157,813 per unit. The average sales price per unit for apartments in the Twin Cities metro area is $153,833, according to the Finance & Commerce Apartment Sales Tracker at The tracker has recorded the sale of 84,820 apartment units since Aug. 31, 2011.

DHS plans to reserve 24 units for its clients, with 24 available to the public. Rent will continue to be at or near market rates. Level 10 Property Management will continue to manage the property.

The program will be run by the DHS Direct Care and Treatment Administration, which serves about 12,000 people a year with mental illness, substance abuse disorders, and developmental and intellectual disabilities. The announcement notes that because their conditions are complex and

programs that are limited to teaching life skills,” Hewitt said.

About 1,000 Minnesota students with intellectual disability complete 12th grade each year, and there are about 5,000 students with such a disability who are college age. Minnesota’s capacity, however, is limited to about 90 students per year because just three colleges and universities out of more than 200 are designated as comprehensive transition and postsecondary programs.

In February, the center presented a learning community event by Beth Myers of Syracuse University, who leads InclusiveU. The Syracuse program is a federally recognized model for college students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Other projects addressing inclusive education at ICI include the National Center for College Students with Disabilities, the only federally-funded national center with information and resources for future and current college students with disabilities; Community-based, Collaborative Transition Model for Minnesota Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a designated Project of National Significance; and the TIES Center, which works with states, districts, and schools to support the movement of students with disabilities, including those with extensive support needs, from less inclusive to more inclusive environments.

(Source: University of Minnesota ICI)

challenging to treat, other health care providers cannot or will not serve these patients. The DHS-operated health care system includes psychiatric hospitals and inpatient mental health treatment facilities, inpatient substance-abuse treatment facilities, dental clinics, group homes, vocational training sites, and other treatment facilities. In all, DHS delivers these services at about 150 sites statewide.

(Source: Finance & Commerce)

Peer recovery needs cited

Peer recovery specialists have been key to helping many people struggling with addiction, but Minnesota lawmakers are considering safeguards to prevent bad actors in a growing field that has had little oversight.

The peer recovery workers receive professional training and “walk alongside” a person experiencing addiction, helping them set and meet goals, said Wendy Jones, who leads the Minnesota Alliance of Recovery Community Organizations.

“They model from their own lived experience, but they also have a deep knowledge of resources in the community,” Jones said. “It fills that spot that a lot of people need.”

Peer recovery services came under scrutiny amid concerns about the nonprofit Refocus Recovery and its related forprofit company, Kyros. A KARE 11 series highlighted issues with the company, including problems with improper billing. Minnesota’s Department of Human Services Inspector General Kulani Moti said they had been aware of concerns with the organizations before the media scrutiny and have an ongoing investigation into Kyros and Refocus Recovery.

Daniel Larson, who founded Refocus

March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 8

Two new board members named for MCIL

The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) has named to new members to its board of directors. Mai Thor and Joan Willshire will join current board members, providing strategic guidance, valued perspective and expertise in oversight of the nonprofit organization.

Having advocated for disability rights for more than 20 years, Thor brings a deepseated commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion. As a person living with a disability and a leader who has helped design more accessible and inclusive systems for people with disabilities, she has brought meaningful change to the community.

Thor is a 2021 recipient of a Bush Fellowship and was awarded a residency with the College of Liberal Arts Engagement Hub at the University of Minnesota. She is working to develop ab community-informed disability justice framework to incorporate into social justice systems throughout Minnesota.

She received her B.A. from Augsburg University and a master’s degree in nonprofit and public administration from Metropolitan State University. She has worked with the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, and nonprofit agencies to advocate and advance disability community concerns and engagement.

With a passion and mission to advance disability inclusion and equity, Willshire brings a depth of personal and professional experiences to her work. From disability rights, autonomous vehicles, transportation, healthcare, and emergency preparedness, she has deep knowledge of the issues impacting the disability community. She served as executive director of the Minnesota Council on Disability (MCD) for 15 years and brings a thorough understanding of navigating complex public policies across multiple state agencies, legislators, committees, and governors’ administrations.

Willshire has championed disability rights and worked to transform policies and practices across Minnesota. As president of Willshire Consulting, she currently works with businesses and organizations to help them to embrace an intersectional, equity-driven approach to disability inclusion, citing how diversity and inclusion drive innovation, collaboration and success.

“We welcome this ‘dynamic duo’ to the MCIL Board of Directors,” said MCIL Board Chair Beth Fondell. “Mai Thor and Joan Willshire bring impressive backgrounds, proven leadership, and deep commitments to the causes and concerns of the disability community. We are so pleased to have them join us in our continued work. I look forward to their contributions in advancing MCIL’s mission of removing barriers, promoting


From page 6

and administers a statewide, independent competency attainment system that certifies competency attainment programs and uses forensic navigators to promote prevention and diversion of people with mental illnesses and cognitive impairments from entering the legal system. It also supports defendants with mental illness and cognitive impairments, supports defendants in the competency process, and assists courts and partners in coordinating competency attainment services.

Several new and returning members were announced for the Governor’s Advisory Council on Opioids, Substance Use and Addiction The council identifies opportunities for and barriers to the development and implementation of policies and strategies to expand access to effective


From page 8

Recovery and Kyros, was ill Wednesday and unable to respond to an interview request, a spokesman said.

While lawmakers noted frustrations with the organization, they stressed that many recovery community organizations that run peer programs are doing essential work across the state.

Minnesota started to allow recovery community organizations (RCOs) to bill Medicaid for peer recovery services in 2018.

When Minnesota first allowed the billing, there were only a few of the organizations here.

Now, Jones said, there are at least 23.

Jones said her group and the national Alliance of Recovery Community Organizations are launching certification processes to more formally vet organizations that want to do the work.

There are various steps the state could

choices, in assisting individuals with disabilities to live their most independent lives.”

MCIL Executive Director Jesse Bethke Gomez, said, “MCIL is honored that Mai Thor and Joan Willshire have joined our distinguished board of directors. The MCIL board is deeply dedicated, and I welcome the addition of these two extraordinary individuals and all they bring to complement our current board. Their combined experiences and advocacy are inspiring, and their input will be pivotal in supporting the board’s work and our mission. We are profoundly grateful for such a wealth of expertise and guidance to help position MCIL for a promising and productive future.”

Guided by its mission to advance the independent living of people with disabilities by removing barriers and promoting choices, MCIL has assisted people with disabilities in living their most independent lives for more than 40 years. Serving the seven-county metro area through a wide range of services, programs, resources, partnerships, and advocacy, MCIL is among the largest centers for independent living in Minnesota.

services for Minnesotans. The council also examines services, supports, and needs and provides opportunities for Minnesotans who have experienced addiction.

Gavin Bart, Minneapolis, replaces Kyle Christianson. Brandy Brink, North Mankato, replaces Bobby Marines Jr. Suzanne Nash, Chisago, replaces Kate Noffke. Lynne Redleaf, Minneapolis, replaces Arden Two Bears

Farhia Budul, Edina, was reappointed, as were John Donovan, Big Lake; Wendy Jones, St. Paul; Pamela Lanhart, Burnsville, and Kimberly Stokes, Britt.

Appointees were named to the Governor’s Council on Connected and Automated Vehicles. The council reviews developments in connected and automated vehicle technology and intelligent and emerging transportation technology, explores partnership opportunities to remain prepared for the widespread adoption of new

also take to ensure those programs’ integrity, said Kristy Graume, legislative director for Behavioral Health, Housing, Deaf-Hardof-Hearing and Disability Services. State officials have been talking to community members since last year about potential additional oversight and enrollment requirements for providers.

Mandates for individual recovery plans, more review processes and finding a better way to address complaints are also suggestions.

(Source: Star Tribune)

Stay on top of disability news

Do you enjoy our Regional News? Do you want more disability news from our state and region?

technologies, and proposes policies to safely test and deploy connected and automated vehicles.

Stacy Davis, St. Paul, replaces Michael Gorman. Damien Riehl, St. Paul, replaces Phil Magney and is council co-chair. Access Press focuses on groups that have ties to disability issues. The state has more than 200 boards, commissions and committees. Learn more at boards-commissions/

True Friends nears fundraising goal

True Friends was recently awarded $1.25 million in matching gifts from the Sundet family and the Otto Bremer Foundation. These two entities have agreed to match any gifts or pledges to the project dollar-fordollar up to $1.25 million. These gifts, along with the matching dollars, will support the construction of a new recreation center at

Access Press is pleased to offer weekly e-newsletters, to keep readers informed of news in and around Minnesota. This service provides updates between our print editions.

One newsletter covers Regional News. The other provides important health updates, including updates on COVID-19 through our Minnesota Department of Health grant.

Subscribe to our e-newsletters by going to our website, at

Look for the “Subscribe” box and click on that. E-news and print subscriptions are free, but please consider a tax-deductible donation to support our mission of quality journalism for Minnesotans with disabilities, their allies and their organizations. Like many newspapers, we were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Camp Courage in Maple Lake.

The recreation center will provide enhanced accessible amenities including a temperature-controlled, state-of-the-art pool with zero entry, as well as a spacious gymnasium with a stage to support sporting events, performing arts opportunities, and large group gatherings.

The $1.25 million given by the Sundet family and the Otto Bremer Foundation and the matches will go toward the total base cost of the $16 million project that will not only provide upgraded amenities, but improve overall accessibility to the 305-acre location.

True Friends was awarded $10 million from the 2023 Minnesota Legislature, and has launched a capital campaign to raise the remaining $6 million needed to fulfill project goals. Pending fulfilled financial goals, construction will begin in fall 2025. Visit to learn more about the project.

We are moving more options online! Don’t forget to use our free events calendar. Go to the home page, lick listings and find “post an event” under that tab. Remember to list accommodations.

Questions about Regional News and e-newsletters? Contact Editor Jane McClure at or 651-644-2133 ext. 1.

The events calendar, news roundup and health e-newsletters are available for sponsorship. Please contact ads@accesspress. org or 651-644-2133 ext. 2.

March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 9
AND PLACES Be part of our Access Press Directory Next edition: APRIL 2024 Call 651-644-2133 to be included! For your FREE estimate, call 800-649-5215 651-399-3075 Learn more at Changing our customers’s lives, one ramp at a time. • Low cost • FREE home evaluations • Rent or buy • Installed in days “It is important that our clients who struggle with stairs are able to maintain their freedom, dependence and community ties.” Kent Fordyce KENT’S ACCOUNTING SERVICE, LLC 612-889-2959 Fax: 952-472-1458 6371 Bartlett Blvd Mound, MN 55364 Certified ProAdvisor 2022 | 2005-2021
Joan Willshire Mai Thor

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.

The service has 22 new books on this month, with no rebroadcast. This is the first time that has happened since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hear 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

If the book’s broadcast is no longer available in the archive, contact staff librarian Dan Gausman at 651-539-1422 or

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 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 or call 612-562-7803


Monday – Friday 6 a.m.

Blight, nonfiction by Emily Monosson, 2023. A prescient warning about the mysterious and deadly world of fungi―and

how to avert further loss across species, including our own. Read by Dan Sadoff.

Eight broadcasts; begins Tue, March 5.

The Overlooked Americans, nonfiction by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, 2023. How smalltown America’s surprising success reshapes our understanding of the nation’s urban-rural divide. Read by Stevie Ray. 13 broadcasts; begins Mon, March 18.

Past is Prologue*

Monday – Friday 11 a.m.

Half American – Nonfiction by Matthew F. Delmont, 2022. The definitive history of World War II from the African American perspective. Read by Holly Sylvester. 12 broadcasts; begins Wed, March 13. – V, R


Monday – Friday 12 p.m.

Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge, fiction by Spencer Quinn, 2023. A widow in her seventies refuses to be the victim of scammers and goes on an adventurous bid for justice. Read by Yelva Lynfield. 13 broadcasts; begins Tue, March 12.

The Writer’s Voice*

Monday – Friday 1 p.m.

Leading Lady, nonfiction by Charles Busch, 2023. A poignant, deliciously anecdotal account of a talented artist's Oz-like journey in the worlds of Off-Broadway, Broadway and Hollywood. Read by Stuart Holland. 12 broadcasts; begins Mon, March 11. – L

Roald Dahl: Teller of the Unexpected, nonfiction by Matthew Dennison, 2023. A brilliant biography of the much-loved author and creator of countless iconic literary characters. Read by Robb Empson. Six broadcasts; begins Wed, March 27.

Choice Reading*

Monday – Friday 2 p.m.

The Big Sugar, fiction by Mary Logue, 2023. A grisly death near her new homestead draws Brigid Reardon into a complicated mystery soon after her arrival in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1881. Read by Greg Olson. Six broadcasts; begins Thu, March 14.

Be Mine, fiction by Richard Ford, 2023. A man in the twilight of life faces down mortality while caring for his son with ALS.

Read by Don Lee. 13 broadcasts; begins

Wed, March 21. – L

Afternoon Report*

Monday – Friday 4 p.m.

Literature and the New Culture Wars, nonfiction by Deborah Appleman, 2022. An engaging examination of why educators must continue to teach troubling but worthwhile texts. Read by Philip Lowry. Four broadcasts; begins Tue, March 19.

The New Puritans, nonfiction by Andrew Doyle, 2022. A sober but devastating skewering of cancel culture and the moral certainties it shares with religious fundamentalism, and an urgent appeal to return to a truly liberal society. Read by Joseph Papke. 13 broadcasts; begins Mon, March 25. – L

Night Journey*

Monday – Friday 7 p.m.

Bad Summer People, fiction by Emma Rosenblum, 2023. A whip-smart, propulsive debut novel about infidelity, backstabbing, and murderous intrigue, set against an exclusive summer haven on Fire Island. Read by Pat Muir. 11 broadcasts; begins Mon, March 18. – L, S

Off the Shelf*

Monday – Friday 8 p.m.

The River We Remember, fiction by William Kent Krueger, 2023. A dazzling novel set in 1958, where a small Minnesota town is rocked by a shocking murder, pouring fresh fuel on old grievances. Read by Tom Speich. 14 broadcasts; begins Wed, March 6.

My Husband, fiction by Maud Ventura, 2023. A suspenseful and darkly funny debut novel about a sophisticated French woman who spends her life obsessing over her perfect husband—can their marriage survive her passionate love? Read by MaryBeth Redmond. Six broadcasts; begins Tue, March 26.


Monday – Friday 9 p.m.

Culture, nonfiction by Martin Puchner, 2022. An acclaimed professor and public intellectual takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts

All times listed are Central Standard Time.

Abbreviations V – violent content R –racial epithets L – strong language S –sexual situation G – gory descriptions

and humanities in one engaging volume. Read by Brenda Powell. 15 broadcasts; begins Thursday, March 14.

Good Night Owl*

Monday – Friday 10 p.m.

Hell Bent, fiction by Leigh Bardugo, 2023. Wealth, power, murder, and magic: the Ivy League is going straight to hell. Read by Holland Richner. 20 broadcasts; begins Wed, March 6. – L

RTB After Hours*

Monday – Friday 11 p.m.

Happy Place, fiction by Emily Henry, 2023. A novel about a couple who broke up months ago pretending to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends. Read by Pat Kovel-Jarboe. 12 broadcasts; begins Mon, March 11. – L, S I’m a Fan, fiction by Sheena Patel, 2022. A debut novel about a young British woman, power, intimacy, and the internet. Read by Cintra Godfrey. Seven broadcasts; begins Wed, March 27. – L, S, V

Weekend Program Books

Your Personal World, 1 p.m. Sat, presents Breaking the Age Code by Becca Levy, read by Jan Anderson.

For the Younger Set, 11 a.m. Sun, presents The Rat Queen by Pete Hautman, read by Parichay Rudina; followed by Fearless by Kristin F. Johnson, read by Mary Beth Redmond

Poetic Reflections, noon Sun, presents Low by Nick Flynn, read by Mary Knatterud; followed by Civil Service by Claire Schwartz, read by Mary Knatterud; followed by Musical Tables by Billy Collins, read by Joseph Papke; followed by From From by Monica Youn, read by Mary Knatterud.

The Great North, 4 p.m. Sun, presents Confluence: A History of Fort Snelling by Hampton Smith, read by Yelva Lynfield.

GOLD ($500-$999)

Jeff Bangsberg & Anita Boucher

Anne L. Henry

Janice Chevrette

Jane Larson

Ronna Linroth

Brandon Miller

Lynda Milne

Ann and Larry Roscoe

Walter Siebert

Joel Ulland

Kay Willshire



Tech, Inc.

Sarah Berg

Jesse Bethke-Gomez

Jean Christy

Richard Cloud

Margot Cross

Daniel Ness

Dawn R. Doering

Dean Doering


Kim Kang

Steve Kuntz

Brandon Miller

Alexandra Bartolic

Dena Belisle

Tim S. Benjamin

Gretchen Bratvold

John & Marilyn Clark

Tom Clark

Mark Daly

Yoshiko S. Dart

Anonymous Rosebud Elijah

Joel Enders

Lee Ann & Dale Erickson

Laura Fedock

Kent Fordyce

Vicki Garrets

Claudia Fuglie Lael Gatewood Marjorie Goldberg


Jim Musselman

Debra J. Shriver

Robyn Wade

Courage Kenny

Just Comfort

SILVER ($150-$499)

Robert Gregory

Craig Dunn & Candy Hart

Pam Hochrein

Judy Hunt

Rick & Susie MacPherson

Brian Musselman

Manley Olson

Mark W. Traynor & Jen Peterson

Julee Quarve-Peterson

Hilary and Stuart Ratner

Ken Rodgers

Linda Wolford

Amanda & Mark Tempel

Hammer Residences, Inc.

BRONZE ($75-$149)

Mike Gude Terry Hagenah Hammer Residences Ellen & Skip Houghton Maren Hulden

Megan Keyser

Sue Kohler

Steve Larson

Michelle & John LeBlanc

Gene Martinez

John Marty

Tom & Kay Milne

Eric S. Nelson

Daniel Ness Annette M. Pantel

Mark Payette Reach for Resources

FRIEND ($50-$74)

Sandy Lane

Shelley Madore

Andrea McKee

Twyla M. Misselhorn

Debra Norgaard

William & Joan Overby

Laurie Sack

Carrie Salberg

Anita & Luther Schermer/Granquist

Stephanie Schwartz

Jon Skaalen

Laurene Tomaszewski

Lisa Vala

Cathy Wick

Zekerya Yargici

Leslie Zaricor

Richard Ziton

March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 10
BENEFACTOR ($1000 & up)
Mail your donation to: Access Press, LTD. PO Box 40006, Industrial Station, St. Paul, MN 55104-8006 DATE: AMT. ENCLOSED $ NAME ADDRESS CITY/STATE/ZIP PHONE EMAIL SUPPORT
PRESS*  Friend $50+  Bronze $75+  Silver $150+  Gold $500+
 Benefactor
Anonymous Ellen J. Emanuel Steve & JoAnn Erbes Dale Erickson
Catherine Hunter Dale Janiszeski Barb Kane Kim Keprios
& Richard Cortright
Bauer & Pat Cretilli
N. Eustis Thomas Fogarty Give Lively Foundation
Ann Griffith Phil Jacobsma Laura Johnson Mark Knutson Tag Krogseng
Aileen Beall Joanna
Burl Gilyard
Kenneth Latkin
Annette M. Pantel
Sonja Peterson Donn Poll Alina Schroeder
Schwartzbauer Gwendolyn Short Diane Sprague Katherine Tomlinson
VanWagner Katheryn J. Ware Thanks to


Save date for expo

Save the date of Sat, April 20 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. The expo is 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. It is held at the 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.

Goo Goo Dolls at PACER

The 2024 PACER Center benefit will feature the band the Goo Goo Dolls.

The 41st annual benefit is Sat, April 27 at Mpls. Convention Center. Tickets are now available at a range of prices. Formed by Rzeznik and Takac in Buffalo, NY during 1986, the Goo Goo Dolls have quietly broken records, contributed a string of staples to the American songbook, connected to millions of fans, and indelibly impacted popular music for three-plus decades. FFI: 952-838-9000, pacer@pacer. org,

Open Flow Forum

The Artists with Disabilities Alliance meets via Zoom 7-9 p.m. the first Thu of the month - March 7. 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 needing accommodations including ASL interpreting or captioning should contact Sturdevant at Springboard. Funding is available for access needs. FFI: 651-2940907,,

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


Website changes

Young Dance mini golf

Young Dance hosts its third annual Build-Your-Own Miniature Golf Gala, 1 to 6 p.m. Sat, March 23 at Lake Monster Brewing Company, 550 Vandalia St., #160, St. Paul. This year’s theme is to design miniature golf hole inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Work individually or collaborate with friends, utilizing provided materials like cardboard, wood, and tubes to bring your imaginative concepts to life. Skilled construction workers will be present to offer guidance and ensure that the creations shine. At 4 p.m., the course opens to the public for play. Choose one’s price to participate, with a suggested donation of $15 per person. All proceeds directly support Young Dance's mission of transforming lives through movement by expanding access to its inclusive dance programming. FFI 612-423-3064,

DSAMn benefit concert

A benefit concert for the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (DSAMn) is 7 p.m. Sat, March 23 at the Underground Music Café, 408 3rd Ave N., Mpls. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. Attendees must be age 18 or older. The concert features the band Turn Turn Turn and singer/songwriter Adam Levy. This special event aims to raise funds to support DSAMn's mission of empowering individuals and families, creating community, and celebrating the abilities of people with Down syndrome. The event also continues DSAMn’s World Down Syndrome Day Celebrations. FFI: or

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.

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 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 (and


as well as nine more top tips to ensure a collaborative process. Online.

To receive a free monthly events calendar, email and/or Ask for the entire events list or specific lists for ASL interpreting, captioning, audio description, sensory-friendly accommodations or disability-related topics.

For other accessibility resources or upcoming webinars presented by MNAA, sign up for emails at

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.

To post an event, go to www., click the resources tab at top right, and go to the post an event line. This is for Minnesota-focused, disability community events. it is not for business advertising for events that aren’t sponsored by a disability group or organization or that do not have a disability focused. Consider that a small web or print ad can also generate interest in an upcoming event. For questions about ads, email ads@

Access Press reserves the right to reject events if they do not meet our guidelines. Call the editor at 651-644-2133 ext. one or email with events questions.

The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (MNCDD) has announced that the Treat People Like People website tools and resources are now organized into pages: Listen, Learn, Advocate, and a redesigned toolkit.

The new website is designed to spread the message of respect and dignity even further. It is meant to be an aid in raising awareness, fostering inclusivity and challenging assumptions regarding people with disabilities at https://

Children and families

PACER workshops sampling

PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any disabilities. Some in-person 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.

Effective Communication: How is the Year Going? is 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wed, March 20. Spring is always a good time to be sure that a child's IEP team, with a parent or guardian as an equal member, is working well together. The workshop will cover how to approach the team with concerns,

Using Your Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) to Advocate for Your Child and Family is 6:30-8 p.m. Thu, March 21. Families will learn about early intervention services, the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), how they can be involved in writing child and family outcomes, and how to become active participants in the IFSP process. Online.

What’s So Special About Turning Three? is 6:30-8 p.m. Tue, March 26. A child's third birthday is an important day, it marks the transition from early intervention services to preschool. The workshop will explain the difference between early intervention services and preschool special education services. Online.

Preparing for Your Child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meeting is 6:30-8 p.m. Thu, March 28. IEPs for children ages three to five focus on the educational and functional needs of the child. The workshop will help prepare parents to actively participate in the development of their child's IEP. Online.

Tech for Teens Club : Robotics is 10:3011:30 a.m. Sat, March 16 at PACER Center. In a workshop on robotics, participants will learn about robots, construct their own MBot robot, and test the robot in an obstacle course. Register for all workshops.

FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237,

Info & Assistance

Many classes available

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has set up a wide variety

of free and in-person 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 many more.

NAMI Minnesota’s Online Support Groups moved to a new and improved platform, HeyPeers. 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 these classes and how to join in by going to and clicking on “Classes” or go straight to education-public-awareness/classes/ scheduled/

March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 11
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 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 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 CLASSIFIEDS FOR RENT












March 2024 Volume 35, Number 3 Pg 12 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. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.