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Volume 30, Number 9

September 10, 2019



Access Press is seeking your matching gift Friends of Access Press are offering a $10,000 challenge to Access Press readers, supporters and stakeholders. For every dollar you donate through September 30, 2019, Friends of Access Press will match 100 percent up to $10,000. This is an opportunity for you to make a difference twice over! Access Press was first published in May 1990 by Charlie Smith to provide voice, accessibility news, and accessible information to the diverse community of Minnesotans with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities. It continues to be the most comprehensive information from the perspective of people with disabilities. Your support is important for advancing the rights of people with disabilities through active engagement in community affairs, civil rights and efforts to gain equal access to employment, education, transportation, housing, social services, entertainment and the freedom to make independent choices. This is why Access Press needs your support to continue to be an active and informative voice in our community. I am proud to serve on the Board of Access Press for the past three years. We have our challenges, as does any print media in an electronic age. But I believe our challenge is serving new populations, including those born after the ADA and those in the aging population learning to navigate life with a disability. Last month I attended the 29th Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) anniversary celebration at Hamline University. Musician, singer, songwriter Gaelyn Lea performed. She is an incredible performer, but it is the words she spoke that resonated with me. She is not a researcher or statistician, but

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important for advancing the rights of people with disabilities through active engagement in community affairs, civil rights and efforts to gain equal access to employment, education, transportation, housing, social services and the freedom to make independent choices."


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -- Helen Keller

Gov. Tim Walz, left, announced the appointment of Jodi Harpstead, far right, as DHS commissioner as supporters look on.

New leader named

Funding, staff woes continue at Department of Human Services by Access Press staff Can a new commissioner right the ship at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS)? That is the question many are raising as the state agency deals with turmoil including resignations and firings, allegations of wrongdoing and $73 million owed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a result of improper payments. The parade of problems has state lawmakers calling for more scrutiny of DHS and even some demands that the massive state agency be split. In early August Gov. Tim Walz named a new commissioner for DHS, which

has responsibilities including services to Minnesotans with disabilities. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota President Jodi Harpstead was tapped to take over as of September 3. She succeeds acting Commissioner Pamela Wheelock, who in turn took over DHS after Commissioner Tony Lourey resigned. While little has been said publicly about the resignations of Lourey and other DHS leaders, some have described events as a power struggle among leaders. Harpstead served in various posts at Lutheran Social Services since 2004 and put in 23 years at medical device maker Medtronic before that. DHS To page 7

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New drive-through window ban raises red flags by Access Press staff Minneapolis has become the nation’s first major city to ban new drive-through facilities. While the measure is hailed by those want a more walkable and bikeable city, it is viewed warily by many people with disabilities and their advocates. The ban was adopted in August by the City Council. Existing drive-throughs can remain, and projects in the city approval process can go ahead. But new businesses wanting to add a drive-through lane or lanes are out of luck. The approved ordinance affects banks, restaurants, coffee shops, pharmacies and any other type of “facility which accommodates automobiles and from which the occupants of the automobiles may make purchases or transact business.” Planning Commission and City Council members contend the ban not only is needed to make the city safer for pedestrians, it also would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The ban has been in the works for the past few years, led by City Council President Lisa Bender. It has support from many groups including the city’s Pedestrian


Advisory Committee. People with disabilities and the city’s Advisory Council on People with Disabilities oppose the ban. They note that for people who have mobility issues, drive-throughs

Access Press thanks this month's issue sponsor!

are needed to pick up medicine and food, and to do banking. “New technology and practices have



Tim Benjamin The state fair is over and the weather’s getting cooler. Soon it will be time to start unpacking the winter clothes, but not yet. I didn’t make it to the fair this year. If you did, I hope you had a great time; the great Minnesota get-together is always a good time to buy things you don’t need, to eat food that’s not good for you, to people-watch and possibly meet some of the state’s politicians. Of course, several of the presidential candidates showed up, too. It seems as though the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has been turned upside down and continues to churn. After Tony Lourey, the governor’s original choice for DHS commissioner, resigned in July, his chief of staff and two deputy commissioners, Claire Wilson

and Charles Johnson, resigned. Then, when Pamela Wheelock came in as acting commissioner, both Wilson and Johnson rescinded their resignations. In another month Wilson resigned again, and she was followed by Marie Zimmerman, the assistant commissioner who was in charge of Medicaid. The new commissioner, Jodi Harpstead, who came on board on September 3, announced that her mission is to “rebuild trust with the people of Minnesota.” On her second day in office, she was called to speak with the Senate committees on health and human services and reform. Several high-ranking legislators are considering making a request for an audit of the whole department. Others, along

I'm asking all readers to make a special donation, and even consider doubling your donation before September 30.

"It seems as though the DHS has been turned upside down and continues to churn. All this uncertainty will surely stall any new funding from the legislature.” with departing acting commissioner Wheelock, are suggesting that DHS be split, making mental health a department in itself. All this uncertainty will surely stall any new funding from the legislature. It doesn’t look good for a number of currently underfunded programs, and even worse for new investments we have been fighting for over the last decade. The PCA crisis is still causing major problems. I spoke with a woman from greater Minnesota recently who had spent almost two weeks in her wheelchair without any assistance to get to bed, bathe or change clothes. After many days, someone offered to put her in bed, but like many of us, she was better able in her wheelchair to take care of some of her needs. She was more able to get food and water, and have access to phones and computers than she would be in bed. Still, I cannot imagine sitting in my chair that long. She was hospitalized after that stint to address a minor pressure sore. I’ll share more of her story in the future as I learn more. I’m very excited by the challenge grant that we have received from Friends of Access Press to match all donations this

month up to $10,000. I’m asking all readers to make a special donation, and even consider doubling your donations, before September 30. Thank you to all our loyal readers and to the Friends of Access Press for this significant investment in Access Press’s longevity. Another rich source of gifts that we deeply appreciate has come from friends of John Schatzlein. Before he died in June, John specifically asked that donations be directed to the paper, and so many of you have responded. In partial tribute to you and to John, we have reprinted a couple of his articles on page 4 of this issue. Work on the website is underway. Our aim is to provide a fresher face and clearer, more accessible features. Take a look at and let us know what works and what you’d like to see improved. Thanks to everyone for your patience as we get our online presence looking and acting more like a 21stcentury website. Enjoy September and the change of seasons, and we will talk in a month. ■


Historic photos continue to provide a view of our past September is back to school time for many in Minnesota. Families take pictures of children on that all-important first day returning to the classroom. Newspapers and television stations also faithfully document the start of classes or bring stories and video of the school experience to the greater community throughout the academic year. That has long included Minnesota students with disabilities. The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities is continuing its work to Mechanic Arts High School document the Minnesota disabiltion contains 60 photos with captions that ity community’s past. A second are presented by decade from the 1900s collection of historic media photographs to the 1990s. Some captions were changed was recently collected and posted on the to utilize current terminology. The work council’s website. was done by Jo Erbes, Stephanie Boucher Council staff has been working with and Brian Anderson. The Minnesota Hisstaff at the Minnesota Historical Society torical Society has granted permission to to find and bring forward the images. have its images used online for the project. While the series of photo albums is One striking point with the photos is meant to illustrate progress in attitudes how learning has changed. A 1905 picture and media coverage over time, it’s interfrom the Gillette Hospital in St. Paul esting to note how many pictures are from shows boys learning in the classroom and educational settings. The second collec-

Co-Founder/Publisher............................................................................................................Wm. A. Smith, Jr. (1990-96) Co-Founder/Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief.............................................................................. Charles F. Smith (1990-2001) Board of Directors.......Mohamed Alfash, Brigid Alseth, Stephen Anderson, John Clark, Jane Larson, Julius Williams, .....................................................................................................................................................................Kay Willshire, Mark Zangara Advertising Sales......... Michelle Hegarty, 612-807-1078 Cartoonist......................................................Scott Adams Executive Director.....................................Tim Benjamin Production........................................................ In-Fin Tuan Managing Editor........................................ Jane McClure Distribution............................................ S. C. Distribution Business Manager/Webmaster......... Dawn Frederick EDITORIAL: Editorial submissions and news releases on topics of interest to persons with disabilities, or persons serving those with disabilities, are welcomed. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. Editorial material and advertising do not necessarily reflect the view of the editor/publisher of Access Press. ADVERTISING RATES: Display Ad: $12 to $28 per column inch (size and frequency of run). Classified Ad: $14, plus 65¢ per word over 12 words. DEADLINE: 25th of each month. CIRCULATION/DISTRIBUTION: 11,000 copies are distributed the 10 th of each month through more than 200 locations statewide. Approximately 450 copies are mailed to individuals, including political, business, institutional and civic leaders. SUBSCRIPTION: $30 per year. Low-income, student and bulk subscriptions available at discounted rates. ABOUT ACCESS PRESS: A monthly newspaper published for persons with disabilities by Access Press, Ltd. Application to mail at Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at the St. Paul, MN 55121 facility. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Access Press at 161 St. Anthony Ave, Suite 901, St. Paul, MN 55103. INQUIRIES AND ADDRESS CHANGES should be directed to: Access Press, The Capitol Ridge Inn Offices 161 St. Anthony Ave; #910, St. Paul, MN 55103; 651-644-2133; Fax: 651-644-2136; email: Website:

Gillette Hospital in the work room. This shows the early emphasis on children with disabilities being taught useful skills, to be able to support themselves. Other pictures show the Michael Dowling School in Minneapolis, which has long served children with disabilities, and remains open today. Another school depicted, the Lindsay School in St. Paul, has been gone for many years. The school was named in honor of one of its funders, because part of the funding was donated by

Mary Helen Lindsay from the Weyerhaeuser forest products family. Another St. Paul school is also depicted. Mechanic Arts High School closed in the 1970s, after being one of the city’s more high-profile high schools. Another picture shows students using wheelchairs in 1949. Students were identified as Joe Hill, Bernadette Reich, Margaret Smack, and Gene St. Martin. Mechanic Arts, which was located where the state’s judicial center is now, was more accessible than other St. Paul high schools. See the pictures and more at http:// The History Note is a monthly column sponsored by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, or and


September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9

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Wanted: a fun loving, personcentered, caring and compassionate individual to make a difference

Advocacy is a key focus for MRCI clients

Statistics show that the Direct Support Professionals workforce is made up of over 3.6 million workers in the United States. DSPs ensure people with disabilities have the necessary supports to enable them to live, work and enjoy life as independently as possible in their community. You may know the DSP title differently such as counselors, coaches, specialists - but one sentiment truly defines them all: heart and soul. At MRCI, we employ more than 3,000 DSPs all across Minnesota in a variety of roles ranging from supporting an individual in their home to helping them be a contributing part of their community. “These professionals are there to help not only with physical needs, but with soft skills and life skills,” says MRCI CEO Brian Benshoof. “The dedication shown by our DSPs to the people we support drives our success and helps fulfill our mission of providing innovative and genuine opportunities for individuals with disabilities at home, at work and in their community.” Because DSPs are the heart of what we do at MRCI, and make a huge impact on individuals with disabilities in our community, we embrace September 9 – 15 known nationally as Direct Support Professional Week. We use the week not only to show appreciation for our many dedicated DSPs, but also to make others aware of the important work. The role of a DSP is crucial to the lives of individuals with disabilities, but it is also a role that most Americans don’t know about.

DSP Matt Hiller meets with three clients at North Mankato City Hall just before they took a tour of council chambers! Hiller helps clients like Adam, Leah and Violet (pictured here) find enriching opportunities to participate in their communities, including advocacy. On the day of this photo, the trio was meeting with City Councilwoman Sandra Oachs and City Administrator John Harrenstein.

Statistics also show the DSP workforce is not keeping up with demand. So providers, like MRCI, keep busy recruiting. At MRCI, recruiting is based on the benefits of a career that consists of more than just a job. “I can’t imagine more rewarding work,” says Mary Jane Bruns, MRCI Direct Support Professional. “Every day I get to help others experience things in life that many of us may take for granted. To those I care for, seemingly simple things make a big impact. Knowing I am making a difference in their lives keeps me coming back every day!” Angela Lallak started at MRCI about four years ago. “I heard about MRCI because I worked in a group home and I would always drop off and pick up my client there. I liked seeing how happy she was when she came home from working and spending the day at MRCI,” says Angela. MRCI is on the front line of supporting an individual’s personal goals to self-direct their own care at home, during transition from high school to work, and even from making career changes ranging from work crew to directly being hired in the community. Developing the skills, interests and talents to be successful at home, at work and in the community is what MRCI is

It was at MRCI that Pam Schindle discovered her passion. She started at MRCI in an administrative role, spending much of her day behind a desk. She quickly realized she wanted to be more hands-on in making a difference at MRCI. She took on a role as work crew supervisor at a community job site. And she has loved every minute. all about for clients and staff. Realizing that, and wanting to be a part of it, Angela applied and started as an assistant adaptive skills coordinator, a year after she was promoted to adaptive skills coordinator. “It’s so rewarding seeing the success of the clients. I love seeing these individuals enjoying life and helping them achieve things they never thought possible,” she says. She says to be a successful DSP it really comes down to one criteria: passion. “Becoming a DSP is definitely an option for anyone who has a heart for helping others,” Angela says. “MRCI can train you once you join our team. Skills can be taught. But if you have a passion for helping others, that’s the most important factor. Passion can’t be taught.”

“I asked to be moved into a direct support position working directly with these wonderful people,” says Pam. “Knowing that my support helps them live and thrive in their community. That’s my passion now. Their success is my success.” Each September, Direct Support Professionals across the country are honored during Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. While MRCI tries to show our appreciation year round, this week is a time set aside to honor and thank the DSPs who are working hard every day to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. DSPs are also the relationship builders who connect individuals to jobs, volunteer opportunities, friends, religious groups and civic life.

If you want to be a difference maker, please connect with us at

Be part of our

Directory of Organizations Next edition: October 2019 24/7 online Contact Dawn today! Phone: 651-644-2133 Email:

September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9


Religion and Disability: The best is yet to come As we prepare to songs she wanted sung at her fuEditor’s note: A great friend to celebrate the many neral, which scripture readings she Access Press, John Schatzlein, strides that have would like read, and what outfit died earlier this summer. In his been made in the she wanted to be buried in. The honor we are excerpting two of last 10 years with woman also requested to be buried his columns that were written for the passage of the with her favorite Bible. the newspaper. Americans with DisEverything was in order and the John asked that Access Press abilities Act (ADA), priest was preparing to leave when be a recipient of his memorian article from the the woman suddenly remembered al gifts. Supporting the paper publication Inroads something important to her. through a memorial gift, or came to mind. In“There’s one more thing,” she said. through our match program in roads is a monthly “What’s that?” was the priest’s August and September, are great publication that reply. ways to help us continue to bring highlights strides “This is very important,” the quality journalism to Minnesothat parishes are woman said. “I want to be buried ta’s disability community. Learn making in becoming with a fork in my right hand.” about the match in this issue. more inclusive. The priest stood looking at the The first column is from July This article is a woman, not knowing quite what 2000 and the second is from reflection on resurto say. March 2005. rection. Whether “Does this surprise you?” she you are a believer in said. resurrection or not, this article is also a posiThe bewildered priest said, “Well, to be tive look to the future. People say, “The best honest, I’m puzzled by this request.” is yet to come.” So it is also with the ADA. The woman went on to explain. “In all my There was a woman who had been diagyears of attending socials and potlucks dinnosed with a terminal illness and had been ners, I always remember that when the dishes given three months to live. So as she was from the main course were being cleared, getting her things in order, she contacted someone would inevitably lean over and say, her priest and had him come to the house to ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part discuss her final wishes. She told him which because I knew that something better was

There are, many issues we all face when presented with functional limnits or loss. Recently, I have had several people come to me with the same basic question: Why me? Many of us have been taught that it’s “God’s will” I have not always been sure this is an answer I can, or want to, believe. December 1999 Every now and then it is important to take some time to look inside and see what we think about our spirituality values. Perhaps we look at where they came from or ask ourselves if we made a conscious choice about them and if we didn’t, should we adjust some of our thoughts. We must challenge ourselves to grown and change when necessary. September 2000

coming … like velvety cake or deep dish apple pie, something wonderful or with substance. So I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, why the fork? Then I want you to tell them ‘Keep your fork. The best is yet to come.’” The priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged her goodbye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that this woman had a better idea of heaven than he did. She knew something better was coming. At the funeral, people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing, and they saw her favorite Bible and they saw the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the priest heard them ask, “What’s with the fork?” During his homily the priest told the congregation of the conversation he had had with the woman shortly before her death. He also told them about the fork and what it symbolizes to her. He went on to tell people how he could not stop thinking about the fork. As he ended the sermon, he said, “Always remember, the best is yet to come.” So, when you pick up your fork, remember that, because of the ADA, the best is yet to come!

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Many of us with functional limitations may be alone for a variety of reasons. This season (Lent) is a time of sadness and rebirth. .. We are taught that we are all made in the image of God. This is difficult to believe sometimes, especially when we don’t like ourselves after an accident, or if a medical condition limits us in some way. March 1999

Million Dollar Baby & The Sea Inside – How Do I Feel? by John Schatzlein I had not heard the plot of the movie Million Dollar Baby until the buzz when Eastwood, Hillary Swank, Morgan Freeman and the movie were nominated for Academy Awards. I went to see it knowing that in the end Maggie (Swank) became a C1-3 quadriplegic, on a ventilator and was assisted in dying by Frankie (Eastwood) her trainer. While watching the movie, I was asking myself, “Can I be honest in writing about my feelings at the end of the movie.” I have spent 34 years in rehabilitation and have seen many newly injured spinal cord individuals (SCI) and many with high cervical fractures that prevented their breathing without mechanical assistance. All these years, many working with and serving SCI folks certainly made me biased. I believe that with proper emergency medical care, the proper surgical intervention and quality rehabilitation education and management, a newly injured person and their families need time to begin to look at the functional changes to their body, not as a death or completely unsatisfying/ poor quality life sentence, but rather as an event that, while catastrophic, does not have to remain that way. Certainly, I can identify with Maggie, who felt there was no purpose for continued life. Like her, they attempted to end their lives themselves or asked others to assist. Some were successful. What I know of the common denominator of these later individuals, unfortunately experienced many of the rationales presented justifying Maggie’s choice. Maggie came from a very difficult home environment, one that seemed to become worse after her father

was no longer in her life. Maggie showed determination, a sense of ownership for her path and a willingness to accomplish her goal with financial success to make her life better. After the unusual cause of her neck fracture, post round ending bell, a blindsided punch by the champion who had been previously knocked down, the stage was dramatically set to change her life. What bothered me was that the hospitalization sequences weren’t very real; although I am certain newly injured individuals do not always get to trauma centers and don’t always get the highest quality of services that are available. Many individuals, with support, can choose to move forward in spite of their physical limitations and experience all they can out of life. I cannot agree with the assisting of her death here. As a general rule I am fearful that as a society we are becoming too willing to accept uninformed individuals making their choice to end their lives. The fear of being a burden to our spouses, kids or others are commonly expressed by persons with disabilities or older American. Add to these fears, society’s constant emphasis on the health care costs and suggestions that severely disabled persons lives are costing too much money. Devaluation of individual worth is on the rise once again. It would appear that at least. The Sea Inside is based on a true story focuses on the life of Ramón Sampedro; a Spanish man paralyzed from the neck down who pursues legal action that will allow him to end his own life. Cared for lovingly by friends and family, Ramón has nevertheless reached a decision, after 26 years confined to his bed, that he does not

want his life to continue. While not able to view it due to its limited showing here in the Twin Cities, my questions would be, why he was confined to his bed, where in Spain did he live and was he provided with opportunities for stimulating, self-directed and controlled activities. This film won best foreign film. Million Dollar Baby won best actress, best supporting male actor, best director and best picture. The Ragged Edge, Edition February 3, 2005 reports that Eastwood states: “I never thought about the political side of this when making the film.” There’s the rub. Eastwood and his film’s liberal supporters have somehow failed to see – and perhaps worse yet, failed to examine – why disabled people would be hurt and offended. Is the notion of preferring to die rather than choosing to live with a disability so commonplace it merits no reflection by able-bodied movie directors, film critics and audiences? Moreover, are the feelings of real, live disabled people so irrelevant in our culture they aren’t even considered when movies such as Million Dollar Baby and The Sea Inside are made?” In all honesty, I could see how Maggie came to her decision at that point in time. I could also feel the turmoil and difficulty of the choice Frankie dealt with as he weighed her request and ultimately gave in to her request. Still euthanasia is, it appears, being promoted for elderly, severely disabled or incapacitated including infants or children. More and more states are taking up the issue. We must stay vigilant, caring, informed and on the defense. Out of control decisions seem to be a sign of the times.

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John Schatzlein was a longtime disability rights activist and contributor to Access Press. The newspaper is designated as a recipient of gifts in his memory.

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Your letters are welcome Access Press welcomes letters to the editor and

commentary pieces from readers, on topics of interest to Minnesota’s disability community. Letters should be no more than 500 words, with 750 words per commentary. Ask the editors if more space is needed. Letters and guest commentaries must be signed by the 161 St. Anthony Ave; #910 St. Paul, MN 55103 authors or authors. Phone: 651-644-2133 With letters, a Fax: 651-644-2136 writer’s hometown Email: is published Website: but not a street address. Please send contact information in case the editors have questions about a letter or commentary. Contact information isn’t published unless the writer specifically requests that the newspaper do so. Pictures of the author can be published with a guest commentary but aren’t required. Access Press asks that letters and guest commentaries be specifically written for the newspaper. Letters must have a focus on disability issues and ideally, a focus on those issues as they affect Minnesotans. Form letters will not be published. Because Access Press is a non-profit publication and must follow regulations on political partisanship, political endorsement letters are not published. That is true for candidates’ endorsements as well as for ballot questions. Before making a submission writers are always encouraged to contact the newspaper to discuss ideas or to ask questions about From Our Community submissions, at 651-644-2133 or Let the newspaper staff know if accommodations are needed to submit a letter or commentary. Letters and commentaries reflect the view of the authors and not the views of the staff and board of directors of Access Press. Deadline for the print edition of the newspaper is the 25th of each month, with publication the following month.


From page 1 she has access to people. She asks questions. She asked people who were born after the enactment of the ADA was enacted if disability was included in their school curriculum. Most had not received any education about the ADA, the disability rights movement and disability culture in school. I also volunteer with adolescents hospitalized for diagnoses of psychiatric and other illnesses. These are young people who are familiar with medical terminology, individualized educational plans and living with a chronic condition. My job is actually to escort my therapy dog Steven on his rounds, but I’ve wondered what these young people know. I started asking them if their schools include any information about disability history, disability culture, or disability rights. Most have not had any disability topics in their education. One young woman learned about Deaf culture in her sign language class. There wasn’t much more. On a personal level, I now talk more about disability. My conversations have gone beyond service dog training to talking about accessing college, acknowledging disability as part of our diversity, and learning about the Americans with Disabilities Act. While this reaches a few, Access Press reaches many. We can do better! Please accept this challenge and keep Access Press as a voice for our community. Jane Larson Treasurer, Access Press Board of Directors

September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9


From page 1 improved access to goods and services; however, it is still a necessity to advocate for barrier removal and equitable access,” Ken Rodgers, committee chairman, said in a letter to the City Council. Residents also objected to the measure. Southeast Minneapolis resident Don Klassen, who has Parkinson’s disease, has been one of the most high-profile opponents of the ordinance. He has cited the difficulty people with disabilities have in getting through a store to get medicine or meet other needs. But some City Council and Planning Commission members pooh-pooh those concerns. Some have said people can use delivery services. One sentiment expressed by Planning Commission Chairman Sam Rockwell is that a ban could lead to building more of a sense of community, as people help older and disabled neighbors meet their needs. Foes of the drive-through lanes cite the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which calls for banning new drivethrough facilities. Minneapolis already had prohibitions on drive-through service in several neighborhoods. Neighborhood activists in 2016 tried to block an Uptown Walgreens from having a drive-through, by passing a “pedestrian overlay’ district. Walgreens got its drive-through but other businesses in that

neighborhood faced opposition. "This just says that we will not have any new drivethroughs in the future," Bender said at one meeting. "We've already restricted drive-throughss in a number of ways.” She and other council members said existing drive-through services will remain and that businesses can renovate the facilities they have. Other cities around the country have different forms of drive-through service restrictions. In Canada, almost 30 cities have restricted drive-through lanes for restaurants. St. Paul has tried to restrict drive-through lanes with zoning restrictions in areas where it wants to promote high-density, walkable development. This includes neighborhoods along Snelling Avenue and the Green Line light rail. Most cities also have a number of restrictions in place on drive-through lanes, such as requiring conditional use or other special types of permits. The permits restrict where lanes can be placed, lighting, noise from speaker boxes and other planning aspects. But despite restrictions, many businesses seek drivethrough lanes. Some food and beverage industry experts estimate the increased business from such facilities as adding 20 percent or more to the bottom line. Read more about the Minneapolis ordinance at http:// ■

VIP Panel improves disability services in Minnesota If you’d like to be a voice for Minnesotans with disabilities, the Disability Hub MN™ Virtual Insight Panel (VIP) wants to hear from you! Since 2017, the panel has brought together 250 Minnesotans with disabilities and those who support them in a unique partnership that improves state programs for people with disabilities. VIP members provide insight through interviews, focus groups and surveys. In turn, VIP feedback is used to actively support messaging and key projects within the DHS Disability Services Division. Consider recent VIP activities: • Disability Hub MN. Disability Hub MN is a free statewide resource network for people with disabilities. VIP members described why they have or haven’t contacted the Hub and how to improve the Hub experience.

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They also listed other preferred sources for information, including case managers, service providers, other people with disabilities and social media. • MnCHOICES Assessment. MnCHOICES is a comprehensive assessment and support planning tool for Minnesotans who need long-term services and supports. VIP members said they want to offer input on how questions are asked, answered and interpreted, as well as what happens after assessments are complete. • Direct Support Connect. Direct Support Connect is a job board and hiring resource for direct support workers. VIP members suggested allowing people hiring workers to be more specific about their needs when posting jobs and making the site easier to use on a mobile device. If you’d like to join the Virtual Insight Panel, apply online at disabilityhubmn. org/my-voice or call the Hub at 866-3332466.

To find out more about disability benefits call the Disability Hub MN™ at 1-866-333-2466

September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9

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REGIONAL NEWS Federal court denies state's motion to end oversight by Jane McClure Federal court oversight of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) actions and policies affecting Minnesotans with disabilities needs to continue, according to an August 28 U.S. District Court ruling. A DHS request to end court oversight was rejected, as an 11-page ruling cited continued concerns with state compliance. The ruling is the latest action centered on a 2011 court settlement and the state’s Olmstead Plan. The mandated plan is meant to ensure that Minnesota is committed to inclusion for all people with disabilities. Donovan Frank DHS is the lead defendant. Plaintiffs in the case are James and Lorie Jensen, James Brinker and Darren Allen, and Elizabeth Jacobs. All are parents of people who were at the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options (METO) facility in Cambridge. The parents took action against the state due to ongoing concerns about the way METO residents were treated and were disciplined, sometimes for seemingly minor infractions. A key objection was to use of seclusion and restraint on residents. The class action case began in 2009 and was settled in 2011. The Jensen case covered about 300 people who had been secluded or restrained while at METO from July 1, 1997 through May 11, 2011. METO residents were restrained and secluded, and punished for infractions that included touching a pizza box. The case had many key outcomes, including the closing of METO and changes to its successor facility. Families received a monetary settlement. Importantly, it also led to Minnesota jump-starting it Olmstead Plan process after years of inaction. The biannual conferences on Olmstead and the Jensen settlement provide the court with required updates on both matters. The Olmstead office and DHS are able to

Athlete seeks another season

An Osseo Senior High baseball player is suing the Minnesota State High School League after he was refused an extra year of eligibility. The senior, who is not named in court records, has played baseball for his school each year since the seventh grade. But because he repeated ninth grade, he has used up all six years of eligibility under league rules. The student in March asked the league to make an exception because of his disability. Court records indicate he has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and a learning disorder. “His success in baseball has been critical to his self-confidence, mental health and sense of belonging,” court documents stated. The league's eligibility committee and board of directors denied the request, saying the student never lost the opportunity to participate in sports for 12 consecutive semesters. The league grants eligibility exceptions in some cases, such as students who are forced to withdraw from school. Officials determined the Osseo student didn’t qualify. The lawsuit states that a seventh year of eligibility would represent a “reasonable accommodation of his disability” under the state's Human Rights Act. The lawsuit against both the league and the Osseo school district initially was filed in Hennepin County District Court. Lawyers agreed to move it to federal court in August. (Source: Pioneer Press)

present their progress, and the plaintiffs are able to bring up areas that haven’t been addressed. District Court Judge Donovan Frank and Magistrate Becky Thorson presided over the most recent review this spring. DHS has tried for the past several years to end court jurisdiction over the Jensen settlement. The court has repeatedly denied that request. The August ruling stated, “As soon as the court receives sufficient evidence that defendants are in compliance with the agreement, and that its jurisdiction may come to a just and equitable end, the court will end its jurisdiction. While defendants may not like the court’s decision to extend its jurisdiction, a manifest error of law is created by disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent—not disappointment by an unhappy party.” As of Access Press deadline, the state hadn’t indicated its next steps. The ruling indicated that the court and state officials continue to disagree on what is needed to end the case. A January court order called for a comprehensive summary report to assess the status of state compliance with the agreement and to determine whether its jurisdiction could end. While state officials contend they have provided enough information to show full compliance with the agreement, the court continues to have concerns and continues to ask for specific actions to be taken. “It appears to the court that defendants’ motion is an attempt to reargue their position that they are in full compliance with the agreement and that anything else they could do is beyond the scope of the agreement. The court has already considered these arguments and rejected them,” the ruling stated.

Activist sues police department

Activist Noah McCourt of Waconia is taking on another Twin Cities area police department. McCourt, who earlier this year settled a lawsuit with Chaska for blocking his access to the city’s social media accounts, is now suing the Bloomington Police Department for allegedly blocking people from its social media. McCourt hasn’t been blocked from the Bloomington department’s social media. McCourt is suing on First Amendment grounds because another citizen, Sumaya Aden, said she was blocked from the Bloomington police Twitter account. Aden had posted tweets criticizing Bloomington police after a four-hour standoff last month in which her brother, 23-year-old Isak Aden of Columbia Heights, was shot and killed. The standoff occurred in Eagan, where neighboring police departments assisted Eagan police. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension later identified five officers who fired their weapons and were placed on administrative leave, one from Eagan and the remaining four from Bloomington. Aden posted more than a dozen tweets blasting Bloomington police, some accusing officers of “murdering” her brother. She said the department then blocked her and possibly others from accessing its Twitter account. She asked others to tweet the Bloomington police and “ask why 4 of their officers murdered my brother & then proceed to block ME, a concerned & frustrated sister looking for answers instead of … working with my family

to give us the answers that we need to help us understand the reasoning behind my brothers murder.” McCourt said Aden gave him a screenshot of what appears to be the Bloomington police Twitter page, which goes by “@BPD_MN” and says: “You are blocked from following @BPD_MN or viewing @BPD_MN’s tweets.” McCourt, who serves on the state’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, calls himself an activist “who pays attention to police brutality around the state.” In May he received a $1,005 settlement from Chaska, which had blocked him from the city’s Twitter account. The city was ordered to restore McCourt’s access and train staffers on First Amendment applications to social media accounts. (Source: Star Tribune)

Housing support approved as new Medicaid benefit

Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities soon will have more help finding and keeping housing, thanks to new services coming to the state’s Medicaid program next year. On August 1 Minnesota received federal approval of housing stabilization services as a basic Medicaid benefit. The new services will be available to seniors and people with disabilities — including mental illness and substance use disorder — who are homeless, living in institutions, or at risk of becoming homeless or institutionalized. The benefit will start in July 2020. When fully implemented, an estimated 7,600 people will receive these services. “This important addition to the Medicaid program will give Minnesotans more ways to find and keep housing,” said Acting Human Services Commissioner Pam Wheelock. “This is a big step toward ending homelessness, while also making sure people live with self-determination and dignity.” In 2017, the Minnesota Department of Human Services asked the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to add Housing Stabilization Services to the state Medicaid plan. Most current housing services provide short-term assistance only during a crisis or transition. The new services will increase long-term stability by supporting people to plan for, find and move into their own homes, while also helping people stay in their own homes in the community. Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Leimaile Ho welcomed news of the housing benefit and the positive impact it will have. “Far too many people are experiencing homelessness and there is a lack of housing that’s affordable," she said. "This new benefit will help build a stronger link between where people want to live and the services they need to have stability in their lives." Advocates will help people with disabilities and seniors find and keep housing, addressing potential challenges such as budgeting, interacting with landlords and neighbors, and understanding leases. (Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services)

Woman challenges job loss

Shannon Enstad had a rough winter in 2018. She tore her ACL. In order to knit the ligament in her knee back together, she had surgery in March. But it would still take six months to fully heal–along with regular physical therapy. She was ready to go back to work in April. She told her employer, Eden Prairie payroll servicing company called Employer Solutions Group (ESG), and told them that she’d be returning on crutches. The pain from her knee was still intense, and she wasn’t able to stand, walk, or lift things as well as she used to, but she assumed she could do her job as an account manager. However, according to a complaint filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August, ESG told her she couldn’t return because she “was not 100 percent healed.”


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September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9

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Funding, staff woes continue at Department of Human Services From page 1 At a news conference, Walz praised Harpstead, noting she was considered for the DHS job before he chose Lourey. “She understands the need to be nimble and mindful of cost savings while never losing sight of the mission of delivering services and promoting healthy communities. Above all else what drew me to Jodi Harpstead was she’s clearly a leader.� “I am particularly proud to join the dedicated people of the department who I know to be the same caring and competent people that I have worked with at Lutheran Social Services,� said Harpstead. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said in a statement that he hopes Harpstead will address problems within the agency and will also join lawmakers in efforts to eliminate fraud and abuse in public programs. “I’m pleased a permanent leader has been put in place at the Department of Human Services who can dig in and work on fixing the culture and problems that have come to light over the past few months,� Daudt said. But Harpstead inherits many challenges, including skeptical members of the Minnesota Legislature. Wheelock was grilled at a hearing just after the hiring announcement.

An overview of problems

Minnesotans with disabilities rely on DHS for a myriad of programs. Community leaders have been reluctant to speak out about the recent problems, although some cite good working relationships, capable staff and programs that they see as running smoothly. But others say they have become frustrated in dealing with a large bureaucracy and in trying to get information about program rules and clarify about funding. DHS has garnered several unwelcome headlines over the summer, including a $25.3 million substance abuse program overpayment to two of the state’s American Indian tribes, another $48 million in improper payments and a series of high-profile resignations and staff ousters. That history drew heated comments from state lawmakers at an August 12 hearing. The hearing lasted for more than three hours and drew pointed criticism from lawmakers at times. Some lawmakers said they were frustrated at the lack of direct answers. Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, at one point said, “There have been problems at the Department of Human Services as long as I’ve been at the legislature. Program integrity, eligibility, project management, transparency, accountability. These problems result in legislative whack-a-mole.� The overpayments drew much scrutiny, which at the hearing focused in the tribal issues. Wheelock said the tribes are obligated to pay back the funds. Tribal leaders said that doing so would have potentially dire consequences for the tribes’ financial health and other program. The money owed by the tribes doesn’t include an estimated $48 million owed to the federal government because DHS improperly distributed funds to certain state chemical dependency treatment providers.

would be difficult to leave the state agency behind but that a fresh start is needed under a new commissioner. Wilson joined DHS in 2016, and was a finalist when Lourey was selected as commissioner earlier this year. Along with disability services and behavioral health, Wilson also oversaw health care, children and family services. Wilson is being followed out the door by Marie Zimmerman, the assistant commissioner for health care. Zimmerman is leaving in early September. She has worked at DHS since 2011 and will continue to be a consultant.

Ex-employees air concerns

Tony Lourey

Pamela Wheelock

It was reported in August that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told DHS in May that it must “immediately cease� payments to a group of substance abuse treatment providers formally known as “institutions for mental diseases.� These institutions include hospitals, nursing homes or other facilities that have more than 16 beds and treat people with mental illness or chemical dependency. Federal Medicaid money generally cannot be used to cover treatment in these facilities. the federal agency ordered DHS to return the money. The improper payments were made to up to 100 providers since 2014. DHS uses money from a consolidated fund to pay for substance abuse treatment in these institutions, according to the department. The agency pulled federal money from the fund when it should have used state dollars instead. DHS officials say they told state lawmakers about the payment problem as early as 2016. But the agency didn’t update its computer systems to fix the issue until May. The staffing turnover and the concerns outlined by staff also raised red flags for state lawmakers.

High-profile resignations

DHS Deputy Commissioner Claire Wilson announced her resignation in late August. It is her second resignation this summer. She and Deputy Commissioner Chuck Johnson resigned in early July. They rescinded those resignations after Lourey and his chief of staff stepped down. Wilson’s responsibilities included behavioral health, which involves the two sets of programs where payment problems have been revealed. But she also worked with programs for people with disabilities and was a panel moderator this summer at the state’s annual Americans with Disabilities Act celebration at Hamline University. In an email to DHS colleagues, Wilson said it

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In the past few months, more DHS employees have aired concerns about agency operations. One of them is Mohamed Mourssi-Alfash. He contends that he was wrongfully discharged from DHS after raising concerns about whether the agency was unfairly targeting minorities with licensing and enforcement actions. Mourssi-Alfash is a disability advocate and former equity coordinator at DHS’s Office of the Inspector General. He is claiming retaliation and that he was pushed out after citing issues of racial bias within the DHS enforcement division. He has filed discrimination and wrongful-termination charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Inspector General’s Office investigates financial fraud and abuse in state-licensed programs and facilities, including child-care centers and group homes for adults with disabilities. The office’s top official, Carolyn Ham, was put on investigative leave earlier this year. That happened after the Legislative Auditor found fraud in the child-care assistance program. It was also found that there was a history of distrust between anti-fraud investigators and Ham. (In the interest of full disclosure, Mohamed MourssiAlfash is on the Access Press Board of Directors but had no involvement in this article.) But retaliation may be nothing new. This summer Compliance Officer Faye Bernstein raised red flags about legality of contracts and was then escorted out of DHS offices. Dr. Jeffrey Schiff lost his job as Medicaid’s medical director after he and DHS officials disagreed over his medical input. Both Schiff and Bernstein testified at the hearing in August. Bernstein said she was told she could lose her job for testifying.

State cancels contracting process

Yet another issue is health programs and how they are affected by a lawsuit. DHS August 30 told health plans it DHS To page 13

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In state government agencies around Minnesota, employees are finding creative ways to deliver services to Minnesotans with greater impact and at a lower cost—such as an antibullying effort for fourth graders that is taught by people with developmental disabilities and a new online Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) resource that allows people with disabilities and those who support them to make informed decisions about employment services. Those programs were among the winners of the 2019 State Government Innovation Awards from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The awards, organized in partnership with the Bush Foundation, recognize 10 projects that find innovative solutions to address the needs of Minnesota residents. Jay Kiedrowski, senior Accepting the 2019 State Government Innovation Award at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs fellow at the Humphrey School were Lesli Kerkhoff and Ryan Merz, Disability Services Division; Janene Cowan, Fiscal Analysis and one of the award judges, and Performance Management Division; and Stacy Twite, Assistant Commissioner for the said the 76 submissions were Community Supports Administration, all from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. evaluated for their creativity, 2007. Its mission is to empower employees and improve sustainability, and cost effectiveness. the effectiveness of state government services. “We had a record number of submissions this year, “There are innovative, thoughtful, and sustainable and they were high quality,” Kiedrowski said. “The improvements happening every day in state winners demonstrated real innovation that will serve the government,” said Alice Roberts-Davis, commissioner of state well.” the Minnesota Department of Administration. “These Minnesota’s state government formally supports State Government Innovation Awards amplify some innovation and efficiency through its Office of Continuous Improvement, which was established in HONOREES To page 13


DHS, Ambassadors for Respect are among Humphrey Institute innovation honorees

September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9

Pg 9

PEOPLE & PLACES Canoeing at Vinland’s main campus in Loretto, Minnesota

Vinland Center provides drug and alcohol treatment for adults with cognitive disabilities. We make all possible accommodations for cognitive deficits and individual learning styles. Located in Loretto, Minnesota — just 20 miles west of Minneapolis.

VSA Minnesota wraps up its work this month, spinning off its many arts programs to other agencies, But before bringing down the curtain, it’s time to celebrate the organization’s accomplishments and salute the staff and volunteers who have done so much for so many. The VSA Minnesota Celebration is 6:30-9 p.m. Mon, Sept. 23 at Illusion Theater, 516 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. Join VSA Minnesota’s board and staff Craig Dunn and Jon Skaalen to celebrate its 33plus years of working to create a

supplied Access Press with its arts listings, Dunn and Skaalen were honored in July at the state’s annual Americans with Disabilities Act celebration at Hamline University in St. Paul. Performers, music, photos, memories, poetry, a look to the future and refreshments will all be part of this evening of fun. More details to be announced. Please RSVP – and send a story, memory or comment if there is a short memory to share. ASL, AD and Open Captioning offered. The event is free and open to the public. RSVPS are requested. FFI: 612332-3888, CHRIS JUHN

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VSA Minnesota takes a final bow

Jon Skaalen and Craig Dunn community where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in and access the arts. For many years VSA Minnesota has

Jerde is new leader for States Services for the Blind Natasha Jerde is the new director for Minnesota State Services for the Blind. She began her duties in August and becomes part of the leadership team for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Jerde is very well known to those who work at State Services for the Blind and in the greater Minnesota disability community. She joined State Services for the Blind in 2008 as a vocational evaluator. She then became a rehabilitation counselor for individuals who are DeafBlind. Her management-level vocational rehabilitation experience was

launched in 2014. As vocational rehabilitation counseling supervisor, she managed a 12-person staff and specialized in policy and rule development. She moved up to director of policy and program administration – a position reinvented following a budget crunch – where she developed and managed policies and ensured they were aligned with state and federal regulations. Then as the interim deputy director of program services, Jerde managed State Services for the Blind’s Workforce Development, Business Enterprises, and Senior Services with a $15 million budget.

One story about her work is that Jerde created an extensive policy and procedure manual for the vocational rehabilitation program. In June Rehabilitation Services Administration representatives visited Minnesota. A monitoring team reported that it was one of the most thorough and comprehensive manuals they had ever seen. Jerde is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout, earning a Master of Science in rehabilitation counseling and vocational evaluation and a Bachelor PEOPLE & PLACES To page 14


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ENJOY! Editor’s note: Much of the content on this page comes from VSA Minnesota, which is shutting its doors Sept. 27. Watch for a new version of this calendar in the October edition of Access Press. Attend the Woofaroo Can Do Canines hosts it annual Woofaroo celebration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat, Sept. 14 at the Can Do Canines facility, 9440 Science Center Dr., New Hope, MN The outdoor family-fun event includes a one-mile fundraising walk, dog costume contest, prizes, dog-centric vendors, food, live music, and more. Fundraise as an individual or as a team. FFI: Walk for Thought The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance hosts the 2019 Walk for Thought at 10 a.m. Sat, Sept. 21 at three locations in Minnesota: Duluth’s Leif Erikson Park, St. Cloud’s CentraCare Health Plaza and Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton. Register a team or walk as an individual FF: Much Ado about Nothing Classical Actors Ensemble presents the Shakespeare mainstay at Lab Theater, 700 N. 1st St., Mpls. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, Sept. 13. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sun, Sept. 22. Tickets $18-42. FFI: 651-321-4024, www.

Gallery Tour in ASL Walker Art Center hosts monthly tours this fall in ASL, at Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls. ASL offered 6 p.m. Thu, Sept. 19, Oct. 17 and Nov. 21. Free, no reservations required. FFI: 612-375-7564, Smokey Joe's Café A touring company presents the songs of Leiber and Stoller, at Ordway Music Theater, 345 Washington, St. Paul. ASL and AD offered 2 p.m. Sat, Sept. 14. OC offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, Sept. 19.


Arden of Faversham Classical Actors Ensemble presents the story of a cheating husband, a jealous wife and a murder plot, at Lab Theater, 700 N. 1st St., Mpls. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sun, Sept. 15. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, Sept. 20. Tickets $18-42. FFI: 651-321-4024,

The Woofaroo is coming up. More information about the can Do canines event is on this page. Tickets $51-$122; Braille, large-print programs and infrared listening systems available at Patron Services in Ordway’s first level lobby. If using ASL or OC, recommended seating locations (subject to availability) are: ORCH-RGT G 307-310, ORCH-RGT H 308-311, ORCHRGT J 309-312. FFI: 651-2244222,

noting if a tactile tour is desired. Two-week notice requested for a Braille program. Five-week notice requested for ASL interpreting. Assistive listening devices available at the box office. Special seating available for persons with mobility issues. Tickets reduced to $15 for AD/ASL patrons (regular $35). Other discounts available. FFI: 507-467-2525 or 800-657-7025,

Sutrajal: Revelations of Gossamer Ananya Dance Theatre presents the tale of a unique dance club, at O'Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, Sept. 20. Tickets $19-32. FFI: 651-690-6700, www.

Bone Mother Sandbox Theatre presents the world premiere of folklore and femininity come to life, at the Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Ave., Mpls. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, Sept. 21 and Thu, Sept. 26. Tickets reserved $24; discounts available. Brown Paper Tickets: 1-800-838-3006. FFI: 612-584-1815,

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On the Verge Commonweal Theatre Company presents the story of a trip through uncharted territory, at Commonweal Theatre, 208 Parkway Ave. N., Lanesboro. AD offered 1:30 p.m. Sun, Sept. 22; pre-show at 1:10 p.m.; tactile tour at noon with advance notice. Please make AD reservations at least one week in advance,

The Birds Theatre in the Round Players presents a drama about attacking birds and survival, at Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Ave., Mpls. AD offered 2 p.m. Sun, Sept. 22. Tactile tour at 1 p.m. upon request based on reservations. Large-print programs and assisted listening devices available at every performance. Tickets $22. Discounts available Fri./ Sun. FFI: 612-333-3010, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Yellow Tree Theatre presents the Tony Award-winning story of a boy who must solve a mystery, at Yellow Tree Theatre, 320 5th Ave. SE, Osseo. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sun, Sept. 22. Please request ASL services at least two weeks before the scheduled performance (which is Pay What You Can). If no ASL reservations have been made by Sept. 8, ASL seating will be released and the interpretation canceled. When ordering tickets, please indicate the need for ASL section seating. AD is offered if requested no later than two weeks before the performance.

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September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9 Pg 11

ENJOY! That’s a wrap for VSA Minnesota

VSA Minnesota is moving ahead toward its Sept. 27 shutdown. Before then, celebrate with Minnesota’s longtime organization for the arts and disability, and plan for its transition. The farewell celebration is 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wed, Sept. 23 at Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 S. 4th St., Mpls. ASL, AD and OC offered. The event is free, and all are welcome. FFI: 612-332-3888, access@vsamn. org One more round of Accessibility in the Arts workshops is planned, 1-4 p.m. Tue, Aug. 13 in Detroit Lakes at the Historic Holmes Theatre, 806 Summit Ave. and Tue, Aug. 20 in Grand Rapids at the Reif Arts Center, 720 NW Conifer Drive. Request any needed accommodations in advance. The workshops are free, but preregister, by calling 612-3323888 or 800-801-3883 or emailing List name and organization, any need for accommodations and which workshop will be attended. Learn about accommodations for people with disabilities, disability etiquette and emerging trends in the field of arts access. Electronic resource lists, internet links and suggested contacts will be provided along with refreshments. The sessions target arts administrators, board members and anyone interested in access to

evening. A 7 p.m. program will feature poetry, spoken word and comments by the artists. The exhibit will run through Thu, Aug. 22. Artists whose works will be featured are D. Allen, Minneapolis — poetry, essay; John Lee Clark, Hopkins — poetry; Mike Harris, Jr., Minneapolis — painting; Harrison Halker Heinks, Edina — photography; Chris Juhn, Burnsville — photography and Shelia D. Nelson, St. Paul — photography. Juhn has photos in this month’s issue of Access Press. VSA Minnesota administered these annual grants for 23 years to enable Minnesota VSA Minnesota staff members have worked for several months to rehome the organization’s programs. Minnesota Access Alliance is taking over the arts calendar. More information about that transition will be available in late August. The alliance also plans to add VSA resources to its website. Springboard for the Arts will take on some services for artists with disabilities. COMPAS will add students with disabilities to its school residencies. The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council is taking on the ADA Access Improvement Grant program for metro area arts organizations. The Guthrie Theater accessibility office will loan out VSA’s caption display (as the theater does now with audio description equipment. VSA Minnesota furniture, equipment and supplies will be made available to other nonprofits.

the arts for people with disabilities. VSA Minnesota’s final Emerging Artists Exhibit and Reception is 6-8:30 p.m. Thu, Aug. 15 at Cowles Center for Dance & Performing Arts, 516 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. AD, ASL and OC offered. The event is free, and all are welcome. Six Minnesota artists who received VSA/Jerome Emerging Artist Grants in 2018 will show their new work at a reception and program. Meet the artists and participate in activities and refreshments that


will continue be open to the general public from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sun. Activities are free with museum admission, which starts at $10 for adults and includes discounts for children and seniors. FFI: www.

From page 10

Large print playbill and advance script available with one-week notice. Assistive listening units available. If cost is a barrier, $5 tickets are available through its Arts for All program. Tickets $28. Other discounts available. FFI: 763-493-8733;

Comedy of Errors Theatre in the Round Players presents a twist on Shakespeare’s comedy about long-lost twins, at Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Ave., Mpls. AD offered 2 p.m. Sun, Oct. 20. Tactile tour at 1 p.m. upon request based on reservations. Large-print programs and assistedlistening devices available at every performance. Tickets $22. Discounts available. FFI: 612-333-3010,

Smokey Joe’s Cafe Duluth Playhouse presents the Leiber and Stoller look back at the glory days of rock and roll, at NorShor Theatre, 211 E. Superior St., Duluth. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, Sept. 26. To reserve an ASL viewing seat, call 218-733-7555. Tickets $35-$50. FFI:

Swede Hollow Ghost Sonata Sodhouse Theater and Black Label Movement present an outdoor performance focused on the immigrants who lived in St. Paul’s Swede Hollow neighborhood, at Swede Hollow Park, St. Paul. Meet at the Drewery Street Pedestrian Tunnel at the intersection of Drewery Ln. and Beaumont St., St. Paul. ASL offered 6 p.m. Sat, Sept. 28. AD offered 6 p.m. Sun, Sept. 29. Free; donations welcome. Online ticket reservations recommended. Comfortable shoes and clothes highly recommended for promenade. Golf carts available for patrons with mobility concerns. FFI: Tour for People with Memory Loss At 10 a.m. on the first Tue of every month the historic James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul, offers a sensory-based tour designed for people with memory loss and their caregivers. Each themed tour, usually an hour or less, highlights three rooms and is followed by an optional social time until 11:30 a.m. with pastries and coffee. Private group tours available for care facilities. Next tours Tue, Oct. 1, Nov. 5 and Dec. 3. Free but reservations required. FFI: 651-2972555, Open Flow Forum The Artists with Disabilities Alliance meets the first Thu of the month, 7-9 p.m. at Walker Community Church, 3104 16th Ave. S., Mpls. Upcoming dates Thu, Oct. 3, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5. Join artists with disabilities and supporters to share visual art, writing, music, theater and artistic efforts or disability concerns. Informal, fragrance-free, with shared refreshments. Facilitators are Dan Reiva, Tara Innmon, Andy Sturdevant and Kip Shane. The church is fully accessible. Anyone needing special accommodations should contact Springboard for the Arts, 651-294-0907. Springboard is taking over the forum from VSA Minnesota and will be distributing the Open Flow notices and Artists’ Pipeline newsletter this fall. Current subscribers will still get information. There may be some small format changes to the look of the newsletter, but otherwise, it will cover the same news and information about artists with disabilities and making the arts accessible to people with disabilities. Submit listings via the Springboard for the Arts website, or by emailing resources@ Ride the Cyclone Jungle Theater presents the story of a freak accident and limbo, at Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, Oct. 3. Contact the theater to request an ASL-interpreted show. Tickets reduced to $24.50 including fees (regular $37 plus fees). FFI: 612-8227063, Aubergine Park Square Theatre presents the story of a Korean family facing death and changes, at Park Square Theatre, Andy Boss Thrust Stage, 20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, Oct. 4. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sun, Oct. 6. OC offered 7:30p.m. Fri-Sat, Oct. 18-19 and 2 p.m. Sun, Oct. 20. Assistive listening devices available. Tickets AD/ASL/OC single ticket discount is half-price for patron and one guest with code ACC (regular $40, $55; previews $27, $37). Other discounts available. FFI: 651-291-7005, The Glass Menagerie Guthrie Theater presents Tennessee Williams’ story of fragile illusions in a Southern family, at Guthrie Theater, Wurtele Thrust Stage, 818 2nd St. S., Mpls. OC offered 1 p.m. Sat-Sun, Oct. 5-6, and Wed, Oct. 9. AD and OC offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, Oct. 11. AD and ASL offered 1 p.m. Sat, Oct. 12. Sensory tour available at 10:30 a.m. ASL offered 7:30 p.m.


Immaculate Heart Freshwater Theatre presents the story of sexual identity, faith at privilege, at Crane Theater, 2303 Kennedy St. NE, Mpls. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, Sept. 26. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, Sept. 27. Tickets $20. Discounts available. FFI: 612-816-8479; www.freshwatertheatre. com

Nate the Great is coming up at Steppingstone Theatre. More information is on this page. Fri, Oct. 18. Tickets reduced to $20 for AD/ASL, $25 for OC (regular $15-93). FFI: 612-377-2224, Nate the Great: The Musical SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development presents the adventures of a junior detective, at SteppingStone Theatre, 55 Victoria St. N., St. Paul. AD offered 3 p.m. Sat, Oct. 5. ASL offered 3 p.m. Sun, Oct. 6. Tickets $10 when VSA is mentioned. Regular $16. Phone: 651225-9265, The Hollow Trademark Theater presents a world premiere production about the dualities of human nature and the mysticism of the outdoors, at Tek Box, in the Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts, 516 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. ASL and AD offered 7:30 p.m. Thu, Oct. 10. Tickets $20. Discounts available. FFI:

Science Museum Sensory Friendly Sundays Science Museum of Minnesota, 120 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul, hosts Sensory Friendly Sundays, 9 a.m. Sun, Oct. 20. Early access to galleries, and a lights-up, sounds-down Omnitheater show, which starts at 9 a.m. Tickets $8.95 to $24.95. Discounts for individuals, families and groups with limited incomes and free for working direct support staff when visiting with a client. Other tools for making a museum visit successful for visitors with autism and other sensory processing issues include pre-visit social narratives available for download online, SF companion scripts for Omnitheater films, noisedampening headphones, SF visitors’ guide, and a renovated wellness room designed to give visitors a private, out-of-the-way space to nurse a child, pray or simply recharge away from the hustle and bustle of a busy museum. Located on Level 4 near the Native American exhibition, the room is outfitted with soft lighting, a door that locks, a changing table, rocking chair, and other seating. Ask at the exhibits entrance for sound dampening headphones, a timer, or a kit containing headphones, fidgets, gloves, and sunglasses. It is available to visitors on a firstcome, first-served basis. The program was created in consultation with the Autism Society of Minnesota (AusM). FFI: 651-221-9444 or 800221-9444, Pipeline Penumbra Theatre presents the story of a young student who is caught in two worlds, at Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, Oct. 26. Tickets $40. Discounts available, including for ASL tickets. FFI: 651-224-3180, boxoffice@

The Rocky Horror Show Park Square Theatre presents the sci-fi fantasy and a chance to do the time warp, at Park Square Theatre, Mainstage, 20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul. Assistive listening devices available. AD offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, Oct. 11. ASL offered 2 p.m. Sun, Oct. 13. OC offered 7:30 p.m. Fri, Oct. 25; 6 p.m. Sat, Oct. 26 and 2 p.m. Sun, Oct. 27. AD/ASL/OC single ticket discount is half-price for patron and one guest with code ACC (regular $55-$70). Other discounts available. FFI: 651-291-7005, www. Sensory Friendly Sundays at the Walker Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls, hosts Sensory Friendly Sundays, 8-11 a.m. Sun, Oct. 13. It is a monthly, free event for kids, teens and adults with autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivities and their families, offering the opportunity to make art together, explore the galleries, watch a short film, or just hang out in a different setting. The galleries will be closed to all other visitors, allowing guests to enjoy the museum in a safe environment where accommodations such as quiet spaces, headphones and fidgets can be provided. In order to ensure an optimal experience and avoid crowds, reserve space ahead of time online. This program was created in consultation with AuSM and the University of Minnesota’s Occupational Therapy Program. Upcoming dates Nov. 10 and Dec. 8. FFI: 612-375-7610, Bakken Museum Sensory Friendly Sunday Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave S, Mpls. offers Sensory Friendly Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. the second Sun of every month. Next date is Oct. 13. The days allow people with autism spectrum disorders and sensory processing differences to have an enjoyable and interactive learning experience in a comfortable and accepting environment. Events will include modified programming for diverse sensory needs and specialized staff training. Bakken Museum is the world's only library and museum devoted to medical electricity. Its SF program was developed in consultation with AuSM. The museum

The Glass Menagerie Sept 14 – Oct 27

by TENNESSEE WILLIAMS directed by JOSEPH HAJ 612.377.2224

Sponsored by

September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9 Pg 12

OPPORTUNITIES Hearing loss? New resource is available

People with hearing loss can learn more about assistive technology, communications access and other issues at a new website launched in August by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The site is designed for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind and late-deafened; people experiencing agerelated hearing loss; and people who live, work and provide services to people with hearing loss. It features captioned videos in American Sign Language, or ASL, and English. Funding comes from a special legislative appropriation approved in 2017. “This website will help all Minnesotans affected by hearing loss,” said Interim Assistant Commissioner Stacy Twite. “We hope they’ll bookmark the site and come back to it when they need information.” The site is organized around the most common issues faced by people with hearing loss: Assistive technology. Information about the kinds of assistive technology can help people discover how they can improve access to communication and environmental sounds. Communications access. The site helps people find ASL interpreters and CART (Communications Access Real-time Translation) services, get telephone equipment, and understand legal issues related to communications access. Life with hearing loss. The site has resources about living with hearing loss and combined hearing and vision loss, as well as options for learning ASL. Information, resources and services. It includes links to information about deaf mentors for families with deaf or hard of hearing children, support groups, and mental health services from therapists fluent in ASL. The site also has information about classes, events and grants. Videos focus on issues such as the Telephone Equipment Distribution program and how to connect with experienced DHS staff. The DHS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Division can be reached at 1-800-657-3663 voice, 651-964-1514 videophone, or email The URL for the website is

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES Family courses on mental illnesses offered NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) offers a free educational course that helps families gain a greater understanding of mental illness, discuss resources, build communication skills, reduce stress and find support. More than 4,000 Minnesota families have benefited from this course. Join others for this series taught by family members who have walked the walk. Two courses are offered soon. The Family-to-Family course meets weekly for 12 weeks on Mondays starting 6:30-9 p.m. Sept. 23 at NAMI Minnesota, 1919 University Ave. W., Suite 400, St. Paul and on Wednesdays starting 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at Canvas Health, 7066 Stillwater Blvd. N., Oakdale. FFI: Dinah, 651-238-6110 (St. Paul) or Marilyn, 651-497-6858 (Oakdale). PACER workshop sampling PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any disabilities. Workshops are at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, unless specified. Workshops are offered throughout the state, with some workshops available online. Advance registration is required for all workshops. At least 48 hours’ notice is needed for interpretation. Many workshops are live-streamed. Check out PACER’s website and link to the newsletter of statewide workshops that allows participants to pick and choose sessions designed for their needs. Simon Technology Center Family Fun Day and Tech Expo is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat, Sept. 21 at PACER Center. From high-tech gadgets to technology that supports everything from play to learning to employment, there will be plenty to explore and try at the Simon Technology Center Family Fun Day and Tech Expo. Come explore the possibilities of assistive technology and enjoy interacting with a variety of devices for children, teens, and adults. Explore our Innovation Lab, learn to code robots, attend story time, and get creative with accessible art and do-it-yourself activities. The event is free but advance registration is encouraged. The ABCs of the IEP: Making the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Work for Your Child is offered 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mon, Sept. 23 in Brainerd. The workshop will help parents understand how to use the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to benefit their child. A PACER booklet will be used to understand how each required part of the IEP can be developed to meet the child’s needs. Parents will gain knowledge about how to participate effectively in the annual IEP meeting. Parents need to bring a copy of their child’s most current IEP, and their child’s most recent school special education evaluation report Ten Topics to Help Your Child Success in School is offered 6:308:30 p.m. Mon, Sept. 23 at Pacer Center. Parents who participate in this workshop will learn about 10 important areas in special education and acquire skills, knowledge, and several useful tools they can use to help their child with disabilities be more successful. The event is funded in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education. Workshops are free but advance registration required. FFI: PACER, 952838-9000, 800-537-2237,

INFO & ASSISTANCE MCIL hosts classes and activities The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living provides many life skills classes as well as fun outings and events for people with disabilities. MCIL is at 530 N. Robert Street, St Paul and most activities are there or start there. Classes and events are listed on the website, www.mcil-mn. org. Click on “Classes Groups and Sessions” for updated information or to print their calendar. Please give two weeks’ notice if the alternative format or other accommodations are needed. Events are free, accessible and mostly scent-free. FFI: 651-603-2030 Classes and support in Sauk Rapids Independent Lifestyles, Inc., 215 North Benton Dr., Sauk Rapids, offers many groups and classes, for free or a small fee. Advocates for Independence meet 2-4 p.m. first and third Wed, for persons with disabilities who wish to increase leadership and assertiveness skills. No classes on holidays. Free. Learn self-dense and improve fitness with a free one-month introductory classes, for both adapted martial arts and Tae Guk Known Do. Wear loose clothing and bring a bottle of water. The classes are on Fridays unless there is a holiday. Scott Ridlon is instructor. FFI: 320-267-7717, 320-281-2042. Mental health support offered NAMI Minnesota offers more than 500 free educational classes and presentations statewide each year, along with help in navigating the mental health system. NAMI also has more than 70 free support groups for people living with a mental illness and their families. NAMI Minnesota hosts a free Get to Know NAMI class 11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. Tue, July 16, at its office at 1919 University Ave., Suite 400, in St. Paul. Meet NAMI staff and volunteers and hear firsthand how NAMI’s work directly affects the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families. Learn about education and support programs and how to advocate for better mental health policies. RSVP. FFI: Kay King, 651-645-2948 x113, In the Twin Cities NAMI has about two dozen family support groups, more than 20 support groups for people living with a mental illness, anxiety support groups, groups for veterans and other groups. Led by trained facilitators, groups provide help and support. Parent resource groups are facilitated by a parent who has a child with a mental illness and who has been trained to lead support groups. A group meets 6:30-8 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday at Eagle Brook Church, 2401 East Buffalo St., White Bear Lake. FFI: Jody Lyons 651-645-2948 x109. Family support groups help families who have a relative with a mental illness. A group meets at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Wed at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1524 Co. Rd. C-2 West, Roseville. FFI: Anne Mae. 651-484-0599. Open Door Anxiety and Panic support groups help people cope with anxiety disorders. One group meets 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. the second and fourth Thu in Room 104, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul. Another group meets 6:30-8 p.m. the first and third Thu

at Woodland Hills Church, 1740 Van Dyke St., St. Paul. A peer support group is offered for LGBTQ adults living with a mental illness. The group meets 1-2:30 p.m. Sat, Living Table United Church of Christ, 3805 E. 40th St, Mpls. FFI: David, 612-920-3925, 651-645-2948. Young Adult NAMI Connection is a free support group for persons ages 16-20. One group meets 7-8:30 the first and third Thu at Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Ave., St. Paul. A group also meets 7-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thu at Dental Office of Dr. Crandall & Associates, 2300 East Highway 96, White Bear Lake. The group is facilitated by young adults who live with mental illnesses and are doing well in recovery. A full calendar of all events is offered online. FFI: 651645-2948, Vision loss group offers activities Vision Loss Resources provides free and low-cost activities in the Twin Cities for people who are blind or visually impaired. Life skills classes for those with low vision; card games, craft classes, book clubs, walking groups, dinners out, special outings and technology classes are among the offerings. Participants need to RVSP to participate, at least three working days prior to an event. The calendar is also available on the Vision Loss Resources website and as a printable large-print PDF document for those who wish to print their own or additional copies. A new policies handbook will be introduced in February. It has been developed to help everyone understand VLR policies, practices and eligibility requirements. Copies will be available in both the St. Paul and Minneapolis locations. All participants attending Community Center activities will need to sign the one-page summary and community center participation agreement form. FFI: RSVP hotline, 612-843-3439; activity line and audio calendar, 612-253-5155, St. Cloud Area Parkinson's Disease group St. Could Area Parkinson’s Disease Support Group typically meets 1-2 p.m. third Mon of each month at ILICIL Independent Lifestyles, 215 N. Benton Dr., Sauk Rapids. Next meetings are Mon, May 20 and June 17. Meetings are open to those diagnosed with Parkinson’s, their families, caregivers and the general public. The free group provides support, education, and awareness about the disease. FFI: 320-529-9000 Hope for Recovery workshop NAMI Minnesota offers Hope for Recovery workshops, six hours of resources and help for family and friends of a teen or adult living with a mental illness. Next workshop is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat, April 13 in St. Paul. The workshops are also helpful for people living with a mental illness who are doing well in their recovery. Obtain information about mental illnesses, treatments, crisis management, suicide prevention, the mental health system and local resources along with practical strategies for helping a loved one or friend. This includes learning the LEAP strategy for improving communication: Listen, Empathize, Agree-on what you can, and Partner. Preregistration required. Bring a bag lunch. FFI: www.


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

We look forward to hearing from you!

Please call 612-726-9341.

September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9 Pg 13

MOVIES What’s more fun than a trip to the movies? Minnesota has several accessible theaters. Be aware there have been changes in Minnesota’s accessible film offerings. Regal Cinemas has closed both of its Minnesota theaters, with the Eagan theater closing in April. Brooklyn Center closed several months ago. The Eagan theater is expected to reopen under new ownership, but accessibility options haven’t been announced. The IMAX theater at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley is closed. The Science Museum of Minnesota Omnitheater still offers the immersive movie experience enjoyed by IMAX fans. The museum and theater are at 120 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul. Tickets are $9.95 adults, $8.95 senior age 65 and older, and children ages 4-12. For online ordering add a $3 service fee. Access features of films include captioning, audio description, amplification, Spanish alternate language (via headset) and large print script. The Greatest Places, Living in the Age of Airplanes, Journey to Space, Tornado Alley and National Parks Adventure are among the films now playing. The Greatest Places, Tornado Alley and Journey to Space end Feb. 28. FFI: 651-221-9444 or 1-800-221-9444, option 2 for Omnitheater film times, reservations or questions, There is an extra charge to visit the museum. To request accommodations for museum exhibits, call at least 72 hours in advance. FFI: 651-221-9406. The museum is open Sun, Tue, Wed. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Thu-Fri-Sat 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Here’s a list of movie theater and their access options, from VSA Minnesota and the theaters themselves: Landmark Theatres has three theaters in Minnesota, Edina Cinema, 3911 W. 50th St., Edina, 952-920-8796; Uptown Theatre: 2906 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-823-3005 and Lagoon Cinema: 1320 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis, 612-823-3020. At its Minnesota theaters Landmark offers CaptiView and Fidelio. FFI: www. AMC Theatres offer assisted listening devices available at all of its theaters, according to the main AMC website. Some theaters offer CaptiView and Fidelio. The Roseville and Eden Prairie theaters offer monthly sensory film experiences through the national Autism Society.

AMC Eden Prairie Mall 18 Theatres, 8251 Flying Cloud Drive Suite 4000, Eden Prairie Shopping Center. Park in upper level lot between Sears and Kohl’s. Accessible films are in Auditorium 7. FFI: 952-656-0010; movie times, 888-262-4386. AMC Showplace Inver Grove 16, 5567 Bishop Ave., Inver Grove Heights, has generally offered open captioned films Wed-Thu. FFI: 651-453-1916; movie times, 1-888262-4386. AMC Rosedale 14 Theatres, 850 Rosedale Center, Roseville. Accessible films are in Auditorium 14. FFI: 651604-9347, 1-888-262-4386, Marcus Theatres has theaters throughout Minnesota and other Midwest states. Closed captioning, open captioning, descriptive narration and assistive listening devices are available. Options vary by location. Marcus has assisted listening devices and CaptiView at its Minnesota locations. Marcus Oakdale Ultrascreen Cinemas, 5677 Hadley Ave. N., Oakdale. FFI: 651-770-4994. This theater uses DTS to superimpose open-captions over the bottom of select movies. Subscribe to an Open Caption weekly e-mailer at the theater website. Marcus Lakes Cinema, 4351 Steubner Rd., Hermantown, and Marcus Duluth Theatre, 300 Harbor Drive, Duluth, offer Rear Window Captioning and DVS. FFI: Hermantown, 218-729-0334; Duluth, 218-722-1573, www. ShowPlace ICON has one Minnesota theater, Showplace ICON at West End, 1625 West End Blvd., St. Louis Park. It offers assistive listening devices, closed captioning and descriptive video services. FFI: 763-515-1177, www. Here’s a guide to additional theater accommodations: For other movie theaters, accommodations vary by theater. Almost all theaters have some area for wheelchair or power scooter seating, as well as companion seating. Many theaters routinely offer assisted listening devices. Websites provide icons to click to find assistive options. Accommodations for other disabilities vary by theater and even among theaters in a chain or group. Accommodations can also change over time, so it’s a worth a call or email to a theater to see what is new. Be aware that not every movie is

designed to be accessible, so having an assistive technology doesn’t guarantee the chance to see a new movie. Rear Window Captioning displays reversed captions on a light-emitting diode (LED) text display which is mounted in the rear of a theater. Patrons who are deaf or hard-ofhearing use transparent acrylic panels attached to their seats to reflect the captions, so they appear superimposed on the movie screen. The reflective panels are portable and adjustable, enabling the caption user to sit anywhere in the theater without bothering patrons in surrounding seats. DVS Theatrical presents concise descriptive narration of visual cues, including actions, settings, scene changes, facial expressions and silent movement, through an FM or infrared system, making movies more meaningful to people with vision loss. The moviegoer hears the narration on a headset without disturbing other audience members and at no extra cost. CaptiView closed caption viewing systems allow moviegoers to read movie dialogue from the comfort of their seat anywhere in the auditorium. Digital Theatre Systems or DTS superimposes opencaptions over the bottom of movie theater screens. Fidelio is a wireless audio system that delivers descriptive narration for people with vision loss and amplified sound for people with hearing loss. Patrons can get a compact audio receiver with a plug-in headset at the box office or bring their own headset. Descriptive narration and closed captioning availability are subject to the content made available from distributors. Other websites outline additional options. Captionfish, at, can help moviegoers find captioned films by city. The American Council of the Blind has an Audio Description Project to enhance movies as well as museums, national parks and live events. It includes many links to audio-described DVDs, Blu-ray discs, television programs and more. Visit www. for more information. WGBH in Boston has worked for years on making movies accessible to all and has been involved in the creation of various forms of accessible technology for moviegoers. Visit for more information.


with federal law, according to Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “DHS puts the care of Minnesotans first,” Harpstead said. “This option is the least disruptive to enrollees and ensures we remain in compliance with federal law. It also gives us an opportunity to work with the Legislature to clarify aspects of the contracting process before we issue an RFP again.”

What could be next?

From page 7 is cancelling its request for proposals for health coverage for families and children in 80 Greater Minnesota counties and seniors across the state. Instead, DHS will enter into negotiations to renew the current contracts for next year. The contracts cover an estimated 400,000 Minnesotans. For more than a decade, DHS competitively bid health care contracts, which involves review by counties and the Minnesota Department of Health. Competitive bidding and other reforms saved the state more than $1 billion. In 2015, the Office of the Legislative Auditor reviewed the process and found it to be sound. A court decision issued on August 30 involving the state’s contracting for health care coverage made it impossible to complete contracts in time to avoid disruption for enrollees and to meet timelines required by law. This action ensures continuity of care and keeps DHS in compliance


From page 9 of the best work from dedicated state team members to better serve their fellow Minnesotans.” The state awards, now in their sixth year, were inspired by the Humphrey School’s annual Local Government Innovation Awards, which recognize schools, cities, townships, and county government entities for their programs and projects. The winners were formally recognized at an awards ceremony on August The DHS award centers on employment. Minnesota has embraced a philosophy as part of a national movement that calls for “Employment First” – that is, an expectation that working-age people with disabilities can and want to work and achieve competitive employment alongside people without disabilities. Many people with disabilities want an opportunity to be part of the general workforce, but don’t see how it’s possible or aren’t given resources they need to work. The Minnesota Department of Human Services and its partners help people with disabilities find competitive, integrated employment. The Employment First dashboards, developed by DHS staff, show employment outcomes for people with disabilities at the state, county, and service provider levels. Comparing these outcomes can provide useful information for individuals making decisions about services to help them find work or be successful in a job. “It’s exciting to have this work recognized by the Humphrey School,” said Stacy Twite, interim DHS assistant commissioner for community supports. “The Employment First dashboards will help us to continuously improve efforts to support employment of people with disabilities and identify best practices.” Another award went to the Department of Administration, Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities for the Ambassadors for Respect—Anti-Bullying Effort for Fourth Graders

Harpstead in the hot seat

Harpstead appeared before a Minnesota Senate panel September 4, telling the panel that she intends to restore credibility to her state department. She announced a 90day plan to restore trust. Citing the recent string of problems, lawmakers said there are many places where Harpstead must work. Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said at the hearing that more DHS employees wish to tell state lawmakers of problems, but that they fear retribution.

Ambassadors for Respect is an anti-bullying program for fourth graders taught by people with developmental disabilities, who have themselves been bullied. Ambassadors for Respect teaches children to address bullying at an early age, and to reflect on their own behavior if they are being hurtful toward others. The program includes active learning activities such as shredding derogatory words and slurs in a paper shredder. The fourth graders also commit to carrying out acts of kindness with each other. More than 3,064 students have been reached. While the students are learning anti-bullying skills, the presenters are learning leadership and presentation skills that in some cases have turned into employment. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Trails Division, was honored for its Parks and Trails for Everyone – The Minnesota Great Outdoors Website. One key focus for this website is to promote parks and trails accessibility. Ambassadors for Respect was one of four award winners chosen to have a video made about its work.

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As state lawmakers continue to hold hearings on DHS, they are hearing and making calls for change. Schiff has called for an independent oversight board to look into the problems at DHS. Legislators are increasingly worried about the agency’s culture of conflict and in some divisions, a lack of accountability. The handling of federal funds is especially concerning as Minnesota could be on the hook to pay those back. Several lawmakers, current and former DHS employees recommended that DHS, which is the state’s largest department, be split up. How that would happen isn’t clear. One idea Wheelock raised is to split off the program that handles sex offenders. Another is to look at related divisions and see which could be split to function on their own. Another proposal is for the DHS Inspector General office to be split off. It investigates fraud and mismanagement, and some lawmakers contend it is in the position of DHS investigating itself. ■

September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9 Pg 14

Polar Plungers start time of chills, thrills


Books available through library services Books broadcast on the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network are available through the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library in Faribault. The catalog is online at, click on the link Search the Library Catalog. Persons living outside of Minnesota may obtain copies of books via an inter-library loan by contacting their home state’s Network Library for the National Library Service. Listen to the Minnesota Radio Talking Book, either live or archived programs, on the Internet at or on handheld devices via the SERO app (iOS or Android). Call the Talking Book Library for a password to the site. To find more about events go to the Facebook site, Minnesota Radio Talking Book. Call 1-800-722-0550, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon through Fri with questions. Daily book listings is also on the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) Newsline. Register for the NFB Newsline by calling 651-539-1424. Access Press is featured on It Makes a Difference, 9 p.m. Sun. The sampling published monthly in Access Press doesn’t represent the full array of programming. Many more programs and books are available. Donate to the State Services for the Blind at deed/ssbdonate Chautauqua* Monday – Friday 6 a.m. Loonshots, nonfiction by Safi Bahcall, 2019. Innovations come about when people bank on a “loonshot”: a new idea whose champions are often dismissed. Read by Marylyn Burridge. 12 broadcasts, begins Mon, Sept. 16. - L

Juntunen. 14 broadcasts, begins Mon, Sept. 16.

Off the Shelf* Monday – Friday 8 p.m. Death and Other Happy Endings, fiction by Melanie Cantor, 2019. When Jennifer Cole’s doctor gives her only three months to live, she reaches out to three people who each had once broken her heart. Read by Holly Sylvester. 11 broadcasts, begins Tue, Sept. 24. – S Potpourri* Monday – Friday 9 p.m. Nights in White Castle, nonfiction by Steve Rushin, 2019. Sportswriter Steve Rushin chronicles his teenage years in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington. Read by Glenn Miller. 10 broadcasts, begins Mon, Sept. 23. Good Night Owl* Monday – Friday 10 p.m. The Passengers, fiction by John Marrs, 2019. In the future, self-driving cars are mandatory in Britain. Eight commuters set out one morning – but their vehicles are

Bookworm* Monday – Friday noon Indian Horse, fiction by Richard Wagamese, 2018. Saul Indian Horse was abandoned by his mother in rural Ontario at age eight. He later uses his hockey skills to carve out his place in the world. Read by Jeffrey Weihe. Seven broadcasts, begins Mon, Sept. 23. The Writer’s Voice* Monday – Friday 1 p.m. The Never-Ending Present, nonfiction by Michael Barclay, 2018. The Tragically Hip is among the most popular and innovative Canadian rock bands of recent years. Fronted by the enigmatic Gord Downie, they came to personify the Canadian spirit. Read by Jim Tarbox. 21 broadcasts, begins Thu, Sept. 26. - L Afternoon Report* Monday – Friday 4 p.m. The Fate of Food, nonfiction by Amanda Little, 2019. Ecology journalist Amanda Little studies how we can feed a hotter, drier, and more crowded world. Read by Michelle


From page 9 of Science in vocational rehabilitation counseling. She holds a certification in DeafBlindness from Northern Illinois University and participated in the Emerging Leaders Institute, the state's premier leadership development program for future leaders. She is a resident of Hammond, WI and reports to the Assistant Commissioner of Workforce Services. State Services for the Blind’s mission is to facilitate the achievement of independence by Minnesotans who are blind, visually impaired or DeafBlind. It plays a critical role in ensuring Minnesota provides for a vibrant workforce by removing barriers to employment, as well as providing the printed word in accessible formats for persons with print disabilities. Its Senior Services operations help thousands of seniors with vision-related conditions that are often a part of aging.

Concepcion wins brain injury group award

Dr. Erwin Concepcion, clinical services director in the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Direct Care and Treatment Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Services Division, was recently honored by the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance for his outstanding contributions to the care of people with traumatic brain injuries. Recognizing his unique expertise in the treatment of brain injuries and co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders – as well as the decades he has spent helping to shape brain injury policy in Minnesota – the organization gave Concepcion its prestigious Elinor D. Hands Outstanding Achievement Award. Concepcion’s many duties for the alliance include serving on its board and writing for its newsletter. The award is named for Ellie Hands, the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota's first executive director, in recognition of the immense impact she had in shaping services for people with brain injury in Minnesota. The award is presented annually to an individual who has significantly advanced the cause of brain injury services. ■

hacked, their lives are threatened, and their survival is up to a top-secret panel. Read by Tom Speich. 11 broadcasts, begins Mon, Sept. 16. – L, V

Night Journey* Monday – Friday 7 p.m. Like Lions, fiction by Brian Panowich, 2018. Sheriff Clayton Burroughs’s relatives once dealt meth and ran moonshine. Now an outside mob wants to expand into his Georgia town. Burroughs must choose between his young family and his outlaw roots. Read by Neil Bright. 11 broadcasts, begins Mon, Sept. 30. – L


RTB After Hours* Tuesday – Saturday 11 p.m. The Other Mrs. Miller, fiction by Alison Dickson, 2019. Phoebe Miller inherited a fortune from her philandering father. Soon she is surveilled around the clock by a shadowy figure – and no one knows why. Read by Andrea Bell. 11 broadcasts, begins Mon, Sept. 23. – L, S Weekend Program Books Your Personal World, 1 p.m. Sat., presents The Gift of Years by Sister Joan Chittister, read by Beverly Burchett. For the Younger Set, 11 a.m. Sun, presents White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig, read by Peter Danbury. (V, S, L) Poetic Reflections, noon Sun, presents The Tiny Journalist by Naomi Shihab Nye, read by Tom Speich; followed by Sweet Herbaceous Miracle by Berwyn Moore, read by Cintra Godfrey. The Great North, 4 p.m. Sun, presents Wild and Rare by Adam Regn Arvidson, read by Andrea Bell; followed by Diesel Heart by Melvin Whitfield Carter Jr., read by John Mandeville. (V, S, L, R) Abbreviations: V – violent content, RE – racial epithets, L – strong language, G – gory descriptions, S – sexual situations

DISABILITY AND PROGRESS KFAI Radio, 6-7 p.m. Thursdays. Host Sam Jasmine and her guests explore a wide range of topics that are important to people with disabilities. KFAI is at 90.3 FM in Minneapolis and 106.7 in St. Paul. Listeners outside of the Twin Cities, or those looking for a past show, will find the show’s archives online at Look for the link to archives and for Disability and Progress. Listeners need to have a Real Audio Player downloaded. A smartphone app is also available to hear archived programs. To make comments or make suggestions, call 612-341-3144, or email disabilityandprogress@ Postal mail can be sent to KFAI, 1808 Riverside Ave. S., Disability and Progress, Box 116, Minneapolis MN 55454. DISABILITY VIEWPOINTS Disability Viewpoints is an award-winning public access television show by and for people with disabilities. Mark Hughes and his team

of co-hosts feature current news, interesting people and groups, and events in Minnesota’s disability community. The show is produced by volunteers at CTV North Suburbs in the Twin Cities. The North Suburban Access Corporation, CTV, is a nonprofit organization that provides community media for several communities in that area. Some shows are archived on YouTube, so search for Disability Viewpoints on that web channel to find past shows. The program has also been shown in the past on tpt. Visit their Facebook page, and www.ctv15. org/ programs/local/dv OTHER PROGRAMMING Access Press is interested in listing regularly scheduled broadcast, cablecast or podcast programs by and for people with disabilities. Programming needs to have a tie to Minnesota or the Upper Midwest. Around the Dial is published on a space-available basis. Anyone with questions can contact

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September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9 Pg 15

REGIONAL NEWS Advocates raise concerns after man is killed

REGIONAL NEWS From page 13

“ESG asserted, without any objective evidence, that Enstad would be a safety risk if she returned on crutches,” the complaint stated. And that’s why ESG fired her. Enstad had turned to the commission for help because she believed she’d been fired for her disability, however temporary. Commission staff invited ESG to talk and “provide appropriate relief.” But the company failed to cooperate. The commission is suing ESG for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Commission officials are calling this case not just “illegal,” but “inexplicable.” “The issue here was so minor,” Chicago District Office Director Julianne Bowman said in a statement. “This employee needed to use crutches for a short time after returning from short-term disability leave. The employer fired her for it, which was inappropriate, short-sighted, and unlawful.” ESG declined to comment. (Source: City Pages)

UCare announces insulin cost cap

UCare, an independent, nonprofit health plan, has filed its final 2020 MNsure Individual and Family plan benefits and rates with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The filing provides members who have diabetes with financial relief through a $25 cap on monthly insulin costs,


Adult support groups offered AuSM offers free support groups for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Groups include those for adult family members, women with autism spectrum disorders and independent adults with autism. Check the website for upcoming groups. Groups meet at the AuSM offices at 2380 Wycliff St. FFI: 651-647-1083 ext. 10,


Be a tutor Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps are seeking 1,700 tutors for the 2019-20 school year by asking residents to Help Minnesota Be More. Give Your Time As A Tutor. Both full- and parttime tutors are being recruited to begin a year of paid service this fall. By joining Reading Corps or Math Corps, individuals will be helping

technology, and conscientious relationship-building, we maintain hope that we can together avert tragedy, and achieve safe community for all. As certified trainers of law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and other professionals, AuSM supports all individuals, families, departments, and agencies who share and uphold our commitment to the safety and prosperity of people with autism and other disabilities. AuSM is dedicated to advocacy and education to drive this important facet of our mission. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said in a statement that responding officers were wearing their body cameras. All have been placed on standard administrative leave. One officer sustained minor injuries. effective Jan. 1, 2020. Rounding out UCare’s suite of diabetes services, the cap applies to all insulin covered by the members’ plan and is available with UCare’s current plans and new HSA plans. “When we designed our 2020 Individual and Family plans, we gave considerable attention to helping our members with diabetes afford insulin,” said Mark Traynor, president and chief executive officer. “As the health plan with the largest enrollment through MNsure, we felt a special responsibility to be part of a solution to this important public health issue.” The pharmacy benefit completes UCare’s full slate of diabetes programs supporting optimal health for members living with diabetes. The cost relief is made possible by recent IRS guidance allowing coverage for insulin benefits outside of a deductible for certain high-deductible health plans. UCare partnered with pharmacy benefit manager and insulin manufacturers on a plan to bring down the monthly cost of insulin for members. (Source: UCare)

Complaint is under investigation

The St. Paul Fire Department is investigating a complaint filed against a fire captain who responded to a call at a mental health care clinic in August. Psych Recovery on University Avenue filed the complaint after clinic staff called 911 for an emergency transport of a suicidal person. Clinic staff said the captain refused to transport the patient.

Goodwill marks century in Duluth

A century ago, Goodwill Industries was established in Duluth with the mission: “Not charity but a chance.” The nonprofit employs hundreds of people with disabilities The work itself has evolved over the years, as different initiatives ebbed and flowed, and Goodwill merged with Duluth Sheltered Workshop. The challenges have evolved, too, just as they have at all brick-and-mortar apparel and furniture outlets. Goodwill thrift stores in the region saw sales drop nearly 8 percent between the most recent fiscal years, and online sales were flat. For the next 100 years, maintaining the mission will mean bolstering the business model. The 10th Goodwill in the country opened in Duluth in 1919 and employed 24 people within a year. “Collections were good and with three stores for outlet of goods there were ready sales for all the reconditioned clothing, shoes and furniture that was possible to get through the shops,” an early history recounted. Though that building burned within the next decade and countless other locations came and went, Goodwill managed to meet a prediction set in 1928: "If everything goes without a set back the Duluth Goodwill is now on a sound basis and with a prosperous outlook." Today it employs 408 people at 15 thrift store locations around the Northland and assists hundreds more throughout the region with community-based employment. (Source: Duluth News-Tribune)

State capitol improves access

People with hearing loss or in wheelchairs will find some parts of the state capitol easier to navigate after changes that were completed during the summer. Two ramps were added on the capitol grounds to provide access to gardens on the south side of the building. Gov. Tim Walz celebrated the new ramps during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The completion of this project marks another step in our commitment to making sure the state capitol is truly the people’s house,” he said in a statement. The work is the latest major accessibility change since a three-year. $310 million top-to-bottom capitol renovation and restoration project was completed in 2017. (Source: Star Tribune)

more than 35,000 students statewide. Reading Corps and Math Corps are statewide initiatives to help every Minnesota student become a successful reader by the end of third grade, and proficient in math by the end of eighth grade. Tutors are being sought for three different levels of commitment: 35, 25 or 18 hours a week. Tutors receive a stipend every two weeks and can earn up to an additional $4,200 for student loans or tuition, which can be gifted to a family member if the tutor is 55 or older. Many tutors also qualify for additional benefits like free health insurance and child care assistance. Sign up soon as tutors start work in August. FFI:,

There is a dress code for volunteers, who need to be ready to help, rain or shine. FFI: Michelle Theisen, The Arc Minnesota at 952-915-3670 or

Help with Tapemark tournament The Tapemark golf tournament has a change in date, moving from June to Sept. 20-22 at Southview Country Club, West St. Paul. The event, which raises money for people with disabilities, relies on many volunteers to make the tournament a success. Spots are available for volunteers with disabilities. Be a start assistant, help with registration or do other tasks. Volunteers get a food and beverage voucher and a T-shirt.

Book readers sought Volunteers are a valuable resource at Radio Talking Book, broadcasting local news and information programs to blind and print-impaired listeners from sites around the state and at the Communication Center in St. Paul. The goal is to provide accurate and timely information to our thousands of listeners throughout Minnesota and across the nation. FFI: Roberta Kitlinski, 651-539-1423


The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating an officer-involved shooting that left a 21-year-old Brooklyn Center man dead. Neighbors said the man was on the autism spectrum. Brooklyn Center police August 31 responded to a call that a man was fighting with his grandparents and threatening them with a hammer. The man was shot and killed by police after a struggle. He was identified as 21-year-old Kobe Heisler. Heisler lived with his grandparents and had autism. Neighbors said the family was quiet and that Heisler grew up playing with neighborhood children. Neighbors said they heard an argument inside the family home before the incident. Heisler’s grandparents have owned the home for more than 50 years. The Autism Society of Minnesota released a statement about the incident. We at the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) are deeply saddened by the death of Kobe Heisler. The members of our staff and board grieve for Kobe’s family, along with all who knew and loved him. His life was important. So, too, is his death. Our greater autism community mourns this tragedy. We encourage those who struggle to cope with subsequent sadness, anger, or fear to contact our team for support and resources. At this time, limited details regarding Kobe’s death have been released. AuSM emphasizes that prevention of incidents such as these should be of utmost priority to law makers, law enforcement, and community members. With diligent commitment to informed and integrated professional training, access to resources and

“It doesn't provide adequate care for treating people's illnesses,” said CEO Sarah Anderson of the response to the incident by the fire department. The patient involved made comments indicating to staff that immediate hospital services were required. Clinic staff then sought transport for an emergency admission to a hospital. The captain disagreed with the clinic staff’s assessment of the situation, saying that the patient seemed competent and didn’t appear to be in need of hospitalization. Transport was then refused. Psych Recovery staff said they provided the patient with additional resources for care. “The city is actively engaged in assuring our responders have the tools, training and resources needed to appropriately and effectively respond to these calls for assistance,” said Matt Simpson, St Paul Fire Assistant Chief of Emergency Medical Services. “There is a commitment in assuring that we are positioned to provide the proper level of care and assistance to all who rely on our services in a time of need.” (Source: KSTP-TV)

Open the door to education Help adults reach their educational goals and earn their GED. Tutor, teach or assist in a classroom with the Minnesota Literacy Council. Give 2-3 hours a week and help people expand their opportunities and change their lives through education. Provides training and support and accommodations for volunteers with disabilities. FFI: Allison, 651-2519110,,

For Rent Calvary Center Apts: 7650 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, MN. A Section 8 building now accepting applications for our waiting list. Call 9 am to 4 pm, Mon – Fri 763-546-4988 for an application. Equal Opportunity Housing. Find your new home with At Home Apartments. Call 651-224-1234 or visit for an apartment or town home. Equal Opportunity Housing. Legal Technology Project Manager Legal Services State Support/Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. For more info go to: Legal Services Project & Training Manager Legal Services State Support/Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. For more info go to: Classified rates: $15 (first 18 words) and 65¢ per word thereafter. Classified ads prepaid. Mail to: Access Press, Capitol Ridge Inn Offices; 161 St. Anthony Ave; #910; St. Paul, MN 55103; Phone: 651-644-2133; Fax 651-644-2136; Email:

September 10, 2019 Volume 30, Number 9 Pg 16

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