Access Press in Review

Hey Everybody—Let’s Celebrate!! Access Press is celebrating 15 years of providing the Twin Cities community with important news that affects […]

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Hey Everybody—Let’s Celebrate!!

Access Press is celebrating 15 years of providing the Twin Cities community with important news that affects its disability population. We want to take this opportunity to thank you, our readers, contributors, and advertisers, for being part of our history and to invite you to help us take a nostalgic look over the next few months at what the paper has meant to everyone involved in our journey over the last 15 years.

This next Anniversary issue will feature your reflections, memories and thoughts on the issues or stories you recall from your involvement with us. Whether you have been associated with Access Press since its inception or you are a new friend, OR whether you have worked behind the scenes or have been an outside contributor—we want to highlight your remarks of (one paragraph of 25-50 words) in a special section of the paper. We anticipate a great response, so we’d appreciate receiving your contributions before June 22 so we have plenty of time to make sure we get everyone’s comments included.

Looking Back 1990 – 2005


Access Press (AP), the first newspaper for disability community, came into existence. The main highlights for this issue were Calendar of Events, a Directory of Organizations that runs throughout each year with an updated version. The first Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) support group was founded the same year. Access Press’s first political inquiry … Universal Health Care. American Disability Act (ADA) celebration was a great success. Sister Kenny Institute celebrates its 50th anniversary. The editor Charlie Smith announced a new section Access to Employment.


Time to get some exercise: More fitness programs available in the metro areas. Easy and greater accessibility to MN Zoo, second and third Tuesday of the month was free. Same year Amy and Lester Carlson received award from ABLE (Association for Better Living and Education). Great work! Freedom for residence new accessible MTC routes. More and more information on recreational activities for disability community. King Jordan president of Gallaudet University received a National Courage Award. Highlights and special guidelines on Olympics 1991. The Metro Mobility was in a state of crisis.


Once again, Metro Mobility cut services for three days a week. ADA became effective on January 26, 1992. A complete national Health Care bill was introduced by Senator Wellstone. The Health Right bill was passed. AP was successful in launching its first tape for visually impaired. The United Handicapped Federation officially became Disability Right Alliance. Each month Metro Mobility and Regional Transit Board (RTB) were the main focus.


The editor marked June as Award winning month. Access Press received its first “Outstanding Print Media Award.” Rick Cardenas rises in state politics and Hennepin County provides outreach service to disabled community. The National Bus service withdrew from the Metro Mobility program. RTB reveals its three year plan and also plans to work together with Metro Mobility. Due to under-funding Metro Mobility was falling apart. John Hockenberry receives National Courage Award.


Metro Mobility is still in the same phase and continues to provide poor service under ATE (their service provider). By April 1994 RTB comes up with a new approach to re-plan the Metro Mobility. For the first time a radio program was available for people with disability—“Disabled and Proud.” Free library service available for homebound. September 1994 was celebrated as “Disability Pride,” an alternative to Labor Day. Great news—Billy Golfus video was on world premiere on September 16, 1994. Alan M. Peters received the Minneapolis Award and Anoka County teenager represented state at Austrian Freedom Observance. According to Charlie Smith, Metro Mobility is doing pretty good in the last few months.


Legislative issues were the main focus point for the newspaper. This month the editor focused on Metro Mobility settlement and looming crisis concerning ADA. Once again Governor planned to attack the PCA. Free tax preparation and free library services were available. Ed Roberts died this year. Courage Center nominated for two awards. More news: Monica Seles stabbed by a psycho… she recovered after two years. Metro Mobility cuts its hours and fares change. Town meeting on Medicare and Medicaid was held. Charlie believes if the cuts become effective the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program will have to be cut by 40-50 million dollars. By the end of this year there was no good news for Metro Mobility.


Co-founder of Access Press died in January. The Minnesota Ramp project provides information to families resolving home access problems. Billy Golfus wins national journalism award … sexuality issues for youth with disabilities. Metro Mobility still under-funded and service is poor. The MN Council of Disability is now available on the Internet. October was marked as a National Disability Employment Awareness Month. National Courage Award to Christopher Reeves upsets the community. Metro Mobility “Standby” Program renamed as “Denied Trip Program.”


Congratulations to Minneapolis Advisory Committee for winning another award. Access Press sponsored the first public forum. Minnesota Council of Independent Living (MCIL) became a leader among disability community. This year was marked by controversial issue on cloning … Good or Bad. President Clinton re-authorizes Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Twin Cities disability community took on an international flavor with 10 countries. Kemp a great hero of the disability community died in August. Same year Justin Dart awarded with National Courage Award. Tenants took action against drug dealers at Seward apartment. Around the world 16,000 Japanese women involuntarily sterilized. Father who killed disabled daughter received life sentence. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed by the end of this year.


It’s great to know Access Press officially became non-profit. Same year MCIL controversy over on the new executive director … David Hanox. Social Security was an important national topic. Canada receives International Disability Award. Access Press received it first grant from Headwaters Fund. Nine states teamed up to file a lawsuit against Wendy’s for discriminating against disabled customers … no discrimination on the basis of disability. New services planned for deaf and hard of hearing people. U.S Team received gold and silver medals at 1998 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.


Legislative priorities have always been leading news for Access Press. Metro Mobility announced the new hydraulic lift for the customers. A new bill-Work Incentive-stepped in the right direction for people with disabilities. The death of Chris Berndt was a great loss to disability community. Good news for Hennepin County to receive an award from HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development). Home buying becomes easier for people with disability. Yellow Pages available for blind and visually impaired. Access Press wins the Arc Media Award. Once again Metro Mobility maxed out …. harder to get rides. Light Rail Transit was the main highlight for the year. The end of this year witnessed the Y2K series … the new millennium.


The new millennium has disability website. Bad news for Metro Mobility charged with discrimination. The Association of Severely Handicapped (TASH) releases new CD on disability rights. Charlie’s editorial always focused on legislative issues. Cliff Poetz received Kennedy Award. ADA and IDEA celebrated their tenth Anniversary. The death of Leah Welch was a great loss to the disabled community. Work Incentive Legislation brought some relief to the people with disabilities. PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) introduced a “New Referral Service.” Access Press focuses on the 2000 election. First time ever Senior Mental Health Bill was introduced by Senator Paul Wellstone.

Wellstone proposes Universal Health Care Act. Under this provision each state will be required to provide “Universal, affordable, and comprehensive healthcare.” Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) outreaches training programs for disabilities in Ghana. Access Press receives Medtronic grant. The death of Charlie Smith was a great loss to disability community. He was the founder, editor, the heart and soul of Access Press. His spirit, courage, vision will live on.

Tim Benjamin became our next editor. The paper focused on ADA lawsuits best known as Casey Martin’s decision. Medical Assistant for Employed People with Disabilities (MA-EPD) participant’s premium increased. A new Tiger advantage program will help blind people to access Microsoft Word and Excel. National Courage Award was presented to Janet Reno. A new state program was introduced for people with disabilities. The ground zero September 11th event changed our lives. New 711 phone service for people with disabilities. Access Press remembered the “Holocaust” death camp in Hadamar. Wheelchair users modeling contest was a great success.

Access Press was once again on international news … National Program for People with Disabilities in Ethiopia. Supreme Court updates on ADA issues. NAMI-MN (National Alliance for Mentally Ill) celebrated its 25th anniversary. Main highlights were on the accessible taxicabs and Access North new internet community. We lost another senior leader Justin Dart. The death of six great allies in a plane crash was a great loss!

Our editor highlights budget crunch becoming a reality. Major budget cuts in health and human services. Courage Center celebrates its 75th Anniversary. New travel training program for people with a disability. “Finding Nemo” was a great catch all over the country. For the first time—MN Travel Guide for Persons with Disabilities. Access Press celebrated Charlie Smith’s Award Banquet.

Qwest Consumer advisory panel includes disabled communities. Great! Scholarship program for people with disabilities. Minnesota deficit continues to grow. Disabled community raised its voice in favor of a resolution to the transit strike at a rally. More on national health care insurance and who pays it…Co-op support services. Medtronic announces its newest employee resource group: ABLED. Pete Feigal received 2004 Judd Jacobson Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution for disability community. Remembering with Dignity celebrated its 20th anniversary. MSCOD (Minnesota State Council on Disability) award and recognition luncheon was held in the month of October 2004. Rick Cardenas received Charlie Smith Award and in the same month Medtronic received Secretary Recognition Award.


This year marks the 15th anniversary of Access Press. Medtronic continues support of the Business Leadership Network. U of M students created Disabled Student Cultural Center (DSCC) where students are aware of the needs of students with disabilities. Jan Malcolm was announced as the new CEO of the Courage Center. Roll and Stroll raised $56,000 for services for people with disabilities. “Million Dollar Baby” the movie of the year. Twin Cities hosted largest Annual wheelchair sporting event. Also ADA’s (American Disability Association) celebrates its 15th anniversary.

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