Editor's Column - August 2003

We have a legislative success story!  The Brain Injury Association (BIA) was fortunate to have their bill passed and funded.  With so much negative to report on from the Legislature this last session we thought it would be a good idea to spotlight a positive note.  The BIA wanted us to list all the names that were a part of the success; needless to say the list was very long and we couldn’t make room for it, but the BIA thanks all of you that helped: senators, representatives, other disability organization lobbyists and, of course, all self-advocates that were down there keeping the pressure on.  This is a good example of what strong advocacy can accomplish.

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Pete Feigal has written another fabulous column about days gone by and the incredible people that helped him though difficult times.  Also, Ellen has put together some serious thoughts in her spirituality column.  Thanks to both of these wonderful writers!

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The Business Leadership Network has real potential for training and then putting disabled employees in contact with some very large employers in Minnesota.  Amy Farrar has written a short article about their plans for the future.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on this group and will be monitoring their quality of success.  We can only hope that the services available don’t outweigh the need or duplicate what is already working. It’s very exciting to see that major companies are looking to the disability community for employees.

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The federal government almost seemed to be trying to keep it quiet about the proposed changes in the way the Medicaid program is funded.  Jeff Nygaard spotted this and with some research came up with an outstanding look at something our community needs to know.

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The disability movement is active in Cyprus!  Jerry Smith, who has done several documentaries on disability issues, including the documentary on how the developmentally disabled survived the 9/11 tragedy, joined our team this month in giving us an insightful look at disability issues in another culture.  Jerry helped organize some public service announcements for the disability community in Cyprus.  In his article he describes the purpose and process. Thank you, Jerry, for this visit to the Mediterranean.

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Derek VanderVeen has moved into a different role at Access Press.  As many of you know, Derek has been writing for us for almost a year and when the opportunity to move into the editorial assistant position, he jumped in with both feet.  Derek is catching on quickly and could very well have a long future with Access Press.  I’ve given Derek a few inches toward the end of my column to say, “Hi.”

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Derek speaking now.  Here we go.  We’re halfway through another year here at Access Press and we’ve made a lot of progress in the world as a community.  But I want to help make sure we keep going.  I’ve got tons of ideas to get us noticed.  First off is to expand our reader base here at Access Press.  We’ll be covering more issues that might not be necessarily directly disability oriented, but still of interest to our community.  We’ll be making appearances at various events around the Twin Cities so people will know we’re here.  I want to get the community involved, get everyone to see that we all have some degree of disability.  So stop in for a cup of coffee, meet the minds behind the Press and let’s have a great time!