Happy Holidays to all of you. It seems like just yesterday that we moved from 1999 to 2000, and now it’s 2005! Access Press has had a very good year. In the past year we’ve had over 40 talented writers contribute to the paper. Many new advertisers have joined the ranks to support Access Press, so please support them! My goal for 2005 is to improve the advertising revenue and spend more time on building the individual contributors, the “Friends” of Access Press. I hope that all of you individual contributors will continue your generosity throughout the next year and far into the future. In return for your dedication I will continue to look for interesting articles and insightful stories for you all to read. If any of you have ideas on new columns, articles or improvements that you would like to see please don’t hesitate to call, write or drop-in. I’m completely open to your advice and suggestions.
Eric Stevens is leaving Courage Center after six successful years. Eric implemented many changes at Courage Center during his six years as Executive Director. The biggest one, of course, was the remodeling of the Courage residence. Eric has done a great job of representing Courage Center positively within the disability community. We wish him well. He is a wealth of information for all of us in the nonprofit world and it is unfortunate to lose him. We hope he continues to keep in contact with the disability community.
The legislative session will be starting soon and it’s time to call and make appointments to meet your Senator and Representative and introduce yourself and your thoughts on disability issues. Beginning this month, Access Press will be publishing many of the position papers of many disability organizations. Contact the organization that you are connected with and offer your help on the issues that you would like to advocate for passage. There is a huge budget deficit again this year, as you all know, so we will have to fight so that we don’t lose any of our benefits or programs. Lances’ essay on Balkanization is something we all need to consider as we move into this legislative session. We need to have a combined front, bring only one voice to the capitol for the betterment of all people with disabilities. There are many options that would permit balancing the budget and maintaining the rights of all Minnesotans. I am not alone in hoping that Govenor Pawlenty and his administration will reevaluate their position on raising taxes.
The “Horrified Moms’” story from Kathy Sanders, offers an unique and amused look at how some folks view people with disabilities differently from what we view ourselves. Take a minute send us your own stories of similar situations where people with disabilities have been portrayed as something other than what we are.
Pete Feigel has been ill and has not been able to write for the last few months. We wish him well and hope he returns to us in 2005. Jeni Mundl has some great (and free!) ideas in the technology column this month. Thanks, Jeni, and get well, Pete!