Editor’s Column – March 2001

I know a number of people have been worried and concerned about my health.  I do believe that the positive […]

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I know a number of people have been worried and concerned about my health.  I do believe that the positive energy created by readers has had a positive effect.  Thank you, and please keep it flowing!   I have asked Jeff Nygaard to write the editor’s column for me this month.

– Charlie


In our front-page story this month, attorney Kathleen Hagen explains the impact of the recent Supreme Court “Garrett” ruling.  By deciding that state employees cannot sue their state governments in Federal court for monetary damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Supreme Court of the United States has sent a frightening message.  Not only did the Court find that there is no “widespread discrimination” against people with disabilities in the United States, but they also appear to be saying that the Federal government has no right to punish states for such discrimination even if it does exist.  We can only hope that future rulings do not go even further along this route, as the Court could call into question the whole idea of the ADA!


Making the transition from being a teenager to being an independent adult is difficult for anyone.  The transition is even more challenging for young people with disabilities, in part because of the low expectations that so many influential adults have for these kids.  On page 3, Mark Siegel from the PACER Center shows that, with the proper approach, we adults can move away from being obstacles in these kids’ journey toward independence, and towards being helpful resources as these young people try to become effective advocates for themselves.  A short list of useful phone numbers appears at the end of his article.


See the story below, and then go visit the DNR accessibility website and start planning your camping trip now  summer is just around the corner!


The update on goings-on at the legislature which appears on page 6 is shorter than we had planned.  Part of the reason
is that our information sources have been so busy lobbying that it’s hard to get them to slow down long enough to write up their reports (see Lolly Lijewski’s column on page 5 to get just a hint of how busy these people are!)  Another reason is that the Governor’s budget caught so many people by surprise that legislators and advocates are still formulating their responses as I write this column.  It’s still early in the session; by next month we should have more to report.  Stay tuned.


As anyone who has been through it will tell you, cancer treatment is a difficult ordeal, often with many ups and downs.  As this issue of Access Press goes to the printer, Editor-in-Chief Charlie Smith is experiencing a major “down” period.  He is in the hospital fighting off a serious infection and other secondary effects of his ongoing treatment for esophageal cancer.  Charlie has been informed that his cancer is more stubborn than had been thought, and his doctors are now recommending a new course of treatment.  Although he is feeling quite poorly as I write these words, we all have hopes that this is just a temporary setback, and look forward to his return at the earliest possible date.  Get well, Charlie!

  • Wash your hands! Hands that look can still have icky germs!
  • Work with your care provider to stay healthy. Protect yourself. Vaccines are your best protection against being sick.

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