Editor's Column - November 2005

Every one of the 150 or more people who came to the Third Annual Charlie Smith Award Banquet on November 4, 2005 helped to make the evening a success. I had a great time, and I’m pretty sure most everyone else did too. The night took off with the help of Emcee and Chairwoman of the Banquet, JoAnn Cardenas Enos, and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mike Chevrette, who acted as Co-Emcee. They carried the whole evening without a flaw! Thank you both for your efforts, and a round of personal applause to the entire board, Terri Ricci, and all the Access Press staff and volunteers. Their planning for the banquet, like all their work, demonstrates their commitment to the paper and their dedication to the advancement of the disability movement.

The Access Press board expresses through the Charlie Smith Award the gratitude of the entire community to Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD). The 2005 award was accepted by John Tschida and Joel Ulland, co-chairs of the MN-CCD, on behalf all the members of MN-CCD. We are very proud and appreciative of the accomplishments of MN-CCD in last year’s legislative session. John and Joel gave very gracious and informative speeches that were the highlight of the night. It was also great to welcome and thank the past award winners, Margot Imdieke Cross and Rick Cardenas. Their efforts continue to serve our entire community.

We have some good news to pass on to our readers. I’m thrilled to write that Access Press’ website has recently passed the 10,000-visit mark for the year 2005. What really pleases all of us is that the average number of visits per day is growing—from an average of 25 per day during the mid-summer to 96 per day now. And over 30,000 pages have been viewed since January 1, 2005. The website seems to be gaining momentum.

Lupus is the disease we are highlighting this month. It’s a difficult disease to understand and diagnose. It’s one of the autoimmune diseases that attacks a person’s organs. We have a couple of good articles about what lupus is, and a personal story about its effects.

Christine Miserandino explains her “spoon theory,” a way to describe her life with her disability. She uses spoons as a metaphor for personal life energy. It’s a very cool way to explain life with a disability. Next time someone asks me about my disability I’ll be using the spoon theory to explain it.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota (NAMI-MN) has added a local perspective to Chuck Campbell’s article, Prisons: Are They the New State Hospitals? from last month. The article by Sarah J. Krueger of NAMI-MN shows that Minnesota is doing better than the national averages, but we are still failing far too many people in jail and prison who have mental health issues. The best news is that the Minnesota Legislature has the issues on their radar. NAMI-MN is doing their best to keep it on the front burner at the capitol. They’re conducting surveys and collecting solid evidence of what works and where we need to focus our energy and money to minimize this problem. Thanks, Sarah. You and the Building Bridges Project at NAMI-MN are doing great work!

We are very proud and flattered that the Minnesota State Council on Disabilities presented Access Press with the Media Award on October 27, 2005. Cliff Poetz is the first winner of the Council’s new Governor’s Award for outstanding service to the disability movement. Congratulations to all State Council’s award winners.