Editor's Column - October 2004

The elections will be over soon and plenty of new officials will take their places alongside incumbents. We can hope for enough new ideas and enough old experience to make positive things happen within our state and country. At this point, it’s hard to see any resolution in Iraq anytime soon. We can only support our soldiers and push to stabilize that part of the world. Whoever the president is, we must encourage him to find a quick way to stop the killing — and the creation of thousands of lifetime disabilities.

But before you go to your voting location, make sure you read pages 4 – 7 for the statements on disability issues from Bush and Kerry. They give an enlightening look at both candidates and how they view the needs of people with disabilities. We thank the American Association for People with Disabilities for allowing us to reprint this questionnaire. We also thank all the Minnesota congressional candidates (starting on page 10) who responded to our Access Press questionnaire. We know that many of you have been burning the candle at both ends to keep up with the demands of your campaigns to inform constituents and potential voters.

Some candidates were apparently unable to find time to respond to our questionnaire and inform the community of their stand on disability issues. We hope they realize that the disability community constitutes 15 percent of the voters in Minnesota and may significantly affect the outcome of the election. We also hope that by the next election, all candidates will recognize the disability community as one that can change the outcome of an election. We can and we do.

Many thanks to Lance Hegland for his hard work this month in helping us with several articles. Lance has been a big contributor we hope he will stick around and keep up the excellent reporting. As always, Jeni Mundl is here this month with thoughtful news and advice about new technologies. Thank you, Jeni.

Dorothy Anderson shares a brief glimpse into her life in Minnesota institutions. We are grateful for the perseverance and tenacity that allowed her to survive to tell us the stories of a very difficult time for her and other people with disabilities. We have come a long way, but sure have a lot further to go to correct the wrongs done to Minnesotans in institutions.

Bruce Stevenson started a universal design business called Ability Solutions to put his skills and knowledge to work for you and me. Through growing up with a father with a disability, and applying his own ingenuity, Bruce knows what works and what doesn’t. Give him a try for your next adaptation project. Tell him that you saw the article in Access Press and he will give you a free estimate and a discount.

The Charlie Smith Awards banquet is around the corner, and we’d like more award nominations. On page 18, you’ll find the nomination criteria. And while you’re filling that out, you can complete your registration for the event. Both forms are also on the Web at testing.accesspress.org. It will be even more fun this year — guaranteed! Hope you all can come.

A big thanks goes out to Alice Oden for taking over the responsibility of updating our Web page. Check it out if you haven’t visited lately. Alice has given it a whole new layout. Along with the new “look”, we will be adding new bulletin boards and blogs at our site. Bookmark testing.accesspress.org!

Fall is upon us and a chill is in the air. Get out and enjoy nature before the bitter cold is here!