Editor's Column - October 2013

Here it is October already, and finally we’re getting some rain and fall temperatures. Like it or not, the rain is what we need and the cool temps are why we call it Minnesota. September was a beauty of a month, though—no one could complain about that mild weather. It was perfect.

We’ve got a lot of things going on in the disability community this month. Read this issue with your calendar ready to mark up. First, Access Press is planning the Charlie Smith award banquet that will celebrate Cal Appleby. I hope all of you will come to meet Cal and learn, if you don’t already know, about the amazing contributions that this man has made to create a better environment for people with disabilities on the Augsburg College campus. Cal and his associates at Augsburg have made for a welcoming environment in a very busy urban setting. Also at the banquet will be a new feature: a professional photographer taking portraits. So if you haven’t got your holiday card photo yet, this might be your chance.

Another big event will be the premiere of The Real Story, a new documentary produced by Access Press and Jerry Smith, with production costs contributed by UCare. The film is all about media coverage of disability issues. The premiere will be hosted by the Disabled Students Cultural Center at the McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, on Monday, October 28, starting at 6:30 pm. A panel discussion with newsmakers, scholars, and activists follows the film. You are invited and admission is free.

A second screening of The Real Story will be held Monday, November 4, at 4 pm at the U of M’s Coffman Union. Both events are sponsored by Access Press and the U of M’s DSCC, with contributions from Handi Medical and NetPistols. Both screenings are free and open to the public. A reception follows the screenings and panel discussions.

All of these events will be happening over a short period of time, so pull out your dress duds for hitting the film premiere scene and for your picture-taking at the Charlie Smith Awards. We’ll look forward to seeing you. Let us know if your organization would like to host a screening for clients and employees to enjoy, talk about, and above all, learn from. The film explores how the media can both help us—and, if we don’t manage it, hurt us.

On the front page, we have an article about MNSure, the new online insurance exchange for Minnesota residents. There were some flaws on October 1, the first day of operations, but there were also far more people going to the website than were expected. The website was designed with accessibility from the beginning, and from what I hear, it’s not fallen short of expectations. Our article has several resources for people with disabilities to help navigate through the complications of comparing insurance plans.

This month we also have an update and on the Olmstead planning commission. This article is a must-read because of the implications for all people with disabilities.

There has been some difficulties on the state website for reimbursements to the personal care attendant agencies. These problems are not good for any of us, even if the agency that you are involved with has not had problems. There are a few agencies that have been having a very difficult time even making payroll because of the delays in connecting to the state reimbursement website, MN-ITS. We know our PCAs work too hard to have their pay delayed, even for a day. DHS is saying that this problem will be repaired and that it won’t be affecting reimbursements or background checks in the future.

Did I say that I hope to see you at one of the Access Press events in the coming month? I really do. Stay safe and prepare for the winter cold. It will be here before we know.

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