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~In This Issue~May 2012
Legislative wrap up from JWB
ADS on the move to North St. Paul
Client Spotlight
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Did you know?     
For the eighth consecutive year wages increased for clients of Merrick. In 2011, clients earned over $565,000 collectively. 
We partner with: Lunds & Byerly's
Lund Food Holdings, Inc. is a family-owned company that operates 21 Lunds and Byerly's stores throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding area. They are routinely noted for their extraordinary foods,exceptional service and passionate expertise. In addition they have a rich history of taking an active role in the communities they serve. Please support our business partners by choosing to do business with them.
We value your feedback. Please let us know how we can improve this newsletter, or if you have suggestions for future articles or content, contact our communications specialist via email at EmberlyHJ@MerrickInc.org or 
by phone at 651-789-6216. 
Thank you to our donors!  
Thank you for your continued support of Merrick, Inc., and our mission to empower adults with disabilities through vocational and social opportunities, and to guide them toward realizing their goals and dreams. YOU make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities!
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Check out the Virtual Tour now live on Merrick's website!
Annual Horticulture Plant Sale a huge success! 
Lisa in greenhouse
Lisa, a client, working in the greenhouse
Many thanks to staff, volunteers, clients, and customers. The sale was a success because of you! All proceeds from the plant sale go back into the Horticulture Therapy program. 
17th Annual Charity Golf Schamble is next week! 
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A few spots are still available. Register today at: 
Our Sponsors for the 2012 Charity Golf Schamble
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Keep on moving
and grooving! 

May greets us with warmer weather and a slew of activity at Merrick, Inc. Please read JWB's legislative summary to stay in the know on all things related to intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the legislature. We have an exciting move for the ADS program that you can find out more about in the article below. This month we feature a client who has chosen Merrick for 18 years. Mike's story illuminates how our work strengthens self-esteem and betters our community.Thank you for your continued support of Merrick and people with I/DD. YOU are making a difference in this world. 
Legislative wrap-up from JWB

The start of the 2012 legislative session appeared ominous as Day

JWB photo
Executive Director
John Wayne Barker

Training and Habilitation (DT&H) programs for adults with intellectual/development disabilities (I/DD) faced a 1.67% rate cut on 7/1/12; we became excluded from the state fuel tax refund program, and a bill to restructure how we are paid was offered by the Department of Human Services (DHS). The first six weeks proved to be difficult as a contentious legislative body seemed to wrangle more about politics than legislation while we tried to help them understand the importance of our programs to over 15,000 citizens with I/DD. Ultimately the session ended without doing more harm to DT&H programs and a few actual victories as follows:

  • The 1.67% rate cut was delayed until 7/1/13 and almost certainly will not take effect even then as everyone expects the federal government to approve the waiver needed by that date.
  • Without opposition from the MN Department of Revenue, legislation was passed that includes providers that transport clients to DT&H programs in the state fuel tax refund program.
  • After considerable negotiation between DHS and a provider alliance, compromise rate legislation was passed that requires collaborative research and methodology design tasks over the next year and a phased-in transition over three years with some rate stabilization elements. While there is much work to be done to get agreement on how rates are calculated, providers feel more confident that DHS will have to be genuinely collaborative on this project.

Three issues relevant to us did not fair so well:

  • Self-advocates were opposed to legislation to place Voter ID on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. The bill passed and will be on the 2012 ballot.
  • Somehow waivered services got included in a "family deductible" bill last year as part of the state budget deficit plan and beginning 1/1/12 we sometimes lose $2.55 a client because this deductible is applied to our invoice. A bill was introduced to exclude us from this program that did not pass. In the first three months of 2012 we had over $400 deducted from our invoices with no real mechanism to have families pay this deductible. 
  • The other bill was to legalize electronic pulltabs and tipboards as a way to reduce the effective tax rate on charitable gambling organizations. Unfortunately this bill got "hijacked" and used to pay the public share of the new stadium. At first we got the first $36 million dedicated to our tax relief but this was reduced to only $13 million in the conference committee negotiations with the stadium getting $48 million. It will be interesting to see if getting only 20 cents of every dollar earned through electronic pulltabs is enough incentive for charitable gambling organizations to invest the money and time to offer this game.

The 2013 legislative session will be critical as it is a budget session and there will be a very different group of legislators due to redistricting and numerous resignations. It will be important to follow the upcoming elections and choose candidates committed to funding services for our citizens with disabilities.

ADS on the move to North St. Paul this summer
The Adult Day Services (ADS) program will soon have a new home. The lease is signed and the renovation process has begun on the space that will house ADS and a new Memory Care program to serve a combined total of 40 clients in North St. Paul. 
Lars and Bill
Lars (left) the architect on the project,  talks to Bill, a client, about the changes to the entrance to make it more accessible for all
The project is being led by Merrick's Finance and Development Director Mike Greenbaum with heavy input on the design from clients and staff from the current ADS program. Mike said, "We are so excited for the renovations to be complete so the ADS program and the new Memory Care program have the amenities and the space they need to bring the focus on the clients."

The space is in downtown North St. Paul and the hope is for the clients to become an integral part of the community surrounding the program. A mid-summer opening date is currently planned. Stay tuned for more updates and an Open House invitation later this year. 
Mike N. |


Civic engagement is what Mike N., a client at Merrick since 1995, is all about. From attending church services, to volunteering, to his many years working in local grocery stores, he is a prominent figure in his St. Paul community. As a child, Mike was struck by a car and sustained a traumatic brain injury; however it has not stopped him from enjoying and embracing life. He attends church in his St. Paul neighborhood almost every morning and volunteers at Keystone, the food shelf on University Avenue, in St. Paul every Tuesday. 


Mike working at Lunds
Mike working at Lunds in
Highland Park

Work is also central to Mike's enjoyment of life. He spent over 16 years working at the Midway location of Rainbow Foods and from his many years there developed numerous friendships. He is currently going on two years as a bagger for Lunds in Highland Park. He is recognized for his continued excellence in customer service at Lunds, and continues to form new friendships, as well as successfully maintain existing relationships with customers and coworkers alike.


On top of his work and civic engagement, Mike is a huge fan of Cretin Athletic teams. He attends most of their baseball, football and basketball home games and knows many players and coaches on a first-name basis. Mike's passion for Cretin sports began back in 2000 when he watched Joe Mauer play high school sports. He has been both a Cretin and Mauer fan ever since. One year shortly after Mauer was drafted by the Twins, Mike and his Dad went to the Hot Stove League Banquet. Upon arriving, Mike immediately spotted Joe and began chatting with him. A man approached and appeared to be waiting to talk to Joe. Mike's Dad said, "You need to step aside so that Joe can visit with others." The man stated, "I am not waiting to talk to Joe, I want to talk to Mike."


Twins baseball is also one of Mike's passions. Every year, since 1987, he has had either a full or partial season ticket. Additionally, he attended all of the Twins home playoff and World Series games in both 1987 and 1991. Mike is a walking encyclopedia for statistics on the Twins. Mike and his dad have traveled all over the United States visiting different stadiums to watch baseball games. Mike's independence and confidence continue to grow proving him to be a valued and well-liked person in his community. 

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