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Farewell 2018, Welcome 2019

End of year review

12/31/2018 10:00:05 AM

Skyline of the Twin Cities with

2018 was an exciting year! The legislative session was only 58 days, which made time our biggest challenge this year. With the help of community partners and organizations, we accomplished so much! Here are just a few of the things that happened in 2018.


  • Held our first board meeting of the year and approved the 2018 legislative agenda, which mainly focused on changes to MNCDHH's statute (MS 256C.28).
  • On January 15th, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr Day. Thanks to Kim Wassenaar for her leadership with the Governor's Council who worked on the celebration plans.
  • We also released the IEP webinars, a valued resource for parents and teachers about language and communication-focused Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).


  • February was an exciting month for us! The Super Bowl was hosted in the Twin Cities. We were so excited that so many community members, including Jessica and Rachel Eggert, were involved with the Super Bowl.
  • Katy Kelley joined our team as our Office Administrative Coordinator. We are so glad she is here. 
  • Emory David Dively presented about Home Care training at the MAA conference. 


  • Jessalyn Akerman-Frank attended an Airport Payphones Discussion and provided input on solutions for Deaf and hard of Hearing Travelers at MSP Airport. 
  • Planning began for the upcoming 2019 Lobby Day at the Capitol. 
  • Emory David Dively and Anne Sittner Anderson co-presented on digital accessibility at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Communications and Technology Conference.


  • The bill to get MNCDHH’s statute updated was passed in several committees. Thanks to our wonderful board members Lloyd Ballinger, Rosanne Kath, and Michele Isham, as well as Executive Director, Mary Hartnett, for testifying.
  • MNCDHH had a table at Deaf Awareness Day, which was hosted by the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens (MADC).
  • We also announced the date for Lobby Day next year, March 6, 2019.


  • Andrew Palmberg (evaluator) and Anne Sittner Anderson (crash survivor) participated in an FAA-mandated large-scale emergency response exercise at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. This is the second time that deaf people were involved in this activity. Andrew became the first back in 2014, where he had the role of a crash survivor. 
  • Jessalyn Akerman-Frank was interviewed on radio about her experience in Partners in Policymaking (PIP) course. Jessalyn graduated from PIP on May 19, 2018.
  • We also worked with Ann Mayes to release 9 IEP Discussion Guide Mini-Lessons.
  • MNCDHH held our second board meeting of the year.
  • Emory Kevin Dively, Anna Paulson, Jessalyn Akerman-Frank, and Anne Sittner Anderson taught closed-captioning advocacy to elementary students at the Health and Wellness Summit hosted by the Sanneh Foundation.


  • MNCDHH board members and employees had the opportunity to be involved in the 2018 Nonprofit Leadership Conference at the University of Minnesota.
  • From June 21-24 Hearing Loss Association of America’s National Convention was hosted in Minneapolis, MN. MNCDHH had a booth at the event, and our staff and board members attended different events.
  • The Voters Outreach Team began to meet to plan the voters workshops. 


  • Michele Isham, Anna Paulson, Jessalyn Akerman-Frank, Anne Sittner Anderson, and Mary Hartnett attended the National Association of the Deaf's biennial conference in Hartford, CT. We attended workshops on deaf education, language acquisition, racial justice, emergency planning, and so many more.
  • MNCDHH hosted an Education Policy Meeting at the Wilder Foundation. The staff who worked at this meeting were Anna Paulson, Mary Hartnett, Katy Kelley, Emory David Dively, and Jessalyn Akerman-Frank.


  • The Say What Club hosted their annual conference in Minnesota! MNCDHH had a booth there. 
  • The Age-Related Hearing Loss Task Force resumed its meetings. 
  • Katy Kelley and Jamie Taylor represented MNCDHH at the State Fair when they worked at the Minnesota Council on Disability's booth.  
  • The Voters Outreach group provided their first workshops of the year. 
  • State agencies increased the employment of state employees with disabilities to 7% by August 2018, as required by Executive Order 14-14. 


  • Emory David Dively began his classes at the Humphrey Institute.
  • Anne Sittner Anderson began her classes at the Emerging Leaders Institute.
  • Jessalyn Akerman-Frank began her classes at the Change Network.
  • MNCDHH's staff attended Metro Deaf School's groundbreaking ceremony at their new school site.
  • MNCDHH held our third board meeting of the year.
  • Ann Mayes joined our team as our part-time Education Specialist.


  • In October MNCDHH hosted a fun, peer-led interactive evening about voting to get prepared for the midterm elections in November.
  • We also held a two-day planning summit from October 25 and 26, on education and outcomes for students, who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing. It was attended by 50 stakeholders of the Collaborative Plan work groups, and together they developed the plan for the upcoming five-year cycle.
  • Anna Paulson worked at the Transition Fair for youth who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing at St. Paul College.
  • Emory David Dively provided three presentations at Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) meetings regarding age-related hearing loss and its impact on senior citizens. 
  • Ann Mayes, Jessalyn Akerman-Frank, and Anna Paulson attended the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf's (MSAD) Homecoming events. 
  • Our staff and consultants provided voters outreach workshops all around the state of Minnesota. One of our biggest events was a live recording at the St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) studio, where community organizations explained why it is important to vote, answered common questions about voting, and also explained how to research candidates.  


  • We wrapped up our voters outreach. Election Day was on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. 
  • On November 10th, we attended the 37th Annual Thanksgiving Banquet hosted by the Minnesota DeafBlind Association.
  • We had a board and staff retreat in Brainerd, MN. 
  • Sarah Arana represented MNCDHH at the "Live Well with Hearing Loss" conference, hosted by the Hearing Loss Association of America - Twin Cities chapter.


  • Mary Hartnett represented MNCDHH at the town hall meeting hosted by the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens (MADC) at Metro Deaf School. 
  • MNCDHH sponsored Christian Vogler, Ph.D., from Gallaudet University's Technology Access Program (TAP) to present at the Gov IT Symposium. He provided two workshops, one on updates to Real-Time Text and one on the accessibility of audio interfaces. He also provided workshops about his life as a deaf person, his work in technology, and how technology makes a difference to students at Metro Deaf School, the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (MSAD), Humboldt High School, VECTOR, and ThinkSelf. 

Have a fun and safe New Years Eve, and we are looking forward to partnering with you next year!



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