dashboard lamps/meters frozen... (98 Voyager)

Every so often my dashboard indicators go kablooey, more or less as follows (from memory):
The speedometer stays at zero (evenwhen I'm moving...)
the odometer lights up just the first three digits with the other three remaining dark, the transmission indicator stays at "P" regardless of where the actual position is, etc., etc.
The car does run ok...
To clear this up I have to disconnect the battery [a], wait a minute, then plug it back in. Then everything's ok for another year or so.
Couple of questions:
1) any idea what's actually causing this, and how to stop it from happening?
2) Is there any way short of dc'ing the battery to get a reset? It gets a bit annoying when the temperature and wind are way down there...
[a] I also discovered that letting the battery run down and then doing a jump start works, but that's a very undesirable technique.
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