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Fall 2010 Bulletin


FALL 2010

Published by


Web Site:

Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Robert Spangler, President

1505 W. 4th St.

Vinton, IA 52349

(319) 472-4843


Mike Hoenig, Editor

3119 Spring St.

Davenport, IA 52807



Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary

4013 30th St.

Des Moines, IA 50310

(515) 279-4284 – home

(515) 710-7875 – cell


Ruth E. Hamdorf, Treasurer

439 Lindale Drive, #218

Marion, IA 52302

(319) 373-8608 – Home



Robert Spangler, President - Vinton, (319) 472-4843

Donna Seliger, Immediate Past President - Des Moines,

(515) 284-0505

Creig Slayton, First Vice President – Des Moines, (515) 279-4284

Mike Hoenig, Second Vice-President - Davenport, (563) 344-8787

Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary - Des Moines, (515) 279-4284

Ruth Hamdorf, Treasurer - Marion, (319) 373-8608

Joyce Davis, Director - Fort Dodge, (515) 955-1634

Rose Stratton, Director - Maquoketa, (563) 652-2546

Shirley Wiggins, Director - Cedar Rapids, (319) 550-6096

Stephanie Hunolt, Director – Kirksville, (660) 665-2404

Elsie Monthei, Director –Des Moines, (515) 277-0442

Gary Patterson, Director –Des Moines, (515) 278-2686

Dove Tanner, Director – Cedar Rapids, (319) 364-7128

Frank Strong, Director –Des Moines, (515) 285-7254


Anyone who cannot read this print bulletin, finds it difficult to have it read or wishes an e-mail or cassette may receive a copy at no charge. Please contact Jo Slayton at (515) 279-4284 to request an alternative format. Cassette readers are always invited to keep their copy of the Bulletin. However, if you would like to return cassettes when you are finished with them, please place in a NEW standard mailing envelope, write “Free Matter For the Blind” in the upper right hand corner, and return to the editor using the address on the front of this Bulletin. Also, please remember to contact the editor if your address changes. The Post Office rarely provides us with a new address when someone moves. We want to make sure that anyone who wants to receive a Bulletin gets one!


If you or a friend would like to remember the Iowa Council of the United Blind in your will, you may do so by using the following language: “I grant, devise, or bequeath unto the Iowa Council of the United Blind, a non-profit charitable organization, the sum of ______ dollars, ____ percent of my net estate, or the following stocks and bonds (please list them) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons.” If your wishes are more complex, you may have your attorney call (515) 279-4284, or write Iowa Council of the United Blind, 4013 30TH Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50310.


Are you trying to decide how to dispose of a used vehicle? ICUB's Used Vehicle Donation Program offers the perfect solution. Your vehicle will be picked up from your home and sold at auction, with a portion of the proceeds going directly to ICUB. You claim a tax deduction equal to the dollar value of the vehicle. To donate or to learn more, call 800-899-4925.


Editor's Line 4

A Note from the Membership Committee 5

Blind Hikers Know No Limits 5

No Sight Is No Excuse for Unique Students 8

Regents Vote Will End Long-Term Residential 10

Program at Braille School

Help Older Iowans Maintain Independence 12

What the Twenty-First Century Communications 14

and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 Will Do for

People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

In Memoriam

Verna L. (Hoefer) Muhowski 16

Jerry Kakac 17

Ray O'Brien 18

Maxine Klahn 19

Shirley A. Conrad 20

Chapter Reports

Cedar Rapids Update 21

Dubuque News 22

Des Moines Christmas Party 23

Accessible Bibles Available from Optasia Ministry 23

Recipe Corner 24


By Mike Hoenig

The cold October wind tells me that fall is here, and the 115-degree July Phoenix temperatures seem a distant memory.

I had not been to an ACB convention since Minneapolis, and it felt great to be "back in the fold." By going a day early, I was able to experience a bit of the vastness which is the Grand Canyon. Unique experiences continued throughout convention week, highlighted by a visit with a blind senator from Barbados and the opportunity to welcome two outgoing first-timers at the DKM Reception. While sharing dinner with a friend from North Dakota, I learned that they, too, are struggling to gain youth membership. Our "youth representative," Tyler Juranek, blended right in to the proceedings, leaving Mom behind to hang out with his new friends at a Guide Dog users group meeting. He even managed to beat me in a game of audio darts. Tyler, hope you're up for a rematch next year!

A big thank-you to the Cedar Rapids Chapter for hosting another successful and well-attended picnic. I always feel so welcome there, and enjoy catching up with old friends. It was a special treat to spend time with Woody Miracle, my junior and senior high school English teacher and his wife Linda. Days earlier, I'd seen their daughter Marcia at the Iowa State Fair. The Marcia who I remember as an adolescent is now a rehabilitation counselor, wife and mother. Where do the years go?

I am struck by the number of obituaries in this issue of the Bulletin. My sympathies go out to all of the families. Once again, we are reminded of how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity to get together to rekindle our friendships. Let's all do our best to attend one of the upcoming Holiday banquets.

By the time you read this, the 2010 elections will be history. I hope each of you took the time to exercise your right to vote, and that many took advantage of the accessible voting machines. We fought hard to get them, and it's an empowering feeling to be completely independent at the polls. Enjoy a Blessed Holiday season. See you in 2011!


By Shirley Wiggins, Committee Chair

Time is passing and soon it will be time to pay dues. We want to thank all of you who always seem to be prompt. But there are some of us who just don't seem to get around to paying, so please remember to get your dues in by the first of January. Dues are $10.00 and can be sent to our state treasurer, Ruth Hamdorf at 439 Lindale Drive N.E., Marion, Iowa 52402. Let's try to bring our membership up, not only for our sake, but for the money our dues bring in to ICUB. Your membership dues help us with many expenses such as publication and distribution of the Bulletin and sending our state president to meetings which he needs to attend. Thank you.


By Dennis Wagner

(Reprinted from USA Today, October 14, 2010.)

(Editor's Note: Given that our ACB convention was held in Arizona this year and several Iowans experienced the Grand Canyon during the pre-convention tour, this story is very timely.)

Just before dawn, 13 blind and visually impaired hikers begin a descent into the abyss, unable to see the trail or the gaping chasm they're bout to enter.

Their plan seems audacious if not crazy: A group of adults and kids from the Foundation for Blind Children is out to complete the Grand Canyon's 24.3 mile trek from rim to rim in one day on a rock-scrabbled route where even sighted hikers are one false step from a fatal plunge.

The challenge, considered grueling, even for experienced sighted outdoorsmen, is so demanding that signs warn not to attempt it.

But the Canyon Crawlers, as the hikers facetiously dubbed themselves before last Sunday's expedition, are out to make a point to themselves and to the world - that those who can't see can achieve and appreciate one of the planet's Seven Natural Wonders without viewing it.

By day's end, 10 of the adventurers make it out, some of them long after dark, sporting blisters and scrapes as badges of courage. Two spend the night with guides on the canyon floor exiting a day later. One gashes his leg so badly in a fall that he must be flown out by helicopter.

Marc Ashton, chief executive officer at the Phoenix-based foundation, says he believes the expedition set a rim-to-rim record for hikers who can't see.

"Our goal was to prove to the world that blind people can do anything," says Ashton, whose 14-year-old son, Max, was among the successful trekkers. "Our climbers proved they could."


Camping Saturday night, the hikers share dinner and anxious humor around a bonfire at 8,500 feet.

Seven men, four women and two boys trained for months with volunteers, practicing on urban peaks. But the Canyon crossing has no comparison: More than 50,000 steps, with extra strain and stress for those unaware of what's underfoot.

By firelight, the youngest, 12-year-old Dillan Owens of Mesa sits in silent trepidation. Dillan's vision began to fail in fourth grade. Doctors found a brain tumor. Two surgeries have followed, and then repeated chemotherapy treatments since last September.

"I'm pretty nervous," the boy admits. "But we're going to prove to people that the blind and vision-impaired can do something."

Mike Holsten of Phoenix, the oldest participant at 64, was a correctional officer at a state prison until late last year. An infection after cataract surgery took nearly all of his vision in January.

Holsten chokes up briefly at his loss - "It was like getting hit with a baseball bat, you know?" - Then apologizes for what he considers his momentary weakness.

Though Holsten and his wife, Rosey, are experienced hikers, he admits being unstable. "I can't see my own feet when I'm standing up," he says, "So every step is a crapshoot."


Wakeup call Sunday is 4 a.m. Fed and prepared, the group assembles an hour later. The guides are wearing headlamps.

Each visually impaired person works with at least one sighted guide who provides step-by-step instructions that reverberate softly against canyon walls: "Step down here .... Step down again.... Mule crap here.... Now a big rock.... Step up. Cliff on the left ......"

Dillan latches onto the backpack of his father, Jay Shingleton, and seems to become a trailing appendage.

Mike Armstrong, a 40-year-old with prosthetic eyes, follows the jingle of cowbells on a guide's belt and uses a pair of walking sticks as antennae, reading the trail like Braille. When he strays near a ledge, a guide to his rear shouts, "Whoa, Mike, where are you going? And taps him back in line.

Because paces vary, the Canyon Crawlers are soon separated over several miles. Sighted people along the way are curious and amazed.

"Pretty ambitious," says Brian Clark, 33, of Pittsburgh. "I thought about what it would be like to do this with my eyes closed .... I'd be filled with anxiety."

At noon, word spreads that Michael Holsten fell after only a few miles, cutting his leg, and was evacuated by air. Twelve remaining hikers, duly sobered, continue.

Debi Black, 51, of Sun Lakes, blinded by retinitis pigmentosa for nearly 30 years, falls several times, twisting an ankle, suffering scrapes and bruises. Undaunted, she listens as guides describe majestic cliffs beneath a dazzling blue sky. She says she can picture the scenery from their words, as a person conjures images while reading a book.

"Everything echoes in the canyon," she adds. "You can just feel how huge it is."

By dusk, hikers are strung out along switchbacks on the Canyon's Bright Angel Trail. Fatigue and reduced oxygen levels at high altitude take a toll on Dillan, who begins wheezing. His father and another guide urge him on.

As the boy summits the South Rim, he seems stunned, speechless, and proud.

"He tells himself he can't do things, and I know it's totally the opposite," his dad says. Debi Black is the last to complete the trek on Sunday - after 17 hours.

"That was the hardest thing I've ever done," she says later, "worse than childbirth. But it was just beautiful. So beautiful, but so painful."


By Estela Villanueva-Whitman

(Reprinted from The Des Moines Register, April 7, 2010.)

Vivian Ver Huel grew up going to school and cooking at home like others her age. The only difference is that she used the Braille system to read and alternative techniques to do everyday tasks.

For 21 years, she’s used her experience to teach skills to others with vision loss as one of nine independent living rehabilitation teachers in the Iowa Department for the Blind’s field operations division.

Ver Huel, 44, began loosing her eyesight when she was around 18 months old. A rare type of eye cancer, retinal blastoma, led to blindness by age 5.

As the first blind student in Mattoon, Ill., special education teachers taught her the Braille system and she began typing some assignments by third grade. When other families with blind children moved into the district, her family served as mentors.

“It has always come naturally to share what I know,” she said.

Like other department staff members, Ver Huel went through the department’s Orientation Center in downtown Des Moines when she was first hired to get a better feel for what clients experience at the residential training facility.

In addition to visiting clients’ homes, workplaces or care centers throughout Iowa, Ver Huel and her colleagues staff the Orientation Centre for mini sessions with seniors a few times a year. They also can provide community-based group training and help form support networks. Eighty percent of referrals are senior citizens.

Success is often tied to a client’s attitude.

Elaine Pote, 83, lost much of her vision to macular degeneration and sought services after a friend mentioned that the department offered talking books. When she inquired about them, staff members connected her with Ver Huel, who came to Pote’s home in Stuart and placed tactile markings on her microwave, washing machine and thermostat to help operate them.

At Ver Huel’s urging, Pote reluctantly agreed to attend “senior orientation” in Des Moines. There, she learned how to sew a button and shopped for a birthday card at Walgreens on her own. The experience helped her gain confidence.

“I thought I was going to do something goofy if I went out in public. You have to overcome that, otherwise stay inside the four walls of your house,” Pote said.

Another client, Janet Kessler, 74, was so impressed with Ver Huel and senior orientation that she became a member of its advisory board. Despite macular degeneration, she lives independently with her husband in Creston and does the cooking and ironing. The training helped lift her out of depression, she said.

“If I hadn’t gone there, I’d still be sitting in the chair feeling sorry for myself,” she said.

During home visits, Ver Huel can teach clients how to use a white cane, prepare meals, read Braille and dial a phone. They can identify and organize canned goods based on the size of containers, or affix rubber bands or raised letters. Tactile markings can be used to set an oven or label medications. A safety pin can help in matching different colors of clothes.

Adaptive aids, such as a check-writing guide, talking calculators or a tape recorder, can help manage finances.

Ver Huel says even she is still learning to adjust and accomplish tasks without vision.

“We live in a very sighted world and vision is very important. But we also firmly believe you can still work, raise a family, take care of the grandkids, travel and do whatever it is that you want to do regardless of how well you’re able to see to do those things,” she said. “We see that it’s true based on what our clients are able to achieve.”


By Richard Pratt

(Retrieved from the August 5, 2010)

The state Board of Regents today unanimously approved a plan that will end the traditional long-term residential program for students at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton by fall 2012.

The seven recommendations, drafted by a study committee formed at the direction of the state Legislature, now must go to the Legislative Council before full implementation.

The plan does not close the Vinton campus, which will remain as a location for summer and short-term programs for blind and visually impaired students and as the headquarters for the Statewide System for Vision Services. But it does end the long-term residential program at the 150-year-old school.

Much of the $2.2 million now used to support the Braille School in Vinton will be used to hire more teachers to provide more and better services around the state, closer to the home communities and schools of blind and vision-impaired students, officials said. The statewide system serves about 400 students, while Braille School enrollment was nine students last year, down from 34 students in 2005.

When students do need the long-term residential services now provided at the Braille School, the system will partner with other agencies in regions around the state to offer those, Braille School Superintendent Patrick Clancy said. He expects that will be a small number, in the single digits.

The plan also changes the name of the Braille School and the statewide system to Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The changes take into account what is best for students, several regents said.

“I just think it’s tremendously well done,” regents President David Miles said. “It puts the needs of blind and visually impaired students in Iowa first.”

(Editor's Note: At the time of publication, the Legislative Council has taken no action on the Regents recommendation. Current speculation is that action will be deferred to the 2011 Iowa General Assembly. Many have expressed their opinions concerning the closure of IBSSS's residential component. If you are interested in reading what others have to say, visit and click on "comment on closure."


(Editorial Reprinted from The Des Moines Register, August 15, 2010.)

Aging brings a higher risk for many health problems - including blindness. Iowa has the seventh highest percentage of people in the nation age 40 and over with serious sight impairments. That statistic doesn't refer to people who need reading glasses when they get older; it refers to people with conditions, including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration that can seriously compromise vision.

As Iowans age, more will be diagnosed with eye diseases - which can threaten their ability to live independently. From paying bills to getting groceries, the difference between staying at home and moving to a care facility can be learning new ways to perform basic, daily tasks most of us take for granted.

Much of the responsibility for helping these seniors falls to the Iowa Department for the Blind. But Iowa lawmakers need to better support the agency, which has been hit hard by recent state budget shortfalls.

In 2009, the department had a total state appropriation of about $2.6 million. Lawmakers reduced that to just under $2 million this fiscal year. The agency loses approximately four federal dollars for every state dollar appropriated, meaning the state cut results in the department giving up over $2 million from Washington.

Director Karen Keninger calls the cut "brutal." This means it takes the department longer to provide essential services to Iowans. Such a large reduction in funding is unacceptable.

The services this agency provides are crucial to Iowans of all ages - from helping people stay employed with technological assistance to an intensive training center in Des Moines where students of all ages learn how to work with tools, on computers and with a white cane. The agency's library in Des Moines sends reading materials - in large print, Braille and on tape - to Iowans free of charge. It contains more than 88,000 book titles.

But the agency is also a lifeline for older people, who are most at risk of losing vision. A solid infrastructure for services is imperative going forward - particularly when services must reach seniors living in rural areas, who may not have other resources nearby to assist them. Teachers employed by the department help older Iowans do everything from preparing meals to learning Braille to take notes they can read later.

Sylvan Dawson, 79, of Marion, said his teacher helped him set up a computer program that allows him to use the Internet and e-mail. "He helped me get familiar with software that reads the screen to me," Dawson said.

Pat Breckenridge of Des Moines said the agency helped her stay in her job by providing a reader that enlarges print. The 63-year-old also attended a senior orientation run by the agency this summer.

Visual impairment is one of the top reasons people lose their independence - which leads to increased long-term care costs. According to information provided by the National Federation of the Blind, the average cost of care for an older person living independently is $4,800 annually. Compare that to $36,600 for an individual in institutional care. Also, nearly 20 percent of all hip fractures in seniors are attributed to vision loss. Taxpayers frequently end up footing the bills for these higher costs through Medicaid and Medicare health insurance programs.

Skimping on state funding for services that help the visually impaired not only hurts Iowans immediately, it ends up costing all of us more in the long run.


(Retrieved from the ACB Leadership List, October 12, 2010.)

(Editor's Note: This legislation has been an ACB priority for many years. Commendations go to all advocates, including Iowans who contacted their legislators, for the passage of this Act.)

Access to advanced communications services and equipment.

The legislation, as signed into law by the President:

* requires advanced communications equipment and services to be accessible, if achievable. If not, then equipment and services must be compatible with devices used by individuals with disabilities to achieve access, if achievable. "Achievable" is defined as reasonable effort or expense, as determined by the FCC.

* improves enforcement. The FCC must file regular reports with Congress and requires an enforcement study by the Comptroller General. It also adds recordkeeping obligations for equipment manufacturers and service providers.

* requires access to Internet services built-in to mobile telephone devices, like smart phones, if achievable.

* requires a clearinghouse of information on accessible products and services, and public education and outreach.

Video Description

* One year after the bill becomes law, it restores FCC rules requiring 4 hours per week of video description on 9 television channels (top 4 broadcast networks and top 5 cable channels) in the top 25 most populated markets.

* Two years after the bill becomes law, the FCC is required to report to Congress on video description.

* After four years the bill permits the FCC to increase video description to 7 hours per week on 9 television channels.

* After six years, the FCC is required to apply the video description requirements to the top 60 most populated markets (not just the top 25 most populated markets).

* After nine years, the FCC is required to report to Congress on the need for additional markets to carry video description.

* After 10 years, the bill permits the FCC to expand video description to 10 new markets annually to achieve 100 percent nationwide coverage.

The legislation requires video programming owners, providers, and distributors to make emergency information accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision.

Devices designed to receive or play back video programming, using a picture screen of any size, to be capable of delivering available video description, and making emergency information accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision. Devices with picture screens less than 13” must meet these requirements if achievable with reasonable effort or expense.

Devices designed to record video programming (such as DVR's) must enable the rendering or pass through of video description and emergency information, so viewers can turn the video description on/off when played back on a screen of any size.

User Interfaces on Digital Apparatus

The legislation requires devices designed to receive or play back video programming:

* to make controls of built-in functions accessible to and usable by individuals who are blind or have low vision, if achievable;

* to provide access to video description features through a mechanism that is reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon designated for activating accessibility features.

Access to Video Programming Guides and Menus Provided on Navigation Devices.

Cable/satellite set-top box on-screen text menus and guides must be audibly accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision, if achievable.

Devices must provide access to built-in video description features through a mechanism that is reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon designated for activating the accessibility features.


The bill

* allocates up to $10 million per year from the Interstate Relay Service Fund for equipment used by individuals who are deaf-blind.

* establishes an Emergency Access Advisory Committee to recommend and for the FCC to adopt rules to achieve reliable and interoperable communications with future Internet-enabled emergency call centers.

* establishes a Video Programming and Emergency Access Advisory Committee to make recommendations about video description, accessible emergency information, user interfaces, and video programming guides and menus.


Verna L. Muhowski

Verna L. (Hoefer) Muhowski, 86, of Stonehill Care Center, Dubuque, formerly of Milwaukee, passed away at 6:40 PM Sunday, August 8, 2010 at Stonehill Care Center.

Services will be at 10:00 AM Friday, August 13 at St. Raphael Cathedral, 231 Bluff Street. Burial will be in Arlington Cemetery, Greenfield, Wisconsin, at a later date. Friends may call from 3 to 7 PM Thursday, August 12, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, where there will be a parish wake service at 6:30 PM.

She was born on August 4, 1924 in Earlville, Iowa, daughter of Raymond H. and Olive Martha (Nurre) Hoefer.

She attended elementary and high school at the Iowa School for the Blind in Vinton and graduated in 1943. Following graduation, she took a year of postgraduate music at the School for the Blind.

She married Donald Muhowski of Milwaukee, on May 4, 1963; he preceded her in death in January 2002.

Verna was employed at the Battery Factory in Dubuque from 1944 to 1958, at which time the Battery Factory closed. She worked at Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids from 1959 to 1961. She then moved to Milwaukee and worked there at the Industries for the Blind.

Verna moved to Stonehill Care Center in October 2002, and became a member of St. Raphael's Cathedral.

Surviving are two sisters, Sr. M. Gabrielle Hoefer, R.S.M. of Dubuque and Sr. M. Monica Hoefer, R.S.M. of Farmington Hills, Michigan.

She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Lillian Hoefer. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Stonehill Care Center, 3485 Windsor Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa 52001.

Online condolences may be left for the family at The family would like to thank the nurses and staff of Stonehill Care Center and Mercy Medical Center for their care and concern for Verna.

Jerry Kakac

(Editor's Note: Upon learning the news of Jerry's passing, ICUB Secretary Jo Slayton commented: "He was an awesome vocal music instructor of college level instruction - many students benefited from his instruction and friendship!" I'm privileged to have been among those students.)

Jerald Alan Kakac, 77, of Carmel passed away August 12, 2010. He was born May 26, 1933 in Cresco, Iowa to the late John T. and Anna L. (Brown) Kakac.

Jerry was a graduate of Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa and later received his master's degree from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In 1956, he married Regina Kay Osborne. He lived in Vinton, Iowa, where he was a music teacher at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School. In 1983 Kay and Jerry moved to Indianapolis, where he worked at Carmel Lutheran Church as the church organist and at the Indiana School for the Blind as a teacher's aid. He enjoyed traveling, playing the piano and spending time with his children. His wife, Kay and his infant son, David both preceded him in death. Survivors include his sister, Mary Flanagan of Pocatello, Idaho; four children, Alan (Susan) and John (Chelle) Kakac, Mary (Bob) Stephens and Jane (Mark) Jacobson; nine grandchildren, Jenni, Becky, Eric, Luci, Courtney, Chelsea, Olivia, John-Michael and Mark and two great grandchildren, Izzie and Cole. There will be a memorial gathering at Jerry's favorite restaurant, Michaels Family Restaurant, 840 W. Main Street, Carmel on Sunday, August 15 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Care and arrangements were entrusted to the Leppert Mortuary, Smith Carmel Chapel, 900 N. Rangeline Road, Carmel.

Raymond P. O'Brien (1941-2010)

CEDAR FALLS - Raymond P. O'Brien, 68, of Cedar Falls, formerly of Waterloo, died Friday, Sept. 17, at Cedar Falls Health Care Center.

He was born Dec. 28, 1941, in Cresco, son of William and Edvina Lickteig O'Brien. He married Judy A. Allen Oct. 30, 1971, in Waterloo. She died Sept. 9, 2002.

He was a graduate of Crestwood High School and was employed with Goodwill Industries for many years.

Survived by: two sons, Patrick O'Brien of Waterloo and Christopher O'Brien of Jacksonville, N.C.; a grandson; two brothers, Bob (Jean) O'Brien of Cedar Rapids and Wayne (Mishelle) O'Brien of West Union; a sister, Mary (Irwin) Jackson of Rockwood, Ontario, Canada; and many nieces and nephews.

Preceded in death by: his parents; a brother, Ronald O'Brien; and a nephew, Nicholas O'Brien.

Services: 5 p.m. today at Hagarty-Waychoff-Grarup Funeral Home on West Ridgeway, with a private burial in Mount Olivet Cemetery. Public visitation for an hour before services today at the funeral home.

Memorials: may be directed to Iowa Hospice.

Condolences may be left at

Maxine J. Klahn

Maxine J. Klahn, age 70 years, passed away at her home on Thursday, October 7, 2010.

She was born in Council Bluffs, on January 22, 1940, to Earl and Macyl Forrester Brockman. She was united in marriage to Wendell W. Klahn, on February 15, 1958. Maxine worked for over 30 years as a realtor for Key Real Estate and CBS Home Real Estate since 2008. A member of Living Hope Community Church, and Gideons Auxiliary.

Maxine is preceded in death by her father, Earl Brockman; daughter, Denise Klahn, in 2001.

Survivors include her husband of 52 years, Wendell; sons, Doug and wife, Kelley, of Treynor, Iowa, Dan and wife, Connie, of Williamstown, N.J.; grandchildren and spouses, Adrienne and Mike, Ashton and Eric, Abigail and Dennis, Alex, Sarah; step-grandchildren and spouse, Victor and Amber, Daniel, Brittany; great grandchildren, Nathan, Kayleanna, Charlotte; mother, Macyl Brockman; sister, Linda Yost, all of Council Bluffs; brothers, Kenneth Brockman and Karen, of Council Bluffs, Wendell Brockman and Maggie, of Sioux City, Iowa, and Jeff Brockman and Colleen, of Council Bluffs; many nieces and nephews.

Visitation with the family Wednesday, 5 to 8 p.m., at Cutler-O'Neill-Meyer-Woodring Bayliss Park Chapel. Funeral services Thursday, 10 a.m., Living Hope Community Church, Pastor Ken Dohmen, Officiant. Interment Zion Congregational Cemetery, of Treynor, with a luncheon and fellowship to follow at Treynor Community Center. Family has suggested memorials to Living Hope Community Church and Treynor Fire and Rescue.

Shirley A. Conrad

Shirley Anne Conrad, 79, of Asbury Road, died Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, surrounded by her family.

A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, at St. Anthony's Catholic Church. Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, Bloomington, Wis. Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Hoffmann Schneider and Kitchen Funeral Home, 3860 Asbury Road, where there will be a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. Friends also may call from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

She was born on Feb. 25, 1931, in Bloomington, Wis., daughter of Fred and Irene (Edwards) Esser. She graduated from high school in Bloomington and attended the Commission for the Blind in Des Moines.

She was a manager at Fashion Touch Dry Cleaners for many years until her retirement in 1993, as a result of her sudden vision loss.

She was a member of St. Anthony's Catholic Church and was an active member of the Tri-State Independent Blind Society, serving as vice president, the Dubuque Association of the Blind, and the ICUB, serving as president and vice president. Shirley traveled to Washington D.C. to address Congress about rights for the blind in Iowa and she was instrumental in passing the Proclamation of the White Cane in Dubuque. She visited various local schools and gave awareness presentations about the challenges faced by the blind. She never let her disability slow her down and she continued to do many of the usual things, including mowing her own lawn.

Shirley's passion in life was her children and grandchildren. She would wait every night for each of her six children's calls to make sure they were all doing well, and then she could sleep that night. Shirley was born to be a mother and she took her role as a blessing. She enjoyed traveling, gambling, hanging out laundry, gardening and going out to eat. Shirley will be sadly missed.

Surviving are four daughters, Kathryn "Kathy" (Tim) Griffin, of Epworth, Iowa, Lucinda "Cindy" (Ron) Wood, of Conway, Ark., Karen (Gus) Langas, of Dubuque, and Susan (Jerry) Hosch, of Cuba City, Wis.; two sons, Richard "Rick" Roethler, of Dubuque, and James "Jim" (Kathy) Roethler, of Indio, Calif.; 19 grandchildren, Dena, Damian, Sara, Shelly, Lisa, Starla, Ron Jr., Molly, Emily, Jimmy, Donny, Ben, Vickie, Joshua, Bobby, Nicholas, Matthew, Kristi and Jamie; 22 great-grandchildren, and one on the way; a brother, Gordon (Leila) Esser, of Elkhorn, Wis.; a sister-in-law, Gladys Esser, of Lancaster, Wis.; the children of her special friend, Bill Heming, Diane, Rich, David, Linda, Dan and Billy, their children and families; and Bandi, her faithful and loving dog.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a son, Frederick Roethler; brothers, Glenn and Dean "Fred" Esser; a grandson, Dale Roethler; and a special friend, Bill Heming Sr.

Memorials may be given to the Shirley Conrad Memorial Fund.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

The family would like to thank the staff at Ennoble Manor, especially her loving nurse, her granddaughter Vickie; and Hospice of Dubuque, for their tender care of our mother


Cedar Rapids Update

By Shirley Wiggins

Hello all, First of all, our chapter members want to thank all of you who came and helped to make our August 28th picnic a success. So much good food and such warm friendship. Thank you again.

In September, 9 of our members attended the Dubuque dinner and auction. It too was great as always. More good food and their auction was OK. If our chapters don't do anything else, we sure know how to eat and have a good time when we are together.

But now "'tis autumn!" Soon Thanks Giving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve will be upon us. So, it is time to start planning to attend the Cedar Rapids Chapter Christmas Party and auction. The time and place-Saturday, November 20, 11:00, Pizza Ranch on 4th St. just west of B. Ave., Vinton. There will be a gift exchange. I know there will be baked breads and candy, so bring your money and enjoy. There will be Christmas Caroling done by Eldred and we might be able to get Dove Tanner to sing Birthday of a King.

Now for the Support Group update. One of our members, Dorothy Miller, was invited to share in the day-long trip to Washington, D.C. in honor of World War Two veterans. Dorothy was a Navy Nurse from 1942-45. We are so honored to have her in our group. We enjoyed her vivid explanation of the trip, and being a private person, her modesty added to her explanation. In October, not quite so heart touching, but very well done, Jonathan Ice explained what and how and why a small group of blind people come together yearly. This group has never been and does not wish to be an organized group. Known as Candle in the Window, the group gets together every year to share personal interests and opinions.

At our November meeting, we will each tell what we are most thankful for this year. Eldred Gerholdt will tell us a little of how it was for him growing up blind. December will be an exchange, goodies brought by some of our good cooks, and some music. That will be all for this year, and that will keep us busy. So good luck, God Bless, and very happy holidays.

Dubuque News

By Bob Nesler

We are continuing to meet at the Tri-State Independent Blind Center on the third Monday of the month at noon. They have been very good to us there and it has allowed us to get together to share activities of mutual interest.

Seven of us enjoyed a great picnic in Cedar Rapids with the best food ever. We took our van and my 16 year old daughter, Dhyana, was the driver with Gene Scholtes guiding the way. Shirley always does such a good job for everyone.

The Dubuque Association of the Blind Banquet was held at Bishops Restaurant again. We were very pleased with the good turnout and support. Rose Stratton always does such a good job with our auction, and it was our best fund raiser ever. We always enjoy having you come and the food is always so good there.

The Dubuque Association participated in an Expo put on by the Tri-State Center held on October 14. In commemoration of White Cane day, we arranged a bean bag toss with two of our blind members competing against two sighted radio announcers who wore sleep shades. The radio personalities had to wear sleep shades from the time they arrived and were shown how to use the white cane. They tried getting around with it. The event got good attraction and seemed to be the main event.

We are saddened by the passing of Shirley Conrad on Sunday, October 10. She was beloved by so many and was such an advocate in the blind movement. She had been President and Vice President of the Dubuque Association in the past as well as Vice President of the Tri-State Center. We will all certainly miss her.

Des Moines Chapter Christmas Party

By Donna Seliger

Believe it or not, it will soon be time to celebrate the holiday season. The Des Moines Chapter would like to invite you to join us on December 11, 2010 at the Spaghetti Works, 310 Court Avenue, Des Moines. Each person will order from the menu and is responsible for his/her own bill. The restaurant serves a variety of pasta dishes as well as some meat entrees. All meals include a trip to the salad bar, garlic bread and non-alcoholic beverages. The bar will be open for your pleasure. We will begin at noon with the meal followed by a Christmas game and auction of sweets and other items that may be donated. Any questions? Please call Jo Slayton at 515.279.4284.


(Retrieved from the Missouri Council of the Blind Listserv, August 10, 2010.)

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Banana Sour Cream Walnut Loaf

(Editor's Note: A big thank-you to my friend Sue for sharing her Aunt Bettie's banana bread recipe. It's melt-in-your-mouth good; just ask the Slaytons.)

2/3 C butter

1 1/3 C sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 C mashed banana

2 3/4 C sifted flour

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1/2 C sour cream

1 C chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and bananas, beat until well blended. Sift flour with baking powder, soda and salt. Add alternately with sour cream to banana mixture, stirring just to blend. Stir in walnuts. Spoon batter into a 9x5x3" loaf pan which has been greased and floured on the bottom only. Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until loaf tests done. Let pan stand on rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan to rack to cool completely. Wrap in foil or plastic to store. Yield: 1 loaf. (Note: Loaf is improved if allowed to stand over-night before cutting. It will store in the refrigerator for several weeks or can be frozen and stored in the freezer for about 2 months.)

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