Fall 2011 Bulletin


FALL 2011

Published by


Web Site: www.acb.org/iowa

Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Robert Spangler, President

1505 W. 4th St.

Vinton, IA 52349

(319) 472-4843

E-MAIL: Ka0wjz@q.com

Mike Hoenig, Editor

3119 Spring St.

Davenport, IA 52807


E-Mail: mhoenig@q.com

Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary

4013 30th St.

Des Moines, IA 50310

(515) 279-4284 – home

(515) 710-7875 – cell

E-Mail: slayton4284@msn.com

Stephanie Hunolt, Treasurer

1016 Millwood Dr. APT D.

Kirksville, MO 63501

(660) 665-2404 – home

(660) 216-4369 – cell

E-Mail: Msmouse74@sbcglobal.net


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Opening the Gateway for Future Leaders

Blind Transit Advocate to Visit Dubuque

Blind Iowa Artist Featured in American Printing House for the Blind Exhibit

In Memoriam

Randy Criswell

Kathryn Mary Davis

Former Iowa Basketball Recruit James Speed Dies at 61

Statement of Commissioner Mignon L. Cliburn to

Approve Video Description

Blind Americans Equality Day Presidential Proclamation

MIRA Foundation

Chapter Reports

Cedar Rapids Update

Dubuque Association of the Blind Update

Des Moines Update

Recipe Corner

The Outhouse Poem


By Mike Hoenig

One of the many great things about ACB is that through it, we all can find opportunities to serve. As I read the last Bulletin on to the master cassette, I felt a special connection with you, the readership. I realized that the best way I can serve ICUB right now is to continue editing the Bulletin. Thank you, board and membership, for allowing me to continue to do so.

Robert Spangler, Stephanie Hunolt, Donna Seliger and I attended the ACB Midwest Leadership Conference on August 19, 20 and 21 in St. Louis. An excellent article describing conference activities and outcomes, written by ACB Students’ President Sara Conrad, appears elsewhere in this Bulletin. I especially enjoyed hearing Dan and Brenda Dillon talk about the many recreational activities which their chapter hosts to recruit and retain members. After listening to this inspiring talk, we got the chance to pretend that we were members of a chapter committee tasked with planning a year's worth of meetings. Chris Gray's banquet address, describing each participating state's contributions to ACB, was very informative. Both Donna and Stephanie, who served on the planning committee, received well-deserved recognition for their efforts.

I don't know how they do it, but Shirley Wiggins and the Cedar Rapids Chapter make the picnic better and better each year. The food was superb again this year, and guests (Dale and Pat Woltoff) came from as far away as South Carolina! It was great to visit with Colleen (Tanner) Woeste and her husband Bill from Cincinnati, and to learn that their chapter has over 100 members! I think we need to invite them to our state convention to tell us how they do it!

As a member of the History of Blindness in Iowa Project Advisory Committee, I was pleased to provide information about ICUB and ACB for the project's advocacy web page. I encourage you to visit the page at www.iowablindhistory.org, and send me your suggestions. ICUB has made significant contributions to Iowa's rich history, and our story deserves to be told.

News flash! After much cajoling and some excellent training from Jo and Creig Slayton, I downloaded my first digital talking book. Take it from the world's biggest non-techie, IT'S NOT THAT HARD! What a great feeling it is to know that a seemingly unlimited selection of reading material is at my fingertips. I'll even make the brave offer to help any of you out there who need a little encouragement or even some guidance on how to download these great books.

We are once again soliciting nominations for two awards which will be given at the 2012 ICUB convention in May. The Marie Hoenig Memorial Perkins Brailler Award is given annually to a deserving Iowa k-12 student, while the Linda Dietrich Award is given to recognize an individual whose volunteer efforts have made a significant difference in the lives of blind Iowans. Please contact me if you would like further information or if you would like to nominate someone.

I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving, a Blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year.


By Sara Conrad

(Reprinted from The Braille Forum, October-November 2011.)

In the "gateway city," gateways were opened for many ACB affiliate members as Midwestern leaders hosted and attended a hugely successful conference focusing on the various aspects of leadership development and performance Aug. 19-21 in St. Louis, Mo. Ray Campbell, president of the Illinois Council of the Blind, said, "As a current or established ACB leader, I felt like I heard several good ideas and learned a few things about myself and what I can do better. I also got a renewed shot of enthusiasm for projects that I'm either undertaking or hope to undertake in Illinois and across ACB."

The conference began with an ice-breaker session, hosted by Michael Byington. Participants were encouraged to choose a device that enhances their lives as blind individuals. Byington's interactive time of "Who Is Your Assistive Technology Device?" included an interview of each member as if he or she were the voice of the device. We heard from guide dogs about their picky owners, glasses crying out from being sat on, and white canes fearlessly leading their companions. The time was not only a lighthearted start to the conference, but it was also educational in providing ideas for the often awkward beginnings of affiliate calls, meetings, and events.

Saturday's events were the meat of what leaders really need to know for effective affiliates. We heard from Ron Milliman about fundraising and media releases; he walked through the steps required for fundraising and charitable donations. In addition, leaders also learned how to write informational and entertaining media releases. We also heard from Chris Gray on treasurers, boards, and affiliates. Gray's presentations encouraged presidents in their work with treasurers, knowing that these positions are crucial to effective fund-raising, spending, and an affiliate as a whole. Campbell encouraged leaders to advocate to their legislators about important issues pertaining to blindness. He highlighted the successful pursuits ACB has had at Capitol Hill, and reminded us that we all have opportunities to contact our legislators, whether in D.C. or in local offices.

Brenda and Dan Dillon shared information and ideas about effective business meetings. Ideas were given for incentives such as dinner or fun activities at meetings, which can make them more inviting. Brenda also discussed mentoring and membership retention, with thoughts for recruiting members. Suggestions included movie tickets, free meals, and networking opportunities to draw others into affiliates. Saturday wrapped up with a banquet, where Chris Gray spoke of the history of the Midwest ACB affiliates. This educational and inspirational story helped to encourage the future leaders and new generations of the organization, reminding all of the incredible leadership that has gone before us.

Sunday's session wrapped up with information about the national convention and project presentations. Many questions were answered for those who have never attended on a national level. In addition, projects were given to small groups Saturday, and we heard from each spokesperson at the end of the conference. The groups chose topics, mainly focusing on fundraising and membership. Groups were challenged to write a plan to raise $3,000 in a year or to plan a year's worth of affiliate meetings. Some fundraising ideas included a state-wide trivia competition, service auction, and chili cook-off. Meetings scheduled were planned based on seasons, meals, and activities that corresponded to the timing given.

The conference's success belongs both to its excited participants from Midwestern states and the planners of the event. "I'm glad the effects of the planning committee, consisting of DeAnna Noriega (MCB), Donna Seliger, and Stephanie Hunolt (both members of ICUB), were appreciated by the 51 registered attendees," says Jim Jirak, president of ACB of Nebraska. "The success of the conference proves that when affiliates work together, there is no limit to the success that can be achieved."

These gateways opened not only for seasoned leaders of ACB, but also for new members. Amy Morrison, who joined the Missouri Council this past January, expressed how wonderful the conference was for her. "I thought that it had very practical information," she said. "It's something I would do again. I felt like there were a lot of things to take away."

Positive momentum continues to ignite in the Midwest as leaders open even more gates back in their home states. We hope the excitement, enthusiasm, and success may be shared in other regions. You can find audio recordings of the conference sessions at www.missouricounciloftheblind.org/events/live/. When people come together, there's no telling how many doors may be opened for the growth of our organization.

Press Release


(Editor's Note: Though the time for this event has come and gone, I think many of you will enjoy reading about the public awareness work of one of ICUB's board members.)

WHEN: 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WHERE: City of Dubuque, The Jewel (Keyline) Transit, Dubuque Iowa

2401 Central Avenue, Dubuque, IA

WHAT: Frank Strong from Des Moines will ride a Dubuque “The Jewel” (Keyline) Transit Service Bus as part of his goal of riding each of Iowa’s 18 fixed-route public transit systems. Frank is a public transit advocate who encourages everyone to make use of the valuable public transit services available in their communities. Frank, along with other public transit advocates, will ride the Dubuque Jewel (Keyline) Transit Bus to promote awareness of the ease and convenience of using public transit services in Dubuque.

Frank is promoting public transit to encourage everyone to make use of public transit services. Many people do not use public transit because they are not sure of how to ride the bus or where the bus actually goes. Blind people like Frank have been riding public transit and teaching people how to use transit for many years. Public transit is the “freedom machine” for many people with disabilities. And public transit is now more accessible than ever for everyone!

Frank is promoting public transit to relieve traffic congestion, reduce pollution, and reduce carbon emissions. Frank also encourages the use of public transit to help Iowans stand up for energy independence by reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. Frank states that by using less imported oil, each of us can help make a difference by reducing our use of fossil fuels. By doing so, we can strengthen our economy and help ourselves remain independent and self-reliant.

Frank is working with several different statewide organizations which promote public transit services as well as their own statewide outreach. These organizations include the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the Iowa Arts Council and local State and Federal elected officials.

Everyone can and should join Frank on the bus in Dubuque!

Let’s stand up for energy independence today!

Frank will also perform music on his guitar while he rides the Dubuque bus. This live music feature is not usually available on any kind of public transit but it will be on October 25!

Frank Strong can be reached at his place of employment at the Central Iowa Center for Independent Living at telephone number (515) 243 1742, extension 3 or by e-mail at frank@frankstrong.net.


(Editor's Note: Many of you will remember Joel Ray, a past Marie Hoenig Memorial Perkins Brailler Award recipient, for his talent in creating braille pictures. Joel contacted me in September to share the good news that his submission "Birdhouse, Bird, Tree and Flower" was accepted for inclusion in APH Insights, the American Printing House for the Blind's annual juried art competition and exhibition. The text of the cover letter and certificate is reprinted below. Congratulations, Joel!

May 2011

Dear Joel Ray:

Congratulations! Your work, Birdhouse, Bird, Tree and Flower, has been chosen to be exhibited in APH InSights 2011, the twentieth annual juried art competition held by the American Printing House for the Blind.

The competition attracted 396 entries this year. We continue to be amazed at the talent of the artists who participate.

Adult competition categories included two-dimensional art, sculpture or crafts.

Preschool through high school work was judged according to grade placement of the artist. The three jurors judged all entries within each category on the

basis of originality of concept, expressive use of medium and artistic excellence and selected eighty-three pieces for the exhibition. From these "show

pieces" of art, awards were selected in each of nine categories.

Thank you for participating. We appreciate your taking the time and effort to share your talent with us.

Certificate of Acceptance

in the twentieth Annual APH Art Competition and Exhibition

Louisville, Kentucky, May 2011

be it hereby known that Joel Ray has created and artwork that have been accepted for exhibition in APH InSights 2011 an art competition and exhibition sponsored by the American Printing House for the Blind


Randy Criswell

Editor's Note: Randy was the husband of Becky Criswell, manager of the Iowa Department for the Blind's Independent Living program and long-time friend of ICUB.)

Randal Scot Criswell died unexpectedly at his home in Prairie City, Iowa on

Monday, August 22, 2011.

Randy was born to Kenny and Grace (Thompson) Criswell on September 29, 1958 in Grinnell, Iowa. On November 24, 1984 he married Becky (Witte) Criswell.

Randy is survived by four brothers, John (Brenda) Criswell of Urbandale,

Iowa, Rod (Susie) Criswell of Malcom, Iowa, Jim (Heidi) Criswell, and Steve

(Janietta) Criswell of Montezuma, Iowa; two sisters, Cheryl Criswell of

Kentucky and Denise Criswell of Nevada; and a large and loving extended

family including many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Above all, Randy treasured his family. He loved hosting, sharing, and

exploring with them. His curiosity and joy in life were contagious. Though

his work success was as the operator of a small business, he was proud of

his farming heritage. Together, he and Becky nurtured their acreage in

Prairie City, Iowa, which they cherished.

Randy was unconventional in his thinking, fiercely independent, optimistic, curious, and generous-hearted. He faced many health challenges and losses in

his life, but did so with a joyous heart, always pursuing fully the business

of living.

Visitation will be held Thursday, August 25, 2011 from 4 to 8 p.m. at

Hamilton's Funeral Home, 605 Lyon Street, Des Moines. The family will be

present from 6 to 8 p.m. Inurnment of his cremains will be held at a later


In Randy's memory and honor, the family asks that any contributions or memorials be given to the Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 4th St., Des Moines, IA, 50309. Randy was a student at the Department's Orientation

Center in the early 1980s. He credited his experience there and his

interaction with knowledgeable, experienced persons who were blind with

giving him the confidence to pursue his career. Randy's pioneering spirit

helped blaze the trail for the interstate highway vending operation as well

as other food service, downhill skiing, and welding programs for persons who

are blind. Randy's many other interests included gardening, beer making,

reading, fitness training, stock investing, herbology, gadgetry, guitars, dancing and rock music.

Randy was a gentle and strong spirit who was well-loved and will be missed

by many. Online condolences may be left for the family at


Kathryn Mary Davis

(Editor's Note: Kathryn's daughter Lisa, an ICUB member, worked at the Department for the Blind for many years. She has been a mentor to me since she was my instructor in the Orientation Center.)

PEORIA - Kathryn Mary Davis, 97, of Peoria died at her residence at the St. Augustine Manor at 4:49 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, after a brief illness.

Kathryn was born to Frank and Minerva (Mitchell) Freepartner on July 6, 1914, in Effingham, Ill. She married Raymond Davis on April 23, 1938, in Peoria. He preceded her in death on Nov. 21, 1991, in Peoria. An infant son also preceded her in death.

She is survived by her children, Fred (Arlene) Lynch of Hillsboro, N.M., Sharon (Davis) Voegele of Concord, Ohio, Diana (Phil) Lane of Mapleton, Ill., John Davis of Flagstaff, Ariz., and Lisa Davis of Urbandale, Iowa. She has eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Kathryn graduated from Effingham High School and began studies to become a classical pianist following high school graduation.

In keeping with her efforts toward lifelong learning, Kathryn successfully completed a number of fine arts and science courses at Illinois Central College in her late sixties.

Above all, Kathryn cherished her family, instilling in her children a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility.

She served as a role model to family and friends by promoting the importance of deep spirituality and strong faith, lifelong learning and educational achievement with an appreciation of music, literature and the fine arts.

She delighted in sharing with others her love of the outdoors, fishing, camping, gardening and picnicking.

She was a chef extraordinaire, treating family and friends to her scrumptious home cooking, often using fruits and vegetables from her garden.

Kathryn was an avid and skillful bridge player and belonged to a number of bridge groups.

She was a member of the West Peoria Women's Republican Club and worked in a number of parent-teacher organizations.

Kathryn resided at the St. Augustine Manor for the last 10 years, where she was an active part of the spiritual community.

A funeral Mass will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in