Published by the
IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com › Pages › Businesses › nonprofit organization
Carrie Chapman, President
200 Parkview Dr.
Waukee, IA 50263
Don Wirth, Co-Editor
921 – 9th St., #208
Ames, IA 50010
Sandy Tigges, Co-Editor
2904 - 34th St.
Des Moines, IA 50310
Table of Contents
President’s Message 3
Make a Voting Experience Declaration 6
Meet the Authors: An ICUB Original 8
Shopping to Benefit ICUB 12
Those We Have Lost 13
News We Can Use 15
Awards and Congratulations 18
Water Pie 19
Coaching Corner 20
Donating Your Vehicle to Benefit ICUB 21
Are You Breaking the Law? 22
Across Iowa Chapter Report 23
Des Moines Chapter Report 23
Digest of ICUB Board Activities From May 2018 Through May 2020 25
Marie Hoenig Memorial Perkins Brailler Award Account Policy 29
Selecting ICUB as a Beneficiary 34
Calendar of Events 35
ICUB Board Members 41
This summer, ICUB has been focusing its efforts on making absentee ballots accessible for Iowans with disabilities. In August, I participated in the ACB’s Advocacy Update Podcast with Commissioner Donald Palmer, Vice Chair of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and Barbara Salisbury, President of the ACB of Indiana. This podcast is hosted by Claire Stanley, ACB Advocacy and Outreach Specialist, and Clarke Rachal, ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs. We discussed advocacy work and government initiatives to ensure in-person and remote absentee voting options are accessible to disabled voters. If you would like to listen to this podcast, go to
Recently, ICUB, Disability Rights Iowa, and the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (NFBI) have been working together to come up with a plan of action. We decided to implement a public awareness campaign, which includes an electronic billboard with pictures of me, Michael Barber from NFBI, and other individuals with disabilities with the caption, “Did you know that absentee ballots are not accessible in Iowa?” We will also be using newspapers and social media to educate the public. In addition, a joint coalition letter is being sent to Secretary of State Paul pate urging him to request the Legislative Council to approve the use of an accessible ballot-marking tool.
A group effort is required to achieve our goal, and we need your help! Please contact your legislators by letter, email, or phone and let them know you support our efforts. Also please consider submitting a voter experience declaration that The American Council of the Blind (ACB) can use in our advocacy activities. You can read more about making a declaration in the article below. The need for all voters to vote privately, independently, and safely is now more important than ever. Thank you in advance for your help. More information on this subject will soon follow.
Our conference calls are still going strong. Both ICUB members and nonmembers are enjoying the variety of subjects and sharing with each other. In fact, as a result of these calls, the Across-Iowa Chapter has gained several new members. We are just adding a conference call on the topic of Braille for both beginners and those who have been using Braille for years. On Monday, October 5 at 7:15 PM, we will be exploring ways to come together, learn, and find resources related to Braille. You can join us by calling 605-472-5428, access code 837272. A big welcome to our new members, and a big thank you
to all the wonderful hosts and participants who make these calls possible!
Stay safe and take care,
Carrie Chapman, President
Make a Voting Experience Declaration
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is eager to collect as much information as possible concerning your voting experience surrounding the 2020 General Election. We need more information than just what happens to you if you decide to vote in person on November 3. Rather, we want to know your entire experience from when you registered to vote to when you received an absentee ballot in the mail to when you went to the polling site. In other words, please share any voting-related facts with us.
Because there are numerous steps to the voting process, you are welcome to submit more than one declaration. Ideally, we hope that your experience is positive and seamless, and you can vote easily and accessibly. Unfortunately, though, we have heard many stories surrounding accessibility challenges for blind and visually impaired voters this year. As a result, we want to collect as many stories as we can to develop a kind of repository of declarations we can go to in the future when doing further advocacy work.
When writing down your voting experiences, please include the information listed below. Feel free to omit any details you are uncomfortable sharing. If possible, include the following:
Your city, state, and zip code
The date(s) on which the incident occurred
The name(s) of any Board of Election employees or poll workers involved in the problem
A detailed summary of what took place
Send your declarations to Claire Stanley, ACB Advocacy and Outreach Specialist, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by U.S. mail to American Council of the Blind, 1703 N. Beauregard Street, Suite 420, Alexandria, VA 22311. You can also share your experiences with her by phone by calling 202-467-5081.
Meet the Authors: An ICUB Original
By Kristen Steele
As many of you know, I host an ICUB book club, a conference call series that started as a response to the isolation of members caused by the quarantine. The book club has helped us all to bloom where we are planted! Though I typically lead with some discussion questions and a friendly debate, I wanted to make things even more exciting, to add a twist that you won't find in most other book clubs. As a lifelong reader and aspiring writer, I've always dreamed of meeting and talking with an author. I once wrote a letter to Gordon Korman, a beloved school-aged author, but the response was a scripted template. In other words, my hopes weren't high.
The idea of having an author participate in our club came to me while reading The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall, a blind author, who wrote of the realization that one's true ultimate gifts are the life lessons that come from within. A simple Google search revealed his e-mail. A half hour later, he replied that he was eager to speak on our conference line. I was thrilled that Jim had made time for us. He spoke about his love of football, his journey through vision loss, and his desire to pursue writing as he began to feel a loss of control and an overall lack of self-esteem. I wholeheartedly believe that his "gifts" are some of the most valuable lessons for all of us, no matter our age.
I came away with an even more significant lesson, however. Jim is now totally blind. He does not read Braille, nor has he learned proper cane travel. He has never had technology training and uses only a flip phone on which he can dial into a recording system where his ideas and notes are later transcribed by his staff. Jim exemplifies the individuality of the blind — that not one piece of tech, skill set, or popular method can make us "a good blind person." We are not cookie-cutter molds that fit into a category. We are humans, and our individuality — our uniqueness — should be embraced.
Our experience with Jim Stovall was so uplifting, our book club decided to read another book by a blind author, Abbie Johnson Taylor. The Red Dress, a newly released work, was recommended on the DB-Review Listserv. So the day before our discussion, I figured why not? Abbie's personal, down-to-earth nature made her blend right in with our bookworms. Not only do we have many of her works to look forward to, but she also recommends reading authors Debbie Macomber and Susan Wiggs, who have offered her the most inspiration.
Abbie closed her talk with some invaluable resources for aspiring authors, including a virtual group she moderates called Behind Our Eyes. Anyone wishing to join this group can visit http://www.behindoureyes.org and complete a membership form. Her experience working in a nursing home, as well as her role as a family caregiver for her late husband, resonated with me, having worked in elder care for the past three years myself. If you are looking for your next memorable read, check out her collection on Bookshare.
We send our deepest appreciation to Jim and Abbie for the time and wisdom they shared with us. If you missed either of these talks, feel free to contact Carrie Chapman or me so we can share the recording with you.
Another of my quarantine hobbies led to a third speaker. This hobby revolves around the now-popular iPhones Without the Eye, a biweekly conference call where I share tips and tricks for VoiceOver users. Last Tuesday, we were fortunate enough to have Judy Dixon, blind technology writer for National Braille Press, join us for a special edition featuring Braille Screen Input. This is a topic I hesitated to teach, as I've had varying degrees of success as a totally blind iPhone user Brailling on a touchscreen. On a whim, I called NBP in hopes of making contact with Judy, while knowing that they may not be able to give me her number. As luck would have it, the receptionist just rattled it off to me. Judy made Braille input on an iPhone appear simple and efficient in a way only she can. If you've ever struggled with Braille screen input, (BSI), her book, Writing Your Way: Composing and Editing on an iPhone or iPad, is a must. She is more than willing to join us again in the future, and I may just take her up on it. Judy has a vast array of knowledge on all things related to the iPhone operating system, (iOS), and has honestly been a role model for me as a Braille and assistive tech advocate.
And I won't stop there! I have another plan in the works for a writers' workshop to be presented by a blind storyteller that you won't want to miss. ICUB is truly making the crisis of 2020 less about that 19 thing and all about establishing friendships, crafting new skills, and having fun while we're at it. If you haven't joined us yet, there's no better time than now ... because you never know who you'll wind up meeting.
Shopping to Benefit ICUB
Are you an online shopper? You can help ICUB secure some additional funds when you shop at smile.amazon.com. There, enter your email address and password. You will be prompted to shop for the charity Amazon is promoting that day or to select your own. In the dialog box for selecting your own, type our name, Iowa Council of the United Blind. We will then be the charity of choice each time you shop at https://smile.amazon.com/ . ICUB will receive 0.5% of the value of eligible purchases.
You can also now support ICUB using the Amazon shopping app on your mobile phone. Download or update the app and then open it. Go to “Settings” in the main menu. Tap on “AmazonSmile” and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile. You can also find the instructions by going to: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=15576745011
Those We Have Lost
Editor’s Note: This spring and summer, we lost two long-time Iowans and ACB members. Through their lives, they demonstrated that blindness need not prevent one from living a full and happy life.