Published by the
IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND
Web Site: www.icublind.org
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
Cynthia Qloud, President
1918 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50316
Norma A. Boge, Co-Editor
2324 Riverwoods Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50320-2808
Don Wirth, Co-Editor
921 – 9th St., #208
Ames, IA 50010
SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION: The ICUB Bulletin is available in large print, via email, and on a NLS-compliant digital audio cartridge. To subscribe to the cartridge edition, please contact the Iowa Department for the Blind Library at 515-281-1368 or in Iowa 800-362-2587, ext. 1-1368. Please direct other questions about format and address changes to Co-Editor Norma A. Boge.
SELECTING ICUB AS A BENEFICIARY
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, IA 50310.
DONATING YOUR VEHICLE TO BENEFIT ICUB
Do you need to dispose of a used vehicle? ICUB's Used Vehicle Donation Program offers a perfect solution. Your vehicle will be picked up from your home and sold at auction. A portion of the proceeds go directly to ICUB. You claim a tax deduction equal to the dollar value of the vehicle. Call 800-899-4925 for more information.
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 e-mail 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 be the charity of choice each time you shop at
smile.amazon.com. ICUB will receive 0.5% of the value of purchases. If you do not yet have an account at Amazon, go to their website, establish an account, and then go to smile.amazon.com to make your purchases. Happy shopping!
CORRECTION The author of “Hearing is believing at Audio Described Movie” (Fall 2015) was incorrectly identified. The author of the article is Becky Dunkerson.
From the President’s Desk
By Cynthia Qloud
Since publication of our October Bulletin, ICUB members have been involved in several events. We have attended two Commission meetings at the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB), a Vision Loss Resource Fair in Sioux City, a White Cane Safety Day program in Des Moines, a banquet in Dubuque, the presentation of the Iowa Department for the Blind budget to the Governor, the Des Moines chapter Christmas party, and the Annual Braille Challenge. We have been busy!!
We are committed to having a presence at all Commission meetings. At the two most recent sessions, we learned that the Iowa Department for the Blind is $305,000 over budget for the current fiscal year. The shortfall required action, and the IDB Commission authorized withdrawal of that amount from the agency’s Gifts and Bequests Fund to cover agency operating costs.
Richard Sorey, IDB Director, formally presented the budget for 2017 to the Governor in December. As many of you have heard or read, the Governor did not include IDB’s request for an additional $405,000 in his proposed budget. Director Sorey presented his case for the request to the Des Moines Chapter at a fall meeting. Mr. Sorey cited increased travel costs, provision of more technology, and greater demand for services for multiply handicapped Iowans as reasons for the need for more state dollars. Further detail was not provided. The Director’s request for additional monies may well be justified. To effectively advocate for the increase, it would be helpful to those of us contacting legislators or the Governor if we had more facts, and a comparison of that data with past years that would demonstrate the need.
Currently there are an estimated 75 employees at the Department, down 20% from the 93 staff members present when Mr. Sorey took over in 2012. Also, in the last budget IDB received the biggest increase in state funding in many a year. I recall that, at that time, Mr. Sorey stated that the Governor and the Iowa legislature were more than generous to the Department for the Blind. It was enough and he would not be asking for more. We do need to be watchful about the ongoing use of the Gifts and Bequests Fund to cover large shortfalls in the agency’s operating costs. I and others are concerned that if something is not done there could be another withdrawal from Gifts and Bequests in the amount of $405,000. So much for Gifts and bequests.
If you have questions concerning the budget or information to support the request, contact me, Director Sorey, or one of the three IDB Commission members.
Beyond Department concerns, we have been rolling right along with our outreach programs. In October we took our ICUB booth to Sioux City for a Vision Loss Resource Fair sponsored by IDB. For that program, we borrowed an accessible voting machine from the Woodbury County auditor’s office for demonstration to attendees. The response was great! It was a wonderful opportunity for educating others about an option in the voting process. Very few visitors knew about the accessible voting machine, or that these machines should be available in each precinct.
At the White Cane Safety Day program, also sponsored by IDB, we staffed the ICUB booth, and participated with others on the mile-long walk to celebrate the day.
On October 24, sixty-one ICUB members, friends and family attended the revived annual Dubuque chapter banquet in Dubuque. I was honored to speak at the banquet. In my remarks, I focused on how important it is that we connect with one another to teach, listen, and empower each other to go further than each one of us might have thought. Thanks goes to the Dubuque chapter for including Des Moines, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and at large chapter members in the guest list. The gathering was great fun!
ICUB, invited by IDB to participate, once again set up our booth at the Annual Braille Challenge. Thanks to the Des Moines chapter for donating $100 to be used as cash prizes for participants. The prizes certainly attracted participants and their parents to our booth. Many of them provided information for contact in the future. They also received information about ICUB and our upcoming State convention.
Note, too, that the Des Moines chapter donated an additional $200 to IDB to underwrite the Braille Challenge, and the ICUB State treasury provided $100 as well.
On February 26, six ICUB members will be going to the American Council of the Blind midwinter conference in Washington D.C. We are eager to learn about national legislation. We have already been making appointments with Iowa’s Congressional delegation to speak with them about blind Iowans’ concerns. We will provide news and views of the Conference in the next issue of the ICUB Bulletin.
Mark another date on your calendar. ICUB will participate in a Vision Loss Resource Fair in Oskaloosa on March 8. We are working to obtain an accessible voting machine for that event as well. ‘Tis the voting season, and we want all of our members to be knowledgeable and prepared. If you are interested in attending or participating in the Oskaloosa Fair or any other outreach activity, please contact me. The experience will energize you--It is a good way to meet people who need our help.
A Sneak Peek at our 2016 Convention
By Cynthia Qloud
The 2016 ICUB convention is right around the corner. The dates are April 22 through 24. This year we are in Des Moines once again at the Holiday Inn on Merle Hay Road. As many of you know their food and service are great and they have been very accommodating to our needs.
We are still working on the program, so some of what you may be reading below may change a bit. So keep it in mind as you read what you would like to see at our convention this year.
Archiving the convention: This year, we are going to attempt to live stream the convention on ACB Radio, and IRIS, that is, the Iowa Radio Reading Information Service which has indicated an interest in recording it for podcasting.
Transportation discussion: Last year we started a discussion on transportation and this year we are going to continue it. In May last year many of us attended a passenger transportation summit which was sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT). We found that transportation in Iowa is a little more complex than we thought. We have a committee with Carol Flickinger, of Fort Dodge, Arlo Monthei of Des Moines, and Jackie Armstrong of Forest City working on collecting data and gathering information to help us get a better picture of what types of transportation exist between cities in Iowa. We have also been in contact with the IDOT and have asked them to come to our convention and talk to us about the transit issues for the public in Iowa. We are going to meet with a couple of their representatives on February 9 to talk more to them about what we would like to discuss at the convention.
Last year we had a good discussion about transportation, and it is definitely worth continuing this year. So when you come to the convention bring your solutions, thoughts about transportation between and within cities in Iowa and be ready to share. Your opinions are very important to know about as we need to get working on resolving this transportation gap that we face.
Television and technology: As many of you may know, television is getting harder and harder to work with. Some people are able to make their TVs work and some have difficulty with getting the stupid thing to turn on. There are many approaches to using your television that many of us would like to know about. One of these is the Apple TV. We are going to be getting a demonstration on how it works, how to use it, and what it is all about. In addition to looking at this television option we would like to have a discussion as to what works for you when you watch TV: how do you operate your smart TVs, are you able to get descriptive videos, and so on.
Voting: Many people with whom I have had contact do not know options and laws regarding how a blind person may cast his or her vote. This year we would like to have a demonstration on accessible voting machines, laws related to voting that affect us, and how to vote as a blind person. I have heard that at the caucuses in the Republican Party they were passing out paper ballots, and asking for a secret vote. Well, what about blind people who attend the caucuses? Bring your experiences to the table and let’s discuss the voting issues that affect us.
Other items to look for are our traditional reports from IRIS, Friends of the Library, Iowa Department for the Blind, the School for the Blind, and election of officers and some Board members.
There are going to be some preconvention trainings in 1Touch self defense by Lori Trujillo Roush and Carrie Chapman, and, perhaps, some training and exhibits by other vendors.
Also look for a seminar for new ICUB members, mentoring and support to new and prospective members.
We are trying to get it all in! And we will have some time for checking out the exhibits, talking to old friends and meeting new ones.
Why Attend the ICUB Annual Convention
By Don Wirth
As we approach the 2016 ICUB annual convention, you’re probably wondering why should I attend. If you have attended in the past, you probably have a pretty good answer to this. If you have forgotten why or have never attended, perhaps a few ideas are in order.
People. And not just people, but blind people. Many of us are lucky to interact with other blind people on a regular basis. Many of us aren’t. Isn’t it great when you get together with another blind person and you can share stories, concerns and issues with someone else who sees (or feels ) them the same way you do without the sense of sight?
Information. Lots of it. Some of it even comes from the speakers. But, lots of it comes from the conversations at the meals, the hospitality suite, or just in the hallways.
Networking. Connecting with other ICUB members, presenters exhibitors and IDB staff. Last year a resolution of how to distribute the ICUB Bulletin was framed during lunch with the library director. If we hadn’t had lunch with Sarah, we might still be chasing the solution.
Hospitality. How sweet it is. The Montheis really know how to prepare a spread of food and beverages that get the conversations flowing. Sometimes the conversations have a serious bent to them, but they always have good vibrations.
Activities. You never know what is coming (unless you are on the planning committee). But how about these from previous conventions – self-defense, beep ball. And vendor exhibits.
Anything I forgot? Well, write it down to remind you why you should go to convention. Then make your reservations.
Hope to see you in April.
Des Moines Chapter Report
By Jo Ann Slayton
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! I'm almost up to the deadline in submitting the latest Des Moines Chapter report. I'm appreciative of Don and Norma, our co-editors, for their patience and expertise. Hope everyone is enjoying their audible copy of the ICUB Bulletin on cartridge from the Library. Thanks to the editors for making this much-needed change happen.
Members had an opportunity at the October meeting to purchase ICUB T-shirts and coupon books for Younkers Community Days that took place in November. We also took this time for our treasurer, Jim Witte, to begin accepting dues for the upcoming 2016 year. The $15.00 cost is a bargain, since it pays for membership in the Des Moines Chapter, the Iowa Council of the United Blind, and the American Council of the Blind.
Members have expressed interest in learning more about CenturyLink's services, as well as accessibility features available from Mediacom. Since some providers are making available menu selections in audible format, such as Comcast, members wondered about other accessible television menus that might be available in Iowa. So far, we have found none.
We also continued our "Brag and Steal" feature in October. Sandy Tigges brought an audible labeled medicine container from Walgreen's, which is available at no cost to anyone upon request from their local Walgreen's store. Roger Christiansen shared the wonderful days he spent at a Salvation Army camp in Nebraska, and Norma Boge-Conyers shared the white water rafting and horseback riding experiences she had during her vacation in August. Mike Manahl shared a multipurpose tool he especially likes that he purchased from Ace Hardware. Carrie Chapman described Around Me, an app available for devices. It provides information about movies and entertainment venues in your local area. Elsie Monthei mentioned she and Arlo had used new accessible voting machines at the recent school election. Our state president, Cynthia Qloud, indicated there would be a focus on voting at the upcoming ICUB state Conference and Convention, which will take place at the Holiday Inn in Des Moines from April 22 to 24, 2016.
In November, Iowa Department for the Blind Director Richard Sorey addressed chapter members to discuss the Department’s upcoming budget request. He stated the IDB would be asking for an additional $400,000 above the 2.3 million dollar baseline budget. He encouraged members to write to their legislators in support of this request. He answered questions from members following his presentation, during which time he said currently there were 75 staff members. Since his presentation, however, several more staff have retired or resigned, and the governor refused to recommend the budget increase. In December, the Commission for the Blind approved $300,000 be taken from the Gifts and Bequests Fund to backfill a deficit in operating expenses, especially in the Independent Living Program.
Chapter members have expressed concern about the Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) bus service no longer stopping at Merle Hay Mall. Contacts were to be made with DART and Merle Hay Mall management to express our concern. Good public transportation continues to be an issue in Des Moines, as it is throughout the state.
Annual elections were also held in November. The following officers were elected by acclamation: Jo Slayton as president, Norma Boge-Conyers as vice-president, Donna Seliger as secretary, and Jim Witte as treasurer. Board members include Carrie Chapman, Becky Dunkerson, Elsie Monthei, Marilyn Natale, Lori Trujillo Roush, and Dan Tigges. We are appreciative of the new officers and directors who have stepped up to the plate, as well as those officers and directors who had served us well in 2015.
The chapter Christmas party was held December 5 at Felix and Oscar's Pizza from noon to 4:00 P.M. We were especially pleased to welcome guests from Dubuque and Cuba City in Wisconsin to our gathering. Several Des Moines chapter members had attended an awesome banquet in Dubuque October 24. Not only did Des Moines Chapter members enjoy a wonderful well-planned party, but we were able to collect items for a local food pantry and to raise $360 to donate to Children and Families of Iowa, a charity chosen by the winning trivia team.
January began a new year of planning future projects and programs. We donated funds for The Braille Challenge which was held at the Department on January 30 and for the upcoming Perowsky Volunteer Workshop in April. Members of the chapter worked tables and helped with the Braille Challenge. Some of our money donated to The Braille Challenge went toward monetary prizes won by students in a raffle. Winners were Third place winning $20, Brogan Malcolm of Truro; second place winning $30, Angela Wittrock of Des Moines; and first place winning $50, Gabriel Urbano of Hampton.
We again sold coupon books for Younkers Community Days which were February 27-28. We had done very well during the November Community Days campaign, raising over $1,000 selling coupon books individually and at Valley West Mall. A big thanks to all for their participation in this worthwhile effort!
We will be making plans for the upcoming ICUB Conference and Convention April 22-24 at the Holiday Inn and Suites on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines. Since the ACB National Conference and Convention will be held in Minneapolis beginning July 3, we will also be making a real effort to get as many Iowans to this convention as possible. The chapter will work with the state to make it possible for ICUB members to attend both these events.
Our chapter meets the second Monday of the Month at 5:30 P.M. in the Director's Conference Room at the Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth St. We would love to have you join us.
Until next Bulletin,
Jo Ann Slayton, President
Des Moines Chapter, ICUB
Giving Back This Holiday Season
By Lori Trujillo Roush and Becky Dunkerson
On December 5, 2015 the Des Moines chapter of the Iowa Council of the United Blind held their annual holiday party. This year's theme was giving back. Members, friends and family fiercely competed against one another in a trivia bowl for the opportunity to donate to their favorite charity.
The event took place at Felix and Oscars on Merle Hay Road. The cost to participate was $10 plus a non-perishable food item. The menu had a wide selection of Italian foods and sandwiches to choose from. There was time to fellowship while eating this delicious meal.
Trivia bowl teams were formed with 1 to 6 players per team. Topics included TV shows, movies, music, and general interest.
Food items were donated to the Food Bank of Iowa, and 100% of the proceeds, $360, were given to Children and Families of Iowa. Door prizes were given throughout the afternoon as well, and a great time was had by all.
Banquet Return Marks Dubuque Chapter Rejuvenation
By Catherine Witte
Well, if you are dedicated to reinvigorating your local consumer organization, look no further than an energetic trio of women in the greater Dubuque area.
Following the state Iowa Council of the United Blind convention last year, Violet Haverland of Cuba City, Wisconsin (yes, an out-of-state ICUB member!) committed herself to reinvigorating the local Dubuque ICUB chapter. One of Violet’s favorite Chapter traditions had been its annual banquet. She invited Linda Manders and Carol Steckel to work with her on reestablishing that event.
Throwing a banquet is no minor undertaking. Violet, Linda and Carol did all the groundwork from selecting the site to choosing the meal, canvassing businesses for prizes and support, arranging the program, and inviting a statewide audience.
Having the event at the local Eagles’ Club Restaurant underscored tradition, complete with their noted Swiss steak entrée. The October 24, 2015, date was key to encouraging attendance from far and wide. Peppering the event with a generous sprinkling of door prizes was appreciated. And confidently inviting the statewide membership to a fall event assured success. Sixty-one people attended, Des Moines, at large, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids chapter members among them. Longtime friends and compatriots had an opportunity to meet and enjoy lengthy conversations. The hum of people enjoying one another’s company was heartwarming. Bob Nessler kept the program moving along. ICUB President Cynthia (CIP) Qloud, reminded all of us of the benefits of being together. CIP pointed out that It is chiefly from being together, working and playing together, that blind Iowans are always improving how they live their lives fully as persons who happen to be blind. Linda managed both door prizes and auction items. Rose Stratton served as an excellent auctioneer. Members of a local Girl Scout troop served as runners. The place was abuzz with good energy and fellowship. As a result, the Dubuque chapter is up and running well!
Violet’s goals were to begin with the banquet, a recognized and valued event. Beyond that, she is working at reestablishing local Chapter connections with other community partners. Both the banquet attendance and some contacts have resulted in contributions to the Chapter’s resources. Violet feels, bit by bit, she is realizing all of her goals. Local businesses and service organizations have been supportive and may collaborate further with the Chapter and its members on various projects. The chapter itself has eight to ten established members and continues to recruit successfully. For readers who know of blind persons in Dubuque who would benefit from connection and participation in the Dubuque ICUB chapter, note that meetings occur on the third Tuesday of each month at 3:00 P.M. at the Tri-State Independent Blind Society, 3333 Asbury Rd., Dubuque, Iowa, 52002.
A Hawkeye Cruising with the Cardinals
By Don Wirth
I caught up with Mike Hoenig, ICUB board member, in a car headed to Chicago to fly to Miami to join a cruise with St. Louis Cardinals fans and players. He was glad to have me to talk to because his driver was a Chicago Cubs fan – and we know how well Cubs and Cardinals get along.
Mike has been involved in ICUB since 1980 when he was a student at the Vinton School for the Blind. He attended an informational meeting and got the ICUB bug. He attended the first state convention and an early national convention. He has been very active since. In addition to serving as a board member, he served as newsletter editor for a number of years and was a member of the Iowa Commission for the Blind.
I first met Mike 3 years ago at a state convention. We talked at one of the hospitality suite sessions. When the hospitality suite closed, we rode up in the elevator and started talking baseball. After our short elevator ride, we talked for more than an hour standing in the elevator lobby. He talked Cardinals, I talked another team. Mike impressed me with his passion and knowledge of baseball. It wasn’t just the Cardinals but the game, its history and esthetics.
During the rest of the conference, I noted Mike’s presence on many issues discussed. He brought that same passion and commitment to ICUB and the issues facing blind people. He was ready and willing to discuss issues from many perspectives. He wanted to get a good, right position not just his position.
After working at the Iowa Department for the Blind for a few years, Mike has worked at the Center for Disabilities and Development at the University of Iowa in Iowa City since 1993. Over that time he has seen people with disabilities become more out in the open and less stigmatized. There is still a long way to go, but there has been great progress. We can’t forget the progress we have made nor can we accept it as a satisfactory conclusion. But, we sometimes should take time to celebrate how far we have come.
When not working or worrying about the fate of the Cardinals, Mike enjoys gardening, dancing, jazz and following the Hawkeyes (luckily he was on the cruise ship when the men’s basketball winning streak was broken).
A regular event at each state convention is the awarding of the Marie Hoenig Perkins Brailler to a young blind person. The event is named in honor of Mike’s mother. Mike was born blind with LCV in Ft. Madison. When he was in fourth grade, his mother decided he needed to have a brailler of his own so he could continue his learning during summer and other school breaks. When his mother died, Mike and his family decided to use the memorial funds they received to create a fund that would be used to purchase braillers for presentation. A board was established to oversee the fund. Later the fund was joined to ICUB to provide joint administration.
Each year the board solicits applications. The applications are reviewed by the board and a winner selected. The winner and his/her parents are invited to a luncheon at the ICUB annual convention for the brailler presentation. In addition to the presentation, the award ceremony offers the winner the chance to interact with other blind people. It also gives the convention attendees the opportunity to meet and offer encouragement to the winner.
You can get involved in the brailler award in a couple of ways. First you can make a contribution. Several ICUB members have been regular donors. Donations can be sent to Mike Hoenig, 3119 Spring St., Davenport, IA 52807; (563) 344-8787, or to the ICUB treasurer.
Second, you can offer to serve on the board of the fund’s directors. You would assist in the review of applications and selection of the winner. Contact Mike if you are interested.
A Cardinal wearing black and gold or a Hawkeye wearing red, Mike is dedicated to ICUB. He feels a great way for all ICUB members to achieve is to attend the annual meeting. The convention offers a way to make connections. ICUB is a great organization that is doing new things and heading in new directions.
Eulogy for Moby
By Fred Mansfield
He was the best of buses
He was the worst of buses
Angels inspired his design
Satan supervised his construction
He was the peak of the automakers’ art
He was incompetence personified
He was the apple of Detroit’s eye
He was a Hawkeye lemon without parallel
Students cheered when invited to board him
Strong men wept when ordered to drive him
Beulah counted passengers, on and off
No one could keep count of his breakdowns
Politicians smiled when his keys were turned over to the state of Iowa
Accountants cheered when told of his demise
Termites scorned him
Rats deserted him
Bugs thrived in every part of him
Hijackers and insurance salesmen looked the other way
Whenever he came around
At the end his only friend was a junk yard dog
The first Moby took a whole ship and crew to their watery grave
The second Moby drove a governor onto a street corner
Peddling lottery tickets
Pray that there not be a third Moby.
Medicaid Transition Information Available
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has made information available on the transition most Medicaid members will make to a new managed care program on March 1, 2016. The Iowa Health web site provides detailed information that includes a program Overview, a Resources page, and a Frequently Asked Questions page. For questions about the program visit www.iahealth.gov or call
1-800-338-8366 or 515-256-4606. The brochure Linking Iowa Medicaid Members to New Health Care Coverage is available. Braille and printed copies are available at the reception desk at the Iowa Department for the Blind or by contacting Rick Dressler at (515) 281-1314 or rick.Dressler@blind.state.ia.us
News You Can Use
Iowa Hy-Vee stores now offer online grocery ordering for store pick-up or home delivery. For additional information visit
The Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped would like to announce a refreshment of its blog "Turning the Pages." The blog will serve as a lively way to share information, talk about books, and keep the public informed about library events. Recent posts cover February 4th's Harry Potter Night, the 2016 Iowa Braille Challenge, and 2015 Book Awards. Check it out at: https://iowalibrary.wordpress.com
The ACB Braille Forum and E-Forum are your connection to your national organization and fellow affiliates around the country.