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Spring 2020

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An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

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



The ICUB Bulletin is available in large print, via email, and on an NLS-compliant digital audio cartridge. To subscribe to the cartridge edition, please contact the Iowa Department for the Blind Library at 515-281-1323 or 800-362-2587, option 2. Please direct other questions about format and address changes to Co-Editor Don Wirth.

Table of Contents

President’s Message 3

Join Us for the Thirty-Third Annual ICUB Conference and Convention 5

A New Grant Award 7

Selecting ICUB as a Beneficiary 7

Vinton Has New Vision for Former Braille School 8

Notes and Activities: Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped 10

Donating Your Vehicle to Benefit ICUB 13

Those We Have Lost 13

News You Can Use 17

Coaching Corner 21

Shopping to Benefit ICUB 21

Des Moines Chapter Report 22

Across-Iowa Chapter Report 25

Calendar of Events 26

ICUB Officers and Board Members 33

President’s Message

Hi, everyone,

I hope you all are doing well. I just wanted to give you an update on a few things that we have been working on.

First, I am excited to announce we will be creating a new brand and logo. We will also be creating a new look for our website. As I’m sure many of you know, all three of these things are vital for the success of any business and organization like ours. The web is usually the first place people go to look for resources before making any contact. They want to know who we are and what we do and about resources that can help them and their loved ones. Our website is also a place we reference in brochures, grant applications, flyers, speaking engagements, our Bulletin, and pretty much anything else we do. We are hoping to have this work done in the next few months, and we will let you know when it is complete. In the meantime, if there is something you would like to see available on our website, please feel free to email me at or by calling: 1-866-436-0141.

In January, I joined with two members from the Iowa Reapers Beep Baseball team to speak to Orientation Center students in their Business of Blindness class at the Department. We talked about getting involved with things such as ICUB and Beep Baseball that will allow you to meet new people, step outside your comfort zone, and be a part of the community. An ICUB representative speaks at Business class every month before the Des Moines Chapter meeting.

Later that week, Bettina Dolinsek, Carol Flickinger, and I went out to dinner with a student who was at the Department for the week participating in a 55 and younger training program. It was nice to be able to sit down with just the four of us, have dinner, and get to know her a little better. I always enjoy having the opportunity to meet new people and talk about ICUB.

At the end of January, we held another Tips and Tricks with ICUB. Member Norma Boge talked about her new business, Lifetech Iowa, which sells all sorts of products for people who are blind or have low vision. Norma is also a wealth of knowledge if you’re not sure what products are available or what might best fit your needs. We are thrilled to have Norma as a resource after the closure of the Aids and Devices Store at the agency. Thank you, Norma.

Last, but certainly not least, we are still working very hard with the Secretary of State’s Office, (SOS) on implementing accessible absentee balloting in Iowa. Currently, we are waiting on approval of a bill that would allow the SOS Office to run a pilot program. More and more states have a remote ballot marking system for citizens with disabilities. Keep your fingers crossed that Iowa will soon be added to that list.

Enjoy the rest of your winter—that is if you enjoy the snow and cold. For those of us not so patiently waiting for spring, it should be right around the corner. Speaking of spring, be sure to read the next article to learn more about the Thirty-Third Annual ICUB Conference and Convention that will take place in Ankeny from April 3-5.

Take care,

Carrie Chapman, President

Join Us for the

Thirty-Third Annual ICUB Conference and Convention

Carrie Chapman

The 2020 Annual ICUB Conference and Convention is right around the corner. It will be held from April 3-5 at the Courtyard Marriott, 2405 SE Creekview Drive, Ankeny, Iowa. You can reserve your room by calling 515-422-5555.

The Convention will begin on Friday afternoon with some informative breakout sessions. In one session, representatives from Aging Resources of Iowa will share the variety of information available to older Iowans. In another session, you can learn what Alexa can do for you through the Amazon Echo, Dot, and Show. This session will also give you some ideas for labeling using the Pen Friend and the Eli smart phone app. On Friday evening there will be a pizza party courtesy of Democracy Live.

Saturday’s sessions will be chock full of valuable information. Just a few of the presenters include Heather Livingood, Secretary of State Office; Peggy Chong, The Blind History Lady; a representative from the Ankeny Police Department sharing how to avoid scams; and Claire Stanley, ACB Advocacy and Outreach Specialist. Members will also have the opportunity to participate in a research study with Kyle Rector from the University of Iowa, who has spoken to our Convention in the past. Elections will be held Saturday afternoon, followed by the evening banquet and camaraderie in our hospitality room. The Convention will end Sunday morning with memorial and business sessions.

ICUB’s 33rd annual Convention has something for everyone. Don’t miss out! Watch for your registration packet coming in the next few weeks. We’ll see you there!

A New Grant Award

We are pleased to announce that ICUB has been awarded a $1,500 grant from the Greater Iowa Credit Union (GICU). The funds will be used for producing materials for the state Convention and for developing our new website.

This is the third year that GICU has graciously funded ICUB programs and activities. We wish to thank GICU for its confidence in ICUB and its support of our mission.

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 can have your attorney call 515-279-4284, or write to the Iowa Council of the United Blind, 4013 - 30TH Street, Des Moines, IA 50310.

Vinton has new vision for former Braille school

James Q. Lynch

(Reprinted from The Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 2, 2020.)

Vinton has a new vision for the Iowa College for the Blind that has been a part of the Benton County community for 162 years. Working with a private developer, the city hopes to give new life to the 48-acre campus on the west side of town. The plan for commercial and housing development could exceed $40 million of public and private funds, City Administrator Chris Ward said.

A key to the plan is the city's application for $2 million in state funds—to be evenly split between demolition and rehabilitation of buildings on the campus of the former Braille and Sight Saving School, as it was formally named. Vinton was the lone applicant for $2 million the 2019 Iowa Legislature made available for razing and rehabilitating vacant state buildings that had cost the state about $2 million a year to maintain, according to Rep. Gary Mohr, R-Bettendorf.

It’s an ambitious project for a city with a population of about 5,200, Ward said. The City Council and community members have been working on the plan for about two years since learning the Board of Regents would sell the campus to the city for $1.

The transfer of the property has been authorized by the Regents, but not yet completed. In its application, the city emphasized the state funds would represent about 16 percent of the total investment for the rehabilitation, with the remaining investment provided by the developer. Vinton is working with Hobart Historic Restoration, a company that has undertaken several projects in Cedar Rapids. Ward expects Hobart will receive assistance from the city through tax increment financing. A decision on Vinton’s application may come as early as next week, according to the State economic development agency.

The aging campus, which includes nearly 200,000 gross square feet of building space, has cost the regents millions over the years in upkeep and maintenance expenses — which continued to mount even after the regents closed the school’s residential program in Vinton in 2011. That year, winds tore the roof off the main building, causing more than $6 million in damage.

Plans for the renovated campus haven’t been finalized, Ward said, but likely will include demolition and reconstruction of certain exterior structures attached to an 1862 building, demolition of interior walls to repurpose for new uses, demolition and remediation of interior structures to remove asbestos and other environmental concerns. Although demolition is part of the project, Ward said “it’s not exactly demolition.” For the most part, it’s a matter of removing asbestos and bringing buildings up to code. “We have to do those type of things, but still preserve the historical structures,” Ward said, adding, “Hobart has as deep a good track record of doing this right.”

It calls for transforming buildings into senior independent living apartments, updating space for AmeriCorps staff and students, developing a space for wedding receptions and other community events and adding a restaurant, Ward said. Plans also call for new construction on vacant campus land for workforce housing, mixed-use space and the city’s new emergency management facility.

Notes and Activities

Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

Sarah Willeford

Library News is a monthly audio newsletter produced by the library staff. It gives updates on programs, services and events happening at the library. Library News also has fun interviews and information regarding the library, reading, books and literacy. Library News is added to patron digital audio Circulation cartridges each month. It will soon become a podcast that can be subscribed to as well.

D-List (Digital List including Special Titles) offers patrons a chance to broaden their reading selections by choosing to receive the D-List titles. Each D-List highlights a different area of the library collection. For example, the VOICE D-List highlights books narrated by our local volunteer narrators. Each patron who chooses to receive the VOICE D-List will receive a series of six cartridges, each with 10 books that all contain books narrated by the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped volunteer narrators. The Library also participated in The Great American Read by offering all the 100 books in a series of 10 cartridges to those interested patrons. Look for more D-Lists in the future! Please contact the library if you are interested in participating.