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.

The library is also introducing a new feature to Library News called Beyond the Book. Every other month the library will highlight an audiobook in our collection. The library will introduce the book and then you will have the chance to request that title, and, if you would like, offer a review or your thoughts on the book. A select few reviews will be featured in the next segment of Beyond the Book in Library News. You can email your review to or you can call in your review to Leslie at 515.452.1329. Here’s your chance to reach out to other patrons about the books you like or hear your review in Library News!

The 14th annual Iowa Regional Braille Challenge takes place on Saturday, February 29, at the Iowa Department for the Blind. The snow date is Saturday, March 7. The Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind in North America for students who are blind or visually impaired. The Braille Institute developed the Braille Challenge to motivate students to practice and hone their Braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success. Blind or visually impaired students from the United States and Canada in grades 1 through 12 who can read and write Braille are eligible to participate. Contestants are divided into five categories and tested on fundamental Braille skills, such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. The top 50 students (10 in each category) with the highest scores are invited to Los Angeles for the final round — two days of competition, camaraderie and fun!

Beginning June 2020, the library will be open on the second Monday of the month from 8:00am – 8:00pm and on the third Saturday of the month from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Patrons are welcome to call or visit during these extra hours. Also, the library has two more S.O.A.R. Saturdays before summer on Saturday, March 28th and Saturday, April 25th. Families can enjoy fun activities and stories and the library is also open during these times.

The Elizabeth Perowsky Volunteer Workshop and Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Watch the Iowa Department for the Blind website for more information.

For more information, you can contact me at 515-494- 8439 or

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 can claim a tax deduction equal to the dollar value of the vehicle. Call 800-899-4925 for more information.

Those We Have Lost

Editor’s Note: Since our last Bulletin, we have learned of the passing of three friends. Ric Frambach was a talented Industrial Arts Instructor in the Orientation Center at the Iowa Department for the Blind. Jean Saner was a secretary in Field Operations at the Department. Laurel Lukens was a graduate of what was then known as the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School (IBSSS). We especially want to thank her family for directing memorial donations to ICUB. Their obituaries follow.

Ric Frambach

Ricci "Ric" James Frambach died on December 25, 2019 at the age of 66. Ric was born in Algona, Iowa and graduated from Drake University. He was briefly a music teacher before spending the rest of his life in Des Moines. He worked for National Travelers Life for 18 years, but especially enjoyed the rest of his career teaching Industrial Arts at the Iowa Department for the Blind. Away from work, Ric and his wife, Susan, restored several old homes in the Sherman Hill neighborhood, where he enjoyed gardening, woodworking and music making. Visiting numerous historic and cultural sites, Ric and Susan had the pleasure of traveling across 45 states. Ric loved his family and friends and had an affinity for the underdog. He relished his life as an Atheist and Humanist.

Ric was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth Larsen Frambach Harriman and his niece, Jacqueline Marlow. He is survived by his father, Dwight W. Frambach; his wife, Susan Gurwell Frambach; children, Sarah K. Frambach (Wesley Dickerson) and Benjamin P. Frambach (Dana Jorgensen); grandchildren, Theo, Eva and Sam Dickerson, Ryan, Aura and Claire Frambach; sisters, Cindy Frambach Shantz (Alan) and Sandi Frambach Marlow (Doug) as well as nieces and nephews and their families.

A memorial gathering will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, December 28, 2019 at Mainframe Studios, 900 Keo Way, Des Moines. Memorial contributions can be made to Mainframe Studios or the Heritage Carousel at Union Park.

Jean Marie (Hartley) Saner

Jean Marie (Hartley) Saner, 69, formerly of Des Moines, passed away unexpectedly at home November 30, 2019.

Jean was born November 19, 1950, in Waterloo and graduated from West High School in 1969. She worked many years in the Waterloo area before moving to Des Moines in 1990 where she worked for the Iowa Department of the Blind and the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Jean married Nelson Saner of Des Moines on September 23, 1995, in Las Vegas; he died March 26, 2013. She enjoyed scrapbooking with friends, spending time with her grandchildren and traveling around the United States with her husband.

Jean is survived by a son, Shelby (Tracey) Buhlman, Evansdale; two daughters, Rayna (James) Allin, Independence, MO, and Corynne Bates, Fairbank; two step-children, Holly (Michael) Pollard, Norwalk and Travis (Shelby) Onstot, Indianola; two brothers, Richard (Jane) Hartley Jr., Waterloo and Steven Hartley of Austin, TX; three sisters: Melody (Dennis) Holbach, Hudson, Robin (Dave) Boesen, Waterloo, and Cindy (Steven) Ewing, Cedar Rapids; eight grandchildren: Bryce, Dayne, Jordyn, Harper, Cassandra, Austin, Tanner, and Reese; and numerous nephews and nieces. She is preceded in death by her husband and parents, Richard E. Hartley and Donna M. (Nissen) Hartley, both of Waterloo.

Laurel Lukens

Laurel Genevieve (Michaels) Lukens, 83, of Pella, IA (formally of Gladstone, IL and Kissimmee, FL), died Monday, January 13, 2020, at Jefferson Place in Pella, IA.

Born June 26, 1936, in Burlington, IA, she was the daughter of Charles and June Michaels. She married Dale Lukens on March 12, 1961, in Burlington. She was a homemaker who enjoyed gardening, bowling, and playing cards. She supported her husband as they were the owners and operators of Lukens Farm near Gladstone. Laurel and Dale enjoyed traveling throughout the U.S. in their motor home. The couple were full-time RVers for 11 years before settling down in Kissimmee at Good Samaritan Village. Laurel moved to Pella, IA to be closer to her children in July 2019.

She had been a member of the United Presbyterian Church in Biggsville, IL and Good Samaritan Church in Kissimmee.

She was preceded in death by her husband Dale, father Charles, mother June, infant brother, and brother-in-law Alan. She is survived by three children, Laurie Lukens of Pella, IA, Alan (Lisa) Lukens of Pella, IA and Nancy (Mike) McLain of Plainfield, IL.; grandchildren Nicole, Amy, Laura (Alex), Andrew, David, Matthew, and Gregory; great grandchildren Addison and Titus; and three sisters, Mary (Don) Beckman, Marilyn Japsen, and Lois (Carroll) Oberman.

Memorial donations will be forwarded to the Iowa Council of the United Blind.

News You Can Use

Norma Boge

GrubHub, Amazon Fresh, Uber Eats… Thinking about trying a grocery or meal delivery service but not sure it's for you? Check out a new book from the National Braille Press (NBP). Written from a blindness perspective, the authors of Dinner Delivered: Accessible and Easy Ways to Receive Meals Direct to Your Door tested 11 food delivery services. They include the good and bad of each service, and discuss their accessibility on websites and smart phone apps. You don't have to be a braille reader to access NBP's books. Their offerings are also available in Microsoft Word and other electronic formats. To learn more about Dinner Delivered and see its table of contents, visit or call 888-965-8965.

For an additional concierge fee, GoGo Grandparent allows you to access Uber and Lyft even if you don’t have a smart phone. They have recently started another service called GoGo Gourmet that will deliver food to your door from local restaurants for a fee. For more information or to set up an account, call 1-855-464-6872 or visit their website,

Get a bird's eye view of your neighborhood! The Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco sells on-demand tactile street maps. Covering an area of several blocks surrounding a given address, Tactile Maps Automated Production (TMAP) uses both Braille and large print to identify streets represented with crisp, raised lines that can be easily followed with the fingertips. For $25.00, you will receive two custom-made maps of the same address, a zoomed-out overview map, and a zoomed-in detail map showing streets, paths, and buildings if the data is available. In addition, you will receive a tactile map key and introductory page. All materials are printed on 11" X 11.5" sheets of embossed paper and include both large print and Braille labels. To place an order, call the San Francisco Lighthouse at 1-888-400-8933 or visit .

Check out the Freedom Scientific YouTube channel for informative videos on using ZoomText, Fusion, JAWS, and the Focus Blue refreshable braille displays. There are also videos that explain how to purchase and install Freedom Scientific products. Visit: .

The World Blind Union (WBU) Employment Committee has developed a short survey designed to identify the employment patterns of working-age people who are blind or partially sighted throughout the world. Even if you are retired or have never worked, the Employment Committee needs your participation. The deadline for submitting the survey is Tuesday, March 31. To take the survey, please visit: .

Lifetech Iowa, a new business based in Des Moines, sells products for persons who are blind or have low vision. Bump dots to watches, Braille to talking items, Lifetech Iowa will help you maintain your independent and active lifestyle. For more information or to place an order, call 515-209-2100 or go to

Looking for a good source of quality training materials to help you learn how to use that new software with assistive technology? Take a look at the textbooks, online courses, and other offerings available from Access Technology Institute, LLC. You can contact them by calling 520-955-6611 or visiting

If you want to learn more ways to make use of your Amazon Echo, take a look at “20 Things the Amazon Echo Can Make Easier for Blind and Visually Impaired People.” You may not have thought of using your Echo to set your thermostat, make a shopping list, or wake up to your favorite music. You can find the article by visiting

If you are planning to participate in the electoral process this year, make sure you are registered to vote. Mistakes do happen and voters can and do get dropped from the voter rolls. This is particularly important if you have moved since you last voted or haven’t voted in a while. Your vote is important, no matter your choices. You can check your voting status by calling your county auditor’s office or going online to:

Coaching Corner

Teresa Gregg

Many metaphysical astrologists say we are in the Age of Aquarius. Aquarius traits include electricity, computers, freedom, humanitarianism, perseverance, and many more. According to Wikipedia, it is “…that time when humanity takes control of the Earth and its own destiny as its rightful heritage, with the destiny of humanity being the revelation of truth and the expansion of consciousness….”

What can this mean in our blindness world? Are we taking part in how we are perceived and how we can help the world? Are we being good stewards of our freedom as blind persons? In which humanitarian cause can we become a leader? Lots of questions to ponder in this year of rapid change and physical experiences! I challenge you to become more involved and find your passion.

Shopping to Benefit ICUB

Are you an online shopper? You can help ICUB secure some additional funds when you shop at . 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 . ICUB will receive 0.5% of the value of eligible purchases. Keep in mind, if you check out using the Amazon app on your smart phone, ICUB will not receive a donation. You can use the app to put items in your cart and then complete your purchase at Happy shopping!

Des Moines Chapter Report

Lori Trujillo Roush

Since our last update, the Chapter has continued to stay busy. During the week of October 15, the Chapter sent out a message over IRIS in appreciation of White Cane Safety Day. The message read as follows:

"Here's a message from our friends at the Iowa Council of the United Blind. October 15 is White Cane Safety Day - and we are celebrating all week long!

White Cane Safety Day is a day set aside by federal and state governments to recognize the independence and skill of people who use white canes. It is ALSO a reminder that laws in all 50 states require drivers to yield the right of way to people using white canes - even when they are not in a crosswalk.

“Some Fun Facts about the White Cane:

In 1930, George A Bonham, president of the Peoria Lions Club, watched a man who was blind trying to cross a street. The man's cane was black and motorists could not see it. So Bonham proposed painting it white with a red stripe to make it more noticeable - and the idea quickly caught on around the country. In 1944, a World War 2 veteran named Richard Hoover invented a new technique for cane travel. Holding a long cane and swinging it back and forth before each step to detect obstacles is still called The Hoover Method.

“Today's canes can weigh as little as 7 ounces - and are made from aluminum, fiberglass or carbon fiber. Some are collapsible and some are not. Only about 2 to 8% of visually impaired people use a white cane. The rest rely on their useable vision, a guide dog or a sighted guide. However YOU get from place to place, IRIS celebrates YOU and the courage it takes to not let a vision loss keep you from living an independent life."

In November, the Chapter held Board elections. Cody Dolinsek and Elsie Monthei were re-elected to their positions. Here is the Chapter Board for 2020: President, Lori Trujillo Roush; Vice-President, Donna Seliger; Secretary, Sandy Tigges; Treasurer, Linda Gonzalez; and Directors Mathew Ver Huel, Steve Hagemoser, Cody Dolinsek, and Elsie Monthie.

In January, members Bettina Dolinsek, Carrie Chapman, and Carol Flickinger met with a student attending the Department's IL Integration Week. The group met at the Department and then traveled to Noah's Restaurant for dinner. This is typically a small event, which makes it easier for students and members to get to know one another and our organization.

At our Chapter meeting in January, Iowa Reapers John Patterson and Kyle Coleman met with members to talk about beep baseball and the upcoming World Series being held in Ames this year. John reported that the team has many new, young people who have joined the team and are in need of uniforms. The Chapter voted to donate $650.00 for uniforms and a banner to reflect the organization's sponsorship.

In February, the 2020 ACB President's Meeting and Legislative Seminar will be held in Washington D.C. At this time, there will be 4-6 ICUB members in attendance. The Chapter has awarded two scholarships, and we look forward to hearing more about their experience at our next meeting.

The Chapter will be meeting the second Monday of each month except for the months of July and December.

Across-Iowa Chapter Report

Teresa Gregg

The ICUB Across Iowa At-Large Chapter has been in existence for the last two years with a consistent membership of 15+ people. I am proud of our success and the knowledge we are sharing. Please join us the first Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. by calling 712-432-5610, access code 782. Here is a schedule of the meetings we will have in 2020 and the exciting topics we will be covering: