IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND
Web Site: www.icublind.org
Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
Cynthia Qloud, President
1918 E. 12th
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
Catherine Witte, Secretary
200 Parkview Dr.
Waukee, IA 50263
(515) 987-4490 – home
Jeana Mowery, Treasurer
1007 E. St. Clair
Missouri Valley, IA 51555
(712) 600-6028 – home
(712) 310-7140 – cell
ADDITIONAL ICUB OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
Robert Spangler, Immediate Past President - Vinton, (319) 550-1748
Mike Hoenig, First Vice-President - Davenport, (563) 344-8787
Creig Slayton, Second Vice President – Des Moines, (515) 279-4284
Joyce Davis, Director - Fort Dodge, (515) 955-1634
Donna Seliger, Director – West Des Moines, (515) 284-0505
Arlo Monthei, Director –Des Moines, (515) 277-0442
Rose Stratton, Director - Maquoketa, (563) 652-2546
Sandy Tigges, Director – Des Moines, (515) 277-1256
Shirley Wiggins, Director - Cedar Rapids, (319) 362-7138
Lisa Davis, Director – Urbandale, (515) 278-2722
Carol Flickinger, Director – Rockwell City, (712) 887-1109
CHANGE OF FORMAT OR RETURNING CASSETTES
Anyone who cannot read this print Bulletin, finds it difficult to have it read or wishes an e-mail or cassette version may receive a copy at no charge. Please contact Jo Slayton at (515) 279-4284 to request an alternative format. Cassette readers may keep their copy of the Bulletin. However, to return cassettes when you are finished with them, please place them in a NEW standard mailing envelope, write “Free Matter for the Blind” in the upper right hand corner, and return them to the editor at the address on the front of this Bulletin. Please remember to contact the editor if your address changes. We want to make sure that anyone who wants to receive a Bulletin gets one!
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!
Table of Contents
President’s Letter 4
Editors’ Notes 5
Vision Loss Resource Fairs 6
2015 ICUB State Convention, April 10, 2015 – April 12, 2015 7
Friday’s Opening Session 7
Saturday’s Sessions 10
Banquet Highlights 13
Sunday’s Session 14
In Memoriam 14
Braille Writer Awarded 18
ACB Mid-Year Legislative Meeting Report 19
Connections Peer Support Social Network 20
Meet the Board 21
Des Moines Chapter Report 23
Des Moines Chapter Annual Picnic 24
Dear Members and Supporters of ICUB,
I would like to express my thanks and the thanks of ICUB to the many individuals who helped make this year’s convention a good one.
In particular, there were several people who helped both financially and by giving their time toward putting the convention together and enabling as many people as possible to come and participate. Thank you, Creig and Jo Slayton, Sally Vander Linden, Don Wirth, Catherine and Jim Witte, Jeana Mowery, Ray Campbell, vendors presenting exhibits, and all of our trainers and speakers.
It takes a lot of effort to put on a good convention! Our program committee, Sandy Tigges, Linda Manders, Carrie Chapman, Carol Flickinger, Donna Seliger, and Cynthia Qloud, gave a great deal of time and worked hard to put together an excellent program.
We do need your help in planning our next convention. Please bring ideas to me, Cynthia Qloud (CIP). I would be happy to hear them. It is not too early to start our work for next year. Your ideas are essential to our providing presentations that will benefit you, our members.
Again, thanks much.
Cynthia Qloud, President
We’ve been working hard to transition your Bulletin to a new committee of folks who will be responsible for all phases of getting the Bulletin to you. Many thanks go to Mike Hoenig for his years of service as editor. Mike put in countless hours assembling, editing, and formatting. It is not an easy job. Mike’s guidance and patience during our transition have been invaluable. We appreciate his help.
Speaking of transitions, the time has come for the audio cassette production of the Bulletin to come to an end. The need for change is causing us to explore some neat new ways of getting your Bulletin to you, and details will come in a future issue. If you currently receive the cassette edition and are ready to switch to either e-mail or large print, please contact one of us using the contact information at the end of this article. If you’d like to wait and see what other options emerge, that’s okay, too. We just want to make sure everyone understands our cassette duplicating machine won’t last much longer. We’re not even sure they are still being made. Stay tuned. We think you’ll be excited about what’s in the future for Bulletin delivery.
Lastly, remember this is your Bulletin. Please send us articles or stories or whatever you think might interest our members. Not a writer? That’s okay. We’ll write it--just tell us what you want to say.
You’ve waited quite a while for this issue, so let’s get to it, shall we?
Norma A. Boge and Don Wirth
Vision Loss Resource Fairs
The Iowa Department for the Blind has announced details for two upcoming Vision Loss Resource Fairs. Details follow.
Tuesday, June 23, from 12:30 P.M. to 2:30 P.M.
Iowa Department for the Blind
524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, Iowa, and
Wednesday, June 24, from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Broadway United Methodist Church
11 South 1st Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa
These events are free and open to the public. Information and items on display will include:
• Large print and audio reading books delivered to your home by mail • Free newspaper reading programs • Resources to assist with completing schoolwork • Vocational Rehabilitation Services for retaining or seeking employment • Computer speech programs, CCTV’s and text-to-speech technology • Devices to help with everyday activities -- talking clocks, handheld magnifiers and more
• Tips on how to complete everyday tasks when vision loss makes them difficult
For more information contact Barb Weigel, Iowa Department for the Blind, (319) 231-3059, email@example.com .
2015 ICUB State Convention
Friday’s Opening Session
The session opened with an invocation by Deb Caldbeck, and greetings from the Des Moines local chapter president, Jo Ann Slayton.
President Cynthia (CIP) Qloud then presented her report.
Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) IDB issues triggered many of our activities. We maintained a presence, and will continue to do so, at agency Commission Board meetings. We presented our resolutions from the 2014 convention. We spoke out several times on numerous issues.
In an earlier newsletter, we notified you of a new library practice to keep blind Iowans from browsing the library stacks because staff said it was unsafe and not secure for blind people. ICUB’s letter and your letters resulted in the practice being rescinded.
We worked for and achieved the reversal of a decision to spend $200,000 in funds from the IDB Gifts and Bequests Fund to cover costs of departing IDB staff. The money was returned to the fund.
Legislative efforts: Our primary effort during the 2015 legislative session was to have the membership of the Commission increased from three to five members, maintaining a majority of members who were blind, and limiting the representation of any statewide organizations to no more than two of the five seats at any one time. This resolution was first passed in 2014, and was ratified again at the 2015 convention. It appears as Resolution 2015-01 elsewhere in this Bulletin issue.
We were able to get bills in support of the change drafted by members of each House. We lobbied by e-mail, post, and telephone. We testified at a subcommittee hearing on the proposal. We were not successful. But take heart--we will try again!
A second initiative was to lobby for the appointment of Dr. Sandra (Sandy) Tigges, one of our Board members, to the Commission Board. Sandy is most qualified. Again, we did not have success, but not for lack of a concerted effort on ICUB’s part.
On April 1, 2015, we held our first Capitol Day at the Iowa Legislature, sponsored by Iowans with Disabilities in Action (IDAction). Through this same organization we secured funding for transportation for members to attend the event. Fourteen ICUB members gathered. We received a brief tutorial on the legislative process, and we had opportunities to meet and speak with our own Representatives and Senators. The training was both instructive and invigorating. We hope to introduce more ICUB members to the process. So look for a legislative seminar sponsored by ICUB in the fall.
Know, too, that we need your help, input, and action in order to restore IDB to its world class status. We need to know about your experiences and interactions with the agency. We have general knowledge about a decline in service and timeliness of help. We need to have you step forward and document your issues. Unless you are willing to step forward, state your issue, and detail your complaint, corrections or improvements will not happen. If you have legitimate complaints, please, bring them forward. We will work with you toward resolutions to correct and improve inadequate services for all.
ICUB website: Visit our new web site: www.icublind.org . Robert Spangler has been working with the site, and is continuing his efforts. Thank you, Robert, for all that you have done to establish and maintain our site. Our next efforts will be focused on use of social media. We will let you know when ICUB has a presence there.
Grants: We applied to Allegra Printing Company, Urbandale, Iowa, for a grant. We $500 in services for brochure and business card printing.
Publicity: ICUB collaborated with Iowa Radio Reading Information Service (IRIS) at a gala celebrating IRIS’s 25th anniversary of service. For 25 years, IRIS volunteer readers have given voice to local newspapers and magazines. IRIS has expanded over that time to a statewide service benefiting most blind Iowans. ICUB member Lisa Davis organized the fundraising element of the gala by planning “Dancing with the Stars.” Lisa trained several blind Iowans and ICUB members for dance numbers and secured the services of her colleagues at the Des Moines Ballroom Studio to partner with the novices. Recognizing the crucial value IRIS to blind Iowans, both the state organization and the local Des Moines chapter were financial sponsors for the gala.
Des Moines Register reporter Michael Morain covered two Des Moines chapter events which educated him and the general public about a positive philosophy of blindness. The first was December 12, when ICUB members rode a bus to tour Jolly Holiday Lights with descriptive audio provided by IRIS volunteers. The second was the descriptive audio movie event mentioned above.
Communication to the ICUB Membership: We published one ICUB Bulletin issue in the past year as well as letters and notices advising you of urgent issues and events. We plan to issue the Bulletin with greater frequency. And we will continue to advise you, in as timely a fashion as we can, of noteworthy events which require your attention and action.
Delegate to ACB Midwinter Conference: The ICUB Board voted to send Robert Spangler to the American Council of the Blind (ACB) midwinter conference in February, 2015, in Washington, D. C. His report is included in this Bulletin.
ACB Report: Ray Campbell represented ACB and participated with us throughout the convention. He reported to our group on many items of interest including the WIOA, an acronym which stands for the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act. This legislation is replacing the long-lived Rehabilitation Act. Federally, rehabilitation of the blind is being taken out of the Department of Education and placed under the Department of Labor. There are numerous issues with the new Act. It requires 15% of money presented to a state to be used for transition services for blind youth, ages 14 and above, without regard to the variations in state populations. There are new requirements which will compel what was formerly two plans, one from IDB and one from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation focusing on all other “disabled” persons, to be developed and combined as one. Therefore, IDB will not be as autonomous as it has been in the past. The language of the law stresses collaboration which will be challenging and “messy” for all concerned. The agencies are awaiting regulations from the federal government.
Ray also informed us about coming regulations for cable companies which will make their menus and programming accessible to the blind. Soon all such systems will be required to be accessible for blind users.
Prescription drug accessibility is another initiative the ACB has been pursuing. Prescriptions are to be made accessible to blind people. Currently there are a couple of readers, one from En-Vision America, and one developed by Walgreen’s for its own prescriptions.
Two Committees’ appointments were announced. The Audit Committee reviews the financial reports and internal control procedures. Chair Kevin Slayton served with Dan Tigges and Jim Witte.
For the Nominating Committee, Mike Hoenig, First Vice-President, was selected as chair. Carrie Chapman, Carol Flickinger, Gary Patterson, Barb Richmond, and Sandy Tigges served with Mike.
Proposed amendments to the ICUB Constitution: Gary Patterson proposed two amendments to our constitution. The first said that ICUB’s treasurer could decide with which bank our state affiliate would do business. Currently the President and the treasurer must determine and agree upon which bank.
Amendment two, in brief, said that delegates who received significant funding from ICUB to attend major events would have to submit a written report for publication in the ICUB Bulletin no more than three weeks after attending the event in order to be reimbursed. These two amendments were read on Friday evening, as required, in preparation for discussion at the ICUB business meeting on Sunday.
Summaries of programs and Council actions follow.
Transportation in Iowa: Issues and Solutions--Panel and discussion (Arlo Monthei, and Lisa Davis, moderators). Topics included use of bus systems, UBER, hiring drivers, taxis, use of friends, family and network contacts to assist us in our transportation. In-town transportation becomes more difficult as community size decreases and as distance from the core of larger communities increases. Suggestions for personal contacts for transportation assistance included getting to know members of church groups or social groups; trading transportation for training/education on topics with which you have skills, e.g., teaching dancing for transportation to the classes.
Adaptive Sports (Mike Boone, Frank Guerra, and John Patterson). This was a discussion of how to get blind people more involved in sports and other physical activity. We also received an update on an Iowa beep ball team, the Iowa Reapers. The Beep Ball World Series will be held in Ames in 2016. Mark your calendars to attend and support the Iowa Reapers which includes a number of ICUB members.
Iowa Radio Reading Information Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped, IRIS (Maryfrances Evans, Executive Director). We were updated on what’s happening at IRIS. Highlights of the past year included acknowledgement of how much ICUB and its members assisted with the 25th anniversary gala and other volunteer appreciation events, and comments on the several local theater and music performances described by IRIS volunteers.
Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (Dave Hammel, Friends’ President, and Sandy Tigges, Friends’ Board member). A major gift from the Friends this past year was the purchase of a 3-D printer for the Library. It is used to create objects to supplement the learning experience for students. Dave brought samples, i.e., replicas of frogs, which were circulated throughout the audience to give us a “feel” for the printer’s capabilities.
One Touch and iPhone Training: What You Need to Know (Carrie Chapman and Lori Trujillo Roush). Carrie and Lori are certified trainers in the One-touch self-defense system that has proven effective for blind persons and in use of Apple iPhones and iPads. They reviewed the training options and benefits. Both women will provide personal training sessions on these topics.
Walgreen’s talking prescription reader (Mike Fuller). Mr. Fuller demonstrated the prescription reader that is available free on all prescriptions filled there. The reader is filled with information specific to the prescription in hand. Audience members offered their personal experience with the readers.
At Saturday’s luncheon, Sarah Willeford, Librarian, Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, spoke on a 21st century version of the Five Laws of Library Science. Treasurer of the Des Moines Chapter of ICUB, Jim Witte, then presented a check to Sarah to support the Library’s annual Elizabeth Perowsky Volunteer Workshop and Recognition Luncheon. Beth Jordan from the Great Plains Region Office of the Helen Keller National Center also spoke. She informed us about the Center’s programs for deaf-blind citizens, including many Iowans.
Advocacy and Legislation (Dave Price, WHO-TV political reporter). Mr. Price presented observations on how to promote a topic to the media to get media coverage for it. Ideas included: making it compelling, being persistent, and avoiding reliance on press releases which do not stand out among the many that are distributed.
Iowa School for the Blind (Steve Gettel, Superintendent). Steve Gettel, the new superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, talked to our audience about some of the new programs in North central Iowa for blind youngsters who are able to remain in their homes while attending a public school. He seems to understand that blind children in Iowa need more than just the traditional three R’s. He is working to remove obstacles that create problems for blind youth so that they can learn to be as independent as possible.
Iowa Department for the Blind (Richard Sorey and staff). The Iowa Department for the Blind came well-prepared, and presented a report on the various projects that have occupied them during the past year. A major initiative is a peer support program called Connections. An article on the program appears later in this issue. They are also focusing on offering individual computer training in various areas of the state by appointment. To find out more about these two programs call the IDB, 1-800-362-2587, or visit their web site www.idbonline.org .
Results of election of officers and board directors: Jeana Mowery was elected to fill the final year of the Treasurer position.
Lisa Davis, Rose Stratton, Arlo Monthei, and Donna Seliger were elected to two-year terms as Board members.
Robert Spangler was elected to fill the remainder of the term for Past President.
Carol Flickinger was elected to fill the remainder of Robert Spangler’s Board member term.
Cynthia Qloud was elected as delegate to the American Council of the Blind (ACB) national convention. Donna Seliger was elected as alternate.
Certificates of appreciation and an award were presented at the banquet:
Julie Bergeson, Independent Living rehabilitation teacher with 18 years’ service, presented by Carrie Chapman, a former student of Julie’s;
Brenda Criswell, vocational rehabilitation counsellor with 36 years’ service, presented by Becky Criswell, Brenda’s colleague for more than 30 years;
Carol Eckey, Instructional Materials Center librarian with 33 years’ service, presented by Catherine Witte, Carol’s former supervisor and colleague for 17 years;
Betty Hansen, deaf-blind specialist with 29 years of service, presented by Carol Flickinger, a client with whom Betty worked as Carol was dealing with both blindness and hearing loss;
Sandy Johnson, vocational rehabilitation counsellor, with 5 years’ service, presented by Mark Edge, a former colleague of Sandy’s;
Tracy Mosman, Orientation Center Braille teacher with 4 years’ service, presented by Mike Harrold, a former student of Tracy’s; and
Laura Williams, Braillist with 14 years’ service, presented by Sandy Tigges, Laura’s former supervisor.
The Linda Dietrich Special Volunteer of the Year Award which is given to someone within the Council for dedication and commitment to improving the lives of blind Iowans and supporting the organization was presented to Jim and Catherine Witte.
Keynote speaker, Ray Campbell, accompanied by his wife, Karyn, then addressed us. Ray, who hails from the Chicago area, gave us a “pep talk!” There is no doubt that the world of blind persons, of work, and of technology are all on fire with change. As an organization, he encouraged us to take hold of what is new rather than fearing or resisting change, and using what is new to help us to grow and strengthen our efforts to advance the quality of life for all blind persons as well as the quality of our organization and its endeavors.
Our Sunday morning session began with our annual memorial service. Jo Slayton officiated and offered some beautiful poems and prayers. We remembered the following individuals:
Larry Cobb - IBSSS alumnus.
John Gillson - retired from the Business Enterprise Program.
Mae Green - retired Library staff member at IDB.
Virgil Hagen - friend of Teri Taylor, and chapter members.
Sandy Harmon - Member of ICUB and of Muscatine Support Group.
Sandy Jacobs - member of ICUB.
Gary Jennings - brother of Marjorie (Jennings) Collins
Bernadette Parcel - member of Cedar Rapids Chapter of ICUB.
Jim Saeugling - IBSSS alumnus.
Clem Sharp - brother of Rose Stratton
Pat Smith - long-time volunteer Braillist and President of The Friends of the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
Teri Taylor - ICUB member, and wife of well-known ICUB member and former Director of IDB, John N. Taylor.
Kate Thorpe - ICUB member.
Dolores Underwood Tjaden - Secretary for many years in the Cedar Rapids office of IDB.
Marvin Price - many of us knew, his being husband of well-known ACB member, Patricia Price.
Secretary’s and Treasurer’s reports were presented and accepted.
Audit Report accounts “were in apple pie order.” They suggested that we have the President write an authorization for each check written against our account to more clearly document our expenditures. We will implement the recommendation.
The following resolutions were passed at the convention:
ICUB RESOLUTION 2015-01
Subject: Five-member Commission for the Blind.
WHEREAS, for the past 25 years, care has been taken by the two state-wide organizations of the blind—the Iowa Council of the United Blind (ICUB) and the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (NFBI)--to recommend and support candidates for the three-member Commission for the Blind who are knowledgeable, fair-minded, and members of differing state-wide organizations of the blind; and
WHEREAS, during the past two years, circumstances have changed to the point that all three Commissioners are now members of a single state-wide organization of the blind, the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa; and