Summer 2016

Published by the


Web Site:

An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Cynthia Qloud, President

1918 E. 12th St.

Des Moines, IA 50316

(515) 266-5110


Norma A. Boge, Co-Editor

2324 Riverwoods Ave.

Des Moines, IA 50320-2808

(515) 288-1938


Don Wirth, Co-Editor

921 – 9th St., #208

Ames, IA 50010

(515) 451-3779



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 515-281-1368 or in Iowa 800-362-2587, ext. 1-1368. Please direct other questions about format and address changes to Co-Editor Norma A. Boge.


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.


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.


Are you an online shopper? You can help ICUB secure some additional funds when you shop at 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 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 to make your purchases. Happy shopping!


President’s Message. 4

State Convention Highlights. 5

Summary of State Convention Elections and Business Meeting. 6

It’s All About the Living. 8

Thank You, Outgoing Board Members. 9

In Memorium.. 10

Summary of May ICUB State Board Meeting. 11

Student Succeeds in Braille at Southeast Polk. 12

Prairie Meadows Grant Awarded to ICUB.. 13

Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone. 16

Meet the Board – Sandy Tigges. 18

Letters to the Editor 20

Des Moines Chapter Report 22

Dubuque Chapter Report 24

Bookshelf Instructions for Talking Book Cartridges. 24

News You Can Use. 25

ICUB Officers and Directors. 25

President’s Message

by Carrie Chapman, Acting President

Hi Everyone,

As many of you know, this last April our President, Cynthia “Cip” Qloud, suffered a stroke. Cip is currently at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

To give you a quick update, in April we had our state convention. Approximately 50 people registered. Members and their guests enjoyed topics such as voting, transportation and fitness. In the evening, friends gathered for food and fellowship in the banquet hall. Attendees finished off the night by participating in the annual auction.

The ACB national convention was held July 1st through the 9th in Minneapolis. This year ICUB was able to award five scholarships to its members. We look forward to hearing all about their experiences.

Moving forward, we are looking into updating our website and getting us more involved in social media.

We are also in the beginning stages of starting an at-large group. This will be another great way for our members to stay connected and be involved!

If you have an idea or would like to participate in any way please let me or a board member know.

Over the next few months, I hope to do my best to represent & serve the organization. To let you know a little about me, I play beep baseball for the Iowa Reapers. Off the field, I’m an active member in my community. I serve on the board of the Friends of the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. I am the co-founder of The White Cane Community, a Facebook resource page, and I was instrumental in the startup of two support groups in my area. I helped in the formation of Connections, a mentoring program through the Iowa Department for the Blind, and most recently, in my spare time, I have taken up ballroom dancing.

I look forward to working with all of you. If you have any thoughts, questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at 515-657-1461 or

I wish all of you a safe and happy summer!

State Convention Highlights

by Catherine Witte, Secretary

Convention chatter—that’s one of the great things about the Iowa Council of the United Blind Annual State Conference and Convention. The presentations, the presence of so many members, and the enthusiasm lead to much good conversation.

Yes, the traditions of the Convention were part of the 2016 version. Reports from the Department for the Blind (IDB), the Iowa School for the Blind, the Friends of the Library and the Iowa Radio Reading Information Service brought us up to date.

Starting a new tradition, Tyler Juranek and J.R. Swank oversaw the streaming of convention proceedings through the American Council of the Blind (ACB) radio. We hope this afforded armchair attendance via listening to some members. We intend to continue streaming of events in the future.

Other content this year was unique. We learned about the latest television entertainment options such as Apple TV and Netflix from IDB staff member Marci Duty. Jeremy Johnson-Miller, Mobility Manager from the Iowa Department of Transportation, and Arlo Monthei oversaw a lively discussion of the needs of blind Iowans in this area. Dawn Williams, State Elections Director, Office of the Secretary of State, made an accessible voting machine available throughout Friday and Saturday. She, together with Cynthia Qloud and Sandy Tigges, presented information on the options that should be available to all voters, including those of us who happen to be blind. Jeff Bishop, who represented ACB this year, updated us on national concerns and his area of expertise, technology.

And toward the end of a day of sitting and listening, Bettina Dolinsek shared with us her story of changing from couch potato to a certified CrossFit Trainer! We were inspired!!

Our banquet was well-attended and rewarding. Earlier in the day, Mike Hoenig announced that the Marie Hoenig Memorial Perkins Brailler Award had been presented to second-grader Kayla Bartholomew of Dexter, Iowa. (See feature article later in this issue.) At the banquet itself, several persons who had served blind Iowans well throughout their careers at IDB were given distinguished service awards in appreciation. Honorees included Dave Coulson, David Lenz, Larry Sidwell, Gail Stricker, Rosie Thierer, Vivian Ver Huel, and Barb Weigel. Ed Sheppard, a long-tenured member of the Council, as well as a former IDB counselor and supervisor, was recognized with the Linda Dietrich Award. Both Jeff Bishop of ACB and our own Mike Hoenig spoke to those gathered. Mike’s keynote speech was stirring and is summarized elsewhere in the Bulletin. The results of elections, the actions at the business meeting, and the resolutions passed at that meeting are summarized in this issue as well.

Each year, Council members work to plan a Convention that informs, educates, entertains, and inspires. ICUB’s 2016 State Convention met all of those expectations. And right away, we begin to work on elements of 2017’s gathering. If you have comments, ideas or suggestions that would contribute to an energizing Convention next year, please share them with any one of the Board members or a Chapter President.

Summary of State Convention Elections and Business Meeting

by Catherine Witte, Secretary

Elections were held during the third session of the Convention. A slate of proposed officers and board members was presented by the Nominating Committee and accepted. Officers and Board members elected include: President Cynthia Qloud (Des Moines), First Vice President Sandy Tigges (Des Moines), Second Vice President Mike Hoenig (Davenport), Treasurer Jeana Mowery (Nevada), Secretary Catherine Witte (Waukee), Board members Carrie Chapman (Altoona,), Carol Flickinger (Rockwell City), Tyler Juranek (Council Bluffs), and Linda Manders (Dubuque).

President CIP Qloud presided over the meeting which was conducted on Sunday, April 24, 2016. Thirty members were in attendance.

Motions accepted:

1. To suspend reading of the minutes of the 2015 State Convention Business meeting.

2. To distribute board meeting minutes more widely. Full minutes will be posted to Summaries will be published in the Bulletin along with information about how to obtain the full document.

3. To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented: The report showed total assets, as of April 20, 2016, of $79,553.75, after year-long income of $7,894.28, with expenses of $6,733.90, resulting in a net income of $1,160.38.

4. To review and evaluate our current website and make recommendations for change or improvement and authorization of use of up to $500.00 to pursue professional assistance with development of the site.

5. Resolutions for consideration. Each one was moved, seconded and approved. They include:

a. That the President and Executive Board be instructed to continue to pursue actively a change in the makeup of the Iowa Commission for the Blind through legislation which will assure a broader representation of blind Iowans.

b. That this organization express its appreciation for Representative Rob Taylor’s efforts and his willingness to work with and for blind Iowans toward passage of House File 235, a bill to change the makeup of the Commission as noted in the first resolution.

c. Calls upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue to move the home entertainment industry forward toward making all navigation devices for cable and satellite services accessible.

d. Calls upon the organization to expand the role of the Transportation Committee to serve as advocates for blind Iowans on transportation issues including placing transit stations at accessible locations, developing transportation alternatives where none exist, ensuring stations and depots are open at all times, and provision of transportation information and schedules in accessible formats.

6. To accept the Audit Committee report which found the Council’s finances and records to be in order.

7. To authorize use of up to $1,500.00 of State Council funds to support attendance of delegate Cynthia Qloud to the American Council of the Blind National Convention.

No motions or resolutions were presented that were not passed.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 12:15 P.M.

Please note: A complete set of minutes is posted on our website, . If you need a full set by e-mail or in print, please contact Catherine Witte by e-mail at or by telephone at 515-987-4490. Thank you.

It’s All About the Living

by Mike Hoenig

Two months before the 2016 ICUB convention, I received a surprising, flattering request from President Cip Qloud, “Will you give the banquet speech this year?”

I felt a deep sense of honor, combined with a deep concern about whether I was the “right guy” for the job. After all, the room would be filled with many of my mentors, including Cip. The ACB rep, who typically is charged with delivering the banquet address, would also be there. “Wouldn’t someone else be more suited for the job?” I asked Cip. By now you can guess that her one-word response was, “No.” And who was I to question Cip. If she thought I had something valuable to say, then I’d better start figuring out what that was.

As Convention approached, it became clear that I should talk about the people and experiences which helped me understand that “It’s all about the living.” Once I’d settled on the theme, the sequence of what I wanted to share came naturally. First came the valuable lessons I learned from mentors like Bob Stratton, who taught me that blind people could be president of an organization, and Cip Qloud, who taught me that making biscuits which looked more like hockey pucks was not the end of the world. I shared some valuable lessons learned through hard knocks at the Orientation Center, explaining that no one came to the rescue when I put two bottoms of cheeseburgers together at Coney island and then complained that my second “burger” was nothing more than two buns and veggies. I recounted the endless mistakes I made during the “travel lesson from hell” in downtown Des Moines, and the liberating message which instructor Rosie Thierer shared afterward, “It wasn’t a bad lesson if you learned something.” I explained that Rosie’s message turned on a light bulb for me, as I suddenly realized that part of being a successful blind guy was making mistakes and learning from them. I concluded with some practical examples of how that realization has led to success in my own personal journey, and some suggestions for responding to the challenges which vision loss brings.

Delivering the banquet address was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities which I will always cherish. It forced me to challenge and overcome the self-doubt which I thought I’d shed years ago. Thank you, Cip, and thank you, ICUB, for allowing me to grow and to share my experiences with you.

Thank You, Outgoing Board Members

by Don Worth

During this year’s annual convention three board members completed service on the Board of Directors. At the annual banquet President Cynthia Qloud acknowledged and thanked them for their years of service.

The three members are Creig Slaton, Des Moines; Shirley Wiggins, Cedar Rapids; and Joyce Davis, Fort Dodge.

We would also like to thank them for the work they performed for ICUB and all our members. It is the dedicated work of members serving on the board that provides the leadership to further the efforts of ICUB.

In Memorium

Compiled by Jo Ann Slayton

The following people were remembered by ICUB at the April 24, 2016 Memorial service:

Randy Carney, son of Milly Carney

Kenneth Chapman, husband of member Carrie Chapman

Louis Collins, husband of Marjorie (Jennings) Collins

Jacquie Cummings, former IDB staff and friend

Dick Glaza, brother of Jim Glaza, and friend

Gene Haverland, husband of member Violet Haverland

Charles Hodge, held various ACB offices over the years

Mary Keener, IBSSS alumnus and friend

Robert Martin, former member Commission for the Blind and member

Roland Saeugling, IBSSS alumnus, father of Becky Dunkerson, and friend

Pat Scholl, former Treasurer and friend

Debra Sharp, niece of Rose Stratton

Dolores Sharp, sister-in-law of Rose Stratton

Carl Shawhan, former IDB staff and friend

Chuck Stockstill, husband of Lynn (Curtis) Stockstill, and friend

Harlan Watson, retired from DVRS, volunteer narrator of IDB

Lyle Williams, IBSSS alumnus and longtime member

Norman Winter, IBSSS alumnus and friend

Summary of May ICUB State Board Meeting

by Catherine Witte, Secretary

Sandy Tigges, First Vice President of the Board, convened the meeting. Board members and Chapter Presidents were in attendance. As agreed during the 2016 State Convention, Chapter Presidents may attend and participate in Board meetings. Only Board members will act or vote on motions.

Neither the First nor Second Vice Presidents are able to serve as interim President during CIP Qloud’s illness. It was agreed that a Board member should be identified who could fill the position. Carrie Chapman agreed to serve.

Motions accepted:

1. It was moved and seconded that Carrie Chapman be elected to serve as interim President. Motion carried.

No other motions were made.

Discussion of how to distribute a $5,000 grant from the Des Moines Chapter for outreach followed. It was determined up to $4,000 would be allowed for scholarships to attend the 2016 American Council of the Blind national convention. The remainder will be used for ICUB participation in vision fairs or other events. Requirements for scholarship applications were determined.

Changes on letterhead and within the text of the brochure were discussed and will be made as needed. For the time being, ICUB’s mailing address, for items other than treasury business, will be Catherine Witte’s residence, 200 Parkview Dr., Waukee, IA 50263.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:45 P.M.

Please note: A complete set of minutes is posted on our website, . If you need a full set by e-mail or in print, please contact Catherine Witte by e-mail at or by telephone at 515-987-4490. Thank you.

Student succeeds in braille at Southeast Polk

by Jonathan Krueger

Originally published in the Des Moines Register, May 3, 2016. Used with permission of Jonathan Krueger and the Altoona Herald-Index.

Learning to read is tough enough.

Learning to read when you can't see, adds a new level of challenges.

But Kayla Bartholomew, a second-grader at Willowbrook Elementary, continues to surpass expectations.

Bartholomew was born with only a few hundred optic nerves while the average person has a couple million. While she can't see, she has continued to thrive in her classwork.

'She doesn't let being blind keep her down,' said her mother, Natasha Stucker. 'She doesn't let anything hold her back.

At the age of 8, Bartholomew has exceeded what many other visually impaired people struggle with, learning braille, the writing system used for blind individuals. It consists of a six dot system that represents letters, words and even contractions.

'I read statistics about the literacy rate of blind and visually impaired people and only around 10 percent can read braille,' Stucker said.

Bartholomew started reading in braille when she was 3 and enrolled in preschool. She picked it up quickly and now reads at a higher proficiency in braille than most sighted kids read print in her grade at school.

'It is not hard to learn braille,' Bartholomew said.

Bartholomew just won a new brailler, a tool used to write in braille, for an essay she wrote about why she needed the tool.

'Southeast Polk has been an amazing support system for us,' Stucker said.

'They started her off as early as possible just so she didn't fall behind.

They wanted to start her off early so she is very proficient with her braille.

Bartholomew is autistic as well as blind. Fixating on her brailler and her BrailleNote has helped her excel.

'I think she is a joy. She always has a smile on her face,' said Willowbrook Elementary principal, Robin Norris. 'Even though she might not be able to see the same things, she understands what is going on and what is being said.

Associate Amanda White and special education teacher Marissa Fickbohm work with Bartholomew at Willowbrook, along with Kim Stocks, a teacher for the visually impaired.

Teachers have had to come up with creative ways to teach her about things she cannot see.

In science during a lesson on weather, the teacher used cotton balls to represent clouds and dipped them in water to represent the rain.

'We try to meet every students needs as best as we can and provide the accommodations where they need to be made,' Norris said.

Despite how much her family appreciates what Southeast Polk has done to help with Bartholomew, next fall she will move to the West Central Valley school district. Her family now lives in Dexter.

'Right now I didn't want to rush moving her into a new school district,'

Stucker said. 'I have been transporting her every day so we could give West Central Valley time to prepare for Kayla and I didn't want to pull her out of the school district quite yet. This is the only place that she has gone to school and we are kind of scared to move.

Prairie Meadows Grant Awarded to ICUB