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ICUB BULLETIN SUMMER 2023

ICUB BULLETIN

Spring 2023

Published by the

IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND

An American Council of the Blind Affiliate



Bettina Dolinsek, President

304 W. Cedar St.

Goldfield, IA 50542

866-436-0141

Don Wirth, Co-Editor

921 9th St., #208

Ames, IA 50010

515-451-3779E-mail: don.wirth@gmail.com


Sandy Tigges, Co-Editor

2904 34th St.

Des Moines, IA 50310

515-277-1256


Table of Contents



President’s Report

Bettina Dolinsek


Hi, everyone! I don’t know about you, but I’m so happy summer is here—well, unofficial summer. I love being able to get outside more and all the fun things that come with this time of year. It is also hard to believe our State Convention is a little over two months from now. I hope you are all planning on joining us. We have sent out a few sneak peaks as to the types of events that will be going on. I can assure you, you won’t want to miss out this year.

Just to recap again, on Friday afternoon, August 25, we will be holding two breakout sessions. There will be ballroom dancing instruction with Lisa Davis as well as an instructor-led art project with Madelyn Mayberry from the Des Moines Art Center. Both of these events promise to be fun and informative. If you are interested in joining us for one or both, please send me an email or call me to let me know of your interest. Don’t worry. You do not need any prior experience to join the breakout sessions.

The Convention Planning Committee is hard at work finalizing the Convention packet for mailing. We hope to have it to you by the end of June. If you know you are going to be joining us this year, contact the hotel to make your room reservation. You can do that by calling the Courtyard Marriott, 2405 SE Creekview Drive, Ankeny, at 515-422-5555. Be sure to let them know you will be attending the ICUB convention so you will get the special rate.

I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. Feel free to spread the word to your family and friends about the Convention and let them know they are invited to join us, too.

As many of you may know, after this edition of the Bulletin, co-editor Don Wirth will be stepping down. I want to thank him for all of his conscientious and creative hard work in putting this publication together each quarter. As many of you do, I enjoy receiving the Bulletin and reading about all the fun things everyone is up to, as well as receiving a new recipe and learning about the many things happening in Iowa.

Remember, I’m just a phone call or email away. Have a great start to your summer, and I look forward to seeing you all real soon!

Cheers!

Bettina Dolinsek, President

Iowa Council of the United Blind


Memories

Don Wirth and Others


Editor’s Note: As we were compiling articles for this issue, I sent out a request for memories as we began the Memorial Day Weekend. The request was for any memories, but several did focus on Memorial Day itself. As you read these, please note that the writers’ blindness often plays a minor or non-existent role in the story. To me, this indicates that sighted and non-sighted folks can share the same experiences fully. The more sighted people realize this, the better things will be for all of us. If you like this article, let us know. Perhaps it could become a recurring feature in the Bulletin. Now for the stories.

Carrie Chapman

Ten years ago I was trying to learn Braille, frustrated that it was taking so long, wondering if I would ever be able to read a simple kid’s book, let alone put it to use in my everyday life. I did finally master that kid’s book and have used braille throughout the last ten years on many occasions. But nothing could make my heart fuller than being able to teach my youngest grandson his alphabet using a print-Braille book. This past week, sitting down with both grandsons to play Braille Uno, Aydin, the younger one, said, “The dots are Braille for Grandma!" Creating memories one game at a time.

Sandy Tigges

When my granddaughter Helen was five, she asked me to play Jenga, the classic version of the stacking-block game we had left over from my two kids growing up. I told her I didn’t think that was something I could do because of my blindness, thinking it involved hand-eye coordination. She replied, “Grandma, it’s a feely thing.” I reluctantly agreed to give it a try, and she was absolutely right! Since then we have played Jenga together many times. No matter how much we think we know about blindness and its limitations, it is humbling to realize we can often limit ourselves needlessly. It took a little girl to drive that home for me.


Jo Slayton

As a very young child, around four or five, I remember on Memorial Day I was so excited and proud as we waited for the parade to come down our street in Winterset! My father, having served in World War II, carried quite a large flag--I could then see it--and our local high school band played appropriate marches. How awe-inspiring! Then to look forward to the fun rides with the small street carnival later in the day!

My favorite sound was the music of the merry-go-round, and I hoped to get a ride on it. I just loved going around the town square, smelling all the wonderful fragrant things for sale, such as popcorn and hot dogs. Remember, when I was a small child, we didn’t have “fast food” as we know it today. You felt fortunate to once in a while get an ice cream cone when you were out.

Another particular memory I have is of the poppies distributed in our hometown. They were so beautiful and bright, and I remember specifically seeing the bright red poppy against my Dad’s white shirt. Now I’m pleased whenever I can to go to the cemetery in Winterset, and, thanks to the American Legion, see my Dad’s flag flying among others that are always placed in a wonderful row along the routes through the cemetery with the names of veterans and acknowledgements of their service. How proud I am of my Dad and wish so much I had an opportunity to ask him more questions about his service and thank him for it!!

Steve Hunt

I remember going to the cemetery on Memorial Day once with my father and aunt to place flags on the graves of all the veterans. In another year, I was part of a band that played The National Anthem at the Memorial Day program.


Don Wirth

I come from a large family that has difficulty getting together. So, a year ago we decided we would all try to get together at the same time at the cemetery where my parents are buried to leave flowers and talk. In that cemetery are buried my father’s parents, my parents, a brother, a sister-in-law, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. And a lot of memories. But we also created many new memories in the course of more than an hour. Talking of families stories old and new. It was a great way to extend the family history.


ICUB Board Elections

Don Wirth


As President Bettina Dolinsek had mentioned in her report, ICUB’s annual State Convention is coming up in August. One of the most important tasks of the Convention is to vote to fill Board positions. This year there will be 6 open positions. They include Vice-President, Secretary, and three two-year and one one-year Board positions. The one-year term position was vacated by Mike Hoenig who resigned to become an Iowa Department for the Blind Commissioner. In addition, the Vice-President and at least one board member have indicated that they will not seek another term.

If you are interested in finding out more about serving on the Board, contact Bettina at president@icublind.org . If you decide you would like to be considered for a position, send her an email or write to her at 304 W. Cedar St., Goldfield, IA 50542. Include information about yourself, such as how long you have been an ICUB member, what skills you can bring to the Board, and what role on the Board you are interested in filling. To ensure consideration for a Board position, you should let her know prior to the Convention so the nominating committee can consider your name at its Friday meeting during the Convention. Nominations can also be made from the floor after the nominating committee has reported to the Convention.


Reading is Fun on the NLS Braille eReader

Frank Strong


The Iowa Department for the Blind Library for the Blind and Print Disabled has been distributing NLS Braille eReaders free of charge to blind Iowans for over two years. The eReader is a small refreshable Braille device onto which you can download books, magazines, and newspapers from the NLS BARD website. It has many capabilities, the best of which is that it encourages Braille literacy and awareness of the need for blind people to unlock the power of the Braille system for themselves.

The eReader has many helpful and exciting features. It provides a way to improve Braille literacy and reading speed. One of the beauties of the eReader is that it is accessible to folks who are both blind and deaf. It is silent and therefore does not interfere with other activities occurring near the individual using it. This feature allows for fuller inclusion in the sighted community.

Reading on the eReader is fun. Braille readers gather each week at the Iowa Department for the Blind to read stories from it aloud. This activity encourages Braille literacy and socialization. Braille reading on the eReader is supportive and engaging. It contains a User’s Guide which helps readers learn how to operate it independently. To learn more about the NLS Braille eReader and get one for yourself, please call the Iowa Department for the Blind Library at 515-281-1333.



Summary of Board Meetings

September 2022 – May 2023

Liz Soenen


Editor’s Note: This report is usually included in the Fall issue of the Bulletin, but we decided to include it here since the Fall issue will be devoted to information about our annual State Convention.


2022:

September 27--Standard motions to approve the August, 2022 minutes and the Treasurer’s report were made and passed. Convention discussion included a possible message board on our website next year to facilitate transportation sharing, and expanded time for ICUB business. Recorded reports were a good addition. Motion passed to work again with the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Ankeny for next year. Motion passed to make changes in bank and credit card accounts to reflect change in Presidency. Discussion of delegates for mid-year Washington trip and National ACB conference. Marie Hoenig Braille AWARD application packet changes and maybe a change in follow-up were discussed. Chapter reports from DSM and Across Iowa were given.

October 11--Special Board Meeting. Motion for approval of September minutes with two small corrections and standard motion and approval for the Treasurer’s report were passed. Hoenig Braille selection committee members’ names and a brief bio were shared; motion made to approve was passed. Don Wirth would welcome letters of support for his application to the IDB Commission Board.

November 29--Standard motions to approve the October special meeting minutes and the Treasurer’s report were made and passed. Credit card name updates are done but banking update is still in progress. Convention hotel in Ankeny has been booked for Aug 25 & 26, 2023. Marie Hoenig Braille AWARD application and letter have been updated and IDB children’s librarian Denise Bean will help get the word out. Motion made and passed for Moe Carpenter to be the Iowa delegate at the mid-winter Washington DC Conference with paid expenses up to $1,500. Moe will coordinate with any others attending on scholarship from DSM chapter money to make a plan to connect with legislators and business. Don and Jeana will review the annual audit policy. Kevin Slayton reviewed the 2021 audit and two small errors were corrected in the numbers. Dropbox policy discussion with Karen Keninger and Bob Martin who are working on rules and guidelines for users. Suggestion was made to develop a Board member handbook that could be helpful to present to new Board members when they take office. Chapter reports were presented by Des Moines, Dubuque and Across Iowa. ICUB acknowledged Sandi Ryan’s Perowsky Award and also her recent passing.

2023:

January 19--Special Meeting. IDB director Emily Wharton updated the ICUB Board on happenings at IDB related to the current State Legislative session. The Governor’s recommendation to downsize agencies would prevent IDB from being a stand-alone agency and would submit the appointment of the Director to the Governor. Commission vacancies are not being filled and a quorum is not attainable while in that situation. There are several qualified candidates. No budget hearing has been offered and a reduction of $3,500 was indicated. Requests for the building maintenance itself are not included in this amount. Emily would like to see supporters show up at the Capitol. She will keep the ICUB board updated so we can get the word out to supporters.

January 31--Standard motions to approve the November meeting minutes and Treasurer’s report were made and passed. Bank needs with new president are complete. Marie Hoenig Braille AWARD has not yet received applicants. Mike and Bettina will both make some connections with people who can get more word out there. MOe has been making plans and connections for the Washington, D.C. ACB Leadership Convention. The Audit Committee policy review is complete and did not need a motion as it was a committee recommendation. A Dropbox policy is drafted but the Board will delay voting until Carrie’s suggestions (she set things up) can be included with it.

Discussion on IDB and the State Legislature and advocacy for keeping IDB as a stand-alone agency. Also ideas about how to work with NFBI for a united stand for what is best for blind Iowans. Chapter reports from DSM and Across Iowa. February 20 Legislative day at the Capitol. We are looking for testimonials for IDB to prepare and share.

Feb 7--Special Meeting. This meeting was open to anyone from membership to discuss changes proposed by the legislature with regard to the Commission Board and how to best combine efforts with NFBI. Members could comment after the general meeting. MOTION 1: ICUB strongly opposes section 13 of the governor’s reorganization plan and will make every effort to see that it is stricken in its entirety. Motion made and passed. MOTION 2: We support in essence, the underlying elements of NFBI second part of the resolution, but we feel it is better taken as a second approach. We support working with NFBI to create a joint language to move this forward in the future. Motion made and passed.

March 30--Standard motions to approve the January 31, 2023 meeting minutes were made and passed. The Treasurer’s report was not available so will be voted on next meeting. Membership numbers are down 10 from this time last year. MOe provided feedback about the Washington D.C. ACB Leadership Convention and follow ups in coming weeks. She was able to coordinate with three ICUB members who also attended and met with legislative staffers. Discussion on a list serve pros and cons. MOe suggested ACB may have some information about costs, advantages, opting in or out and maybe coordinating with them regarding any costs. Follow-up discussion is needed to see if this is something ICUB should pursue. State Convention plans are moving along with the theme “Art is…” and at the hotel in Ankeny. There is a Board opening as Mike Hoenig has accepted a Commission Board appointment. We will wait until State Convention to fill this slot. A gambling license is needed to continue with 50/50 raffles. We may just purchase a short term one to use for this fundraiser at Convention. Bettina will be the delegate and Don Wirth the alternate to the ACB National Convention by motion which passed. Don will be on the nominating committee and MOe will serve as an alternate. This can be done by zoom ahead of the convention. Expense amounts will be determined at the May meeting. Chapter reports from DSM and Across Iowa.

May 30--Standard motions to approve the March minutes as well as separate motions for both March and May Treasurer reports were made and passed. Discussion noted that funds for both Stifel and Hoenig Brailler accounts were considerably lower. Jeana will gather more information before the next Board meeting in order to discuss any possible changes and a possible implementation of an annual review. Membership increased by one in May report. Jeana will purchase the Perkins Brailler (for the Marie Hoenig Brailler Award) using the ICUB Credit Card, then reimburse from the Hoenig account. List serve information is not complete from ACB in order to see how they could help with us getting one going. MOe will get back to Board if things move forward so that a listserv could be voted on for possible implementation before the Convention. Convention plans are moving forward, Motion passed to purchase a temporary gambling license for the 50/50 raffle and any other raffle the committee might decide to have. A candidate has been chosen for the Hoenig Brailler award. Looking for a new co-editor for the Bulletin as longtime, faithful editor Don Wirth is retiring. Several Board positions will be opening up, including Mike Hoenig’s position. Carrie and Bettina will discuss options to gather recommendations before Convention. Funding for quartet music is unavailable, so other options are being explored. Funding for the art from Ms. Wells is being sought from the Harkin Institute. A motion was passed to create a walk team for the ACB memorial fundraiser and get the word out to the membership for folks to sign up. This can all be done virtually. An anonymous convention donation of $250 was recently received. Kevin Slayton sent a letter about the audit; however, this was not sent to the Board in time to be discussed at this meeting. Jeana will send information out to the Board soon. Motion was made to fund up to $1,600, the estimated basic costs to cover the delegate attending the ACB National Convention. Don Wirth has stepped up as our president is unable to attend. MOe will be the alternate. Chapter reports from DSM and Across Iowa.

Iowa Department for the Blind Report

Director Emily Wharton

On April 22, we held the annual Perowsky Volunteer Awards & Luncheon. Library staff prepared a fun game of Library Bingo and served a delicious lunch. The winner of the Perowsky Award was Sandi Ryan. Her husband, Kent, and her sons, Matt and Marcus, attended and accepted the award on her behalf. We also recently were notified that Sandi has been selected to receive a Governor’s Volunteer Award for outstanding commitment and service. This award is being given in recognition of her service in making a difference in the lives of countless blind Iowans through her work in many roles: advocacy, mentoring, Braille proofreading and public service as a four-term member and Chair of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Kent will be accepting this award on her behalf at the June 15th ceremony.

On May 19, IDB hosted our semi-annual Technology Fair. IDB technology staff gave short tech talks about using Chat GBT, selecting the right mobile phone for you, accessing print on paper, and accessing entertainment. We had two technology vendors showing off their wares, the Iowa iCan Connect Program sharing information, and library staff demonstrating e-readers and other digital devices and services. We appreciated ICUB providing a table to showcase member activities. We will soon be planning the next Tech Fair to be held in the fall.

We are currently in the middle of several systems upgrades and changes that may not be too exciting but will improve our efficiency and ability to serve blind Iowans. We are implementing a new case management system for IL and VR programs that should be ready to go live in late November. We have been upgrading our training and guest internet services to allow us to provide more and larger training opportunities in our building, and we are finishing up a complete website makeover that will allow us to better share information and resources. We do ask for your patience as tech projects seldom go exactly as planned, but we are very excited to be able to expand our capacity to serve through these initiatives.

There is no news regarding the remaining vacancy on the Iowa Commission for the Blind. I have been told that they are still searching but intend to fill the position. I would encourage anyone who is interested to contact either Megan Hall or Jane Dufoe at the Governor's Office for more information about their process.

As of this writing, IDB's budget has not been signed by the Governor. The legislature approved $150,000 more than what was listed in the Governor's budget for IDB programs and services. We greatly appreciate this support from the legislature. It will make a huge difference in our ability to provide alternative media to blind students and services to Independent Living clients throughout Iowa. In order to help all stakeholders better understand how IDB is funded and what affects our budget, we have created an overview document that breaks it all down. You can currently find this document at: https://blind.iowa.gov/funding . Our SFY24 (State Fiscal Year 2024) request is available at https://blind.iowa.gov/ask24 . I would appreciate feedback on anything you find confusing or any way we can further make our processes and functions easier for citizens to understand.

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.

News You Can Use

There has been a lot of discussion in the media about ChatGPT (an artificial intelligence chatbot, which is a software application that aims to mimic human conversation through text or voice interactions, typically online) and the strengths and drawbacks of this powerful AI (artificial intelligence) tool. Microsoft and BeMyEyes, a helpful app that uses smart phones to link blind users who need some visual assistance with sighted volunteers, are working together to develop ChatGPT 4 to provide detailed visual assistance to blind people without human-to-human interaction. The user will feed images through the BeMyEyes app, which will then analyze those images and decipher text. The user then can ask questions of the “virtual volunteer” to get more detailed information about the contents of the images. To hear a sample of this amazing use of AI, which is now in beta testing and may be released as early as this fall, go to: https://overcast.fm/+IhN_70ag .

If you like to listen to movies and TV shows with audio description, then audiovault.net is the website for you. There is no charge for this service, although small donations to help maintain the site are appreciated. Simply register and you’re ready to download the audio-described, nonvideo versions of everything from your favorite old movies and TV shows to the latest offerings from the major networks and cable, satellite and streaming services. With audiovault.net, you will no longer need to wonder what the fates of the four Roy children are as depicted in the finale of Succession.

Website accessibility is becoming more and more crucial for blind people to participate fully in even the day-to-day minutia of life. Often websites are designed so that they are difficult—if not impossible—to use with a screen reading program, even for a task as simple as entering a birthdate into a form field or activating a button. It is important to let websites know if they are doing a good job or if there are problems. Many of them, like Hy-Vee, want their customers to have a positive experience and will respond to your feedback. Some even have accessibility helplines you can call. Here are two of them:

Amazon: 888-283-1678

Microsoft: 800-936-5900

If you find other helplines that have been useful, please send them to us so we can share them with your fellow readers.

Have you taken advantage of the NLS Braille-on-Demand pilot program, launched in 2022, which allows all registered patrons to receive five hard-copy Braille books per month with no return date? Patrons may request books directly using the form at https://tinyurl.com/52d76nwt , or you may contact your network library for assistance in filing requests. Any Braille book available on BARD is eligible to be produced in hard copy by the program. Books will be mailed directly to requesting patrons.


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 you have questions or your wishes are more complex, you or your attorney can contact ICUB by calling 866-436-0141 or through the webpage at: www.icublind.org.


Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Carrie Chapman


Ingredients:

2 pounds chicken wings

1 TBS baking powder

Seasoning of your choice (I used garlic salt, onion powder, and Cookies’ brand flavor enhancer.)

Instructions:

Remove tips of chicken wings and split at the joint. Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel. Toss the wings lightly in the baking powder seasoning mixture. Place in a single layer in a 400-degree air fryer. Cook 20 minutes, flipping half way through. Remove and enjoy!

Notes: I flip the wings one more time at the end and add an additional three to five minutes. You could also toss the wings at the end with your favorite sauce, but they are delicious plain. Try to leave some space between the wings when cooking. Depending on the size of your fryer, you may have to cook them in batches. The magic ingredient is the baking powder, which makes the wings crispy!

The Value of Volunteering

Sandy Tigges


Volunteerism is critical to the mission of ICUB, whether performed in the community or within the organization itself. It gives both blind individuals and the public an opportunity to learn that people with vision loss can be fully participating members of their communities. Last winter, for example, members of the Des Moines Chapter held the highly successful Pack the Pantry campaign, providing boxes filled with food, toiletries, underwear, and other items to residents of the downtown YMCA. Cathy Kownacki, also an ICUB member, is using her time and talents to crochet sleeping mats for the area’s increasing number of homeless individuals.

Cathy lives at Grand Living at Tower Place, a senior living facility in West Des Moines. There she and a group of her friends cut plastic grocery bags into strips and then crochet the strips into sleeping mats that are then donated to homeless encampments. The efforts of Cathy and her friends were even featured in a May 11, 2023, article in the Des Moines Register. It takes 770 bags and 35 hours to make one 4 by 7-foot mat, and Cathy is now on her twenty-third! "There are a lot of people out there that need help a lot more than I thought,” Cathy told the reporter. “Some of these people are living on these mats with nothing over them. And it snows; it rains; and it's scary.” Cathy doesn’t stop her volunteering there. She also coordinates with local nonprofits to organize a weekly clothing and goods drive. A big thank you to Cathy and her friends for their hard work.

ICUB flourishes because of the dedication and efforts of its members. The contributions are both big and small, from making a new member feel welcome to organizing the annual Trivia Bowl, but when put all together, these efforts keep the organization strong and healthy.

Over ten years ago, Mike Hoenig thought it was time to recognize publicly some individuals for their outstanding contributions to the organization and to the blind of Iowa. He wrote a resolution creating the Linda Dietrich Special Volunteer of the Year Award. Linda was an ICUB member who for many years came to the C convention on her own from Fairfield. She collected door prizes year round and carried them on the bus. She had an intellectual disability, but it didn’t impede her from giving to the organization in her own special way. Mike described her as “a giving soul who got very little recognition for what she did and we thought this would be a good way to honor her.”

Linda died a few years ago, but her spirit lives on through her Award, which is presented to the recipient at the state convention banquet. Some of the past recipients have included Creig and Jo Slayton, Donna Seliger, Jim and Catherine Witte, Cynthia Qloud, Lori Trujillo Roush, Jeana Mowery, Carrie Chapman, and others. Congratulations to these recipients and to others who, like Linda, have given of themselves to ICUB.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Don Wirth


Sandy’s Note: Don has volunteered hours and hours of his time to ICUB through such efforts as moderating the ICUB Book Club, serving as President of the Across-Iowa Chapter, and co-editing this publication. I have really enjoyed working with him—even though he is a Cyclone and Yankees fan—and I will miss our long conversations on the phone about the Bulletin and other world-shattering matters which, by the way, we have solved. Thank you, Don, for all your work getting this publication out. Difficult as it is, I will let you have the last word.

A long time ago in a planet far, far away, Cynthia (CIP) Qloud, then ICUB president, decided she needed a new editor for the ICUB Bulletin since the previous editor said, “I quit.” Being the brilliant woman that she is, CIP decided that she needed co-editors because she didn’t think there was any one person silly enough to think he/she could do the job alone. So…she again brilliantly thought, “I will ask Norma Boge since she is a good writer, knows a lot about ICUB and is a tech whiz.”

And then CIP showed that she may not be as brilliant as I had believed. She thought, “There is this relatively new guy in ICUB who probably can’t do too much damage. At least he will make Norma feel she isn’t alone even if she has to do most of the work.” So that’s how ICUB got me as a co-editor for lo these past many years. (Editor’s note: You should consider becoming the next co-editor so you, too, can use such fun words as “lo.”)

During these years, I think we have done some fun and important things with the Bulletin. When I started, we were distributing the audio version on cassette. The staff necessary to get the Bulletin out was much bigger than it is now. The Slaytons and Donna Seliger (apologies to those I forgot) were responsible for the tape duplication, acquisition of materials, repair of the duplication machine, label printing, and many other tasks.

The first crisis we dealt with was that it became harder to get cassettes and parts for the duplication machine. Norma and I were discussing this problem at a Convention luncheon with the Director of the Iowa Library for the Blind. The result was that the Library felt it was in its mission to provide recording and distribution of the audio version of the Bulletin. It would be added to the collection. Patrons could subscribe and new issues would be sent out like any other publication. It has worked great. In addition to the library system effort, we now have the audio version available on our website—icublind.org. Never were so many volunteers so happy to get pink slips as were the publication staff of the Bulletin.

When Norma and I took over, the publication schedule of the Bulletin was uncertain. One of the first things we did was to commit to publishing 3 issues each year. We were so successful that we later received Board approval to publish 4 issues a year. This increase occurred after Norma stepped down as co-editor and Sandy Tigges stepped in. I guess two retired people like Sandy and I decided we had too much time on our hands and needed to publish a fourth issue.

Another great step forward was when then President Carrie Chapman developed a working relationship with FuseBox One for printing projects for ICUB. Carrie, being a master negotiator, obtained the printing, labeling and mailing of the print Bulletin at FuseBox One at a great price. Before that, Donna Seliger worked with the management of the Elite Lodge of Ashworth, where she lives, to donate generously to support the printing of each issue. By working with FuseBox One, we have been able to simplify and expedite the publishing and mailing process.

After a few years of working with Norma, I regret to say she had other fish to fry (like working for a living) and stepped down as co-editor. So, who stepped up to replace her? A cat-loving Hawkeye fan who more than filled requirements Norma had listed as qualifications for the position, one Sandy Tigges. Sandy of the sharp wit and humor and great editing skills. And she also brought along Catherine Witte who makes the Bulletin read and look great. I never realized how good I had it while working with Norma until she left. But then Sandy and Catherine (who comes from a New York Yankee loving family – bonus score) have made me even lazier while at the same time keeping me looking as good, if not better, than when I was working with Norma.

Over the years, we have tried to present articles that touch on ICUB and personal history, give more in-depth knowledge about Board members, update readers on timely issues, and even have a little fun. I hope you have enjoyed the ride with us. So for fun, here is a little quiz about articles that have appeared in the Bulletin. You’ll find the answers elsewhere in this issue.

Who marched in the Chicago Lions parade with the Iowa School for the Blind Marching band?

Who planted a garden in bales of straw?

Who had a lakeside cabin and boated on the lake with her blind husband?

Who is the most intelligent ICUB member as exhibited by being the only Cyclone fan in the blind community?

Who was the accordion-playing travelling band member from Cedar Rapids?

Finally, thanks to everyone who helped create all these issues by editing, proofing, duplicating, printing, mailing, and paying the bills. And perhaps most importantly providing ideas and writing articles. You have made whatever success this publication has had over the last 10 years. I hope the next co-editor can count on you to continue to contribute to the Bulletin’s success.

P.S. Last question: Identify the source of the title of this article and who said it.


Quiz Answers:

Who marched in the Chicago Lions parade with the Iowa School for the Blind Marching band? Jo Slayton

Who planted a garden in bales of straw? Jackie Armstrong

Who had a lakeside cabin and boated on the lake with her blind husband? Rose Stratton

Who is the most intelligent ICUB member as exhibited by being the only Cyclone fan in the blind community? ME

Who was the accordion-playing travelling band member from Cedar Rapids? Shirley Wiggins

Last question: Identify the source of the title of this article and who said it. Answer: The dolphins said it as they departed at the end of Douglas Adams’ book So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. (DB21238)


Across-Iowa Chapter Report

Don Wirth


We have continued to meet the first Thursday of every month via Zoom. Since we are spread out across the state with additional members in California, Louisiana, and Arizona, we are only able to have a face-to-face meeting at the annual State Convention.

At our June meeting, we discussed the voting process for the ACB National Convention. Voting is open to all ACB members whether they participate in person or virtually. We also talked about this year’s State Convention. We shared information on sources about blindness and technology. Most of our discussion revolved around podcasts. This will be our last meeting before the state convention.

This year marks the end of the current Chapter officers’ terms. Our thanks goes to Teresa Gregg as Vice-President, Jeana Mowery as Secretary, and Carol Flickinger as Treasurer. We appointed Teresa Gregg and Mary Haupt as our nominating committee for candidates for these offices.

We hope many of our members will be able to join us in Ankeny for the Annual State Convention where we hope to reconnect in person as well as with many other ICUB members. We currently have 26 members in the Across-Iowa Chapter and welcome anyone else to join us.

Des Moines Chapter Report

Cody Dolinsek


This past April, we invited Daniel Van Sant, the Director of Disability Policy for the Harkin Institute at Drake University, to speak to us. Van Sant discussed the then upcoming Disability Summit to be held on May 9th and 10th at the Harkin Institute. Secretary Donna Seliger and President Cody Dolinsek attended the first day of meetings at the summit where we learned about businesses owned by disabled people, such as Poppin’ Joe’s Kettle Corn, Blinded by Ambition, and Em’s Coffee. The summit highlighted the benefits to everyone when disabled individuals are given the same opportunities for fulfilling work as the nondisabled.

On May 17th, Treasurer Linda Gonzalez, Director Steve Hagemoser, Rick Collins, and President Cody Dolinsek attended the Senior Fest at the Fairgrounds in Des Moines. We demonstrated ways for blind people to access their medications by doing such things as putting their medication bottles upside down (with the lid on of course), using a special label, or utilizing ScriptTalk--a phone app that tells its users about the medication they are taking, how often to take it, and the pill count. At this event, we also handed out signature guides to those who wanted them. We had about 25 to 30 visitors.

At our June meeting, Jill Wells, a Fellow of the Harkin Institute, will be joining us to discuss her tactile, accessible art. To do this, she will be telling us her personal story about how she became interested in making such art.

Members of the ICUB chapter have been asked again by Iowa State University to test voting machines for their accessibility, which will be taking place sometime this summer at the Iowa Department for the Blind. Also, at the end of August, we will be doing a fundraiser with Panera Bread. Panera will donate a percentage of the cost of food ordered by participants to the Chapter.

I continue to benefit from the advice of the Board as I seek to do my best to conduct the business of our Des Moines Chapter and am grateful for their support.



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To obtain a current list of State Board members and Chapter Presidents, including their contact information, go to our website, icublind.org, and click on the “Who We Are” link. You can also get this information by emailing us through a form at the bottom of our website page.


The ICUB Bulletin is available in large print, via e-mail, 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 choice and address changes to Co-Editor Don Wirth.

ICUB offers a BIG thank you to FuseBox One for so graciously donating the printing and mailing of the print copies of each issue of the Bulletin. We also wish to thank Catherine Witte for so meticulously proofreading each issue.

Copyright 2023 Iowa Council of the United Blind, Inc.

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