Published Quarterly by
IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND
THE AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
SPRING EDITION 2001
DONNA SELIGER, PRESIDENT
3912 SE 5th St.
Des Moines, Iowa 50315
1-888-404-5562 (Toll Free)
JOHN TAYLOR, EDITOR
2012 - 40th Place
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
MICHAEL BARBER, TREASURER
Des Moines, Iowa 50316
JO ANN SLAYTON, SECRETARY
4013 - 30th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Iowa Officers and Directors 2
Notice to Readers 3
President’s Report 3
Iowa Host Committee Chairs 5
Editor’s Note 7
American Council of the Blind Condemns Entertainment Industry’s Greed, Denounces Federation’s Failure to Support Access to Information for People Who are Blind 7
Vision-Impaired Doctor Restricted by Hospital Sues 10
Special Schools face Budget Losses 12
Cedar Valley Council of the Blind, Waterloo 16
Des Moines Chapter Report 16
Dubuque Association of the Blind 17
Iowa Council of the United Blind - Fort Dodge Chapter 18
Cedar Rapids Chapter Report 19
Beatitudes for Friends of the Aged 20
Farmer Joe 21
ICUB OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
President, Donna Seliger
Des Moines, 515/284-0505
1st V.P., Michael Hoenig
2nd V.P., John Taylor
Des Moines, 515/279-2817
Secretary, JoAnn Slayton
Des Moines, 515/279-4284
Treasurer, Michael Barber
Des Moines, 515/263-1441
Des Moines, 515/243-8593
Sioux City, 712/258-6160
Fort Dodge, 515/2\573-6043
West Des Moines, 515/277-1167
Cedar Rapids, 319/362-7138
Des Moines, 515/276-2729
NOTICE TO READERS
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) 279-2817, or write Iowa Council of the United Blind, 2012 - 40th Place, Des Moines, Iowa 50310.
Anyone who cannot read this print bulletin or finds it difficult to have it read may receive a cassette copy at no charge. Cassette readers are invited to return this Bulletin for re-use. Please help us keep you better informed.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING MATERIAL
FOR THE NEXT ISSUE
JULY 1, 2001
by Donna Seliger
Spring has finally arrived, which means summer is just around the corner. And that means we are in the final stages of planning the 40th annual American Council of the Blind convention to be held in Des Moines from June 30 through July 7.
In mid February, John Taylor (Bulletin editor) underwent heart bypass surgery. I’m sure he would welcome notes or phone calls from ICUB members and friends.
A joint meeting of the ICUB board and the Iowa Host committee has been scheduled for April 21 at the Department for the Blind. It will be held in the Director’s Conference Room at 10:00am. Lunch will be served in the 4th Street Café at noon. A list of the Host Committee chairpersons will follow this article for your review.
This meeting is open to all ICUB members who are interested in helping with the planning of the national convention. This is our one opportunity to host a national convention.
The Des Moines Chapter has generously allocated funds so that at least 75 ICUB members can receive a sum of $150 to help with ACB convention expenses. Following is the policy:
In order for an individual interested in attending the American Council of the Blind National Convention which will be held in Des Moines June 30 through July 7, 2001, the following policy for reimbursement will apply.
The Des Moines Chapter, ICUB wishes to contribute toward the expenses of this convention to lessen the burden of hotel, meals and transportation costs.
The Des Moines Chapter, ICUB will allocate $11,250 to allow at least 75 members the opportunity to attend the ACB national convention.
Each individual who applies and meets the following criteria will receive one hundred fifty dollars ($150) approximately two weeks following the close of the 2001 convention.
1. The individual must be a current member of the Iowa Council of the United Blind as of March 15, 2001, and residing in the state of Iowa.
2. The individual must contact Dick Natale, treasurer of the Des Moines Chapter, ICUB no later than June 15, 2001, to register for this subsidy.
3. The individual is strongly urged to attend at least three (3) general sessions of the American Council of the Blind convention.
4. The individual is strongly urged to attend at least one (1) special interest affiliate program, workshop or business meeting.
We will have an abbreviated ICUB convention at the Department for the Blind on Sunday, July 1 at 2:30pm to conduct elections and other ICUB business according to the constitution.
There are four director positions up for election this year. If you are interested in running for one of these positions, contact me and I will forward your request to the nominating committee.
This will be the last Bulletin before the national convention. I want to invite everyone to attend, as the experience will be memorable.
IOWA HOST COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Religious Services & Invocations
Entertainment before Sessions
Arlo & Elsie Monthei
IOWA HOST COMMITTEE CHAIRS (Continued)
Entertainment at ACB Hospitality Nights
Volunteers & Information Desk(s)
Registration Packet Coordinator
Registration Packet Inserts
Welcome to Iowa Party
Ads for Program
Donna & Bob Seliger
List of Restaurants
Convention Packet Inserts
Iowa Suite Food & Beverages
Iowa Suite Hostess
Vending Machine Braillists
by John Taylor
A decade and a half ago, after the Iowa Council of the Blind and the United Blind of Iowa combined to form the Iowa Council of the United Blind, John Taylor agreed to serve as Editor of the ICUB Bulletin. Until that time, the Bulletin had been edited by Andy Norr of Iowa City. The Bulletin, which is now available on audio cassette and in large print is growing steadily and now reaches some 800 families, who are members and friends of the Iowa Council of the United Blind (ICUB).
The Bulletin is edited in John Taylor’s home with a great deal of assistance from Teri Taylor and others.
On February 13, 2001, John Taylor was admitted to the Cardiac Unit at Iowa Mercy Medical Center for Quadruple bypass hearty surgery. He was discharged on February 22 and has been recovering at home. On April 13, John completed a two-month program of Cardiac Rehabilitation.
This has been a complicated and difficult time for the Taylor Family and we want to express our deep appreciation for the sympathy and support received from Bulletin readers.
AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND CONDEMNS ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY’S GREED, DENOUNCES FEDERATION’S FAILURE TO SUPPORT ACCESS TO INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND
for immediate release April 4, 2001
Reaction was swift from the American Council of the Blind upon learning that the National Association of Broadcasters, The Cable Television Association, and the Motion Picture Association of America had initiated litigation to overturn a government requirement that the television industry make a portion of their programming accessible to visually impaired and blind people, through a secondary channel that can be turned on by viewers. “After 15 years of struggle simply to gain access to the same programming that all other Americans enjoy, we can only conclude that this assault on the rights of people who are blind and visually impaired by corporate entertainment has everything to do with their own greed and nothing to do with any principles of decency,” said Paul Edwards, president of the council. “As a group we have few financial resources, but our tens of thousands of members have the conviction that we matter enough as people to defend our rights to information from an industry engaged in selling its entertainment to the general public. We will fight this at every turn.”
ACB Executive Director Charlie Crawford angrily added, “To add insult to injury, we understand that the industry has enlisted the aid of the National Federation of the Blind as a related plaintiff in their suit. We can only view the Federation as a traitor to our community. We urge their members to exercise their rights as thinking citizens and people who wish to participate fully in their communities by refusing to acquiesce to the will of their leadership, which appears to be more co-opted by industry than motivated to serve the needs of people who are blind.”
Crawford urged members of the NFB to contact their leaders to express their disapproval to the organization’s unwillingness to support the access to information which video descriptive services represent.
The battles began last year when the Federal Communications Commission considered the request of a coalition of groups, including people who are blind and visually impaired and their advocates, to require that programming on television be made accessible to people who cannot see what’s happening on their television screens, through an inexpensive technology called video description. The technology allows for the creation of a secondary soundtrack, where a narrator describes visual elements of a program during the natural pauses that occur in dialogue. In this way, a person who cannot perceive the visual elements of a program or performance can gain a genuine under-standing of what is happening and fully enjoy the event. All this comes through the secondary audio channel that is already available on stereo television sets. Making the secondary soundtrack available will be even easier as digital television comes onto the scene.
Both the industry and the National Federation of the Blind have argued that the television industry should not be compelled by the federal government to provide accessibility through video description. Others, including the American Council of the Blind, point out that the technology has been available since the early 1980s, but the industry has done next to nothing to make their programming accessible to people who are blind. “Blind people are tired of waiting for access to entertainment and information that others in our society, including people who are deaf and hard of hearing, can take for granted,” Crawford said.
ACB President Edwards vowed to vigorously defend the rights of the blind and appealed to other people who are blind and visually impaired and people who care about doing what is right to join in efforts to preserve the FCC requirement that network television make its programming accessible to everyone who wants to watch it.
VISION-IMPAIRED DOCTOR RESTRICTED BY HOSPITAL SUES
By Clark Kauffman - Reprinted from D.M. Register 12-7-00
Broadlawns in Des Moines refused to provide a physician’s assistant to be Dr. Sara Scott’s ‘eyes’.
A Des Moines physician with deteriorating vision is suing Broadlawns Medical Center for restricting her practice.
Sara Scott, a 53-year-old staff physician at Broadlawns, has worked for the hospital since 1993. Her vision is impaired because of diabetes, and she requires assistance or special equipment to read and conduct physical examinations of patients.
Her lawsuit alleges that Broadlawns has unfairly and illegally restricted her ability to perform the “essential functions” of her job as a doctor. Scott is suing Broadlawns in federal court, claiming the hospital has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In its response to the lawsuit, Broadlawns says it has tried, but failed, to come up with “reasonable accommodations” that would allow Scott to continue seeing patients as she did in the past. The hospital says Scott can no longer conduct effective physical examinations even with special equipment.
Scott underwent laser treatments in September and October of 1999 because of deteriorating vision, according to documents filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Her supervisor at Broadlawns then requested an independent medical evaluation of her vision.
The Civil Rights Commission filings indicate that the hospital provided Scott with camera equipment that would project an enlarged picture patient’s body parts onto a video screen. The hospital determined that even with the special equipment, Scott couldn’t see well enough to do her job. For example, she allegedly described mucus in the nasal canal when the camera wasn’t in the nasal canal and commented on the appearance of the uvula in the throat when the uvula was not in the picture.
The hospital says Scott refused to acknowledge the problem and requested a physician’s assistant to serve as her “eyes” in examining patients. The hospital refused, arguing that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not require employers to hire additional workers to compensate for another worker’s disability.
During her years at Broadlawns, Scott has served as the director of the hospital’s International Clinic, worked in the Family Practice Clinic, and worked in the Homeless Outreach Project. The Iowa Board of Medical Examiners says Scott’s license, issued in 1991, is in good standing.
An attorney for Broadlawns declined to answer questions about Scott’s status at the hospital.
At least a dozen practicing physicians in the United States are blind.
SPECIALISTS HELP: Brenda Premo of California’s Western University of Health Sciences says most physicians, including those who are sighted, rely on specialists to read X-rays, examine blood samples and do other visually oriented tasks.
EXAMINATIONS: Many patients’ problems can be diagnosed by questioning the patients or feeling the affected area, Premo says. “When a visual examination is necessary, that’s where the physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners come in.”
EXAMPLES: Dr. Iliff C. Jeffery of Utah has been blind since age 6 but has run a successful primary care practice for 56 years. Another blind physician, Dr, Stanley Yarnell, works as the medical director of rehabilitation services at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, California. Earlier this year, Dr. Kristianna Matthew, blind since birth, began working as a physician at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan.
SPECIAL SCHOOLS FACE BUDGET LOSSES
by Kate Kompas - Reprinted from D.M. Register 4/3/2001
The Board of Regents says some equipment, services, or jobs may have to be eliminated.
Karla Vansice thought the fight was over. She led opposition last year to a plan that eventually reshaped Iowa’s state-run school for the blind in Vinton, where her 16-year-old son, Joey, and about 35 other children attend classes.
Despite the objections of Vansice and other parents, the state Board of Regents decided to spend more money on helping children in their local schools around the state and less on the teachers and students in Vinton. Three teachers were laid off.
“They didn’t listen,” said Vansice, of Ira. “And they probably won’t listen this time, either.”
More layoffs are possible at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School under proposed across-the-board budget cuts for the regents system, which includes the three state-run universities and the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs.
Vansice complains that the special schools are unwitting victims of budget cuts that should be aimed at the universities. The schools for the blind and deaf have been lumped in with the universities since the early 1900s, said the regents’ executive director, Frank Stork.
Dennis Thurman, superintendent of the Vinton school, said the talked-about 6 percent cut “cannot be accomplished without probably some drastic things to our staff members.”
Gov. Tom Vilsack and state lawmakers were sent back to the budget drawing board after they learned that tax collections lagged this year. The governor proposed cutting $144 million from the estate’s nearly $5 billion budget, and tapping the state’s emergency fund for $120 million.
Thurman and William Johnson, superintendent of the state-run school for the deaf, are preparing for the worst.
“Six percent goes pretty deep,” said state Rep. Cecil Dolecheck, R-Mount Ayr and chairman of the House Education Appropriations Committee.
The special schools “don’t have the ability to spread the overhead to tuition,” Dolecheck said.
Thurman said his school, which serves 609 students throughout the state, will probably lose $270,000 from an original budget proposed of $4.5 million.
“We’re very concerned about that because education of a blind child is based on having good ratios to work with and having skilled, competent people in service so that they’re providing the right kind of programming,” he said.
Vansice said job uts have already hurt her son’s education. She thinks lawmakers need to realize that cutting the budget means cutting Joey Vansice, who has multiple handicaps.
Storm said it is to the special schools’ advantage to stay part of the regents system, even when the cuts come. “We think, traditionally, the system has worked very well,” he said. “In this state, there has been real support for the schools, even though they’re more similar to a K-12 system.”
Stork said the special schools have agreements with the regent universities -- the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. Many students use the universities’ services, he said, especially the U of I’s hospital.
The special schools will have to adjust to the cuts, Stork said, either by eliminating some equipment, services or jobs. Johnson said his school will receive about $482,000 less than the expected $8.1 million budget request.
The deaf school has 165 employees and 155 students in grades kindergarten through 12. “Probably like many other people, we’re kind of holding our breath, wishing it would go away,” Johnson said. “But I’m sure that it’s not.”
Parochial school parents and administrators flooded Gov. Tom Vilsack’s office with about 500 e-mail messages over the weekend, opposing a proposed 70 percent cut in transportation money for private schools.
Background: Vilsack proposed $285 million in cuts and revenue transfers to the 2002 budget last week, including $5.7 million in the state’s reimbursement to private schools for transportation. If approved, schools would get money only for children who qualify for free or reduced lunches.
Possible Plan: Private school officials said they rely on state money to pay for busing children who live at least two miles from school. Cuts could force the closing of some parochial schools in rural areas.
Today: Bishop Joseph L. Charron of the Diocese of Des Moines has scheduled a new conference on the issue today.
CEDAR VALLEY COUNCIL OF THE BLIND, WATERLOO
by Louise Ceglar
Our first meeting of the year was held February 11. We discussed the ACB Convention and decided to donate $100 to ICUB to be used for the National Convention.
We had three birthdays in December. They were Helen Cunningham, Ray O’Brien, Steve Ceglar.
We know that two members will be attending the ACB Convention. We hope that more can go.
Ray and Judy O’Brien served for our meeting. Our next meeting will be April 8.
It will be wonderful to see spring. Tulips are coming up on the south side of our house. On the north side we have snow and ice. We told our great granddaughters to bring their sleds when they come for Easter.
The members of the Cedar Valley Council of the Blind wish everyone a very happy Easter.
DES MOINES CHAPTER REPORT
by Mike Barber
It’s the start of the new millennium and the Des Moines Chapter will be as active as ever as we advocate for Iowa’s blind. One of our major activities has been to assist in preparations for the upcoming 40th annual ACB convention which will be held in Des Moines from June 30-July 7. Several of our members have been working hard to make this the best convention possible. (See the President’s article in this issue for all the details.)