Spring 2003 Bulletin


Published Quarterly by


Affiliate of




3912 SE 5th St.

Des Moines, Iowa 50315

(515) 284-0505

1-888-404-5562 (Toll Free)

E-mail: dseliger@worldnet.att.net


3210 Aurora Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa 50310

(515) 274-8993

E-mail: LCurfman1@Yahoo.com


817 – 6th Street

West Des Moines, Iowa 50265

(515) 277-1167

E-mail: rnatale@earthlink.net


4013 - 30th Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50310

(515) 279-4284

E-mail: slaytons@earthlink.net


President, Donna Seliger

Secretary, Jo Ann Slayton

Des Moines, 515/284-0505

Des Moines, IA 515/279-4284

1st V.P., Michael Hoenig

Treasurer, Dick Natale

Davenport, 319/344-8787

W. Des Moines, 515/277-1167

2nd V.P., Theresa Philpott

Des Moines, 515/284-8619

1 Year Directors

Muhammad Jihad

Sylvester Nemmers

Des Moines, 515/243-7528

Des Moines, 515/276-2729

Gloria O’Neal

Robert Nesler

Waterloo, 319/235-5687

Dubuque, 563/557-0987

2 Year Directors

Dee Clayton

Dorothy Janvrin

Des Moines, 515/282-1275

Fort Dodge, 515/573-6043

John Taylor

Shirley Wiggins

Des Moines, 515/279-2817

Cedar Rapids, 319/362-7138


ICUB Officers and Directors

Notice to Readers 1

Editor’s Note 1

From the President’s Desk 2

Summer Reading Club 2003 3

Dorothy 4

Vehicle Donation Update 7

Let Iowans Sue Those Who Cheat Them 8

Money Needed to Implement Election Reforms 10

Helen Keller Quarter Coins a Breakthrough 12

Lorna Powers 13

Cedar Rapids Chapter Report 14

Des Moines Chapter 15

Dubuque News 16

North Central Chapter Report 16

Senior Citizen Humor 17

Talking ATM’s Near You 18


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, 3912 SE 5th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50315.

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.


FOR THE NEXT ISSUE - ****July 1, 2003 ****


By John Taylor

The year 2003 has been most unusual for the Taylor family. I was diagnosed with acute leukemia with a projected life expectancy of six months to a year. Accordingly, this will be the final issue of the ICUB Bulletin which Teri and I will put out, and we want to thank all of those who have cooperated with us and made our task easier.

The new Bulletin Editor will be Linda Curfman Slayton, 3210 Aurora Ave., Des Moines, IA 50310. Her phone number is 515 274-8993. Her e-mail address is LCurfman1@Yahoo.com.

Teri and I are very grateful for the support we have received over the years in our efforts to produce the ICUB Bulletin. It is sometimes a time consuming task, but one with many rewards and strengthened friendships. The new Editor will need the support of all ICUB members, and she may wish to make some changes in the Bulletin and its operating procedures. If that is the case, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt.

Finally, our thanks and appreciation are extended to all of the ICUB friends and members.


by Donna Seliger

The sixteenth annual ICUB Convention is planned! Now, all that is needed is members, friends, family, and fun. This year our guest speaker will be Mr. Paul Edwards, immediate past president of the American Council of the Blind. Although Paul has been our guest in the past, we welcome him back to Iowa.

The convention will begin Friday, April 25, 2003, at the Ramada Inn North in Des Moines, and end Sunday, April 27. If you haven’t made your reservations yet, do so immediately. The room rate is $51 per night plus tax. You may call toll free at 1-800-643-1197.

The program promises to be very interesting thanks to those members who worked so hard putting it together. We will be electing four directors this year as well as the delegate and alternate to the ACB convention.

If you plan to attend the ICUB convention and didn’t pre-register, give Dick Natale, our treasurer, a call at 515-277-1167 to let him know you will be registering at the door. Everyone is welcome to attend the convention meetings. If you register with the treasurer, you will be eligible for the many door prizes that will be given away throughout the weekend.

The American Council of the Blind Convention will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from July 5 through 12. For reservations, you may call the Westin Hotel at 412-281-3700 or the Hilton Towers at 412-391-4600. Room rates are $85 and $79 respectively.

I wish everyone a very happy Easter and an enjoyable spring. As I have mentioned in the past, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or comments. The toll free number is 888-404-5562.


Each year the Iowa Department for the Blind sponsors a Summer Reading Club for children. We encourage anyone who is currently a library borrower and between the ages of 3-17 to join the fun. To be eligible, participants must be someone who is blind, physically handicapped, or learning disabled. Club dates are June 23 – August 1, 2003. Our theme, “Laugh It Up at Your Library,” is the same as that used throughout the state by public libraries.

Once the club is underway, several contests will be held. Incentives are given for time spent reading, and we offer free Adventureland tickets and Living History Farm tickets after reading just one hour!! In addition, there will be weekly drawings for prize packets, as well as registration prizes, contest prizes, grand prizes, and trophies to top readers.

This year’s corporate sponsors include Lions Clubs, Living History Farm, Adventureland, Coca Cola, Cosi Cucina, Wild Birds Unlimited, Woodlink, McDonald’s, Earl May Nursery, and Wal-Mart.

If you have questions or need more information, call Carol Eckey at 1-800-362-2587 or 515-281-1271.


By Mike Hoenig, Davenport, Iowa, December 29, 2002

I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was an awkward, spoiled third grader who had no concept of how I might avoid being teased by my classmates. I longed for one thing – to be with my family 140 miles away.

It was my first “assembly” in the Braille School auditorium. We were told that our principal, Mrs. Petrucci, had some things to tell us. As I sat listening to that kind, comforting voice, I felt a whole lot closer to home. She told us all about why it was so important to get along with one another. Somehow, in that first encounter with the woman so many of us know and love as Dorothy, I knew I had a friend.

As I grew, so did my trust in this wonderful new friend. Sometime in junior high, I was banished to a special table where I was supposed to improve my eating skills. My anger over being separated form my friends was fueled further by the “table teacher” forcing me to finish a bowl of nearly inedible tomato soup. After downing that soup, I scheduled an appointment to see Mrs. Petrucci. She listened patiently. As I headed for the dreaded table the next day, the teacher proclaimed, “You graduated!” Need I say more?

One fall day in ninth grade I was summoned to Mrs. Petrucci’s office. In those days, many church and civic groups toured the school.

“I would like you to be a student spokesman,” she said. “You and I will give a little presentation before the tours begin.”

I was thrilled. Mrs. Petrucci trusted me enough to give a first impression to our tour groups. A huge fringe benefit for me was that the two of us would always meet a few minutes before the group arrived. She always wanted to know about my latest school activities. It was clear that she was genuinely interested. Without realizing it then, I was being mentored in a truly special way.

Mrs. Petrucci retired in 1979, at the end of my junior year. Many of my fellow classmates and I begged her to stay on one more year. How many principals do you know who can claim such loyalty and support among literally every student?

It was a privilege to be a Braille School student at the time of the dedication of what is now McCutchan Chapel. At the young age of 15, I recognized the importance of Dorothy’s many milestones, including over 50 years as student, teacher, and administrator at our school. During her speech that day, she gave us a brief look back into her early life, sharing a humorous anecdote. It seems that her mother could not bring herself to say “devil,” thus serving “Satanized eggs” on special occasions. Though Dorothy took life seriously, she had a sense of humor which many of us came to appreciate.

Following graduation in 1980, I called my former principal.

“Mrs. O’Leary,” I said. “I just wanted to call and talk for a few minutes.”

And so we did. At the end of our conversation, she said, “I want you to call me Dorothy. You’re a graduate now, and I want you to think of me as a friend.” That has always meant a great deal to me.

During a Christmas 2001 visit to my father in Fort Madison, I dug out some old letters. Among them was a letter from Dorothy, written to me while I was a student at Central College in Pella. Those early years at Central were very challenging for me, as I struggled to adapt to a new environment. Dorothy’s letter was full of encouragement, assuring me that I would be successful in whatever endeavor I chose to pursue.

As I entered the workforce and moved out on my own, Dorothy’s support was a constant in my life. She had the uncanny ability to know just when I needed a pick-me-up. Our phone calls would be full of reminiscence about IBSSS days, and she would always manage to tell me that I was worthwhile, capable, and some other adjective that would give me a boost. How proud I always was to tell someone, “I just got off the phone with my school principal!”

Dorothy had the amazing talent of being able to relate to the changing phases of my life. When I told her of my decision to practice Christian Science a number of years ago, she said, “Oh, yes, I once visited a Christian Scientist, and I remember our reading the Bible lesson daily.” Though I did not get the chance to tell her about my return to Catholicism, I’m sure she would have identified with that decision equally well.

As Dorothy’s health declined, I was heartened to see so many people come to her assistance. I wish now that I’d tried a little harder to offer the encouragement and support which she had given me for so many years. I hope that our visits at ICUB events helped in some small way.

As I listened to Dorothy’s memorial service, a realization came upon me. Many, many people enjoyed a special relationship with her. At some level, I have always known this. Yet, in the back of my mind, I believed that I was among a select few. I now realize that I was not among a select few – I was among a group of one. Each of us was special to her in our own way. She brought out the unique gifts in all of us. She made each of us feel special, without offering preferential treatment.

Dorothy, I am grateful for the guidance which you have given me, and know that your spirit will continue to direct me. Rest in peace, friend.


First Quarter 2003 Report

The Vehicle donation program is finally paying off. So far this year we have received three checks covering the months of November 2002, December 2002, and January 2003.

Month Gross Amount Net Amount

Covered (Value of Sales) (Less Expense)

Nov 2002 $12,245.00 $1,989.55

Dec 2002 10,330.00 2,076.69

Jan 2003 9,185.00 1,008.51

Totals $31,790.00 $5,074.75

All expenses are paid for by the Vehicle Processing Group. Expenses include picking up the vehicle, towing it to the refurbishing plant, and all repairs necessary to make the vehicle safe and able to pass state inspections.

They also pay all advertising. They do charge $75.00 per vehicle as a processing fee, and split the profits 50/50.

The good part is we have no financial investment of our funds.


Des Moines Sunday Register, March 2, 2003

Scam artists, grifters and crooks – welcome to Iowa. This is the only state in the country where individual consumers can’t hire private attorneys to file lawsuits under the Consumer Fraud Act.

What does this mean?

It means a man knocks on the door of an elderly, low-income woman and presents himself as a legitimate roofer. He persuades her that she needs a new roof and provides an estimate. She agrees to the work, and the man and his crew proceed to do a terrible job. To make matters worse, maybe the final bill exceeds the estimate by $500 or $1,000.

If the woman lives in any state other than Iowa, she would be able to hire her own lawyer who could file a lawsuit under their state’s version of the Consumer Fraud Act. In fact, 44 states allow attorneys who win these fraud cases to collect their fees through the award, thereby allowing legal recourse to those who can’t afford attorneys.

Not in Iowa.

Her, the woman could file a complaint with the state attorney general’s office of consumer protection. Keep in mind this is an office that receives about 6,000 complaints a year and employs only four attorneys. The resources aren’t there to go after the roofer.

So she might try to scrape together the money to hire an attorney who would then have to prove what’s called “common-law fraud,” a much more difficult case to prove. Under common-law fraud ther is no provision to recoup attorney fees.

Since Iowa has no “private right of action” for victims of fraud, her recourse is limited. The Consumer Fraud Act, which is meant to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices, ends up protecting con artists from lawsuits.

There are all kinds of scenarios.

A consumer purchases a car, only to find out it previously incurred $12,000 in damages in a wreck. The consumer has been duped. A disabled consumer is approached with a “deal” on the installation of a wheelchair lift or a new shower. The work doesn’t get done.

Sorry. This is Iowa, where recourse is limited. Just add the complaint to the thousands being collected by those few lawyers in the state office.

There are some special provisions in the law allowing for a private right of action when there is fraud involved in situations such as identity theft or buying fine art. But the protection falls short in the areas where low-income consumers really need it, such as auto sales and repairs, predatory lending, home improvements, and bogus travel packages. In addition, new scams pop up all the time that aren’t afforded the private right of action remedy.

So what is being done to give Iowans legal recourse in all cases of fraud and theft?

The Iowa attorney general’s office is advocating legislation to remedy this shortfall in the law. It’s not the first time that office has recommended changes. Two years ago, a proposed bill didn’t get out of committee.

Bill Brauch, head of the attorney general’s consumer protection division, said his office will keep trying until Iowans have the same legal rights and protections as consumers everywhere else. He said changing the law is particularly important in Iowa, with many senior citizens who tend to be more vulnerable to scams.

Business owners should support the legislation because they lose customers to the bad guys who engage in bait-and-switch tactics. Brauch said the bill is “good for free enterprise, which depends on accurate representation in the marketplace. We want the marketplace to work fairly.”

Fair. What a concept. Lawmakers should consider this no-brainer legislation.

A bill to give Iowans a private right of action is in a legislative committee. It needs to be passed through the Legislature and signed by the governor.

It’s long overdue. Iowa should be embarrassed to be the only state in the country denying its people personal recourse under consumer fraud laws when they’re scammed.


Letters to the Editor – 3-28-03 from Mike Hoenig, Davenport

Regarding election-reform legislation currently before the Iowa General Assembly:

In late 2002, President Bush signed into law the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). This sweeping election-reform legislation includes many provisions that will make voting easier for the general public while enhancing the authenticity of the election process.

Key provisions include the creation of one statewide, uniform voter-registration system, increased availability of training for poll workers and voters, and the establishment of voting systems that will immediately notify a voter that s/he has incorrectly marked a ballot and provide an opportunity to recast it.

HAVA also opens the election process to many individuals with disabilities.

It provides funds for precincts to purchase voting equipment and make structural modifications that will permit private, accessible voting.

Iowa is eligible for more than $30 million in federal funds to implement HAVA over the next three years. To access these dollars, the state must appropriate a match totaling $1.5 million.

All states must comply with this legislation, with or without federal fiscal support.

Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver’s office introduced legislation to implement and fund HAVA.

A Republican-sponsored bill has been passed by the House and by the Senate State Government Committee. This bill appropriates no money to match federal dollars for HAVA implementation, removes election administration from the secretary of state’s office, and actually restricts some voting provisions.

As a Republican, I’m ashamed at the party’s lack of fiscal responsibility and placement of political interest above the interest of ensuring all Iowa citizens have the opportunity to cast a confidential vote.

The Legislature should appropriate the necessary match for HAVA implementation and remove the negative provisions.


Blind Activist’s Name Appears in Braile – by Brian Faler – Special to The Washington Post Monday, March 24, 2003

Helen Keller, the activist, writer and lecturer left blind and deaf by childhood illness, graces the side of a new “Alabama” quarter – her image stamped alongside her name written in Braille – issued by the U.S. Mint last week.

It is the first coin in circulation to feature Braille. But while the lettering is raised, it is probably too small for anyone to read, said Becky Bailey, a spokeswoman for the Mint.

“It’s more symbolic – in a way to honor Helen Keller,” Bailey said of the Braille.

The coin, one in a series of state-themed quarters the Mint has issued, features Keller sitting in a chair, reading a book by touch, between shafts of long-leaf pine and magnolia flowers. Beneath her, a banner reads, “Spirit of Courage.”

Keller was born in Tuscumbia, a small town in northwestern Alabama. An illness robbed her of her sight and hearing when she was a toddler. Keller nevertheless learned to read and graduated from Radcliffe College. She went in to become a well-known activist for the disabled, a writer who associated with Mark Twain, and an inspiration to thousands who marveled at her achievements. The story of Keller as a wild child unable to communicate but eventually reached and taught by Anne Sullivan became widely known through “The Miracle Worker” production on television, stage, and film.

The coin is the 22nd state quarter the Mint has issued since it began the series in 1999 The design won out over thousands of proposals submitted to a contest sponsored by the Alabama’s former governor Don Siegelman (D). The Mind issued the coin last week, offering it for sale on its Web site and formally launching the coin today. But Bailey said several more weeks of circulation likely will be needed before area residents can begin to find the coin in their pockets.


In Loving Memory – 1925 - 2002

Lorna Ruth Powers, age 77, of Parkersburg, Iowa, was born the daughter of Joseph and Helen (Kale) Brake on May 8, 1925, in Dubuque, Iowa. She graduated high school and continued on year of Business College.

On January 14, 1950, Lorna Brake was united in marriage with John L. Powers in Waterloo, Iowa. They made their home in Waterloo for 25 years and in 1975 they moved to an acreage west of Parkersburg. She had worked at Manpower, Rath Packing Co., and also was a church secretary for a few local churches.

Lorna was a member of the Church of Christ in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and was a member of the Iowa Council for the Blind. She enjoyed writing short stories and reading books to John.

Lorna died Friday, November 15, 2002, at the Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa, of natural causes. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Lorna is survived by her husband, John L. Powers of Parkersburg, Iowa; one son, John Powers and his wife, Deb of Yellville, Arkansas; one daughter, Lolynn Menuey and her husband, Tom of Evansdale, Iowa; four grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.


By Shirley Wiggins

Our Chapter has had only one meeting since my last report. Our topics were the coming convention, and our August 23rd picnic. We have door prizes for the convention, and I am working on the Memorial service. The picnic will be held at the same place, Shawnee Park, same hours 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. I’ll remind you again in the July Bulletin.

The support group doesn’t take winter breaks. Due to health problems, we were down a little, but we were back up in full force at our last meeting. Our last meeting was very interesting and uplifting. I had asked for volunteers to come forward and tell us a little about the things they do. I had an excellent response. There were seven reports, with people ranging from 49 to 84, and all volunteer for more than one thing. Every job is a very worthwhile job, also.

We had reports that Jonathan Ice had lost his brother, and Jack Reisinger passed away. Our sympathy goes out to Jonathan and DeLores.

See you at Convention!


By Dee Clayton

We have been doing a variety of things since the last Bulletin.

We had a fundraiser connected with Younkers Appreciation Day in March. Members sold tickets for $5 each and we kept all the money. We also had members work the day of appreciation and split ticket sales with other organizations that worked that day. We were at Valley West Mall’s Younkers store and hope to be doing this again this winter.

In February we had a chili cookoff for our members. We had five entrants: Stuart Best, Viki Whitaker, Anna Gillson, Donna Seliger, and Vivian Ver Huel. The winner receives a free night at the motel during the convention from our Chapter. Stuart Best was the winner. The judges were: Jim Witte, Allen Harris, Cynthia Cip Qloud, and Rob Davis. Bingo was played afterwards, and everyone had a good time.