Spring 2012 Bulletin



Published by


Web Site: www.acb.org/iowa

Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Robert Spangler, President

1505 West Fourth Street

Vinton, IA 52349

(319) 472-4843

E-MAIL: Ka0wjz@q.com

Mike Hoenig, Editor

3119 Spring St.

Davenport, IA 52807


E-Mail: mhoenig@q.com

Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary

4013 - 30th St.

Des Moines, IA 50310

(515) 279-4284 – home

(515) 710-7875 – cell

E-Mail: slayton4284@msn.com

Stephanie Hunolt, Treasurer

1505 West Fourth Street

Vinton, IA 52349

(660) 216-4369 – cell

E-Mail: Msmouse74@sbcglobal.net


Robert Spangler, President - Vinton, (319) 472-4843

Donna Seliger, Immediate Past President - Des Moines,

(515) 284-0505

Creig Slayton, First Vice President – Des Moines, (515) 279-4284

Mike Hoenig, Second Vice-President - Davenport, (563) 344-8787

Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary - Des Moines, (515) 279-4284

Stephanie Hunolt, Treasurer – Vinton, (660) 665-2404

Joyce Davis, Director - Fort Dodge, (515) 955-1634

Ruth Hamdorf, Director - Marion, (319) 373-8608

Elsie Monthei, Director –Des Moines, (515) 277-0442

Gary Patterson, Director –Des Moines, (515) 278-2686

Frank Strong, Director –Des Moines, (515) 285-7254

Rose Stratton, Director - Maquoketa, (563) 652-2546

Dove Tanner, Director – Cedar Rapids, (319) 364-7128

Shirley Wiggins, Director - Cedar Rapids, (319) 550-6096


Anyone who cannot read this print bulletin, finds it difficult to have it read or wishes an e-mail or cassette may receive a copy at no charge. Please contact Jo Slayton at (515) 279-4284 to request an alternative format. Cassette readers are always invited to keep their copy of the Bulletin. However, if you would like to return cassettes when you are finished with them, please place in a NEW standard mailing envelope, write “Free Matter for the Blind” in the upper right hand corner, and return to the editor using the address on the front of this Bulletin. Also, please remember to contact the editor if your address changes. The Post Office rarely provides us with a new address when someone moves. We want to make sure that anyone who wants to receive a Bulletin gets one!


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, Iowa 50310.


Are you trying to decide how to dispose of a used vehicle? ICUB's Used Vehicle Donation Program offers the perfect solution. Your vehicle will be picked up from your home and sold at auction, with a portion of the proceeds going directly to ICUB. You claim a tax deduction equal to the dollar value of the vehicle. To donate or to learn more, call 800-899-4925.


Editor's Line

A Letter to Louis Braille

Prison Inmates Create Braille Materials for

Students across California

South African Chain Reaches Out to Visually

Impaired with "Braille Burgers"

Blind Beatitudes

CDC Report Finds Large Decline In Lower-Limb

Amputations Among U.S. Adults With Diagnosed Diabetes

Braille Sudoku Now Available

Churches Reach Out To Blind

At Perkins, Applause For Stamps Honoring Service Dogs

Branstad, Reynolds Urge Preparation, Launch Website

reminding Iowans of "N11" codes in advance of storm season

In Memoriam

H. Robert (Bobby) Palmer

Dubuque Association Of The Blind Update

Recipe Corner


By Mike Hoenig

As I write this, the Cardinal baseball game is playing in the background-a sure sign of spring. Another important sign of spring is the ICUB State Conference and Convention to be held May 18-20 at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, 4800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines.

This will be a very special convention, as ICUB will be celebrating its 25th birthday! Several events are planned to celebrate this milestone. Robert Spangler and Mike Hoenig are preparing questions with a 1987 theme for Friday night's Trivia Challenge. You'll be able to enjoy a piece of birthday cake at Hospitality, which will immediately follow Friday night's opening session. Throughout convention, veteran ICUB members will share memories of how ICB came into existence and reflect upon our many accomplishments. I'm personally looking forward to Shirley talking about those first meetings and Rose talking about her days as editor of "The Trumpet's Voice." Remember that great newsletter? Twenty-fifth anniversary mugs will be used as nut cups for the banquet and will be available for sale throughout convention. Come prepared to share your ICUB memories.

Carla Ruschival, ACB Treasurer and a long-time advocate in the blindness field, will be our ACB rep this year. You'll enjoy Carla's passion, outgoing nature, humor, and commitment to quality services for blind people. You'll want to ask her about the work which she and her husband, Adam, have done to preserve Kentucky's residential school for the blind.

Saturday is chock full of presentations, and you'll again have time to peruse the exhibits. Elections are especially important this year, as they will include all officer positions, four board seats, and delegate and alternate to the ACB Convention. We hope to introduce the Iowa Department for the Blind's new director during the IDB annual update. Back by popular demand, our program will include a session called "These are a Few of Our Favorite Things." Come with your favorite gadgets, tips, tricks, and websites in mind to share!

The planning committee has done another outstanding job with food selections. For lunch, you'll be able to choose from a club or veggie sandwich and soup. Our dinner choices are whiskey sirloin with twice-baked potato or pasta primavera.

It seems that our attendance is often low on Sunday morning, and that's a real shame. Shirley does an excellent job of honoring those who have passed since our last convention. Plus, it's the one time during the year when members from across the state can come together to discuss the business of the organization. Please make a commitment to hang in there and attend Sunday's events.

You should have received, or soon be receiving, your pre-registration form. In order to take advantage of the $5 pre-registration discount and ensure your luncheon and banquet ticket, you MUST return it by May 4. You may also make room reservations by calling the Holiday Inn at 515-278-4755 or 800-465-4329. Be sure to mention ICUB in order to receive the convention rate of $79 per night plus tax for a standard room.

Creig Slayton will again chair the Resolutions Committee. He asks that you send your resolutions to him at least two weeks prior to Convention at slayton4284@msn.com. This will facilitate the committee being able to complete its work in a timely manner.

I wish to publicly congratulate Karen Keninger on her appointment to the position of Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. It was gratifying to see the turn-out for Karen's farewell reception. The process for selecting the new director has been intense, educational, and constructive.

I wish you all a good Spring, and look forward to seeing you in Des Moines!


By Ketan Kothari

(Retrieved from the ACB Listserv, January 4, 2012.)

(Editor's Note: Ketan Kothari lives in India.)

Dear Uncle Louis,

I am happy to celebrate the 203rd anniversary of your birth and would like to gratefully acknowledge your contribution in my life. In fact, it is only due to you that I am what I am today. You probably could not have imagined at the time when you created a totally new script the monumental development that it was. But let me assure you that you are God for most of us especially in places where people are not living in palaces and owning large properties. Your script is the greatest gift that has been bestowed upon us.

In these days of so-called modernization, it has become fashionable to look down upon your invention as either out of date or even worse, archaic but those that talk that way do not realize what mistakes they are committing. In fact, it is only through your contribution that more and more of us who are deprived of light have been experiencing the divine light and live our lives with a fair amount of success.

I have always believed that even when people will give up your script (hopefully that day will never come) you will still have won as the contribution that you have made in our lives is indelible. Even today when computers and other media have come about, people are still talking of Electronic Braille displays. And yes, there is no alternative for reading and writing and no other technology will equip the poorest of the poor amongst the blind to access the printed word.

Let me thank you for the immeasurable hours of pleasure you have given to fill my solitude with the treasures of the creation of the greatest authors and poets resulting in broadening the vistas of my knowledge. You have filled void in my life on days when I had given up on life and only through reading some of the greatest works of literature I have been inspired to continue.

On another note, in the world filled with parochial conflicts, Uncle Louis, yours is probably the only script that can be written in any language of the world and if it were used by all we would rid the world of the conflicts that have created havoc in our lives.

I am extremely pained to read about the treatment meted out to you in your lifetime but unfortunately the world is a place where mere mortals have always failed to recognize great souls and later worshipped them as Gods.

There has been a fashion to find out alternatives for your script but let me assure you that those of us who have benefitted by your invention will never let this happen. Braille has a place that is very difficult to be taken by anyone, least of all by scripts that are very rudimentary.

Dear Uncle, on this 200th anniversary of yours, let me share with you one secret: the linguistic skills that I possess have all been developed by you and had it not been for you I cannot imagine my status. I am horrified when I hear that these days' children are discouraged from learning "literacy" but as Jesus Christ had said: “God forgive them for they know not what they are doing”. I hope that God will send you back amongst us and save my brethren. People are not even aware of the immense loss that they are suffering.

May God let the better senses prevail. I cannot thank you enough for making me what I am and let me assure you that till the last day of my life I will work for the propagation of your great script and will create awareness amongst all classes of people about its efficacy and utility. May God grant you the highest place in his divine abode and may you come to us one more time to recreate the great atmosphere for the literacy of my brethren.


By Cindy Von Quednow

(Retrieved from the ACB Listserv, January 3, 2012.)

BLYTHE - When Casey Tuley leaves Ironwood State Prison in January after nine years of incarceration, he will be the first of 21 inmates in a training program to walk out as a certified Braille transcriber.

Tuley, 26, works at the Blythe Prison as a contractor for a Camarillo-based production center that specializes in making Braille and electronic books for blind and disabled students in California.

"It seems like everybody is struggling out there and it's really hard, so for me to be able to leave here and actually take away something from all of this - it's huge," said Tuley, serving time for assault with a deadly weapon. "This is the only program I've ever heard of where you can actually get something out of it and use out there."

The Alternate Text Production Center Braille program, considered the cream of the jobs crop at Ironwood, is in a row of bungalows near the main prison yard. Sheltered from the sweltering desert heat, which can reach 120 degrees in the summer, the center resembles a computer lab.

On a recent weekday morning, inmates worked on three rows of computers that displayed an image of the neighboring Colorado River and read "Inmate Access Approved." The work stations had software that allowed inmates to transcribe, format and proofread Braille. They wore uniforms of blue chambray shirts and sweats. Some wore beanies and jean jackets and had tattoos covering their arms.

Through a grant, the production center pays the inmates 55 cents to $1.35 an hour, depending on their level of expertise.

During the five-year program, inmates can eventually be certified by the Library of Congress in literary Braille and learn specialized Braille texts like math and science.

The center, based in Camarillo but run under the auspices of the San Bernardino Community College District, has worked with Ironwood inmates since 2008. The center previously was at Ventura College and overseen by the Ventura County Community College District.

Seven inmates have been certified in literary Braille so far, and 13 Braille and 148 electronic books for the disabled have been produced, according to the prison. Those materials go to community colleges across the state and other institutions nationwide. The center also works with Avenal State Prison in Kings County.

If the inmates are paroled, like Tuley, they can do the work as independent contractors from wherever they live. The center will lend Tuley hardware and software so he can do the work from his planned home in Hemet.

Model inmates must take a test to get into the program. Many said it has helped transform their lives and taught them a trade they can use in a work world that often shuns ex-convicts.

Earl Pride, Ironwood's Braille coordinator, said “The program helps in the rehabilitation process and can mean a job in a rough economy and reduce recidivism. Finishing the tedious program in a prison environment shows tenacity and dedication.”

"The program has been a beacon of light in a storm. It has created hope within an institutional setting," Pride said.


The men in the back row of the bungalow worked on a project: Each was in charge of a section of "The Little, Brown Handbook," a fixture in college English courses. Those in the middle row had finished a Braille lesson plan and were waiting to be certified. Sitting in a circle toward the front of the classroom, near a whiteboard, were inmates going through the Braille curriculum.

Among these imposing tattooed men was a petite woman with glasses who read from "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," an 1841 short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Saralyn Borboa, a Braille instructor based in San Diego who visits the prison twice a month, said a story involving a murder is more likely to keep the inmates focused and intrigued.

She helps inmates understand the nuances of Braille translation and how to convey an author's message without changing the words. On this day, Borboa, a literary specialist with the National Braille Association, discussed how to deal with foreign words that are italicized and what to do if a word cannot be found in the dictionary.

Marlene Nord, a proofreader for the production center, visited the prison for the first time last month. She showed the inmates the newest technology for blind or visually impaired people.

"I think it has made them more aware of how to make things easier to navigate because they were asking a lot of questions related to those things," said Nord, who has been blind since birth. "Everybody was so kind and so welcoming, and I was really glad I came."

Glen Kuck, an administrator for the San Bernardino college district, said he was impressed by the inmates' professionalism and dedication.

"Seeing the level of work, the education, the training and the red tape that they have to commit themselves to get through - that's huge. ... The amount they are able to do is overwhelming," Kuck said.

"It's one thing to produce Braille, but there are stories behind the people who do it as well as the people it goes to. This is an awesome project that really touches everybody."


Timothy Malone, 31, of San Jose, said the program has expanded his knowledge and helped him get away from the typical prison life.

"At first it was just dots to me, but to actually see what goes into it makes every single dot that much more important," said Malone.

His day, like the other inmates', starts at 5 a.m. Breakfast is served at 6 a.m., and the work starts at 7 a.m. The inmates get a lunch break at 10:30 a.m., and the workday usually ends about 2 p.m.

Malone said that sometimes at night, while watching TV, he'll realize he made a mistake on a book. "I can't wait to get to work the next day and change it," he said.

Rolando Rodriguez got the best birthday present he could ask for three days before he turned 36. His 16-year-old daughter, Leslie Denise, called to say she was proud of him.

"She told me something beautiful that really touched my heart. She said, 'Everything that you do encourages me to be better,' " Rodriguez said with a big smile, his voice breaking.

Rodriguez credits his daughter, who was 7 when he was incarcerated for assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer, as the reason he joined the Braille program.

"She is my motivation behind my efforts," he said. "I have to find a way to do good."

He said he sends her $50 every month with the money he earns in the program, which not only helps him regain his life but also helps students across the nation.

"It's the ultimate feeling that you can have: making a difference for someone else," Rodriguez said. "It's amazing to know the feeling that we're taking the taxpayers' income by being here, but we're actually giving back to the community. I feel useful."

Andy Enriquez grew up with the wrong crowd and got into a life of crime at a young age, he said. At 18, while in a gang, he shot and killed a person "without even thinking about it," he said. "That was the worst choice of my life."

Today at 32, he is studying the ministry and trying to steer his younger brother down a different path. He has been in the Braille program for three years and was recently certified in literary Braille.

Aside from learning how to read Braille, Enriquez said, the program has taught him how to organize files, work on deadline and multitask. He hopes one day to produce Braille books for a Christian printing company.

David Rey, 31, hopes to open a drug counseling program for troubled youths and teach them how to translate Braille.

"Having a trade like that and giving them the proper counseling will show them another way, so they don't end up here like us," said Rey, who is in prison for murder. "We took from society and now we're trying to give something back, instead of dropping dead."

When Tuley leaves prison on Jan. 11, he also plans to work as a roofer and get married. He said that after nine years in prison, he never wants to return.

"I'm going to hit the ground running," Tuley said. "I've tried to not let this place change me for the worse and tried to stay as normal as possible."


By Susan Krashinsky