Spring 2011 Bulletin

Updated: Aug 4, 2020



Published by


Web Site: www.acb.org/iowa

Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Robert Spangler, President

1505 W. 4th St.

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@gmail.com

Ruth E. Hamdorf, Treasurer

439 Lindale Drive, #218

Marion, IA 52302

(319) 373-8608 – Home

E-Mail: elliewag@q.com


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

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

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

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

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

Stephanie Hunolt, Director – Kirksville, (660) 665-2404

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

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

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

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


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 3

2011 ICUB Resolutions 6

History of Blindness in Iowa 6

Eye-Opening Experience 8

Review of New Logan Braille Coach 10

In Memoriam

Dave Scurr 11

Terry Hayes Sales 12

Priscilla McKinley 13

Ruth Ball 15

George Shearing, "Lullaby of Birdland" 16

Jazz Virtuoso, Dies at 91

BRL Books 20

Long-Time NLS Director Retires 21

Cedar Rapids Chapter Update 22

Dubuque Association of the Blind Update 22

How Do You Spell It 22

Recipe Corner 23


By Mike Hoenig

Spring is in the air! That means it's time to make plans for the 2011 ICUB State Convention.

Dates for this year's convention are May 20, 21 and 22. Our convention home is the Holiday Inn Northwest, 4800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines. Room rates are $79, single through quad. Make your reservation today by calling the Holiday Inn at 515-278-4755. You will need to indicate that you are with ICUB in order to take advantage of this very special rate.

You should have received, or soon be receiving, your convention pre-registration packet. We think you'll be pleased with this year's food choices. Luncheon options include a pulled pork sandwich or a vegetarian Mediterranean wrap, both accompanied by coleslaw and house made potato chips. The pot roast so popular at the 2009 banquet is back, along with a pasta primavera with asiago cheese. I don't know about you, but I'm going to see if they'll let me order both! Full convention registration, including both meals, is $50. Individual luncheon tickets may be purchased for $20, while banquet tickets cost $25. WE HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to pre-register, especially if you plan to join us for meal functions. The hotel requires us to provide a final, guaranteed number of meals on the Wednesday prior to convention. We will likely not be able to honor meal requests after that date.

Registration will begin at 3 PM on Friday. At 7, you'll get the chance to show off your musical knowledge in what's sure to be a fun game of "Name That Tune." You'll want to stay for Friday night's Opening Session, which will feature an ACB update from First Vice-President Kim Charlson. Wind down afterward at Hospitality, hosted again this year by Arlo and Elsie Monthei.

Do you want to learn more about health care reform and understand how it might affect you? Learn how to do low impact exercises and participate in a line dance? Check out the new IRIS digital receiver? Tell fellow conventioneers about your favorite gadget and learn about theirs? Then you won't want to miss Saturday's program. Many of you have told us that you'd like more time to visit the exhibit hall, and we've listened. The program will recess at 11, giving you an hour to explore the hall or just take a break. This year's exhibitors include: Allied Technologies, featuring low vision products such as CCTV's, magnifiers, and computer information access; Low Vision Helpers, another provider of low vision equipment; BRL books, a company which transcribes children's books into braille, and Envision America, offering products which provide access to encoded food, medical and pharmaceutical information. Your tour through the exhibit hall is sure to help you work up an appetite for the delicious luncheon, where you'll have time to visit with friends and meet this year's Brailler Award winner, a kindergartner from Truro. Recognizing that some of you are unable to stay until Sunday, we've asked President Spangler to kick off the afternoon session with a brief ICUB status report. Elections and the balance of Saturday's program will follow.

The no-host social hour will begin at 6, followed by the banquet at 7. This banquet will be a first for ICUB in that it will feature "dueling emcees." Catherine and Jim Witte will no doubt keep us on our toes with their--dare I say it--witticisms. Other banquet highlights will include a keynote by ACB First Vice-President Kim Charlson, presentation of the Linda Dietrich Volunteer Award, and of course those nut cups (let's hope for M&M's this year) ably assembled by Rose Stratton and Jo Slayton.

We will begin Sunday with our traditional memorial service, honoring those who have passed since last convention. Shirley does such a good job of helping us to remember those who have gone before us and to celebrate their lives. Please make it a point to come. Our business meeting will immediately follow. We hope that you will arrange your schedule such that you can stay. This is our one chance during the year to come together as a group to discuss issues of importance and to revitalize ICUB. It is an excellent time for you to volunteer for a committee, or even suggest a new one! Thanks to the Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Des Moines and Cedar Valley chapters, we will once again draw for a $100 door prize as the final order of business. You must be present to win.

On February 12, Gary Patterson, Jo Slayton and I scored tests for the Iowa Braille Challenge. Sixteen students from grades k-8 participated in this year's event. Though we spent most of the day behind the scenes, we delighted in seeing students interacting with their peers. One remarked, "I'm not ready to leave!"

It is always instructive to visit agencies serving the blind and visually impaired in other parts of the country. While on a recent trip to Sarasota, I stopped at their Lighthouse for the Blind. Near the end of my visit, I was given an annual report. When I asked for a Braille copy, the agency's service coordinator said: "We don't have much Braille around here." It made me appreciate all over again Iowa's commitment to "the dots."

We've all experienced times in our lives which require us to make a choice that we would prefer not to make. I am at such a point right now. After a great deal of thought, I have decided that the time has come for me to resign as Bulletin editor. I have taken on some new responsibilities with our local jazz society, and have come to the realization that I need to take some time for my own personal growth. It has truly been an honor to share information of interest and to "talk to you" every three months during my time as editor. I have appreciated the many compliments and words of encouragement, and hope that you will bestow similar praise on our new editor. Be assured that our Board of Directors considers the Bulletin to be an important part of ICUB's work, and will make the naming of the new editor a top priority.

Look forward to seeing you at convention!


By Creig Slayton, Resolutions Committee Chair

The 2011 ICUB Resolutions Committee is ready to receive proposed resolutions. For several years, the committee has tried to develop resolutions prior to the convention. We have found that we can develop better resolutions if we have time to study the situation and do the writing prior to the convention. If you are interested in helping us develop appropriate resolutions, please submit drafts to Creig Slayton using the following address: Creig Slayton, 4013 30th St., Des Moines, IA 50310

Email: slayton4284@msn.com, PHONE: (515) 279-4284.

Please submit drafts or ideas prior to May 1.


Submitted by Shan Sasser, Iowa Department for the Blind

Share Your Story!

The Iowa Department for the Blind is interested in your memories, recollections, or experiences living as a blind person in Iowa. We are interested in hearing about your work life, home life, community activities, and more. Any length and topic is acceptable. All submitted information will be made part of a History of Blindness in Iowa collection.

The purpose of this project is to collect the life stories and experiences of Iowans who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired and to archive this material for current and future research. These accounts will provide authentic, first-person narratives documenting the effects of blindness on the day to day lives of blind, deaf-blind, and visually impaired Iowans, their families and communities. It may also provide insight into the societal changes affecting blind people in terms of employment, education, family, and community life over the past 85 years. Because Iowa was a focal point for a civil rights movement for blind Americans during the 1960s and 1970s, the project will also capture the experiences of individuals involved in this movement and the effects this movement had on the lives of all blind or visually impaired Iowans.

What Should I Share?

Any topic related to your or a family member's blindness that is important to you is welcome. If you need some suggestions, tell us about:

* Your first or most memorable job experience.

* Your educational experience at primary, secondary, post-secondary, or vocational school.

* Your experience at the Orientation Center.

* Methods you have used to access print materials over the years.

* Travels outside of Iowa.

* Your experience with the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

* Your previous or current legislative or advocacy activities.

* Your previous or current community or volunteer activities.

* Assistive technological devices you have adopted over the years.

No story is too ordinary. You do not have to recount a funny, sad, or outrageous story, although those are welcome! Your story is unique and reveals instances of everyday life. Help us construct a full account of life in Iowa for Iowans who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired by contributing to our collection.

How Do I Submit My Story?

You can submit your stories by e-mail or by regular mail in audio, print, or Braille.

Shan.Sasser@blind.state.ia.us or Oral History Project, Attn: Shan Sasser, Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

You can also record a story to a voice mail box at: 877-742-4938. You have five minutes of recording time to tell your story with this method.

With any story you submit, please provide your name and contact information.

Important! All stories submitted to this project will become a part of a History of Blindness collection owned by the Iowa Department for the Blind. By submitting your story, you are acknowledging that your story is a gift, which transfers to the Iowa Department for the Blind all legal title and all literary property rights. You will be granting to the Iowa Department for the Blind an unrestricted license to use your recording, and all the information which it contains, in any manner the Department for the Blind may wish to use it, for as long as the Iowa Department for the Blind wishes to use it.

Sponsors: This project is supported in part by the State Historical Society of Iowa, Historical Resource Development Program and the Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.


(Reprinted from The Sioux City Journal, September 11, 2010.)

Kingsley, Iowa—If your gun goes haywire around Kingsley, the man you see to fix it is legally blind.

Meet Bob Farmer, a 47-year-old who suffers from retinitis Pigmentosa. He can’t drive a car. His peripheral vision is weak, getting weaker.

But he knows his way around a rifle. He hosted a grand opening Saturday for The Shooting Shop, his gunsmith business at 221 Burlington St. Going blind helped him see the light.

“I’ve always had retinitis Pigmentosa, but it wasn’t diagnosed until 2004,” said Farmer. “I always had eye problems, but I didn’t know what. I had trouble with light, night vision and colors, and I always knew someone could sneak up on me pretty easily.”

He was able to see straight ahead clearly, however. He loved to hunt and earned marks for marksmanship during his four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force.

It wasn’t until he went to an eye doctor for a consultation on LASIC surgery that the condition became known. “I was sent to Iowa City and the doctors there discovered I didn’t even fall within the vision guidelines set by the Iowa DOT (Department of Transportation) for a driver’s license,” he said.

He appealed after losing his license and did get it back for a few years. He lost it for good last July when he failed his annual exam.

Farmer also lost his job at a manufacturing facility. That’s when David Lenz of the Iowa Department for the Blind stepped in to offer assistance. Lenz asked Farmer what he wanted to do with his life.

“What can I do?” Farmer responded. “I don’t have any options.”

Farmer remembers Lenz’s response. “He said to me, ‘Like hell you don’t have any options. You can do anything you want.’”

Farmer wanted to be a gunsmith. Dennis Bogenrief, a vocational rehabilitation counselor with Iowa Workforce Development, helped Farmer create a business plan. They sent 5,000 surveys to Siouxland hunters and found the gunsmith profession was under-represented.

Farmer took additional training and can now repair firearms, adjust triggers and firing systems and do all sorts of trouble-shooting. He can also hot-blue a gun when the bluing wears off.

He operates a small retail outlet, featuring hunting and shooting supplies. Farmer has his federal firearms license and can custom-build ammunition.

“I’m very excited about this,” he said. “I never imagined I could do this. It’s a dream come true.”

Gene Shultz, an engraver from Westfield, Iowa, stopped by Friday to check on Farmer at his shop. Schultz, the director of Veterans Affairs for Plymouth County, sounded as excited for Farmer as the business owner himself.

“It’s good he’s not waiting around, just seeing if someone will come help him,” Shultz said. “He’s got a goal and he’s trying to make it happen.”


By Steven Famiglietti

(Reprinted from The Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind,

March 14, 2011.)

A few times in my life I've seen technology that I think is really innovative and wonderful, and at the same time, the people who invent the technology feel passionate about what they have invented.

A few weeks ago someone from Proxtalker came to the NEAT Center in Hartford to demonstrate their new Logan Braille Coach. This device was invented to assist people in learning to read Braille and offers many interesting and unique features. The device is small and light weight, making it very portable. It is rectangle in shape and has a magnetic strip running from left to right horizontally across itself. It comes with small rectangular strips that look like flash cards with each card containing a letter Brailed on the card. When you place the card on the magnetic strip, the device will announce the letter and you can make the device tell you the word contraction for the Braille letter as well. The Braille Coach also allows you to record a spoken message for each card. This is great for sighted teachers who are learning to read Braille and can serve as a great learning tool for both teachers and students as they work together.

Personally, I see this device selling to a wide ranging audience. When I began to learn Braille, I was 27 years old. I had already learned to read print as a child and the idea of reading Braille was

exciting, but I didn't want to put all of the time into learning it to the best of my ability. I was taught by using the textbook with the teacher. I found the books to be boring and it made it difficult to practice while the teacher was gone. I was lucky enough to have a teacher who came up with great ways to keep me motivated, but a device like this would have made the process a lot more interesting and I'm sure I would have done a better job learning to read Braille.

Proxtalker will be exhibiting the Logan Braille Coach at the CSUN convention in San Diego, CA from March 16 to 19, 2011. Here is a link to their website, which contains more information about the device:



Dave Scurr

David John Scurr, 63, of Coralville died at Hernando-Pasco Hospice in Inverness, Florida on Monday, November 29, 2010. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 4 at Lensing Funeral Home, 605 Kirkwood Avenue in Iowa City. Following the memorial service, the family will be receiving friends and celebrating Dave's life at the Kirkwood Room in Iowa City, 515 Kirkwood Avenue (building adjacent to Lensing Funeral Home). A private graveside service will be held at Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington, with full military honors, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Born on July 26, 1947 in Oskaloosa, Iowa, he was the son of Dr. Howard and Catherine (Sutter) Scurr. He