top of page

Spring 2013 Bulletin

ICUB BULLETIN SPRING 2013 Published by IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND Web Site: Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind Frank Strong, Jr., President PO Box 93233 Des Moines, IA  50393 (515) 243-1742, Extension 3 - work (888) 503-2287 – toll-free E-Mail: Mike Hoenig, Editor 3119 Spring St. Davenport, IA 52807 (563) 344-8787 E-Mail: Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary 4013 - 30th St. Des Moines, IA 50310 (515) 279-4284 – home (515) 710-7875 – cell E-Mail: Gary Patterson, Treasurer 6311 Franklin Windsor Heights, IA 50324 (515) 278-2686 - home (515) 991-2613 - cell E-Mail: ICUB OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS Frank Strong, President – Des Moines, (515) 243-1742, Ext. 3 Robert Spangler, Immediate Past President -Vinton, (319) 472-4843 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 Gary Patterson, Treasurer – Des Moines, (515) 278-2686 Joyce Davis, Director - Fort Dodge, (515) 955-1634 Donna Seliger, Director – Des Moines, (515) 284-0505 Elsie Monthei, Director –Des Moines, (515) 277-0442 Arlo Monthei, Director –Des Moines, (515) 277-0442 Norma Boge-Conyers, Director –Des Moines, (515) 288-1938 Rose Stratton, Director - Maquoketa, (563) 652-2546 Stephanie Hunolt, Director – Vinton, (660) 216-4369 Shirley Wiggins, Director - Cedar Rapids, (319) 362-7138 CHANGE OF FORMAT OR RETURNING CASSETTES 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! 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 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. DONATING YOUR VEHICLE TO BENEFIT ICUB 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. LIST OF TOPICS President's Report

Editor's Line ICUB 2013 Conference and Convention Information Membership Challenge Commission Budget Summary Blind Iowans Host Celebration Banquet to Honor Former IDB Employees Group Highlights Ingalls Tie to Braille School Beeping Easter Egg Hunt a Big Success Implant Lets Blind Eyes "See" Braille In Touch with Braille In Memoriam Robert D. Baldridge Julia Ann Scurr Dewayne Clark Raising Independence Byron Harkin Introduces Legislation to Expand Captioning and Improve Access to Movies Chapter News Cedar Rapids Chapter Report Dubuque Chapter Report President's Report The 2013 ACB Legislative Seminar By Frank Strong, Jr. I am very pleased to take this time to provide the members of the Iowa Council of the United Blind with a report describing the activities which took place prior to, during and after the annual American Council of the Blind Legislative seminar. As many of you know, this legislative seminar is conducted annually in Washington, D.C. by the American Council of the Blind. This year we had approximately 150 attendees who participated in the legislative seminar and the State President's Board Meeting. Before I get into the report, I want to share with you what an honor it is to serve as your president and to represent the Iowa Council of the United Blind. I am truly enjoying the opportunity and challenge of serving as president of the Iowa affiliate and it is my intention to do everything within my ability to provide you with the best leadership and representation possible. One additional note is that any member of the state affiliate or general member of the American Council of the Blind is eligible to attend the ACB Legislative Seminar. Please keep this in mind as these legislative seminars are scheduled every year and you as a member of the state affiliate are able and encouraged to participate. You need not be an officer in the organization to take part in this vital advocacy activity. One of the wonderful benefits of belonging to ICUB and ACB is that these annual legislative seminars and other events are available to you. And as I have said many times, I believe that every American should visit Washington, D.C. at least once in their lifetime. I have attended a number of legislative seminars in the past. I attended these seminars when I was a member of the National Rehabilitation Association. The National Rehabilitation Association, along with many other groups and organizations, sponsor legislative' seminars to advocate for better services, funding, and advocacy on behalf of particular issues and needs. This was my first ACB Legislative Seminar and it was a treat for me to visit U.S. House of Representatives members and Senators as well as their staff to advocate for issues of importance to blind people. It was doubly a treat for me to advocate for positions which had nothing whatsoever to do with my salary. Individuals who attend other programs advocating for everything from better highways to more environmental protection and manufacturing are often lobbying increases in salaries for themselves. Although this is hardly illegal or immoral, it certainly is not like advocating on behalf of people who are blind or severely visually impaired. Donna and Bob Seliger, along with my wife Jeanette Strong, joined me to comprise the Iowa delegation. All of us are from Des Moines but we advocated on behalf of all blind and severely visually impaired Iowans. My intention during my visits with the legislators and their staff members was to concentrate on the need for expanded health care, transportation, job opportunities, and education for blind and severely visually impaired Iowans. The process of attending a legislative seminar is quite an interesting one. Prior to visiting Capitol Hill, appointments need to be set with the schedulers of each U.S. House member and each U.S. Senator. These schedulers can be reached at the legislator's local or Washington, D.C. office. This of course requires a good bit of telephone calling and sending e-mail messages but we were able to schedule visits with all of the Iowa delegation members or their staff members.   The staff members we met were individuals who focused specifically on healthcare issues and other issues related to blind and severely visually impaired individuals. My wife and I were originally scheduled to leave the Des Moines airport on Friday morning, February 22, 2013. Due to a snowstorm, our flight was delayed until Saturday evening at approximately 8 p.m. Nonetheless, we were able to arrive in Washington, D.C. late Saturday night, February 23. Donna and Bob Seliger had already arrived and joined us to make plans to attend the training presented by the staff members of the American Council of the Blind. There were also presentations by other experts and disability advocates. The "talking points" presented to those of us in the legislative seminar included information on "quiet cars," descriptive video related to emergency preparedness legislation, accessible United States currency, the United Nations treaty on serving people with disabilities, and funding for education of blind and severely visually impaired K-12 students. Our hotel, the Holiday Inn, was located approximately 10 minutes from National Airport, the airport which serves all domestic flights flying into Washington D.C. International flights fly into Dulles International Airport. We rode from the airport to the hotel in a shuttle provided by the Holiday Inn. The Holiday Inn shuttle was available to provide transportation from the hotel to a nearby Washington, D.C. Metro Subway station. The Metro Subway service is a terrific way to economically and safely travel around the Washington D.C. area. It is quite fast and quite accessible although it does take some learning to figure out how to insert the transit card into the machine which allows you to enter and exit the subway turnstiles.   The amount you pay for a Metro ride is based on how far you travel and when you travel. It is more expensive to travel during the morning or afternoon rush hours. On Monday afternoon as well as all day Tuesday, our ICUB delegation went to Capitol Hill and visited with our Senators and Representatives or their staff members. We were well received by all. The folks in our delegation heard that members of the National Federation of the Blind had visited Capitol Hill in early February. One of the more interesting aspects of the trip to the Hill was that I was asked by at least half of the elected officials and/or their staff members about the minimum wage and how it is applied to people who work in sheltered workshops. In each instance, I replied that I was not speaking on behalf of the Iowa Council of the United Blind but that I was speaking from my own perspective about the fairness of paying sheltered workshop employees less than minimum wage. I responded that I do not feel that it is appropriate to pay workers with disabilities less than minimum wage. I went on to state that many of the executive directors of the sheltered workshops make extremely high incomes while the workers in the sheltered shops work for pennies per hour. I therefore, again speaking for myself, state that I believe that paying less than minimum wage to a person with a disability is wrong and should be abolished. The Iowa Council of the United Blind may wish to discuss the subject of sub minimum wage exemptions for people with disabilities who work in sheltered workshops. This consideration can occur during the Resolutions Committee activities which will take place during the May 2013 convention of the Iowa Council of the United Blind. All of us in the Iowa delegation have now returned to Iowa and are catching up on a number of items and responsibilities here. Again, I appreciate the support I've received from you and other members of the Iowa Council of the United Blind to serve you. Editor's Line By Mike Hoenig A big thank-you to all those who submitted articles for this edition of the Bulletin. I asked for contributions, and you responded! The Bulletin is your publication, and I'm so pleased that you are taking ownership of it! I want to take a moment of personal privilege to thank you for supporting my candidacy to serve a third term on the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Though I was not reappointed, I was deeply rewarded by your many kind words and letters written to the Governor on my behalf. I'll take one more moment of personal privilege to thank my sister, Joyce Patterson, for helping Donna and me format this issue. It's thankless work, and she's done it with the utmost patience and courtesy. Thanks, Sis! See you at Convention! ICUB 2013 Conference and Convention Information By Donna Seliger, Convention Coordinator The Iowa Council of the United Blind will hold its 26th annual conference and convention May 17 – 19, 2013 at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Des Moines. Here is some information we thought you might wish to know before you go. Friday evening will begin with a discussion about traveling at home and abroad as a blind person. The hour will be facilitated by Mike Hoenig. Saturday will be packed with information, reports, technology and the election of four board members as well as the delegate to the American Council of the Blind 52nd annual conference and convention scheduled from July 5 – 12, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. The luncheon on Saturday will consist of a pulled pork sandwich accompanied with a side and beverage for $16.00. The annual banquet is guaranteed to be delicious with a green salad, slow cooked pot roast, potatoes, carrots and gravy. A beverage, roll and butter will also be served at a cost of $24.00. The keynote speaker this year is Eric Bridges, Governmental Affairs Director of the American Council of the Blind. We hope this will entice you to join us for a great weekend. If you wish further details, call Donna Seliger at 515.284.0505. Membership Challenge By Creig and Jo Slayton A year and a half ago, Creig and Jo Slayton challenged members to recruit new members to our organization. Last spring, Robert Spangler won the $200 for bringing in five new members. The membership challenge was renewed at last spring's convention. After checking with the ICUB Treasurer, it was determined that no new members have been submitted as a result of this challenge. It was suggested to Creig and Jo that it might be better to use the $200 to pay for dues of prospective members rather than to continue the challenge. As a result, Creig and Jo are changing the challenge, starting immediately, to assist with the dues of new members. It is necessary if a new member wishes dues assistance that they contact Creig and Jo. This can be done by using the contact information on the front of this Bulletin. Commission Budget Summary By Creig Slayton On September 15, 2012, the three-member Commission for the Blind met and approved a two-year budget for the agency. The budget request was for level funding in the amount of $1,691,815. The Commission authorized an additional request from the Governor of $375,000 for each year of the biennium. Knowledgeable blind persons in the state became concerned that director Sorey was making some changes in how certain services provided by Independent Living Teachers were to be billed. These individuals noted that the $375,000 supplemental request included no funds to make up for the losses to Independent Living created by these changes, thus jeopardizing services to senior blind Iowans. Because of these concerns, several blind persons representing the Iowa Council of the United Blind (ICUB) and the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (NFBI) spoke with Director Sorey. As a result, the Director made a supplemental request to the Governor for an additional $175,000 for Independent Living. The blind community was concerned about the Director’s motives for not including Independent Living in the original request. It seemed that either Mr. Sorey did not have a grasp of the budget request or he had deliberately left Independent Living out. This caused additional concerns from Library users, wondering if the Library would be the next service to be disregarded by the Director. The Director then made a presentation to the Governor and his staff in a public hearing promoting the Commission’s request. Blind persons at this hearing were embarrassed when a Governor’s staffer asked Mr. Sorey for the bottom line on his request. he was not able to give this figure from memory, and after trying unsuccessfully to get his technology to come up with this number, he asked Deputy Director Bruce Snethen to answer the question. On February 7, 2013, Mr. Sorey and Mr. Snethen appeared before the Joint Education Appropriations Committee and made a presentation apparently designed to promote the Governor’s recommendation, which was to give the Department an additional $200,000 for each year of the upcoming biennium, rather than the $550,000 as had been requested by the Commission. On Several occasions, Legislators asked Mr. Sorey how much additional funding the Department needed. Once again, Mr. Sorey appeared to have forgotten the Commission’s bottom line request, and after the third time Mr. Snethen came to his rescue by saying that the Department could benefit by an additional $500,000 to $600,000 added to the level funded budget. During the course of this discussion, Mr. Sorey told the Committee that the Department could get along with the $200,000 recommended by the Governor. On March 14, the House appropriations Committee took up funding for the Department for the Blind. Several Democratic representatives pushed for level funding plus an additional $550,000, which was the Commission’s ultimate request. Representative Dolecheck, managing the bill in the House Committee, reported that the Director of the Department for the Blind had indicated that the Governor’s $200,000 recommendation was adequate. As a result, the Committee, along party lines, voted for the Governor’s recommendation. When the Appropriations Bill was considered on the floor of the House, the Democratic Representatives unanimously supported an amendment to add $350,000 to the Governor’s recommendation. Once again, the Governor’s recommendation passed on a straight party line vote. We are now awaiting Senate action, with blind Iowans writing their state Senators in support of the Commission's $550,000 requested increase. It is a direct result of vigorous action on the part of blind Iowans, including both organizations of the blind, the students in the Orientation Center, and dedicated Department staff that the Commission request is still viable in the Senate. Blind Iowans Host Celebration Banquet to Honor Former IDB Employees By Jo Slayton On March 7, 2013, the Iowa Council of the United Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, along with interested blind Iowans, hosted a Celebration Banquet to honor six Iowa Department for the Blind staff recently experiencing layoffs. The program was very uplifting and positive as many gathered for the event at the Holiday Inn and Suites on Merle Hay in Des Moines. There were 98 reservations with attendees including staff and former staff of the Department, members of both organizations, other blind Iowans and friends, and three staff members experiencing layoffs along with their family members. Catherine and Jim Witte were Emcees for the evening. Six Certificates of Appreciation from blind Iowans were presented by Mike Barber, President of NFBI, and Frank Strong, Jr., President of ICUB to those recently dismissed from the Department. . All attending enjoyed the banquet meal, topped off by decorated sheet cakes saying "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE." Those dismissed staff members present were remembered by fellow staff members and thanked by those attending the banquet with standing ovations. Becky Criswell admonished those attending to remember who we are and that we’re not willing to go back! . Catherine and Jim reminded the group to “keep the faith.” Thanks to many people working together to bring about this successful Celebration Banquet, and allowing people the opportunity to express appreciation and gratitude to those staff members no longer working at the Department. Group Highlights Ingalls Tie to Braille School By Dave Rasdal (Reprinted from the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier, December 8, 2012.) VINTON, Iowa  --- While the future of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School has not been resolved, there's no question the facility has had a profound effect on thousands of students in its 160-year history. Folks in Vinton hope to preserve the historical significance, so they are turning to its most famous alumni, Mary Ingalls, older sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the "Little House on the Prairie." Advocates formed the Mary Ingalls Society with plans to have re-enactors lead tours through the building, hold a pageant next summer, update the third-floor school museum and get the word out about the unique school. "We thought this was a little gem that no one has publicized," says Don Eells, who grew up in Vinton. He and his wife, Gwen, donated $500 as seed money to the organization because Mary Ingalls' name has attracted visitors. "It's a wonderful facility with this wonderful history," Gwen adds. Other folks interested in preserving the school include Nancy Beckman, who is leading the society's formation; Robert Spangler, as former student at the school; Mike Hibbs, a former teacher; and secretary Pat Barr. The school began as the Asylum for the Blind in 1852 when a Keokuk man, blinded in a hunting accident, opened his home to four blind boys. The facility moved to Vinton a decade later when the community donated land and money. Old Main was constructed for $20,000, and dormitory wings were added a decade later. The name changed to the College for the Blind in 1872, and then the Iowa School for the Blind in 1929, and finally Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in 1951. As programs for students become more home- and community-based, the state has considered closing the school. A decision, though, has not yet been made. Mary Ingalls, 16 and two years blind, enrolled in 1881. She graduated in 1889 at age 24 when 177 students lived at the school. She returned to DeSmet, S.D., where she lived with her parents. Mary Ingalls died at 63 in 1928, four years before her sister's first book was published. A copy of Mary's diploma hangs in the main hallway. The original was found among Laura Ingalls Wilder's keepsakes. Ledgers prove Mary was a good student, and a commencement program says she recited a Scottish essay, "Bide a Wee and Dinna Weary." Beeping Easter Egg Hunt a Big Success By Phyllis McGowan Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired sponsored a Beeping Easter Egg hunt at Grant Wood AEA in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, March 16.  Five families attended the morning event.  Blind children were able to participate independently by listening for beepers placed inside eggs provided by Telephone Pioneers. Siblings participated in an egg hunt, games, and arts and crafts activities, while parents enjoyed visiting with one another. Implant Lets Blind Eyes "See" Braille By Makini Brice (Retrieved from Medical Daily, November 23, 2012.) For the first time, blind people could read street signs with a device that translates letters into Braille and beams the results directly onto a person’s eye. The technology is a modification of a previous device, Argus II developed by Second Sight, which has been implanted on 50 patients, many of whom can now see colors, shapes, and movements. The complicated device uses a camera attached to a pair of glasses, a small processor to convert the signal of the camera into electrical stimulation, and a microchip with electrodes attached directly to the person's retina. The technology, used primarily for patients with retinal pigmentosis which causes patients to lose the use of their retina but to still have working neurons, can take up to 10 seconds to convert a single letter and minutes to read a single word, and can only be used with words that are printed in a large font and held up close to a person's face. Street signs, for example, cannot be read. The new technology, a modification of the Argus II, should take just seconds to read words, by contrast. "In this clinical test with a single blind patient, we bypassed the camera that is the usual input for the implant and directly stimulated the retina. Instead of feeling the Braille on the tips of his fingers, the patient could see the patterns we projected and then read individual letters in less than a second with up to 89% accuracy," lead author of the paper Thomas Lauritzen said in a press release. The device attaches 60 electrodes directly to a person's retina in order to stimulate the nerve cells directly. In a trial conducted on a single patient who already used the Argus II device, the person was able to correctly read Braille letters up to 89 percent of the time, and most of the inaccuracy appeared when the participant misread a single letter. The user was able to read one word a second. The patient was able to read eight of ten two-letter words, six of ten three-letter words, and seven of ten four-letter words, according to the Telegraph. Researchers believe that it will be easier to read longer words because misreading a single letter is less confusing for words with more letters. Because fluent Braille readers can read 125 to 200 words per minute, the system is not intended to displace reading Braille traditionally. Instead, it is meant for reading words that do not have Braille translations, like street signs and other words in public places. Makers of the device believe that it can help up to 65,000 people with retinal pigmentosis and similar conditions in Europe and the United States. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroprosthetics. In Touch With Braille By Angela Orlando (Editor's Note: Ms. Orlando received the distinguished Otsuki Award for this entry which she submitted to the 10th Onkyo International Braille Essay Contest.) There was no warning nor time to prepare. I knew nothing of the horrendous disease embedded in my DNA, or what it would do to my body. At the beginning of the month, I was free and happy, enjoying life with my six-month-old son. By the end of that month, the genetic time bomb had exploded. I was left as a mind trapped in a useless body. I struggled to keep my sanity, despite the great losses I suffered. At this lowest point, I was totally blind, completely deaf and paralyzed in my feet, legs and hands. I couldn't walk. I couldn't feel anything. I was unable to take care of myself, much less my baby. The worst part was the lack of access to information. I didn't know what was going on around me or out in the world.  Sports, culture, business, politics and wars continued. As they say, "Life goes on." I knew nothing about it. I existed in a state in which I only knew what people deemed to tell me. Since communication involved printing letters on my face with a fingertip, that was very little. It was too much work for my family to keep me informed. I spent endless hours, days and months trying to entertain myself with my own thoughts. I imagined I was watching my favorite movies, tried to remember the lyrics to old songs and recited books back to myself.  I was so isolated, lonely and miserable. I lost all contact with the outside world and so desperately wanted to get back in touch. After eight long months, I realized my hands were beginning to heal. It took another three months before I regained normal sensitivity in my fingers. I knew at once what I needed to do. I had to learn braille. I was another lost one who fell through the cracks in the vocational rehabilitation system. They claimed I was too disabled and therefore beyond their help. I received no services and had no trainer. If I wanted to learn braille, I would have to do it myself. My husband bought a braille learning book online. I didn't have much support at home, so I was literally teaching myself. I carefully followed the lessons in the book. After I studied each new letter, I worked on practice words and sentences. After one month, I could read uncontracted braille. It was time to move onto the next level.      The training series for contracted braille was longer and harder. There were so many rules and so much to remember. I struggled with short-form words, abbreviations and beginning and ending contractions. I worked every day on reviewing information and learning new skills. After three months, I could read contracted braille, although my pace was quite slow. I've been told it's impossible to learn braille that fast.  Yet, that's exactly what I did. I was so determined to return to the real world. Braille was the only means to do so. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was the first book I read in braille. As I diligently felt the dots, I became so excited. Letters turned into words. Words became sentences. I recognized the story. I was reading! My next step was to find sources to news. I signed up for "Hotline to Deaf-Blind," which sent weekly braille briefings about headline news stories. From the national library, I ordered "The New York Times Weekly" and "Parenting Magazine." Other sources gave me access to "The Reader's Digest" and "Syndicated Columnist Weekly." Hope returned to my life as I read these magazines. I was proud to talk politics with my husband or discuss a story he hadn't heard about. I was back in touch, thanks to those beautiful dots we call braille. Now, 10 years later, I've had some training to refine my braille skills. I read much faster now. That's essential, because there's so much I want to know about. I spend most of my day reading news and books. I could live forever and still never finish everything I want to read.  The purchase of my first Braille Note device provided even more access to information and social networking. I could email my family, join deaf-blind mailing lists and meet new people who faced similar challenges. I began surfing the web for the first time in my life. I had never imagined so much information in one tiny place. There was so much knowledge to be had, and it was all at my fingertips. I now have a Deaf-Blind Communicatory. This machine allows me to talk with people who do not know sign language. They type on my cell phone, and I read the message on my Braille Note. The device also gave me access to a TTY. I'm finally able to make phone calls by myself. My son and I celebrated the night I first ordered a pizza for our dinner. Once again, I owe it to braille.I'm connected to people through text messages, Instant Messages and Facebook. It is amazing what technology can offer these days. I love reading on a refreshable braille display. The dots are like magic. At a push of a button, they change to say something new. The possibilities are endless.    I'm still deaf-blind and physically impaired. However, I'm no longer a prisoner in my own body. It was braille that allowed me to escape. Now I'm a student, a writer, a leader and friend. My online nick-name is "Dot." I'm an actual part of society again. This never would have happened without braille. I've been asked, "What does braille do to enhance your life?" My answer is simple.  "Everything." Braille keeps me in touch. In Memoriam Robert D. Baldridge, Jr. Vinton—Robert D. Baldridge Jr. (Brother Isadore O.S.B./obl), 86, died peacefully at his home on Sunday, December 16, 2012 surrounded by his family. Visitation will be at Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home from 4-6 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012 with a Rosary service at 6 pm. There will be a Latin Requiem Mass at 10 am Wednesday, December 19 at the funeral home with the Most Rev. & Lord Abbot Ryan St. Anne, OSB celebrating. Burial follows at Maplewood Cemetery with full military rites by the George G. Luckey American Legion Post # 57 and the Iowa Military Honors Guard. Robert Donald Baldridge Jr. was born July 23, 1926 at Marshalltown, Iowa, the only child of Robert D. and Helen Fiala Baldridge. Following graduation from Vinton High School in 1944, he joined the Army Air Corps, serving in the Pacific Theater. After he returned home, he attended Iowa State University for one year. On January 21, 1950 he married Patricia Conway at St. Matthews Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids. The couple farmed near Vinton and Bob retired in 1991. He was a longtime member of George G. Luckey American Legion Post in Vinton. Bob is survived by his wife of 62 years, Patricia, Vinton; his children, Christina (William) Sweigard, Kathleen (Larry) Thiher, Karen Keninger, Mary Lund, James (Lisa) Baldridge, Teresa (Duane) Haifley, and Joseph(Tammy) Baldridge; thirty grandchildren and thirty great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, two grandchildren and one great grandchild. Julia Ann Scurr Julia Ann Scurr, 55, of Coralville died in her home on Monday, December 17, 2012. Her family will greet friends Saturday from 9:30 to 11:00 am at New Horizons Methodist Church, 2251 First Avenue in Coralville. A memorial service will begin at 11:00 am – with Pastor Carol Sundberg officiating. Private burial will be in the Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington, Iowa. Instead of flowers, Julia requested that memorials be directed to the Iowa Department for the Blind. Born on September 18, 1957 in Macomb, Illinois, she was the daughter of Jerome and Bonnie (McClain) Patterson. She married David Scurr on December 8, 1984. Julie graduated from Linn Mar High School in Marion, Iowa in 1975, received a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation at Western Kentucky University and received two Master’s Degrees from the University of Iowa. She was devoted to helping others throughout her life and was an inspiration to anyone who met her. Julie received numerous awards for her service to the community including the Governor’s Award from the Iowa Commission for Persons with Disabilities and the Distinguished Services Award for her 2002 to 2007 service as a Commission for the Blind Board Member. She was also key in the establishment of a hospice program for the Iowa Department of Corrections at Oakdale. Julie was preceded in death by her husband Dave. She is survived by her mother, Bonnie, and father, Jerome, of Hernando, FL; one brother Paul Patterson (Janet) of Zephyr Hills, FL; two sisters, Catherine Patterson of Merriam, KS, and Deanna Humphrey (Jeff) of Romeo, MI; her step-daughters Shannon Oetken (Matt) of Middletown and Samantha Cohen (Adam) of Memphis, TN, several nieces and nephews, 7 grandchildren, and two adopted Pugs. Dewayne Clarke (Editor's Note: Dewayne's widow, Mary, was a long-time instructor at the Iowa Department for the Blind's Orientation Center.) DeWayne Eugene Clarke, 62, of Ankeny, Iowa, died Thursday, December 27th. A visitation will be held 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at Prairie Ridge Church in Ankeny, Funeral services will then be held the same day at 1:00 p.m., with a luncheon to follow. DeWayne was born in Sioux Falls, SD, was a graduate of Hawarden High School, and earned an accounting degree from C.E. School of Commerce in Omaha. At age 17, he was gravely injured, but was never a man to allow his injuries to determine his life. He and his wife, Mary, overcame many obstacles. He retired from the State of Iowa and has since been self-employed as a property owner and landlord. DeWayne loved his family and was a man of deep faith. In addition to enjoying teaching the Bible, he enjoyed math, games or puzzles, and teasing his grandchildren. His spirit will be greatly missed. He will be missed by his wife Mary, his brother John of Davenport, IA, his sister Linda (Don) Jasper of Omaha, NE, his son Adam (Courtney) of Waukee, IA, his daughter Jessica (Joseph) Hanson of Hutto, TX, and four grandchildren; Chloe, Emmett, Teagan and Porter. He was preceded in death by his mother, Alida Koedam Clarke. Raising Independence By Mike Hoenig (Editor's Note: For some time, my friend Betty has regaled me with puppy-raising tales from her son and daughter-in-law.  I decided it was time to get a first-hand account from these two terrific people, and share what I learned with you.  Enjoy!) Jeff and Suzanne Breaw of suburban Los Angeles have been raising puppies for Guide Dogs of America (GDA) since 1995.  They recently welcomed Puppy Number 13 into their home. "Suzanne's father bought her a yellow lab for her birthday," remembers Jeff.  "We wanted to find a second dog so our new pet would have company.  One day, Suzanne saw a lady with a puppy in the grocery store.  The puppy was wearing a yellow jacket with the GDA logo on it and black lettering which read "Puppy in Training. "Upon learning of the puppy program, Suzanne called the school to let them know our interest to volunteer puppy raise.  They scheduled a phone interview with us, then visited our home to assess its suitability for raising puppies.  We were accepted, then sat back and waited for our first puppy." A puppy usually arrives at the Breaw home at eight weeks old, and is returned to the school when between 15 and 18 months.  "Our job is to teach the puppies obedience and to socialize them," says Jeff.  "We want to give the dogs as many experiences as we can to accustom them to sights, sounds and surface textures.  We take them to the grocery store, movie theater, beach, and even Disneyland. Rayne, our most recent puppy, went on the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride. We also attempt to give them the experience of riding different modes of transportation – buses, trains and commercial aircraft." Once they return to school, young dogs receive harness training and are then matched with a potential blind handler.  "We’ve heard numerous guide dog recipients say that GDA does an excellent job of matching dogs with the personality traits and physical capabilities of their handler," notes Jeff. Graduation day is a big deal at GDA, and the Breaws are usually in attendance.  Jeff explains: "Typically 10 three-member teams consisting of puppy-raiser, new handler, and dog file on stage for the formality.  It can be quite emotional for everyone, as both puppy raiser and dog recipient are given the opportunity to say a few words regarding the experience of raising and receiving the dog." Once the new handler goes home with the dog, it's up to him or her whether to stay in contact with the puppy raiser. “It’s only right that we respect peoples privacy. Suzanne and I developed a special friendship with one handler," Jeff tells me.  "After eight years working with her guide dog Shiloh, Pam retired him and asked if we would take him back.  She wanted the dog to be able to enjoy the rest of his years ‘as a dog.’ Of course we said yes.  Shiloh remembers us and has settled nicely in the home he remembers as a pup." Jeff admires the knowledge and expertise of the GDA trainers.  He explains: "They can recognize early on when a dog is not well-suited to be a guide. These dogs are ‘career changed’ and sometimes go on to become useful for other services such as search and rescue, arson, or canine support for people with other disabilities.” Early on in their puppy-raising careers, the owner of an antique shop told Suzanne that she couldn't bring the dog in "because no blind person would ever come in here!" Puppy raisers recognize that educating the public is an important part of their work.  In most states, including California, businesses are not required by law to allow puppies in training to enter, so if a business were to deny access, Jeff and Suzanne take the time to explain the importance of socializing the puppy for its future career as a guide dog. Thanks to the thousands of hours contributed by the Breaws and others like them, attitudes about service dogs have come a long way. Byron I gave my puppy up today with unwanted tears of sorrow. There is a job that he must learn, We won't play ball tomorrow. I knew this day would have to come While he was yet a pup. And though I know his useful need, It's hard to give him up. I must keep thinking every day What he will soon become, The eyes of one who cannot see, A partnership begun. Byron isn't just a dog, you see, He's meant to be a guide. To walk with one who needs him more, Now I must step aside. Written by Jacque Butler, GDA puppy raiser, in honor of Byron, a German Shepherd guide dog. Guide Dogs of America, Sylmar, CA For Immediate Release Harkin Introduces Legislation to Expand Captioning and Improve Access to Movies March 13, 2013 Contact: Harkin Press Office, (202) 224-3254 WASHINGTON—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senate sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP),today introduced two bills that will expand access to captioning and image narration in movie theaters and airplanes. “More than two decades have passed since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and in that time we have seen a transformation of our physical landscape—from curb cuts to wheelchair ramps, buses with lifts to automatic doors—our communities are more accessible than ever for our neighbors with disabilities," Harkin said. "However, we still have more to do. These bills will allow Americans with visual or hearing impairments to enjoy going to the movies and watching in-flight entertainment, through captioning and video description, just as they can at home.” The Captioning and Image Narration to Enhance Movie Accessibility (CINEMA) Act would amend Title III of the ADA to require movie theater complexes of two or more theaters to make captioning and video description available for all films at all showings. Video description is a process that allows an individual who is blind or visually impaired to have access to the key visual elements of the programming by contemporaneous audio narrated descriptions of the actions, settings, facial expressions, costumes, and scene changes during the natural pauses in the audio portion of the programming, usually through headphones. The Air Carrier Access Amendments Act would amend the Air Carriers Access Act to require that air carriers make captioning and video description available for visually-displayed entertainment programming—live televised events, recorded programming, and motion pictures—that is available in-flight for passengers. In instances where the programming is only available through the use of an individual touchscreen or other contact-sensitive controls, the bill would authorize the U.S. Access Board to promulgate accessibility standards so that individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or visually impaired, can operate the displays independently. Chapter News Cedar Rapids Chapter Report By Shirley Wiggins Hello all. Our last meeting was held February 21. There were six of us present. After the minutes and treasurer's report were read, Eldred and Shirley read the ICUB constitution. Thanks  to Jo Slaton and Tom and Cindy Nutt, I was able to get a Braille copy and three copies in large print. After all we went through to read the thing to our members I truly doubt that anyone knew what we read to them with the exception of Ruth Failor, Eldred Gerhold, Dove Tanner, and Shirley Wiggins. Isn't that a shame? We discussed the future of our chapter and so far have come up with no answers. The only certainty is the August picnic at Shawnee. It is all set for August 24, 11:00. So, cook up all our favorites because as always, we are looking forward to seeing our long time friends and enjoying the food and time together. The support group is doing well, and we have 2 new members. Randy Landgrebe, Director of the Iowa Library for the Blind, was with us in February and brought us useful news. In April, a meteorologist from KCRG Radio and TV in Cedar Rapids will be our guest. He shall speak on what best we can do as people with disabilities if caught in a terrible weather situation alone and perhaps lost. We believe he should be interesting and have something worthwhile to say. There is sad news. Lucille  Dunlavy's brother, Arthur Dunlavy, passed away February 19th. We didn't know him, but we know our Lucille and our sympathies are with her. Sue Kluth passed away February 20th. Sue was Rose's sister. Some of us were acquainted with her and she will be missed. Gloria Alverson also lost her sister, Mardell Deen. Our sympathies go out to all of you. That is all from me for this time. Have a nice spring and happy Easter. Dubuque Association of the Blind Report By Bob Nesler We had the Christmas get together for our members At the Point Restaurant in Dubuque with 15 attending. Inez Schultz, a long time member and former secretary for so many years, now has macular degeneration. She can no longer drive and has relocated to an assisted living facility called the Rose in Dubuque, which she likes very much. She and her son Marty plan to continue with us. We are still meeting at the Tri-State Independent Blind and are struggling to stay afloat with dwindling members and limited funds. After our winter recess, we plan to begin again in March.

Recent Posts

See All


ICUB BULLETIN Winter 2022 Published by the IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND An American Council of the Blind Affiliate Website: Facebook: › Pages › Businesses


ICUB BULLETIN Fall 2022 Published by the IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND An American Council of the Blind Affiliate Website: Facebook:


ICUB BULLETIN Summer 2022 Published by the IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND An American Council of the Blind Affiliate Website: Facebook:


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page