Summer 2009 Bulletin



Published by


Web Site:

Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Robert Spangler, President

1505 W. 4th St.

Vinton, IA 52349

(319) 472-4843


Mike Hoenig, Editor

3119 Spring St.

Davenport, IA 52807



Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary

4013 30th St.

Des Moines, IA 50310

(515) 279-4284 – home

(515) 710-7875 – cell



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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert Nesler, Director – Dubuque, (563) 557-0987

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

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


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 4

Resolutions Passed at the 2009 Iowa Council of the

United Blind State Convention 6

President's Message 8

Iowa Department for the Blind Unveils

"Opportunities for Independence" 9

IRIS Volunteers: Reading Radio 12

In Memoriam

W. R. (Skeet) Powers 13 Beulah (Bea) Mae Maddalozzo 15

Tarecia Ann Hilmer 15

Martin B. Failor 16

Services for Blind Children Move into Homes 17

Chapter Reports

Des Moines Chapter Update 20

Cedar Rapids Chapter Update 22

Dubuque Association of the Blind Update 23

Tell Me Service 24

Free directory Assistance 25

Gardening Tip 25

Editor's Line

By Mike Hoenig

The 22nd annual ICUB State Convention, held May 1-3 at the Holiday Inn in Des Moines, was a big success! On Friday night, Rose Stratton and her trivia buffs were once again crowned trivia champions, but it was a close match. Whether the topic was history, sports, or the music of the 30's and 40's, players were up to the challenge. The mood stayed upbeat as speaker Marlaina Lieberg updated us on ACB's many accomplishments over the past year.

Jo and Creig Slayton got us off to a good start on Saturday with a demonstration of some fun and useful gizmos and gadgets. Thanks to their enthusiasm, my wallet is now a bit lighter as I strolled right out to the exhibit area and purchased a Victor Reader Stream. The exhibit area was quite impressive this year, and I commend the committee for its hard work. Speaking of hard work, we certainly heard examples of it from members of the Iowa Department for the Blind staff in their annual update and from IRIS Director Rob Davis in his luncheon speech. The Department continues to seek solutions for the particularly high unemployment rate among young blind adults, and IRIS continues to keep pace with technological advancements through provision of more and more of its programming through digital and online formats.

Saturday afternoon began with elections. ICUB members elected the following officers: Creig Slayton, First Vice-President; Mike Hoenig, Second Vice-President, and Barb Richmond, Treasurer. Ruth Hamdorf, Elsie Monthei, Gary Patterson, and Rose Stratton were elected to two-year board positions. Robert Spangler was elected to serve as delegate to the ACB convention, with Donna Seliger being elected to serve as alternate. With Mike Hoenig's election to the position of Second Vice-President, Donna also assumed the position of Immediate Past President. Congratulations all. As Nominating Committee Chair, I would like to thank all members for your hard work.

Since this year's convention theme was "Celebrating Braille," it seemed only fitting to invite Braille Challenge participants Annabelle Costanzo and Lauren Thomson to tell us about their experiences at the national competition in Los Angeles. Annabelle and Lauren explained that the Braille Challenge tests skills in reading comprehension, writing speed and accuracy, and spelling. Both girls, who consistently place at the top of their age group in the national competition, told us that they enjoyed swimming in the hotel pool and meeting new friends. Listening to these two young ladies, I'm confident that the future is bright for blind Iowans.

Friends of the Library president Louise Duvall closed the Saturday business session with a rousing presentation. The Friends group has been extremely busy this year raising funds which they've put to very good use for the library. Louise is always up for talking about Friends, and she's willing to travel. If you'd like to schedule a presentation, call Louise at 515-276-0807 or email her at Membership, which includes an informative newsletter and provides an opportunity to support a very worthy cause, costs $20 per year. All memberships, renewals and donations may be sent to: Friends of the Iowa Library, PO Box 93046, Des Moines, IA 50393-3046.

The banquet returned our focus to Braille, as fifth grader Emily Brown was presented with the Marie Hoenig Memorial Perkins Brailler Award. Extremely outgoing and appreciative, Emily won the hearts of many ICUB members. Jo and Creig Slayton, who have worked on behalf of ICUB and the blind of this country for decades, were deserving recipients of the Linda Dietrich Volunteer Award.

Another stellar contributor to our organization, Shirley Wiggins, won the 50-50 raffle. Marlaina Lieberg's address, which encouraged us to reach for our potential, brought a fitting conclusion to an uplifting banquet.

I hope that you will all join me in thanking Shirley Wiggins for once again conducting the Sunday morning Memorial Service. I was unable to attend this year, and feel that I missed an extremely important part of Convention. This year's list of names, lengthier than any of us would have liked, included several of my friends and acquaintances. Shirley, your taking the time to help us remember our departed friends and family during such a busy weekend is much appreciated.

The rest of Sunday morning was taken up with convention business, including the passage of several resolutions reprinted below. This year's $100 door prize went to Stephanie Hunolt. Congratulations, Stephanie.

Plans are already underway for the 2010 state convention. It will be held April 30, May 1 and 2 at the Des Moines Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, 4800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines. ACB President Mitch Pomerantz will be our National Representative, so you won't want to miss it.

Resolutions Passed at the 2009 Iowa Council of the United Blind State Convention

Resolution 2009-01

WHEREAS: Americans depend on their automobiles to transport them to and from work, church, Social events and shopping; and

WHEREAS: The automobile industry is producing the quiet or hybrid car; and

WHEREAS: The quiet cars do not make any discernable noise; and

WHEREAS: The quiet car poses a danger to the blind and visually impaired pedestrians who cross streets at intersections; and

WHEREAS: The general population including elders, children, runners and bicyclists are all at risk from encountering the quiet car; and

WHEREAS: Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced S841, a Bill that is intended to protect pedestrians from injury or death as a result of the technology in quiet cars.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, this third day of May, 2009 at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Des Moines, Iowa the Iowa Council of the United Blind in convention assembled hereby instructs its President and Board of Directors to send a letter to each of Iowa’s Senators urging them to sign on to S 841 as co-sponsors. In addition, a copy of this resolution is to be sent to the ACB Resolutions Committee for its presentation to the convention attendees. This Bill mandates a study of the quiet cars and their impact on the blind and visually impaired population.

Adopted: May 3, 2009


Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary

Resolution 2009-02

WHEREAS: The Holiday Inn and Suites Northwest has hosted ICUB’s 22nd annual convention; and

WHEREAS: The staff has been courteous and helpful; and

WHEREAS: The meeting facilities, sleeping rooms, meals and onsite restaurant have met with approval from the ICUB members.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: This third day of May, 2009 at the Holiday Inn and Suites, Des Moines Iowa the Iowa Council of the United Blind membership instruct its President and Secretary to draft a letter to the hotel with attention to Mr. Troy Thompson thanking the staff for their services during this convention, including a copy of this resolution.

Adopted: May 3, 2009


Barb Richmond, Resolutions Committee Chair

Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary

President's Message

BY Robert Spangler

I am back from the National ACB Convention. Once again, it was a great learning experience. I attended all business sessions with the exception of the Monday session, as a friend gave us passes to Disney World that day. My daughter Stephanie, Stephanie Hunolt and I enjoyed the Disney experience.

There was much discussion concerning the recent closure of the Oregon School for the Blind. ACB is very concerned and has established a taskforce to study this issue. I have been asked to be part of the taskforce. It is clear that no matter what we are told here in Iowa, our school is still in danger. We should be working together to see that all avenues are investigated to prevent its takeover and/or closure.

I also attended the Presidents meetings, where it was made clear that together with the leaders of ACB each affiliate must begin getting more involved in issues concerning the blind and visually impaired. A Midwest leadership seminar is being planned for 2010. This will be a great way for Midwest affiliate leaders to discuss important issues and develop leadership skills.

Issues which will be discussed at the February 2010 President's Meetings include the lack of member involvement, difficulties with recruiting new members, and resistance to change. All affiliates were encouraged to attend.

On July 4, I participated in the first ACB walk/run. The Watermelon 5K was attended by around 30 ACB members and over 3000 from the general public. ACB raised over $24,000 with the event. As an added challenge, I pushed Stephanie Hunolt in a wheelchair but only made it about one and a half to one and three quarters of a mile. The heat and humidity affected many participants. With the help of volunteers assigned to assist ACB members, Stephanie and I made it to the end of the 3.1 mile course in 52 minutes and 52 seconds. The last runner came in at about one hour and fifteen minutes. It was a good thing the run was held early in the morning because if it had been any later, there would have been no way I could have pushed Stephanie that distance. We all had a great time and were proud to be apart of the EVENT.

The annual ACB Auction was held July 8th and took in over $24,000. Although it was supposed to be finished by midnight, it was around one before the last item was sold. I enjoyed this event. I began as a spotter taking bids from about six tables at the beginning of the auction, then "graduated" to being one of three running microphones around the entire room so bidders could be heard. Both bidders and spotters had fun with this event.

Next years convention will be held in Phoenix, Arizona July 10th through the 17th. Room rates will be $89.00 plus tax.


Contact: Marisol Molstre


Iowa Department for the Blind Unveils "Opportunities for Independence"

Department announces expanded outreach, new branding, and a unique tactile, public art exhibit: "Please Touch the Art"

Des Moines, Iowa - July 10, 2009 - Blind and visually impaired Iowans will have new 'opportunities for independence' and all Iowans will be able to get in touch with art in a unique way, according to an announcement made today by Karen Keninger, director of the Iowa Department for the Blind.

According to Keninger, the Department, with offices in Des Moines, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, will expand its field staff - phasing in new counselors and teachers over the next three months to better serve all areas of Iowa.

"About 69,000 Iowans are blind or visually impaired," said Keninger. "Because the incidence of eye diseases increases with age, and Iowa has an aging population, we can expect an increasing number of Iowans to experience blindness or visual impairment. The Department believes Iowans who are blind or visually impaired can live independently and work productively. During this time of economic downturn, we know that blind and visually impaired Iowans are looking for jobs along with everyone else. Our expanded staff will help ensure that Iowans have ready access to the services they need. We are here to serve employees, neighbors, relatives, and friends who are experiencing vision loss."

With an 82% placement rate, Iowa ranks second in the nation in the percentage of blind or visually impaired people who are successfully employed, positively contributing to Iowa's economy. The Department partners with all types of businesses and organizations across the state who understand the capabilities of blind Iowans and who are willing to provide the opportunities for them to succeed on the job. The Department

educates, trains and places qualified applicants with potential

employers. Blind and visually impaired individuals work in all

professions and occupations including physicians, attorneys, teachers, construction, mechanics, nurses, and IT specialists to name a few.

To better reflect the vision and mission of the Iowa Department for the Blind, the re-branding of the Department was unveiled. "The new logo puts a strong emphasis on the small letter 'i' - for individual, for independence, for information, and for Iowa. And the tagline, 'Opportunities for Independence' conveys what we provide and offer Iowans who are blind or visually impaired," according to Keninger. "We believe the new logo and tagline exemplifies the mission of the Iowa Department for the Blind, which is to create opportunities for independence for all blind and visually impaired Iowans."

Also, during the announcement, a unique, public art exhibit by

nationally renowned tactile artist and sculptor Ann Cunningham of Denver, Colorado was unveiled. The 3D art exhibit - seven pieces of mixed media (slate, bronze and wood) - is installed throughout the Department's Des Moines offices. The installation is unique to Iowa, including a tactile interpretation of the famous Grant Wood "American Gothic," as well as a regionalist landscape, along with other elements. The 3D exhibit is open to the public.

"Most art is of the 'don't touch' nature," said Colleen Armstrong, Iowa Arts Council board member. "But this artwork is meant to be touched and interpreted. It represents how the Iowa Department for the Blind gets in touch with the blind and visually impaired, with their families, with employers."

The Iowa Department for the Blind helps educate, train and empower blind and visually impaired Iowans to live independently and work productively.

For more information or to make referrals, visit, <> or call (800)362-2587.

(Editor's Note: I will be happy to share detailed written descriptions of the art, which showcases Iowa's rural scenery, upon request.)

IRIS Volunteers: Reading Radio

By Sunny Layne

CEDAR RAPIDS/CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- Newspapers have existed in various forms for hundreds of years.

While many of us take them for granted, one group of volunteers understands the value of staying informed, bringing the newspaper to those who can't read it.

Volunteers with a group called IRIS are people you should know.

Shirley Wiggins' day consists of many normal tasks.

"We need to decide what we need to have for supper," Wiggins said as she searched through her freezer.

This Cedar Rapids woman just has to go about life a little differently. Wiggins has mastered living without sight, she has been blind her whole life. But there is one daily task where she appreciates help: reading the newspaper.

Seven days a week, 365 days a year, two readers come in to read local papers at locations across Iowa as part of IRIS: "Iowa Radio Reading Information Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped, Incorporated."

Listeners use a special donated radio to pick up the frequency. "I know people who benefit," volunteer Donna Davis said.