IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND
Web Site: www.acb.org/iowa
Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
Robert Spangler, President
1505 W. 4th St.
Vinton, IA 52349
Mike Hoenig, Acting 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
Stephanie Hunolt, Treasurer
1016 Millwood Dr. APT D.
Kirksville, MO 63501
(660) 665-2404 – home
(660) 216-4369 – cell
ICUB OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
Robert Spangler, President - Vinton, (319) 472-4843
Donna Seliger, Immediate Past President - Des Moines,
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 – Kirksville, (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
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
Braille School Residential Program Ends After 150 Years
Braille School Moves to Rebuild
The Friends of the Library Fall Fundraiser
Marshall Forest Braille Trail
And The Winner Is ...
Florence (Dickinson) Hatch
Cedar Rapids Chapter Report
Can You Spell It?
By Mike Hoenig, Acting Editor
Your eyes (or ears) are not deceiving you! I'm back as Bulletin Editor for one more issue.
We discussed the Bulletin at length during our annual ICUB business meeting at convention. All agreed that it is a very important part of ICUB's work. Some of you keep your memberships current because of the Bulletin. We have a long history in ICUB of keeping our members informed through this publication, and I do not want to see it die. Hence, my motivation to edit the summer issue.
As I stated in the spring issue and on the convention floor, I cannot continue in this role. This truly will be my final issue. If you or someone you know would like to take on this task, I urge you to contact me or President Spangler.
Our convention planning committee changed up the agenda this year and it really paid off. Jo Slayton's hours of prep time were rewarded by enthusiastic participation in Friday night's "Name That Tune." The exhibit hall became "the place to be" on Saturday morning, thanks to Frank Strong's hard work and the decision to schedule no presentations between 11 and noon. ACB First Vice-President Kim Charlson added a special touch to the Brailler Award presentation, recounting the history of the Perkins Brailler's invention to our six-year-old winner and an attentive ICUB luncheon audience. Roger Chapman challenged us to leave our comfort zones by learning a line dance. A few of us accepted his challenge and were grateful for the chance to get the adrenalin pumping. Jo and Creig Slayton helped us wind down, facilitating a discussion of "My Favorite Gadget." Everyone's favorite seemed to be Gary Patterson's brownie pan, a mold which separates the dough and eliminates the need for cutting!
This is not the happiest of Bulletins which I've had the privilege to produce. The "In Memoriam" column continues, unfortunately, to grow. I knew all but one person listed in this edition quite well.
A big thank-you to Shirley Wiggins, Rose Stratton, and Jo Slayton for contributing material to this issue of the Bulletin. It's your magazine, and your contributions greatly enrich its pages. I hope to see many of you listed as authors, contributors, and yes, even editors, in future issues.
Braille School Residential Program Ends After 150 Years
By Diane Heldt
(Reprinted from The Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 27, 2011.)
VINTON — The few students who lived at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School this year emptied their dorm rooms Wednesday as the 150-year-old school marked the end of the year for the last time.
The stately campus will continue to be the administrative home for the statewide system that serves Iowa’s blind and visually impaired students, and occasional short-term and summer residential programs and camps will be held there.
But the traditional residential program, in which students lived on campus during the school year for academic instruction, life-skills training and social activities came to an end this year, closing an historic chapter.
“It’s very, very sad, really,” said Kasey Domer, 18, who lived at the school this year for the fifth-year program, which teaches students life skills to make the transition after high school.
In the program, Domer, a 2010 Independence High graduate with a visual impairment, learned to cook, clean, do laundry and dishes and change broken light bulbs. He will attend AIB College of Business in Des Moines this fall to study court reporting.
“It’s really proved invaluable,” Domer said. “I feel now I have the skills to confidently live on my own in college. I couldn’t have said that before.”
Ending the residential program at the Vinton campus is part of a plan that includes seven recommendations focused on intensifying services to blind and visually impaired students around the state and offering more programs regionally. The state Board of Regents, which oversees the Braille School, approved the seven recommendations from a study committee in August.
The transition from the on-site residential school dating to 1862 to providing services to students in their home schools and communities has been an evolution years in the making, said Patrick Clancy, Braille School superintendent and director of the statewide system that serves about 500 students.
Though only five students lived at the Braille School this year, the end of the residential program is significant given the history of the school and its impact on generations of graduates, Clancy said.
“My feelings are certainly very mixed. I do believe that the time for this change is right,” he said. “But it isn’t without acknowledgment that this is a significant change.”
Of the $4.9 million in state funding to the statewide system this year, about $2.2 million was used for the Braille School residential program. The enrollment of five this year was down from 34 students in 2005.
The plan is to use much of that $2.2 million in residential program funding to hire more teachers for visually impaired students and more orientation and mobility specialists who can work in regions of the state, Clancy said. But those plans are contingent on resources, he said, as the system’s state funding for next year remains unknown and some legislative proposals call for cuts of 20 percent.
“Our inability to hire these additional people will really hamper our ability to intensify services,” Clancy said.
Leah Morrison, a Waterloo parent who fought to keep the Braille School open, thinks the statewide system should be folded into area education agencies. Since the school no longer has a residential program, Morrison argues, there is no reason the administrative umbrella can’t be absorbed into Iowa AEA's to create more cost savings that can be directed to services.
Morrison is not optimistic the end of the residential program will equal students getting better services in their home communities. Her son, Julian Herington, 17, just finished his sixth year at the Braille School and flourished there, she said. He likely will attend public high school in Waterloo next year.
“They have this enormous gift of time” at the Braille School to learn life skills, Morrison said. “It’s a huge quality difference.”
She fought tears as she talked about the changes her son faces without the Braille School.
“It’s obviously pretty emotional in terms of having tried so hard” to save the school, she said.
Morrison feels system and Regents leaders circumvented the state Legislature by moving forward with the transition plan and end the residential program without legislative approval.
But Clancy and Regents President David Miles said a legislative vote was not required; the study committee’s recommendations were sent to the Iowa Legislative Council in August after Regents approval, as requested. The council is a bipartisan group of lawmakers who serve as the Legislature’s steering committee between sessions.
“We really think this is the best model. A lot of time and energy has gone into moving” to a statewide system, Miles said. “Everyone is motivated by doing the right thing for the students. If we can deliver those services where they live, so they can be at home with their families, that’s better, as long as we can provide the quality of services.”
Cedar Rapids parent Sylvia Anspach hopes the end of the Braille School residential program breaks loose resources to better help students in their home schools. Anspach is not a Braille School parent; her 14-year-old son has a visual impairment and will attend Kennedy High next fall.
The teachers of visual impairment and mobility specialists that work with her son are great, but they have such limited time to spend with him because they work with other students in the region, Anspach said.
“We are frustrated,” she said. “I feel for those families who’ve had their kids in residential care, I’m sure it’s very difficult for them. But for the majority of kids getting services, they’re not able to provide the services they need to in the communities.”
Braille School Moves to Rebuild
By Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press
(Retrieved from The Burlington Hawkeye online, August 5, 2011.)
IOWA CITY - The Iowa Board of Regents approved steps Thursday to rebuild the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton after a powerful windstorm last month ripped the roof off one of its main buildings and destroyed dozens of trees.
During a meeting at the University of Northern Iowa, the Regents voted to give the school that provides educational services to students who are blind or visually impaired the power to waive routine building and purchasing processes to speed its recovery from the July 11 storm.
The storm, known as a derecho, sent straight-line winds of up to 100 miles per hour across the state, ripping up trees and power lines and tearing the roofs off farm buildings. Vinton, a city of 5,000 located about 30 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids, was among the areas hardest hit.
A small number of the school's students and staff were on campus, and about 140 AmeriCorps volunteers who work there took cover during the storm in a tunnel system that extends between buildings. No one was injured.
Superintendent Patrick Clancy said the storm caused significant damage to Old Main, which was originally constructed in 1865 and lost its roof and roof structure. He said a temporary roof has been installed to protect the building from the elements while school officials decide how to repair the building on a permanent basis.
He said the Cottage building AmeriCorps leases for dormitory space sustained major interior damage after winds punctured the roof structure, causing a water line to break. Other buildings on campus suffered damage to roofs, windows, doors and siding.
The winds also cut off the top of mature trees that long lined the campus, shredding them in pieces and leaving their debris everywhere. Clancy said about 150 trees need to be removed because of damage and the campus still will be beautiful but will never look the same.
Clancy said the school expects to have its insurance cover some of the costs of the damage and rebuilding, and expects to get more details later this month. Gov. Terry Branstad also has asked for a presidential disaster declaration for several counties hit by the storm, which would make the projects eligible for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Thursday's action means the school won't have to go through a competitive bidding process for rebuilding projects and will instead be able to award construction contracts quicker to pre-qualified firms. Several other routine mandates relating to project planning and spending also were waived.
Clancy praised University of Iowa officials for helping with the school's emergency response and Iowa State University officials for helping plan the recovery projects.
The Friends of the Library Fall Fundraiser
By Jo Ann Slayton
On October 15, 2011 The Friends are having a fundraiser in partnership with Barnes & Noble Book Stores. When you purchase items from Barnes and Noble, anywhere in the United States or online on October 15th, just give them The Friends code number, which is: 10405843, and The Friends will receive a percentage of the sales for that date. Please share this code with your friends and family. Perhaps you could do some holiday shopping on this date; it would mean a lot to The Friends. We can also use volunteers to assist with activities at the Jordan Creek Barnes & Noble store October 15th. Any questions, please call Peggy Chong at (515) 277-1288 or Jo Ann Slayton (515) 279-4284.
Marshall Forest Braille Trail
By Evan Barnard
(Retrieved from the ACB Leadership List, June 27, 2011.)
(Editor's Note: I included this article to illustrate what's possible when a young person has the enthusiasm to complete a project, and to plant a seed for someone to create a similar trail here in Iowa.)
My name is Evan Barnard and I will be an eighth grader at Autry Mill Middle School in Johns Creek, Georgia. Thank you for having me here today. For my bar mitzvah project, I worked with The Nature Conservancy, a successful conservation organization that is working all over the world to protect and preserve lands and waters that are ecologically important for nature and people.
The focal point of my project is the Marshall Forest Preserve, located in Floyd County near Rome, Georgia. There are several reasons why the Nature Conservancy decided to protect this land. The Marshall Forest is the only virgin forest within the city limits of any city in the United States. It contains an unusual combination of both northern and southern trees, and is one of the few remaining old-growth pine-hardwood forests in northwest Georgia. In addition, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated the Marshall Forest as the first National Natural Landmark in Georgia in 1966, ten years before the original landowner donated the 100-acre forest and an additional 120-acres of property to the Nature Conservancy.
What I am doing for my project is working on one of the three trails in the preserve, the Big Pine Braille Trail, as well as educating people about the preserve and the Braille trail, along with their ecological significance. I helped to replace the Braille signs found along the trail, as well as to perform trail maintenance work.
Please let me tell you about the trail. On the trail, you walk along a guide rope and there are signs in Braille and English telling history and also information about the trail and preserve. At the beginning of the trail, there is the first sign explaining the signs, guide rope, markers and other things. As you go along, there are markers on the guide rope for tree roots, the other 14 sign stations, trees that the signs describe, and a small bridge that you cross. Some stations encourage sensory experiences. For example, you get to feel the soft or hard and crispy tree bark, sometimes very smooth and sometimes with deep ridges. At one place on the trail, there is a bench for a chance to relax and enjoy an important part of the outdoors experience- hearing nature, like listening to the trees, insects, and many species of birds. Next along the trail is a very large tree that you get to hug so that you can appreciate its size, so if you’ve ever wanted to be a tree hugger, here’s a chance. Farther on, there is a stream bed, and when it is dry, you can use a short rope and carefully walk down into it. It’s a great place to visit, and I hope to encourage more people to use the trail.
My project is significant because it is helping to preserve the only Braille nature trail available for the sight-impaired in the state of Georgia. To me, the project has special importance. I believe that all people should have the abilities to experience and enjoy the outdoors the same way, regardless of a disabling factor such as vision or hearing impairment. I believe that this project takes one step forward for this cause, therefore it is part of a larger effort of having everyone being able to not only enjoy the Big Pine Braille Trail the same, but the outdoors overall.
I have written letters to the ophthalmologic community, and I would like to contact schools with sight-impaired students, and others who are visually-impaired across the state of Georgia to make them aware of the existence of the preserve’s Big Pine Braille Trail. I hope you will visit the trail. I would also like your help in reaching out to others in the sight-impaired community.
Please feel free to contact me for more information about the Braille Trail or my project. Thank you for your support.
Evan Barnard, 8820 Glen Ferry Drive, Johns Creek, GA 30022, 770-643-8158 email@example.com
And the Winner Is...
(Editor's Note: The following communication is from Roxanne Hensley, Braille Coordinator, and Iowa Department for the Blind.)
I am pleased to announce that Lauren Thomson placed first and Mason Armstrong placed second in the 2011 National Braille Challenge Finals in Los Angeles on June 25. Both Lauren and Mason competed in the sophomore group (Grades 5-6). About 850 students participated in the preliminary round of the contest.
By Mike Hoenig
I recently received a call from Bob Klann, a 70-year-old legally blind wood carver who loves to play cribbage. He's combined his wood carving skill and passion for cribbage to produce a large print, oak cribbage board. The board is 8x22 inches in size, with 1/4 inch holes, and uses golf tees for easy viewing. To order, visit http://shop.wcblind.org/LARGE-PRINT-OAK-CRIBBAGE-BOARD_p_882.html or call 608-237-8100.
(Editor's Note: Compiling the information for this column continues to be a difficult task. Marilyn Hegland was my first house parent at IBSSS, Laurie Marsch was one of my first friends at the school, and Randy Davis was the "big brother" who brought me out of my shell and taught me to play "foundation baseball." I enjoyed a visit to IBSSS with Margaret Warren in the late 1980's, having the privilege of hearing the happiness in her voice as she relived the days of her childhood.)
VINTON--Marilyn Hegland, 76, a resident of the Vinton Lutheran Home, passed away Friday, June 24 at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids.
Marilyn was born January 21, 1935, to Lawrence and Myrtle (Van de Veere) Johnson in Ottumwa, Iowa.
She was married to Robert Hegland, who preceded her in death in 1996.
She was also preceded in death by her sister Ruth Grizel, 1998. She is survived by her sister Linda Kula of Cedar Rapids, and her brother Ernest Johnson of Monmouth, Illinois.
Marilyn was a graduate of the Iowa Braille School and employed at the school as a house parent for many years.
She was active in the Iowa Association for the Blind. She also worked at St. Joseph's Hospital in Ottumwa, Iowa where she cared for retired Sisters of Mercy.
There will be a memorial service held at the Vinton Lutheran Home Chapel on June 30, Thursday, 10:30 AM for the public. Refreshments will be served prior to the service at 10 AM in the chapel area.
The family requests that en lieu of flowers, any memorial gifts be made to the Vinton Lutheran Home Activity Department, 1301 2nd Avenue, Vinton, Iowa.
Service Information: Services11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at St. Edward Catholic Church, 1423 Kimball Ave
Visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Locke Funeral Home, with a 4 p.m. Rosary and a 7 p.m. Vigil Service, and for an hour before the service at the church Cemetery, Mount Olivet Cemetery, Waterloo, Iowa. Memorials St. Edward Catholic Church or Cedar Valley Hospice
Biography Information: Laurie Marsch, 48, of Waterloo, died at her home Friday of leukemia.
Laurie Kay Marsch was born in Waterloo, the daughter of Robert and Damaris Trebon Marsch. Laurie graduated from Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton in 1982.
Laurie was a member of St Edward Catholic Church and National Federation of the Blind. She was an active volunteer for several organizations including Covenant Medical Center, Allen Memorial Hospital, the Grout Museum, and Friendship Village. For her spirit of helping she received the Mayor's Volunteer of the Year Award in 1990. Laurie also enjoyed cards, scrabble, reading and traveling. She was an outgoing person with a wonderful outlook on life in spite of the hardships she faced.
Laurie is survived by her sister Mary Ann (Dave) Brincks of Carroll, Iowa; sister Diane Marsch of Portland, Oregon; brother Tom (Julie) Marsch of Hudson; niece Kate (Dan) Arjes of Sioux Falls, SD; nephew John Brincks of Des Moines; nephew Dan Brincks of Des Moines; niece Stephanie Marsch of Waterloo; niece Jennifer Marsch of Iowa City. She was preceded in death by her parents.
Margaret Warren, 78, passed away on August 2, 2011 at Wesley Acres (Des Moines) where she resided. She donated her body to the University of Iowa School of Medicine for medical research. Memorial services will be held at a later date.
Margaret was born August 9, 1932 in Council Bluffs, IA and graduated from the Vinton School for the Blind. She moved to Des Moines in 1963. Margaret was visually impaired since birth and in mid-life lost her hearing, which was more of a struggle than loss of sight, because it cuts off communication. For many years, she communicated with people by a machine called a Teletouch, which was provided to her by the Iowa Department for the Blind. This Teletouch machine is a portable instrument with a typewriter keyboard that printed in Braille one letter at a time and Margaret read the Braille with one amazing finger.
Margaret was a lifetime member of First United Methodist Church in Des Moines and for many years attended National Federation of the Blind, national conventions all over the United States. Her transportation for these conventions was provided by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults.