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Summer 2013 Bulletin

ICUB BULLETIN SUMMER 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 5 - 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. 5 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 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 Lisa Davis, Director – Urbandale, (515) 278-2722 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, IA 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 2013 American Council of the Blind Conference/ 4 Convention Report ACB Announces Election of Its First Woman President 7 Editor's Line 8 Resolutions Passed at 2013 ICUB Conference/Convention 10 ICUB Memorial List for 2012 – 2013 14 ICUB Board Meeting Agenda 15 News and Views About the Iowa Department for the Blind 16 In Memoriam 17 Dorothy Kirsner 17 Jan Ray 19 Brenda Dillon 19 On Its 50th Birthday, the Cassette Tape is Still Rolling 19 Chapter News 22 Cedar Rapids Chapter Report 22 Dubuque Chapter Report 23 2013 American Council of the Blind Conference/Convention Report By Frank Strong, President, Iowa Council of the United Blind The 52nd annual conference/convention of the American Council of the Blind took place at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio from Saturday, July 6 through Thursday, July 11, 2013. This is the second National Convention I've attended. I served as the Iowa delegate and represented ICUB on the nominating committee. Donna Seliger served as the alternate delegate. Other Iowans in attendance included Bob Seliger, Norma Conyers-Boge, Eldon Conyers-Boge, Elsie Monthei, Arlo Monthei, Stephanie Hunolt, Robert Spangler, and Jeanette Strong. I believe the total number of individuals attending the conference/convention was between 1200 and 1300. There were 143 exhibitors in the exhibit hall. The weeklong conference/convention was bursting with events, elections, tours, fund-raisers, exhibits, and fellowship among blind people from throughout the United States and beyond. The opening ceremonies included a presentation by outgoing President Mitch Pomerantz and the seating of delegates. Here are some of the topics discussed by presenters during the general sessions: * The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international treaty adopted by the United Nations. This treaty now needs to be adopted by member nations. Last year the United States Senate refused to consent to the treaty. Congress is expected to reconsider The CRPD in 2013. * A discussion was presented on the subject of braille literacy for K-12 students with vision loss. * President Mitch Pomerantz described his activities with the World Blind Union, his visits with state affiliates, and his meeting with Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng last year. Chen Guangcheng is the blind lawyer who was recently deported from China. Chen is a self-taught lawyer who was an advocate for disabled Chinese citizens before he was placed under house arrest and later escaped to the United States Embassy and then later again to the United States itself. The blind “barefoot” lawyer is self-taught and now resides in New York where he is living with his family. Chen is continuing his academic training. * We learned about adoption of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This treaty was recently adopted by over 100 countries and in Marakesh Morocco. Melanie Brunson, the ACB Executive Director participated in the formation of this treaty. This treaty will allow for the sharing and open distribution of books accessible to blind and visually impaired individuals worldwide. Prior to this agreement there was limited and in some places no agreement whatsoever for accessing these materials. For example, in the country of Spain, there are over 60,000 book titles in alternative formats including braille and recorded media. However, in the country of Venezuela, another Spanish-speaking nation, there are fewer than 60 such books. Obviously the blind citizens of third world countries are at a tremendous disadvantage in terms of access to education and other opportunities because of lack of information in alternative, accessible formats. * Action on how the implementation of laws concerning "quiet cars" is being established. The increase in the number of quiet cars on the streets is posing a significant safety problem for blind and visually impaired individuals. The quiet car law is intended to help reduce the possibility of pedestrian accidents. * Karen Keninger, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and past director of the Iowa Department for the Blind, discussed technologies under development at NLS. One of the most exciting new technologies is an app which will allow Smartphone users to download books from the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website. * Janet LaBreck, the incoming Commissioner of the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration, gave a presentation in which she expressed her enthusiasm for her new job as she leaves her current position of director of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. * Outgoing ACB Director of Advocacy and Legislative Affairs, Eric Bridges, our 2013 banquet speaker, talked about his work in legislative lobbying and advocacy on blindness issues. Eric has done a terrific job as Legislative Director and his services will be missed. Eric is moving on to another opportunity elsewhere. * Gregory Gorton, a narrator of over 400 talking books, spoke to the general assembly. The narrator provided a live example of how he reads material into a recorded media format. Mr. Gorton is an actor who uses his acting skill to interpret the words on the page to bring them alive to those of us who love to listen to recorded books. * We learned about the advances in and adoption of the prescription law which requires pharmacies to provide the means which allow for the accessibility of prescription information in digital and/or other accessible media including large print, braille, and label reading software and hardware. * We heard about a new equipment distribution service for individuals who are both deaf and blind. This national program provides assessment, high and low tech equipment, and training to help assure the independence of deaf-blind individuals. * A presenter explained audio description, noting that this service is used to describe visual elements of movies, television programs, and live artistic performances including plays, live theater, and dance. * Over 20 college scholarships were awarded to blind and visually impaired students. These scholarships will help post-secondary students pursue valuable academic training leading to the achievement of greater independence and self-sufficiency. The total amount of scholarship funds awarded was over $25,000. * The Nominating Committee selected the following slate of officers for the 2013 election: Kim Charlson, Massachusetts, President; Jeff Thom, California, First Vice President; Marlaina Lieberg, Washington, Second Vice President; Ray Campbell, Illinois, Secretary, and Carla Ruschival, Kentucky, Treasurer. All of the nominated officers were subsequently elected to serve as the Executive Committee of the ACB Board of Directors. * The Constitution Committee presented some revisions to the ACB Constitution. No substantial changes were adopted. * A series of 23 resolutions were considered and adopted during the final days of the ACB Conference/Convention. A complete listing of the resolutions will be available in a future issue of the ACB Braille Forum or on the ACB website. The American Council of the Blind website is located at * There was a terrific array of vendors in the Exhibit Hall. Assistive technology manufacturers, guide dog firms, religious organizations, radio reading services, braille production companies, and telecommunications firms were all available for information and referral. The United States Department of the Treasury was present. The Treasury Department was conducting surveys to determine the best tactile format for the new accessible U.S. currency. Modifications to make the U.S. currency accessible to blind and low vision individuals were championed and secured by the hard work of the members and staff of the American Council of the Blind. The new accessible currency is supposed to be available for distribution by 2020. We will continue to follow this long process. For those who want more information about the 2013 ACB Conference/Convention, please call me or send me an e-mail. My phone number is 515-314-3843 and my e-mail address is Thanks to ICUB members for your support and encouragement. For Immediate Release Contact: Kim Charlson (617) 501-5853 ACB Announces Election of Its First Woman President WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013 – Delegates to the 52nd annual conference of the American Council of the Blind, being held in Columbus, Ohio, elected Kim Charlson of Watertown, Mass., to be the 11th president of the organization. Kim Charlson is the director of the Braille and Talking Book Library at the Perkins School for the Blind and has been the organization’s first vice president for six years.  Charlson has been heavily involved in advocacy efforts at the local, state and national levels for many years, including efforts to increase the number of talking ATMs nationwide and to promote audio description in theaters and on television.  Ms. Charlson has also served as the president of several ACB affiliates, including the Braille Revival League, Guide Dog Users, Inc., and the Bay State Council of the Blind. "It is truly an honor to be elected ACB president,” Charlson said.  “The support I have already received from the membership has been very rewarding and totally amazing. There is so much advocacy work to do, and I am grateful that so many people want to help work on all of these important issues."   Elected to serve with her are Jeff Thom of Sacramento, Calif., first vice president; Marlaina Lieberg of Burien, Wash., second vice president; Ray Campbell of Glen Ellyn, Ill., secretary; and Carla Ruschival of Louisville, Ky., treasurer.  David Trott of Talladega, Ala., and Patrick Sheehan of Silver Spring, Md. were elected to the board of directors. Editor's Line By Mike Hoenig I find myself once again apologizing for the lateness of this issue. In particular, I extend an apology to the hard-working members of the Cedar Rapids Chapter led by Shirley Wiggins. My tardiness caused us to miss the opportunity to publicize the picnic. The great turn-out for the picnic is a testament to how much we all look forward to the fellowship and good food which we all come to expect each year. It was great to see so many of you at the ICUB 26th annual Conference and Convention. For those who could not join us, it was another fun, information-packed weekend shared with fellow ICUB members. President Strong's suggestion to advertise the Convention to Iowa's blindness community paid off, as it brought several new faces to the festivities. Iowa native Eric Bridges served as ACB National Representative, updating us on a variety of policy initiatives and sharing some interesting travel tales. John Patterson gave a great report on the expanding athletic opportunities for blind people living in Des Moines and Central Iowa, while Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired Superintendent Patrick Clancy updated us on regionalization efforts. Though I didn't realize it at the time, this year's Conference and Convention would turn out to be bittersweet. The "sweet" was that ICUB chose to honor me with the Linda Dietrich Award. What a shock, and what a privilege to be recognized by peers for whom I have such respect. The "bitter" was that this Conference marked Becky Criswell's last presentation to our organization on behalf of IDB's Independent Living Program. After more than 30 years of dedicated, exemplary service to our agency, Becky retired earlier this summer. I don't often use the terms "irreplaceable" and "indispensable" to describe people, but I make an exception in Becky's case. Becky, I'm sure that fellow ICUB members join me in thanking you for your work on behalf of blind Iowans. We wish you the best of success in the future, and hope you will continue as an active ICUB member. In this edition of the Bulletin, you'll read an article commemorating the 50th anniversary of the cassette tape's invention. Though the cassette has served us well, it is fast becoming antiquated. Our tape duplicator is on its last leg, and it is highly unlikely that we will be able to purchase a replacement. I will be convening a committee to look into alternatives to the cassette edition. In the meantime, I ask all cassette readers to think about how you would like to receive future issues. Please send me your suggestions. Have a great fall, everyone! Resolutions Passed at the 2013 ICUB Conference and Convention By Creig Slayton, Resolutions Committee Chair ICUB RESOLUTION 2013-01  Subject:  Saving the Department for the Blind.  WHEREAS, in September of 2012, the Iowa Department for the Blind’s administration initiated a campaign to reduce support for Independent Living services by adopting the following practices:   1.  Instead of charging the cost of determining whether a new referral should be a vocational rehabilitation or independent living client to the more adequately funded vocational rehabilitation program (a practice which had been supported and encouraged by previous administrations), the current administration ruled that first visits were now to be charged to Independent Living, thereby increasing the stress on already-limited funds.   2.  In its initial budget request to the Governor, the current administration failed to include increased funding for the Independent Living program; and   WHEREAS, the three-member Iowa Commission for the Blind originally acquiesced in this service reduction plan and has subsequently indicated through Commissioner Elliott during its meeting February 5, 2013, that any new money made available to the Department through the state budget process would be used to match federal dollars, knowing full well that there are no more federal Independent Living dollars available:   NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Iowa Council of the United Blind in convention assembled this 19th day of May, 2013, in the city of Des Moines, Iowa that this organization call upon its president and Executive Board to do everything possible to prevent the step-by-step dismantling of the Iowa Department for the Blind, a multi-service agency for the blind, through failure to budget adequate funding for all of its programs; and   BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization authorize its president and Executive Board to give serious consideration to asking the governor and the legislature to provide multi-line budgeting for the Iowa Department for the Blind, which would enable them to appropriate specific dollars for individual programs, such as the Independent Living program, to ensure their existence; and   BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization authorizes its president and Executive Board to work with Governor Branstad, the Iowa Legislature, and media of all kinds to achieve our goal to preserve an agency which should serve all of the blind of Iowa--not just a chosen few.   ICUB RESOLUTION 2013-02   Subject: Changing Commission Board.   WHEREAS, for the past 25 years, care has been taken by the two state-wide organizations of the blind—the Iowa Council of the United Blind (ICUB) and the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (NFBI)--to recommend and support candidates for the three-member Commission for the Blind who are knowledgeable, fair-minded, and members of differing state-wide organizations of the blind; and   WHEREAS, during the past year, circumstances have changed to the point that all three Commissioners are members of a single state-wide organization of the blind, the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa; and   WHEREAS, open meeting law requirements are such that it is advisable to have a Commission made up of at least five Commissioners who will represent the interests of all of the blind of Iowa:   NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Iowa Council of the United Blind in Convention assembled this 19th day of May 2013, in the city of Des Moines, Iowa that the President and Executive Board be instructed to consider a change in the makeup of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, which might include the following elements: 1. A minimum of five members, 2. A requirement that three of the five members be blind, 3. At least one member represent the Iowa Council of the United Blind, 4. At least one member represent the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, and 5. The Commission meet all other gender and political requirements established in the Iowa Code; and   BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the President and Executive Board move forward with this resolution, keeping in mind all other related issues.   ICUB RESOLUTION 2013-04   Subject: Comparable Benefits.   WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (NFBI) has for the past year controlled two of the three positions on the Commission for the Blind; and   WHEREAS, as of May 1, all three Commissioners are members of the NFBI; and   WHEREAS, all IDB policy and personnel actions fall under the authority of the three-member Commission for the Blind; and   WHEREAS, a new policy at the Department for the Blind requires some rehabilitation clients who have secured employment to obtain a letter from their new employer itemizing any special equipment needed by the blind applicant to perform his or her job, and whether the employer will provide such equipment; and   WHEREAS, such a policy is not required under federal law or IDB Administrative Rules, is demeaning to the client, and may, in fact, cause some employers to rethink their decision to hire a blind individual:   NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Iowa Council of the United Blind in convention assembled this 19th Day of May 2013, in the city of Des Moines, Iowa, that this organization call upon the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa through its President, Michael Barber, and the three-member Commission for the Blind to override this demeaning and detrimental requirement; and   BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Director Richard Sorey be directed to submit further policies to the Commission before implementation.   ICUB RESOLUTION 2013-05   Subject: Breach of Confidentiality.   WHEREAS, federal law requires complete confidentiality regarding vocational rehabilitation clients; and   WHEREAS, Department Administrative Rules require the same; and   WHEREAS, at the Commission April 13, 2013 meeting both were violated by reporting on an audit exception; and   WHEREAS, this audit exception report was not required, since the three-member Commission was already aware of this situation; and   WHEREAS, this public announcement was apparently made in order to publicly embarrass a rehabilitation client of the agency; and   WHEREAS, the individual’s name was unused, but sufficient information was given so that everyone present knew the identity of the client being discussed leading to a negative newspaper article in the Des Moines Register in which the client’s name appeared; and   WHEREAS, following the meeting, this breach of confidentiality was justified by saying that another state agency had already released the information; and   WHEREAS, justifying the breaking of a law by pointing out that someone else had done it constitutes no defense at all:   NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Iowa Council of the United Blind in convention assembled this 19th day of May 2013 in the city of Des Moines, Iowa that this organization call upon the three-member Commission for the Blind to review these breaches of confidentiality and take appropriate action; and   BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if there is no public notification regarding appropriate action, this organization through its President and Board of Directors should move forward, contacting the Attorney General of the State of Iowa and the Rehabilitation Services Administration regarding this issue as appropriate. ICUB Memorial List for 2012-2013 Submitted by Jo Slayton   (Editor's Note: Shirley Wiggins read the following names at the annual Memorial Service during the 2013 annual Conference and Convention.   Stuart Best (Friend and driver for ICUB) Agatha Boone (former student at IBSSS) Dewayne Clarke (Husband of Mary Clarke) Coach Howard Current (IBSSS late 50’s) Arthur Dunlavy (Brother of Lucille Dunlavy) Jim Fenton (Step-father of Linda Slayton) Jack Hezeltine (Uncle of Elsie Monthei) Rosemary Higley (Friends of the Library Board Member) Durward Hutchinson (Principal at IBSSS/Superintendent at    Indiana School for the Blind Sue Kluth (Sister of Rose Stratton) Jake Michael (Teacher at IBSSS) Dorothy Nemmers (Second Wife of Sylvester Nemmers) Dave Reimers (Scholarship Committee Member, Des Moines    Chapter ICUB) Gladys Rife (Mother of Donna Seliger) Jolene Rustvold (Wife of IBSSS classmate, Roy Rustvold) Julie Scurr (Member of Commission for the Blind) Richard Sharp (Brother of Rose Stratton) Wilma Spencer (IBSSS) Norma Thallas (Grandmother of J.R. Swank) Patricia (Pat) Urena ) Wife of former Orientation Center Director, Manuel Urena) Robert Utterbach (Stepfather of Robert Spangler) ICUB Board Meeting Agenda (Editor’s Note: President Strong asked me to include the agenda for the next ICUB board meeting in this issue, and to remind you that all are welcome to participate. It’s a great way to learn about the many activities in which ICUB is involved.) AGENDA, Iowa Council of the United Blind Board Meeting Monday, September 16, 2013 Teleconference number: (712) 432-5610  Access code: 782 7:00 p.m. Call to Order Roll Call Determination of Quorum Adoption of Agenda - Frank        7:10 p.m. President’s Report – Frank 7:15 p.m. Secretary’s Report – JoAnn 7:20 p.m. Treasurer’s Report – Gary Appointment and Confirmation of Committee Chairs:                 Program (2014 Conference/Convention)                 Constitution                 Membership                 Fund-Raising                 Nominations ICUB Newsletter – Mike Informational Items: Disability Awareness Lecture – Friday, October 25, 2013 Midwest Leadership Conference 2014:  Thursday, February 27 through Saturday, March 1, 2014 in St. Louis, MO. 2014 ACB Convention – Las Vegas, Nevada New Business 8:00 p.m. Adjourn Next ICUB Board meeting: Monday, March 3, 2014 News and Views about the Iowa Department for the Blind By Jim Witte Item:  A possible threat to the very existence of the program providing services to older blind Iowans. By way of history, Director Richard Sorey came on board in June, 2012.  He announced that he would bring about “systemic change” within the agency.  He did not seem to realize that Iowa’s program for the blind had the reputation of being the best and did not need his approach.  So what “systemic change” have we seen?  First, he obviously brought a new management style.  There was firing of some lead employees by what would best be called a massacre method.  There was a budget he developed which left out an entire division (the older blind program).  There were staff meetings at which employees were bluntly told to support him or be gone.  Some experienced staff set about retiring and looking for work elsewhere.  Incidentally, some of the services provided by victims of the massacre firing and the retirements are simply not being provided or, at best, offered in a very reduced way. So back to the older blind issue.  Having once left that program out of budget planning and having reduced the kinds of services provided, Mr. Sorey has indicated that the program is not too dear and near to his heart.  The budget for the older blind program is still unsettled.  Many of the older blind consumers and friends who lobbied hard, and successfully, for the Department’s budget for the current fiscal year, used the services for older blind Iowans as a main talking point.  It is easy for Mr. Sorey and his Board to overlook and override the wishes of consumers and staff. There is in Iowa a Department on Aging.  Is it possible that Sorey might opt to transfer the Department‘s older blind services to that agency and save even more money? If so...what might be next? In Memoriam   Dorothy Kirsner   Dorothy Harriet Kirsner died at the Iowa Jewish Senior Life Center on Monday, May 20, 2013, at age 94.  Dorothy was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of four children of George and Sara Berman.  Described as outgoing, direct, diligent, and dedicated to solving problems, Dorothy was also fun, loving, stylish, amazingly energetic, extremely social, and a great friend.  Although she had no formal medical training, if she heard that you were sick, she would quickly deliver “Jewish Penicillin” (Matzo Ball soup) that cured many ills.  She also always found a way to help friends and anyone else in need--no matter what the need. The Kirsners, who were surrounded by a group of close friends that expanded over the years, can best be described as “serial entertainers.”  The number of dinner parties they gave and attended certainly ran into the hundreds.  In an article that appeared in the Des Moines Register on the occasion of their 70th wedding anniversary celebration at the Wakonda Club, the guest list was described as a who’s who of Des Moines society from the 1970s. Always stunningly well dressed and appointed, Dorothy was the inspiration for her granddaughter, Sara’s, line of designer clothes and bridesmaid gifts (  All of Dorothy’s grandchildren adored their grandmother who was a big part of their lives.  They will miss her. Dorothy was best known for her efforts to be the “eyes” for the blind community since the early 1940s.  Through the Temple B’nai Jeshurun Sisterhood, Dorothy became a certified Braillist, helping transcribe countless volumes of reading material for blind people.  Certified Braillists were considered to be so valuable at that time that Dorothy’s certificate of capability was signed by then President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt.  In June of 1957, Dorothy was appointed by the Governor of Iowa to be a member of the Board of the Iowa Commission for the Blind and was elected chairman at her first Board meeting.  Dorothy was instrumental in bringing Kenneth Jernigan to the Commission who, as their director, implemented innovative vocational rehabilitation programs.  In 1968 Jernigan was given an award from the President of the United States whose representative stated, “If a person must be blind, it is better to be blind in Iowa than in any other place in the world!”  In 1966, the conference room adjacent to the Director’s office was formally named the Dorothy Kirsner Conference Room to recognize her contributions to the Commission’s success. Dorothy was one of the founders and served on the Board of Directors of IRIS (Iowa Radio Reading Information Service) and was instrumental in getting blind children into the Des Moines Public Schools.  She also acted as an aide to blind children at Smouse School, participating in many orientation classes for parents and teachers of blind students.  With her friend, Sis Stein, she organized prisoners at the Fort Madison Penitentiary to record and transcribe books into Braille.  Dorothy was active with the Des Moines Symphony Guild and Temple B’nai Jeshurun, was a recipient of the YWCA of Greater Des Moines Woman of Achievement Award, and was a member of the “Know your Neighbor Panel.” She is survived by Alvin, her husband of 72 years; sons James (Joan) Kirsner, Richard (Mary Kay) Kirsner and Lawrence Kirsner (Joan O’Harra Burke); four grandchildren: Julie Kirsner (John) Griffiths, Sara Kirsner, Hilarey (Brian) Leonard, and Elizabeth Kirsner; great-grandson Evan Griffiths; and sister Nessa Lee Laiderman.  Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents; brother Zelig Berman; and sister, Esther Frank. The family is deeply grateful to all who helped care for Dorothy including the staff of the Jewish Senior Life Center, Iowa Health Hospice, Sheryl Benson, Yael Zachopolus, and Phillip Freedman. In lieu of flowers, donations in Dorothy’s name may be made to Temple B’nai Jeshurun, 5101 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA  50312; Iowa Jewish Senior Life Center, 900 Polk Boulevard, Des Moines, IA  50312;  or Iowa Radio Reading Information Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped, Inc., 100 E. Euclid Avenue, Suite 107, Des Moines, IA  50313. May her memory always be for a blessing. Jan Ray Janice Lynn Ray (Des Moines) - Services for Janice, 67, will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines. Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday. She is survived by her son Marc Ray (Misty) of Perry, and five grandchildren. See more at: Brenda Dillon (Editor’s Note: Many of you will remember Brenda and her husband Dan coming to Convention a few years ago as ACB reps. Brenda was not only a fun-loving person, but a strong advocate and organizer of the ACB Auction.) DILLON, Brenda J. Age 58, went to be with the Lord July 11, 2013. Preceded in death by father, Grady McDuffie. Survived by loving husband, Dan Dillon; children, Sonnet (Michael) Pentecost, Braden (Staci) Trevino, Christopher Trevino; step daughter, Angie (Keith) Waller; mother, Dr Alice Gray McDuffie Caruso; sisters, Donna Mullen, Kelly Watts; 7 grandchildren. Brenda was an active member of Hermitage United Methodist Church & American Council of the Blind. She was kind, loving and a gentle soul. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and friend; she will truly be missed by all. Funeral services Monday, July 15th, 1 p.m. at Hermitage United Methodist Church with visitation one hour prior to service. Visitation with family Sunday, July 14th, 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Hermitage Funeral Home.   On Its 50th Birthday, the Cassette Tape is Still Rolling By Lily Rothman  (Retrieved from the Missouri Council of the Blind Listserv, August 12, 2013) The man who invented the compact cassette tape doesn't remember what was recorded on the very first one, but he does remember what came next. Lou Ottens, who led the product's development for Philips, recalls the commotion that occurred when the Dutch company introduced the cassette to the world 50 years ago this month at a 1963 radio exhibition, the Funkausstellung in Berlin. "It was a big surprise for the market," Ottens, now 87, says. "It was so small in comparison with reel-to-reel recorders that it was at that moment a sensation." What now seems like a relic was a revolution in a plastic case. Keith Richards has said he wrote "Satisfaction" in his sleep using the tape recorder by his bed, which was the only way he remembered it in the morning. Tapes of Grateful Dead gigs are their own subculture. Cassettes let underground bands spread punk and DJs disseminate hip-hop. And it wasn't just music: we listened to books on tape, to recorded notes-to-self and to the hiss in the silence between tracks, not to mention the mechanical whir of fast-forward and the alveolar click that says Turn the tape over, hit play once more. Plenty of people, even now, are still listening. From the beginning, the tape had a lot going for it. Reel-to-reel technology wasn't user-friendly: the reel tape was exposed and easily damaged; the machines were big; threading a tape from one reel to another was labor-intensive. Ottens' aim was to "make it smaller, make it cheaper and make it easier to handle." His tape was about half the width of the previous standard and protected by the cassette cartridge. The whole thing was, as a Philips press release pointed out, smaller than a pack of cigarettes. The technology spread quickly. By the end of the '60s, tapes could be played in cars. National Audio Co. in Springfield, Mo.--the nation's largest producer of cassettes today--began selling the product. Current president Steve Stepp, who founded the company with his father in 1969, was confused the first time a sales rep brought one in. Used to 10-in. metal tape reels, he thought the cassette was a toy. Now his company churns out an average of 100,000 of them every day. "We're probably selling more audiocassettes than we've ever sold right now," Stepp says. Sure, some of National Audio Co.'s success with cassettes is due to lack of competition. (Philips, for example, no longer makes them.) But that's not all, says Stepp. Tapes are cheap. Anyone can record anything on them. They have retro appeal and an appealingly analog sound. They're durable and portable. The numbers confirm Stepp's observations. In 1993, Nielsen SoundScan found rough parity between the CD and the cassette. Although sales of the latter have declined, 200,000 albums sold on tape in the U.S. in 2012--a fraction of a percent of the 316 million total albums sold but a 645% increase over 2011 cassette sales. David Bakula of Nielsen's entertainment division says the tape's advantages (affordability, portability, recordability) keep it alive. Evidence of the cassette craze is everywhere. New tape-focused labels have launched in the past few years, and larger labels are getting in on it too, with cassette releases this spring from She & Him and MGMT. Filmmakers Seth Smoot and Zack Taylor crowdfunded a documentary about tapes called Cassette, now nearly complete. They imagined the film as a eulogy, but before long they realized the story was about longevity, not death. One reason for that endurance is people like Mark Bijasa, a collector in Cerritos, Calif., who owns about 4,000 tapes. His goal is to have three of each recording: "one to rock, one to stock, one to swap," as he puts it. Bijasa, 33, grew up around tapes, but it's been less than a decade since he began hunting them down. He has a cassette-centric Instagram account with 6,000 followers, and as a graphic designer he creates J-cards (the cardboard inserts that go in tape cases) for record labels. He may even be spreading the gospel a bit too well. Rarities can now go for hundreds of dollars on eBay, pricing him out, and he says cassette aisles at record stores are often picked over before he gets there. Then there's the mixtape. Mixes changed music history, says Rob Sheffield, author of Love Is a Mix Tape. "The way that mixtapes became a cultural institution really influenced the way we listen to music today," he says. "With a great deal of discouragement from the official music-world establishment, the audience invented this way to share music." After all, what is a playlist if not a glorified mixtape, shared on Spotify or carried on an iPod? Tapes took music from labels and gave it to listeners, heralding a change in the very meaning of entertainment. That change has no rewind button. The world won't go back to listening to songs on an album in the sequence picked by a band, just as the news isn't read in the order a paper chooses and a TV show isn't watched at the hour it's broadcast. Mixtape culture thrives even among those for whom the cassette revival is out of earshot. Like, ironically enough, Lou Ottens. Even though he invented the cassette, Ottens listens to most of his music on CD. (Then again, during the 1970s, he spearheaded the invention of those too.) He feels no nostalgia for the old format, preferring to look forward rather than back. "The cassette is history," he says. "I like when something new comes." Chapter News Cedar Rapids Chapter Report By Shirley Wiggins Hello all. Not too much to write about this time, but let's give it a try. We have had only one meeting since the convention at which time we made plans for the upcoming picnic. The picnic is almost on us as it will be held Saturday, August 24. We meet from 11:00 A.M. until mid-afternoon at the usual place: Shawnee Park, 19th Street and F Avenue Northwest. Bring your plate and tableware, plus your favorite covered dish. We know by now that we have some good cooks who will bring all of our favorite dishes. We have cups and plastic tableware in case you forget yours. We won't let any of you go home hungry. We are looking for a beautiful day with wonderful friends. Our chapter has lost two active members with the passing of Dove Tanner and Walt Helmer's family moving him off to Missouri. We miss them so much. I am sure you will all miss our Dove as we have all known him since we were kids. But time goes on, and we are trying to think up ways to spice up our chapter. Any ideas? If so, share them with us at the picnic. See you at Shawnee Park the 24th of August. And now on to the support group. As you know, the groups have formed across the state through the help of the Department for the Blind's Independent Living Program. By this time, I'm sure you also know that Independent Living has hit a few bumps in the road and we are losing our Becky Criswell as leader. With all problems and strife going down, Becky along with others feel it time to move on. Becky's retirement is a big loss. Along with Becky, Jonathan Ice, who has had charge of Linn and five other eastern Iowa counties, has moved on. Another big loss. We know who is taking Jonathan's place, and we promise to do our best to be of help to you, Barb. Barb Weigel will have a big load and she will need our understanding. Good luck, Barb, and God be with you, Becky and Jonathan. We shall miss you much. Rebecca Barrionuevo, president of the Independent Living Advisory Committee and I as vice-president promise to do all we can to keep you proud of us in the future, Becky and Jonathan. I think you can tell from this article that we are sad-too much change too soon. I, for one am of the belief "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!!" Des Moines Chapter Report By Elsie Monthei We had a great spring craft and bake sale. It is always a lot of work, but we get to see many of our friends who buy items for Easter. We made good profit and had many crafts and baked goods to sell. I want to thank everyone who worked to make this a success and also those who provided items for sale. The Des Moines Chapter provided the hospitality for our state Convention. Arlo and I enjoy providing our time and talents for this activity. We don’t always make a great deal of profit, but we always have a good time. Our greatest profit is in helping persons relax and learn more about ACB. Our most important news is that we have changed our meeting night. This change has made it possible for more people to attend and it has eliminated the cost of cab fares for some. We are also able to utilize public transportation more easily. Our regular meeting time is now the second Monday of the month at 5:30 pm. Our summer activities included a social which took the place of our picnic. We had 24 people in attendance and Catherine Witte acted as Bingo Caller. Everyone came away with a Bingo prize and we had one student in attendance. A good time was had by all. At our August meeting, we invited representatives from DART, our public transportation system, to present. This was very timely because they were in the process of expanding their services. The expansion was in response largely to our attending public meetings. DART provided large print schedules to everyone who attended. I left some of these with the Department for the Blind, and I have additional copies. We explained to Gunnar Olson, DART’s Public Affairs person, that in order to be in compliance with the ADA, large print schedules should be available to the general public on the buses. Several in attendance filled out paperwork to serve on the policy making committee. Additional improvements are being implemented, including new fare boxes and the possibility of prepaid cards that would debit individual trips as opposed to a weekly or monthly pass. We need as many places to obtain our bus passes as possible. We now obtain these passes at the Dahls and HyVee stores. We emphasized that we need these additional places to purchase our bus passes. We are providing public input at this time so that we can have impact on policy as it is being made rather than changing it after the implementation. We are planning to have IDB Director Richard Sorey come to our September or October meeting to discuss the budget and other concerns. We will have elections in November. Frank Strong requested that our chapter cover travel expenses for ACB Executive Director Melanie Brunson to come to Iowa to present a Disability Awareness Lecture at the state Capitol on October 25th. He is planning a reception at the Department for the Blind. Contact Frank for additional details. Friends of the Library for the Blind will be holding its annual garage sale at the home of Arlo and Elsie Monthei at 1304 39th Street, Des Moines, Iowa on Sep 6, 7, and 8 from 8am to 5pm. Please consider participating both as a purchaser and as a volunteer. We continue to strive to do good work for all of the blind of Iowa.

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