Winter 2006 Bulletin

ICUB BULLETIN

WINTER 2006

Published by

IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND

Web Site: www.acb.org/iowa

Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind


MIKE HOENIG, PRESIDENT

3119 Spring Street

Davenport, IA 52807

PHONE: (563) 344-8787

1-888-404-5562 (Toll Free)

E-mail: mhoenig@earthlink.net


DONNA SELIGER, EDITOR

3912 Southeast Fifth Street

Des Moines, IA 50315

(515) 284-0505

E-mail: dseliger@att.net


DICK NATALE, TREASURER

817 – 6th Street

West Des Moines, IA 50265

(515) 277-1167

E-mail: rnatale@earthlink.net


JO ANN SLAYTON, SECRETARY

4013 - 30th Street

Des Moines, IA 50310

(515) 279-4284

E-mail: slayton4284@msn.com







ICUB OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS


Mike Hoenig, President, Davenport, (563) 344-8787

Donna Seliger, Immediate Past President, Des Moines, (515) 284-0505

Gary Patterson, First Vice President, Des Moines, (515) 278-2686

Elsie Monthei, Second Vice President, Des Moines, (515) 277-0442

Jo Ann Slayton, Secretary, Des Moines, (515) 279-4284

Dick Natale, Treasurer, West Des Moines, (515) 277-1167

Dee Clayton, Director, Des Moines, (515) 282-1275

Lucille Dunlavy, Director, Council Bluffs, (unlisted phone)

Dorothy Janvrin, Director, Fort Dodge, (515) 573-6043

Cathy Kula, Director, Cedar Rapids (319) 378-8233

Mavis McVeety, Director, Des Moines, (unlisted phone)

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

Gloria O’Neal, Director, Waterloo, (319) 235-5687

Barb Richmond, Director, Newton, (641) 791-6574

Shirley Wiggins, Director, Cedar Rapids, (319) 362-7138




DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING MATERIAL

FOR THE NEXT ISSUE - ****March 15, 2007 ****



CHANGE OF FORMAT OR RETURNING CASSETTES

Anyone who cannot read this print bulletin or finds it difficult to have it read or wish 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.




TABLE OF CONTENTS


President’s Notebook………………………………………………………..4

ICUB Treasurer’s Report…………………………………………………….6

Some Must Hear Their Way Along…………………………………………6

Shopping Made Easier……………..………….……..………………………8

After 150 Years, School Plans Makeover…………………………………9


A Message From ACB’s Executive Director………………………….…13

The MMS “Two For One” Program……………………………………….13

Quiet Cars Are Coming…………………………………………………….16

In Memoriam

John Powers…………………………………………………………..17

Chapter Reports

Cedar Rapids…………………………………………………………18

Dubuque………………………………………………………………19

Des Moines…………………………………………………………..20

T’was The Night Before Thanksgiving………………………………….20







PRESIDENT'S NOTEBOOK - FALL 2006

By Mike Hoenig


Where has this year gone? It seems only yesterday that I wrote to you with the anticipation of spring, and now I'm beginning to think of Christmas! I hope that you're enjoying the return to cooler weather and the many fall activities that make Iowa such a special place.


A big thank-you to Shirley Wiggins, the staff and volunteers of Low Vision Enhancement, and the rest of our Cedar Rapids friends for hosting ICUB's fall board meeting on September 9. Vicky's tenderloins arrived in good form from Vinton and were unbeatable! The board spent considerable time discussing the 2007 state convention, which will be held May 4-6 at the Airport Four Points Sheraton. Thanks to the many board members who have already stepped up to the plate by volunteering to chair or serve on convention committees. We promise another interesting program, a great selection of exhibits, and an exciting and interesting ACB representative.


And speaking of conventions ... Remember that the 2007 ACB National Convention will be held in Minneapolis from June 30 through July 7. Your state board, in partnership with the Des Moines chapter, is exploring options for chartering a bus and offering financial assistance to members interested in attending. National convention is a unique experience, and it may be some time before it's held this close to Iowa again. Y'all come, now, you hear!


Always looking for an opportunity to promote Iowa, yours truly has been working with ACB Tour Coordinator Berl Colley on a possible pre-convention tour to Mason City on June 29. Thanks to Bob and Jeanne Jensen who spent two days acquainting Berl with spots such as Music Man Square and the Pioneer Museum, I'm very optimistic that many ACB-ers will be visiting River City in June!


On September 16, the great spot was the Dubuque Eagles Club, which once again hosted the Dubuque Association banquet. This event just keeps getting better and better. It's so much fun meeting up with friends, and we were once again treated to some great music during dinner. An inspirational speaker from the Dubuque area captured our attention by reliving her lengthy and harrowing trip back to Iowa on the heels of 9/11, then sharing some great tips for successful living.


ICUB is the proud owner of a new tape duplicator. After nursing our 20-something year-old duplicator far beyond its life expectancy, Creig finally called and said, "It's time." I want to personally thank Creig for coaxing that old duplicator through issue after issue of the bulletin, and am glad that we're able to provide him with some new equipment. As Creig shopped around for the best buy, he discovered that tape duplication is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We're committed to making the cassette version available as long as possible, so let's hope that our new duplicator will serve us for many years to come.


Those of you with Internet access should visit our website at www.acb.org/iowa. Webmaster Gary Patterson has updated the site, and located software which will allow us to upload information at no cost to ICUB. Thanks, Gary, for your diligence and your willingness to continue to help ICUB with this important outreach.


On October 27, the ICUB policy committee had a productive discussion with Iowa Department for the Blind Director Allen Harris. He responded to our concern about the disproportionate number of NFB members participating in IDB-sponsored events such as Pathfinders and transition summer camps by urging ICUB members to apply for these positions. He went so far as to say that he would prefer students having the opportunity to interact with members of both consumer organizations. So, my challenge to you is to take Mr. Harris up on this suggestion by contacting Meghan Johnson at the Department to learn more about these programs and to serve in whatever capacity best suits you.


At this year's state convention, we passed a resolution creating the Linda Dietrich Volunteer Award. I would appreciate hearing from any of you who would like to serve on the award selection committee. Be thinking, too, of individuals you would like to nominate to receive this award. And while we're on the subject of awards, we are also seeking nominations for the Marie Hoenig Memorial Perkins Brailler Award. If you know a worthy student in grades K-12 who could benefit from a Perkins Brailler, please contact me for nomination materials.


Earlier in this column, I wrote about the great time I had at our Dubuque banquet. I truly believe that the fellowship which we enjoy at such events is the glue which holds us together. Whether it's attending a chapter meeting, traveling to an upcoming Christmas party, or volunteering for a committee, we all need to take advantage of that connection to each other which makes us strong. Enjoy the rest of the fall, attend an ICUB event, and have a Blessed Holiday Season.


TREASURER’S REPORT

By Dick Natale



ICUB ASSETS AS OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2006

ICUB PORTION MARIE HOENIG PORTION

Raymond James Invest $25,255.22

Cr Union - Savings 7,916.86

U S Bank checking 12,031.13 1st National

Checking $ 3,684.21

CD 1st National 5,000.00 1st National CD

20,000.00

Total ICUB assets $50,203.21 Total Marie Hoenig $23,684.21

TOTAL OF ALL ASSETTS $73,887.42


VEHICLE DONATIONS AS OF OCTOBER 31, 2006

GROSS SALES $70,628.00

PROCESSING COST 42,111.14

VEHICLE PROCEEDS 26,516.86

ADJ AD COSTS 23,572.31

NET PROCEEDS 5,179.75

TOTAL AMOUNT RECEIVED THIS YEAR $2,589.89


SOME MUST HEAR THEIR WAY ALONG

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, FL, USA

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

By Lisa Miller


MANATEE COUNTY-Debbie and Frela Grubb have guide dogs, but like most blind people they rely mainly on their hearing to safely cross busy streets. At most area intersections, the Grubbs must listen for cross-traffic to stop, then wait until they hear parallel traffic start moving before they enter the street.

They have to just trust that motorists see them. Crossing busy streets such as Manatee Avenue in Bradenton, Tamiami Trail in Sarasota or Marion Avenue in Punta Gorda is one of the most dangerous things blind people do in their quest to remain independent.


Debbie Grubb has been hit twice by inattentive drivers, and her husband has had numerous close calls. Things are safer at a few select intersections-about a dozen in Manatee and Sarasota counties-where an audible signal such as a voice, chirp or beep lets people know when it is safe to cross the street. Even though the audible signals are fairly inexpensive-about $1,500 to cover each crosswalk, or $6,000 for a complete intersection-local and state transportation officials haven't made them a priority. But the Grubbs want to change that.


Debbie Grubb is president of Florida's Council of the Blind, and is using her position to work with the state Department of Transportation and local officials to get more audible signals installed across the state. Audible signals are only installed now if requested by a blind or visually impaired person. Requests are either routed to the state or the county, depending on which agency owns the road.


The Grubbs asked for two signals near their home along Manatee Avenue in West Bradenton, but it took more than two years to get them installed. County and state officials say the delay results from a lack of funding. Transportation projects that affect a larger population are ahead of audible signals on a priority list, said DOT spokeswoman Cindy Clemmons-Adente. Also, the audible signals can increase in cost at intersections with more lanes.


But Grubb isn't budging, and she's pushing to make the installation process easier and faster. "Driving is a privilege, but access for pedestrians is a civil right," she said. Florida has the third-highest blind population in the nation, with more than 1 million people over the age of 45 being visually impaired. California has the highest blind population, and New York is in second place. Grubb plans to show local and state transportation officials how important the audible signals are for blind people who don't want to be confined to their homes. She also wants to help officials identify which intersections could use an audible signal. The signals also provide a safe crossing for children, the elderly and those who are color-blind, Grubb added.


The Grubbs are filming a public service announcement, which will be aired on local television stations, to remind drivers to watch out for blind pedestrians. Crossing a street is frightening without the audible signals. With guide dogs Bonnie and Magic at the lead, the Grubbs stood on the corner of Manatee Avenue and 43rd Street West recently. After finding the crosswalk button, they pushed and waited, listening as cars pass by.

When the light changed, a woman's voice told them it was safe to cross Manatee Avenue, then they heard a series of chirps.

Debbie Grubb said it is the initial signal that is most important because it reduced the dangerous hesitation factor.


"Sometimes you're wasting a lot of time and energy waiting, then you'll go, but can find yourself in the intersection in the middle of traffic," she said. Ideally, the Grubbs would like to see audible signals along every intersection on Manatee Avenue. Having some in downtown Bradenton is another necessity, as well as increasing numbers in Sarasota and Charlotte counties, so more visually impaired people can get out of their houses and into the community.



SHOPPING MADE EASIER

By Donna Seliger


Going shopping can be a real hassle but the worse part is having to give the cashier your personal information in order to check out.


About five years ago we began hearing that the ATM’s at banks would be accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Now, it is common to visit an ATM and find that it has an earphone jack so one can hear the commands as well as a Braille keypad.


Because we have advocates like Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian, both attorneys from California, one more hurtle to accessibility is behind us.


A year ago Wal-Mart agreed to put at least three accessible point of sale machines in each store. For the most part, the project has been completed. This means we no longer have to give out our confidential information, but can enter it privately and independently.


Just recently Safeway and its subsidiaries have agreed to begin installing accessible equipment in their stores across the country. In addition, Trader Joe’s (an East and West coast chain) will install point of sale accessible machines in their stores. Both Safeway and Trader Joe’s have agreed to meet with representatives of the blindness community each year to get feedback and suggestions for the ongoing project.


It is up to us to ask at each location where the accessible machines are located. If we don’t use them all the time and effort that was put into the structured negotiations will be for nothing.


Stay tuned for more news on accessibility in the future.



AFTER 150 YEARS, SCHOOL FOR BLIND PLANS MAKEOVER

Austin American Statesman, TX, USA

Friday, October 20, 2006

By Francesca Jarosz



New dorms will allow students to be more independent.


From the outside, the Texas School for the Blind and Visually

Impaired is a brick wall and iron-rod fencing that protects its 36-acre campus from the traffic at the busy intersection of Lamar Boulevard and 45th Street. Inside, it's a place where students come from across the state to live and learn to function on their own.


In the cooking classroom, students listen to the sound of their knives on the cutting board to help them slice fruit and cheese and feel their way around the cabinets to put supplies back in place. During a weekly reading session, about 15 elementary students take turns sharing poems and stories in Braille aloud.


Caption: Chase Cichorz plays the keyboard in a dorm at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.


Administrators plan to ask the Legislature for $68.5 million to create a town square atmosphere. Larry Kolvoord


In the gym, high school cheerleaders stretch their arms out at their sides to form perfectly straight lines for a routine.


"They provide a lot of normal experiences that I wouldn't have otherwise gotten," said Brandy Wojcik, a 1999 graduate who's getting her teaching certification from the University of Texas at Austin.


As the school wraps up its 150th anniversary year, administrators say that plans to improve the outside of the campus will further its mission inside.


The school received $36.5 million from the state Legislature to replace the 90-year-old dorms with home-style residences where students can learn independent living skills.


Administrators also are asking for $68.5 million at the next legislative session. They want to create a town square atmosphere with a fine arts center, dining hall, swimming pool and activities center around an administrative and classroom building. The setup will cater to the school's mission of serving students 24 hours a day.


"Every waking moment on this campus is an opportunity to learn," Superintendent Phil Hatlen said. "It doesn't matter if it's the classroom or the dorm."


The Sixth Texas Legislature established the school in 1856 as the Blind Institute. By 1857, the school had three students.


This year, the school hosts about 150 of the state's 7,800 people younger than 22 who are eligible for special education services because of visual impairment, which includes blindness and low vision. Most live on campus and are bused home on weekends.


The school also provides resources for all the state's visually impaired students, such as summer camps, curriculum guides and teams that assist teachers at local schools.

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