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By Nancy Johnson

The Board of Directors of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI) met in the Prescott Room of the Salina Public Library on January 21, 2006. Ten directors attended. No guests were present.

The annual membership letter is being prepared and will be sent soon.
Rental of $18 per month is being paid for storage space in the building where the corporate office is located. The space is being used to store donated computer equipment.

All 165 legislators were recently visited by President Michael Byington and Legislative Chair Mark Coates. Concerns regarding Talking Books and other issues were circulated.
Nancy Johnson and Ann Byington reported that they are exchanging positions on the KABVI NEWS, with Ann taking on the duties of editor and Nancy becoming Associate Editor.

Nancy will continue to contribute articles and will compile the ever popular “Chapter Chatter” column, since she is already receiving chapter newsletters. Given her responsibility as Recording Secretary to compile Board meeting minutes, Nancy will also continue to prepare the Report from the Board of Directors article. The mailing list continues to grow slowly and is over 600. Individuals do not need to belong to KABVI to receive KABVI NEWS.

Office rent is paid for the year. KABVI will again apply for the grant from Envision and continue working to obtain other grants. In the Envision application, KABVI will request funding for the Mary T. Adams Educational Seminar, the newsletter, assistance to help members who cannot otherwise afford to do so to attend the annual meeting and convention, and an assistive technology program.

Investigation continues into a thrift store as a fund raiser. Missouri has had some difficulties with their management company. Discussions will follow of the possibility of Missouri and Kansas joining forces to provide thrift stores in Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri.

Consensus was that the Get Real program is not successful and should be discontinued. KABVI received so few applications that, most years, it has not been competitive. KABVI will reinstate the Esther V. Taylor scholarship and present two $1,000 grants to deserving post-secondary students. Ann Byington, Bob Chaffin, Gloria Lefort, Darlene Howe, and Chuck Tyrell comprise the scholarship committee. The original guidelines of the Esther V. Taylor scholarship will be used.
This years Mary T. Adams Educational Seminar topics will be Driving with Vision Impairment and Pedestrian Safety. Dr. Lewerenz will again coordinate the seminar. He was commended for his willingness to do so for another year, particularly after the difficulties he encountered while organizing the last seminar. Salina will be the location again. Dr. Lewerenz will check to learn if the Kansas Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (KAER) will again co-sponsor the activity. The dates are November 3 and 4, 2006. The annual meeting and convention will follow the seminar with a Board of Directors meeting on Sunday.
The governor took the $75 thousand needed by the Talking Books program out of the budget. KABVI asked that it be put back in. All 165 legislators were contacted with the request.
The telecommunications amendment was not introduced last year, so the language on discrimination was removed. A phone book is included as a part of the telephone company’s service package as it is sold. Directory Assistance has been provided instead of the phone book for those who cannot read the directory. It is the Directory Assistance service that has been lost. The issue is being reintroduced.

KABVI will closely monitor the programs of Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KSBVI). KABVI’s goal is that the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KRCBVI) provide a balanced program that meets the needs of the visually impaired as well as the blind.

Dr. Lewerenz will learn what doctors would consider an acceptable low vision policy and research will be done to determine exactly which services other agencies across the state are providing. Based on the outcome of that research, KABVI will determine the degree to which the organization will support KSBVI and RCBVI.

Several used computers were donated to KABVI to be used for persons who have none. They are older Pentium III machines. All application programs have been stripped from them, but the operating systems are believed to be intact. Mikel McCary outlined a pilot project in which the cost of refurbishing the computers could be determined so that individuals could obtain a system by making a donation to the organization. A specific donation amount will be determined when the cost of refurbishing has been learned. This could ultimately become a fund raising project. Efforts will be made to locate a blind individual with the technical knowledge to refurbish the computers. Three computers will be refurbished to see if the project is feasible. Arrangements to provide demonstration screen reader and magnification software with the computers will be made.

Bob Chaffin’s home computer, which he uses for preparation of all KABVI’s financial activities, needs to be replaced. One of the donated computers is known to be ready to go and will be provided to Bob.

A full list of committee assignments will be available after the next meeting of the Board of Directors, which will be in Salina on April 22 from 10:00 to 3:00. Location of the July 29 meeting will be announced. A meeting of the Board will follow the convention in Salina on November 5.


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