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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 Smoky Hill Room of the Courtyard by Marriott on April 22, 2006. Eight directors attended with a presentation by Steve Stambaugh and Sonya Bess of Envision.

President’s Report: Michael Byington noted the application for the grant from Envision is being prepared. A request for $5,000 will be submitted in the July application cycle.

Prior to the meeting, the Board agreed that Steve Stambaugh (Envision) and Dr. Abio Sokari (Kan-SAIL) will each be given a thirty-minute opportunity to discuss why their respective organizations should operate the program for older blind persons in Kansas. After their presentations, the board will decide where KABVIs support should lie. Until both have spoken, KABVI will continue to support the current Kan-SAIL program. Concerns discussed in other articles in this newsletter include Kan-SAIL’s lack of certification for service providers and DSBVI’s lack of participation in the current Medicare Demonstration project.

Michael commended Bob Chaffin, Treasurer and Mikel McCary, Membership Secretary, for their efficient handling of the submission of membership information to the American Council of the Blind (ACB.) KABVI paid for 145 memberships to (ACB) and also has some life members.

Because of some changes in the banks handling fees for credit card processing, the arrangement with Goren Computers will be discontinued. To comply with IRS mandates KABVI needs twice as much income from other sources than it receives from investment income. Bob Chaffin indicated that, even without the income generated by assisting Mr. Goren with credit card transactions maintaining appropriate income to satisfy IRS requirements has not been a problem.

The search for a new Director of Rehabilitation Services has been narrowed to two finalists. They are Joyce Cussimanio and Margaret Zillinger, both of whom are long-time State employees.

KABVI NEWS Report: Ann Byington, Editor, reported that The braille newsletter is back on line. Although there have been some difficulties with the brailler, 27 copies of the spring, 2006, issue of KABVI NEWS reached braille readers. She further incorrectly reported that no one other than board members responded to the article regarding an organizational name change. (See the Letter to the Editor in this issue.) The organizations name will remain unchanged.

Legislative Report: Since Mark Coates, Legislative Committee Chair was not able to attend, Michael Byington reported that, in the 2005 session of the Kansas Legislature, a bill was passed that did some negative things to telecommunications access for people who are blind and low vision. KABVI opposed this bill, but it passed anyway. As things now stand, the telecommunications industry can discriminate against people who need directory assistance because of a visual impairment. KABVI was unable to get legislation introduced this year to fix the problem, but hopes to get corrective legislation introduced next year.

Two visits to all legislative offices were made relative to the Talking Books program. One sub-regional library has already been lost and others may be at risk. Some individuals report they are receiving slower service. Although $75,000 was put back into the librarys budget, the House and Senate took slightly different actions, so it will be necessary to watch the situation carefully. The enhanced Talking Books budget funding will be a wrap-up legislative issue.

KABVI also worked on the law which provides substantial fines and jail time for persons convicted of cruelty to animals. This law applies to police, service, fire, and rescue dogs and/or other animals.

Guest Presentation: Steve Stambaugh and Sonya Bess, of Envision explained reasons for believing that Envision should administer the Older Blind program in Kansas, which is now known as Kan-SAIL. They then answered questions from board members.

Mary T. Adams Educational Seminar and Upcoming KABVI Convention: The Mary T. Adams Seminar will be held Friday, November 3, 2006, at the Courtyard by Marriott in Salina. Room rates will be $79 per night if reservations are made by October 20.

Topics for the seminar will be bioptic driving and pedestrian safety. Dr. Lewerenz will make final arrangements for the seminar. He, Bob Chaffin, and Michael Byington were authorized to determine appropriate fees to cover costs. A box lunch will be served. Speakers tentatively include: Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D. University of Alabama, two hours, on Reasonable Field of View; James Nolan, Ph.D. Envision, 2 hours on Bioptic Driving - A Scientific And A Personal View; Martha Bean, Kansas Department of Revenue, 1 hour, Kansas Laws Regarding Bioptic Driving; and if possible, Ike Presley of the American Foundation for the Blind, 2 hours, on Pedestrian Safety. Continuing education credit will be available for optometric assistants, optometrists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation counselors, vision rehabilitation therapists, and social workers. Exhibitors will be available from 11:30 to 1:30 and will be given short opportunities to discuss their products. Strong efforts will be made to insure that Power Point screen presentations are adequately described or fully read for blind and visually impaired participants. The discussion of pedestrian safety will be last on the program to allow a greater number of consumers to attend. The Kansas Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (KAER) will not be sharing meetings and expenses with KABVI this year.

Saturdays convention theme will be When Vision Doesnt Work. A box lunch will be made available Saturday noon. A speaker will be invited from ACB and is yet to be announced. Following a banquet on Saturday evening, a board of directors meeting will wrap up festivities on Sunday.

Assistive Technology Project: Twelve of the computers that were donated to KABVI have been checked and are in working order. They do not yet have assistive programming installed. So far there has been no cost for this project.

Some Committee Appointments: The need for a committee to investigate strategies for providing revenue to the organization was discussed. Michael Byington, Bob Chaffin, Mikel McCary, and Mark Coates were suggested for appointment to the committee, and others will be contacted. The president was authorized to set up a business strategies committee to include at least two board members, other individuals as needed, with the president and treasurer as ex officio members. Another thrift store recently opened in Topeka and it appears a thrift store is not a viable idea.

Gloria Lefort and Ann Byington will plan the upcoming KABVI convention program.

Online Interactive Discussion on Visual Impairment: Gloria Lefort reported local activities to involve visually-impaired persons in a 10-month series of programs concerning macular degeneration and related retinal diseases. The program is sponsored by Macular Degeneration Support. (MD Support) The series is made possible by a monetary award from the National Eye Institute of Washington D.C.

Monthly programs are currently attended in the Garden City area at 907 North 10th. This interactive, online opportunity is available to groups and individuals anywhere in the country and is sponsored by the National Low Vision Support Group (NLVSG). Through internet conferencing the NLVSG strives to educate seniors with retinal diseases about the resources available to them. It is hoped the program will spread to locales where seniors can come together to participate. The entire schedule is provided as past sessions can be viewed since they have been archived.

National Low Vision Support Group (NLVSG)

2006 Web Conference Session Schedule

March 2006 through December 2006

2nd Thursday of each month 3 pm - 4 pm (CST)

Braille Institute


741 N.Vermont Avenue

Los Angeles,CA 90029

Reserve your seat by calling: (323) 663-1111,ext.1279

APRIL 13: “Current Treatment and Research”

MAY 11: “The T.A.S.K. of Living With Central Vision Loss”

JUNE 8: “Learning to Live with Low Vision: A Journey Through Rehabilitation”

JULY 13: “Machines, Magnifiers, and Gadgets”

AUGUST 10: “Household Hints for Easier Living”

SEPTEMBER 14: “Straight Talk About Cope-ability”

OCTOBER 12: “Nutrition for Healthy Eyes”

NOVEMBER 9: “With the Heart One Sees Rightly ”

DECEMBER 14: “Living with Macular Degeneration –

Hoping for Coping”?

For a detailed, step-by-step set of instructions for accessing these seminars, either in a group setting or as an individual, go to <http://www.mdsupport.org/nsg/kit.pdf> Google.com will allow this file to be viewed as an html file, if you cannot access adobe acrobat reader files.

Dr. Abio Sokari of the Kan-SAIL Program will be invited to speak at the next meeting.

The next Board of Directors meeting date is July 29 in Salina. Dr. Lewerenz will arrange the location, possibly the Public Library.


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