Volume 41 Winter, 1998 No. 4

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Published Quarterly by The Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc.
P.O. BOX 292
Topeka Kansas 66601

An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind





TOPEKA KS 66606-1753

200 E 32ND
HAYS KS 67601




Send address changes to:
Harold Henderson, Mail Coordinator
1010 Inverness
Wichita KS 67218

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NOTIONS by Nancy Johnson








MARATHON SWIM by Sharon Luka

DR. NESMITH WAS RENOWNED EYE SURGEON by Nicole Koch, The Wichita Eagle







by Sanford J. Alexander, III

Things certainly have been moving at a hectic pace over the

past couple of months. It seems the more that one does, the more

remains to be tackled; and, the only thing you have with more

time to do things are more things to do!

In my last column I spoke about the upcoming KABVi

convention and the possibility of the question of promoting

efforts to establish a Commission for the Blind in Kansas. Well,

the events I expected did happen but so did several that were

less certain or unexpected.

The K A B V I convention passed, and the Board ratified a

resolution designed to address the Commission question. I

attended the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas

convention in response to the invitation issued to me by Diane

Hemphill at our convention. Just prior to attending the NFBK

convention, I learned of the death of Dr. Kenneth Jernigan. At

the NFBK convention K A B V I representatives were well received and

had an opportunity to observe how things looked under a slightly

different lens. That convention passed only one resolution but

it was an important one; it called for the NFBK to undertake

efforts to establish a Commission in a resolution quite

compatible to the one passed by K A B V I. I met with NFBK president

Susie Stanzel to discuss forming a joint committee to negotiate a

Commission Bill both organizations could vigorously support.

As I write this column, I am reviewing events of yesterday

(November 13, 1998) which can have far-reaching meaning for all

blind and visually impaired Kansans. The Division of Services

for the Blind (DSB) Advisory Committee met and discussed many

issues of importance; but, none more important than what the

future of specialized services for blind Kansans would be.

Commissioner Joyce Cussimanio was present for the first part of

the meeting before leaving for another meeting and Assistant

Commissioner Dennis Rogers, who appeared at the K A B V I convention

for Commissioner Cussimanio who was unable to make it due to

family emergencies, attended the entire meeting. The questions

of what might be the possible futures for the RCB and KIB were

energetically discussed with it being stated that the question of

being forced to vacate the present location at 6th and McVicar

was beyond discussion. Commissioner Cussimanio was advised that

legislation to preserve this location might be introduced. The

afternoon was devoted to a lively discussion revolving around

many of the historic concerns that have been brought to the

present and previous Commissioners. Mr. Rogers, who was to

attend the next meeting to consider formation of a study group

was offered a healthy portion of the group's feelings, concerns,

hopes and exasperations. He was told, as have been many others,

that the blind community did not oppose constructive change

leading to improvement of services but did vigorously oppose

change for change's sake or that would lead to a dissolution of

the high quality of specialized services presently in place.

Commissioner Cussimanio returned from her meeting in Kansas

City for the 3:30 meeting, chaired by Laura Howard, Special

Assistant to Secretary Rochelle Chronister, Dennis Rogers,

Suzannah Erhart, Susie Stanzel and myself. The two hour meeting

would be impossible to condense in a short space but the

highlights included a frank discussion of our concerns, a

demonstration of solid unity between the K A B V I and the NFBK on

the issue of preserving categorical services for the blind, a

promise that there was no hidden agenda or preconceived

conclusion on the part of SRS, a commitment to develop a working

committee that would review the entire scope of services to blind

Kansans provided through DSB, a guarantee that all stakeholders

would be kept informed in an effort to minimize anxiety over

troublesome issues, and a clear presentation of the solid

commitment the consumer groups have to do everything possible to

protect the best interests of all blind Kansans. The reasons for

some of the mistrust of Commissioner Cussimanio were discussed

and she was asked to be clear and forthcoming in presenting

information. Ms. Stanzel and I presented our position that if

categorical services was not a common point of agreement, the

efforts of the proposed work group would be pointless; but, if

Commissioner Cussimanio's pledge of doing everything to provide

quality services included a commitment to separate, identifiable

and comprehensive quality services for blind and visually

impaired Kansans, we would support her completely. We pointed

out that the need to present clear, unambiguous information was

essential. Both Susie and I also advised the rest of the group

that our organizations had embarked on a campaign to establish a

commission for the blind which was an effort not easily halted

once launched and that we would be working as hard as we could on

parallel tracks. Mr. Rogers assured us that abandonment of

efforts to establish a commission would not be made a

prerequisite to working with SRS on the evaluation of current


What does it all mean? From my perspective, this was one of

the most important days in the history of services for the blind

in the state of Kansas. It saw one of the most impassioned

expressions by the blind community regarding its concerns, fears

and hopes. It saw the intervention of the SRS Secretary's office

in a way long-sought but always illusive. It witnessed some of

the closest cooperation between KaBVI and NFBK in our histories.

It demonstrated how much more we agree upon and how choosing to

set aside those points upon which we do not agree can clear the

path to cooperation on our common goals. It saw expression of a

commitment to quality services by SRS and a promise to work with

us in achieving them. It gave us yet another opportunity to

state our willingness to examine every aspect of DSB services if

such exploration was sparked by a desire to improve services

within a categorical framework that has been proven over history

to be the most effective delivery system. It may, perhaps, even

be the day the importance of and reasons for categorical services

was finally internalized and truly understood by the state

officials responsible for directing DSB programs.

Our peers in Pennsylvania are leading the way for us on this

matter. The Commission Bill they were able to get passed along

with another from Arizona and the last one K A B V I and NFBK worked

on in 1987 served as the models from which the current proposed

Bill were crafted. The Capitol rally in Harrisburg on September

29, 1998 at which 800 blind people gathered serves as our model

of how the two major consumer groups can join hands on the truly

vital common interests. The response they received from an

already enlightened Legislature holds hope out to us that we,

too, can present our case in a way enabling our legislators to

understand this complex question. The reality of our unity on

issues that will determine what, perhaps if any, services will

exist for blind and visually impaired Kansans in the future, may

awaken a sense of responsibility and commitment on the part of

those in Government resulting in a review and (if and where

necessary) a revision of current services with the goal of

improving them.

Most of all, from my perspective, it marks the point in

history where our efforts to date have reaped their results, one

of which is the prospect of much hard work on all our parts to

determine whether these outcomes become realities or just visions

of what could have been.


by Nancy Johnson

The holiday season will have come when you read this. I

struggled with this issue because I'd rather have fun with this

space than launch into disturbing thoughts. Conscience won't

allow that in this year's climate so, before it gets heavy, best

wishes to you and yours for this and future holiday seasons. May

they be filled with peace and happiness for you and yours. I

pray future generations enjoy opportunities for success at least

as great as I have had.

It scares me to think individuals with impaired vision or

blindness may no longer have opportunities to overcome those

impairments. I'm convinced all concerned for the well-being of

present and future generations must majorly strengthen efforts to

insure that opportunities remain. If that means fighting, then

each of us must enter the battle.

An IMPAIRMENT, according to the World Health Organization,

is an organic disfunction. A person with an impairment of vision

has experienced a malfunction of the eyes or vision system that

cannot be fully repaired. Residual physical effects remain.

A DISABILITY is the inability to function as would an

individual without an impairment. Persons with impairments of

vision cannot see as others do. Disabilities result from

impairments. They don't go away. Individuals minimize

disabilities by surmounting psychological barriers, by learning

alternative skills and techniques and by using assistive devices.

Changes in life style result and individuals again become


A HANDICAP is the result of individuals not learning the

skills and techniques necessary to minimize disabilities. Some

individuals choose not to learn to adapt and thus reduce their

participation in society. They handicap themselves. Society

handicaps individuals when it allows the existence of barriers

that prevent their full participation in activities.

Blindness and impaired vision ARE disabilities. Persons

with blindness or impaired vision are responsible to work for,

and have the right to achieve, the same goals as any other

persons. Most individuals with impaired vision or blindness

prefer to be taxpayers rather than tax receivers. All who can

work want to be allowed to work, yet over 70% are unemployed or

underemployed. Only about 30% now hold jobs!

Individuals with impaired vision or blindness want to

overcome their disabilities. Millions of individuals with severe

impairments of all varieties have successfully done so by

learning specific attitudes, skills and techniques. They

shouldn't have to re-invent solutions. Individuals having

educational training or life experience with specific

impairments, such as impaired vision, have expertise and

credibility when sharing their knowledge.

Services (such as those provided by DSB - Division of

Services for the Blind) geared specifically to the needs of each

disability group are society's most effective tool to assure

persons with disabilities are able and have equal opportunities

to contribute maximally to society.

Services to enable persons to overcome the effects of all

types of medical conditions are imperative for successful

recovery of individuals with all varieties of illness. Services

to enable persons to overcome the effects of all types of

impairments are imperative for successful habilitation and

rehabilitation of individuals with sensory, physical, emotional,

cognitive and other disabilities.

Services directly applicable to a specific category of

illness or disability (categorical services) are the specialist

level in medicine and rehabilitation. As there is a need for

medical specialists, so there is a need for rehabilitation

specialists. The next time you have a toothache, visit your

ophthalmologist. And check with your dentist to see why things

look blurry. You wouldn't do that - would you? Dentists and

ophthalmologists provide categorical medical services. By the

same logic, persons who are blind or visually impaired don't seek

orientation and mobility training from professionals with

expertise in using a wheel chair, or vice versa.

K A B V I as an organization, and each member as an individual,

must work to combine and streamline care and services whenever

possible. But, individually and together, we must fight for the

rights of every individual to get special help when special help

is needed. Every individual with a disability - no matter the

category - must receive adequate training and have maximum

opportunities to contribute to society. Individuals who are

blind or visually impaired must continue to receive needed

services for successful independent living and employment.

Because of services

provided by DSB, - flawed as it may be - I'm a taxpaying citizen

today. Rehabilitation teachers helped me fine-tune independent

living techniques. I worked with vocational counselors to earn a

college degree and, more than once, to find jobs. Generations of

individuals with impaired vision and blindness - over 75 years

through K A B V I - have fought to earn and maintain opportunities to

achieve those goals.

Disbanding DSB and the services it provides in the name of

saving taxpayers money would raise significant barriers. How

much tax money will it save when training is not available to

minimize the effects of visual impairments and individuals cannot

earn enough income to contribute to society? When the 30% of the

up-coming visually impaired or blind population, who could

develop independent living and employment skills, don't receive

needed rehabilitation services and become tax receivers

(collecting but returning nothing) will taxpayers accept that?

When seniors enter nursing homes because "I can't see," will

taxpayers support that? Employers and taxpayers today are (I

hope) not willing to support those who can care for and support


My wish for this holiday season is that all persons - with

disabilities or not - enter the new century secure in the

knowledge that they have at their doorsteps whatever they need to

achieve their goals - whatever those goals may be! K A B V I is

fighting to make that happen. Please help K A B V I however you can!

Individuals with blindness or impaired vision, become involved

individually and with K A B V I; You and society will benefit!



by Michael Byington

Those who attended our 1998 State K A B V I Convention will

recall we adopted a resolutions stating that, if categorical

services for people who are blind continue to be threatened by

Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services

officials, if closure or dismantlement of services offered

through the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind occurs, or if

discriminatory hiring practices against blind employees at Kansas

Industries for the Blind are not corrected, then perhaps it is

time to re-visit active work on legislation removing the Kansas

Division of Services for the Blind from the quagmire of SRS and

making blind services in Kansas a free standing Commission

answering to the Governors office and to blind Commissioners

appointed for the purpose of operating the service delivery

system. It would appear that specific progress has not been made

on these issues. We also adopted a resolution stating that, if

legislation is attempted to create a free standing commission for

the blind in Kansas, K A B V I should work with other organizations

of the blind to increase chances for success.

Such organizations might include the National Federation of

the Blind of Kansas (NFBK.) At its State Convention in october,

1998, NFBK adopted only one resolution. It states they want to

work on a freestanding Commission bill. NFBK President Susie

Stanzel stated they see no reason to continue to hope these other

issues work out positively. They quite clearly are not doing so.

At this writing, K A B V I Legislative Chair Mary Adams, President

Sanford Alexander, and myself in the capacity of K A B V I Vice

President, have conferred and we largely agree with the NFBK

sentiments. We have had some meetings concerning the three

issues listed at the beginning of the article. There may be

positive progress toward resolving some of the issues at lower

levels, but there is certainly no guarantee that any of the

issues will be resolved in favor of blind Kansans by the current

SRS administration.

We have thus met with Dick Edlund, Vice President of NFBK,

President Stanzel, and Jerry Griggs, an NFBK member. We are

working toward the introduction of a joint bill for a

freestanding Commission for the Blind in Kansas. The

representatives of both organizations have so far found the

working relationship to be amicable, and we are hoping and

attempting to make every effort to keep them that way. We did

not have trouble on agreeing concerning basic features of the

specific bill to be proposed. We will keep readers posted as

this effort moves forward.

One thing I would ask is that we do not forget the other

issues we said we would work on through our resolutions. We

probably need to be actively working toward our dream of a

freestanding State Commission for the Blind. This may be

achievable, although I suspect it will be a long and protracted

battle. At the same time, we have said that we plan to work on

such issues as better communications accommodations for Kansans

who are developmentally disabled and deafblind, improving

assessment of literacy and particularly Braille literacy of blind

students in Kansas, and strengthening of the Kansas State Use

Law. All of these issues are important, and perhaps more

immediately achievable than our Commission. We need to work as

hard as we can for the Commission, but we must not let the other

issues go by the side of the road because our focus becomes too



by Nancy Johnson

The Pre- and post-convention Meetings of the K A B V I Board Of

Directors were held at Day's Inn, Topeka, Kansas, September 25

and 27, 1998.

Members who have volunteered time on K A B V I projects need to

report their hours to Sanford Alexander. The information is

needed to document activities for the Internal Revenue Service.

Nancy Johnson reported newsletter production moved more

slowly than usual this quarter. The newsletter will now be dated

by season rather than by month. The change in proofreaders

caused additional mailing of disks and required more time.

Efforts to solve remaining braille formatting problems continue.

K.A.B.V.I. NEWS is reputed to be one of the nation's best

newsletters. This is due primarily to the quality work of

contributors and help from

the editorial committee. Members were invited to submit articles

of interest.

Board members understood K.A.B.V.I. NEWS would be posted on

the American Council of the Blind (ACB) bulletin board and web

site. This has not yet happened. Jay Doudna, member of the ACB

Board Of Publications, said ACB is coping with personnel changes

and a new Web master is not yet available. he agreed to look

into the problem.

Although Vehicle Donation Processing Center (VDPC) sold

eight vehicles, a balance of $1700 remained to pay for publicity

and advertising. When this expense is met, K A B V I will begin

receiving funds from auto auctions.

Mary Adams, Legislative Committee Chair, does not hesitate

to phone legislators and discuss bills under consideration, but

she needs help. K A B V I needS three lobbyists to talk with

legislators about bills of interest AS THEY are evaluated.

Janelle Edwards and Don Johnson will be called first. Beulah

Carrington will act as backup lobbyist. Required fees will be

paid by K A B V I.

A committee was appointed to review K A B V I's by-laws and to

make any necessary recommendations at the Board's January

meeting. Janelle Edwards will chair the committee with members

Michael Byington and Bob Chaffin.

Work on a brochure for K A B V I continues under the direction

of Public Relations Committee chair Sandra Evans. The

organization needs Long range plans relative to dissemination of

information about K A B V I, statewide organization, development of

affiliate relationships, strategies for working effectively with

affiliates, strategies to increase membership, and methods to

involve members more actively in sharing the workload.

The board unanimously accepted the motions and resolutions

passed by the convention.

Four directors are elected annually by the convention. Each

serves a three-year term. The Editor of the K A B V I NEWS is an ex-

officio board position, though Nancy Johnson now serves as a full

board member. Officers serve one year terms. The Chair and

vice-chair of the board must be directors. Other officers and

committee members may be directors or may be chosen from the

membership at large. A list of directors follows the newsletter.

Harold Henderson announced he would like to resign as

membership secretary but he will serve until a replacement is

found. Membership rosters are stored on computer in WordPerfect

5.1 format and can be converted to another system if necessary.

The membership secretary is not a part of the membership

committee. This officer accepts dues, maintains an up-to-date

membership roster, sends the current roster to the treasurer, and

sends official communications to all members. The membership

list is confidential to K A B V I, is not a public record and is not

released to other organizations or companies.

Committees (except legislative) will remain as they are

until the January board meeting. Then new committees will assume

responsibilities. Legislative committee appointments were needed

because the committee is active year-round. The chair is Mary T.

Adams, 412 Topeka Blvd, #3, Topeka, KS 66603: Phone; (785)

235-3315. Members include Bonnie Byington, Michael Byington,

first lobbyist Janelle Edwards, second lobbyist Don Johnson, Eva

Kurtz, Lucille Parli and David Schwinn. Third (backup) lobbyist

Beulah Carrington will not be a legislative committee member.

Three $500 scholarships were awarded by K A B V I in 1998 to

outstanding students with grade point averages of 4.0. When

K A B V I receives verification of a student's first semester college

enrollment, $250 is sent. The second $250 is sent upon receipt of

verification of the student's enrollment in the Spring semester.

If students do not provide timely verification of enrollment, the

scholarship is withdrawn. K A B V I will offer up to three $500

scholarships for the 1999 academic year. Scholarship Committee

guidelines, explained in application materials, specify timely

verification of enrollment is required to receive scholarship


An ACB resolution observed Lions clubs have drifted away

from helping persons with impaired vision or blindness. Kansas

Specialty Dog Services, (KSDS) Washington, Kansas, plans a

meeting Saturday, April 17, 1999, co-sponsored by K A B V I and

including representatives of Kansas Lions Clubs. The purpose of

the meeting is to discuss issues of importance to persons with

visual impairment or blindness and how Lions can help.

Transportation may be available through local Lions Clubs. In

conjunction with this event, K A B V I will conduct a Board retreat.


K A B V I members perform numerous small charitable and

educational acts. Please let directors know about these when you

learn of them. Tracking them is every bit as important as

tracking funds.

The Recording Secretary's tape recorder, used to record

K A B V I conventions and other activities, needs replacement. K A B V I

will cover the cost of a new Marantz 110 PRO, 4-track, 2 speed,

high quality recorder for recording K A B V I functions.

The next meeting of the K A B V I Board of Directors will be

January 23, 1999, in Salina. at the First Church of the

Nazarene, 1425 S. Ohio.



Several events have come together to form a most exciting

happening scheduled to take place this Spring.

A 1998 American Council of the Blind (ACB) resolution

observed Lions clubs have drifted away from helping persons with

impaired vision or blindness. It was felt that the ACB,

primarily through efforts of its state and special interest

affiliates, should take steps to reverse the trend of a widening

gap between this influential service organization and the blind

people for whose interests it was created.

Kansas Specialty Dog Service, Inc. (KSDS) Washington,

Kansas, was making plans for a meeting to discuss issues of

importance to persons with visual impairment or blindness and how

Lions can help They also wanted to take the opportunity to

showcase the many breathtaking improvements they have made

including the construction and opening of a new puppy center and

a tremendous training center. Lions clubs have been

reviewing some of their prevention of blindness, specialized

programs and other activities.

The three events will come together into one combined "Focus

Day 1999" to be held on Saturday, April 17, 1999 at the KSDS

facility located at 128 W. 7th Street, Washington, Kansas. The

event is planned to start around 10:00 in the morning and

conclude by 3:00 and will include a tour of the KSDS facility, an

opportunity to visit the Lions mobile screening bus, a discussion

of the ACB resolution calling on Lions clubs to refocus their

primary activities in the direction of blindness related

projects, and an opportunity for K A B V I members to get to know

Lions better and to gain more familiarity with KSDS which is a

unique training facility we are fortunate to be able to boast as

Kansas' own. A lunch will be available for approximately $6.00.

As part of the effort to increase closer working

relationships, it is hoped local Lions will be able to provide

transportation for blind individuals in their area. If this

aspect of the day develops as envisioned, the seed of a

transportation system for blind people to be able to use to get

to other statewide events may be planted. Lions Clubs are

encouraged to make this means of surmounting the transportation

barrier available and blind and visually impaired individuals

interested in attending the event should not be bashful about

making their transportation needs known to their local clubs.

For more information and to make a reservation, please call

Mike Renner at KSDS: (785) 325-2256. It will be most helpful in

making sure that arrangements are adequate for the number

attending this event if you make your intention to attend known

as early as possible.


by Ann Byington

The advisory Board of the Kansas State School for the Blind

(KSSB) met Friday, November 20, 1998, in the Johnson Building

conference Room. New staff were introduced.

Sheila Damm is a teacher in the Extended Day program. Mrs.

Damm has a background in both vocational rehabilitation

counseling and rehabilitation teaching. She is incorporating

independent living skills into dormitory activities. Her

students are learning to cook burgers and fries, as well as

ironing for that "special night out." Mrs. Damm's

rehabilitation teaching background makes her an especially

valuable addition to staff.

Another new staff member is Kim Liebert. She has completed

the two-year degree program in Deaf/Blind at Boston College.

Nancy Parker, from florida, is a Library of Congress

certified braille transcriber who is working on completing the

Nemeth Code transcription course. Mrs. Parker's primary

responsibilities include brailling materials for students at

Shlagel High School, but she is also kept busy providing on-site


Qi Yu, is a Chinese orientation and mobility instructor with

a degree from Western Michigan University. She teaches in the

elementary and life skills programs at KSSB.

Virjean Terrel, Outreach Coordinator, introduced Patricia

Dewbury, who has an extensive teaching background in

developmental disabilities, public administration, and teaching

the visually impaired with an emphasis on deafblindness. She

also brings skills in adaptive technology and teaching deaf

students braille, as well as assisting with editing the Outreach


Bob Damm, Sheila's husband, works as an orientation and

mobility instructor in the Outreach program. Mr. Dam brings

twenty years of nursing experience as an RN, as well as a

vocational rehabilitation counseling component to the orientation

and mobility degree from Western Michigan.

Another on-site review of the Quality Performance

Accreditation school improvement plan is focusing on creating a

data base for storing large amounts of data on individual

students and is also creating a tracking mechanism for measuring

individual progress data on each student. Such data will be

documentation for students who attend KSSB for an average of less

than three years. For these newer students, KSSB acts to address

specific student needs as described by the local district with

the goal of returning the student to the local program and

providing follow-up outreach services.

William Daugherty, KSSB Superintendent, reported on the

Oregon Trail outreach activity. This trip involved "immersing

kids in an integrated curriculum with all of the academic areas

to hone in on a historically-based journey going up the Oregon

Trail from Independence, Missouri, where the trail started, to

Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, where Chimney Rock and other monuments

which guided travelers on the trail are located." Camping,

outdoor skills, orientation and mobility, low vision aids use,

writing journals, and most interesting, the opportunity to meet

Oregon Trail history buffs along the way, made this an

outstanding opportunity for low vision students to gain a more

personal history experience. Plans for the next trip may include

students from Nebraska, as well as integration of this activity

into the regular KSSB school curriculum. Besides the original

Oregon Trail computer game, schools can now participate on the

Internet as wagons in a train on the trail, necessitating group

decisions about how far they will travel during a day, what to do

about dwindling food for the animals, and choices of route based

on drought, flood, etc.

Last year, KSSB received a $68,00 grant from budget

stabilization funds to install a local area network (LAN) linking

all on-campus computers for students and staff, and providing

Internet access. KSSB also now has its own Web page with

information of particular interest to parents who can see their

children participating in KSSB school activities. While the Web

address isn't quite ready for release, Mr. Daugherty can be reach

at suptksb@sound.net.

Chuck Tyrell, vocation coordinator, reported on the SWEATS

program. Goals included placing students in real jobS off

campus, gaining experience with co-workers and supervisors,

developing strategies for getting to and from work on time, and

adapting skills to a job. Fourteen students from the Kansas City

area, three from Junction City and eleven from Wichita

participated in the program while remaining in their hometowns.

Funding came from JPTA and other sources. Job activities

included work at a printing company, animal caretaker at a zoo,

Social Security office worker, day care program worker, service

worker and cashier at Cow Town, a deafblind student worker at the

Veterans' Administration hospital, cafeteria worker, auto

detailing, library jobs, and working at the city pool. Most

students earned at least a thousand dollars for their summer

efforts. They spent four days a week on the job and used the

fifth day to problem-solve with each other and to gain

information from consumer groups and other employed adults.

Wichita is planning to use this experience to kick off its own

program. KSSB staff will be taking the program to other areas of

the state. Job development in local school districts is also

being done during the school year. To date, the employment focus

has been in nonprofit businesses, but the hope is to expand

services and placements into the business community.

Mr. Daugherty reported creation of a leadership team

composed of department heads with supervisory responsibility for

all aspects of campus activity, from housekeeping and maintenance

to resource center and nursing staff. The function of the team

is to facilitate better, more accurate in-house communication.

In responding to the need for better co-ordination between KSSB

and the Division of Services for the Blind, (DSB), he also noted

that KSSB has a representative on the DSB Advisory Committee. The

SWEATS summer grant program was also cited as another example of

a coordinated activities relevant to both organizations. Of

particular interest to K A B V I members was a request by Mr.

Daugherty that both consumer groups provide KSSB with a list of

members who would be willing to participate in outreach

activities. If you are interested in participating in such a

collaborative effort, please contact Ann Byington, 909 SW

College, Topeka, KS 66606, phone: (785) 233-3839, or e-mail



by Janelle Edwards


On Saturday, October 24, 1998, I was lucky enough to

experience the Kansas State versus Iowa State football game in a

very special way. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of Kansas State

Sports Information Director Kent Brown, my husband Jon (who is

sighted) and I were granted press passes to cover the game for

K.A.B.V.I. NEWS. This allowed us to get very close to the

playing field before and during the game.

Before the game and related festivities began, I learned

some specific information about a college football field and pre-

game activities. The football field's artificial turf is a

little bit spongy. When I touched the turf, it felt like a

prickly carpet. Although Kansas State was heavily favored in the

up-coming game, thirty minutes before game time I heard a

defensive coach say to some players, "If you don't play hard, we


When the game began, Iowa State received the football and

almost scored. Subsequently the Wildcats did play hard and win

the game 52 to 7. What a game!

Thanks to our press passes I experienced the game, from

almost any spot, just twelve feet out of bounds. Three times

during the action it was prudent to quickly move because players

were coming out of bounds in our vicinity. One of them ran right

through the spot where we had just been standing.

We were not hurt in any way, but not all of the players were

that lucky. In one instance we heard the pain in the voice of an

injured player and the concern of the official and trainers who

cared for him.

Thanks to our proximity to the field, I heard many actual

game sounds. The loudness of the sound of bodies colliding

during tackling amazed me. Occasionally (for the spirited crowd

and excellent band could be noisy) I also heard the count, the

ball being snapped and received, and the receipt of a pass.

At the post game news conference Coach Snyder was asked

various questions, some of which were too technical for me to

understand. He discussed things he thought his team did very

well and things that need to be improved in the future. He also

said something I think applies to all of us. "Everyone gets

their chance in life, you just don't know when it will come."


by Beulah Carrington

Two of the three scholarship recipients spoke briefly during

the banquet at the 1998 K A B V I Convention in Topeka. Needless to

say, each recipient has a commendable grade point average.

Jennifer Schiffelbein (Topeka) attended Emporia State

University for two years and currently is enrolled at K-State

University. Her first year of course work at K-State will be

transferred back to ESU and she will graduate in May of 1999 with

a chemistry degree. On completion of her second year at K-State,

she will have earned a Bachelors degree in chemical engineering

with emphasis on new materials development. At both

universities, Jennifer has been an active participant and leader

in community and on-campus organizations and projects. She

enjoyed volunteering in a program making home repairs for the

elderly. She is an accomplished singer, flutist and ballet

dancer. She enjoys theater, jazz and modern dance.

Chrissie Frahm (Topeka) is a freshman at Sterling College.

She plans to graduate in 2002 with a Bachelors degree in

Psychology and then to earn a Masters degree in clinical social

work. In high school she was active in academic clubs, chorale

groups and was in several plays. She has volunteered in the

Elementary school system. Chrissie enjoys creative writing and

involvement in church and community projects.

Brian Rust (Manhattan) was unable to attend the convention

due to a departmental obligation on campus. He looks forward to

graduating from K-State in May, 1999, with a Bachelors degree in

electrical engineering with a major in power systems and a minor

in economics. His first two years of study were spent at the

Georgia Institute of Technology. He plans to work in the

electric utility industry or designing power systems for a

consulting firm. He is a research assistant in the Engineering

Department. This year he is president of the student branch of

the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He

volunteers as a tutor in business law with Educational Support

Services. Brian enjoys playing basketball, reading, and playing

the trumpet.

The Esther V. Taylor (EVT) Scholarship was created in

September, 1986, honoring the memory of Mrs. Esther Van Deman

Taylor, Kansas City, Ks. Mrs. Taylor was born August 4, 1900 and

died December 13, 1994. Blind herself, she was a dedicated

educational leader and advocate for blind students. Mrs. Taylor

worked a lifetime to obtain greater support and appropriate

educational programs for students enrolled in kindergarten

through post-secondary years.

As funds in the Scholarship account are available and as

qualified applications are submitted, the EVT Scholarship fund

provides grants to students enrolled in college undergraduate

courses, graduate study, vocational training and trade school



by Michael Byington


Both President Alexander and I were guests at the 1998

National Federation of the Blind of Kansas (NFBK) convention at

the Four Points Hotel in Wichita this October. We were treated

cordially, and we want to thank the NFBK leadership for this.

Their convention was about the same size as K A B V I's, but

NFBK does some things to make their convention appear larger. I

do not think K A B V I needs to make changes because of what NFBK

does, nor do I think K A B V I should avoid a particular convention

style simply because NFBK does it and K A B V I does not want to be

like them. Either extreme would be petty. I believe K A B V I can

learn from what other organizations do, however, and perhaps use

ideas that seem to have merit.

NFBK has their meeting room set in classroom instead of

theater style. Having the tables in the room creates better

places for people to write and take notes. It also makes the

room look more full of people. If you have a third as many

chairs in a room, it is much easier to fill them all. There is a

certain public relations advantage to this.

NFBK does not allow exhibits to be open during convention

meetings. In fact, this year, they did not have a formal exhibit

room. The advantage is that everyone present has to attend the

meetings because there is nothing else to do. Psychologically,

this makes NFBK look big and intense to such outside observers as

State officials. It also prevents people from having choices and

from getting valuable information and products from exhibitors.

NFBK pays the entire convention expenses for students, not

just for their scholarship winners, but for any students who are

willing to attend. K A B V I pays partial expenses for its

scholarship winners to attend its conventions, but it has not

been paying the full load for its students. I could argue that

many currently middle-aged K A B V I members did not have anyone

helping us get to conventions when we were students. We had to

scrimp and save in order to attend and we paid our convention

fees the old fashioned way; we spent our money on them. The fact

is, K A B V I is losing students to the organization which is the

highest bidder. This is the reality of today. The new fund

raising activities K A B V I has implemented are beginning to show

positive results. Perhaps soon K A B V I will be in a position to

pay for students in total if it chooses to do so.

Many reasons remain for the existence of two advocacy

organizations of the Blind. The national NFB dignitaries who were

sent to the convention used ample rhetoric to demonstrate that

they had no regard for any service provider who was not a part of

an NFB facility, and they made a point of suggesting that any

person who works with or for an agency accredited by the National

Accreditation Council (NAC) did not, in the NFB way of thinking,

have the best interest of blind citizens in their hearts. The

suggestion was that such individuals are out to hurt blind

people. NFB State officials, however, could not have been nicer

to work with. There does seem to be considerable hope that the

two organizations can differ concerning certain national policies

and structure but, at the same time, unite at the State level to

advocate for the mutually agreed best interests of blind Kansans.


by Sharon Luka

John Muir urges: "Climb the mountains and get their good

tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into

trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the

storms their energy, while cares drop off like autumn leaves."

How does one climb the mountains to receive their good

news? How does one receive energy from the storms?

Isn't life filled with tricky currents and waves which try

to stifle and quench our hearing of good tidings? Daily we are

tossed by waves or currents of varying speeds. At times the

current enables us to set goals; at other times it forces us to

meet those goals and often we strike plateaus along the way.

Think of the words of Kierkegaard when pondering your daily

endeavors of work, play and in changing what it means to be

blind. "It is not the path which is the difficulty. It is the

difficulty which is the path."

About two years ago Randy Nutt of the Coral Springs Master

Swimmers' Association urged me to pursue the sixteen-mile

marathon in Greece. The dream began to dawn at a slow steady

course. The vision gained energy with hours and miles of swimming

in a pool whose only current was the intermittent motion of other

swimmers. Direction of the dream cleared as I learned bits of the

Hellenic language. Its reality pulsed as my crew and I boarded

the aircraft and headed over seas, to a new horizon - a new time

zone. We left for Nikiti July 21, 1998, and arrived at the

Geranion Village Hotel early afternoon on July 22.

Nikiti sits about 600 kilometers north of Athens by car.

Its scenery is picturesque, primitive yet modern. The hotel rooms

were cabin-like, with a simple bed and furniture. Each morning a

rooster announced a new day decked with dazzling waves of


The most striking thing about Nikiti is its people and

their hospitality. They are caring, charming, and zealous about

life in general. They rally in support of the goals of others.

The vision of the swim began to fulfill itself on the

morning of Saturday, July 25, with an hour-long bus ride to the

starting line at the Palini Beach Hotel. Having had little sleep

due to travel and general excitement, I marvel at the strength

God supplied for the long trek.

The first path of interest was the cooler water upon which

small waves danced. The ripple-like motion seemed to persist

throughout much of the day.

Wafting waves afford a rich environment for sea life. About

half way through our east-northeast crossing, I was told to stop

swimming due to "boat congestion." Later I learned that the "boat

congestion" consisted of a large manta ray.

Much of the journey proceeded smoothly through the tenth

mile. The length and breadth of the confrontation with the sea

brings to mind the second verse of a hymn given to us by Oscar

Ahnfelt: "Every day the Lord Himself is near me With a special

mercy for each hour; All my cares He fain would bear and cheer

me, He whose name is Counselor and Power, The protection of His

child and treasure is a charge that on Himself He laid; "'As thy

days thy strength shall be in measure,'" This the pledge to me

He made."

About an hour and a half into the eleventh or twelfth

mile,I learned I had covered very little ground. I swam the last

three and one-half hours in place against the tidal current. The

water flowed at a speed of a mile and a quarter per hour. I swim

at this pace. Thus, I was unable to reach shore.

In considering the struggle of those final hours, I ponder

the words of Katherine Hepburn: "I can remember walks as a child.

It was not customary to say you were fatigued. It was customary

to complete the goal of the expedition."

Provision of God's strength and my crew's encouragement

helped me conquer a suitable distance to receive the medal and

trophy. I covered about fourteen miles in thirteen hours and

twenty minutes.

I am astonished at the depth of patience exhibited by my

boat guides George and Knick of Greece, and Frank and Lynne Will

of Florida. Much patience was exercised as the crew worked long

hours in the hot sun in a thirty-nine foot fishing boat which

contained no seats.

Gratitude embraces me when I ponder the waves of kindness

shown by other participants and the people of Nikiti as they

waited for the arrival of the last swimmer. When my crew and I

reached land and proceeded on stage, we were met with the

exuberant cheers of two thousand voices! Never before have I

experienced such a warm, welcomed home coming! It makes me think

of the words of Anne Sullivan: "No matter what happens, keep on

beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start over again, and

you will grow stronger until you find that you have accomplished

a purpose - not the one you began with, perhaps, but one you will

be glad to remember."

I want to thank the citizens of Nikiti for their constant

hospitality, warmth and kindness. It is my dream to return again

to Nikiti, learn more of its people and customs and strive to

reach that salty, cool, sparkling blue shore.

I also want to thank the American Council of the Blind,

Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the

National Federation of the Blind, my family, The Victors Company

of Florida, other consumer groups and individuals who, through

selfless giving, made this exciting expedition possible.

Think again of the words of John Muir: "Climb the mountains

and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as

sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own

freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares drop

off like autumn leaves."

Recall Kierkegaard's words, too, in your daily endeavors of

work, play and in changing what it means to be blind: "It is not

the path which is the difficulty. It is the difficulty which is

the path."

I will always be glad to remember this exciting privilege!


by Nicole Koch

The Wichita Eagle, November 7, 1998

Victim of Plane crash had patients from all over the world.

When Seth Nesmith thinks of his dad, he sees the blue waters

of the Gulf of Mexico and a father and son soaring high above

them. "It was a good time to catch up on conversation -

flying across the ocean with him," Seth Nesmith, 23, said softly.

Dr. Leslie Nesmith, 58, of Augusta, died Wednesday (November

4, 1998) doing what he loved most - flying.

While on a maintenance check of his twin-engine plane, Dr.

Nesmith and his friend, flight instructor Phil DuPont, 62 of

Wichita, crashed in a pasture in northern Cowley County.

Authorities had not determined the cause of the crash by

Friday (November 6.)

Patients from all over the world sought the

ophthalmologist's expertise. While at Harvard, Dr. Nesmith

studied under a pioneer of retinal surgery.

Richard Nibarger of Towanda wouldn't be able to see his 5

month-old baby if it weren't for Dr. Nesmith; he restored

Nibarger's eyesight.

"That's a gift," Nibarger said. "I don't know how you give

something like that, but he gave it to me."

Cade Nesmith, 21 and youngest son of Dr. Nesmith, said

besides going to KU football games with him, he'll miss his dad's

discipline the most.

"He brought me up really good," Cade Nesmith said. "He was

strict with me and made me into the person I am."

Britt Nesmith, 23 and daughter of Dr. Nesmith, said her dad

was the most admirable man she knew.

"He loved his work," she said, crying quietly. "He was a

personable guy. He was genuine."

Dr. Nesmith was known to stay until midnight working with

patients, said Dr. Henry Bumgardner of Wichita.

"Not only was he a good friend," Bumgardner said, "but he

was a person that you admired."

Dr. David Crum, of Augusta, a friend of Dr. Nesmith for 24

years, said his loss will have a tremendous impact on the eye-

care community.

"His cooperative attitude, his willingness to be available

by phone, his excellent teaching skills and his ability to


outstanding patient care," Crum said, "All that combined elevated

the quality of the delivery of eye care."

Dr. Nesmith was born Sept. 7, 1940, in Lawrence, where his

father, Dean, was the longtime athletic trainer at the University

of Kansas. He graduated from Lawrence High School in 1958,

received a bachelor's degree from KU in 1962 and graduated from

KU Medical School in 1966.

After a stint in the Air Force, Dr. Nesmith finished his

residency in 1971 and began a fellowship at Harvard under Dr.

Charles Schippens, the father of modern retinology. Dr. Nesmith

moved back to Kansas in 1974 where he began his practice.

Survivors include: sons, Trent, Luke, both of Augusta, Seth

of Hawaii, Cade of Lawrence; daughters, Brooke of Augusta, Britt

of Lawrence; mother, Norma; sister, Ida Tilden, both of Kansas

City, Kan.; one grandchild.

A memorial has been established with Great Plains Diabetes

Research Inc.


by Michael Byington

Envision opened a small retail facility in downtown Topeka.

Grand opening was December 9, 1998. The retail operations are

now called "White Canes and More." The stores sell adaptive

equipment used by people who are blind or low vision to work and

live more independently. Most of the items sold to date were

lower technology (white canes, talking clocks, talking watches,

Braille watches, bold line paper, signature guides, etc.)

While the stores will continue to carry these items, more

complex technology will now also be available, (talking

microwaves, talking computers, enlarging software, etc.) The

Name will soon change to "Envision Technologies Center." The new

Topeka Location is at 924 S. Kansas Avenue, Topeka. Its local

telephone is (785) 354-4747. The toll free number is (888)

350-3107. Pam Rusk was hired to operate the Topeka retail

facility. Pam has extensive experience as a Randolph-Sheppard

vendor and has managed her own business in downtown Topeka.





(TAVIS) sold all their braille mugs and most of their key chains

during the convention. They had a tasty Thanksgiving dinner in

November and enjoyed a Christmas party in December.


(SKAVI) welcomes its new officers. President Gordon Gary is a

long-time resident of Dodge City. Vice-President Lois Jackson is

from Jetmore. SKAVI presented the White Cane Safety Day

Proclamation to the Mayor for signing October 6. SKAVI sponsored

a booth at the Phi Beta Phi Sorority Christmas bazaar in

November. The organization paid for the booth. Members who

brought handwork or baked goods took home the profits from sales

of their products. Maggie the teddy bear "collected" donations

and was given to some lucky person whose name was drawn at the

end of the activity. A Christmas party, complete with goodies,

happened December 6, 1998. A slate of officers will be presented

by the nominating committee in January, 1999, and election will

take place in February.


members spent a pleasant June day in Abilene. Thirteen members

had lunch at the Kirby House Restaurant and visited places of

interest in the small town. On the way home, the group stopped

at the Russell Stover Chocolate factory. NKAVI co-sponsored the

All American Breakfast with the American Legion in October.




TELEPHONE SCAM: Some telephone users have received phone

calls from individuals who say they are AT&T service technicians

conducting a test on the line. They ask the user to touch nine,

then zero, then pound (90#) and then hang up. Don't do it!

According to the phone company, (and verified through the GTE

Security Department) pressing nine zero pound as requested gives

the caller full access to your telephone line. This allows the

caller to make long distance calls which will be billed to your

phone number. The scam reportedly originates from local jails


ESTHER V. TAYLOR SCHOLARSHIPS: K A B V I again will award up to

three scholarships for the 1999-2000 school year. Requests for

applications may be made after January 15. Write to Beulah

Carrington, Committee Chair, 1171 SW Woodward Ave, Topeka, KS

66604. Completed application forms and required supporting

material must be postmarked no later than April 10, 1999.


professor and director of the rabies lab at Kansas State

University, Manhattan, Kansas, earned the Guide Dog Users, Inc.,

(GDUI) Access Partners Award through her expert testimony in a

lawsuit against the state of Hawaii. Briggs won for dog guides

the opportunity to enter Hawaii without quarantine. She is only

the fourth individual to win the award voted upon nationally by

members of DDUI.

RFB&D BLIND/VI SCHOLARSHIPS: To qualify for Recording for

the Blind and Dyslexic's Mary D. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement

Awards, an applicant must be a legally blind senior at an

accredited four-year college or university in the United States

or its territories. Call 800-221-4792 for additional information

and an application.


non-profit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of

aniridia and associated conditions. The organization originated

in Canada and now has members from seven countries. For more

information contact CFAR, 3780 Verdun Avenue, Suite 2, Montreal,

Quebec, H4G 1K6. Phone or fax (516) 761-5998.


Intrust Bank, with branches in: Wichita, Haysville, Derby, Valley

Center, El Dorado, Ottawa and Johnson County, offers a service

that allows you to quickly and easily pay your bills by simply

using your telephone. The complete Touch Tone Bill-Pay users

Guide and System Name Code list are now available in braille.

You may obtain a copy by contacting the bank customer service

department at 383- 1234 or toll free, 800-895-2265. The

brochures are bound in a three-ring, Intrust notebook. The Touch

Tone Bill-Pay service will let you pay bills every month and you

can even schedule those regular payments such as rent or mortgage

to automatically be paid on the date you select. The service is

quick and easy to use.


Telephone Reader will celebrate its first birthday January 23,

1999. The service is used nearly five hundred hours per month by

about 160 individuals.

NEW WHITE CANES AND MORE store is located at 924 Kansas

Avenue in Topeka. Congratulations to its new operator, Pam Rusk!

See article elsewhere in the newsletter.




HUBERT SANDER, Victoria, died September 14, 1998. The life-

long resident of Victoria operated a lumber yard in Victoria for

44 years. He worked as a bingo night volunteer for the Northeast

Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired for two years.

KATHARINE LAUDEMAN, age 81, Topeka, died October 16, 1998.

She and her husband Norman managed vending facilities at the

State House and at the Capital Building in Topeka for many years.

DR. LESLIE NESMITH, 58, Augusta, died November 4, 1998. He

was a renowned eye surgeon who had patients from across Kansas

and around the world. (See article elsewhere in the

newsletter.)A memorial has been established with Great Plains

Diabetes Research Inc.



The year shown indicates expiration of the director's term.

If you wish to correspond with a director, please do so using the

listed method if at all possible. However, if a director prefers

braille (for example) and you do not know braille, do not

hesitate to contact the director by any method you can legibly

produce. Directors want and need your comments.


1999 Chair: Sanford J. Alexander III, Wichita (disk)

1999 Vice-Chair: Michael Byington Topeka (disk)

2001 Correspondence Secretary: Regina Henderson, Wichita (disk)

1999 Recording Secretary: William Lewis, Wichita (disk)

1999 Treasurer: Robert Chaffin, Hays (disk)

2000 Membership Secretary: Harold Henderson, Wichita (disk or print)



2000 Beulah Carrington, Topeka (disk or cassette)

2000 Janelle Edwards, Wichita (disk or braille)

2001 Darlene Howe, Wichita (large print)

2001 Georgia Layton, Topeka (braille or cassette)

2001 Tom Roth, Topeka (disk)

2000 Newsletter Editor: Nancy Johnson, Topeka (braille, large print, disk, print or cassette, no handwriting, please)


The End

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Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc.
924 S. Kansas Ave.  •  Topeka, KS  66612
phone: 785-235-8990  •  toll free in KS: (800)-799-1499

email: mail@kabvi.org