Volume 41 Fall, 1999 No. 3

Click here for Table of Contents
Click here to learn more about the K A B V I Newsletter


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




Assistive Technology for Kansans

Credit and Banking Survey


News Media Contact

MAKING CELL PHONES DISABLED-FRIENDLY by John Schwartz, Washington Post Staff Writer

Helen Keller Pamphlet Raffle Winner

Air Capital Telephone Reader Expands Service Area By Steve Bauer





SENATE VOTE BLOCKED BY PHIL GRAMM (R-TX) May 27 acb-l Message from "Norma A. Boge" <naboge@eart

DISABLED WORKERS MAY KEEP HEALTH BENEFITS by Helen Dewar Washington Post Staff Writer

REV. WILSON HEADS BLIND PEOPLE'S NEW ASSOCIATION Topeka Daily Capital, September 4, 1921


K A B V I Member Honored By Steve Bauer



Calendar of Events

K A B V I 2000 Application Form


By Sanford J. Alexander, III

It was my honor and privilege to again head the Kansas

delegation at the American Council of the Blind convention. This

responsibility is not taken lightly as I believe I must try to

reflect the views and desires of those of you not able to attend

the convention in person.

This year I was proud to see a resolution passed on an issue

brought to our attention by a K A B V I member. His concern over the

inequity that currently exists with respect to the amount of

earnings allowed under the Railroad Retirement system as compared

to that allowed under Social Security is now shared by the entire

organization and will have the attention of the ACB staff. This

proves that one voice can be heard; and once heard, make a


It is also instructive to note how many national issues

are the same issues with which we are struggling in Kansas. This

gives me reassurance that we are traveling down the broad highway

of concerns, not lost on a back road of insignificant problems.

This is reflected on the state level when we look at local

affiliate issues as compared to those being addressed on a

statewide level by KaBVI.

Major themes that surfaced during convention included: A

great amount of concern over pedestrian safety issues; taxi access

by guide dog teams; the importance of audible pedestrian signals;

and concerns surrounding the form of future employment for blind

and visually impaired people in the world of emerging technology.

It was also instructive to observe that ACB's democratic

philosophy does not allow us to move forward in lock step with a

dictator calling the shots. Views from different perspectives are

heard and often listened to. These voices of dissent, however,

have not been so loud that they have caused us to stray off the

paved road. In my speech from the convention floor nominating

Brian Charlson for his second term as ACB First Vice President, I

urged the membership to realize that we are facing unfriendly

forces outside of ACB that represent more of a threat to our well

being than do our own internal differences and that as our 747

picks up speed on the runway, it is not the time to switch people

in the front two seats. This addressed a rather clear choice for

the membership in terms of leadership philosophy. Given the

choice, they chose to stay the course that has proved to be so

beneficial to all of us over the past four years and re-elected

Brian to continue in his role as Paul Edward's chief assistant.

On the issue of pedestrian safety, ACB has heard a great

deal of discussion about recent traffic deaths. It has also

witnessed a tremendous amount of discussion on the listserv over

the different philosophies surrounding travel skills and the degree

to which environmental access is enhanced by warning systems and

audible pedestrian signals. Charlie Crawford, ACB Executive

Director, summed up the predominant viewpoint with the following


"With all do respect to those who go on and on about good

mobility skills, I am really concerned that anyone would seriously

believe that this will get a person to where they need to go on all

occasions. Why is there this need to hold on to the notion that

good mobility is all that is needed? Perhaps those who cling to

this notion could not face the idea that there philosophical

underpinnings are just not up to life in our current times?

Perhaps the world that we grew up in should come back and we would

have all these predictable crossings, but it is not coming back and

if we don't fight like hell to get our environment accessible to us

then we all will be signing up for paratransit. That is the

reality whether we choose to accept it or not.

"It might interest folks to know that pedestrian deaths are up

13 percent in Atlanta for just one example, and the trend ain't

going down guys. So enough with the hiding behind this mythology

of good mobility is all that is needed. Of course it is needed,

but it ain't gonna save us in all circumstances for sure. Even

with the accessible signaling, we will not be totally free of risk

from weird drivers and the like.

"The thing that really ticks me off is how hard we are

fighting to level the playing field while some of our friends from

NFB and even this list keep screaming the world is flat."

From my perspective, I can report that convention has

reassured me that we are making progress toward achieving the goals

established by the founders of K A B V I. We do, however, have a bit

more traveling to do on this road before we reach that dreamed

of destination of full equality and independence.

Please help K A B V I conserve resources. If you are able to

receive the newsletter via E-mail, you would assist in reducing

production costs. As a bonus, you will receive the newsletter

earlier than the other formats as it will go out with the disks

needed to produce them. If you are interested, please contact the

Membership Secretary, Barbara Alexander, at 5321 Plaza Lane,

Wichita KS 67208 or by phone at 316-652-0852.


by Nancy Johnson

Who are we - this organization called the Kansas Association

for the Blind and Visually Impaired (K A B V I?) What are we all

about? The organization may seem to have changed majorly in recent

years. It has undertaken projects that only a few years ago would

have been considered unthinkable.

K A B V I is a not-for-profit corporation organized exclusively

for charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of

Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Some of its

objectives are:

* To provide support, services, guidance, information,

education, programs and/or consultation to all individuals or

groups concerning the welfare and needs of persons who are severely

visually impaired, blind or deafblind.

* to promote the general welfare of these persons by

disseminating information and educational materials and/or by

providing program sponsorship.

* Programs focus upon the need for rehabilitation of persons

who are severely visually impaired, blind and deafblind and the

education of the public regarding the needs of these individuals

for rehabilitation and education relating to the social and

economic adjustments facing them.

K A B V I is bound to operate within the laws of Kansas and the

United States and has the authority necessary to do so. The

Corporation may not operate for the purpose of earning a profit.

No part of the net earnings of the corporation may benefit or be

distributed to its members or any other private persons. The

corporation is authorized and empowered to pay for actual

expenditures or services rendered to or for the corporation and to

make payment and distributions in furtherance of the purposes

outlined above.

K A B V I is a membership corporation. Membership is open to the

general public. The corporation may NOT issue capital stock or

dividends, but it may issue certificates of membership. The Board

of Directors has all powers granted by Kansas law and statutes and

is the governing body of the corporation except that amendments to

the Articles of Incorporation shall be approved by the majority

vote of the number of voting members of the corporation present at

a special meeting of the members held for that purpose or at the

annual meeting of members.

It seems to me K A B V I has come a long way in its efforts to

improve the lives of blind, severely visually impaired and

deafblind Kansans and developed a corporation with continued

educational and charitable objectives. I think its definitions of

"charitable" and "educational" may have evolved and perhaps

broadened. It is extremely important that you communicate your

ideas and concerns to K A B V I's directors. Though the Board of

Directors conducts the business of the organization, YOU - ITS

MEMBERS - ultimately determine the direction of the organization by

communicating with the Directors and by participating in the

conducting of business at the annual meeting and convention.


by Michael Byington

I have heard many blind Kansas adults, several who are capable

Braille users, speculate that "they just aren't teaching Braille as

competently as they used to." There probably is some truth here.

We know State staff who assess blind students who are graduating

from Kansas High Schools tell us that, while there are certainly

exceptions, the literacy levels of many blind high school students

have on the average declined over the past ten to twenty years.

We know we likely have a problem with literacy among blind

students in Kansas, but we do not know the magnitude. We know we

need more competent and qualified Braille teachers in Kansas, but

we really do not know how severe this problem is either because we

do not know how many legally and totally blind children, who

should be receiving Braille training, are instead being taught

other less appropriate, useful, and practical methods of literacy.

This is why K A B V I worked with some other advocacy

organizations of and for the blind to introduce, and get passed

into law by the Kansas Legislature, House Concurrent Resolution

5010. Representative Jonathan Wells, (D, Wichita) a former high

school teacher and principle, was instrumental in helping us get

this Legislation introduced.

The resolution calls upon the Kansas State Board of Education

to conduct a study of literacy among blind Kansas students. Grade

level reading achievements are to be assessed and compared with

those of sighted students. Multiply disabled blind students are to

be included in the study and compared with sighted students who

have otherwise similar disabilities. The assessment is to include

an analysis of whether the most appropriate reading media is being

used for each student. Lastly, but certainly no less important,

the study calls upon the State Board of Education to develop a

corrective action plan to remedy any deficits discovered.

The legislation was put into House Resolution form because of

some eccentricities in the Kansas Constitution. The Constitution

in our State separates powers for the education of the children of

Kansas very carefully between the Kansas Legislature and the State

Board of Education. The Legislature provides the funding base for

the State's educational system, but education policy is made by the

State Board.

Therefore, in passing this Legislation, our work is only half

done. We now have to advocate with the State Board of Education to

see that the study is carried out.


by Nancy Johnson

The Board of Directors of the Kansas Association for the Blind

and Visually Impaired (K A B V I) met at the First Church of the

Nazarene in Salina, Kansas, July 24, 1999. All directors were

present. Minutes and treasurer's report were accepted as


Members were reminded the Board of Directors is not an

advisory body. It is a decision-making board.

K A B V I made a donation for the 1999 operation of Camp Mitchell

near Dodge City. The children's camp was not held this year and

leaders offered to return the donated funds. Board consensus was

for the money to be kept by Camp Mitchell for year 2000 camp


Bonding of the treasurer was renewed. The membership

secretary will review statements monthly to maintain a check and

balance system. Form 990 has been completed for the Internal

Revenue Service (IRS) and forms for the state have been completed.

K.A.B.V.I NEWS is now available via E-mail. If you have an E-

mail address, please contact Sanford or Barbara Alexander and the

newsletter will be sent to you by E-mail. A web site is on the

agenda for the near future. The NEWS will be available there as

well as on the web page of the American Council of the Blind (ACB.)

Helen Keller's pamphlet was won by a lady from Colwich,

Kansas. Money earned from sale of the tickets was $407.33. The

vehicle donation project has produced income of $12,438.26. The

Vehicle Donation Processing Center plans soon to have a web site.

Through the work of Carol Hands-Keedy and other members of the

legislative committee, one major victory was achieved. Assurance

was gained that some type of program equivalent to that now

provided by the Division of Services for the Blind (DSB) will

continue to exist.

Unfortunately, the same language did not pass for Kansas

Industries for the Blind (KIB.) The language involving KIB says

arrangements must be made for all workers to be able to receive

similar wages and similar benefits. Concern continues that efforts

will be made to undo the progress that has been made. The governor

still wants KIB closed, and SRS still wants it gone.

The bill to establish a Kansas Commission for the Blind and

Visually Impaired lives on. House Bill 2534 was the result of

joint activity between K A B V I and the National Federation of the

Blind of Kansas (NFBK.) The bill would remove services for persons

who are blind from under the SRS umbrella and give more control of

services to the blind people being served.

In states that have commissions, services have been delivered

cost-effectively. The commissions have cost no more than is being

spent now in Kansas. Recipients of the services have acquired

better jobs. More individuals have been served. The Director of

the Budget has determined through a fiscal note that a commission

would not cost the State of Kansas any more than the present DSB

now costs.

The Optometric Practice Bill was discussed. The bill allows

payment for more low vision services but not for more low vision

aids. It is a step toward more third party payment for low vision

rehabilitation services. Whether programs such as Kan-SAIL or

services provided by the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind (RCB)

are in jeopardy was questioned. A distinction was made between low

vision rehabilitation and low vision rehabilitation services. Low

vision rehabilitation is medical. Low vision rehabilitation

services such as provided by Kan-SAIL and RCB are not medical.

Further clarification is needed.

The Telecommunications Access Program (TAP) has a $55,000

income limit. TAP has requested the Kansas Communications

Commission (KCC) to remove this guideline based on the premises

that it is an equal access issue and the program is not a welfare

program. Southwestern Bell agreed with the KCC that the limitation

should stand. Carol Hands-Keedy and the other members of the

Legislative Committee were commended for the work they have done

this year.

The Public Relations Committee presented specially designed

golf shirts for Board members and special T shirts for participants

of the Get REAL Project. The shirts and other specially designed

items are available for sale. The K A B V I logo on the items is the

outline of the State of Kansas with sunflowers in the center and

the letters K A B V I in the upper left-hand (northwest) corner of the

state. Golf shirts are $22. T shirts are $12. Tote bags in two

sizes are available for $15 and $10. Come prepared to get yours at

the convention.

The Nominating Committee submitted the names of Michael

Byington, Sanford Alexander, William Lewis and Robert Chaffin for

re-election to the Board of Directors. Nominations may be made

from the floor during the up-coming annual membership meeting and


Beulah Carrington chairs the Scholarship Committee. It is the

final year of the traditional Esther V. Taylor scholarship awards.

Six individuals applied for scholarships. Three awards were given.

Recipients included Jennifer Voelzke, Laura Landry and Chrissie

Frahm. Congratulations are in order for these three young ladies.

Each scholarship is $500. Recipients are required to submit

documentation showing enrollment by September 30, 1999 and January

1, 2000. Two payments of $250 each will be paid to award

recipients upon receipt of documentation.

Scholarship awards will be replaced by Project Get REAL, which

will be funded through the Esther V. Taylor Scholarship account and

handled by the Education Committee. Chuck Tyrrell from the Kansas

School for the Blind, Nan Cookus from the Topeka Public Schools and

Nancy Bailey from the Wichita Public Schools will join the

education committee to work on the project.

Convention packets will soon be mailed. Please return your

completed registration as soon as possible. This year plans are to

make table space available for note-taking, so please indicate the

meetings you plan to attend. Affiliates will be allowed table

space in the exhibit area at no cost to sell items for their


A Lions Liaison Committee was formed as a result of the April

Focus Day in Washington, Kansas. The committee includes Floyd

Britting, Don Johnson, Charles Taylor, Lindinburg Emery and Kendall

Krug. The purpose of the committee is to build a bridge between

Lions Clubs and severely visually impaired and blind consumers to

help them work together more closely. At this time, Lions focus on

prevention and do some excellent work in that area.

Another new committee formed was the Chapter Structure

Committee consisting of Sandy Evans, Janelle Edwards and Sanford

Alexander. The purpose of the committee is to look at the way

K A B V I's chapters are set up to try to improve and expand the number

of chapters affiliated with the organization.

Efforts are underway to sponsor a Mary T. Adams symposium for

professional persons working in the field of vision impairment and

blindness. Involved in preparations are: Dr. Kendall Krug,

Michael Byington,K A B V I vice president; Dr. Marvin Kuehn of Emporia

State University and Don Cox of Envision. The symposium is planned

during the year 2000 K A B V I convention. Plans are to provide

Continuing Education Units for participants.

A lengthy discussion of the need for competence by persons

with impaired vision and blindness in the field of technology

ensued. A Technology committee was appointed including Michael

Goren, Michael Byington and Harold Henderson. K A B V I now has an

office and a telephone. However, the organization has no other

equipment and no staff to look after the office and handle phone

calls. The need for state-of-the-art technology and someone

trained to man the Web site and handle inter-net correspondence was

discussed. The advantages of the inter-net in compiling and

producing K.A.B.V.I. NEWS were reviewed. Board members learned no

existing agency is now making a major effort to provide state-of-

the-art technology training to visually impaired and blind job

seekers. Demonstration equipment is available, and up-to-date

equipment is available for purchase. But those in the state who

are providing training cannot meet the demand.

Estimates indicate that, within ten years, a person with

impaired vision or blindness who does not possess computer skills

will not be employable. Keeping in mind the organization's motto,

"Every person a self-supporting citizen," it seems apparent K A B V I

must move into the field of technology training. To begin this

process, the Board took two giant steps. The organization will

purchase a state-of-the-art computer system for the office which

will include an optical scanner and a brailler. Since she prepares

the newsletter using her home computer, Nancy Johnson volunteered

to learn to use the new system and to help handle some of the

office work. The new system will be the first step in development

of an up-to-date technology center where blind and visually

impaired job seekers can obtain necessary technology skills.

The second giant step taken by the Board was to contract

Michael Goren, who has developed several technology centers across

the country, as a consultant for one year to develop funding

sources and provide guidance in the development of K A B V I's

technology center. The center will be operated under the guidance

of the K A B V I Board of Directors and managed initially by Mr. Goren.

Development of a technology center is a major expense and a

major responsibility for K A B V I. When the importance of the project

to future job seekers with impaired vision or blindness was

considered, a majority of Board members agreed to undertake the


The next Directors' meeting will be convened in conjunction

with the annual meeting and convention October 22, 1999.



September 29th, 30th and October 1st, 1999


The 6th Kansas Disability Caucus will be held in Topeka, KS on

September 29th, 30th and October 1st, 1999. People with all types

of disabilities, of any age, representing every county in the state

are invited to attend. The purpose of the Caucus is to develop new

disability leadership in Kansas, to educate Kansans with

disabilities about the mechanics of the policy making process and

encourage their participation in it, to determine major issues

facing Kansans with disabilities and to elicit solutions for issues


In previous Caucuses the purpose has been for Kansans with

disabilities to focus on statewide identification of barriers to

living independently and full participation in their

communities. This year the focus on the Kansas Disability Caucus

will bring people together to look at resolving those identified

barriers therefore, the theme is: SOLUTIONS! NOW AND BEYOND. To

effect solutions people will gain information about self-advocacy

and how to effect systems change. Participants will meet by

legislative district to formulate statements of concern and action

steps to address those concerns.

We will have solution booths available to provide access to

experts. These booths will be available throughout the Caucus to

pick up information and answer individual concerns. Nationally

recognized speakers will be presenting information throughout the

entire Caucus.

We've identified the barriers in the past (transportation,

housing, enforcement of ADA, work disincentives, etc.). During

this caucus session we will ask you to be prepared to share problem

solving techniques that have worked for you in removing barriers in

your community.


by Michael Byington

Envision's bringing Steve Cuusisto, author of the best selling

novel Planet of the Blind, to Kansas offered an opportunity for the

presentation of an unusual form of art. Cuusisto's book is a

memoir dealing with his journey from low vision at birth to near

total blindness. It deals with the adjustments and acceptances he

has had to accomplish, and it does so through an exquisite prose


On June 12, 1999, a readers theater presentation of cuttings

from Cuusisto's Planet of the Blind was presented at the East

Wichita location of Border's Bookstore. All of the readers were

blind or legally blind, and the cuttings were read from Braille or

large print scripts.

Readers Theater is an art form seldom performed in the mid-

west, but it is a popular form of literary performance throughout

the history of the arts. The materials are not memorized, but the

reading is rehearsed and usually includes some stylized movement.

Reader's Theater was much more popular in the United States prior

to the invention of radio.

Performers for the Cuusisto presentation included: Gwen

Tweedy, Robert Smith, Regina Henderson, Don Cox, Ann Byington, and

Michael Byington. Michael Byington served as editor and compiler

for the reader's theater script and as theatrical director.

The 40 minute performance was done before an audience of about

50 following a book signing hosted at the bookstore for Cuusisto.

The performance presented excerpts moving from Cuusisto's childhood

to his adulthood when he was at last able to accept his blindness,

partially through the acquisition of his guide dog, Corkie.

Cuusisto commented, "I was very touched to hear my words read

by other blind colleagues. I had never heard some of the parts

which were in the script read aloud, and it was very moving."

Michael Byington said he does not want to see the presentation

end with one performance. "This is done partially for political

reasons," he said. "We have just passed some legislation in Kansas

dealing with the need to improve literacy among blind Kansans. I

can not think of a more powerful tool to promote literacy among the

blind than a presentation of a book about adjustment to blindness

through the prose stylings of blind readers. I hope we can keep

performing this piece throughout communities in Kansas both because

of the beauty and message of Cuusisto's book, and the message we

need to keep promoting about the importance of literacy for people

who are blind."


Assistive Technology for Kansans Credit and Banking Survey

July 14, 1999

To: Survey Participants

From: Chris Smith, Policy and Development Analyst


The Assistive Technology for Kansans project is exploring

various options that persons with disabilities might use to acquire

assistive technology. We are particularly interested in expanding

credit and banking options for persons with disabilities. The

information we gather from the enclosed survey will be shared with

finance professionals to help us develop these new options.

If you are completing this survey for a friend or family

member, please answer the questions from their perspective. The

project is collecting this information from persons across the

state and will not link names to the data. All finance

information will remain confidential. However, if you would like to

sign your survey or provide additional comments on financing

assistive technology, please feel free to do so. Thank you for

participating in this effort to expand credit and banking options

for persons with disabilities.

Please return completed surveys to:

Assistive Technology for Kansans

2601 Gabriel Avenue

PO Box 738

Parsons KS 67357-9943



Please circle one in each category:

Age Annual Income Employment Status

0 - 3 $0 - $10,000 Employed

4 -10 $10,000 - $20,000 Unemployed

11-16 $20,000 - $30,000

17 - 21 $30,000 - $40,000

22 - 55 $40,000 - $50,000

56 - 60 $50,000 - $60,000

61 - 65 $60,000+



1. Do you have a bank account? ___ Yes ___ No

If no, would you like to have one? ___ Yes ___ No

If yes, what type? (check all that apply)

___Savings ___Checking ___Retirement ___Other


2. Do you save money on a regular basis? If so, how often do you save?

___monthly ___every couple of months ___a couple of times per year


3. Do you have a credit card? ___Yes ___No

If no, would you like to have one? ___Yes ___No


4. Do you have a charge account at a store? ___Yes ___No


5. Can you obtain a loan from a bank or credit union? ___Yes ___No


6. Can you obtain a loan from a family member or friend? ___Yes ___No


7. Do you need help managing money or paying your bills? ___Yes ___No


If yes, would you consider getting this help from a credit

union that specializes in working with persons with disabilities?

___Yes ___No


8. Do you own your home? ___Yes ___No

If not, would you like to save money toward that goal?

___Yes ___No


If you had access to loans or credit, what would you want to

buy? _________________________________________________________


News Media contact:

July 14, 1999

Audrey Spivack at (202) 418-0500, TTY (202) 418-2555



Promotes Independence in the New Millennium

Today the FCC adopted rules and policies to implement Section

255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Section 251(a)(2) of

the Communications Act of 1934, that require manufacturers of

telecommunications equipment and providers of telecommunications

services to ensure that such equipment and services are accessible

to and useable by persons with disabilities, if readily achievable.

These rules will give people with disabilities access to a broad

range of products and services þ such as telephones, cell phones,

pagers, call-waiting, and operator services, that they cannot use


Today's action represents the most significant opportunity for

people with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with

Disabilities Act in 1990. The rules adopted today require

manufacturers and service providers to design telecommunications

equipment and services with the needs of people with disabilities

in mind. In developing these rules, the FCC relied heavily on the

Access Board guidelines for equipment developed pursuant to section

255, months of productive discussions with interested parties from

the disability community and industry, and a careful analysis of

the appropriate precedent under the ADA and other statutes designed

to remove access barriers.

Our nation has an estimated 54 million Americans with

disabilities. Persons with disabilities are the largest minority

group in the United States, yet despite their numbers, they do not

experience equal participation in society.

Access to telecommunications can bring independence. The

disability community has told the FCC of the frustration of not

being able to check the balance of a checking account using

telecommunications relay service, or not being able to tell if a

wireless phone is turned on, or not being able to use a calling

card because of inadequate time to enter in the appropriate

numbers. The FCC has received numerous reports from relatives of

senior citizens saying that their elderly parents could live on

their own, if only they had telecommunications equipment that they

could use.

The benefits of increased accessibility to telecommunications

are not limited to people with disabilities. Just as people

without disabilities benefit from the universal design principles

in the ADA and the Architectural Barriers Act (for example a parent

pushing a stroller over a curb cut), many people without

disabilities will also benefit from accessible telecommunications

equipment and services.

Indeed, many of us already benefit from accessibility features

in telecommunications today: vibrating pagers do not disrupt

meetings; speaker phones enable us to use our hands for other

activities; increased volume control on public pay phones allows us

to talk in noisy environments.

The FCC expects many similar results from the rules adopted

today. More importantly, we all benefit when people with

disabilities become more active in our communities and in society

as a whole.

Statistically, most Americans will have a disability, or

experience a limitation, at some point in their lives. While 5.3%

of persons 15-24 years of age have some kind of functional

limitation, 23% of persons in the 45-54 age range experience

functional limitation. The percentage of those affected by

functional limitations increases with age: 34.2% of those aged

55-64; 45.4% of those aged 65-69; 55.3% for those aged 70-74 and

72.5% for those aged 75 and older. The number of persons with

functional limitations will also increase with time. Today, only

about 20% of Americans are over age 55, but by the 2050, 35% of our

population will be over age 55.

Today, most Americans rely on telecommunications for routine

daily activities, for example, to make doctorsþ appointments, call

home when they are late for dinner, participate in conference calls

at work, and make an airline reservation. Moreover, diverse

telecommunications tools such as distance learning, telemedicine,

telecommuting, and video conferencing enable Americans to interface

anytime from anywhere. Understanding that communications is now an

essential component of American life, Congress intended the 1996

Act to provide people with disabilities access to employment,

independence, emergency services, education, and other


More specifically, telecommunications is a critical tool for

employment. If telecommunications technologies are not accessible

to and usable by persons with disabilities, many qualified

individuals will not be able to work or achieve their full

potential in the work place. Congress recognized the importance of

creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities with

Title I of the ADA, which addresses the employerþs responsibilities

in making the work place accessible to employees with disabilities.


At a time when Americans are experiencing the lowest

unemployment rate in years, unemployment among people with severe

disabilities is roughly 73%, and when employed they earn only

one-third of people without disabilities. The rules the FCC

adopted today give employers expanded tools with which to employ

and accommodate persons with disabilities.


+== acb-l Message from "Debbie Cook" <debcook@eskimo.com> ==+

For those of you who are interested in the proceedings

regarding section 255, you can find both an audio and text

transcription at the FCC web site at http://www.fcc.gov. The text

transcription is actually from the live captioning so you'll find

that a bit difficult to read since many words are not transcribed


I really do recommend hearing the audio portion if you can and

I'll summarize it briefly to peak your interest. There was a

presentation on how readily achievable telecom access really is.

Dave Bolnick from Microsoft spoke first and described the

philosophy of designing access into products from the start. He

also demonstrated talking cellular technologies. Then Paul

Schroeder from AFB received a call on his cell phone which was

identified using talking caller ID. Next gregg vanderheiden talked

about how all the components needed to make this technology

accessible in accordance with the recommended guidelines is already

available in the phones but needs redirecting. for example, he

demonstrated digitized speech in a very tiny phone. This phone

could hold four minutes of digitized speech but only one minute was

required to achieve full access. He also made important comments

regarding the impact of aging on the need for accessibility and

said his efforts were largely self-serving which of course got a

good laugh. Finally Jerry Field of WGBH demonstrated the new closed

captioning which will be required for digital TV's. Of interest to

some of us is the idea that captioning fonts, contrast, size etc.

would be user defined.

Many are concerned that the standard of "readily achievable"

is going to be too low and nothing will change. And I think we need

to be concerned about this. But it was clearly evident that the

innovations demonstrated yesterday are indeed quite readily

achievable and at little cost.

I too would like to thank everyone who contacted the FCC on

this important issue. There will be many more opportunities for

you to do this during the coming months so watch for more

information to come.

You should find the FCC site very accessible and easy to use

but if you have difficulty locating the audio or text transcripts

and need assistance please let me know and I'll try to assist you.

I think you'll find it quite interesting.

Debbie Cook



By John Schwartz, Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 14, 1999; Page E1

"Cellular phones that provide clear sound over hearing aids

or"speak" usage instructions to the blind could become commonplace

under rules that federal regulators plan to enact today.

The new rules to be ordered by the Federal Communications

Commission would require that new telecommunications products and

services be usable by people who are physically disabled, and could

ultimately transform the telephones and services used by every

American, said FCC Chairman William E. Kennard.

"This action represents the most significant opportunity for

people with disabilities since the passage of the Americans With

Disabilities Act of 1990," Kennard said, calling the new regulation

"the ADA for the information age."

The communications industry is largely on board with the new

rules. Objections that some companies raised at the draft-rule

stage were worked out, several industry representatives said.

Disabled people have long complained that many of the

mass-market products sold by the telecommunications industry are

useless to them. People who use hearing aids, for instance, often

have trouble talking on cell phones because the electronics in the

two devices conflict. Simple modifications could make usable the

high-tech devices that have become common in daily life for many


Many of these features could come about simply by tweaking the

software in today's phones, said Gregg C. Vanderheiden, a professor

of industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin. For

example, the small screens that are showing up on more and more

phones could be engineered to provide readouts for a text

transmission system used by the deaf. Some of the benefits, such as

voice commands for people unable to use their hands, would be

enjoyed by anyone using the upgraded equipment, Vanderheiden said

- in the same way that television closed captions are used by

people who want to watch TV with the sound off.

Vanderheiden has created a prototype cell phone with a special

diamond-shaped button that allows users whose fingers might bump

unwanted keys to select the buttons they want and then confirm the

choice. That button can also be programmed to make the phone speak

the function of the other buttons, so that the phone can be more

easily used by the blind.

Rather than mandate specific features and "micro-manage"

manufacturing, Kennard said, the new rules will require companies

to meet with advocates for the disabled and design access into

phones from the start.

Kennard said any added expense of creating these features will

be more than offset by increased sales.

The costs of implementing the features should not raise prices

greatly, agreed Al Lucas, a vice president with cell-phone maker

Motorola Inc. who is responsible for designing the company's

products so they will be accessible to the disabled.

Cellular companies are ready to comply with the new rules, Lucas

said. "We are totally, 100 percent behind it," so long as the FCC

does not require onerous record-keeping requirements for companies

to prove that they are considering disability issues, Lucas said.

Brian F. Fontes of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry

Association said the FCC won't require that every phone and pager

support every feature: "If every single product had to accommodate

a variety of disabilities . . . some of those features may in fact

be in conflict with each other," Fontes said.

Instead, the FCC is calling for features that are "readily

achievable," and will decide whether companies are living up to

their obligations on a case-by-case basis.

The FCC is pushing the industry in a direction it has already

chosen, said Bradley A. Williams, an analyst with securities firm

Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. "You don't have to be disabled to have

desires to seek room for improvement in terms of design and

features and functionality," he said.

The benefits of the new rules could extend far beyond the

traditional ranks of the disabled, said Jeff Kramer, legislative

representative for the American Association of Retired Persons.

"For our membership, it's an important issue" to have phones for

those whose vision and sight might be fading with age.

But "it's not just for people who are in their seventies and

eighties," Kramer said -- "we're finding people who are reaching

their fifties are having more problems than they had in the past"

with hearing loss, possibly because of exposure to loud music in

their youth."


Helen Keller Pamphlet Raffle Winner

We are proud to announce that Ms. Anne Smarsh, from Colwich

Kansas, was the lucky winner of our raffle. In the letter

accompanying her prize, a copy of the first printed pamphlet of

Helen Keller from 1904, K A B V I president Sanford Alexander stated in

part: "This is a truly significant piece of work in the field of

service to the blind and a valuable addition to any collection of

prized publications.

Congratulations, Anne!



by Steve Bauer

Based in Wichita, Kansas, the Air Capital Telephone Reader is

now providing service to over half of Kansas. The free service

provides the reading of several newspapers and publications over

the telephone. Anyone who is blind, visually impaired or print

handicapped is eligible for the service. All it takes is a touch

tone telephone. Available 24-hours a day, telephone reader

allows users to read the newspaper and other publications when it's

convenient and to select what articles to read within each


The following publications are currently available: The

Wichita Eagle, The Wichita Business Journal, Prime Time TV Listings

and articles from TV Guide Magazine, Parade Magazine, USA Weekend

Magazine, The Catholic Advance, The Braille Forum, KABVi News, The

Braille Monitor and more.

In addition to Wichita, the service may now be reached by

local telephone numbers in the following cities: El Dorado,

Emporia, Eureka, Iola, Lawrence, Manhattan and Topeka.

Additionally, for locations in the 316 area code that are not yet

served by a local number, toll free lines are now available. We

hope to add more local numbers before the end of the year.

If you are in any of our service areas and would like to use

the Air Capital Telephone Reader, you may request a reader

application by calling (316) 337-7701 and leave your name and

mailing address on the voice mail and an application will be sent

to you in the mail. We may also be reached by e-mail at

accessnow@southwind.net. If you receive Talking Books or are

already signed up for a radio reading service or the Lions

Telephone Reader, you need only complete our pre-approved

application form. When you request an application, please let us

know which service you are already signed up for if applicable.

Telephone reader is easy to use and a world of information is

just a touch away.

Established in 1997, the Air Capital Telephone Reader is a

service of The Information Access Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3)

nonprofit Kansas corporation.



by Michael Byington


Envision, the largest employer of persons who are blind and

legally blind in Kansas, held its annual banquet June 14, 1999, at

the Hyatt Regency in Wichita. Local employees, their guests,

vendors, volunteers and supporters of Envision were invited to

attend. Additionally, Envision assisted many of its employees from

Pittsburg, Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas in attending the event.

Selected employees from the several Serve-Mart military base supply

centers, which Envision operates throughout the country, also


The annual Envision banquet is filled with awards related to

blindness and related to those who have helped the company continue

to operate successfully through their work as suppliers,

volunteers, friends, etc. Over fifteen awards are given each year.

The more important ones will be covered.

The John F. Eberhardt Manufacturing Employee of the Year Award

was presented to Robert Hussey, Sr. of the Envision Kansas City

plant. Mr. Hussey works as a Stacker and Box Erector at this

factory. Hussey was blinded due to a stroke several years ago. He

has worked diligently to regain ability to speak, to organize his

life, as well as to overcome vision loss. He is a competitive and

dependable worker for Envision. He will be honored at a national

conference of National Industries for the Blind this fall.

The John F. Eberhardt Service Employee of the year was Franci

Rafferty, Spokane, Washington. Rafferty works in one of Envision's

out-of-State military Serve-Mart centers. She was blinded a few

years ago due to retinitis pigmentosa.

The Career Achievement Award went to Kip Kennedy, Pittsburg.

Kennedy works as an Assistive Technology specialist assisting

people who are blind and who have other disabilities in Southeast

Kansas in learning about and advocating for funding to procure

assistive technology. Kennedy is also fairly recently blind,

having lost vision due to retinitis pigmentosa about five years


An Access Recognition Award was given to Home Readers, Kathy

Eble, Owner/C.E.O. Eble is totally blind and owns and operates a

business which records catalogs on tape, providing descriptions of

product pictures, as well as ordering information. This is a not-

for-profit small business located in Edgerton, Kansas.

Steve Bauer also received an Envision Access Recognition Award

for his work in founding the Air Capitol Telephone Reader, a

telephone reading service for people who are blind and low vision

based in Wichita, Kansas.

The last Access Recognition Award was presented to Greyhound

Charities. They have awarded Envision a grant for the purposes of

making available audio descriptive services for local theater

productions in the Wichita area.

The featured speaker for the Envision banquet was Steve

Cuusisto, author of the memoir, Planet of the Blind. This book has

remained on the independent best seller list for the past two

years. Cuusisto was born with extremely impaired vision which has

continued to decline throughout his life. The book recounts,

through the employment of some exquisitely beautiful prose,

Cuusisto's interactions with his low vision and blindness

throughout his life as he has gone from denial of visual

impairment, to acceptance of low vision, to the realization that he

must use blindness techniques to be effective in many of the things

he does. The book closes with Cuusisto's acceptance of the need

and advantages of use of a guide dog. He is now employed as

Director of Outreach for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a leading

guide dog training facility located in Yorktown Heights, New York.

Cuusisto's speech included some short readings of his original

work, a discussion of his writing career including his expression

of surprise that Planet of the Blind has been a popular book which

the general public has actually wanted to read, and a few comments

about his adjustment to blindness. His public readings were done

by listening to the materials through headphones on a Blazie

Engineering Type-N-Speak note taker device, and then repeating the

words. The readings were quite expressive and natural, and this

requires tremendous practice and talent. It is very difficult to

repeat materials with expression which are generated through

synthesized speech.



By Paul R. Hugel


About three months ago, my wife and I received a notice from

the City of Overland Park, Kansas. The notice stated that,

according to their records, we had three dogs in our home and any

more than two animals of the same species required a special permit

and payment of an annual fee. The first years fee, if the permit

was approved, was $100.00 and$50.00 four each subsequent year.

This upset me very much as our third dog is a trained guide dog.

I immediately called the city hall and asked if there was an

exception in the ordinance for service dogs. Much to my chagrin,

I was told there was none. Hrumph. The next step was to call the

two council members who represent my ward. I explained my plight

to both of them and was told by both that perhaps it was an

oversight not to have an exception for service dogs and that they

would contact the city attorney who was responsible for safety and

health matters and suggest a change to the ordinance.

After the calls to the city, Guide Dog users, Inc., (GDUI),

Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVi), and

the Guiding Eyes list serve were consulted for technical and moral

support. All of these groups were responsive and helpful.

After repeated follow ups with the city, I was informed that

the ordinance had been voted on and passed.

My thanks to the City of Overland Park, Kansas and all the

groups mentioned above.

They say you can't fight city hall, but with the right support

and approach you can sometimes work with them.



by Bonnie Byington


It was about twenty years ago. I heard a knock on the door of

my Wichita home. It was Shirley Smith. "Well," she announced, "I'm

here, and I want to spend the night, and I want clean sheets."

"Come in," I said. We laughed and I said, "Yes, and I suppose

you want me to fix you dinner too." She had not told me exactly

that she was coming, but I thought she might, as I did not need to

be alone that particular night. My family was undergoing a minor


I have no idea what we ate, but we laughed and talked about

K A B V I, and about mutual friends. Shirley had done all of the

tedious jobs, and had been on the Board of K A B V I including serving

as the Organization's Vice President. I asked her why she had done

all that miserable stuff for so long, and she said, That "keeping

track of the little things made the big things possible."

We wondered what would become of the Organization and who

would handle the jobs for years to come. "There is just one thing

I know," Shirley said, "and that is that someone has to do it."

Hopefully, we agreed that we had laid the foundation for someone

to carry on the work of the Organization.

I had known Shirley sense we were friends at the School for

the Blind. She was brilliant, a perfectionist, and had struggled

for all that she had, and had obtained. She earned a degree in

Special Education from Wichita State University, and completed her

practice teaching in the Wichita Public School system.

Unfortunately, K A B V I did not back her as we should have and so she

did what she could to earn a living. That was to proof read

Braille. Undoubtedly, she proof read thousands of pages that have

helped blind Kansans, and blind persons throughout the world. She

learned Nemith Code and was able to proof read music. In addition,

she helped certify transcribers and made it possible for many

persons to have materials which otherwise might not have been

available to them. It is doubtful that many blind Kansans know

what a debt they owe her.

One time when Shirley was Vice President of K A B V I, she was

told the day before the convention that she would have to preside.

She did it without hesitation and without a flaw. The truth is,

she had not even planned to attend, but the Organization and blind

persons came first.

Not only proof reading was her occupation, but she also worked

in the Disabled Student Services Office at Wichita State University

assisting disabled students in getting the testing and learning

accommodations they needed. A student knew that if Shirley Smith

said that a job needed to be accomplished in a particular way, it

was necessary.

She worked with a guide dog the later part of her career. It

was a big surprise to me, but oh, she loved that dog!

Sense she was, by nature, a private person, maybe this will

tell you a little about Shirley Smith and how much she gave to

K A B V I, and the blind citizens she served. It is also why there was

an organization worth saving for Mary Adams and the Future Design

Team which worked with the Kansas Division of Services for the


(SHIRLEY DEAN SMITH died March 20, 1999.)



by Michael Byington


In the 1999 session of the Kansas Legislature, advocates

working with K A B V I and Envision, among other advocacy groups, were

successful in getting the following language placed in legislation

about the divestiture of the Topeka State Hospital Grounds. "If

Kansas Industries for the Blind must close as a result of the sale

of Topeka State Hospital grounds, Kansas Industries for the Blind

shall not close until suitable arrangements, including similar

wages and benefits, have been made for Kansas Industries for the

Blind employees."

This was not everything we had hoped to get with regard to

Kansas Industries for the Blind (KIB). We had hoped to get

language in legislation stating that KIB could not close, but

rather it had to either continue to operate as a State facility or

be successfully privatized. Despite the fact that we did not win

the mother-load, we thought our victory with the Legislature was

significant - and perhaps it was.

Now, however, we learn more plans may be afoot to derail the

continuation of KIB. We do not have specific information, but we

know it will be necessary to be ever watchful during the 2000

Kansas Legislative session concerning KIB's future.

In a meeting held July 6, 1999, with KIB employees, Suzannah

Erhart, Director, Kansas Division of Services for the Blind

explained what the legislation quoted above said. She then said,

"I have heard absolutely nothing yet as to how this legislative

directive will be interpreted, but remember that there is another

Legislative session before June of 2000 when we have to be off of

this corner. I suspect they will try to change what was done in

the 1999 session." Erhart made it clear that she is not personally

advocating or supporting a change in the 1999 language, but she

also made it clear that it would not surprise her if attempts to

change it are made by others involved in the administration of

human services in Kansas.

Credibility is added to Erhart's statements by the fact that

indeed no plans for privatization of KIB have been announced by

State officials to date. If State officials were serious about

offering KIB a viable opportunity to privatize, it would certainly

seem logical that they would give potential privatizing entities

more of an opportunity to draft proposals and prepare for

privatization than the current time-lines seem to offer.

It is very sad that upper level officials of the Kansas

Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) might

attempt to be so devious and underhanded in an attempt to destroy

the jobs, lives, and careers of workers who are blind. It is not

surprising, however. SRS has not dealt with KIB employees and

their future openly and fairly for several years now. The

Legislators we elected for the current term did not buy the SRS

close to the vest and behind the back tactics in 1999, however, and

we will hope that with a little nudging from K A B V I and other

advocates, the upper management of SRS will again be thwarted if

they attempt again in 2000 to shut down KIB simply because it

apparently has to be moved.

By the way, as this magazine goes to press, it has been

announced that KIB realized approximately a $21,000.00 profit this

past fiscal year. Closure of KIB is thus not contemplated because

of any bloodsucking drain on the coffers of the state. It is

instead apparently proposed out of a mean spiritedness on the part

of the Governor and top SRS officials who just can not stand to see

the State of Kansas remain in the business of employing blind




acb-l Message from "Norma A. Boge" <naboge@earthlink.net

Date: Fri, 28 May 1999


The Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (WIIA) almost came

to the Senate floor for a vote Thursday, May 27. An agreement was

reached with the Senate leadership to bring the bill, with

relatively minor changes, to the floor by "unanimous consent" (UC).

However, Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) placed a hold on the bill just

before the vote was to take place. He did not lift the hold and

the Senate went out on recess until June 7.

UC is a legislative process whereby a popular bill is agreed

to ahead of time and comes before the Senate to be voted into law

without amendments or changes. Any one Senator can block that

process from happening when a bill is brought forward by the

unanimous consent process.

The negotiated bill contained all the major health care, work

incentive reform, and "ticket to work" provisions that we are

familiar with in the bill. We will provide a summary of the

negotiated bill as soon as available.

The four primary Senate cosponsors, Senators Jeffords,

Kennedy, Roth and Moynihan, are committed to bringing the bill back

to the Senate floor after recess.

With the new additions of Senators Ashcroft (R-MO) and

Inhofe(R-OK), there are now 78 US Senate cosponsors of WIIA!

Yesterday's events took place without advance notice.

Everyone working on the passage of WIIA, take a bow, for the jobs

you are doing with little or sometimes no advance notice. We have

firm intelligence that our state, regional and national advocacy

work is moving this bill through Congress AND keeping it strong.

Please know that we, all of us, are part of making some

history here. WIIA stands for us, all of us.



By Helen Dewar Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, May 28, 1999; Page A09


Key senators reached agreement yesterday on major elements of

a bill allowing disabled Americans to keep their

government-financed health benefits when they take jobs, boosting

prospects for passage of the measure this year.

But the Senate left for a week-long Memorial Day recess

without acting on the measure after a last-minute dispute arose

over how to pay for it. Although targeted at only a few million

people, the legislation represents a hallmark of bipartisanship in

a Congress that has been fraught with partisan and ideological

differences. Conservatives like it because it puts people to work;

liberals like it because it helps people who need help.

Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who had earlier held up

action on the measure because of what he described as concerns over

cost, signaled satisfaction with the measure after agreement on

minor modifications, including an income limit for recipients.


A similar bill has been approved without dissent by the House

Commerce Committee and awaits action by the House Ways and Means


Under current law, individuals who receive federal disability

benefits lose their Medicare benefits if they go back to work, and

their Medicaid benefits if they earn more than a low-income wage.

According to one congressional estimate, nearly half of the 7.5

million adults receiving disability aid could work but do not do so

because they would lose their health benefits.

The proposed legislation would allow, but not force, states to

expand Medicaid coverage for disabled workers by relaxing the

income limitation, with wealthier recipients required to pay higher

premiums. During a trial period, it would also allow people covered

by Medicare because of their disabilities to continue to receive

benefits if they go to work. It would phase out disability payments

rather than cutting them off abruptly, as happens now when people

go to work.

The legislation was sponsored by Sens. James M. Jeffords

(R-Vt.), Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), William V. Roth Jr. (R-Del.)

and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) -- bipartisan leaders of the

Senate committees with jurisdiction over the health and disability

programs. As of late yesterday, it had the cosponsorship of 79

senators. In signaling support for the bill, Lott indicated that

his earlier concerns had been addressed, including fears that the

legislation could open the door to benefits for the wealthy and for

those who are not truly disabled.

In a letter to colleagues earlier this year, Jeffords,

Kennedy, Roth and Moynihan said the unemployment rate among

working-age adults with disabilities is nearly 75 percent, and that

less than one-half of one percent of people who receive disability

assistance can forgo it and become totally self-sufficient.

"The threat of losing health benefits is a powerful

disincentive for disabled beneficiaries who want to work," they


Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company



(Topeka Daily Capital, September 4, 1921)


Special Committee Is Appointed to Draft Legislative Program -

Board of Directors Has 15 members.

Fifteen directors will head the Kansas Association for the

Blind, which was organized at the North Side Christian Church

Friday. Eleven members of the board are either totally blind or

nearly so. The Reverend I. A. Wilson, pastor of the church, who is

totally blind, was elected president of the association. He was

temporary president before the organization meeting. Officers of

the organization proper are ex officio members of the board.

Other officers are A. J. Jewell, Kansas City, Kan., first vice

president; Miss Edith Packard, Topeka, second vice president; Miss

Madeline Higgins, Kansas City, recording secretary; Miss Mary May,

Manhattan, corresponding secretary; Miss Lovelia Hilty, Topeka,

treasurer; Mrs. I. A. Wilson, Topeka, financial secretary.


Other members of the board of directors are: Mrs. A. J.

Terrell, Kansas City; A. J. Little, Topeka; Donald Gibbs, Chanute;

William Ensley, Kansas City; Mrs. F. W. Packard, Topeka; Bruce

Weller, Kansas City; and E. A. Chandler, superintendent of the

Kansas City school for the blind. Mr. Chandler, Mrs. Wright, Mrs.

Packard and Mrs. Wilson are the only members of the board who have

eye sight.

The organization was started entirely by those who had lost

their eyesight. All had attended the school for the blind at

Kansas City and have learned the point system of reading and

writing. Some have learned music and studied other arts and others

have learned trades. They want to assist those who have not had

such opportunities.


The Rev. E. L. Wright, pastor of the Quinton Heights Baptist

Church, is another blind Topeka pastor who is a leader in the


A special committee was appointed to draft a legislative

program. It consists of A. J. Little, chaiRman; Mr. Chandler, Mrs.

Packard, Mr. Weller and A. C. Wilson, a blind attorney of Lawrence.



by Michael Byington


The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services

(SRS) has finally, after many years of urging from advocates in the

blindness field, put some money behind implementation of highway

vending programming in Kansas. This will allow new locations to be

established on Kansas highways for licensed blind Kansas vendors.

This move may imply that SRS officials are fully supportive of the

blind vending program in Kansas. But other actions would suggest

that it does not mean this at all.

Senate Bill 175 would have strengthened exponentially the

priority of the Kansas Division of Services for the Blind Business

Enterprises Program to open facilities in State, City, and County

facilities. It would have taken the words, "preference, if

feasible," out of our Kansas Little Randolph-Sheppard Act and

substituted the words "right of first refusal." This would have

been a great help to the program because it would have tightened up

loopholes which have for many years allowed cities, counties, and

even some State agencies to keep prime vending locations out of the

hands of blind managers.

This legislation originally looked as though it had a bright

future. It was introduced as a part of Rochelle Chronister's

legislative package. Chronister is the Executive Secretary of SRS,

and legislation in her package usually gets a better jump-start

with legislative committees than does legislation introduced by

lobbyists or consumer groups. This particular Legislation's bright

future, however, got dim faster than a one time flash bulb in a

throw-away camera!

David Wright, Director of the Kansas Business Enterprises

Program, was absolutely forbidden to attend the hearing on the

legislation. Currently licensed blind vendors were also subtly

given the opinion through SRS officials that they should not attend

the hearing. The Division of Services for the Blind's viewpoint

was instead represented by Joyce Cussimanio, Commissioner of the

generic Rehabilitation Services Commission. This is the

administrative body which overlays Services for the Blind in

Kansas. K A B V I was there to testify in favor of the bill through

its Lobbyist, Carole Hands-Keedy, and Envision appeared on behalf

of the blind vending program. but the people who know the most

about the program were gaged; they were not allowed to attend.

The minute Cussimanio was asked a question about legal wording

in the bill which she could not answer, she essentially caved in.

She would not allow her assistant, Dennis Rogers, who is an

attorney, speak on behalf of the bill or attempt to answer the

question. After the hearing she suggested that, "Perhaps this is

not an SRS issue. Perhaps the consumer groups should sponsor this

legislation next year."

Now, additionally, the blind vending program in Kansas has

been besmited a second time by SRS officials. The Fort Riley Army

Base has flagrantly violated the federal Randolph-Sheppard Act by

refusing to allow the Division of Services for the Blind preference

on a contract for a cafeteria on that army base. Instead of

recognizing the Randolph-Sheppard priority as set forth in federal

statutes, the Army procurement staff has piggy-backed the cafeteria

contracts onto a series of other types of contracts making it

impossible for the Division of Services for the Blind to bid.

When this type of flagrant violation of federal law occurs,

the Randolph-Sheppard Act is very clear as to what is supposed to

happen. The State Blind Vending Licensing Agency - the Kansas

Division of Services for the Blind - is supposed to pursue the

matter legally. They are supposed to file for binding arbitration

under provisions of the Act. The SRS Legal Department, which is

charged with the legal representation of the Kansas Division of

Services for the Blind, however, is refusing to file any action

against the Army. They are refusing to back up the rights of blind

Kansans to claim jobs which were specifically set aside for them by

federal law.

My tally on the SRS support for the blind vending program over

the past year or so thus comes up one positive and two negatives.

Thirty-three percent Support is not going to help the blind vending

program grow and create jobs as it should.


K A B V I Member Honored

By Steve Bauer

I have edited out just the part about Sister Corona from an

article that appeared in the Catholic Advance, July 30, 1999.


** Great Bend Dominicans honored

GREAT BEND -- Five Dominican Sisters renewed their vows and

celebrated their diamond or golden anniversaries of religious

profession July 18. kABVI member Sister Corona Bayer was honored

for 50 years of service as a Catholic Nun.

Sister Corona Bayer was born in Willowdale, Kan. She ministered

in domestic work on many of the Dominican Sisters missions, in the

sewing room, and kitchen at the motherhouse. Later she worked as a

nurse aide. Today Sister Corona lives at the motherhouse in Great

Bend and works full time in making handmade items and crafts for

the annual mission bazaar.



The Northwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired

(NKAVI) will sponsor its second Western Kansas Low Vision Fair

Friday, September 10, 1999. The location is the New Sternberg

Museum of Natural History, Hays. The time will be 9:00 a.m. to

4:00 p.m. Activities will include thirteen exhibiters and speakers

throughout the day. Topics will include conditions affecting the

eyes, technology and services. Participants will be able to

examine low vision aids to learn which may most help them. No

admission will be charged. Participants in the Low Vision Fair

will be admitted to the New Sternberg Museum at no cost the day of

the fair. For more information contact: Pat, (785) 628-6055; Bob,

(785) 628-2873; or Dr. Kendall Krug, (785) 625-3937.



CECIL E. FREEMAN, age 81, Topeka, died June 15, 1999. He

worked at the Hercules Army Ammunition Plant for 18 years,

Pittsburgh Paint and Glass for 10 years and as a custodian for

Washburn University for 10 years. Survivors include Bill D.

Freeman and Larry E. Freeman, both of Topeka; a sister, Fern

Cochran, of Seattle; and seven step-grandchildren.


HARRY E. HAYES, age 88, Topeka, former Director of the Kansas

Division of Services for the Blind died August 8, 1999 at a Topeka

Hospital. He was born June 9, 1911 in Kansas City, Kansas. He

attended school in Kansas City, Kansas where he graduated from Ward

High School in 1929. He graduated from the University of Kansas in

1933 and underwent graduate training in social work at Washington

University in St. Louis and at the University of Chicago. He began

a career in social work in Kansas City, Kansas with the Kansas

Relief Committee in the 1930s. He had a similar position in Iowa

before returning to Kansas in 1937 to direct a program for the

visually handicapped sponsored by the Provident Association, now

known as the Topeka Family Service and Guidance Center. He was

Director of the Kansas Division of Services for the Blind from

January 1940 until retiring in 1976. He was a member of Most Pure

Heart of Mary Catholic Church, the Academy of Certified Social

Workers, and the National Rehabilitation Association. He has served

as President of the National Council of State Agencies for the

Blind and was a member of the Kansas Catholic Conference Committee

on Aging and the Shawnee County Advisory Council on Aging. He was

listed in Whose Who in the Midwest and Whose Who in Government. He

married Pauleen Waske on February 1940 in Afton, Iowa/ She

survives. A daughter Patricia Schoenfeld who died May 31, 1996.

Survives include a daughter, Mary Ellen Hayes Lane, Lawrence, four

grand sons and eight great grand sons. Memorial contributions may

be made to the American Diabetes Association or the Kansas

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc. Some K A B V I

members saw Harry Hayes in April when he dropped by to pay his

respect to Mary Adams prior to her funeral. His health was failing

at that time, but he was still very insightful and articulate, and

he had quite a conversation with some of the K A B V I members present

about the need to protect and support categorical services for the




Mark your calendars for the following events of importance

to blind and visually impaired Kansans. For more information,

contact the relevant organization directly.


* September 19-21, 1999 Assistive Technology conference:

Topeka Expo Center. Contact: Assistive Technology for

Kansans Project, Sheila Simmons, 2601 Gabriel, Parsons KS



421-8367 or 1-800-526-3648, e-mail:


* September 29-October 1, 1999 Statewide Independent Living

Council caucus: Topeka Holidome. Contact: SILCK, 700 SW

Jackson, Suite 212, Topeka, KS 66603, 785-234-6990 (V/TDD)

* October 22-24, 1999 K A B V I convention: Great Bend Holiday Inn.

Contact: Regina Henderson, Convention Coordinator, 1010

Inverness, Wichita KS 67218, 316-687-0113

* October 29, 1999 SILCK Board meeting: Topeka. Contact:

SILCK, 700 SW Jackson, Suite 212, Topeka, KS 66603, 785-234-6990 (V/TDD)


2000 kabvi application form

I am enclosing $5.00 for my 2000 K A B V I dues ____.

NAME: __________________________________________

ADDRESS: ________________________________________

CITY: ______________________________, STATE: ____ ZIP: _______

PHONE: (AREA CODE) ______ NUMBER: ______________


Are you:

Legally Blind ____ Visually Impaired ____

Deafblind ____ Sighted ____


I would like the K A B V I News and the Braille Forum in:

braille ____ large print ____ Disk ____ Cassette ____

EMAIL ____

I do not want these publications ____


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