Volume 41 Fall, 1999 No. 3
here for Table of Contents
Click here to learn more about the K A B V I Newsletter
Quarterly by The Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually
P.O. BOX 292
Topeka Kansas 66601
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND OR HANDICAPPED
THE PURPOSE OF THE K A B V I NEWS,
THE KANSAS ASSOCIATION FOR THE
BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED, INC., IS TO PROMOTE THE GENERAL
WELFARE OF THE BLIND IN KANSAS.
THE K A B V I NEWS SHALL REFLECT
THE PHILOSOPHY AND POLICIES OF THE
ASSOCIATION, REPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF ITS MEMBERS AND INCLUDE
PERTINENT ARTICLES REGARDING VISUAL IMPAIRMENT.
ANY ARTICLES FOR PUBLICATION SHOULD
BE FORWARDED TO THE EDITOR BY JANUARY 15, JULY 15 AND OCTOBER 15 OF EACH YEAR.
MUST BE DOUBLE-SPACED. EDITORIAL STAFF RESERVES THE RIGHT RESERVES THE RIGHT
TO EDIT SUBMITTED MATERIALS
EDITOR, NANCY JOHNSON
714 SW WAYNE AVE.
TOPEKA KS 66606-1753
ASSOCIATE EDITOR, GRACEANN HEINIGER
200 E 32ND
HAYS KS 67601
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BONNIE BYINGTON
1135 SW COLLEGE
TOPEKA KS 66604
COORDINATOR, Nita Murphy
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD & PRESIDENT,
SANFORD J. ALEXANDER, III
5321 PLAZA LANE
WICHITA KS 67208
Send address changes to:
Harold Henderson, Mail Coordinator
Wichita KS 67218
PUBLICATION POLICY: Send us your
news, views, articles and
features. Material in print, braille or tape will be considered.
If typing, please double space. When quoting from other
published material, please include dates and sources. Unsigned
material will not be considered for publication. If you send us
a stamped self-addressed envelope we will return original
materials. Thank you for your cooperation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PRESIDENT'S PERSPECTIVE by Sanford J. Alexander, III
NOTIONS by Nancy Johnson
REPORT FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS by Nancy Johnson
SIXTH KANSAS DISABILITY CAUCUS READERS
THEATER FEATURES BLIND READERS by Michael Byington
Assistive Technology for Kansans
Credit and Banking Survey
FCC RULING IS MOST SIGNIFICANT ACTION SINCE ADA by Audrey Spivack,
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
ENVISION HOLDS ANNUAL BANQUET by Michael Byington
WITH THREE YOU PAY A FEE by Paul R. Hugel
SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO SHIRLEY SMITH by Bonnie Byington
ERHART WARNS KIB FUTURE STILL UNCERTAIN by Michael Byington
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
SRS FAILS TO SUPPORT BUSINESS ENTERPRISES VENDORS by Michael Byington
K A B V I Member Honored By Steve Bauer
SECOND WESTERN KANSAS LOW VISION FAIR
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
* 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
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.
SUPPORTS LITERACY STUDY OF BLIND STUDENTS IN KANSAS
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
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.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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
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
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 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.
SIXTH KANSAS DISABILITY CAUCUS
September 29th, 30th and October 1st, 1999
SOLUTIONS! NOW & BEYOND...
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
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
THEATER FEATURES BLIND READERS
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
CREDIT AND BANKING SURVEY
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?
8. Do you own your home? ___Yes ___No
If not, would you like to save money toward that goal?
If you had access to loans or credit, what would you want to
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News Media contact:
July 14, 1999
Audrey Spivack at (202) 418-0500, TTY (202) 418-2555
FCC RULING IS MOST SIGNIFICANT ACTION SINCE ADA
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
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" <email@example.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.
MAKING CELL PHONES DISABLED-FRIENDLY
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
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
AIR CAPITAL TELEPHONE READER EXPANDS SERVICE AREA
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
firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
ENVISION HOLDS ANNUAL BANQUET
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
WITH THREE YOU PAY A FEE
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.
SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO SHIRLEY SMITH
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
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.)
ERHART WARNS KIB FUTURE STILL UNCERTAIN
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
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
SENATE VOTE BLOCKED BY PHIL GRAMM (R-TX) May 27
acb-l Message from "Norma A. Boge" <email@example.com
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.
DISABLED WORKERS MAY KEEP HEALTH BENEFITS
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
REV. WILSON HEADS BLIND PEOPLE'S NEW ASSOCIATION
(Topeka Daily Capital, September 4, 1921)
TWO SIGHTLESS PREACHERS LEAD IN ORGANIZATION.
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.
ONLY FOUR CAN SEE.
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
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
TWO PASTORS ARE LEADERS.
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.
SRS FAILS TO SUPPORT BUSINESS ENTERPRISES VENDORS
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
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
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.
SECOND WESTERN KANSAS LOW VISION FAIR
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
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
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 ____.
CITY: ______________________________, STATE: ____ ZIP: _______
PHONE: (AREA CODE) ______ NUMBER: ______________
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 ____
I do not want these publications ____
<back to top
back to "K A B V I NEWS" section | Home
Copyright 2000, All rights Reserved
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