Volume 42 Spring, 1999 No. 1

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

An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind





TOPEKA KS 66606-1753

200 E 32ND
HAYS KS 67601




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

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NOTIONS by Nancy Johnson

K A B V I/KSDS/LIONS FOCUS DAY '99 by Sanford J. Alexander, III

'99 CONVENTION ON THE HORIZON by Regina Henderson, Convention Coordinator



CALLING FOR AWARDS NOMINATIONS by Joyce Lewis, Chair, Awards Committee

ACB MID-YEAR MEETING by Sanford J. Alexander, III


Questions From the Peanut Gallery By Barbara Alexander

WHAT A TRIP! by Carole Hands-Keedy

by Michael Byington








by Sanford J. Alexander, III


In my last column I described some of the important events

that had recently transpired regarding positive steps designed to

enable K A B V I to work more closely with the NFBK. I reported on

their attendance at our convention and how I was able to

reciprocate by attending their's in response to an invitation from

Diane Hemphill.

These were a couple of a number of momentous events in the

history of Kansans who are blind or visually impaired. They were

shortly followed by the November 13, 1998 meeting attended by Susie

Stanzel, representing the NFBK; me, representing the K A B V I;

Suzannah Erhart, Director of the Division of Services for the Blind

(DSB); Kansas Rehabilitation Services (KRS) Commissioner Joyce

A.Cussimanio, along with her Deputy Director Dennis Rogers; and,

Laura Howard, Special Assistant to Secretary Rochelle Chronister

who invited all of us to come together to discuss the future design

of DSB and the services it would provide to Kansans who are blind

or visually impaired.

At the time of this writing the next phase in this exciting

process has begun with the holding of the first meeting of this DSB

Future Design Team. By the time you read this issue of the K A B V I

News, at least two more meetings will have taken place and the

target date of June 1, 1999 for presenting our final report to

Secretary Chronister will be fast approaching. This meeting was

truly one of the biggest events in recent years and will have an

exceptional impact on all blind Kansans.

Several general elements of the meeting should be pointed out.

First, the meeting and the goals of the Future Design Team

represent recognition by SRS that the needs and opinions of the

visually impaired community can best be voiced by people from that

community. We have often complained that similar committees or

work groups were formed with only a minority representation from

the blindness community, thus enabling its voice to be overridden

by the majority on the committee representing the provider

perspective, particularly that of the State. The Future Design

Team is different. It is composed of three representatives from

the NFBK, three representatives from K A B V I, the Superintendent of

the Kansas State School for the Blind, the Director of DSB, The

KRS Commissioner, and, Ms. Howard, representing Secretary

Chronister. We have, indeed, finally been heard!

Another important element of this Team's early activities is

the fact that the good experiences we have recently enjoyed in

working positively with the NFBK on issues upon which we agree has

continued to advance. For those of us who can appreciate the

gravity of the issues being deliberated upon, this is both

reassuring and not surprising. Problems in the past have not

centered over the points upon which we strongly agreed but,

unfortunately, upon those over which there were philosophical

differences, many of which were on relatively minor issues.

Tragically, we were not unlike passengers on the Titanic debating

over whether we should have beef or chicken at the evening banquet.

On the issues before the Future Design Team, however, we are

deliberately taking steps which place us upon the firm ground of

concurrence and avoiding those that would place us on the soft

footing of quick sand.

What are some of these issues, you might ask. Globally, they

revolve around the questions of what types of services best meet

the needs of blind and visually impaired individuals and provide

them with the best tools to achieve the highest possible level of

independence. We are in agreement that DSB services need to be

maintained, strengthened where necessary and held together in the

full fabric of a complete tapestry. We do not want to see the

possible relocation from the present site to provide a cover for

services being diluted, diminished or distributed. We agree that

services to blind and visually impaired persons can be best

provided through a specialized system administered by individuals

demonstrating expertise in the special needs of blindness,

supervised by similarly qualified people not distracted by the tugs

and demands of other disability populations, and in which direct

services to consumers are provided by blindness specialists.

We are also encouraged by the pledge, voiced several times

from a couple of sources, that this process is being entered into

without any preconceived outcome or without a secret plan already

safely tucked away in a drawer awaiting the time of its unveiling.

We truly want to believe this is so and that we will not, once

again, be disappointed to learn down the road that we were expected

merely to rubber stamp a predetermined result. We will proceed

with confidence that the Team's final product will be reflective of

its research and the thinking we all bring to the table.

During the day we all took a whirlwind tour of the complete

RCB/KIB facility. I hadn't been on a complete tour in about four

or five years and was, along with others, quite overwhelmed with

what we saw. It was clear that a great amount of pride is taken in

making the facility as comfortable and attractive as possible. It

was equally evident that every inch of space is used and many for

multiple purposes. Shared work space is the norm, not the

exception. It is clear that no space goes unused and that perhaps

more space is needed for the program to have sufficient room to

breathe properly. It is not improbable that the Team will find the

present location unsuitable for the future program and recommend a

move to more adequate space.

This brings me to another point regarding this process and the

progress we have made. As this meeting was being conducted, Bills

were being prepared in the Revisor of Statute's office. One Bill

recommends that the Legislature designate the current RCB/KIB

property as exempt from any sale as part of the State Hospital

property, thus assuring that DSB would continue to control it and

be able to retain the programs where they are presently. The

second Bill is the Commission for the Blind Bill being supported by

the NFBK and K A B V I. It is interesting to note that if either or

both of these Bills are passed, the vast majority of the

contemplated work of the Future Design Team would still be

necessary, valid and useful. We have, and must take advantage of,

an opportunity to make improvements in DSB services that will be

valid regardless of the location at which they are offered or the

structure under which they are administered.

One of the greatest challenges I have faced in writing this

column is to be as informative as possible without violating one of

the group's basic agreements. We have complained that in the past

we have been the victims of rumor and that consumers have

been put under unnecessary and unfair anxiety and stress. We also

agreed that in order to accomplish our goals we will of necessity

have to look at many unpleasant issues and weigh alternatives some

of which are quite unacceptable. In order to be able to do this,

we have agreed to refrain from discussing details of the meetings,

relying instead on talking points issued from the Secretary's

office. This is not designed to make the process mysterious,

thereby becoming anxiety provoking; but, as I said, rather, to

enable all of the cards to be played openly on the table and

considered for their full value, positive or negative.

From my perspective, the first half of 1999 holds promise of

being one of the most crucial times in the history of services to

Kansans who are blind or visually impaired. It is important for

those of you who have thoughts to share to make yourself heard now!

It is critical that your support for the goal of preserving the

best possible services for blind and visually impaired individuals

be felt and that the degree of fervor with which you hold these

feelings be appreciated. We have a great opportunity, one that is

not likely to be available for many years to come; and, we have an

obligation to those for whom we speak both presently and in the

years ahead, to make sure we create an outcome that will make them

proud because it enabled them to achieve their dreams.



by Nancy Johnson


Several years ago my family participated in a twenty-mile bike

ride to raise money for a local charitable organization. One child

rode a bike alone. The other rode the front seat of a tandem

bicycle with my husband, who is totally blind. I rode an adult-

size tricycle. One child rode ahead of me, the other rode behind.

The day was a traditional Kansas spring day with mild temperatures

and strong, blustery winds.

The route took us headlong into the wind. It blew so hard

some folks dismounted and walked their bikes. Others gave up and

went home. My goal was to ride the distance and I refused to walk.

So I huffed and puffed nearly as hard as the wind blew - but I did

not get off the bike. At one point I realized, though I was

pedaling forward, I was moving backward. That made me angry and

anger made me more determined. I gritted my teeth and yelled some

unladylike phrases into the wind and huffed, puffed and pedaled

even harder. I finally realized, if I continued to struggle, the

route would eventually allow me to ride with my back to the wind.

And so it did.

When I reached the halfway checkpoint, I thought I was totally

exhausted. I strongly considered quitting. After a short rest and

a drink of cool water, I turned my back to the wind and continued

the journey. The sensation was of flying. The pedals went round

so fast my legs could hardly keep up with them. In fact, I think

I was not pedaling at all. I simply steered the bicycle as the

wind propelled me forward. My primary purpose became to maintain

control of the vehicle and reach my goal. I passed a car traveling

the speed limit along the road. Then I passed another, and another

and another. Slowing down enough to stay within the speed limit

became a challenge. Finally, the finish line was crossed. Success

was mine and I had ridden every inch of the distance in spite of

the wind.

As I think about the struggle of Kansans with impaired vision

and blindness to save a rehabilitation service delivery system to

meet our specific needs, I wonder if we are pedaling as hard as we

can to go forward while the strong, blustery wind of change is

forcing us to move backward. Several of us are angry and the anger

reinforces our determination. We may yell unpleasantries into the

wind, then we will huff, puff and pedal even harder to move forward

toward the finish line. Though it will take every ounce of

strength and determination we can muster, we believe we can pedal

our way to success.

When we think we can go no further, we will reach that point

where the wind of change is at our backs. Challenges will continue

- but they will be different. The goal is to have a rehabilitation

service system that will provide high quality services to meet the

specific needs of all Kansans with blindness or impaired vision of

all ages. We must believe we can survive the wind of change and

keep pedaling until the wind is at our backs, helping us reach the

goal. Even then, we must stay on the bicycle and meet the

challenges as they come.

As a blustery, strong spring wind is not an ill wind and can

blow away unwanted debris, so the wind of change is not an ill wind

and can blow away superfluous matter. What remains in either case

is a surface on which new growth can happen. The finish may not

look like the start, and that is not necessarily bad. Some folks

may not be able to ride to the finish. That does not necessarily

signify failure. Rather, it signifies their need to get out of the

wind and find a place of calm.

Let all of us who can face the wind of change ride the bike to

the finish. Success can be ours.



by Sanford J. Alexander, III


In the last issue of the K A B V I News, you heard about plans for

the first "Focus Day" held at KSDS.

This is a result of several things coming together. A 1998

American Council of the Blind (ACB) resolution observed Lions clubs

have drifted away from helping persons with impaired vision or

blindness. It was felt that the ACB, primarily through efforts of

its state and special interest affiliates, should take steps to

reverse the trend of a widening gap between this influential

service organization and the blind people for whose interests it

was created.

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

was making plans for a meeting to discuss issues of importance to

persons with severe visual impairment or blindness and how Lions

can help. They also wanted to take the opportunity to showcase the

many breathtaking improvements they have made including the

construction and opening of a new puppy center and a tremendous

training center. Lions clubs have been reviewing some of their

prevention of blindness, specialized programs and other activities.

The three events will come together into one combined "Focus

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

facility located at 124 W. 7th Street, Washington, Kansas. The

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

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

of the ACB resolution calling on Lions clubs to refocus their

primary activities in the direction of blindness related projects,

and an opportunity for K A B V I members to get to know Lions better

and to gain more familiarity with KSDS which is a unique training

facility we are fortunate to be able to boast as Kansas' own.

Unfortunately, an opportunity to visit the Lions mobile screening

bus will not take place this day as a regrettable error in

scheduling the bus sees it elsewhere that day.

A lunch will be available for approximately $6.00.

As part of the effort to increase closer working

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

transportation for blind individuals in their area. If this aspect

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

system for blind people to use to get to other statewide events may

be planted. Lions Clubs are encouraged to make this means of

surmounting the transportation barrier available and blind and

visually impaired individuals interested in attending the event

should not be bashful about making their transportation needs known

to their local clubs.

Alan Beatty, President of ACB Blind Lions will be the keynote

presenter during the afternoon discussion on the ACB resolution.

He has enthusiastically accepted our invitation and looks forward

to helping make these and other projects successful as Lions Clubs

hold much potential in many areas to assist blind people in their

communitIES. Alan sees, as do I, the ability of Lions to help

bring down the walls of employment discrimination. He will be able

to share some of his experiences and thinking in this area.

For more information and to make a reservation, please call

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

making sure that arrangements are adequate for the number attending

this event if you make your intention to attend known as early as




by Regina Henderson, Convention Coordinator


Plans for the 1999 K A B V I convention are well under way. I

will have the assistance of Michael Byington for program planning

and Sanford Alexander for arrangements. Each of them has several

people who are working hard to make sure that all the details

fall into place.

You should start making your plans now to join us for what

promises to be a very exciting convention. Although many details

are yet to be finalized, there are several things I can share

with you.

First, the dates for the convention will be October 22-24,


In response to input from members, we are again adjusting

the program and meeting schedule. In doing so, we must allow

adequate time for the meetings necessary to conduct K A B V I's

business. Friday, October 22, 1999 will be devoted to a half-day

opening session, reports and some speakers. Exhibitors will be

open from 1:00 to 8:00 PM and there will be a hospitality suite

and a social activity such as a descriptive video or bingo in the


On Saturday, meetings for our two special interest groups,

Guide Dog Users of Kansas (GDUK) and Council of Citizens With Low

Vision of Kansas (CCLVK) will provide opportunities for these

special interest groups to deal with their particular concerns

while everyone else will have a chance to visit exhibits, friends

or the town. The afternoon will start with the membership

luncheon followed by business meetings, a break and the banquet.

The day will be capped off with a chance to relax, visit friends,

the national ACB representative to our convention or other folks

in the hospitality suite.

Sunday morning will begin with the memorial breakfast,

moving directly into the final business session. The convention

will adjourn and the Board will hold its post-convention meeting.

This year will see a return to a favorite site for the

convention, Great Bend. It will also be the first of three years

for which K A B V I has made a commitment to hold the meeting at the

Holiday Inn. This arrangement will enable us to guarantee a room

rate for the next three years of $55.00, including tax, for 1-4

persons in a room. The moderate prices will also make a

modification in convention registration possible.

Convention packets will be mailed by the end of July. Pre-

registrations received by the hotel deadline of September 19,

1999 will be charged a $10.00 fee for all meetings, in addition

to desired meals. Registrations received after this date will be

charged $15.00 for the three days, plus meals. On Friday,

registration at the door will be $15.00 entitling a person to

attend meetings all three days. On Saturday, the registration

fee will be $15.00 per day and for Sunday it will be $15.00 for

Sunday. Although this may seem a bit confusing, it is designed

to reward those who pre-register which makes convention planning

easier and reduces the stresses of working a busy registration

desk at convention.

The schedule is designed to enable each convention attendee

to tailor it to his/her specific desires and resources while

ensuring that all K A B V I business may be conducted properly.

Your registration packet will once again resemble that for

the ACB national convention. There will be a registration fee,

meal package, and special interest meeting fees. You will decide

what you want to attend and register accordingly. Room

reservations will be made directly with the hotel at 316-

792-2431. In order for KaBVI to receive credit toward its

meeting space charges and to obtain the convention rate, please

remember to tell the reservations desk that you will be attending

the K A B V I convention.

Plan to attend part or all of these exciting events, and

stay tuned as further details are worked out and announced.



by Nancy Johnson


The Board of Directors of the Kansas Association for the

Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc., (K A B V I) met from 10:00 a.m. to

4:00 p.m. Saturday, January 23, 1999. The meeting was convened

at the First Church of the Nazarene in Salina.

Roll was taken. Minutes were corrected and accepted.

Harold Henderson submitted a letter of resignation from his

position as Membership Secretary and also from the board. His

resignation was accepted with regret and also with thanks for the

time and effort he has given the organization. A letter

officially accepting Harold's resignation will be sent.

Sanford explained the by-laws list twelve board members and

six officers. The president and vice-president must be board

members. Other officers may come from the general membership.

Barbara Alexander was appointed to fill the Membership Secretary

position. She was also elected to the Board of Directors. The

Secretary of State will be notified of Harold's resignation and

Barbara's appointment so all will be legal.

The Treasurer's report was accepted. The accountant

recommended K A B V I have a compilation report completed to affirm

bank and organization records are in agreement. A financial

report suitable for purposes of fund solicitation could then be

prepared. The 1999 budget was reviewed and accepted.

Nancy Johnson reported the new newsletter production process

was some better this time. Technical and proofreading problems

are being handled. The consensus was that the font size in the

large print edition was satisfactory. It complies with postal

regulations for "free matter for the blind." A standard print

edition will be sent to subscribers for whom postage must be

paid. This should reduce printing costs a bit.

Bob Chaffin reported for the Finance committee. The

insurance issue has not yet been resolved and will be revisited.

Fund raising through the Vehicle Donation Processing Center seems

to be going well. Cars are being donated. K A B V I, like all other

organizations with which the Processing Center works, has its own

toll free telephone number: 1-800-767-6229. Most of the

advertising now is done in newspapers in the Kansas City area.

Radio advertising will be initiated when the program has been in

effect about one year. K A B V I wants to be able to manage without

totally depending on this income if it should "disappear" in the

future, so additional fund raising activities such as seeking

grants will be undertaken.

Tom Roth located a copy of an antique book, What is Our

Obligation to the Adult Blind, by Helen Keller, published in

1904. It was published for the first national meeting of a group

of blind individuals which was held in Massachusetts. The book

is publication of Miss Keller's speech on that occasion. The

copy, which would sell for up to $250 on the antique market, was

purchased from an antiquarian book seller by a K A B V I member who

has a master's degree in library science. It will be given to

the winner in a drawing from tickets purchased at the American

Council of the Blind convention this summer. Tickets will be

$5.00 each.

Beulah Carrington reported letters about scholarships will

be sent to vision education teachers, education cooperatives,

small colleges and universities. A small number of applications

have been received.

Barbara Alexander reported K A B V I now boasts 187 paid

members. Through affiliates and known interested persons, a

potential for 500 members exists before looking outside the known

blindness community.

A final draft of the new brochure explaining the activities

of K A B V I was read.

A K A B V I Board of Directors Retreat will precede the

K A B V I/KSDS/Lions Focus Day on Saturday, April 17, 1999. Alan

Beatty, President, American Council of Blind Lions, has been

invited to Focus Day activities.

Arrangements are in process for K A B V I to rent a small office

space from Envision, Topeka. The office will provide a street

address, opportunity for a telephone number and storage space for

organizational records.

The proposed 1999 budget was reviewed, discussed and

accepted. Committee chairs were reminded they are responsible to

submit bills to the treasurer for reimbursement.

K A B V I is an organization that actively advocates on behalf

of persons who are blind and visually impaired. A member who

lost a job under unfavorable circumstances and was therefore

facing major difficulties requested assistance from the

organization. A letter was drafted to the employer requesting

the employer rescind a portion of an agreement with the employee

preventing the employee from working with the company at a later

time and asking the employer to assist the employee in locating


A three-year contract with the Holiday Inn of Great Bend for

conventions there in 1999, 2000 and 2001 was reviewed. During

the three-year period, room rates will be held at $55 per night

including tax. The president was given authority to finalize the

contract. K A B V I will meet at the Great Bend Holiday Inn on

October 22, 23 and 24, 1999; October 20, 21 and 22, 2000; October

19, 20 and 21, 2001. Program and other arrangements will be

easier to complete with convention sites and dates known in


Revisions of the by-laws were reviewed and accepted as

amended by K A B V I's attorney. Committee memberships were reviewed

and finalized.

Sanford reported on the Division of Services for the Blind

(DSB) work group meetings. K A B V I members are urged to give more

input relative to the future of the Division. The DSB Future

Design team was developed. Representatives include: Laura

Howard, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Social and

Rehabilitation Services: Joyce Cussimanio, Commissioner of

Rehabilitation Services; Suzannah Erhart, Director of DSB;

Superintendent William Daugherty of the Kansas State School for

the Blind; three representatives of K A B V I; and three

representatives of the National Federation of the Blind of

Kansas. A report will be submitted by the Design Team by June

1, 1999. It will indicate what DSB will look like in the future.

The K A B V I Board of Directors passed a resolution stating services

need to be at least as strong as they are now, or stronger,

regardless of what happens on the corner of Sixth and MacVicar in


Michael Byington reported on several legislative activities

and issues. A detailed update of this report is found elsewhere

in this newsletter.

The K A B V I Board of Directors will meet April 17 and 18, 1999

at the Kansas Specialty Dog Services facility in Washington,

Kansas, holding a Board retreat Saturday morning before the

formal program and a Board meeting Sunday morning.




The Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

(K A B V I) is sponsoring a special raffle this year.

We are raffling a copy of the first book or pamphlet written

by Helen Keller, titled "Our Duties to the Blind". This was a

small pamphlet written in 1903 to 1904, and presented by Miss

Keller at the first annual meeting of the Massachusetts

Association for Promoting the Interests of the Adult Blind. This

meeting was held at Perkins Hall in Boston on January 4, 1904.

It is a small pamphlet, sixteen pages with cover wraps in

purple. It also lists the first active and advisory board

members of the Massachusetts Association. It is believed that

this was a limited printing designed for distribution at the


This is a wonderful item for book collectors or those

interested in collecting things of and about Helen Keller, and

should be seen as a special prize for someone to treasure and

pass down to family members or to give to a library or museum,


The pamphlet was donated to K A B V I by a librarian well

acquainted with rare books who secured it from a reputable book

seller and can vouch for its authenticity.

The annotated notes would read: Keller, Helen: Our Duties

to the Blind: a paper presented by Helen Keller at the first

annual meeting of the Massachusetts Association for Promoting the

Interests of the Adult Blind, January 4, 1904 Perkins Hall,

Boston. Printed by Thomas Todd, Beacon Street, Boston, 1904.

This is Helen's first book.

Raffle tickets will be available for a donation of $5.00

each and can be obtained prior to June 1, 1999 from K A B V I

Treasurer Robert Chaffin, 1105 Centennial Boulevard, Hays KS

67601. After that date, they will be available from K A B V I

members at the 1999 ACB convention in Los Angeles, California.

The prize winner will be selected at the Kansas caucus during




by Joyce Lewis, Chair, K A B V I Awards Committee


We are now accepting nominations for one or two outstanding

individuals to be recognized state-wide by the Extra Step Award

or the Eleanor A. Wilson Award. Winners will be honored at the

annual meeting and convention in Great Bend in October.

"THE EXTRA STEP AWARD is presented to a visually impaired

individual for unique courage and successful personal

rehabilitation. He or she shall have exhibited initiative and

ingenuity in meeting the unique challenges in his or her life,

and shall have contributed to society in an outstanding manner.

He or she shall be at least legally blind and shall be selected

without regard to affiliation with any organization for or of the

blind, and must be a Kansas resident."

"THE ELEANOR A. WILSON AWARD shall be presented to a sighted

or visually impaired individual who demonstrates outstanding

service to the visually handicapped in Kansas. He or she should,

through personal characteristics or activities, promote public

acceptance and understanding of visually impaired persons as

capable and productive members of the community. The Eleanor A.

Wilson Award emphasizes contributions beyond those achieved in

the course of one's regular employment. Selection is without

regard to affiliation with organizations for or of the blind. He

or she must be a Kansas resident."

The award winners shall be invited to attend the 1999 K A B V I

annual convention in Great Bend this fall.

In addition to the award itself, travel, registration and

one night of hotel expenses for the award winners may be covered,

if desired and when funds are available. We in K A B V I wish the

award ceremonies to be a genuine expression of appreciation for

what these extraordinary individuals have contributed to the

benefit of visually impaired people in Kansas.

Although since 1992 members of the K A B V I Board of Directors

have become eligible for the awards, no member of the Awards

Committee or his or her immediate family is eligible for these


Your letter of nomination for either award should include

personal knowledge of the nominee and his or her specific

contributions. Nominations shall be evaluated and selected by

the Awards Committee, and the names of the winners shall be kept

confidential from the public until the time of the annual

meeting. The award recipients, on the other hand, shall be

notified of their selections to assure that they can attend the

annual meeting (which is required) and for the Awards Committee

to make appropriate welcoming arrangements.

Send your nominations before August 1, 1999, in any format

to: Joyce Lewis, Chair; Awards Committee; 3509 E. 2nd Street

North; Wichita, Kansas 67208.



by Sanford J. Alexander, III, President


The ACB Mid-Year meetings took place over the weekend of

February 13-15, 1999 at the Airport Westin Hotel, Los Angeles,

California, site of the upcoming 1999 Convention.

Many Convention details were finalized with hotel staff.

Several special interest groups met to develop their programs and

to make sure the hotel's facilities would meet their needs. In

short, if you plan to attend what has come to be expected as the

standard of excellence, you will not be disappointed.

The general sessions, exhibits and many special interest

meetings will all be held in the Westin. There is only one small

restaurant in the hotel which has a limited, expensive menu.

There is a Subway, a McDonald's, a Denny's and a Taco Bell within

walking distance but other choices will require using taxicabs.

The overflow hotel is several long blocks away but accessible via

the convention shuttle.

The affiliate presidents' meetings were held Saturday and

Sunday. Presidents from the special interest groups joined the

state affiliate presidents for these meetings and each group

contributed to the other.

A long list of important topics was discussed including a

thorough review of pedestrian safety issues, one of the issues

that promises to become one of the most important in the year

ahead. We also heard about designs of different types of audible

pedestrian signals (APS) and had an opportunity to take part in a

research study designed to determine the standard for such

devices. There was a great amount of interest in a follow-up

discussion on the nuts and bolts of establishing a 501(c)(3)

organization. We heard from the new ACB Web Mistress, Earlene

Hughes on how an affiliate might increase its presence in the

community through the development and maintenance of a Web page.

A panel discussed some of the proposals being considered for

Social Security reform which Congress will tackle this year. An

announcement was made regarding the new ACB program that will

make loans and grants available to affiliates designed to assist

them in growth projects. We also had an opportunity to meet John

Lerned from the Vehicle Donation Processing Center who described

his dealings with several ACB affiliates (including Kansas) and

who met with Michael Byington and me after his presentation to

answer a few specific questions. A highlight of the sessions was

the presentation of happenings from several affiliates, a source

always of many fresh ideas.

This year one left these meetings with the strong sense that

KaBVI is very much in the middle of the predominant course in the

blindness system. Likewise, although K A B V I has not been active

on every issue discussed during the meetings, it is clear we are

involved in many of them and have enjoyed results no less

significant than anyone else in the country. It is also clear

that an effort on the part of more ACB members will be required

in the days ahead if we are to stand the test of the many

challenges confronting us. The time in our movement's history

when we could afford to stand still in the middle of the stream

(short lived to be sure) is behind us and we will either put

forth the energy to make it the rest of the way across or run the

risk of being swept away in the strong current. In either case,

our destiny is firmly in our hands and the responsibility for

succeeding or failing is squarely on our shoulders.



by Steve Bauer


More often than not, when you discuss the Americans with

Disabilities Act (ADA) with someone, the trend is to think it

is for people who are in wheelchairs. We know this is not the

case at all.

In December, 1998, employees of Intrust Bank in Wichita had

a unique and hopefully enlightening opportunity. Bob Killian,

who is a quadriplegic, and myself were asked to share our

personal experiences in a seminar about the ADA. Offered quarterly, this

seminar is designed to educate bank employees about the ADA, how

to deal with customers who are disabled and what to do when

encountering a person who is disabled.

As Operations Officer/Telecommunication Manager, I come in

to contact with many people throughout the two-state area where

Intrust has branches. Bob, also, has contact with many people

via the phone in his job in the Bank Card Customer Service


In many cases, we both are a friendly voice on the phone and

employees are unaware that we have a disability. We both shared

personal experiences and told some funny stories about how we've

been treated, both good and bad.

I can't speak for Bob, but I've noticed some immediate

benefits from participating in this seminar. Those who attended

now identify themselves when we meet in the halls and are not

afraid to offer assistance. It proved to me that people want to

do the right thing, but they just don't know what they should or

shouldn't do.

Although hesitant to participate in similar seminars in the

past as I felt I was being shown off as the token blind guy at

the bank, this setting proved to be quite rewarding. I think it

really helped for bob and I to participate as a team and not to focus

exclusively on one individual.

If you have the opportunity to speak about your visual

impairment and the ADA, I strongly encourage you to welcome the

chance to share and educate those around you.


Questions From the Peanut Gallery

By Barbara Alexander


We in Kansas are blessed with a wealth of people who have a

wide range of knowledge in the field of blind rehabilitation.

Some of these people are consumers as well as providers.

I have a background in rehabilitation and a life experience

in the specifics of blind rehabilitation through living with and

being around many persons who are blind or visually impaired. I

have also worked in agencies for the blind. For those of you who

are new to hearing from me, this will serve as a brief statement

of my knowledge base.

To paraphrase another K A B V I member with whom you are more

familiar, JC still doesn't get it. Instead of listening to the

wealth of knowledge provided by the people in Kansas who know

blindness, the "PROBLEM" is again being studied. I have been

wondering when we regress to the point where instead of being

asked to study the "PROBLEM" to get to the answer of how to

provide services to the blind, we will be TOLD the answers.

Here are some questions that ocurred to me during a recent

DSB Advisory Committee meeting:


1. Was Department of Veterans Affairs Blind Rehabilitation

Services surveyed along with State agencies? VA serves blind

people in every state. It continues to include a full manual

arts program in all of its Centers.

2. Will someone explain KIB double talk to me? If a closed

VR case can stay at KIB, why can't a non-VR case be hired?

3. Who determines "what works?" Why not listen to blind

people who "have been there and done that"? Some of whom are

also professionals in blind rehab.

4. Have we talked to people who have been through the

general agency method versus the categorical agency method for

blind rehabilitation services? There are in the pool of

available people several who have worked in both structures and

used services.

5. Why isn't specialized access technology more thoroughly

explored before being implemented?

6. When have we asked for "the world"? It is independent

living that asks for and expects "the world". Is asking for

categorical services asking for the world?


I ask these questions because I have a very definite

interest and stake in the general well being, success, and future

of my husband and my friends who are blind and visually impaired.

Some are presented to encourage your thoughts and to lead,

hopefully, to the powers that be to listen to the people who

already know the answers and who can build on the past to make a

stronger future.



by Carole Hands-Keedy


In the previous issue of K.A.B.V.I. NEWS, Sharon Luka quoted

Kierkegaard as saying, "It is not the path that is the

difficulty. It is the difficulty which is the path," when

pondering our daily endeavors of work and play, and in changing

what it means to be blind.

One Saturday evening I returned home from Wichita by way of

the Greyhound bus service. For convenience, my son-in-law

checked my suitcase Saturday morning at the Wichita Greyhound

station and requested it be put on the 5:30 bus to Topeka, the

bus my ticket was for, the one I planned to ride.

When I arrived at Greyhound in Wichita at 5:30 that evening,

my suitcase was nowhere to be found. "Where is it?" I


"I have not a clue," responded the agent. Perhaps it is in

Topeka. It must have gone on the noon bus."

Words such as "not a clue," "perhaps" and "must have" lack

positive connotations for anyone. For those of us who are blind

or severely visually impaired, words like these can ignite sparks

within the soul which possess the potential to produce a forest

fire. Neither my son-in-law nor daughter saw my suitcase go into

a compartment on the 5:30 bus out of Wichita. My suitcase was

just not there! That trip from Wichita to Topeka was the longest

three hours I had spent on any of the many trips I had taken

between the two cities. I finally decided to take a positive

attitude and convinced myself the luggage would be in Topeka when

I arrived. It left on the noon bus and everything was fine.

Upon my arrival, I waited for the bus driver to unload the

compartment. No suitcases were removed. I was the only

passenger getting off in Topeka. "Where's my suitcase?" I asked

the bus driver.

"You had no suitcase when you got on in Wichita," he


The chain of events during the next two days ran parallel to

one's worst nightmare. Topeka Greyhound would not take a

"missing" report because not enough time had lapsed since the

"misplacement" of my luggage occurred. Upon the ticket agent's

request, I waited at the bus station an additional hour to check

buses arriving from Kansas City and Denver.

I told the ticket agent, "The last time I saw my suitcase

was 11:15 this morning. There is a time issue here. - Hello?"

It was as though I had said nothing. There was no response from

the ticket agent. "

As each bus arrived, luggage was unloaded. My luggage was

not there! Each driver refused to open other compartments upon

my request to verify that my suitcase had not been inadvertently

misplaced in one of them. When I reported the phenomenon to the

ticket agent, she agreed with the actions of the drivers. "This

is it," I thought. "This is my worst nightmare!"

Before I left the Greyhound station that night, I informed

the ticket agent that when the suitcase did arrive it needed to

be delivered to my home because I was visually impaired and could

not drive. I was immediately told Greyhound does not deliver.

Early Sunday morning, Greyhound of Topeka called to tell me

my suitcase had arrived in Topeka from Kansas City. Once again I

told them the suitcase needed to be delivered to my home and

reminded them of the reason why. I was again told Greyhound does

not deliver, but I could talk about it with the manager Monday

morning. "Monday," I said. "Today is Sunday. I need for

you to deliver this suitcase today."

"No," the agent responded. "Greyhound does not deliver.

You'll have to discuss this with the manager, who comes in


I had to wait until Monday because no one was in the

corporate office in Dallas to take my call. So on Monday

morning, very early, I called the Topeka Greyhound station.

After a lengthy discussion with the manager, I was again assured

Greyhound does not deliver. The manager did agree to deliver the

suitcase the following Friday when she returned after being away

for a week!

It appeared my hands were tied. (Notice I said,

"appeared.") While maintaining my composure and giving the

appearance of remaining calm, I picked up the phone and called

the toll free number for customer service in Dallas. The

receiver was picked up and I heard, "Hello, this is Tammy Smith.

You have reached my voice mail."

"Oh, No, not that! Anything but that. Not VOICE MAIL!"

That little spark was beginning to sizzle. I left a message

explaining everything and what I expected Greyhound to do.

"Deliver my luggage to my home."

Three hours passed and Tammy Smith did not call back.

Topeka Greyhound did not call back. No one called. It was as if

the world had quit moving and all the people on it had vanished.

"Where is everybody?" thought I.

Finally, I again called Tammy Smith and left the message, "I

appreciate your cooperation concerning this issue. Since

Greyhound lost my luggage, I'm sure you would agree Greyhound is

responsible to deliver the luggage to its proper owner. Those of

us who have disabilities need your cooperation in these matters.

Thank you for your help." My luggage arrived at 4:30 that

afternoon - three hours after the second call to Dallas and

nearly forty-eight hours after I became aware of its loss in


Kierkegaard's words are truth. It was not the path from

Wichita to Topeka that was the difficulty. It was the difficulty

that ensued along the path that determined the path.




by Michael Byington


This report is written during the third week in February. Things

move so fast during the months that the Kansas Legislature is in

full session so as to make it hard to put out a written report

and have it be relevant to what is actually going on. I will,

however, attempt to do some predicting as to what actions may

need to be taken over the next several weeks so interested

parties can help us with them.


The following is a list of issues that various blindness

advocates are working on. Envision and the Kansas Association for

the Blind and Visually Impaired are involved with virtually all

of these issues but on some of them, other advocacy groups such

as the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas or the

Deafblind Task Force are also joining in.



CENTERS: A trend has developed nation-wide where malls and

shopping centers are banning public transportation vehicles from

their parking lots. This means that the public transit buses are

not allowed to bring customers near entrances of malls or strip

shopping centers, but rather must let riders out on public

streets with often nearly two blocks of parking lot to be

transversed between the shopping entrances and the bus stop. Many

of the mall and shopping center owners or management companies

claim that the buses are being banned because of actual or

potential parking lot damage, but this assertion defies logic. It

seems quite unlikely that parking lot damage caused by a bus

could be discerned from parking lot damage caused by delivery

trucks. People who are older and people who have disabilities are

major users of public transportation, and many such individuals

are physically unable to transverse the wide parking lots in

order to get to shopping.

Envision therefore requested introduction of Senate Bill 154.


legislation would make it unlawful to ban public transportation

vehicles from parking lots of public accommodations. The

Legislation does not require that the parking lots be adapted or

rebuilt to accommodate public transportation vehicles, but simply

makes it clear that, if a public transportation provider wishes

to enter a parking lot, as built, it is unlawful to keep them

from doing so. This legislation had a hearing in the Senate

Transportation Committee in early February. an excellent

cross section of disability advocates showed up to testify. The

mall and shopping center representatives did not show up for the

hearing and Committee members expressed considerable concern

about this as well so the hearing docket was held open for them

to have further opportunity to submit comments. On February 18, a

follow-up hearing and Committee discussion was held on the bill.

The mall and shopping center representatives had by this time

been contacted, and there were some written comments from them,

but still no representatives appeared in person. The result was

that the Senate Transportation Committee did something which is

quite unusual. They neither supported or killed the bill.

Instead, they decided to write a Committee letter to the Mayors

of Wichita and Topeka, where the problem of bus access to malls

and shopping centers is documented to exist, and tell the Cities

that the Senate Transportation Committee wants to see this

problem resolved, but wants to give the cities an opportunity to

handle it at local levels before adopting State-wide legislation.

The State legislative bill will be kept alive in Committee and

the committee will consider moving it forward if the Cities do

not adopt a similar ordinance at their level. While I continue to

believe that this issue would be best addressed by a State law,

it can certainly be approached as the Committee has addressed.

Therefore, as soon as the Committee letter is out, I will be

starting a dialog with the Wichita and Topeka City Councils about

introduction of an ordinance to resolve this problem. I will need

the assistance of local advocates at the time these efforts take




TRANSPORTATION: To date, Kansas has put very few funds into

public transportation. The entire State aid package for public

transit has

been around one million dollars. This summer, Governor Graves

convened a blue ribbon panel on transportation issues which he

called "Transportation 2000. The purpose of this panel was to

develop and propose a comprehensive multi-year transportation

plan for the State of Kansas. In the past, such transportation

plans have been called "highway plans" and have indeed only dealt

with issues relating to roads and bridges. The Transportation

2000 Task Force, however, held public hearings around the State,

and these resulted in many advocates for improving public

transportation being heard. Envision staff and employees, along

with representatives of the Kansas Association for the Blind and

Visually Impaired, were among those who advocated strongly

at these meetings for increased aid to public transit providers.

The result is that the Transportation 2000 recommendations, now

being considered by both House and Senate Transportation


promote about an eight fold increase in public transit State aid.

Public transportation advocates will make every effort to see

that this additional State aid to public transit becomes a

reality. So far, however, the Transportation Committee members of

the two houses of the Legislature seem to be making two views

clear. One is that they agree that transportation issues need to

be dealt with in the State of Kansas. The second is that they do

not like the Governor's plan for doing so, or his proposed

funding package. It is hard to say at this point where all of

this will shake out. Blind and low vision advocates, however,

need to keep giving Legislators one consistent message. No

matter what transportation plan and funding sources are selected,

Kansas needs a comprehensive transportation plan and program

integrating public transportation assistance into a mix. We do

not need another highway program which ignores public transit





Developmental Disabilities Reform Act is the law which sets forth

the system used in Kansas to provide community based services to

developmentally disabled Kansans. Though not specifically an

entitlement law, the Act does create the expectation that every

developmentally disabled individual has rights to security, food,

shelter, etc. Many people who are developmentally disabled,

however, experience blindness, deafness, or deafblindness in

combination with the developmental disability. For such

individuals, one of the greatest barriers to living a full and

productive life in the community is getting the appropriate

communications accommodations. In other words, if a person who is

multiply disabled deafblind communicates exclusively through

tactile sign language and Braille, and if these accommodations

are not provided, then the individual becomes quite isolated, and

skills deteriorate. The current law, and regulations implementing

it, however, only require that communications consistent with the

developmentally disabled individual's capabilities be provided at

times when decisions are being made or planning meetings about

the person take place. This level of accommodation is inadequate.

For an individual who is developmentally disabled sensory

impaired to benefit from community placement, discussions,

gossip, day to day descriptions of surroundings, etc. all must be

communicated appropriately, not just information at times of

decision making or at meetings. Envision, the Kansas Deafblind

Task Force, and the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually

Impaired, Inc. have thus requested legislation which would add

communications assistance to the basic fulfillments to which the

developmentally disabled person has rights. A bill number has

been assigned to this proposal, and it is Senate Bill 268. I do

not know if we will get hearings on this bill this year. After

March 1 Senator Praeger

needs to hear that the bill needs to have hearings at the very

first of the next legislative session. Senator Praeger can be

contacted at (785) 296-7364. Her Topeka address is 128 S. State

Capitol, Topeka, Kansas 66612.



legislation which requires that utility bills be available to

persons who are blind in their media of choice -ie- Braille,

large print, on tape, or on computer disk. This bill has been

assigned the number, House Bill 2322. In theory this

accommodation is already required under provisions of the

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) but the only way the ADA is

enforced is if someone files a complaint. Enforcement then

becomes quite adversarial in nature. We feel that it would be a

much more positive approach for the State to adopt specific


requiring media of choice for utility bills. This Bill received a

hearing in the House Utilities Committee on February 19th. Both

Envision and the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually

Impaired appeared in favor of it. Four utilities testified

concerning the bill, two for and two against. It looks positive

for this bill to get out of Committee and go to the full Senate.

Several technical amendments will probably be added, however, so

it is hard to say how the bill will eventually look. There are

already a number of services around the country which specialize


printing utility bills in both Braille and large print, but there

is not really any current specialization available in the

recording of such information either by synthesized speech or

recorded natural speech.


STRENGTHEN THE KANSAS USE LAW: This is a State law which says

that, if organizations which employ large numbers of people who

are blind or disabled manufacture products which the State of

Kansas or a local school district need to buy, these governmental

entities must

give the organization who employs the blind or disabled the first

option to sell the product to them. There is a list of approved


SEVERELY DISABLED KANSANS. Products distributed through this law,

and the resulting program have to be competitive in both quality

and price with those available commercially. Currently, six


manufacturers, including Envision, sell products under this law.

The problem is that there is no enforcement provisions in the

law. When a State agency or school system violate it, usually

nothing happens to them. There are a few State agencies and many

school districts in Kansas which flagrantly violate the law, and

these violations in tern prevent many blind or disabled Kansans

from being employed. Envision and the Kansas Association for the

Blind and Visually Impaired are attempting to get some

enforcement teeth into the Kansas Use law. This bill is in the

House and has been assigned the number of 2396. It was assigned

to the House Appropriations Committee. Representative Phill

Kline is the new House Appropriations Chair. He needs to be

encouraged to hold hearings on 2396. His telephone is (785)

296-7693, and his Topeka address is 514 S. State Capitol, Topeka,

Kansas 66612.



rehabilitation service and administrative center for the Kansas

Division of Services for the Blind is located at the corner of

6th and MacVicar in Topeka. Kansas Industries for the Blind is

also located on that corner. This property adjoins the now

closed, Topeka State Hospital grounds. At somewhere around

midnight on the last day of the 1996 Legislative session, the

Kansas Legislature adopted a measure that officially makes the

Division of Services for the Blind buildings a part of Topeka

State Hospital. This means that when the Topeka State grounds are

sold, the Services for the Blind buildings are slated to go with

them. State officials are saying that when the Services for the

blind buildings are vacated, sometime during the next year,

Kansas Industries for the Blind will close or privatize. They are

also saying that the other blindness related services which have

been offered at the same location for the past 50 years will be

re-located and "re-invented". Many blind Kansans do not trust

this process. Envision and the Kansas Association for the Blind

and Visually Impaired, Inc. certainly has its doubts an does not

want to see Kansas Industries for the Blind risk closure. In our

view, the best solution to this set of circumstances would simply

be for the Services for the Blind buildings at 6th and MacVicar

to remain open and operational. There is no particular reason

that these buildings should have to close and be sold just

because the adjoining Topeka State Hospital buildings are sold.

Legislation has thus been introduced which would make the corner

of 6th and MacVicar in Topeka dedicated to serving people who are

blind. It would separate this property from Topeka State Hospital

and make sure that it is not considered a part of Topeka State

Hospital. Because of some confusion in the Legislative Services

office, this bill has been assigned two numbers, Senate Bill 274

and 289. It is not possible to predict which of these numbers, if

either, will move forward. Both identical bills were assigned to

the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which seems to be the lead

committee in handling all Topeka State Divestiture issues.

Hearings have not been held on either of these bills, but they

have been held on a related bill. Senate Bill 159 would move the

divestiture of the Topeka State Hospital properties in the

opposite direction from 274 and 289. Bill 159 further defines the

Topeka State Hospital grounds as including the Services for the

Blind Buildings at 6th and MacVicar,

and gives all such lands to the control of the Kansas Secretary


Administration to divest in any manner the Kansas Department of

Administration sees fit. When hearings were held on 159, Envision

coordinated efforts, and six blind persons showed up to testify

against the bill. This was quite a shock to some of the Committee

members who did not understand the controversial nature of the

boundaries and divestiture of Topeka State. We asked that the

language of Senate bills 274 or 289 simply be added to 159 as an

amendment. Though having heard the Bill, the Committee has taken

no action on it to date.



been the view of the Kansas blindness community for several years

that significant numbers of blind students are graduating from

Kansas schools with inadequate literacy skills, and that literacy

levels among blind Kansans are thus generally on the decline.

There are also national statistics which suggest that literacy

levels are declining. In Kansas, however, we do not have a handle

on how severe the problem may be. House Concurrent Resolution

5010 urges the Kansas State Board of Education to do a State-wide

survey of literacy levels of blind students. The survey proposed

would also look at whether the most appropriate reading media are

being used (Braille, large print, etc.) The Resolution then calls

upon the Board of Education to take such corrective action as may

be necessary to resolve any literacy deficits identified.

Literacy, and for people who are blind, Braille literacy, are

very important to employment and self-sufficiency. The rate of

unemployment among working age blind remains very high (about 74%

nation-wide.) As more and more jobs require literacy this

frightening percentage will only increase if the next generation

of blind adults have

lower literacy levels than the current generation. This occurs at

a time when computerized Braille translation and printing, and

paperless or refreshable computer Braille displays make Braille a

more practical and easy to store media then ever before. In other

words, we have the technology now to put more and more people who

are blind and severely visually impaired to work, but we need to

insure that the blind and visually impaired population remains

sufficiently literate to take advantage of the technology. This

bill has had hearings where both Envision and the Education Chair

of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired,

Inc. testified in favor of it. There were no opponents. These are

good signs that the Bill might move forward, but there are no

guarantees. The House Education Committee has not yet worked the

Resolution and moved it out of Committee to the House floor.



FOR THE BLIND: Many know this program as the vending program or

the Randolph-Sheppard program. This is a program operated by the

Kansas Division of Services for the Blind which provides training

and licensure to blind business persons so that they may operate

vending facilities located in State, County, or City buildings.

This State program parallels the federal Randolph-Sheppard

program which provides for the States to offer similar training

and licensure so that blind business persons can operate

facilities in federal buildings. Our State law in Kansas,

however, has a problem similar to the one described for the

Kansas Use Law. Our law is weak on enforcement. It offers blind

persons a "preference when feasible" in operating vending

facilities in the publicly owned buildings previously mentioned.

These weak terms with regard to the blind person's right to

benefit from the law result in their being lots of leeway for

local governmental facilities administrators

to give contracts to multi-national corporations or to their

Uncle Harry to whom they owe a favor by simply finding, for

whatever silly reason they may choose, that having a licensed

blind vendor operate the facility is just "not feasible." Senate

Bill 175 would strengthen the law replacing the terms "where

feasible" with the terms, "right of first refusal." This bill had

hearings in mid-february. Envision, the Kansas Association for

the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc. and the Commissioner of


Services testified in favor of the Bill. Although it was rumored

that the League of Municipalities would oppose the bill, this

organization did not appear or submit any written testimony

against it. It is notable that the administrators of the Kansas

Business Enterprises Program did not appear. The committee

became very technical in its evaluation of Senate Bill 175. They

questioned whether the language proposed would achieve the

purposes of the Legislation, and Senator Dave Kurr, the Ways and

Means Chair quoted Black's Law Dictionary's real estate terms

section in supporting his concerns about the language.

Ultimately, Senator Kurr decided that the Ways and Means

Committee was not qualified to handle the Bill, and referred it

to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It does not appear very

optimistic that this bill will move forward since the Committee

has a very full schedule. If it is to do so, Senator Emert needs

to be convinced that this is an important issue which must

proceed. Senator Emert can be contacted at (785) 296-2497. His

address is 356 E. State Capitol, Topeka, Kansas 66612.




Telecommunications Access Program already has been established to

provide equipment to people who have disabilities so that they

can access basic telecommunications services. This concept is one

which the enabling legislation calls "universal access to service."

Basic service means the process of talking to someone on a

standard telephone.

The type of equipment which is offered to blind and low

vision persons through the Telecommunications Access Program

includes, but is not limited to: voice dialers, big number

telephones, talk back equipment, etc. For blind and low vision

people to continue to be employed into the next century, however,

what is needed with greater and greater urgency is assurance that

people who can not see will be able to access the internet and

other text based telecommunications transmitted over the

telephone lines. These types of services are called "enhanced

universal services." The current definition of such services in

current statutes, however, is highly technical, and is in need of

changes because the technologies used have changed subsequent to

its having been written. Senate Bills 85 and 86, and House Bill 2496 all

provide new definitions for "enhanced universal services." None

of these proposals adequately include references to the need for

enhanced services to be accessible, or easily made accessible, to

all disability groups. This language needs to be added, and

Envision is testifying on all of these bills to this effect. The

good news, however, is that the testimony which has already been

provided on this subject by Envision has captured the interest of

some of the top officials at the Kansas Corporation Commission.

It is there view that some enhanced services could potentially be

added to the types of equipment currently covered under the

Telecommunications Access Program under provisions of existing

law. I have thus begun work to petition the Kansas Corporation

Commission to make these changes. The result could be that people

who are blind might be able to get equipment to make computers

talk free of charge through the Telecommunications Access Program. I

will keep you all posted as to progress on this issue.



(A COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND): The threat to the current blind

services facilities in Topeka detailed at the beginning of this

article as well as moves on the part of the Rehabilitation

Services Commissioner to combine supervision over rehabilitation

generalists and blind services personnel, have led the two major

consumer groups of blind citizens in Kansas, the National

Federation of the Blind of Kansas and the Kansas Association for

the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc., to support legislation

which would remove blind services functions from the control and

structure of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation

Services, and instead create a free standing agency which serves

the blind of Kansas and which answers to the Governor's office

directly. State agencies which specialize in blindness generally

do a better job,

and experience higher consumer satisfaction, than do agencies


are berried in a generic bureaucracy. About 50% of states in

America have freestanding agencies serving the blind. The bill to

accomplish a freestanding commission for the Blind has not been

assigned a bill number at this writing. Former Representative

Richard Edlund, who is Vice President of the National Federation

of the Blind of Kansas, agreed to take charge of getting the Bill

introduced on the House side and informed me earlier this week

that the bill will be introduced through the House Federal and

State Affairs Committee. This is another one of those Committees

which is exempt from certain introduction deadlines, so at this

point in the Legislative session, it is a good committee to use

in bringing the bill on line and getting a number assigned.


I want to thank particularly Sanford Alexander, Carole


Mary Adams, Ann Byington, David Schwinn, and Eva Kurtz of the

Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, who have

all helped me work on the legislative matters covered in this

report. I also want to thank Richard Edlund of the National

Federation of the Blind of Kansas for his help in the work the

two of us have done together on much of this legislation. Lastly,

I would like to thank Bobbie White and Adabelle Houghowtt, who

are both not affiliated with either of the Consumer

organizations, but who have been active in helping me in working

on legislative issues this year thus far.




SKAVI (Southwest Kansas Association for the Visually

Impaired) - The Phi Beta Psi Christmas bazaar was a successful

event. Maggie the handcrafted bear, made and donated by Dell

Snyder, won by Myrna Austin, earned SKAVI nineteen dollars. The

January program was a time of sharing problems and solutions

among the members.

NKAVI (Northwest Kansas Association for the Visually

Impaired) - Congratulations are in order! NKAVI celebrated

twenty years in existence. Lloyd Nida, Rehabilitation Teacher

serving Northeast Kansas, was instrumental in organizing NKAVI in

1979 and has continued to be active throughout the years. A goal

of the group was to establish a low vision clinic in Hays. A

clinic is available on the Hadley Campus of Hays Medical Center.

The organization is planning a low vision fair in the fall.

Details will be shared as they become available. NKAVI NEWS FOR

JANUARY reports, "Support is generally close as the nearest

telephone. Someone is usually available to listen and offer help

when possible."




EDITOR'S NOTE: Much of the information in this section was

contributed by William Lewis. The contributions are appreciated

- thanks, Bill! Reporting of items is not an endorsement of the

items by K A B V I. K A B V I is in no way responsible for the

reliability of items presented.

AIR CAPITAL TELEPHONE READER: As the Air Capital Telephone

Reader started its second year of operation, a new computer and

software package were installed. The new system is faster with

the synthetic speech now being software generated instead of

using external synthesizer devices. The new speech is louder and

easier to understand. Last year, telephone reader handled 15,827

calls. users READ online a total of 4,129 hours. To sign up for

the free service, contact our office on (316) 337-7701 to request

an application or call Brad Rehaat the Talking Book Department in

the Wichita Public Library, (316) 262-0611.

STUDENT AID AUDIO GUIDE is a new, free publication of the

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Post Secondary Education.

It provides information about financial aid available to students

with disabilities. Topics include federal financial aid

programs, sources and eligibility for non-federal aid and

application procedures. The Student Aid Guide is available on

cassette or computer disk. Contact Federal Student Aid Center,

P.O. Box 84, Washington, DC 20044-0084.

VISION ENHANCEMENT is a quarterly publication of Vision

Worldwide, Inc. It is available in large print, standard 2-track

audio-cassette and PC or Mackintosh computer disk with special

file for braille output. several columns, a section about

achievers, medical and science updates, unique projects,

technology, book, video and magazine reviews, a resource

directory and more. Subscription price is $20 per year. Order

from the corporate office: Vision Worldwide, Inc., 5707 Brockton

Drive #302; Indianapolis, IN 46220-5481.

SENILITY PRAYER: (Author Unknown) God grant me the

senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good

fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to know the


FREE EYE EXAM; (800) 766-4466 to determine eligibility.




ARNOLD AUSTIN, Butler, MO., died November 2, 1998. He

belonged to both the Kansas and Missouri Associations for the

Blind and Visually Impaired.

ISABEL RARDEN, a member of SKAVI died in November, 1998.

MARION BEAL, Pueblo, CO, 78, died January 30, 1999. He

graduated from the Kansas School for the Blind in 1940 and served

as a placement agent with the Division of Services for the Blind.

He moved to Pueblo, CO, where he sold insurance and later was

employed at the Pueblo Army Depot. He is survived by his wife,

Hazel, as well as a daughter and a son.

GRACE B. MARTIN, 92, Wichita, retired stenographer, died

Sunday, May 17, 1998. Survivors: son, Tom of Wichita; daughter,

Laura Waymire of Portland, Ore.; six grandchildren, 19

great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren. Memorial

has been established with Grace United Methodist Church.



The committee chair with address is listed first and

committee members' names follow.



Joyce Lewis; 3509 E. 2nd; Wichita, KS 67208; (316) 681-7443.

Samuel Wilson, Frances Long, Dave Bruce, Nancy Chaffin.


COORDINATOR - Regina Henderson; 1010 Inverness; Wichita, KS

67218; (316) 267-2244 (work) or (316) 687-0113 (home.)

PROGRAM - Michael Byington; 909 SW College Ave.;

Topeka, KS 66606; (785) 233-3839. Darlene Howe, Bill


ARRANGEMENTS - Sanford Alexander; 5321 Plaza Lane;

Wichita, KS 67208; (316) 652-0852. Barbara Alexander,

Sister Camillus Bayer, Sister Corona Bayer.


Ann Byington; 909 SW College Ave.; Topeka, KS 66606; (785) 233-

3839. Jackie Denk, Joyce Lewis, Millie Justice, Bernice Brown,

Debbie Heeren, Samuel Wilson.


Robert Chaffin; 1105 Centennial Boulevard; Hays, KS 67601; (785)

625-28873. John Gormley, William Lewis, Tom Roth.


Mary T. Adams; 412 Topeka Boulevard, #3; Topeka, KS 66603; (785)

235-3315. Don Johnson, Michael Byington, Bonnie Byington, Dave

Schwinn, Janelle Edwards, Lucille Parli, Eva Kurtz, Carole Hands-



Bonnie Byington; 1135 SW College Ave., #202C; Topeka, KS 66604;

(785) 354-9933. Darlene Howe, Mildred Meck, Harold Henderson,

Bernice Brown, Beulah Carrington, Barbara Alexander.


Sandy Evans; 2201 E. Macarthur Rd., Lot D225; Wichita, KS 67216;

(316) 265-2416. Nancy Johnson, Bonnie Byington, Georgia Layton.


Tom Roth; 2101 SW Potomac Dr. #7; Topeka, KS 66611; (785) 232-

1470. Michael Byington, Mary Adams, Regina Henderson.


Beulah Carrington; 1171 SW Woodward; Topeka, KS 66604; (785)

357-7090. JoAnn Martin, Janelle Edwards, Nancy Chaffin, Georgia Layton.



I am enclosing $5.00 for my 1999 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 ____

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