Volume 42 Summer, 1999 No. 2

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Click here to learn more about the K A B V I Newsletter

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

An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind





TOPEKA KS 66606-1753

200 E 32ND
HAYS KS 67601




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

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NOTIONS by Nancy Johnson

K A B V I CONVENTION Comes Into Focus by Regina Henderson, Convention Coordinator

K A B V I Launches New Program By Barbara Alexander


An Historical Document for Blind People in Kansas By Sanford J. Alexander

YOU WANT TO MAIL FREE MATTER Compiled by Richard L Belgard, McMinnville, Oregon, Submitted by William Lewis









by Sanford J. Alexander, III


Hearing of the death of a friend or relative is never

pleasant. As an early baby boomer, I have moved into the time in

my life when such news seems to come at an alarmingly increased

pace. As a member of a population where the largest constituency

is over the age of 60, we have seen more than our share.

Despite these facts, it was with particular impact that the

news of the death of Mary T. Adams was received on March 30, 1999.

We often hear people lament that they never had a chance to

speak to a friend for that last time, to say the things they

regretted unsaid or missed the opportunity to share that one

thought or idea. I, fortunately, was able to have that last

conversation with Mary.

We had attended a DSB Future Design meeting the past Saturday.

Mary had provided focused input at the end of the meeting and

gotten several people's attention with her remarks. I felt she

needed to know I particularly appreciated her remarks as they were

constructive in their intent,if a little brusk in their delivery.

I phoned Mary to share these thoughts and enjoyed a lengthy

conversation ranging over many areas. Mary thanked me for my

congratulatory words, stating that she hoped she had been heard the

way she meant to be by those for whom her remarks were largely

intended; I assured her that they could have done no less as she

had hit the nail so squarely on the head. When we ended our

conversation, it was with comments related to what we would each be

doing in the coming weeks to advance the process of ensuring that

services provided to blind Kansans would not be diluted or

diverted. Mary still had many calls to make and things to say.

I'm grateful that this last opportunity didn't slip through my

fingers and that I had the chance to express my thanks to Mary.

The very next day she was gone.

I have only had the pleasure of knowing and working with Mary

for about nine years. Over that time I have come to recognize and

respect her for the wealth of knowledge she possessed regarding

services in Kansas for blind and visually impaired people. I came

quickly to appreciate that she spoke sparingly but never wasted a

word. It was also abundantly clear that she was dedicated to do

all she could to make it possible for other blind Kansans to

realize the best of their potential. Long after Mary could have

"retired", she was still active. Way past when many would have

claimed their infirmities as a reason for withdrawing, Mary pushed

on with a vigor and zeal expected of people much younger and in

better health.

Mary realized that blind people had achieved the gains they

enjoy through hard work and struggle, pushing against a system that

would have far preferred she sit back and let a benevolent society

care for her. She realized that equality in our society was not

something that would come freely or easily and that far too many

people failed to understand or appreciate the unique problems

vision loss imposed on a person's life. Mary realized that this

struggle was not unlike a war and that every blind person had to

take up the cause and offer their service if any were to succeed.

Mary was the Chair of the K A B V I Legislative Committee because

she knew the issues, articulated our needs, had the contacts and

wasn't bashful about being seen or heard where it would do the most

good for our cause. She leaves a gap that will be hard to fill.

The last words Mary T. Adams spoke at a public meeting were

aimed at bringing the DSB Future Design Team back into focus. She

firmly reminded the SRS staff present that if this was to be a

team, it needed to depend on the input of everyone at every level

including the composition of the agenda. She stated that, if

necessary, she would contact every legislator during the recess to

make sure they understood the issues of importance for the blind

community from our perspective. She admonished everyone that not

until this meeting had we been talking about the elements of

service to blind people that needed to be understood,preserved and


Unfortunately, Mary has withdrawn from the field before the

last battle is won. Her dedication, fervor and determination,

however, are attributes that will live on. Mary will still carry

the standard of our cause and help point the direction in which we

must march. If we don't feel strongly enough to do what we must

for our own sakes, we cannot fail to succeed for hers.

From my perspective, Mary T. Adams will live in KaBVI history

as one of its greatest members and agents of improvement for all

Kansans who are blind or visually impaired and I count it a great

honor to have known and to have had the opportunity to work with


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Mary T. Adams March 27, 1999


"When you were talking about the document from Michael and I,

I feel like until this afternoon we have not talked about services

for the blind. We have talked about other agencies and other

programs and I feel like it was a way of keeping us out of

categorical services. I am going to keep on working for

categorical services if I have to go to every representative and

every senator. My favorite place ... summer school would be ideal

... keep categorical services. And I have felt like we have been

fed a line. We haven't been asked for anything to add to the

agenda. That isn't a team."

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by Nancy Johnson


Is anybody out there? I can't hear anybody! And that's

lonely and scary!

For several years now, K A B V I has been fighting to save

categorical services for persons with severely impaired vision and

blindness. For several years now, members have been urged to speak

out about this issue. The majority of items that have come across

the newsletter editor's desk are activities of the Board and

reports from persons serving on specific committees.

What have you, individually, done to help the cause, and what

have been the results of your efforts? Will you share your

activities through the newsletter with other members?

If you've made an effort in the struggle to keep what services

we now have and would willingly share your experience, get that

information to your editor. Your experience might give others

ideas about what they can do. You don't have to be a polished

writer. Polishing is the editor's job. Just share the facts we

can give to others.

Another item you could share might be your positive

experiences from services you have received. How have specific

services helped you? How did a rehabilitation teacher help you at

home? What did a vocational rehabilitation counselor do that

helped you? What did you learn at the Rehabilitation Center for

the Blind that helped you? It may have been only a small thing.

For example, when I was young I attended the Center. One day

during break a counselor saw me holding a soda bottle close to read

the label. He chewed me out for doing that because "it doesn't

look normal." He told me I should ask a person who was sighted to

read for me those things I needed to hold close. "Looking normal"

became the priority over performing some tasks independently.

Several years later, at a restaurant with a visually impaired

friend, the memory of the episode came to mind. we asked a

waitress to read the menu for us. I chose not to try to read the

menu because I remembered that holding it very close to read didn't

look normal. I don't know how long we waited for the waitress to

come back - but it seemed a long time. I thought, "I can read this

menu if I do it my way, but it doesn't look normal." I decided to

read the menu anyway - to heck with looking normal. If I waited to

look normal, we might never eat. Until that counselor made an

issue of my looking normal, I'd always worked toward that goal but

never been concerned when I used a special technique to meet my

needs. His comment later helped me put into perspective the issues

of independence and normal appearance. Appearing as others do in

terms of posture, grooming and body language is important to me.

But also important to me is the fact that I can perform many tasks

independently, though I don't perform them as others do and

therefore don't "look normal" while doing them. When I can't read

the menu independently, we wait to have it read - and sometimes we

wait a while before we eat. A simple comment by a counselor can

make a difference in a life.

Please share your experiences with others. It's not a good

thing to leave a newsletter alone and scared there's no one out


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K A B V I CONVENTION Comes Into Focus

by Regina Henderson, Convention Coordinator


Plans for the 1999 K A B V I convention are nearing their final

stage. I have enjoyed 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 be making your plans now to join us for what

promises to be a very exciting convention. Although many details

are still not confirmed, I can share what is known at this point.

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

1999 at the Holiday Inn, Great Bend, Kansas. The Holiday Inn is

located at 3017 W. 10th, Great Bend KS 67530

In response to input from members and following lengthy

discussion by the Board, 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.

The following is a tentative schedule as it stands at this



Friday October 22, 1999

10:00am: Board meeting

1:00-8:00pm: Exhibits open

1:00pm: Opening Session ceremonies

1:15-2:15: Telecommunications Panel: Assistive Tech for

Kansans; Telecommunication Access Project, Envision

and State of Kansas representative

2:15: break

2:30-2:40: humor

2:40-3:10: committee reports

3:10-4:00: Panel: Benefits You May Not Know About; IRS, Kansas

Department of Revenue, SSA, Medicare funding for assistive

technology for the blind and low vision

5:00-8:00: poster sessions to be set up with exhibitors in

exhibit room

8:00pm: bingo

8:00pm: hospitality suite open


Saturday October 23, 1999

7:00-8:30am: presidents breakfast (invitation only)

8:00-12:00: exhibits

9:00-11:30: Guide Dog Users of Kansas meeting

10:30-11:55: Low Vision Support Group

12:00-1:25: Membership Luncheon, Membership Chair

speaker: Alan Beatty, membership issues

president's report: Sanford Alexander

1:30-2:00: What Constitutes Best Practices in Orientation &

Mobility Training and Thoughts From an International

Perspective: Jadwiga Plesniar, O&M Instructor, RCB

2:00-2:40: Why We Need a Commission for the Blind in Kansas

and What We Need to do to Get One: Richard Edlund and

Michael Byington

2:40: break

2:55-3:05: humor

3:05-3:20: Alan Beatty: ACB update

3:20-4:20: Resolutions: Tom Roth

4:20-4:30: humor

4:30-5:00: Braille and Literacy Issues: speaker TBA

6:30-8:30: Banquet

Ophthalmologist With International Experience

8:30pm: DVS movie: TBA

8:30pm: hospitality suite open


Sunday October 24, 1999

8:00-9:00am: Eleanor A. Wilson Award Breakfast: mc

Bill & Joyce Lewis

Eleanor A. Wilson Award presentation

9:00-9:30: KSDS program

9:30-9:40: humor break

9:40-10:40: Resolutions, continued

10:40-10:50: humor

10:50-11:05: elections: Tom Roth presiding

11:05-11:15: Other Business

11:15: Adjournment

11:30: post-convention Board 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 in July. Pre-

registrations received by the hotel deadline of September 19,

1999 will be charged $42.00 which will include attendance at all

meetings and meals. Registrations received after this date will

be charged $52.00. Registrations at the door cannot guarantee

seating at meal functions. Those desiring to only attend

meetings and none of the meal functions will be charged $5.00

whether pre-registering or at the door.

This arrangement will enable us to enjoy the best prices on meals

and is designed to reward those who pre-register which makes

convention planning easier and reduces the stresses of working a

hectic registration desk at convention. The program committee

has also scheduled activities at the meals to which they wish to

encourage everyone's attendance.

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 for you to obtain the convention rate,

please remember to tell the reservations desk that you will be

attending the K A B V I convention.

We all look forward to seeing you at this exciting



Menu for meals at 1999 Kabvi Convention


Lunch: Cost at the door= $16.50

Soup, Salad, Croissant

and Double Fudge Brownie


Banquet: Cost at the door= $26.00

KC Strip Steak (10oz)

Salad, Vegetable, Potato,Bread

and Ice Cream w/ Cherries Jubilee Sauce


Breakfast: Cost at the door= $12.00


Orange Juice, Scrambled Eggs,

Hash Browns, Fresh Fruit, Bacon

and Pastries

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K A B V I Launches New Program

By Barbara Alexander


One result of the recent K A B V I Board of Directors retreat

was the creation of a new program that will enable KaBVI to help

more young people than we have been able to in the past. The

following is the program's outline.


Project Get REAL


Project Get REAL (Real Employment Achieves Liberty) is a

K A B V I program designed to assist blind and visually impaired

Kansans formerly eligible for its Esther V. Taylor scholarship

program. It will offer an opportunity to reach more students

with meaningful experiences that will be educational for them

while providing more beneficial monetary assistance to the

students selected for the final sponsorship. It will enable

K A B V I to reach local school personnel and the KSSB. It will

also provide a mechanism through which the dialogue with the

Kansas Lions might be expanded.

K A B V I will select two winners from all eligible applicants

through a competition process containing several steps. The

winners will receive a $1000 grant, paid to KSSB, to be used for

a placement in the KSSB summer job program.

All applicants will participate in the components of the

competition which are designed to give them real-life experience

in the job seeking process and help them develop skills that will

serve them in any future endeavor. It will provide an incentive

for them to participate in planned seminars that will widen their

knowledge of the working world and give them a chance to interact

with successful blind and visually impaired adults.

The process will be as follows:


Applications are due by October 1, 1999

Hands on Technology seminar - October 23, 1999 at the K A B V I


Cover letter, resume and essay on an assigned topic will be due

by January 31, 2000

All applicants will be required to attend a program at KSDS -

April 29, 2000.

During this program they will be able to explore the guide

dog (including a test drive) and other mobility options and to

participate in other mentoring programming.

During the program, five finalists will be announced and then

interviewed by a selection committee that will announce the

two winners at the conclusion of the interviews.


Eligibility Requirements:

Age: 16-21 and still in school

Legally Blind or visually impaired (20/60 or less)


each winner will receive $1000, paid to the KSSB SWEATS

program fund, for their summer placement through KSSB

Project Get REAL will replace the present scholarship

format. It will open opportunities to many more blind and

visually impaired children across Kansas. It was felt by one

person who knew Esther V. Taylor that it is the type of program

she would look favorably upon, believing that it advanced the

importance of education and employment at all levels.

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In accordance with the K A B V I Bylaws, four positions on the

Board of Directors will stand for election at the annual meeting

to be held at the Holiday Inn, Great Bend, Kansas, October 22-24,


A nominations Committee chaired by Tom Roth (785-232-1470)

will prepare a recommended slate of candidates for consideration

by the membership. Persons interested in running for office should

contact the Committee. Nominations will also be in order from

the floor at the time of the election.

Other committee members are Janelle Edwards (785-776-6684)

and Georgia Layton 785-233-1023.

Board members whose terms expire are: Sanford Alexander,

Michael Byington,Robert Chaffin, and William Lewis.

The committee's proposed slate will appear in the Fall

edition of the K A B V I News.

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An Historical Document for Blind People in Kansas

By Sanford J. Alexander

President, K A B V I


You have heard much discussion over the past year or two

about threats to services for people who are blind or visually

impaired. These threats, both in Kansas and across the United

States, have taken many different forms but all have several

common threads.

The single driving force behind proposed, contemplated or

executed changes in service structures for blind people is

economy. Put simply, the mis-directed belief that such changes

will cost less without negatively affecting services leads to

changes that cost less and produce less, too.

Another theme that has been developing is that of blind and

visually impaired people banding together in a way not seen for

many years in order to fight for the survival of a service system

that has served them well. As part of this effort, national

organizations such as the American Foundation for the Blind have

assisted in the gathering of data to support the axiom that blind

people are best served through a system of specialized services

designed to address the unique needs of this population. Leaders

from both NFB and ACB have traveled to help state affiliates

defend the preservation of specialized services for the blind.

Paul Edwards, President of ACB, and Dick Davis, Assistant

Commissioner for Services for the Blind, Minnesota made such a

trip to a special meeting of the Kansas Division of Services for

the Blind Future Design Team on Sunday, May 2, 1999.

These efforts have fought an uphill battle against the

fallacious attempts by the independent living leadership to

capture funding designed for rehabilitation which they feel could

more appropriately serve people with disabilities within their IL

framework. It's warm, it's fuzzy; but, unfortunately, it won't

work. Worse yet, it violates one of independent living's basic

principles of consumer choice by telling blind people that they

can't have specialized services even if they think that is what

is best for them.

The last of several remaining common threads in this

struggle that I will discuss today is the emergence of

cooperation between state affiliates of the National Federation

of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind. In several

instances, and Kansas is proud to be counted among these, both

organizations have worked together to confront the common threat.

The joint statement that follows reflects the work between

the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas and the Kansas

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It serves as a

document upon which future steps may be based as the struggle to

maintain services that blind people know work continues.




created by a joint committee of Representatives from the





Susie Stanzel

Richard Edlund

Sanford J. Alexander, III

Michael Byington

created May 1, 1999


This document is not intended to restrict the overall

planning process of the Division of Services for the Blind Future

Design Team. The two major consumer organizations of the blind

in Kansas, however, have found a number of goals and principles

in common as they have worked together through the futures

planning process. It is the joint view of the leadership of

these two organizations that it will be beneficial if goals and

principles on which we are certain the two organizations agree

are set forth as a beginning point for the Future Design Team's

final planning.




1. Blind people as consumers have the right to exercise informed

choice as to what services they receive.


2. Services for the Blind has to have a center based/facility

based services component as well as field components. The

facility based rehabilitation center for the blind must be seen

as one component of a system of several components all of which

are working together.


3. In disability groups other than the blind, medical model

rehabilitation is usually finished before vocational

rehabilitation is started. With blind people the medical model

portion of the rehabilitation process does not happen before

other aspects of

rehabilitation are started. The rehabilitation of a blind person

probably would not be more costly if one counted the medical

rehabilitation costs of other disabilities as being a part of the

overall rehabilitation process.


4. Everyone who works for Services for the blind, and everyone

who is in the supervisory chain of command for the agency,

including janitors, cooks, secretaries, and all other employees,

should have at least three weeks of training under sleepshades

prior to or shortly after beginning work for the agency. This

provision must apply to the Director of the agency as well.

Under the

current organizational structure this provision would also

include the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services.


5. We need a comprehensive Services for the Blind agency, not

just a services for the blind Section 110 money funded vocational

rehabilitation agency. We need an agency that provides services

for the blind on a continuum with 110 monies only being one

component of services provided and funding used. The concept must

acknowledge that cradle to grave services are appropriate for

many individuals who are blind.


6. Blind services personnel should be supervised exclusively by

blind services specialist supervisors.


7. Kansas should submit to the Rehabilitation Services

Administration (RSA) a Separate State plan for the Blind. Blind

services should not be a portion of a combined plan.


8. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) reimbursements

for placements of blind workers should come directly back into

the blindness services system, not into a general or combined



9. Services for the Blind should be non-means tested.


10. Kansas Industries for the Blind (KIB) still can serve needed

purposes and should not close.




A. A categorical, facility based program needs to continue to

exist. It should not be weakened in terms of services provided.

Core services should include:


- travel training

- activities of daily living/independent living skills

- assistive technology/computers

- braille/communications skills

- community recreation

- industrial and manual arts

- adjustment and modification of attitudes about blindness


Vocational evaluation needs to be a significant portion of

the program.

There must be a vocational component.

Housing options including home and apartment living should

be available as well as some dormitory space.

Overall capacity should not be decreased from current



B. Administrative services for the entire Services for the Blind

program should be separated from the facility based

rehabilitation program.



C. We need, in addition to the facility based component, travel

trainers located in area offices throughout the state. These

individuals would provide community based cane travel training

and orientation assistance. We suggest the formula of

one travel trainer for each rehabilitation teaching position.

The two orientation and mobility instructors at the RCB should

work in close concert with the field travel trainers to insure a

smooth transition into the community for those blind persons

leaving RCB training.

D. The rehabilitation teaching program should not be restricted

to younger individuals only. Older Kansans who are blind should

have access to rehabilitation teaching services through the

rehabilitation teaching program as well as through the Kan-SAIL



E. Services for the blind needs to have a waiver specialist

working at full effort toward a program or system of blindness

related community based waivers.


F. An early childhood and blindness specialist is needed to work

in the field.


G. A low vision consultant position is needed for the field.


H. An evaluation of caseload size for the entire blind services

field needs to be performed, with caseload size evaluated based

on factors of population density, travel time, and area covered

by the blind services professional.


I. The Little Randolph-Sheppard Law in Kansas needs to be



J. It has been made clear to the Future Design Team that the

State of Kansas no longer desires to operate Kansas Industries

for the Blind (KIB). When privatized, the State should work

cooperatively with potential privatizing agencies, having

expertise and proven track records in employment of the blind.

This work should continue until privatization is successful. In

the unlikely event,

however, that the State continues to operate the program for some

additional time, the following changes should be made:


- Purchasing rules exemptions similar to those provided by

the Legislature to K. U. Medical Center

- There should be an exemption from VR eligibility. Blind

people should be able to be hired off the street if

jobs are available and they want to work at KIB

- State of Kansas employment transfers from KIB work to

other available State positions should be maintained and

continued as an available benefit of KIB employment

whether KIB remains a State facility or is privatized

(Editor's note: The following significant editorial appeared in

the May 21, 1999 Wichita Eagle, reprinted with permission)


Services for blind Kansans survive (5/21/1999)


Updated FRIDAY May 21, 1999

The Wichita Eagle_____


Services for blind Kansans survive

By Sanford J. Alexander III

Special to The Wichita Eagle


State services for Kansans who are blind barely survived

through the 1999 legislative session. With the assistance of

Senate Ways and Means Chairman Dave Kerr, R-Hutchinson, threats

to eliminate specialized services for people who are blind were


State bureaucrats announced last fall that the buildings

housing the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, Kansas

Industries for the Blind and administrative offices for state

blind services would have to be sold since they are a part of the

closed Topeka State Hospital grounds. It was reported that the

real-estate "experts" who advised the state government had

decided the old Topeka State land would sell at a better price if

the blind services corner was included in the package.

Blind Kansans have been questioning the state about

services. Although the state formed a Future Design Team to

discuss future reinvention of services for the blind, advocates

felt they were not getting straight answers.

Officials of the Kansas Department of Social and

Rehabilitation Services (SRS) assured blindness advocates that no

decisions had been made about the future of blind services. On

the same day, they announced that Kansas Industries for the Blind

(KIB) would close if it was not privatized. KIB is a

state-operated facility that employs people who are blind.

Advocates were told that the Future Design Team could drive

the planning process but that SRS would ultimately determine what

services would or would not be offered. There were no plans for

bricks and mortar, but state officials told advocates, "If we

need some buildings, we will see what might be available at the

appropriate time." Yet the threat was bigger than just concern

about loss of buildings. Officials were assuming that blind

services should be submerged in the one-stop concept for all


People who are blind need specific training to acquire

skills to be more independent. For example, a general agency

might try to find a volunteer to read mail or lead a blind person

around. An agency specializing in blindness would, instead,

teach skills such as Braille and how to travel with a white cane

or guide dog. These skills enable a blind individual to be truly


SRS officials simply did not understand how blind services

work best. Decisions were being made based on the wrong

premises. That is why blindness advocates started talking to

members of the 1999 Kansas Legislature. Services for the blind

had to be saved.

They found an empathetic ear with Sen. Kerr. He agreed to

plant language in the Topeka State Divestiture Bill stating that

if the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind has to move because of

the Topeka State sale, it shall not be moved until arrangements

have been made for facilities of equal or better usefulness for

providing blind services. He also planted language in the bill

stating that Kansas Industries for the Blind could not be closed

until suitable arrangements, including similar wages and

benefits, are made for the workforce. Additionally, Kerr carried

a floor amendment through the Senate stating that monies for the

relocation of the blind-services buildings, including KIB, can

come from funds received through the sale of the Topeka State

Hospital grounds.

To the consternation of various SRS officials, all of this

language was passed into law at the end of the 1999 session.

Legislators actually listened to the ideas and concerns of people

who are blind instead of the SRS view as to what was best.


Sanford J. Alexander III of Wichita is president of the Kansas

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc.

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Compiled by Richard L Belgard, McMinnville, Oregon

Submitted by William Lewis


Many individuals have HAD increased difficulties when

mailing FREE MATTER materials, both in and out of the U.S. We will

clarify what is eligible for FREE MATTER, how to label FREE MATTER

for mailing in the U.S., and how to handle overseas mail.

First, we will deal with the FREE MATTER for Blind and

Physically Handicapped Persons eligibility and procedures. The

question and answer format was provided by the staff of the Rates

and Classifications Office of the United States Postal Service in

San Francisco. You should be able to obtain a copy of the

brochure at your local post office. "Mailing Free Matter for Blind

and Visually Handicapped Persons - Questions and Answers"

(Publication 347, March 1998)

Q: Who may qualify to mail items free of postage?

A: Persons who are blind or who cannot use or read

conventionally printed material due to a physical handicap. Other

handicaps that can prevent normal reading include disabling

paralysis, muscle or nerve deterioration affecting coordination

and control, and confinement in iron lungs or other mechanical

devices. Among the causes of such conditions are cerebral palsy,

multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, infantile

paralysis, myasthenia gravis, and diplegia.

Q: What must a person do to be eligible to mail items free

of postage?

A: The person must have a competent authority certify in

writing that he or she is unable to read conventional reading

material. A competent authority includes a licensed medical

doctor, ophthalmologist, optometrist, registered nurse, or

professional staff member of a hospital or other institution or

agency. The statement is to be submitted to the post office

where postage-free mailings will be made or received by the blind

or visually handicapped person. The person is then considered

eligible to use the free mailing privilege.

Q: Which material may be mailed free of postage?

A: Under the conditions specified below, the following

material is eligible:

1. Books, magazines, musical scores, and other reading

matter, or pages or parts thereof, in raised characters

(braille), large print, or recorded form.

2. Paper, records, tapes, and other matter for the

production of reading matter, musical scores, or sound

reproductions for eligible persons.

3. Equipment and parts for equipment used for writing

by eligible persons or for educational purposes.

4. Sound playback equipment specially designed or

adapted for the use of visually handicapped persons.

5. Equipment or parts for equipment specifically

designed or adapted for use by visually handicapped persons, such

as braille watches, white canes, and similar equipment.

Q: Are there restrictions on this material?

A: The material may not contain any advertising. Musical

or other sound recordings not specifically designed for use

by visually handicapped persons are not eligible for free mailing.

The mail is subject to inspection by the Postal Service.

Q: Who can mail eligible material postage-free and to whom

can it be mailed?

A: Individuals, libraries, and other noncommercial

organizations serving eligible persons may mail the above

material free of postage to eligible persons and to organizations

serving eligible persons. Eligible persons may return materials to

the lenders free of postage. Eligible persons may exchange the

above material among themselves free of postage. Libraries and

other noncommercial organizations may exchange such material among

themselves free of postage. Commercial producers of the above

material may mail such material free of postage to an eligible

person on the additional condition that whatever charge, fee, or

rental required does not exceed the cost of the material.

Q: Can letters be mailed free of postage?

A: Letters in raised characters (braille), in 14-point or

larger sight-saving type, or in the form of sound recordings may

be mailed free of postage FROM an eligible person. Handwritten or

typewritten letters, however, are subject to the applicable rate

of postage when mailed TO or FROM an eligible person. Also subject

to applicable postage are bills paid by mail by eligible persons

and letters in any form when mailed TO eligible persons from

ineligible persons.

Q: Why must letters be mailed unsealed?

A: To allow inspection by postal authorities to ensure that

the materials qualify for mailing free of postage.

Q: Are special services available for free mail for

eligible persons?

A: A mailer may insure a postage-free parcel by paying only

the required insurance fee. All matter sent by all special

services, such as Express Mail, certified mail, or registered

mail, requires payment of postage plus the full fees charged for

the special postal services.

Q: What must be marked on mail to show that it is qualified

for mailing free of postage?

A: In the upper right corner of the address side of the

envelope or parcel where the postage would normally be placed,


placed. The words may be printed, rubber stamped, or handwritten.

Q: Are special arrangements possible for delivery or pickup

of free mail for eligible persons?

A: Eligibility for free mailing for the blind or other

visually handicapped persons does not encompass such special

arrangements. Post offices may be able to make special

arrangements depending on the local circumstances. Customers

should contact their local post office to request special

arrangements. Such requests will be handled in accordance with

the postal regulations concerning requests for special arrangements

by handicapped persons.

Q: Is international service available for blind and other

visually handicapped persons?

A: Yes, the same general rules apply, except that the

articles that may be mailed are limited to:

1. Books, periodicals, and other matter (including

unsealed letters) impressed in braille or others special type for

the use of the blind.

2. Plates for embossing literature for the blind.

3. Discs, tapes, or wires bearing voice recordings and

special paper intended solely for the use of blind or visually

handicapped persons, provided that they are sent by or addressed

to an officially recognized institute for the blind.

4. Sound recordings or tapes that are mailed by blind

or other visually handicapped persons.

Q: Where might an individual turn for help if problems

occur while using the procedures for free mailing for the blind and


A: Most problems can be resolved at your local post office.

Customers may make inquiries or express concerns by telephone or

letter, in person, or by using our convenient consumer service

cards. These postage-paid cards are available at all post

offices. If a problem cannot be resolved satisfactorily at your

local post office, you may write to: Consumer Advocate, United

States Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Room 5821,

Washington, DC 20260-2200. Or, you may phone 800-275-8777 (ASK-



The following information describes how Blindskills, Inc.

handles FREE MATTER that weighs over 16 oz. To comply with these

new regulations, it would appear we are all going to need scales

for weighing what we mail. It also appears unless you can make

an arrangement with your local mail carrier to pick up the boxes,

you will have to arrange to go to the post office and present FREE

MATTER materials that weigh over 16 oz. directly to a USPS


For mailing all overseas and Canadian parcels, regardless of

weight, a customs declaration (FORM 2976) must be filled out with

the following information and attached to the parcel:

1. "PRINTED MATTER" written or typed on left side;

2. signature required beneath it;

3. sender's name and address must be written or typed

on right side of customs declaration form; and

4. signature and date must appear below it.

5. "SURFACE MAIL" must be stamped or written on

parcel near address label, and the parcel must be handed to a

postal clerk who tears off the right side of customs declaration

(FORM 2976)

for USPS records.

Many persons have macular degeneration and can still use

large print. If you wish to use the FREE MATTER privilege, you

cannot use your own handwriting but must use computer or typewriter

with a font that is 14 point or larger.

Contact your local post office staff if you have questions

about your service. The words that apply to domestic mail can be

found in the Domestic Mail Manual.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Information described in the above article

pertains to the Domestic Mail Manual E040 and International Mail

Manual, Part 250. The USPS Web site address is www.usps.com];

800-275-8777 (ASK-USPS).

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by Nancy Johnson


All K A B V I directors attended the retreat at Kansas Specialty

Dog Service in Washington, Kansas Saturday, April 17, 1999. Alan

Beatty, president of the American Council of Blind Lions (ACBL,)

member of the Board of Directors of the American Council of the

Blind (ACB) and president of the Colorado ACB affiliate

represented Lions. Observers included Ann Byington, Harold

Henderson, Nancy Chaffin, Joyce Lewis and Don Johnson.

Following are questions and ideas that resulted from

discussion during the retreat.

Individuals with low vision or blindness can be an

organization's best advisors. Support groups and affiliate groups

are major assets. However, support groups may resist the word

"blind" because the majority of the members have low vision and are

not totally without sight. Some support groups do not wish to

become affiliated with a state or national consumer group.

Wherever three or more persons are willing to affiliate, a small

local K A B V I chapter can be developed. Lions could facilitate

affiliate and support group meetings by transporting members and

providing other assistance.

Why do we work for large numbers? Numbers demonstrate need.

The larger are the numbers, the greater is the need. Suppose we

have three affiliated members in a support group. Those people

get pertinent information by belonging to K A B V I. They disseminate

that information to remaining support group members, who join the

action to achieve the goal. K A B V I had 342 individuals on its

mailing list in December, 1998. It now lists 227 members with ACB.

These are included in a total of 517 individual names plus 36

agencies. A total of 556 newsletters are circulated quarterly.

K.A.B.V.I. NEWS is a real bargain for its readers. The

newsletter costs about three thousand dollars a quarter. Print

copies cost about $2 each. Braille copies are about $8 each.

The average cost per copy of the newsletter ($3000 divided by 556)

is about $5.40. This does not include postage, which has

increased with the mailing of standard print copies to readers who

can use that format. Some of the increase is offset by the fact

that standard print issues require printing of fewer pages. The

cost per newsletter varies according to the number of pages per

issue as well.

Communication is vital. K A B V I needs to be able to communicate

about activities involving members' participation. For example,

K A B V I doesn't want Colorado's rehabilitation center to be the

only option available to Kansans who are blind or severely visually

impaired. Another example is the need to communicate quickly

about the commission bill proposal.

Are K A B V I's efforts to save the Division of Services for the

Blind (DSB) and its services worthwhile? K A B V I needs to get the

visually impaired/blind population to support it. When members'

action is needed, it may be needed quickly, so K A B V I needs

methods to disseminate information quickly. In addition to the

newsletter, K A B V I can keep everyone informed through a toll free

telephone number and numerous mailings. To get the number through

Directory Assistance, ask for Association for the Blind, K A B V I.

Education is also vital. As new support groups form, they

must be educated about the needs of persons who are severely

visually impaired or blind and learn to deal with change.

Support groups and affiliate chapters are vital to K A B V I. The

organization must find ways to "support the support groups."

After the morning board meeting, Bill Acree, Director of

KSDS, presented a history of the school and commented that the job

is about people. He said we need to "get back to basics." The

components of those basics are independence, safety and


A tour of the KSDS facility was given. A black Labrador named

Sooner eagerly allowed twelve participants to take a "test drive."

Each "driver" held Sooner's harness and walked a length of

sidewalk. Those who wished to do so used a blindfold on the

return trip. Sooner increased his training and the test drivers

experienced the feeling of guidance by a dog.

After a pleasant lunch, Steve Lewis, District Council

Chairman and president of the Larned Lions Club joined Alan Beatty

for the afternoon's review of the relationship between Lions Clubs

and the blind community. He pointed out the Focus of Lionism is

service. The Lions motto is "We serve." Lions number 1.4 million

worldwide. Kansas boasts 9500 members. The total focus is not

necessarily just for the blind. Clubs are involved in a wide

variety of other service activities. Each club decides for

itself in which activities it will participate. Candy day monies

are shared with 60 percent to KU medical Center and 40 percent to

clubs. Audio Reader is supported by Kansas Lions Sight


K A B V I received Helen Keller's first published pamphlet by

donation. Excerpts from it were read. The goal of persons who

are visually impaired or blind throughout history has been to find

jobs. It was true when Helen Keller wrote her pamphlet. It is

true today.

Alan Beatty reported 3900 Lions in the country have impaired

vision. Forty-six blind Lions clubs now exist in the U.S. Much

is being done for the blind. The sighted community must be

educated about what is going on. Lack of interest, need, drive and

desire among Lions to become educated must be overcome. ACBL wants

a blind person in each club. Both the visually impaired/blind and

sighted communities need to open their minds. This is an

opportunity for a joint venture - a win-win situation. "Help the

Lions help the blind," is a fund raising slogan that often is


The ACB Resolution Defines what the visually impaired/blind

community and Lions do together. The intent of the resolution

has full support of Lions International. The afternoon's

discussion focused on developing partnerships and learning what we

need to begin doing to avoid misconceptions and the things we don't

want to see happen. Two primary issues for the blind community now

are: Instances when a club trying to do good does too much good or

is clumsy about it; or understanding how fund raising activities

work and the consequences of off-targeted fund raising.

Suggestions for collaboration between K A B V I and Kansas Lions


Instead of donating money, Lions Clubs might make a

commitment to donate a job. A mechanism is needed to bring

together persons with problems and those with solutions. Those of

us who are severely visually impaired/blind can educate employers

if Lions will find the jobs. Attitudinal problems exist for both

the sighted and visually impaired/blind communities. Employers

think they have no jobs a blind person can do. Visually

impaired/blind individuals often think they would not be hired

because of the disability. Increased local networking is needed

because jobs are procured through networking. The approach might

be to get information to individual clubs, not necessarily to

individual members. Information would be sent to the newsletters.

A transportation project for Lions was outlined. Drivers

might be dispatched from each club or town to the location of a

special activity such as conventions or conferences geared for

those who are visually impaired or blind. Drivers would

transport participants to and from the activity.

Lions might also become involved in preparation of

alternative media through assistive technology and alternative

formats. They might set up Assistive Technology Centers. An

assistive technology booth will be developed for the Lions State

meeting in June.

K A B V I Board members were privileged to view KSDS' recently

completed movie, "It's More Than Puppy Love," about the training

of a service dog and the rehabilitation of its partner.

A Lions Partnership committee was organized Sunday morning.

Members include Floyd Britting, Don Johnson, Charles Taylor and

Lindinburge Emery.

Tickets for the drawing for the Helen Keller Brochure were

made available. They are five dollars each. Stubs and money

must be returned to Treasurer Bob Chaffin not later than June 20,

1999. Additional tickets will be available at the ACB convention

in July and the winner's name drawn at that convention.

A $100 donation was voted in appreciation of the

hospitality, use of the KSDS facilities and the meals that were

provided for the week end. Letters of appreciation will be sent to

KSDS and Alan Beatty for their helpful participation in the


The next board meeting 'will be July 24 or 31, 1999.

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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.

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CONGRATULATIONS, NKAVI - Northwest Kansas Association for

the Visually Impaired! NKAVI celebrated its 20th birthday February

13, 1999. Founders Lee Razak and Lloyd Nida were honored.

Pat Hall has been selected as a Project Insight counselor.

Project Insight is a new program of the Council of Citizens with

Low Vision, (CCLVI) which is a special interest group of the

American Council of the Blind (ACB.) Project Insight is a service

to help individuals answer the question, "Where do I go from here?"

after a doctor has said there is no more that can be done.

NKAVI hosted a meeting in Phillipsburg where 40 persons

attended. A support group in that area is planned with NKAVI's

help. Good work!

If you are 55 years of age or older and have age-related

macular degeneration, you may participate in the nutrition

research now underway. Contact Dr. Kendall Krug, (785) 625-3937

and arrange an appointment for an interview.

SKAVI - Southwest Kansas Association for the Visually

Impaired: Camp Mitchell, sponsored at Fort Dodge, had to be

canceled this year due to lack of interest. Dates were to have

been June 1 through 4, 1999. Camp Mitchell would have celebrated

its 25th birthday this year. HOW SAD! Maybe again next year.

SKAVI members have been learning about low vision aids and

other assistive devices and techniques at their meetings. The

organization now has 54 paid members.

skavi members are reminded to begin to prepare craft items

for the Christmas bazaar to be held in November. It seems early,

but having items ready to sell takes time.

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April was Volunteer Appreciation Month. It's never too late

to thank all those folks who help us and don't ask us to pay for

the services they provide. There are drivers, readers,

transcribers and shoppers, just to mention a few. Do something

special for your helpers. Take them to lunch. Put some gas in

their cars. Baby-sit their little ones and give them a night

out. Send cards. Do something you can do for someone else and

pass the volunteerism along.

IN APPRECIATION: Von Eulert, 79, is a 34 year volunteer

braille transcriber for the American Red Cross. That dedication

alone deserves recognition. But she hasn't stopped with

translation. She recently completed the only braille reference

code book available for blind students studying chemistry and

molecular structures. Thank you, Von. You and the many other

volunteers who do your work without monetary reward are greatly


IT DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN: We marvel at the speed at which

computers allow braille to be produced. And they certainly have

increased production capabilities. But it's not as simple as

some may think. To get good quality braille with appropriate

formatting, material often must be "cleaned up" for the program

to translate it accurately. The person operating the computer must

know enough about braille to manage the clean-up process before

sending information to the translation program. A scanner

"reads" the information into a computer. If it is simply given to

the program for translation and embossing, weird things can happen

with columns, symbols and/or paragraphs. We still need a human

brain involved in the process. Thanks to all the individuals who

make braille available to those of us who use it.

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SHIRLEY DEAN SMITH, Wichita, died March 20, 1999. She was

graduated from the Kansas School for the Blind in 1947. She

proofread braille produced by the Braille Association of Kansas

and then worked as a student coordinator for the Resource Center

for Independence in Wichita until her retirement.

MARY T. ADAMS, 74, Topeka, died March 29, 19999, at her

home. She worked for Kansas Industries for the Blind for over 40

years. She was a lobbyist and legislative chair for the Kansas

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the

organization's 1995 recipient of the "Extra Step" award. Mary was

born January 20, 1925, in Elgin, the daughter of Joseph Walter and

Fannie Lee Wait Thompson. Mary was a charter member and past

president of the Topeka Association of the Visually Impaired for

Service as well as a charter member of the American Council of the

Blind. Survivors include a daughter, Carolyn Leah Adams, Topeka;

and a sister, Anna Mae Thompson-Bauman, Nashville. Memorial

contributions may be made to the Topeka Association for the

Visually Impaired for Service, the Kansas Association for the Blind

and Visually Impaired, or to the American Council of the Blind.

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Mark your calendars for the following events of importance

to blind and visually impaired Kansans. For more information,

contact the relevant organization directly.

* July 3-9, 1999 American Council of the Blind convention, Los

Angeles. Contact: ACB, 1155 15th St., NW Suite 720,

Washington, DC 20005, 202-467-5081

* July 24, 1999 K A B V I Board of Directors meeting (place to be


* July 30, 1999 Statewide Independent Living Council (SILCK)

Board meeting: Topeka, SRS conference room. Contact:


700 SW Jackson, Suite 212, Topeka, KS 66603, 785-234-6990


* August 17-21, 1999 Blinded Veterans Association convention:

San Juan, Puerto Rico. Contact: BVA, 477 H Street NW,

Washington DC 20001-2694, 1-800-669-7079

* September 19-21, 1999 Assistive Technology conference:

Topeka Expo Center. Contact: Assistive Technology for

Kansans Project, Sheila Simmons, 2601 Gabriel, Parsons KS

67357, 316-421-8367 or 1-800-526-3648, e-mail: ssimmons@parsons.lsi.ukans.edu

* 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)


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