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WICHITA ASSOCIATION FOR THE VISUALLY HANDICAPPED (WAVH): At its meeting on October 21, 2005, WAVH was pleased to have a program presented by Bill Gale, Elections Commissioner of Sedgwick County who updated the membership on the progress toward implementation of the Help Americans Vote Act in Sedgwick County. Mr. Gale explained that he is in the process of selecting the vendor that will provide all of the new machines for Sedgwick County and was seeking input from many groups regarding which of the three possible machines he is considering would best meet their needs. To assist in this process, he had units from Elections Systems and Software Voting Equipment (ES&S), DiBoldt and MicroVote. Everyone was able to look at each machine, ask questions and provide input. Mr. Gale thanked WAVH for its participation in this process and stated that he looked forward to continuing to work with us as training of staff approaches. He also reacted positively to the suggestion that a clinic should be held prior to election day to give people a chance to learn how to use the new equipment prior to actually casting their first vote on it. WAVH is pleased to be a part of this important project and deeply appreciates the openness and sincerity Commissioner Gale has demonstrated in working with us.

The Western Kansas Low Vision Support Group (WKLV) learned about genetic research being done to treat some of the 158 identified retinal degenerative diseases, of which macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa are two. In late 2005 or early 2006, the first human clinical trials are planned for research on Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), one form of retinitis pigmentosa.

The Southwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (SKAVI) learned in September about the Kansas Seniors Achieving Independent Living (Kan-SAIL) program of Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired from Debbie Speer of Hutchinson. In October, the topic was “yoga for the Eyes”. SKAVI member Jeanne Spencer’s book, The Journey, was recently published by One World Press of Prescott, AZ. Charles Spencer, Jeanne’s husband, was severely wounded and disfigured during World War II. The book follows their lives after that event.

Northwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (NKAVI) learned about up-coming Medicare changes in October. In November they heard about the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau. The All American Breakfast, held October 1, netted $900.

The Topeka Association for the Visually Impaired(TAVI) celebrated Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner on November 12.

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