Published Quarterly By

The Kansas Association For The Blind And Visually Impaired



An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind



"To make every blind and visually impaired Kansan a self-sufficient citizen."



Volume 51                   Spring, 2008                          No. 1



Corporate Office, 603 SW Topeka Blvd. Suite 304 B

Topeka, Kansas 66603

Telephone:  785-235-8990 or,

in Kansas only, 1-800-799-1499

E-mail:  kabvi@att.net

Web site:  www.kabvi.org


Editor,                                                  Associate Editor

Nancy Johnson                                 Ann Byington

714 SW Wayne Ave.                             909 SW College

Topeka, KS 66606                               Topeka, KS  66606

(785) 234-8449                                    785)  233-3839

nancyj1@cox.net                                  abyington@cox.net


Chairman of the Board and President

Ann Byington

909 SW College Avenue

Topeka KS 66606

(785) 233-3839




Membership Secretary, KABVI


        ** The purpose of KABVI NEWS, published by the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc. (KABVI), is to promote the general welfare of the blind and visually impaired in Kansas.  KABVI NEWS shall reflect the philosophy and policies of the Association, report the activities of its members, and include pertinent articles pertaining to blindness and low vision. 
        ** Publication Policy:  Send us your news, views, articles, and features.  Materials in braille, on tape, on computer disk (Microsoft Word, plain text, or ASCII), or typewritten (double spaced) will be considered.   When quoting from other published materials, please include dates and sources.  Unsigned material will not be considered for publication.  If you send a stamped, self-addressed envelope, original materials will be returned.  Articles for publication must reach the editor by January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15 of each year.  Editorial staff reserves the right to edit submitted materials. 
        ** Membership renewal letters are sent annually to persons who have not paid dues.  If responses are not received within a reasonable time, names of those persons will be removed from KABVI’s mailing list and their subscription to KABVI NEWS discontinued.  Membership is open to anyone who is interested but is not required for receipt of KABVI NEWS.  A membership renewal form, on which you can indicate your newsletter preferences, can be found at the end of each issue.  Thank you for your cooperation.


Table of Contents



What’s Happening?

By Ann Byington


Though the KABVI News masthead says “spring”, we’re suffering through the last of an Arctic cold snap.  Everyone is tired of the re-freezing ice and snow.  I must be careful not to let the weather dictate the tone of this article, even though things are a bit bleak.

In November, Mike Donnelly, Director, Ks Rehabilitation Services e-mailed all members of the previous KSBVI Advisory Committee requesting that we apply to be on the re-constituted KSBVI Advisory Committee which was to convene in January, 2008.  I will not quote from his letter; suffice it to say that requirements for acceptance on the re-constituted committee represent an almost impossible set of conditions involving putting aside one’s organizational affiliations to better serve the needs of KSBVI clients as agency consumers.  In my letter of application, I strongly affirmed that, as KABVI President and therefore representing blind and visually impaired Kansas consumers, I will not put policies, recommendations and/or wishes of KABVI aside as an Advisory Committee member.

The next occurrence was that a meeting with me, NFBK president, Donna Wood, and Mr. Donnelly has been scheduled, canceled and re-scheduled at least three times.  We are to meet on February 1 to determine who will serve on the Advisory Committee, an odd request as I, at least, have not seen letters of application from anyone, and the apparent point of writing such letters was so that Mr. Donnelly could himself make that determination. The KSBVI Advisory Committee may be very small, though, as many previous members are not choosing to re-apply, given past treatment of the committee by Mr. Donnelly and the KSBVI Administrator. 

On a more positive note, KABVI Board members, Bill Moore, Beulah Carrington, Mark Coates, KABVI member, Marilyn Lind and I met with Don Jordan, Secretary, Social and Rehabilitation Services, (SRS), on November 8th.  Mike Donnelly, and Candy Shively, Secretary of Integrated Services, were also in attendance. A copy of the resolutions adopted at the October, 2007KABVI Convention, as well as the ACB White Paper on Rehabilitation Services best practices were provided.

The meeting was a great opportunity for us to discuss our views on structured discovery learning, (SDL), the lack of internet access in the dormitory, the lapse of assistive tech software licenses which have negatively impacted assistive technology training at the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, (KRCBVI)  Each KABVI member gave personal testimony on how and why low vision training and other training models met his or her needs and how meeting individual needs is a more accurate definition of “client choice.”  I detailed why SDL does not work with multiply disabled blind/visually impaired persons, particularly those with short-term memory problems.

After some questioning from Secretary Jordan regarding why structured discovery learning (SDL) was chosen as the only modality of instruction at KRCBVI, Mr. Donnelly indicated that employment outcomes are expected to improve using this training method and that outcomes will be reviewed at the beginning of the next Federal fiscal year before other actions regarding SDL are taken.

Secretary Jordan responded by telling us that management practices at the KRCBVI are being reviewed, particularly as they relate to client safety and to staff development professional standards

Further discussion of the preference for the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) as the major consumer group espoused at KRCBVI was elaborated by the fact that clients were funded to travel to Hutchinson, stay overnight in a hotel at state expense and attend the entire NFBK convention.  Clients were only funded to attend the daytime session of the KABVI convention; the banquet and Mary T. Adams activities were not funded, even though Kim Charlson, the only blind director of a Talking Books program of Massachusetts was the banquet presenter.   Secretary Jordan promised to look into this matter.

Regarding our resolution concerning the dissolution of the KSBVI Advisory Committee, Mr. Donnelly reviewed his concerns regarding the actions of the previous committee.  He explained some of the history of when and why Kansas Rehabilitation Services is now a “combined plan” agency.  He stated that a separate plan for the blind might require a separate administration, such as   a Commission and would be cost prohibitive. Secretary Jordan promised that the newly created KSBVI Advisory Committee would be made up of a wide array of people to provide input before decisions are made. He further stated that individualized planning and case management which considers an individuals hopes, desires and goals is critical. He promised that “the Advisory Committee would represent a wide range of views, that we’re going to be open to listening to those views and try to set up the most effective programs we can.” 

The range of technology issues at the KRCBVI training building and the dormitory were reviewed.  Mr. Donnelly indicated that it is the hope that each dormitory room will have a computer and that software licensure issues are quickly resolved.  Secretary Jordan suggested that the dormitory access to the internet could be viewed more as a landlord/tenant relationship or home environment, rather than under the SRS internet policy with its more restricted access requirements. He then had to say that special concerns arise when dealing with people who are under age and live in the dormitory.  Secretary Jordan offered us the opportunity to meet with him again after the Advisory Committee is up and running and some of the technology issues have been resolved, particularly if we are not happy with the results. I brought up the need for up-grading note-takers at the KRCBVI.  Mike Donnelly requested that I communicate how I receive information about equipment issues. I shared that most of it comes from clients and training staff.

Beulah Carrington, who represented Older Blind on the previous Advisory Committee, expressed the need to be able to acquire additional computer training at the KRCBVI as her computer software needs change. Bill Moore described and showed some of the adaptive devices he manufactures as an employee at Ks Neurological Institute. He explained that he had learned to do these tasks after losing his sight by attending the Manual Arts program at KRCBVI, a program component which no longer exists, and which KABVI has long requested be reinstated.

After reviewing KABVI’s requests regarding Kan-SAIL (Kansas Seniors Achieving Independent Living), Secretary Jordan asked Mr. Donnelly to meet with me    to create a proposal detailing the cost of completely staffing Kan-SAIL, including an additional supervisor position, acquiring ACVREP certification and training for at least one staff person so that KSBVI can participate in the Medicare Demonstration Project.  Mr. Donnelly also indicated that Secretary Jordan will be meeting with Envision in the future to discuss Kan-SAIL.  I indicated that KABVI’s continued support is dependent on making some of the changes noted.

We closed the meeting by asking that input from the Advisory Committee be acknowledged, not ignored.  KABVI has existed for 87 years and, though we do not like being in an adversarial relationship with the agency, we will continue to express our views.  Secretary Jordan assured us that the agency personnel will listen to our advice and that if it is not accepted, an explanation of the reasons will be provided as well as other directions the agency will take concerning the given issue. The meeting with Secretary Jordan and his staff represent a much more open dialog than has been experienced by KABBVI for the past several years and we will keep you informed regarding future meetings.




By Nancy Johnson, Editor


            Sometimes … and this is one of them … when I wonder about my abilities.  I neglected to include a couple of really important items in the last issue of KABVI NEWS.  One was President Ann Byington’s President’s Report to the convention.  For that oversight, I apologize to her.  The second oversight was letting you all know of the birth of Kayleigh Marie McCary on August 17, 2007.  Congratulations to Mikel and Lisa McCary on Kayleigh’s birth, and my apology to them for not making the announcement sooner!

            I grew up being told:  “To succeed in the world as a blind person, you must be better than everyone else.”  That’s obviously a myth, considering my performance with the last issue of KABVI NEWS.  Blind folks are people – like all the other humans on the planet!  We encompass high achievers, non-achievers; strong and weak; capable and helpless; challenged and unmotivated. 

            Success can be the satisfactory completion of a thing or the gaining of wealth or power.  Most of us will never achieve the second; I know I won’t, but I HAVE succeeded at many things and failed at my share as well.

            I’d had my job only eight months when, because I was “the new kid on the block”, I got a layoff letter.  My supervisor suggested I move into a different job and do less work than everyone else.  I wouldn’t accept it.  I told her, “If I can’t do the work, I don’t want the job.”  I feel now as I did then.  To be successful, I must carry my share of the load.  I believe I’ve been able to do that by using blindness techniques and reasonable accommodations.  This makes me as good as – but no better than – my sighted peers. 

            Problems occur when we rely upon or demand more help than we truly need.  Special techniques and accommodations compensate for our vision impairments or blindness.  When we demand more accommodation than we need, or when we accept more help from sighted people than we need because THEY think we need it, we hurt ourselves and the entire blind community.  Those who honestly realize major achievements deserve the accolades they receive and benefit the blind community.

            The majority of us do our parts when we do the best we can with just enough accommodation and help from others to keep us even with our sighted peers.  That’s as it should be because we, like all other humans on Planet Earth, are unique in our individuality.  All we can give today is the best we have today  and, For every one of us, some days are better than others!


President’s Report:

87th Annual Convention of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

By Ann Byington, President


            Editor’s Note:  I must apologize to Ann for my oversight in not including the following article in the winter, 2007, issue of KABVI NEWS.  Nancy Johnson, Editor 

NOTE:  By the time you read this, the 87th Annual Convention of KABVI will be over, and hopefully, a fond memory.  I am going to print my remarks to the convention in lieu of a “What’s Happening” article, as many of you were not able to come to this year’s convention.  There are many “thank-yous” which are enumerated; credit should be given for all the hard work which members have done for KABVI.

I do not plan to spend much time reviewing the activities and accomplishments which will be covered in other committee reports and/or in the KABVI News of the past year.  I have had to learn a lesson for which I have often chided previous Presidents:  “You should learn to delegate more authority.  After all, you have committees; use them.

So, I am publicly promising to delegate more authority in the coming months, and to actually appoint committees; something which didn’t exactly happen this past year.

We do have much to celebrate.  KABVI moved into a larger, though not particularly posh office in mid-march. We celebrated with an Open House on April 20th with attendance by KRCBVI clients and staff, some community leaders and many KABVI members.  We now have space to produce the braille newsletter without increasing the number of deaf/blind folks in Kansas; KABVI has a phone and computer in their own office; we have space for our computer refurbishing project equipment; and, most importantly, KABVI now has space for doing mailings for conferences such as this one; as well as space to organize files, current literature on blindness and low vision and for storing office and newsletter production supplies. In other words, we finally have a “place for everything, and everything in its place.”

And we do have need of that space as KABVI received a sizable donation of assistive tech items—canes, Accu-check talking glucose monitors, bold-line paper and other items-from Independence, Inc. of Lawrence, Kansas.  Through the good work of Mikel McCary. Rick Lind, Marilyn Lind’s nephew, on behalf of his employer, Bennett Packaging of Kansas City, has donated 24 computers and several monitors; which we received this past Saturday. Thanks also go to Dr. David Lewerenz for his donation of several computers and peripherals. 

KABVI has also been instrumental in placing a few CCTV’s with folks who could not have afforded to purchase new ones.  After the convention, a major project of mine will be to get paperwork done to join the Microsoft Authorization Refurbishment program and to explore the development of this program based on the one used in Texas.  Part of this process will be to seek volunteers to check computers, install operating systems and software and pack equipment for mailing. Look for more details in up-coming issues of the KABVI News.

An additional advantage of our current office is that Michael and I can work on different activities there at the same time without driving each other crazy.  Michael was successful in acquiring a grant from Envision in the amount of $2000 again this year to help with the expenses of the Mary T. Adams Seminar. Linda Merrill and Steve Stanbaugh met with some of us in July to strategize about future legislation.  We are happy to welcome Envision’s Everyday Store as a major exhibitor again this year.  We thank you, Envision staff, for your continued service to blind and visually impaired Kansans. 

Regarding exhibitors, on a sadder note, Doug Nagel, who has participated in every KABVI meeting for which I’ve arranged exhibits over the past several years, is not able to be here this year because of the need to be with his daughter who is quite ill.  We send our prayers to him and his family during this time as well as our thanks for Doug’s long-standing participation in KABVI.

One of the promises I elaborated in my first report in the winter 2006 newsletter was to involve parents of blind children as active members of this organization and, most importantly, to encourage, influence and enable those children to become aware of the rich history KABVI has in sponsoring, creating and protecting the services and programs they utilize. I did offer Nancy Johnson, Julia Fonseca and Katie Kincy the opportunity to craft activities which will occur concurrently with tomorrow’s Mary T. Adams program. They came through with flying colors by planning discussion on the topic:  “Accept Yourself - It’s the In Thing”.  Participants will learn about KABVI, our mission for blind and visually impaired Kansas youth, how to know what’s cool, how and when to ask for help, strategies to be comfortable using those obvious assistive devices in public, and much, much more. After that training, students can come back here and get hands-on experience with several talking cell phones, the Victor Reader Stream, a talking voting machine complete with mock ballot and, hopefully, some interaction with the Trekker talking GPS system. Special thanks go to Shawnee County Election Commissioner, Elizabeth Ensley, and two of her staff, Norene Staab and Cindy Collins who will be manning the accessible voting machine tomorrow evening during the pizza party. Another grateful “thank-you” goes to Vince Cianfrone and NanoPac for providing the Trekker for tomorrow night-s demonstration, and to Rick of NanoPac who is also exhibiting during lunch today.  This is the second year NanoPac has provided a Trekker.  They probably wish one of KABVI’s members would buy one so they wouldn’t have to keep loaning them to us.  Thanks also go to Jon Marcotte for assisting with the Saturday evening program.

 Another promise I made and still need to fulfill is that during the coming year, I will also work to get the Guide Dog Users of Kansas group re-instated as an active member of GDUI.  With the increasing concerns about “quiet cars” and their obvious impact on the safety of blind and visually-impaired travelers, and the continuing public confusion regarding what a guide/service dog does and who has legal access to places of public accommodation, Kansas needs a guide dog users’ organization.

An additional concern which I did not express in my initial newsletter article was one of how to re-vamp our scholarship program to provide funds to a   more inclusive group of blind and visually impaired students.  While KABVI’s  “Get REAL” program was successful in encouraging high-school students to acquire  summer and after-school jobs and provided money for needed equipment and/or transportation for these employment opportunities, the number of applicants for these scholarships has been steadily declining over the past few years, despite mailing materials to the teachers of the visually impaired throughout the state.  In an effort to renew the Esther V. Taylor scholarship program of many years ago, guidelines were borrowed from the North central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (NKAVI), and KABVI re-established the program.  Special thanks go to Gloria Lefort, Scholarship Committee Chair, and Bob Chaffin and Katie Kincy, committee members, Dr. David Lewerenz and Julia Fonseca for helping with mailing lists for low vision optometrists and Independent Living Centers around the state, and to Kansas Vocational and Rehabilitation Services for providing addresses for the counselors across the state.  Another special “thank-you” goes to Chuck Tyrrell for helping distribute applications to the Kansas State School for the Blind and to the teachers of the visually impaired throughout the state.  We sent out over 200 applications and you will meet some of our winners at this evening’s banquet.

In a further attempt to do a better job of attracting parents of blind and visually impaired children, encouraging more student involvement and making a more current array of information available to the public, we are hiring a new webmaster, Paul Berscheidt of Great Bend.  Paul is a retired businessman who has been visually impaired all his life.   He is quite willing to become our new webmaster.  Paul has also agreed to be nominated as a member of the KABVI Board of Directors so we will talk more about him during the elections later this afternoon.

Being a leader occasionally means that I must make an “executive decision” which isn’t always popular.  I had to make such a decision when those infallibly optimistic weather forecasters promised several inches of snow on April 14th, the proposed day of our spring Board meeting.  We delayed that meeting until May 19th.  We spent the morning talking with Mike Donnelly, Director, Kansas Rehabilitation Services regarding KABVI’s continuing opposition to the “one size fits all” structured discovery learning strategy being employed at the Ks. Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Concerns about the lack of internet access in the dormitory, and the problems with equipment and licensure issues were also discussed.  Because the KSBVI Advisory committee is nonexistent until sometime next year, I cannot report on activities which might have grown out of an ad hoc committee meeting I attended in December, 2006 to brainstorm re-structuring the Kansas Seniors Achieving Independent Living (Kan-SAIL) program.  Draft copies of those minutes are available but they have never been officially released.  Michael and I gave input to the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas regarding Kan-SAIL and the need to keep operation of this program in Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. 

 I provided extensive written comment on a document describing the Rehabilitation Center program to Mr. Donnelly at the KSBVI Advisory committee meeting in April.  Having worked on similar documents as a former KRCBVI employee, I was quite disgusted at the poor quality of the document and the many inaccuracies it contained.

At that same meeting, I provided on behalf of KABVI a potential solution to the internet debacle. Clients lost access to the internet in the KRCBVI dormitory this past January.  Ten months  later, due to the concerns that SRS policymakers have that clients might access internet pornographic websites, the internet which could be available to each KRCBVI client in his or her room is still not available to KRCBVI clients unless they are supervised by KRCBVI staff.  KABVI will continue to work to resolve this issue.

Nancy Johnson, Beulah Carrington Sanford Alexander and I attended a working group meeting in May to provide input from KABVI which has been included in the current state rehabilitation plan. All of us participated in a telephone conference call with representatives of the Rehabilitation Services Administration onsite review in June. Though that meeting was fairly positive, subsequent decisions to dissolve the KSBVI Advisory Committee have required that I as the KABVI President be more circumspect in reviewing our plans with you, the membership. We do have a resolution which will be presented after Mr. Donnelly’s report this afternoon which will address creating a separate State Rehabilitation Plan for the Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired which would mandate the existence of an advisory council appointed by the Governor.

I have recently attended the annual conference of the Kansas Department of Education, Special Education as a newly appointed member of the Special Education Advisory Committee.  That committee has been asked to develop a position paper on the Kansas Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children's Educational Bill of Rights, and I will be doing my homework and working on that task immediately after this convention as we meet on Halloween. Additionally, we have been asked to address barriers to the incredible shortage of Special Education teachers in Kansas.

It goes without saying that any statewide meeting such as this one and the MTA Seminar tomorrow do not happen without a great deal of effort by many persons.  I want to publicly thank Dr. David Lewerenz, who has nearly single-handedly organized and managed the minutia of details involved in acquiring Continuing Education Units, the great presenters on the variety of topics covered, and the evaluation process for all of the Mary T. Adams seminars.  Dr. Lewerenz is leaving our state to begin a teaching career in Oklahoma in January.  Dr. Lewerenz, you have given our organization the opportunity to provide a valuable service to the professionals in blindness and low vision, and an extremely high expectation for KABVI to work toward in the future.  Thank you for your time, your expertise, your energy and your dedication to us and this organization.

Thanks also go to Kathy Dawson and Marilyn Lind, KABVI members who helped with the mailings for the MTA seminar and this convention. Thanks too go to many KRCBVI clients who stamped, labeled, stuffed and sealed the approximately 1500 pieces of mail KABVI sent out to inform ophthalmologists, optometrists, VR counselors, TVIs, and KABVI members of this conference.  Additional committee responsibilities for program and arrangements go to Nancy Johnson, Katie Kincy, Kathy Dawson, Georgia Layton, Julia Fonseca, Beulah Carrington, Mark Coates and Michael Byington.

Bob Chaffin, our Treasurer, gets a special vote of thanks for keeping track of all those pre-registration details and for staying calm when I call him with last-minute concerns.  Finally, I want to give a very special “thank-you” to my husband, Michael, for letting me push him to make lists so I can stop worrying that he will remember all those errands and last-minute things I’ve forgotten until just before they’re needed.  Besides the activities he will be reporting on, Michael is our day-to-day go-to guy. He runs errands, takes things to the post-office, keeps the printer/fax machine in good working order, makes sure we have paper, envelopes, labels, stamps and all the other stuff which keeps our downtown office running smoothly. I have learned over the past year that together, Michael and I make a pretty good team.  We will continue to keep you, the membership informed, engaged in the struggle and entertained. 


Greetings Earthlings:  Your New Restroom Is Ready.

NY Times Metropolitan Desk 2008 01 11

By Michael Wilson

Contributed by Bill Lewis


            When New York City’s open-armed embrace of tourists finally extends beyond the boundaries of Earth to creatures from outer space, these visitors will find themselves right at home in Madison Square Park’s sleek, shiny, new public toilet.  Indeed, the toilet calls to mind not a port-o-let, but rather the sort of room one imagines adjoined the quarters of Capt. James T. Kirk on the Starship Enterprise.  It is a 25-cent journey to the future – and, almost secondarily, a not unpleasant restroom. 

            The restroom was unveiled on Thursday, the first of 20 planned for the city after more than 30 years of false starts and frustration.  It faces Madison Avenue just north of 23rd Street, and at first glance looks like a bus stop shelter.

 There are two architectural flourishes, both on the roof: a small pyramid of glass, like a little model of the Louvre, and an anachronistic metal stovepipe, reminiscent
 of a cozy shanty or an old outhouse with a crescent moon carved into the door.

But no one goes to a bathroom to look at it. When the green light marked 'vacant' is lit, 25 cents - coins only, no bills - starts the visit.

 What follows is possibly the longest and most awkward 20 to 30 seconds of a person's day.  The door slips open like an elevator, but then it stays open, to
 accommodate those who need extra time getting in.  Meanwhile, men and women in suits walk past. It is very difficult to look inconspicuous in a bathroom on a sidewalk in New York with the door open.  There is just nothing to do but stand there. And the delay will not please those who are in distress.

 Finally, the door closes, and the first surprise is the quiet.  The walls are padded to dampen street noise, leaving just the hum of a little fan overhead.  Six little lights and the skylight in the pyramid cast a neutral glow over the user's home for the next 15 minutes, the maximum time limit.

 This toilet, which cost more than $100,000, is very spacious, large enough to accommodate a wheelchair.  One cannot touch the side walls with arms outstretched.  The floor is rubber and, more strikingly, very wet, but not in a bus-station-men's-room way.  There is an antiseptic, fresh smell to the place.

 Sadly, these little surprises are forgotten with the first look at the toilet itself, an imposing, metal, cold-looking receptacle in the corner.  There is no little stall around it, and so it looks exposed, like the facilities available in many prisons.  It, too, is quite damp, for perfectly good reasons explained later, but the image first evokes a dungeon or a scene from one of the 'Saw' pictures.  There is no seat to raise or lower, just the wide rim of the bowl, with covers made of tissue available in a dispenser to the side.  Sitting down is a leap of faith, like falling backwards into a stranger's arms at a corporate team-building retreat.
            Turns out, it is cold.  But once settled, the visitor finds the seat the perfect place to take in the room's other amenities.
             There seem to be as many buttons as on Captain Kirk's bridge.  Red buttons, blue buttons, yellow buttons, black and green buttons.  The red ones near the door and toilet call the company for help in an emergency.  The yellow calls for 'assistance,' presumably something less dire than an emergency, but nonetheless, a situation.  Blue flushes.  Black dispenses toilet paper.  One will quickly familiarize oneself with that button, because the designers have deigned a little 16-inch strip the standard helping of paper.  A word to the wise:  There is a maximum of just three helpings.

Another tip:  Do not tarry.  A grim yellow light turns on when there are just three minutes remaining, and after that, the door will open.

The sink is across the room. The big shocker here is the soap dispenser, which actually emits not a little squirt of soap, but a jet of warm water, with the soap already  mixed in.  Everything is motion-activated.  No knobs anywhere.  The warm-air hand dryer seems somewhat slow and weak, especially with that yellow light blinking by the door.

Assuming one finishes before the 15 minutes are up, the big green button opens the door.  The horns and sirens and chatter of the city return, jarringly.  When the visitor steps out, the door shuts again, but the 'occupied' light stays lit.  Strange hisses and spraying sounds come from within - did someone slip past?

 No, actually, the room is cleaning itself.  A robotic arm swings out over the toilet bowl and hits it with disinfectant, while similar jets spray across the sink and the floor.  Then, dryers fan hot air over everything, but like the hand dryer, they seem to need more juice.

 This is all taken at the designer's word, for it is impossible to see.  The cleanup cannot happen with someone in the room, with sensors below the floor to detect any weight.

 After 90 seconds of cleaning, the green light outside comes back on.  Next?


As We Enter The 2008 Kansas Legislative Session

By Michael Byington


Your KABVI Legislative Committee will be busy at the State Capitol again during this Legislative session.  While we have recently experienced some legislative victories, we also have experienced some frustrations with legislation.  We will thus be working on some new items, and following up on some old ones which we thought had been resolved.

Last year, we got the Kansas Legislature to add $76,500.00 to the budget of the Kansas Talking Books Program to be used to increase outreach efforts and thus make certain that a greater number of Kansans who can benefit from Talking Books are receiving them.  We thought that the Governor’s Budget office would hence forth regard these monies as funding for an ongoing project, and that they would be continued for several years.  This was not the interpretation arrived at by the Governor’s budget gurus, however. We will thus need to go back to the Legislature during the current 2008 Session to try and see that these monies are continued.

We will support an initiative in low vision screening, testing and rehabilitation for school aged children.  This effort has been initiated by the Kansas State School for the Blind in cooperation with representatives of the field of low vision optometry.

We have considered legislative solutions to the problem created by the fact that the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KRCBVI) has insisted in embarking on policies whereby only training under blindfold, using structured discovery learning theory, will be supported.  Low vision training or other training approaches tailored for individuals who are multiply disabled blind, and who are unable to benefit from the structured discovery approach, have largely been abandoned or de-emphasized at the KRCBVI.  Low vision training, if offered by the KRCBVI at all, is treated only as a short one to two week add on at the end of a several month program of training under blindfold.  You will see in the “What’s Happening” article that SRS Secretary Don Jordon met with a contingent of KABVI members in November.  KABVI is waiting to see how or if Secretary Jordan will resolve the issue in our favor without the need for Legislative action.

The KABVI office recently received a complaint from a gainfully employed, totally blind individual who lives in Western Kansas, and who was denied rental housing because the prospective landlord contended that renting to a blind tenant would cause her house insurance to go up.  We contacted the office of the Secretary of Insurance and were told that indeed this could legally happen in Kansas.  We are exploring introduction of legislation to address this obviously potentially discriminatory issue and lack of available enforcement.

All in all, we expect these issues to keep us quite busy at the Legislature this year.  You may be hearing from us by telephone, e-mail, or any other means we can find to reach you as contacts with your individual legislators are needed concerning these important issues.  

Renewal Packets, Alternate Formats, and Friends

By Mikel McCary, Membership Secretary


 Hello to everyone across the state of Kansas and across the country.  I have been working hard the last few months to make sure that our computer glitches have been corrected, and addresses updated for those of you who have moved recently.

As you have heard, late last year we suffered a great loss of data due to duel computer crashes within a short time, luckily we had the majority of the information backed up.  However, we have lost some data.  I would like to ask you, the members, if you know of individuals who were receiving the newsletter but are not at this time, please let us know and we will correct that error and get them back on the list.  We are a consumer organization, and without your help, we cannot do our jobs of educating, advocating, and enjoying one another’s company without members in the know.

This brings me to my second point, the dreaded renewal packets are about to come out from here in Topeka.  I know that they are a pain, but we greatly appreciate your help in renewing your memberships.  We also use the applications to gather information so that we have current contact information on each of you in the case that issues arise that require immediate attention and actions.  In the past, you have been kind enough to fill out some of the blanks on the application, but with the loss of data, we are asking that you fill out the application just as completely as possible.  This includes any information that would allow us to contact you.  Even if you receive the packet and decide right now that you wish not to rejoin as a member but still would like the KABVI News will you please fill out the application anyway just so that we have the contact information.  It only takes a few minutes and the information is not shared with anyone else unless you receive the newsletter via Cassette tape through the Talking Books Library, Because of address changes, we do give them address updates, and they do the same for us as well.  Other than that, your information is not used in any other way, shape, or form.

Finally, (yes I am almost done here) for those of you computer tech folks out there who are trying to “De-Clutter” the house with all the paper magazines, newsletters, and such.  How about a way to get the KABVI News without the paper?  Well now you can get the newsletter via E-Mail.  It’s paperless (unless you choose to print it), and for those who use screen readers, good practice on working with your equipment.  And as many of you know who I am and how much of a blow-hard I am, if this were in electronic format, you could have easily sped up your reader and skipped this; but I thank you no matter what choice of material you choose.  Also, when you receive the renewal packet, even if you know we have the type of Newsletter on file that you get, please, please fill out what your preference is, this enables us to make sure that if you get a large print, you do so instead of a Braille, or if you and your spouse both get the newsletter they are in the correct formats or, if one copy will do, you get it in the best format for the both of you.     As KABVI was being assembled, I noticed that the e-mail choice was not included on the application form we sent.  We ask that, if you wish to receive an e-mail copy, you PLEASE WRITE IN THE E-MAIL PREFERENCE WITH YOOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS!

Finally … I am done.  All that is left to say is HAPPY NEW YEAR and may it be PROSPEROUS for YOU!!!!!!

            Editor’s Note:  If you’re receiving KABVI NEWS by e-mail and you don’t receive the renewal packet by snail-mail, please complete and return the Membership Application form found at the end of this issue to KABVI or e-mail the information to nancyj1@cox.net.   We need the information in the KABVI office by March 1, 2008.  I join Mikel with gratitude for your help.


Farewell to a Caring Volunteer: Nicholas Lundin

By Michael Byington


Nicholas “Eddy” Lundin, of Grandview, Kansas, a suburb of Junction City, died on October 8, 2007. He was 47 years of age.

Over the last year of his life, he developed quite a multi-faceted relationship with KABVI, but many of our members and associates did not know him. I thus want to tell a little bit about him.

Nicholas became blinded by histoplasmosis. This is a condition that often impacts farm workers, construction workers, etc. because it is transmitted through exposure to certain types of bird droppings and other fecal matter. Nicholas was left with just a very narrow spot of very low vision. When I met him, he was studying at the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KRCBVI). He became quite interested in advocacy on behalf of people who are blind and low vision, and also advocacy to educate the public so others did not have to contract histoplasmosis as he had.

Nicholas loved the outdoors. He was a camper, a fisherman, and a person who was very comfortable with nature and at piece with it. He had always worked outdoors, on oil rigs, at construction sites, and at landscaping. He was avid about wanting to return to these types of work, which he loved, even though he had lost almost all of his vision.

Sadly, the KRCBVI did away with any available training in manual or industrial arts several years ago. This was not a decision made by current administration, but by the former Administrator, who apparently decided that these areas of employment endeavor were outdated and that no one was going to want to go into them. She had turned the old industrial arts center at the old KRCBVI building into a vocational evaluation and enlarged computer training area. Current administration has made some inquiries about getting the industrial and manual arts re-instated, but so far SRS officials have been negative toward restoring this area.

Nicholas was very upset and concerned about the lack of industrial arts and manual arts training for blind adults in Kansas. He said many times during his training, “I know how to use any power tool that there is; I just need to learn how to use those tools as a blind person.”

Nicholas, however, acknowledged that, even to return to the construction trades, or to other outdoor related endeavors, he was going to need to be able to use a computer. He took computer training along with all of the other courses taught at the KRCBVI. This training gave him sufficient skills in Internet research so as to research the fact that not all blindness related rehabilitation centers have discontinued industrial and manual arts, as Kansas has. He learned that the State of Oregon has an excellent program in this area, and that they in fact have assisted many blinded construction workers and manual arts workers in regaining skills so that they could return to work in these fields. This is exactly what Nicholas wanted to do, so he requested to finish his rehabilitation training at the Center in Oregon.

Initially, the answer to this request came back as “no.” This is when Nicholas contacted KABVI volunteer advocates for assistance. Advocates, who have no connection whatsoever with State Blind Services, assisted Nicholas in writing up his requests, and these were sent to a number of officials within SRS, and to other advocacy agencies who work with SRS. The result was that Nicholas was approved for the training in Oregon. He returned from it to immediately return to work doing construction tear-out work in the Ft. Riley area. That was not going to be his only endeavor, however. Nicholas had proven to be so competent at manual arts work out in Oregon so as to be offered some intermittent teaching of industrial skills in that State. He was planning to do some teaching in Oregon while also continuing to maintain his residence in Kansas, and do construction work here.

The last several telephone conversations I had with Nicholas from the KABVI office were not simply to brag about how well he was doing. Nicholas was modest about such things; he had expected to do well with the training and return to work. He knew he had the skills and that he was capable of learning the alternative techniques he needed. His ongoing concerns, however, related to how to get the manual and industrial arts programming restored at the KRCBVI. Our last telephone conversations together were strategy sessions on this subject.

Nicholas was appreciative of the training and advocacy assistance he had gotten from “the system.” He wanted to give something back now to help others.

The relationship between Nicholas and KABVI was a two-way street. While KABVI advocates helped Nicholas get the training he needed, Nicholas also helped KABVI. As most readers know, KABVI recently moved into different offices in the same building where we have held office space for the past nearly four years. Our new office space is quite a bit larger than our old. We continue to be a low-budget operation, and the only reason we were able to afford our new, larger office space was that it was in pretty bad shape, and we therefore were able to arrange for a discounted rental amount.

As the move was about to take place, I desperately needed someone who knew how to do fix-up work, and who knew how to move large, heavy furniture in tight places. Nicholas filled the bill in terms of both of these skills. He helped us move the furniture and set up the new office. He hung curtains for us on crumbling window frames where I was not sure that curtain rods would ever attach again. He single-handedly moved and re-organized all of the adaptive equipment in our equipment recycling program.  

Working with Nicholas on tasks such as those described above was joyful. He quite clearly loved doing this kind of work. He was good at it, and he made others enjoy the work they were doing just because they were doing it around him.

Nicholas was a success story. He was a blinded man who had found a way to return to the work he loved to do. He was not only going to get to keep doing this work, but was going to get to spend some time teaching others how to do it as well.  Nicholas and KABVI had a symbiotic relationship. We helped him advocate achieving his employment goals. He helped us with skills that we needed when we needed them most.

No one knows why Nicholas was able to enjoy his new found success for only a short time. He had been working in his yard on October 8th; he came in after completing some hard work, opened a beer, and died suddenly. Autopsy reports were inconclusive.   

However short was his time, though, Nicholas was a success. KABVI benefited because he was willing to share that success. 


Report from the Board of Directors

By Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary


            President Ann Byington convened the meeting of the board of directors of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI) in the corporate office AT 10:00 January 19, 2008.  Nine directors were present, and 2 attended by conference phone.  One was absent because of health.  

            The proposed budget was discussed and approved unanimously

            Fund Raising:  Michael Byington is working on a new grant application for Envision.  Linda Merrill indicated a grant to purchase a new computer system for the office might be possible.  Michael will learn whether one or two applications should be submitted to include both the Mary T. Adams seminar and the computer system and will follow through as appropriate.  No new grants have been written.  Other possible grant requests include the newsletter as a means of information and referral, and supplies for the packing and shipping for the assistive technology project.        The parking issue involved with the vehicle donation program was discussed.  Consensus was that the expense involved in providing a parking place is not desirable.  If this is not possible, the program will be dropped.  At this time, the program costs KABVI nothing because it is being handled through the internet with no advertising charge.  Income from the program has been minimal, but any amount is helpful.

            Ann Byington still needs to contact Washburn University for volunteers to assist with the assistive technology project and get the refurbishing checklist from Texas.  KABVI will ask $150 for a computer.  A waiting list for computers has been established.  A number of other items are available to be distributed. 

            Paul Berscheidt has begun duties as webmaster.  Items to be placed on the site should include the newsletter with archived back issues, links to the vehicle donation program and American Council of the Blind (ACB) sites, coming events, convention and Mary T. Adams seminar information, the membership application, scholarship application, and a “contact us” link.  Also updated information about KABVI with a current list of directors and officers should be provided.  Those most likely to submit items for the web site are Ann Byington, Michael Byington, Mikel McCary, and Nancy Johnson.  Please contact one of these individuals if you have items to be posted.

            The fund raising committee includes Bob Chaffin, Mikel McCary, Michael Byington, and Marilyn Lind.

            Mark Coates, legislative chair, reported that attempts are being made to obtain an additional  $75.6 thousand for enhancement of the Talking Books Program this year and to make this a line item. 

Legislation outlining services for persons with blindness and low vision was written. 

Upon the advice of the doctors who support it, it will be introduced in 2009. 

No information has been received regarding the re-creation of the Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KSBVI) advisory committee.  A meeting is scheduled on February 1 with Michael Donnelly to discuss the makeup of the committee.  Generally minimal progress has been made toward solution of concerns with KSBVI’s program. 

Bob Chaffin will chair the scholarship committee.  Applications and supporting information should be sent to him by April 15.  Other committee members include Jon Marcotte, Katie Kincy, Ann Byington, and either Chuck Tyrell or Phyllis Schmidt (to be determined).  The scholarship account was discussed.  Concern was expressed that the funds available for scholarships were depleted last year when five awards were presented.  Only 2 $1 thousand awards will be given this year.  The treasurer was given the latitude to decide the best strategy to handle the scholarship account for the maximum benefit to the organization. 

Mikel McCary reported 550 names are on the mailing list, 146 of whom are paid members.  Attempts continue to be made to re-establish the database that was lost in the computer crash.  If you know of anyone who is not receiving the newsletter, or is not receiving it in the format of choice, please notify Mikel McCary, Ann Byington, Michael Byington, or Nancy Johnson.  Annual membership reminder letters are nearly ready to be sent and should have been received by the time the newsletter reaches readers.  Mikel McCary urged everyone to complete the membership form even if they have paid their dues or believe their information is correct so our records can be verified. 

Ann Byington reported that Dr. Zerger of Salina has expressed some interest in helping with the Mary T. Adams seminar and is looking for help.  Dr. David Nelson of Topeka has been asked but hasn’t yet agreed.  The suggested topic is “accommodations For The Workplace”.  Consensus was that this topic could be approached from either a medical or employment perspective.  Nancy Johnson moved that, if doctors Zerger and Nelson would coordinate the program, the approach would be medical:  If Dr. Nelson was not able to be involved the approach should be from the employment perspective.  Kathy seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.  Nancy suggested that, whichever approach is used, practical application of accommodations could be exhibited. 

Attempts will be made to organize the MTA Seminar and convention for the week end of November 7-8, 2008 in Topeka.  The planning committee includes Michael Byington, Nancy Johnson, Beulah Carrington, and Mark Coates.  The Pozez Educational Center will be considered for both events, which might allow lodgings to be arranged at one of the less expensive facilities in Topeka.

Apparently, the taped version of the newsletter has not been received by readers of this format.  Although it is sent to the State Library for the Blind, it is apparently not reaching the correct individual.  Nancy will check on this issue.

Skype as a communication tool among board members was discussed.  More information is needed before any action can be taken.

A celebrity blind date fund raiser, suggested by Julia Fonseca, was described.  No definitive action was taken on he idea.

The next board of directors meeting was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at the KABVI Corporate Office in Topeka on April 26.


Byington Accepts Medallion Award on Behalf


By Michael Byington


On December 19, 2007, KABVI’s past President and C.E.O., Michael Byington, was one of three Kansans to be presented with the 2007 Medallion award of the National Association of Secretaries of State. The presentation was made by Kansas Secretary of State, Ron Thornburgh, at ceremonies conducted in his office before Kansas Press outlets.

Secretary Thornburgh nominated Byington for the award because of his work on the issue of making voting machines in Kansas accessible to those who have disabilities, and particularly to those who have visual disabilities. Byington accepted the award on behalf of KABVI, and its national affiliate, the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Byington credited these organizations with giving him the information and support needed to affectively address the accessible voting issue.

In Kansas, each polling place now has at least one voting machine which is accessible to disabled voters, including the visually impaired or blind. The machine will talk to the blind or visually impaired voter through a head set and provide information and instructions to allow the blind or visually impaired voter to vote privately and independently, and to verify that they are voting as they intend.

Also in recognition of his efforts on behalf of accessible voting, Secretary Thornburgh additionally nominated Byington for the Michael Lechner Award for Meritorious Advocacy for Kansans with Disabilities conferred by the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns. Byington accepted this award on behalf of KABVI and ACB in October of 2007.

Both of these awards will be displayed at the KABVI corporate offices.  


Northern Manitoba Dogsled Team Has The Blind Leading the Not-blind

© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

(Contributed By Bill Lewis


            Isobel, a 6 year-old Husky cross, has all the great qualities of a sled dog.  She loves to run, has strength and endurance, and works well alongside the other dogs tethered to the sleds that take tourists out on the sub arctic terrain of Churchill, Manitoba.

            It takes a while for tourists to notice that she is completely blind. 

            “The dog lost its vision, but it didn’t lose its spirit,” Dr. Evan Fisk, Isobel’s Winnipeg-based veterinarian said in a recent interview.  “It can smell, hear, and feel other dogs nearby.”

            Isobel not only follows other dogs on the sled team owned by Jenafor Ollander and her common-law husband, she sometimes runs lead in tandem with another Husky. 

            “She runs tours every single day right now – and we have tourists from all over the world that are absolutely amazed,” Ollander said.  “I’m sure some of them think I’m crazy when I tell them she’s blind.”

            Isobel wasn’t born blind.   Everything seemed fine until one day 3 years ago, when she suddenly came to a halt in the middle of a sled run and started staggering around.

            We hooked her back up in her house and noticed that both of her pupils were completely dilated,” Ollander said. 

            “I remember a couple of people mumbling, ‘What good is a blind sled dog?  You should just take her out and shoot her.’ And I’m a bit stubborn in nature – and I said, so what if she can’t be a sled dog?  She’s a good dog.” 

            Isobel was taken to Winnipeg, where Fisk noticed her retinas had detached, possibly the result of a virus. 

            Back in Churchill, Isobel was kept indoors.  Ollander figured she would be happy and safe inside.

            Ollander was wrong.  “She stopped eating and drinking and we were quite concerned about what was going on,” Ollander said. 

            “We happened to bring one of our other sled dogs home, and she perked right up.  So it dawned on us the problem was that she was depressed   and she missed her pack more than anything else. 

            Isobel was soon reintroduced to her canine comrades and her behavior improved right away.  She started eating and drinking again.

            With some hesitation, Ollander’s husband decided to take a chance and hook Isobel up to the sled team and see what would happen. 

            “That dog ran like you wouldn’t believe.  She ran better than when she had her eyesight,” Ollander said.

            Isobel has been running ever since.    She relies on the other dogs, human vocal commands, and her other senses to avoid obstacles. 

            It’s not a total surprise for Fisk.  “I believe that their senses adapt and they adjust, just like a person,” he said. 

            “We know that people home in well on their hearing skills and their sense of time and vibration and distance and smell and everything like that.  And dogs become really acute at that.  When they lose their vision, their other senses kind of take over.” 

            Isobel is sometimes put up front with another dog for races, and has beat other dog teams in head-to-head competition. 

            She still has a couple of good running years left to her.  But she’s already nearing the age   when many sled dogs hang up their harness.

            Finding a good home for her might be a challenge.  “We’ve had several people who’ve offered to adopt her – but we’re really concerned because she just loves to run,” Ollander said.  “We want to make sure that she doesn’t end up in a situation where she becomes depressed again,” Ollander said.  “She’s OK in the dog yard where she has her dog yard buddies.”






2007 Eleanor A. Wilson Award to Kathy Eble

Nomination Letter By Ann Byington


According to the Awards committee guidelines, “The Eleanor A. Wilson Award is presented to a sighted or visually impaired individual who demonstrates outstanding service to the visually handicapped in Kansas.  He or she should have demonstrated personal characteristics, beneficial 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, but he/she must be a Kansas resident.

I first learned about the “Home Readers” cassette catalog service when I happened onto an ad for the company in the “Special Notices” section of the Matilda Ziegler magazine.  I mentioned to Michael that somebody from Edgerton, Kansas—now there was a town I’d never heard of before-- was selling cassettes of mail-order catalogs.  Being a catalog junkie from way back, I was quite excited about the opportunity to read yet more catalogs.  Michael said he knew the woman who ran the company;  they had gone to the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind together.  He had helped her advocate for the right to go to college despite her rheumatoid arthritis, which in combination with her vision problems had prompted RCB staff not to recommend her for college.

I contacted Kathy Eble, founder of “Home Readers”, requested  several of her cassette catalogs, and did  well over $300 of our Christmas shopping that year by ordering products from them. At the time, I was teaching students at the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind about resources to assist them to continue being independent when they returned home, and the cassette catalogs available from Home Readers definitely qualified as resources to help blind and visually impaired citizens live independently.

As time went by, Kathy and I  got better acquainted and she invited Michael and  me to serve on the “Home Readers” board   as people who could speak for the blindness community and provide some additional writing and advocacy skills.  After all, Michael had helped her convince Services for the Blind staff that she could indeed go on to post-secondary education.  Kathy achieved an associate’s degree in fashion merchandizing. She had gotten a job with J.C. Penny after graduation; but the day before the job was to begin, Kathy lost all of her vision.

Feeling that the retail fashion arena was not  prepared to  employ a totally blind person, Kathy searched for something she could do from her home in the Kansas City area.  She started a concert information line which was subsidized by radio stations throughout the K.C. metropolitan area.  Other promoters realized that Kathy had hit on a good thing and by spending more money and using other marketing advantages eventually drove Kathy’s small endeavor out of business.

In1989, Kathy married Bill Eble, who has assisted her in continuing her passion to provide a service unique to the blindness community.  “Home Readers” began with one cassette recorder and thirteen tapes.  Today, it has grown to 38,00 customers with a yearly mailing of over 40,000 cassettes.  Kathy employs – students to help with taking orders, entering data into the computer, duplicating tapes, labeling them in print and Braille and getting envelopes addressed, filled and mailed.

So, you may ask, what exactly does Kathy do?  She is the contact person who lets mail-order catalog companies know that there is an untapped market of loyal customers in the blindness community who are quite willing to shop by mail.  She urges companies to reimburse her for the production costs of the cassette catalogs as a marketing incentive.  That allows the  blind reader to get the catalog free, just as his sighted counterpart does, while earning  “Home Readers” some money.  Kathy has not, however, been paid a salary, by the Home Readers Corporation until this past year.  Like other providers who have been using cassettes, “Home Readers” must now make decisions regarding the need to transition to another media such as compact disks, and which format to use.  Catalogs currently available from “Home Readers” include:  Clothing offerings -- Anthony Richards, Blair for Men, Blair for Women, Chadwick’s of Boston, L.L.Bean, Lands’ End, and Leather from Double Eagle Treasures.  Food catalogs include:  Figis, Schwan’s Home Delivery Catalog, Schwan’s Home Delivery Preparation Guide, Schwan’s Nutritional Guide, Simply Delicious (gourmet packaged food) and Annie May Candies.  Household Products options include:  Chefs Catalog, Plow & Hearth Problem Solver, and The Blair Home Shop. Electronics and Entertainment offerings include:  Audio Editions, Collectors’ Choice (music), Country Grates, Critic’s Choice video catalog, and The Video Collection.  In the variety products category, catalogs are available from Avon, and Kathy’s Corner, and Kathy’s Corner Value, Kathy’s own ventures into the mail-order catalog business.  Others include:  Miles Kimball, Vermont Country Store, and Walter Drake.  The pet products group includes:  Care-A-Lot Pet. Other Health and Beauty Products catalogs include Healthy Living, Puritans Pride, and The Beauty Boutique.  “Home Readers” is also doing the Rachel Ray, Paula Dean cooking magazines as well as the “Hallmark” magazine.

Along with blindness, Kathy deals with severe arthritis.  When most of the guide dog schools around the country refused to equip her with a dog, she sought out an individual dog trainer and enlisted her husband, Bill, in training Cocoa, a chocolate lab to be a guide dog as well as help her go up and down stairs, brace so that she can get in and out of chairs, etc.

Kathy is involved in her church, has cared for children in her extended family, and generally takes on most of the activities we all must attempt, despite blindness, chronic pain and the emotional challenges of supervising people, finding and training readers, and dealing with catalog companies who seem to feel that there blind customers should purchase more than their sighted ones.

Kathy is very deserving of the” Eleanor A. Wilson” award.  She took her interest in mail-order catalogs, her need to have them read to her, and her passion for helping other blind people, and created a valuable product.  But, you may ask, why does this company continue when blind folks can now shop online.  Kathy teaches her readers to describe the item, piece of clothing, color of makeup or whatever in much more detail than the written description which usually appears on the internet.

I am proud to submit Kathy Eble as a 2007 nominee for the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired “Eleanor A. Wilson” award. 


Tantalizing Tidbits


OcuSource EXPO 2008:  The low vision and blindness portal, OcuSource.com, announces the OcuSource EXPO 2008, a year-long virtual conference for the visual impairment industry. Through the integration of accessible web-conferencing, visitors to this online event can participate in interactive online presentations, visit exhibit "booths," and even attend online entertainment events, all from any sound-enabled computer with access to the internet.  Hosted by the virtual tradeshow system from LetsGoExpo.com, the resource will offer a series of monthly events throughout the coming 12 months, kicking off March 26, 2008 at http://ocusource.com/main.cfm?page=vision&topic=osexpo ,  and can also be found via the LetsGoExpo calendar of events: http://letsgoexpo.com

"The OcuSource EXPO fulfils many needs of the vision impairment industry" states Dr. Lou Lipschultz, founder of OcuSource.com. "The key here is that there are around 14 million individuals in the United States with some form of vision loss. Yet, we estimate that less than a total of 10,000 visually impaired persons attend the five major vision impairment tradeshows in the U.S. There is obviously a significant access issue here," stated Lipschultz, a low vision specialist and former executive of one of the manufacturers of technology for the visually impaired.  "Lack of awareness, transportation, and financial constraints contribute to poor attendance by both consumers and professionals. OcuSource is now bringing the conference to attendees around the world, and we're doing it all through an interactive online venue designed specifically for low vision and blind users." 

Visitors who are unable to attend the live portion of the conference can still experience all the benefits around the clock through archived streamed videos of the presentations which will be available for 12 months after the live presentation.          

Contact information:  Louis Lipschultz
Founder & President- LetsGoExpo, inc.
Email: loul@letsgoexpo.com; Website: www.letsgoexpo.com.   Phone, 888-299-6657 ext 701.  George Buys,President  & CEO -  Talking Communities.  Email: buys@audio-tips.com.  Website:  www.talkingcommunities.com
Phone: 810-667-3043.

Announcing the online 2008-2009 Fred Scheigert Scholarship program through The Council of Citizens with Low Vision (CCLVI):  Three scholarships in the amount of $3,000 a piece will be awarded for the 2008-2009 academic year to entering freshmen, undergraduate and graduate college students who are visually impaired, maintain a strong GPA and are involved in their school/local community.  Applications may be submitted beginning January 1st and all materials must be received by March 1st.  Scholarship monies will be awarded for the 2008-2009 academic year.

To read the scholarship guidelines and complete an on-line application, please visit the web site www.cclvi.org/scholars.htm .  Applications will be
available to submit on-line until March 1st at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Job Central National Labor Exchange, a replacement for America's Job Bank, is a service of Direct Employers Association, a nonprofit
consortium of leading U.S. corporations, in alliance with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA). The Association's online services also include DirectEmployers.com, an Internet search engine dedicated exclusively to employment.  Direct Employers was founded to develop and manage
systems and software for employers to increase labor market efficiency and reduce Internet recruiting costs for its consortium members.  The partnership  will enable registered Disaboom members to search and apply directly for employment opportunities from a database of currently over 500,000 open positions with Direct Employers' consortium members and state job boards. The partnership also includes, among other initiatives, Disaboom serving as Direct Employers' content and resources partner for the upcoming release of a disability channel on the JobCentral.com site.

The press release can be accessed at:  http://www.jobcentral.com/2008_Disaboom_Partnership.asp.

The Fellowship for Leadership Development, sponsored by National Industries for the Blind (NIB), is a two-year, salaried program that combines business-focused, on-the-job experience with formal management training.  Legally blind individuals who have an undergraduate degree, work experience, desire to travel and passion to become a business leader are invited to apply.  Fellows are selected by a committee based on academic achievement, experience, motivation, references, personal interviews and other supporting data. Applications will be accepted until February 15, 2008.  For more information, visit the NIB Web site at <http://www.nib.org/>www.nib.org (Business Leaders Program/Fellowship Program).  Here you will find links to frequently asked questions and the application form and guidelines. 

MEDICARE PARTS A, B, C AND D:   There are four parts to Medicare: Medicare Part A, hospital insurance; Medicare Part B, medical insurance; Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), formerly known as “Medicare + Choice;” and Medicare Part D, prescription drug coverage.  Generally, people who are over age 65 and getting Social Security automatically qualify for Medicare Parts A and B.  People who have been getting disability benefits for two years, people who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and receive disability benefits, and people who have permanent kidney failure and receive maintenance dialysis or a kidney transplant also qualify automatically for Parts A & B.

• Part A is paid for by a portion of the Social Security tax. It helps pay for inpatient hospital care, skilled  nursing care, hospice care and other services.

• Part B is paid partially by the monthly premiums ($96.40) of the people enrolled and by general funds

from the U.S. Treasury. It helps pay for doctors’ fees, outpatient hospital visits, and other medical services

and supplies that are not covered by Part A.

• Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans are optional and allow you to choose to receive all of your health care

services through a private provider organization.  These plans may help lower your costs of receiving medical

services, or you may get extra benefits for an additional monthly fee. You must have both Parts A and B to

enroll in Part C.

• Part D (prescription drug coverage) is voluntary and the costs are paid for by the monthly premiums of

enrollees and Medicare. Unlike Part B in which you are automatically enrolled and must opt-out if you do not want it, with Part D you have to opt-in by filling out a form and enrolling in an approved plan.

Prescription Labels: The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has just launched a new campaign - the RX Label Enable Campaign to ensure that people with vision loss have ready access to the vital information available to all consumers via prescription labeling and related documentation enabling them to take medications safely, effectively and independently. To achieve this goal, AFB is reaching out to all stakeholders including consumers experiencing vision loss, policymakers, federal regulators, doctors, the pharmaceutical industry, retailers, assistive technology providers, and public and private insurers to promote solutions, build consensus and take action.  We are asking individuals who have had trouble reading prescription or over-the-counter medication information to tell us your story by answering  a short survey available using the link on the Senior Site Home Page--Call to Action: Are you having trouble identifying your medications?   www.afb.org/seniorsite)          Please ask your consumers and family members to become involved in this campaign.  For more info about the campaign  go to    http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=3&TopicID=329

Mentoring Program:  Tina Jinkens of the Kansas State School for the Blind is working to further develop a youth/adult mentoring program that was begun about 8 years ago by Chuck Tyrell.  Some mentor relationships are short-term and have to do with a specific interest area or question about transition to adulthood.  The ideal for a long-term mentor relationship is to have a mentor who is willing to meet with a student once a month in person and to chat at least once a month via phone.  This mentor relationship would be for a year or more, and the student and mentor would have goals that center around issues such as transition to adulthood/college/career, daily living, technology, community involvement, or recreation/leisure.  For additional information about the program contact Tina Jinkens by phone, (913) 281-3308 ext. 364 or by email, tjinkens@kssb.net


Chapter Chatter

Compiled by Nancy Johnson


            Support groups across the state took a break to enjoy holiday festivities.  They’re geared up again, and we hope everyone will have a great 2008!

            The Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (CKAVI) enjoyed a pot luck dinner in January.

            The Northwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (NKAVI) earned over $1,100 with their annual All American Breakfast.  They learned that a disaster preparedness kit should include a three-day supply of :  bottled water; non-perishable food items, flashlight and radio with plenty of batteries; first aid kit with medications; knife and other tools; whistle; clothing; personal hygiene products; extra eye glasses; copies of insurance policies, ID cards, important phone numbers and e-mail addresses; and cash (since no electric or ATM service will be available.  The kit should be checked and refurbished each six months when you change your clocks.   Develop a plan and discuss it with your family.  Each family member should have some responsibility.  Adults should know how to turn off all utilities.  Two possible meeting places should be chosen for after the disaster.  Get training in first aid and CPR techniques.  More information can be found at www.redcross.org

            The Southwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (SKAVI) continues to gather information on maintaining healthy eyes and vision. 

            The Topeka Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TABVI) discussed legislative updates and how members can be involved and then enjoyed a bingo party.

Please keep your newsletters coming!  The “newsier” they are, the more we can share what we’re doing.  Thank you for all you do.


In Memoriam


Nicholas “Eddy” Lundin, age 47, of Grandview, Kansas, died on October 8, 2007. He was a recent student at the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually and KABVI member involved in advocacy.

Delores McMurtrie died November 25, 2007.  She was an active member of NKAVI. 

Temple C. Lewis died suddenly from a ruptured heart on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008 at the age of 53. He was born in Wichita on Oct. 2, 1954.  He is  Survived by his parents, William L. and Joyce Wilbur Lewis; brothers Barry, Brian, David (Amy) their children, Justin, Clinton and Lindsay; sister, Terese Lewis (Charles Gwinner) and their children, Phillip and Emily Gwinner, Lucas Deaton and his daughter Kayleigh.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are established at Kansas Food Bank and the Wichita Children's Home. Advantage Funeral & Cremation Services, 945-8108.


KABVI Board of Directors, 2008


            Following the name is the year the term expires.

1.         Nancy Johnson – Recording Secretary and KABVI

            NEWS Editor, 2010

            714 SW Wayne Ave.  Topeka, KS  66606—1753

            Phone:  H – 785 234 8449 W – 785 291 3528 Cell 785

            633 8971

            E-mail:  nancyj1@cox.net or


2.         Beulah Carrington, 2010

            1171 SW Woodward Street, Topeka, KS  66604

            Phone:  785 357 7090

            E-mail:  b1car@sbcglobal.net

3.         Ann Byington – President and KABVI NEWS

            Associate Editor, 2010

            909 SW College Ave.  Topeka, KS  66606

            Phone:  H - 785 233 3839 Cell – 785 224 9769

            E-mail:  abyington@cox.net

4.         Katherine (Kathy) Dawson, 2010

            1919 SE Adams St. #54, Topeka, KS  66605

            Phone:  H – 785 235 0155 W – 785 233 3608

            E-mail:  kdawson9@cox.net

5.         Robert (Bob) Chaffin  - Treasurer, 2009

            1105 Centennial Blvd.  Hays, KS  67601

            Phone:  785 628 2873

            E-mail:  chaffin@ruraltel.net

6.         Michael Byington – CEO and corresponding secretary

            909 SW College Ave.  Topeka, KS  66606

            Phone:  H 785 233 3839 Cell 785 221 7111 W 785 296


            E-mail:  Byington@cox.net

7.         Mark Coates – Vice president, 2009

            2924 SW 31st Street, Topeka, KS  66614

            Phone:  785 271 6353

8.         Mikel McCary – Membership Secretary, 2009

            810 SW Anderson Terrace, Topeka, KS  66606

            Phone:  Cell 785 633 9126

            E-mail:  lemgmccary@att.net

9.         Jonathon (Jon) Marcotte, 2008

            1422 Armagh, Topeka, KS  66611

            Phone:  785 286 7229

            E-mail:  jonathonmarcotte@gmail.com

10.       Bill Moore, 2008

            5141 NW Rochester Rd.  Topeka, KS  66616

            Phone:  286 3467

            E-mail:  brm@kni.ks.gov

11.       Paul Berscheidt, 2008

            2530 McBride Parkway, Great Bend, KS  67530

            Phone:  H and Fax 620 793 5645

            E-mail:  pberscheidt@kitusa.com

12.       David Schwinn, 2008

            614 SW Wayne Ave.  Topeka, KS  66606-1751

            Phone:  785 235 0870

            E-mail:  W david.schwinn@srs.ks.gov


2008 KABVI Membership Application


____ I am enclosing $10.00  for my 2006 KABVI dues.














Are you: 


_____Legally blind  _____Visually impaired 


_____Deaf-blind  _____Sighted


I would like the KABVI NEWS and THE BRAILLE FORUM in: 


_____Braille  _____Large print  _____Disk


_____  Cassette  _____Regular print  ______E-mail


_____I do not want these publications.


I am including a tax deductible donation to KABVI in


the amount of $______.___.


SEND this form and your enclosed check to:

Robert Chaffin, Treasurer

1105 Centennial Blvd.

Hays, Kansas  67601.