Published Quarterly By

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                 Summer, 2008                       No. 2




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 KABVIs 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


As I write this article in April, just before the upcoming KABVI Board meeting, it is amazing how much of the Ks. Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KSBVI) landscape has changed.  Dianne Hemphill, KSBVI Administrator, “elected to take early retirement” in early February.  Dennis Ford serves as acting administrator with the responsibilities of doing policy review, address health/safety issues in the dormitory, and get the agency finances/budget in order.

The KABVI Board meets with Secretary of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) Don Jordan, Mike Donnelly, Director, Ks Rehabilitation Services, (KRS), Candi Shively, Director, Integrated Services, and presumably, Mr. Ford on Saturday at Secretary Jordan’s invitation.

Other staff who have retired/resigned from KSBVI include David Wright, Business Enterprises Program administrator, Eva Johnson, vocational rehabilitation counselor at the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, (KRCBVI) and Dorothy Williams, worker in the Kansas Seniors Achieving Independent Living (Kan-SAIL) program.  Hopefully, these positions will not be lost.  There is currently a hiring freeze in SRS, so things may get quite interesting in KSBVI.

Mike Donnelly continues to meet with me and Donna Wood, President, National Federation of the Blind of Kansas, (NFBK) to re-create the KSBVI Advisory Committee.  We will probably meet sometime in mid-May to create committee “ground rules” as well as a “conflict-of-interest” policy for committee members.

Michael and I attended a meeting of the Kansas Talking Books Program Advisory Council on April 3 in Lebo, KS. Like many other not-for-profit entities, the Council is seeking a fund-raising stream to keep solvent their small budget. VictorReader Stream players were purchased for each subregional library in order to assist staff in learning to use digital devices and to download books from the National Library Services to the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) pilot download project.  If you have blind or visually impaired children, ages 4—14 years, you might want to involve them in the “Summer Readers” program with the theme, “Creepy, Crawly”.  They can learn all about spiders, caterpillars and other such critters and might win some great prizes, including a $50 Walmart or Seedlings gift certificate.  

Toni Harrell, Talking Books Program Director, reported that Kansas is slated to receive 650 digital players per month with the goal of providing current Talking Books users with one by the end of 2009. 

The meeting was a great opportunity to do some needed networking, both with the Kansas Talking Books program staff, as well as other members on the Council.  We will definitely invite Toni Harrell to up-date you all at the next KABVI Convention.

Mikel McCary has been working above and beyond the call of duty to up-date software on both computers in the KABVI office; switch our Internet and email provider to AT&T and continue to up-date the membership database.  We also now have Skype voice chat capabilities and will be discussing how best to use this capability to communicate with KABVI members throughout the state.

Mark Coates, Legislative Chair and Board member, has begun the monumental task of networking with the Topeka Lions’ Club to co-sponsor a golf tournament withKABVI in early August.  The goal is to have 144 golfers who will pay a $55 entry fee with approximately $28 of that money going bacck to the Topeka Lions Clubs and KABVI.  Stay tuned for more details and don’t be surprised if you get a call to help!

If you haven’t checked out the KABVI web site lately, then you haven’t noted the fine work being done by our new webmaster, Paul Berscheidt.  We still have sections to correct, but we advertised the Esther V. Taylor Scholarship via e-mail and the web site, saving KABVI considerable money. Good job, Paul!

As always, there are activities in process.  Work on the convention, MTA and the equipment re-cycling program continue to plague me and require attention.  I’d rather be learning to use my new Trekker, knitting a wedding gift for my niece who is getting married in June... well, you get the picture.  Stay tuned for further details.



By Nancy Johnson


       We’ve just come through a long, hard winter.  Signs of spring, a time of new beginnings, are finally evident.  I hope new beginnings are what I’m seeing for Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KSBVI). 

       A long, hard look has been taken at how KSBVI has been handled and changes are being made.  There is a major effort for funding streams to be used to pay for the specific items for which they are intended.  As a tax-payer, I applaud this, though it’s causing inconvenience to the Rehabilitation Teaching (RT) program, which serves blind and visually impaired individuals of all ages and ability levels.  Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) funds provide for individuals moving toward employment.  The Kan-SAIL (older blind) program provides some services for individuals age 55 and older.  Those programs can provide white canes, writing aids, braille books, slates and styluses - basic equipment for the rehabilitation of blind and low-vision individuals.  The RT Program can no longer provide these basic items.

As things stand, the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (RCBVI) can train only individuals looking to become employed.  No funding appears to be available for anyone under age 55 who has not achieved the confidence or is not otherwise physically able to seek employment.  Only those seniors interested in returning to the workforce can now benefit from the comprehensive training available at KRCBVI.  Sometimes individuals, after working with an RT for a while, believe they’d like to return to work but can think of no job they could do as a blind or visually impaired person so they’re reluctant to work with VR.  After some time at KRCBVI, however, some of these people realize their potential for employment and begin thinking about and working toward possibilities.  They become VR consumers and greatly increase their chances of working again.  Others learn and practice techniques that allow them to resume volunteer activities and remain independently in their homes.

       In the early 1980s the RT Program, previously covered under Social Services funding, was shifted to VR funding.    That caused some changes, but not a great many constraints.  Until recently, basic items for the rehabilitation of a blind or low-vision person were readily available.  A Rehabilitation Teacher’s (RT’s) job is to help individuals learn the independent living skills and gain the confidence to expand their horizons … to seek employment, to remain in their homes or to move to, or remain in, the least restrictive environments.  The RT, by teaching basic adaptive techniques, helps individuals gain self-confidence and prepares them to move on to training, employment, or maintenance of an independent lifestyle.  The RT Program is prevocational. Without canes and writing aids, an RT can’t teach some basic skills and students can’t practice them.  Confidence-building can’t happen as quickly (if it happens at all).  A viable funding source is needed to sustain the RT Program.

       We’ve just begun to feel the effects of the changes being made in KSBVI.  I prefer to think positively about the future of programs for blind and low-vision Kansans. Major emphasis at this time is VR because that’s where the money is.  That’s not a bad thing.  Legitimate concerns with the Kan-SAIL Program (where at least some funding is available) exist   and are being considered.  The RT Program, which works with VR and Kan-SAIL as well as with those served by neither of the other programs, appears to be “falling through the crack”, and that scares me.  But change is sometimes scary and painful. 

KSBVI’s services have been through a long, hard winter!  I hope with spring, 2008, we’re experiencing changes that will ultimately lead to healthy outcomes for the entire low-vision and blind population of Kansas.  I believe KABVI’s mission, "To make every blind and visually impaired Kansan a self-sufficient citizen.” is ultimately the same as that of Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services … helping people reach their highest potential for self-sufficiency.   That’s why I think, once the problems are identified and sorted through, a truly comprehensive, easily flowing  program, serving all low-vision and blind Kansans, can flower. 




Legislative Wrap Up

By Michael Byington


Well, it is not really a wrap up. The deadline for this article is just a little before the last gavel will come down for the Kansas Legislature’s 2008 session. Things are far enough along, however, that we can pretty well predict how they are going to come out. We will let you know in the next issue if any miracles occur to change any of the bad news I report here, or any unforeseen monkey wrenches get thrown in to derail the very little that is somewhat positive.

First of all, the really sad news is, despite the award that KABVI received from the Kansas Library Association because of past victories to help out the Kansas Talking Books program, we did not score a victory this year. I have just come from the Senate Omnibus meeting on funding issues that had been put off until the end of the Legislative session. Yesterday the House Committee failed to recommend continuing funding for the outreach program of Kansas Talking Books, and today the Senate failed to do so also. Failure to get this funding out of the Omnibus Committee in either house suggests that the issue is probably dead for this year. I know many talking books users contacted their Legislators, but this was a tight budget year, and apparently it was not enough. Sometimes, in omnibus, it is the luck of the draw concerning where one’s issue gets located in the committee process, and what is said right before the issue comes up. The House was essentially in a bad mood this year and failed to recommend funding for almost everything in omnibus. We thought the Senate was going to be a little friendlier. In the Senate Omnibus Committee, however, State Library issues, including the talking books outreach program, followed law enforcement issues. The Committee just voted for pay increases for both the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Highway Patrol. Do not congratulate your local Trooper based on this statement, there are still many steps that such proposed increases have to go through, and I can not predict whether they will make it or not, but anyway, they did not get killed as our talking books outreach funding did.

After the Senate omnibus committee voted favorably for the pay increases, Senator Stephen Morris, President of the Kansas Senate, told the Committee, “I do not know what happened after lunch, but before lunch we were not funding much. Now we have been funding almost everything that has come before us. If we do not stop this, we will here Friday, Saturday, maybe even into Monday, have to cut back more of what we have done because we will not like the final totals.” Senator Morris then said, “Oh but I am not intending to be negative to State Library programs specifically.” Nonetheless, the damage had been done. The mood in the room quite clearly changed. Had the State Library budget come up prior to the comments of Senator Morris, we might have gotten the talking books outreach funding. KABVI representatives had talked with many Senators and Representatives about the issue, and corresponded with all of them, but this year, the timing was bad, and it was not enough.

This year, Envision, a large not-for-profit service and employment provider for people who are blind and visually impaired, based in Wichita, had introduced Senate Bill 568. This bill would have changed the optometric practice act to allow Envision staff to supervise optometrists working in Envision’s low vision clinic operations. KABVI ended up opposing this bill, and the need to do this saddened us. KABVI had taken the high road in attempting to bring parties together and negotiate solutions to the problems Envision is having with the practice model they want to use in offering comprehensive low vision services.  The Legislation Envision introduced ended up pitting the Kansas Optometric Association, and numerous practicing low vision optometrists against Envision. Envision’s legislation came close to what KABVI said it could support in the interest of improving low vision optometric practice throughout the State, but still fell short of meeting all of our concerns. Three of our five local affiliated chapters or groups specifically asked us to oppose the legislation, and a polling of our Board of Directors, with circulation of the actual legislative language, resulted in our KABVI Board voting, not unanimously, but quite clearly, to oppose Senate Bill 568. KABVI joined the Kansas Optometric Association, and several long time friends who are low vision optometric practitioners in speaking against the Bill when a hearing was held. It appears that the Bill is dead at this point. Someone who supports it could still attempt to amend it into other legislation during the final hours of the legislature, but this seems extremely unlikely.

As this is written, the one issue of deep concern to us that remains up in the air is funding for the Assistive Technology for Kansas program. Many blind and visually impaired Kansans have used the resources of this program in working toward getting assistive technology they need to live, work, or learn independently. This program was previously funded in part by Federal Title I funds from the Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration. (RSA) The RSA has now ruled that these funds can not be used in this manner. It thus becomes necessary to replace such funds with State General Funds. As this article is written, this issue is still pending. We will let you know how it comes out in the next issue of KABVI NEWS.  


Good-bye To A Special Lady

By Ann Byington

with excerpts from the Topeka-Capital Journal


Betty Jean Lewis, 58, of Topeka, passed away Friday, March 7, 2008 at her home after a long illness. Betty was a past winner of the “Extra Step” award from KABVI. Though in poor health much of the time, Betty attended the Kansas. Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and excelled in computer data entry. Her goal was to become a medical transcriber.  Betty had a wonderful sense of humor, a remarkable gift of perseverance and a faith in herself that she could succeed.

She was born May 12, 1949 in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Kenneth L. and Christine Phillips Cooper. Betty was a 1967 graduate of Waverly High School.

She worked as a secretary for several companies until 1995, when she began working as an independent care giver. She continued until 2000, retiring due to health concerns.

Betty enjoyed music, animals and the 60s. She was also a member of the First Assembly of God Church. Betty married George Rehl in 1969 in Topeka. They later divorced. She was preceded in death by

her father and step-father, Orville Tyson. Other survivors include her mother, Christine Tyson of Dwight; two daughters, Jennifer Rehl Henningsen and Janet Rehl Haney, both of Topeka; 4 grandchildren, Christopher, Mason, Elizabeth and Emily; sisters, Karen Tiffany of Topeka and Susan Mulryan of Dwight; brother, Kenny Cooper, Jr. of Lenexa and a step-sister, Jean Cox of Ft. White, FL.


Put Your Thinking Cap On Now!


       Now is the time for all KABVI members to think about the people we know who demonstrate that special spark that makes them stand out among their peers.  We’re looking for one or two outstanding individuals to be recognized state-wide by the Eleanor A. Wilson and Extra Step awards.  Recipients will be honored at the 2008 annual meeting and convention

       The Extra Step Award is presented to a visually impaired individual for unique courage and successful personal rehabilitation.  The nominee shall have demonstrated initiative and ingenuity, in meeting the unique challenges in life, and shall have contributed to society in an outstanding manner.  The nominee shall be a Kansas resident, at least legally blind and shall be selected without regard for affiliation with any organization of or for the blind. 

       The Eleanor A. Wilson Award is presented to a sighted or visually impaired individual who demonstrates outstanding service to the visually impaired and blind in Kansas.  The nominee should, through personal characteristics and activities, promote public acceptance and understanding of visually impaired and blind persons as capable and productive members of the community.  The Eleanor A. Wilson Award emphasizes contributions beyond those achieved through the nominee’s regular employment. The nominee shall be a Kansas resident and shall be selected without regard for affiliation with any organization of or for the blind. 

       Nominees for both the Extra Step and Eleanor A. Wilson awards shall be invited to attend the annual meeting and convention in November.  Travel, registration, and one night’s hotel expense may be covered for award winners, if requested and when funds are available.  The award ceremonies are an expression of KABVI’s genuine appreciation for what these extraordinary individuals have contributed for the benefit of visually impaired people in Kansas. 

       No members of the Awards Committee or their immediate families are eligible to receive an award.  Members of the KABVI Board of Directors may be nominated.  Please send letters of nomination, by July 19, 2008,  to:  KABVI, 603 SW Topeka Blvd, Suite 304B, Topeka, Kansas  66603. 



Award Received From The Kansas Library Association

By Michael Byington


On April 10, 2008, Michael Byington, KABVI’s Corresponding Secretary and volunteer C.E.O., accepted the Presidential Award for Library Advocate at the State Level; the award was conferred by the Kansas Library Association at their annual conference held in Wichita on April 10th, 2008. Byington accepted the award on behalf of KABVI.

Along with a plack, which is on display at the KABVI offices, Byington was presented with a framed poem written by poet, Jeff Imparato. The poem reads as follows:


The honor which you so deserve

Was given for the way you serve.

Your passion for the sight impaired

Shows all of us you really cared.

Our never tiring advocate

Whose arguments were such a hit

Brought increased funding to your cause

And those who need it gave applause.

So here’s to Michael Byington

Whose never-ending trying won

A place among the very best

Who got their needed cause addressed.


Over the past couple of years, The Kansas talking BooksProgram has received some shots in the arm in terms of funding that were much needed. The award was given largely in honor of the work on the part of KABVI that brought the funding increases into reality.

The poem was for Michael, but the award honors all of KABVI. Michael wants to acknowledge the work of Mark Coates, Ann Byington, Katy Kincy, Marilyn Lind, Kathy Dawson, and many others in achieving the modicum of success that we have. The problem with naming some names as has been done in this article is that there is always a fear of leaving someone out. Thanks to anyone else as well who has attended planning meetings, contacted Legislators, attended hearings, etc. concerning these issues.


How to Stop Junk Mail


Most people think of junk mail as an annoyance but have you ever thought about the environmental impact? According to the Native Forest Network (www.nativeforest.org), at least 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail, and 28 billion gallons of water are used to produce the paper.  All of these resources are wasted to produce items many people never look at. 

Junk mail costs you money.  Hundreds of millions of local tax dollars are used to dispose of junk mail annually.  The transportation of junk mail costs about $550 million per year (EPA), not to mention the air pollution generated during transport.

• Register to have your name removed from mailing lists.  Two main resources are available to accomplish this.

National Do Not Mail List:  When you complete the online National Do Not Mail List form, you can indicate if there are any types of mailings you would like to receive (a list is provided). You can choose as many or as few — or none—as you want.  DirectMail.com will contact you every six months via e-mail so you can review and update your preferences.  The second service is the Mail Preference Service, which charges $1.  You can register online or by regular mail.  Your request is good for  five years, and you cannot state preferences.  Neither service can guarantee that your name will be removed from ALL mailing lists. Therefore you may also want to try some of the suggestions below.

• When you order something from a catalog, your name and address is likely given to Abacus, an alliance of most catalog companies.  To have your information removed from Abacus, contact  them with your name and address. Abacus can be reached either via e-mail (optout@abacus-us.com) or by mail: Abacus, Inc., PO Box 1478, Broomfield CO 80038.

• To be removed from the mailing list of major sweepstakes mailers, contact: Publishers Clearinghouse, by phone: (800-645-9242) or by mail: Consumer & Privacy Affairs, Publishers Clearinghouse, 382 Channel Drive, Port Washington NY 11050; or by e-mail: privacychoices@pchmail.com, and Readers Digest Sweepstakes, phone (800-310-6261) or by mail: Reader's Digest, PO Box 50005, Prescott AZ 86301-5005.

• If you move, do not fill out the permanent change of address (COA) form supplied by the post office.  Permanent COA information is provided to third parties.

Instead, complete the temporary (10 month) form and notify companies and others on your own. Address changes can be done easily by completing the change of address form found on the backs of bills.

• To eliminate extra or redundant telephone books, contact the producer of the book (should be listed inside the front of the book) and ask to be removed from their list.


Report from the Board of Directors

By Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary


       All directors attended the meeting held April 26, 2008.  Guests included Secretary of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) Don Jordan, Director of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Michael Donnelly, and three others.  The portion of the meeting attended by Mr. Jordan and Mr. Donnelly was held at the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (RCBVI).  It was later moved to the second floor conference room in the Casson Building where KABVI’s corporate office is located. 

       In addition to the recent resignation of the administrator of Kansas Services for the Blind, the supervisor of the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) and one Kan-SAIL specialist have also resigned. 

Mr. Donnelly assured board members that the process of restoring internet service to the dormitory, as well as to clients in their rooms has begun.   Access to magnification and screen reader programs will be available in the dormitory.  Additionally, Use of the computers in the dorm will be monitored and restrictions applied when needed.  Assistive software in addition to JAWS and ZoomText are being studied for inclusion in client training. 

       One RCBVI client described the difficulties he has had during the problems with lack of computer access in the dormitory.  He indicated he had to resort to lessons being read by dormitory staff late at night because he had poor results with readers who were provided by his rcbvi instructor.  Mr. Donnelly indicated that there are now agreements with Washburn and the Regents Universities that should improve the situation. 

Mr. Jordan pointed out that the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has made it quite clear that VR money (Title 1) must pay for VR programs, which includes RCBVI.  Kan-SAIL (Title 7, Older Blind) money must pay only for Kan-SAIL activities.  Title 7 funds are quite limited.  There is, therefore, no money available to train older individuals to use computers.  Such money would have to come from State General Funds if it were possible. 

The Rehabilitation Teaching (RT) program is funded by neither Title 1 nor Title 7.  This is why basic items (white canes, writing guides, braille books, and slates and styluses) RTs use in their training of individuals not served by either Kan-SAIL or VR are no longer available.  These are basic to the training of a newly blind or visually impaired individual.  Without them an RT cannot provide adequate basic training.  Consensus was that supplies for the RT program should be dealt with by the legislative committee. 

       Mr. Jordan indicated he is working closely with the Department on Aging, and additional work is needed with the Kansas Optometric Association, Kansas Library Association, and others in order to develop a balance of training among the community and RCBVI for older persons who are blind or severely visually impaired to avoid duplication of services.  Better demographic information is needed.  This is one major way in which KABVI could help.

       A break was taken to move the meeting from KRCBVI to the KABVI office. 

       The grant application to Envision for a new computer system was submitted on time.  An addendum can be submitted in July for funding for the Mary T. Adams Educational Seminar (MTA) if desired.  No response has been received.

       An online auction company is available through the Association of Blind Citizens.  The company is called C-Market.  They charge a fee for participation.  A company representative will be invited to the next board meeting.

       The car donation program is basically defunct.  KABVI still occasionally receives a few dollars from it and is spending no money on it.  However, the company would like more involvement from KABVI.

       The information for the computer refurbishing portion of the assistive technology project has not been obtained.   Appointed to the assistive technology project committee were Jon Marcotte, Paul Berscheidt, Mikel McCary, and Marilyn Lind.   

       There has been more demand for talking glucose meters than was expected.  It may be possible to get some meters donated   

       The conditions in which donated items come to KABVI are disparate. among the conditions of donated equipment.  For example, One CCTV recently donated is old and barely works.  Another is out-of-the-box new.  The old one is worth little, while the other would be much more valuable.  Directors determined it would be more appropriate for office staff to use a sliding scale from $20 to $200 to use when assigning value to donated CCTVs.  The like-new CCTV now on hand will be removed from the Assistive Technology program and used as a fund-raiser. 

       KABVI’s web site has nearly been brought up to date.  Some work is still needed on archived materials.  Please take a look at the site and let us know what you think.

       The Library Services Talking Books outreach program was not funded this year.  Although it could happen in the legislature’s wrap-up session, it is unlikely.  Funding for Assistive Technology of Kansas is still uncertain.  The bill proposed by Envision would have allowed the CEO of an organization to supervise low vision optometry.  The bill was opposed by the Kansas Optometric Association and KABVI.  It failed. 

       BEP vendors’ priorities are reinstatement of their fringe benefits, restructuring of the vending program, and reinstatement of the vendor training program. 

       Three scholarship applications were received.  Only 2 scholarships will be given this year. 

       Five hundred thirty names are on the mailing list since the computer crash.  There are 140 paid members.  Newsletters are sent to 488 subscribers including 36 braille, 11 disks, 194 large print, 82 regular print, 77 tapes, and 88 e-mails.  A few members have requested they not be sent the KABVI NEWS.  Anyone who can use e-mail is asked to do so because this format costs KABVI nothing. 

       Considering the fact that it is now April and no medical professional has expressed willingness to take the lead in requesting continuing education units or speakers, the expense of the program, and KABVI’s financial situation, consensus was that no MTA seminar be held this year.

       The possibility of having biannual conventions was discussed.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires 501C3 organizations to hold an annual meeting, so some type of annual convention is needed.  The format being considered is a one-day meeting with a board meeting the following day. 

       Ten openings are available on the Special Education Council.

       A golf tournament fund raiser is planned in collaboration with Topeka Lions.  It will be held at Cypress Ridge golf course in Topeka, August 3, 2008, beginning at 8:00 a.m.  Dick’s Sporting Goods of Topeka is a sponsor.  Proceeds will be shared among Topeka Lions Clubs, the Topeka Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and KABVI.  Food sales and a raffle during the event are also planned.  It is hoped this will be the first annual golf tournament.

       Skype, a system that allows individuals to communicate by computer rather than by telephone, may be used to hold meetings or perhaps provide speakers at meetings in the future. 

       The next meeting of KABVI’s board of directors was scheduled for July 19 in Topeka.

Tantalizing Tidbits


Greetings from WRBH Reading Radio, yoursource of current news, entertainment, periodicals, books, and more available at www.wrbh.org anytime, anywhere.  Our mission is to turn the printed word into the spoken word so that the blind and print handicapped receive the same ease of access to current information as their peers.  No hooks, no fees, no memberships.  We are funded by foundations, underwriting, and private contributions.  WRBH has served the New Orleans metropolitan and surrounding areas for over twenty-five years via our broadcast tower and transmitter.  We are now proud to serve the entire country and the world via our streaming webcast at: www.wrbh.org 

National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302, Phone:  (800) 548-7323 or (617) 266-6160 ext. 20, offers the following books:

“Chicken, Turkey, Beef and Pork Recipes from Fix-it And Forget - it 5-ingredient Favorites: Comforting Slow-cooker Recipes” by Phyllis Pellman Good, $10.95;   Label It!  Braille & Audio Strategies for Identifying Items at Home & Work By Judith M. Dixon, in braille and PortaBook, $10.  Order any of our books online at

Two additional devices can now be used to

read downloadable audio materials from NLS:
- The LevelStar Icon is a portable device for the visually impaired that gives you access to all of your contacts, documents, and media on the go.  Icon, with its 40 GB hard drive, can store thousands of documents and audio files.   Icon users are now able to download NLS books directly using the Icon's powerful web browser and its wireless connection, and play and navigate them using Icon's Bookshelf.  To learn more about the Icon and its support for NLS content, please visit www.levelstar.com, or call 1-800-315-2305, or send email to info@levelstar.com . 

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.'s Braille Plus Mobile Manager is a hand held, accessible tool that combines entertainment and productivity into one device small enough to easily fit into a pocket or purse.  With its large hard drive, the Braille Plus stores dozens of books at a time, and with its built-in web browser, the user can download and read any of the NLS DTB collection without having to use a computer at all.  For complete information about the Braille Plus, please see www.aph.org/tech/pda_info.htm .  Current owners of these devices are just a free software upgrade away from adding the ability to download and read NLS talking books and magazines.

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research is pleased to announce the release of a new online publication: Emergency Management Research and People With Disabilities: A Resource Guide. This resource guide is the culmination of cooperative efforts by NIDRR, the Department of Education, the Research Subcommittee of the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities (ICC), and the New Freedom Initiative Subcommittee of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research.  The guide provides a listing and description of research projects funded by the federal government and nonfederal entities, research recommendations that have come out of conferences on emergency management and disability, and a bibliography of relevant research publications. It is our hope that this guide will facilitate the development and implementation of a nationwide research agenda on emergency management and people with disabilities, so that we can develop a strong evidence base about the best ways to ensure the safety and security of people with disabilities in emergency and disaster situations.  This report is available on the U.S. Department of Education's Web site at:http://www.ed. <http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs,>
gov/rschstat/research/pubs, the National Center for the Dissemination ofDisability Research Web site at http://www.ncddr.
<http://www.ncddr.org/new/announcements.html> org/new/announcements.html the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) Web site athttp://www.naric. <http://www.naric.com/public/pubs.cfm,>
com/public/pubs.cfm, and the Interagency Committee on Disability Research
Web site at http://www.icdr. <http://www.icdr.us/.> us/>.

The AIR Foundation, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. was announced January 31, 2008, at a press conference held during the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2008 National Conference.  The mission of the foundation is to promote universal accessibility so that every blind and low-vision person in the world has access to digital information over the Internet and Worldwide Web.

            The foundation’s executive director, Art Schreiber, announced that the organization’s first offering will be free usage of a Web 2.0 accessible screen reader.  The product is provided through an exclusive license in perpetuity granted to The AIR Foundation from Serotek Corporation, the leading provider of Internet and digital information accessibility software and services.  The screen reader is called SA To Go and is powered by Serotek’s award-winning System Access software which provides immediate text to speech, magnified visual, and Braille access to digital information presented through the Web or other means, while the user is directly connected to the Internet.  The software does not remain resident on the user’s computer when the connection to the Internet is interrupted or terminated.  Users can obtain access to the free software by calling 877-369-0101 or visiting www.AccessibilityIsaRight.org.

“The basic tenet of The AIR Foundation is that accessibility is a fundamental human right, regardless of financial or geographic constraints” said Art Schreiber, executive director of The AIR Foundation, “by allowing the blind and visually impaired to have equal access to computer and Internet information through the free use of an advanced screen reader like SA To Go, we have already taken great strides toward our mission.”

The AIR Foundation will solicit funds and contract development of product enhancements including availability in other languages.  The organization’s first priority is to make SA To Go available in Mandarin Chinese. 

“SA To Go is highly intuitive and requires minimal training to use,” said Serotek CEO, Mike Calvo, “the user not only has access to information displayed on Web pages, but to Web-based applications such as Internet telephone service, and to applications resident on the host computer.  The user can also access PDF files, fill out forms, and otherwise interact with information with the same facility as a sighted person.”

The AIR Foundation will operate through the generosity of organizations donating their time, expertise, and funds.  It invites other nonprofits, assistive technology vendors, mainstream hardware and software companies and anyone interested in promoting accessibility as every person’s right, to align with the AIR team.

       The AIR Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate, teach, and deliver information accessibility tools.  We focus on the accessibility needs of blind and low-vision people.  Our mantra is “accessibility is a right” and we work with corporations and agencies worldwide to deliver free accessibility to all.  For more information, call 877-369-0101 or visit www.AccessibilityIsaRight.org.

       Serotek Corporation is a leading technology company that develops software and manufactures accessibility solutions.  Committed to the mission of providing accessibility anywhere, Serotek launched the first online community specifically designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities.  Since then, Serotek has introduced several powerful, affordable solutions that require minimal training and investment. For more information, visit www.serotek.com.

       FROM ADA UPDATE, MARCH, 2008:   Question:  I am blind and recently set up an appointment with a new doctor.  At the time I scheduled the appointment, I told the office that I was blind.  I arrived alone and, when given the new patient forms, was told that no one at the office would help me complete the information and that I would need to cancel my appointment, go home and find someone to fill the forms out for me.  Doesn’t the ADA require health care facilities to provide readers and help with forms? 

       Answer:  The ADA requires health care facilities, just like other businesses, to provide equal access to goods and services, and that includes equal access to effective communication.  Businesses must provide auxiliary aides and services such as readers,  interpreters, large print copies, etc., whenever necessary to ensure communication between the customer and the business or service provider is effective. 

       In this case, the health care clinic did not offer any type of additional services to provide effective communication and also denied service (canceled the appointment) based upon the fact that the individual’s disability (blindness) made it impossible to fill out the form without some type of auxiliary aide or service. 

 “The Challenge”:  Steve Bauer is hosting a new program on ACB Radio Mainstream titled"The Challenge."  This 30-minute weekly program features interviews and conversation with persons who have a disability about how they handle  the challenges faced in life.  He also talks with people who come  into contact with disabled individuals and how they face the challenges that may occur.  The plan is for the program to be available on Air Capital telephone reader.  An alert message will let you  know where you can find it.  Should you like to be a guest on the show, please  leave a message on our voice mail at 316-337-7701. 


Chapter Chatter


       The Northwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired has made donations of $200 each to Talking Books, Hays Public Library, Kansas Specialty Dog Services, Audio-Reader, and the Foundation Fighting Blindness.  Money was set aside for one $500 scholarship to be given during the 2008-2009 academic year.  They learned the latest information about macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.  The latest information can be obtained at www.fightblindness.org.  The Foundation Fighting Blindness has a printed newsletter to which you can subscribe by calling (800) 683-5555. 

       Southwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (SKAVI) members John and Anna Jean Minor of Ashland were named Hospice Volunteers of the year because of their work in the community.  Members learned about the services Hospice provides and opportunities for volunteerism with Hospice.  They also learned about the Talking Books Program.  Darlene Howe took her “Minnie Pearl” program to SKAVI in April.  The next Kan-SAIL outreach in SKAVI’s area is scheduled for June 17, 18, and 19 in Garden City. 

       The Topeka Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TABVI) heard about the American Council of the Blind’s legislative seminar, had an afternoon of  bingo, and had a review of information about diabetes. 

       Please keep those newsletters coming! 


In Memoriam


       Grace Ann Heininger, long time member and former president of NKAVI,died on January 28, 2008. 

       Clem Wood, an active participant in NKAVI when his health permitted, passed away on February 6, 2008.  He is survived by his wife, Ruby. 

       Helen Vargo, 87, of Conway, Arkansas, died April 7, 2008.  Helen retired after working 35 years in rehabilitation of the blind, 25 of which were in Kansas.  After she left Kansas, Helen worked 10 years at the Library of Congress.  She was a past president of KABVI, past president of the National Rehabilitation Association,  and active in many other state and national organizations for the blind and disabled.  Helen is survived by a nephew of Fairway, Kansas, his wife and their two children as well as a long-time friend and companion, Lorene Thompson. Of Conway, Arkansas.  Memorial contributions can be sent to the First United Methodist Church of Conway, Arkansas.

       Ralph Horner, Great Bend, died February 7, 2008.  He was a long time CKAVI member and is survived by his wife, Edna  and Al and Teri. 

       Betty Lewis, 58, Topeka, died March 7, 2008.  Please see “Goodbye To A Special Lady” earlier in this issue of KABVI NEWS.

Lula Grace (Pingry) Robinson , 72, retired Wichita Industries for the Blind, passed away Tuesday, April 8, 2008. Preceded in death by parents, Gilbert Pingry and Evelyn Byers and grandmother, Grace Scantlan.  survivors include: husband, Marion of Wichita; brother, Harold Byers, Ark City, KS and niece Jessica Ann Byers, Kansas City, MO. Memorial to Maranatha Worship Center, Arkansas City, KS.

Larry E. Waymire, 55, passed away Thursday, April17, 2008. Preceded in death by parents; brother, Tommy Lee Waymire and sister, Jeannie Koelsch. Survivors: wife, Janet; son, Kevin; brothers-in-law, John Strouse of Wichita, Jim Strouse of Boulder, Colo.; sisters-in-law, Francie (Jim) Stover, Donna (J.D.) Horsch of Andale, Tina(Carl) Younts of Sedgwick, Debby (Ralph) Shoemaker of Wichita, Mickey (Bruce) Bitconof Andover, Nancy Strouse of Topeka, Lucia Strouse of Nederland, Colo. Published in the Wichita Eagle from 4/20/2008 - 4/21/2008.

Regina Basgall, Hays,Kansas, passed away April 20, 2008.  Memorials can be made to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Hays or to the Perpetual Adorer. Tom Basgall is a vocational rehabilitation counselor in Salina.  Cards can be sent to Tom, in care of the Salina SRS Service Center, 901 Westchester, Salina KS 67401. 




Attention:  Residents of Lyon, Coffee, or Osage County  (or anyone Living In Kansas)  Do You Need Help Purchasing Assistive Technology?

Edited from the Fact Sheet of Assistive Technology Development Accounts (AT-IDA)


If you reside in the counties listed in the title of this article, read on.  If you live somewhere else in Kansas, but are interested in help acquiring assistive technology, read this article and fill out the  “AT-IDA Interest Form” at the end.

“An AT-IDA is a program* offered through KATCO, the Kansas Assistive Technology Cooperative.  An AT-IDA provides eligible families and individuals with an opportunity to establish matched savings accounts for moneys which may be used for the purchase of assistive technology devices and services.  At this time the match ratio is 1:1.”  That means that if you qualify, the assistive technology is available at half price.

“Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially, off-the-shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capacities of individuals with disabilities.”   

Criteria include an earned household income of less than or equal to 300% of the federal poverty level. Deposits into an AT-IDA can only be made from earned income.  SSI & SSDI are not considered “earned” income.

KATCO will help with determination of elegibility, set up a savings account and collect required documentation.  The account may not exceed $10,00 per year, but may acrue up to $50,000 over a five-year period. For more information, Contact Basil Kessler, Executive Director Kansas Assistive Technology Co-operative, (KATCO), 625 Merchant, Suite 205 Emporia, Kansas 66801.  Phone:  (866) 465-2826, or e-mail him at: katcodir@sbcglobal.net.

AT-IDA Interest Form:

We learned about this income source at the recent Talking Books Advisory Board meeting.  Basil Kessler, KATCO Executive Director commented, “I truly want this to be a state-wide program and there’s no reason it cant be; however, we will need the data to approach major funding sources, showing them the need for such a program and the level of anticipated participation.  Any way you can assist us with this is much appreciated.”

If you are interested in becoming a participant in the AT-IDA program, please complete the top portion of this form.  We will contact you once the program particulars have been set up and will ask you to provide some specific information at that time.

If you have questions about the program, please call (866) 465-2826.  Thank you.


Name: ____________________ Date: _______


Address: ______________________________


City: ___________________ Zip: __________


County: ______________________________


Telephone Number: ______-______-________


Alternate Number: ______-______-_________


Technology I am interested in purchasing: _____




Estimated cost of the technology: $___________


Possible monthly savings:  (how much I can put


aside Each month in a savings account: $_______


Mail this form to:      KATCO

625 Merchant, Suite 205

Emporia, KS  66801               

Attn:  AT-IDA     


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.