Published Quarterly By






An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind




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



Volume 52                Fall, 2009                             No. 3





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.com


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

Supermom1941@sbcglobal.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 22, April 22, July 22, and October 22 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, President

Notions, By Nancy Johnson

Voice of Our Youth, By Nancy Johnson, Editor

Kansas State School for the Blind Closure Hearings

      Conducted, By Michael Byington

Scholarships Awarded, By Bob Chaffin, Scholarship

      Committee Chair

Report from the Board of Directors, by Nancy Johnson,

      Recording Secretary

Paws Up – Associated Press, contributed by Bill Lewis

Lost, By Nancy Johnson

Tantalizing Tidbits, Compiled by Nancy Johnson

Chapter Chatter, Compiled by Nancy Johnson

In Memoriam

2009 KABVI Membership Application


What’s Happening

By Ann Byington, President


After my summary of a variety of items, I have included testimony I gave before the “Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission” on July 28th.

Despite some rain, the “Eyes Wide Open” golf tournament on July 20th was a little larger, and much better organized this year.  We haven’t added up all the expenses yet, but we may have, with the tremendous help of the Topeka Lions, earned a little money for KABVI. 

Among highlights at this year’s ACB national convention was the fact that a Kansan, Sarah Peterson, won a Citizens with Low Vision International, (CCLVI), scholarship.  We will hope to have her at the convention.  Other fun activities included a birthday party celebrating the bicentennial of Louis Braille’s birth, complete with shortbread cookies decorated with the contracted word for braille.  Three new, less expensive, more portable braille displays were also of interest as well as the BookSense, GW Micro’s entrance into the digital book player arena.  An exciting, inexpensive notebook computer, Net Book, was featured at Mike Calvo’s Serotek booth.  I had hoped to put recordings of sessions on our web site, but they are not as clear as I wanted.  I also took part in a research project and focus group conducted by the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) on the readability of the Nemeth Uniform Braille System.  Stay tuned for more on this code as it becomes more user-friendly and approved by BANA.

Next year’s convention is in Phoenix, and begins July 10th.

The following testimony is fairly self-explanatory, but if News readers would like it, we prepared a position paper which can be sent upon request.

“My name is Ann Byington and I am speaking as President of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, (KABVI).  Unlike the testimony presented to you at the public hearing regarding closure of the Kansas State School for the Blind, KABVI cannot unequivocally support the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, (KRCBVI), program as it currently exists within the Social and Rehabilitation Services umbrella.  Our membership fervently wishes the program to continue but adamantly suggest the following changes and improvements:

1.  We submit that decisions made over the past several years by Social and Rehabilitation Services staff have eroded the specialized, categorical nature of services to blind and visually impaired Kansans, provided by generalist rehabilitation counselors, to the point that fewer referrals are being made to the KRCBVI.  Like most of you, we cannot justify the cost-per-client expenditures currently being made.  In order for the KRCBVI to make best use of taxpayer dollars, it should either be privatized, or moved to another state department which is more willing to take the direction of blind consumers who can best understand and explain the needs of blind and visually impaired Kansans.  If co-location of the KRCBVI within State government is an option, locate it on the existing KSSB campus.  Such an arrangement would be beneficial to both populations, particularly in transitioning students to more adult responsibilities.  Additionally, staffing utilization could be enhanced with the potential of sharing instructors in the areas of Braille, assistive technology, and orientation and mobility.  Most beneficial would be the socialization of blind children through interaction with blind or visually impaired adult role models, as well as the adjustment to blindness which would be fostered by such a diverse community.

2.  If the KRCBVI is privatized, Envision would be a much preferred option.  In no case should services to adult blind Kansans be out-sourced to Missouri or to other out of State providers.

3.  The KRCBVI should resume acceptance of older blind and visually impaired Kansans without making the erroneous assumptions that a person’s willingness to be employed goes away at age 60 or 65, or that older blind or visually impaired Kansans do not require the intensive services in assistive technology, orientation and mobility and daily living skills, enjoyed by younger KRCBVI clients.  The program change which excludes older blind resulted from a Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) change of interpretation in the way 80/20 Title I, 110 monies can be spent.  The entity which administers the future KRCBVI should explore alternate funding so that all Kansans will continue to receive the quality and quantity of services they require.  One such funding source could have been the Medicare Demonstration Grant which would have provided training money for older blind/visually impaired clients who, initially, did not have employment goals.

4.  Younger blind and severely visually impaired adults who may not have immediate vocational goals should again be able to study at the KRCBVI so that they may return to their home communities able to raise their children and perform homemaker duties.  There are occasionally valid reasons for a blind individual of working age not to wish to return to the workforce in the foreseeable future.  Family obligations must be a consideration.  Some such individuals could be served through the homemaker designation, which does still exist within the Rehabilitation Act with regard to the 80/20 monies, but if available percentages allowed for homemaker cases are being exceeded, the alternate funding needed as noted above should be made available so this population can be served.

5.  Expand client capacity by extensive marketing of the KRCBVI program through statewide public service announcements to all TV and radio stations and other press outlets, an up-dated power-point presentation of the program for distribution to ophthalmologists, optometrists, SRS offices, Area Agency on Aging community meal sites, city and county libraries, centers for independent living, and the Services for the Blind rehabilitation teachers and vocational rehabilitation counselors and service providers and contractors.

6.  KRCBVI staff should be encouraged and allowed to partner with related service providers, i.e., Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy, other disability organizations, and other state agencies which provide services specific to persons who are blind or visually impaired. 

7.  Expand curriculum to focus on the needs of older blind and visually impaired Kansans which creates confidence in their ability to seek, gain and retain employment and/or to remain in their homes and live independently.  Additional curriculum should also focus on transitioning students from special education to post-secondary education or employment. 

8.  Curriculum development should include both blindness and low vision options for all clients.  While maximizing student’s useful vision, blindness techniques must be offered as a non-threatening, positive option which is not based on either the amount of remaining vision or the visual prognosis of the student.  By acquiring comfort with non-visual techniques, students do indeed have choices for accomplishing a specific task, regardless of how they see on any given day.  Curriculum development should also include training specific to the Business Enterprises Program of the Kansas Services for the Blind and visually Impaired, as well as specific to employers currently seeking employees.  Targeted training should improve the employment levels achieved by KRCBVI students.

9.  Our membership in western Kansas is concerned that, if KRCBVI programming changes dramatically, the Kansas Seniors Achieving Independent Living (Kan-SAIL) program, which is currently housed at KRCBVI will more easily be moved from Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired to the Kansas Centers for independent living.  While, on the surface, such a re-location might look sensible, most CIL’s have neither the staff nor the expertise specific to blindness needed to provide out-reach services currently available to western Kansas older blind and visually impaired citizens.  KABVI supports the move of Kan-SAIL to Envision, even if such a move is not precipitated by the re-location of the KRCBVI.

10.                    Additionally, KRCBVI staff could offer two- or three-week mini-programs specific to client needs.  These could include topics such as diabetic management, efficient use of low vision aids, basic orientation and mobility skills in rural or urban areas, infant and child-care strategies for blind and sighted parents, college readiness skills, record-keeping at home and on the job, assistive technology workshops focusing on a specific application as it is used with assistive software or hardware, Braille and/or speech note-takers, and how to access and use digital books and recordings.  Such mini-programs could be open to rehabilitation clients, currently employed members of the blindness community to enhance job retention or upward mobility, and retirees who want to improve or enhance skills, particularly if additional funding streams were available. 

As the President of KABVI, and as a former employee of KRCBVI from August, 1988 through December, 2005, I am saddened and frustrated to make this presentation.  The Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired was founded in 1920 and wrote the enactment legislation which created the Division of Services for the Blind.  We assisted the agency to have one of the most revered rehabilitation centers for the blind in this country.  Helen Keller, an advocate for the right of persons who are blind and multiply disabled blind persons to live to their greatest potential and to receive training for employment, spoke at the dedication of the original facility.  We do not want the KRCBVI to merely exist as a mediocre, under-staffed, underfunded program unable to meet the needs of blind and visually impaired Kansans for the ever-increasing range of training our technically advancing society will demand.  Whatever happens to the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, we will be here offering constructive criticism, strident complaint when necessary, and most importantly, a passionate wish for every blind or visually impaired Kansan, regardless of age, to receive blindness and low vision training/techniques to be an independent, productive member of this state.

I am attaching to this testimony, a position paper written by our Organization based on actions of our Board of Directors and resolutions KABVI has adopted. Its content is consistent with this testimony, but it presents our points in a slightly different sequence, and contains relevant background and historical information.”






By Nancy Johnson, Editor


This article was written prior to President Ann Byington’s excellent testimony before the Facilities Closure Commission reached me.  As much as we want the recommendations she set forth to be carried out, we don’t know what will be the Commission’s final recommendation.  There’s some repetition, but I think the perspective may be a bit different. 

 Times are tough and scary right now for all of us.  People have lost jobs; services have been cut; companies have gone under; and we can’t hear the bell at the end of the tunnel.  “What If” is the name of the game.  Survival’s the desired outcome of the game.  Think imaginatively, get creative, be proactive, and be persistent are the rules.  Oh … and while we’re doing all of these things … SMILE!  It’s a tough game, but we won’t win if we don’t play.  So … umm … let’s play. 

What if (as Mom would say, “God forbid,”) we lose more services to blind Kansans?  How can KABVI, which has few resources after fighting to save the limited programs we had, (that are now even more limited) do to make things better?  The organization can and will continue to advocate as it has done for almost 90 years.  So here’s a short session of “What If”. 

With a little imagination:  Could people who know and use blindness techniques well help (as volunteers, perhaps under guidance of a rehabilitation teacher) folks in their local communities learn the skills they need?  Could there be local classes, similar to Kan-SAIL’s outreach workshops, to teach blindness skills? 

I think “proactive” means to take action before a situation becomes critical, and I think the situation for blind and low-vision Kansans has already become critical.  So could we develop an action plan and see if we can find a way to make it work? 

And I think to be persistent means to keep trying.  You know, “if at first you don’t succeed …” 

How can we get out of or improve this situation when we feel so lost?  Twelve of us are on the KABVI Board of Directors.  There are, however, many more of you across the state with creative minds.  PLEASE brainstorm with us.  One idea leads to others, and you never know where your idea might take us. 

We do a lot of talking … and some doing.  We need to find additional ways to continue talking and we need to start doing more … as individuals as well as an organization.  What do you think KABVI could do to make the situation for visually impaired and blind Kansans better in today’s tough world?  Use the contact information at the front of the newsletter to share your thoughts. 


Voice of Our Youth

By Nancy Johnson, Editor


      The plan is for this column to appear regularly in KABVI NEWS to present information from young visually impaired and blind people, their parents and teachers, sharing whatever they want to tell us.  This column is intended to share submissions from others … not to be written by the editor, who will simply compile and edit what is received.  It won’t work if we don’t hear from young people, parents, and teachers.

We believe young people are the future of KABVI, and KABVI has something to offer young people.  KABVI offers Information, advocacy and self-advocacy training, role models, hope for parents, opportunities for interaction with blind adults, resources, peer support, accessible activities, and (we hope) fun.  The goal of the youth activities committee is to help youth and parents realize they are not alone by bringing them together with one another and with adult role models to share resources and activities. 

KABVI is a small organization of volunteers with limited financial resources, necessitating small beginnings.  We hope to provide age-appropriate activities specifically for youth and others geared to parents.  We’d like to have 10 participants in the first year’s program.  Activities for parents and teachers will be planned concurrently or will be family oriented. 

This year’s convention (October 16-18) Friday, launches KABVI’s new efforts.  Plans include a program specifically for youth.  Ray Campbell from the American Council of the Blind will discuss experiences from his youth such as how he met his wife, some of his pleasant or unpleasant experiences, school years, etc.  Exhibiters have been asked to bring items of interest to young people, including small children.  We plan to have a table-top model of a roundabout intersection with tactile labels.  Teachers of the Visually Impaired will have a table full of ideas we think both parents and young people will find fascinating.  Below is the program, which will be held at Kansas Neurological Institute, Wheatland Building, 3107 SW 21st St. in Topeka. 

10:00     Ice-breakers
10:30     Panel Discussion – “What Are Your Moves?” –

Mobility choices

11:30     “Rap” – Group discussion of panel
12:00     Lunch
1:00     Speaker – Ray Campbell – “Can Dreams Come


1:30      Exhibits

2:30      Back to School!

Friday evening will feature “Pizza on Ice”, at the. Clubhouse Inn, 924 SW Henderson Rd, Topeka.  Everyone is welcome for the annual meeting followed by the awards banquet on Saturday.  Watch for more information in your convention packet, which should reach you soon.  You can also contact KABVI’s corporate office or Nancy Johnson, supermom1941@sbcglobal.net (785) 234-8449 for additional information.  Young people, parents and teachers can use this same contact information to submit items or questions To KABVI NEWS. 

Kansas School for the Blind Closure Hearings Conducted

By Michael Byington


On June 22, 2009, Hearings were conducted by the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission concerning whether the Kansas State School for the blind should be closed.  The location was the State Capitol in Topeka.

An impressive plethora of former students of the school appeared before the Commission to give oral testimony in favor of the School remaining open and operational.  Most submitted written testimony as well, and a few more former students submitted written testimony only.  Former students who testified included, but were not limited to: Doug Biggins, Douglas Davis, Mikel McCary, Genevieve Schreiner, Ann Byington, Susie Stanzel, Katie Kinsey, and Katherine Dawson.  Additionally, a number of professionals in special education and rehabilitation services appeared or submitted written testimony in support of the School.  No one appeared supporting closure.

Michael Byington delivered KABVI’s official testimony.  We are proud to note, however, that all but one of the former students who testified in support of the School are KABVI members or have expressed support in some significant way for KABVI, its views, positions, and activities.

The overwhelming support certainly does not insure the School’s continuation.  The Commission was developed as a cost cutting measure, and was given the direction to look at how costly institutional programs can be combined, realigned, or shut down with their services, or equally relevant services, continuing to be provided.

The Commission’s Chair, Rochelle Chronister, stated that in addition to considering closure of the State School, combining the State School for the Blind with the Kansas School for the Deaf would be seriously considered.  A number of deaf consumers were also at the hearings as supports of the Kansas School for the Deaf are also tracking the Commissions activities.  All of the former students of the School for the Blind spoke against combining the two schools, and in conversation with the deaf consumers present, it was made clear to us that this population is not supporting the combining of the schools either.  Both a vast majority of people who are deaf and of people who are blind, in Kansas have come forward supporting continued separate operation of the two schools.

As an addendum to KABVI’s testimony, Michael Byington referred the Commission to the findings of an interim study that was done concerning combining the two schools in the mid 1990s.  Byington said that the findings at that time were that combining of the two schools is not supported by the vast majority of either consumer interest groups of the deaf or the Blind.  Additionally, that interim study group concluded that there would be no real cost savings in combining the two schools, but that educational quality could decrease for both populations, Statewide, and not just for those students at the schools, if the programs were to be combined.  This is because, both schools, and particularly the School for the Blind, provides so much technical assistance and outreach to assist with the education of all sensory impaired children within Kansas.

The Commission will continue to do its work for the remainder of 2009.  In December of this year, it is required to submit a report to the Kansas Legislature with recommendations as to what programs should be closed or realigned with other programs.

The Commission will also be reviewing the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in late July. A report on this hearing will be provided in the next “KABVI News.”


Scholarships Awarded

By Bob Chaffin, Scholarship Chair


KABVI has awarded two $1,000 scholarships to help defray some of the expense of attending college.  Three applications were received, two from previous recipients and one from a student just entering college.  After reviewing the applications and qualifications, awards were made to Sarah Peterson and Brenna Koch.  Sarah plans to pursue a degree at Bethany College that will lead to a career as Teacher of the Visually Impaired.  Brenna is pursuing a degree in Business at Washburn University that will allow her to work in some firm or possibly start her own business.  They have been invited to join us at the annual convention banquet to share some of their experiences.  


Report from the Board of Directors

by Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary


      The Board of Directors of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI) met August 1, 2009 at the corporate office.  Present were7 directors.  Two attended using Skype.  Three directors were absent.  One guest was present. 

      Fifty six golfers participated in the Eyes Wide Open golf tournament held July 20.  The receipts had not been finalized, but $1018 was believed to be a close estimate. 

      The Social Security advocacy cases with which Michael Byington has assisted and for which KABVI’s office and equipment have been used are beginning to produce some minimal income. 

      Low-tech items continue to be received and requests for them filled. 

      The grant application to Envision was submitted by the July deadline.  The total requested was $4500.  Included in this was $3000 for technical consultation, $500 for speech software, $500 for shipment of equipment, and $500 for parts.  KABVI usually receives about half of what is requested.

      KABVI receives a number of calls each month requiring information and referral services.  There apparently continues to be confusion between the names of Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KSBVI) and Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI).  Several callers have been referred to KSBVI and to rehabilitation teachers across the state. 

      Final recommendations of the Facilities Closure Commission are not in; but one option under consideration is collocation of the Kansas State School for the Blind and the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind on one campus.  Envision suggested that they take over all the services.  However, the Department of Education does not allow non-education entities to operate educational facilities.  Another Closure Commission Meeting is scheduled for August 18.

      Congratulations are due Sarah Peterson, who was awarded a scholarship from The American Council of the Blind’s (ACB) Concerned Citizens with Low Vision group. 

      Much still needs to be done by the technology committee to get the Technology project up and running.  Mikel McCary introduced Jeff Eason, a volunteer with computer expertise, who is willing to help with several items, particularly organization and repair of equipment on hand.

      A task force has been appointed to help the Library cope with changes occurring with the transition from cassette to digital Talking Books.  Not as many books will be sent as a result of this transition.  More books will be downloadable. 

      Blind persons’ abilities to parent or to provide child care have apparently again come into question.  KABVI again needs to watch this situation.

      KABVI’s web site has had 1748 hits since May 1.  This is an increase from 6 to 19 hits per day since the site became www.kabvi.com.  A scrolling marquee has been added to the site. 

      Sarah Peterson and Brenna Koch will be awarded the 2 KABVI scholarships.  Attempts will be made to contact the winners for information for the winter newsletter.  Scholarship account funds are becoming depleted.  Funds need to be raised to assure continuation of the program. 

      Quiet car legislation, S295 was introduced.  It requires that a task force be organized to develop standards.  The bills at the national level are SB734 and HR841. 

      No recent updates have been received by the membership committee.  If you move or change your e-mail address, please be sure to notify us so we can keep your newsletter and other information coming to you without interruption.

      Efforts continue to try to improve the quality of the braille newsletter.  Concern was expressed that information is sometimes repeated in more than one article.  Consensus was that this is acceptable because there are usually different perspectives involved.  .  If readers wish to see changes, they should contact Nancy Johnson.

      Convention dates are October 16 through 18.  Clubhouse Inn neglected to put KABVI on their books for the Friday youth activities, which will be held at the Wheatland Building at KNI.  Friday evening through Sunday morning will be at the Clubhouse Inn.  A caterer is yet to be contacted.  Watch your mail for final details!

      The Dinner in the Dark project has slowed because the committee’s chair moved out of state.

      Skype might not be the answer to involving interested persons throughout the state.  The possibility of some type of “Office Hours” conference plan in which members could call to discuss their concerns and ideas was suggested.

      The next regional ACB leadership training will be held either in Chicago or St. Louis.  The President’s meeting this year focused on schools for the blind. 

      The next Board of Directors meeting will be held at the Clubhouse Inn in Topeka on Sunday, October 18, following the convention activities.


Paws Up:  All-Pet Airline Hits Skies

Excerpted from the Associated Press

Contributed by Bill Lewis


NEW YORK (AP) -- One trip for their Jack Russell terrier in a plane's cargo hold was enough to convince Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel that owners needed a better option to get their pets from one city to another.  On Tuesday, the first flight for the husband-and-wife team's Pet Airways, the first-ever all-pet airline, took off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York.

All commercial airlines allow a limited number of small pets to fly in the cabin.  Others must travel as checked bags or in the cargo hold -- a dark and sometimes dangerous place where temperatures can vary wildly.

Binder and Wiesel used their consulting backgrounds and business savvy to start Pet Airways in 2005.  The last four years have been spent designing their fleet of five planes according to new four-legged requirements, dealing with FAA regulations, and setting up airport schedules.

The two say they're overwhelmed with the response. Flights on Pet Airways are already booked up for the next two months.

Pet Airways will fly a pet between five major cities -- New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles. The $250 one-way fare is comparable to pet fees at the largest U.S. airlines.

For owners the big difference is service.  Dogs and cats will fly in the main cabin of a Suburban Air Freight plane, retooled and lined with carriers in place of seats. Pets (about 50 on each flight) will be escorted to the plane by attendants that will check on the animals every 15 minutes during flight.  The pets are also given pre-boarding walks and bathroom breaks.  And at each of the five airports it serves, the company has created a ''Pet Lounge'' for future fliers to wait and sniff before flights.

The company will operate out of smaller, regional airports in the five launch cities, which will mean an extra trip for most owners dropping off their pets if they are flying too. Stops in cities along the way means the pets will take longer to reach a destination than their owners.

A trip from New York to Los Angeles, for example, will take about 24 hours.  On that route, pets will stop in Chicago; have a bathroom break, play time, dinner, and bunk for the night before finishing the trip the next day.

The company, which will begin with one flight in each of its five cities, is looking to add more flights and cities soon.  In the next three years, Binder hopes to fly to 25 locations.



By Nancy Johnson


      It was laundry day in winter.  (I hated laundry day!)  We lived in a third floor apartment with no elevator, and the Laundromat was nearly a mile away.  We had to carry the baskets of dirty laundry to the Laundromat on foot … no car because we were both blind.  We couldn’t afford a taxi, and there were no buses.

      My husband Don, who’d grown up in that town, happened to think about a shortcut we could use that would take us between houses and past the utility pole storage yard.  It saved us about a block and we didn’t have to walk along a main thoroughfare.  It was an easy route … In daylight. 

      By the time we finished drying and folding the clothes, it was pitch dark outside and the Laundromat was brightly lighted inside.  We started home, somehow became disoriented, and wandered in among the utility poles.  The pole storage yard was a maze.  Several varieties of poles were stored within.  Each variety had its own little fence around it, and the entire yard was surrounded by a perimeter fence.  We would go through an opening only to (literally) stumble on a pile of poles.

      After a while this became frustrating.  The harder we tried to get out, the “loster” we became!  Fortunately, Don and I were both blessed with a sense of humor.  Eventually we got past being frustrated and we began to see the funny side of our predicament. 

      Imagine it … two people, each with a basket of clean, folded laundry, marching around stacks of utility poles in a maze in the dark of night.  We began to laugh … harder and harder.  Then we began to sing “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush” as we laughed and marched.  Next we began to wonder how we would convince the friendly neighborhood policeman that we were blind … not blind drunk.  It got colder and then began to snow.  (Now, add the snow to your picture.)  We laughed and sang and marched until … finally (seemed a long time) I found I’d stumbled out through the correct opening in the fence and was free.  We got the clothes home before the snow got them too wet.  Did that cup of hot chocolate taste great when I finally got it made! 

      That night strengthened my belief that you can succeed if you don’t panic or give up and if you “keep on smiling”. 


Tantalizing Tidbits

Compiled by Nancy Johnson


Cell phone numbers go public next month:  You can register your land lines too.  Whatever number you are registering, you must be using a phone with that number.  All cell phone numbers are being released to
telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.  You will be charged for these calls! 
Even if the message is saved on your phone, you will be charged for the minutes to listen to it.

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222.  It is the National DO NOT CALL list.  It will only take a minute of your time.  It blocks your number for five (5) years.  You must call
from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number.

Survey Needs Participants:  Washington University in St. Louis is teaming up with the Region 7 Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center to work together on a study of people with disabilities who are successfully employed. 

We are asking that you share this opportunity with anyone you know who has a disability (mobility and/or sensory), who has been at their current full or part-time job for the last 2 years, and who is working in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa or Nebraska.  We ask participants to fill out our web-based survey and share the experience of finding and holding a job as an individual with a disability (we can assist any participant who does not have access to a computer or prefers completing the survey via telephone).   After the survey is completed, we may offer the participant the option of participating in a videotaped interview provided that both employee and employer agree to share more information.  All participants will be reimbursed for their time and effort.   

We hope this study will provide information on what task modifications, assistive technologies, personal assistance, built environmental features, and/or worksite accommodations help individuals with disabilities to be successful employees.  The information gathered will not reflect back on the accessibility or receptivity of their company in any way.

To learn more and to participate, visit www.communitychange.info  and click on the link for the “Employment Project”.  For questions, please contact Meghan Gottlieb, MSW, Research Patient Coordinator,

Washington University Program in Occupational Therapy,

314-286-1675 at gottliebm@wusm.wustl.edu or at 314-286-1675.  We appreciate your help in making this study possible. When the study is completed, we will offer you a copy of the findings.

      Curing Brain Freeze:  Slurpees, margaritas, ice cream – they can hurt so good.  No one really knows why, but scientists think that stabbed-in-the-forehead feeling occurs when the temperature of your palate doesn’t have time to normalize between spoonfuls of flavored ice.  The capillaries in the roof of your mouth dilate rapidly, filling with warmth-inducing blood, and that sudden expansion could trigger nerves at the back of your palate to fire off urgent messages to your brain.  In response, blood vessels in your forehead swell in a pattern that resembles a migraine … although brain freeze lasts less than a minute.  To cure cranium chill, says Mark W. Green, Director of Headache Medicine at Columbia University, press the tongue against the palate to thaw it quickly, or breathe into your hands to heat your mouth.  (From Wired, 2008, reprinted in The Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind, August, 2009)   

Think about it:  “Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision”. - Stevie Wonder, 1950 - American Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Producer 


Chapter Chatter

Compiled by Nancy Johnson


       Independence Day has just passed.  Summer is here.  Support group members have been given a break from

meetings for the summer.  Most groups will resume activities in September.  We hope you’re enjoying some time for relaxation … maybe even a vacation trip to somewhere! 

      TABVI, Topeka Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, members shared a potluck evening in May and were entertained with the live music of Tom and Theresa Eck in June.  The group will not meet in July and August to give members time for vacations.  They were reminded that testimony before the Closure Commission regarding the Kansas State School for the Blind and the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired would soon be needed and written testimony would also be appreciated. 

      CKAVI Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired, held the kick-off meeting to plan their annual sale and private auction fund raiser. 

      NKAVI, Northwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired, learned about services to low vision and blind students in Kansas from Dr. Kendall Krug.  They learned 923 students are legally blind or have low vision.  Of these, 70 attend the Kansas State School for the Blind where they receive academic, life skills, and sports training.  Additionally, the school offers summer programs and outreach services. 


In Memoriam

Compiled by Nancy Johnson


      I can recall no time when I’ve had no names to include in this column.  That’s the case this time, however.  I hope I haven’t missed someone.

      I count on you readers, individually or through your newsletters, to let me know of the death of a member or someone special to the blindness community.  If I’ve missed someone, please send me their information so I can correct my error.  And, if you hear of a death, please send the information along.  Don’t assume that someone else will do it. 


2009 KABVI Membership Application


____ I am enclosing $10.00 for my 2009 KABVI dues.














Are you: 


_____Legally blind _____Visually impaired 


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


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in the amount of $______.___.


SEND this form and your enclosed check to:

Robert Chaffin, Treasurer

1105 Centennial Blvd.

Hays, Kansas  67601.