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                winter, 2009                        No. 4




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

Convention Review, By Nancy Johnson, Recording


Proclamation – By the President of the United States of


Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually

Impaired Likely to Close, By Michael Byington

Summary of 2009 Resolutions, By Nancy Johnson

Kansas State School for the Blind Likely to Remain Open,

      By Michael Byington

Report from the Board of Directors, By Nancy Johnson,

      Recording Secretary

Reminiscing, By Joanne Hackerott, KABVI Life Member

Eleanor A. Wilson Award Presented, From Kathy Dawson

The Seed, By Nancy Johnson, Editor

First Impressions, Letter to the Editor

Extra Step Award Presented, By Joanne Martin

Cat Congress Mired in Sunbeam, from The Onion

Tantalizing Tidbits, Compiled by Nancy Johnson

Chapter Chatter, Compiled By Nancy Johnson

In Memoriam

2010 KABVI Directors

2010 Membership Application


Convention Review

By Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary

To all KABVI NEWS readers, before I forget, I wish every one of you and yours a healthful and happy holiday season.  There isn’t much “fun reading” this time, so I hope you’ll enjoy peeking in at the Cat Congress.

      President Ann Byington didn’t write an article this time because resolutions and the board report cover most of what’s been going on.  Changes are in the works, though, and all members need to be aware.  I’ve tried,   to summarize the reports given at the annual meeting.  This article, therefore combines both the usual “What’s Happening” and Notions” columns.

      Three representatives of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) – Secretary Don Jordan, Director of Rehabilitation Services Michael Donnelly, and Administrator of Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired Dennis Rogers – explained the plan to close the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  (See “Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Likely to Close”, By Michael Byington.

      Brenda Bryant, Director of Development at Audio-Reader, explained that, while the situation is difficult, radio reading services are working together to keep services coming.  Kansas Audio-Reader volunteers help by reading for some other services.

      Steve Stambaugh, Vice president of Vision Rehabilitation Services, Envision, discussed available programs through that agency.  He emphasized their programs with youth. 

      Judy Sifers, CEO of KSDS explained how highway widening in Washington, Kansas, has affected their dog guide training.  They have had to develop some new routes.  It is inconvenient, but they’re working through it.

      For a summary of the situation with the School for the Blind, discussed by Sue Gamble, Research coordinator, at KSSB, read “Kansas State School for the Blind Likely to Remain Open”, By Michael Byington -

      Ray Campbell, Assistive Technology Help Desk Technician at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, encouraged everyone looking for employment to become a savvy user of technology.  Technology includes not only computers but low vision aids and the slate and stylus.  Technology must be integrated with the other skills and techniques of blindness and low vision so an individual is maximally employable.

       Toni Harrell, Director, State Library of Kansas, Talking Book Services, explained changes taking place in the Talking Books Program.  The Horizon Task Force has been established to reorganize the Talking Books Program.  Digital machines are becoming available.  Veterans will receive them first, next centenarians, and then the rest of us.  Magazines will remain on cassettes for a while, so magazine readers need to keep their machines.

      The remainder of KABVI NEWS summarizes the organization’s business.  We have entered an era of change and need the input and involvement of ALL members and other interested individuals.  We urge everyone to become actively involved to insure that Kansans experiencing low vision or blindness in the future will be able to receive the training they need.



National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2009

By Barack Obama,

the President of the United States of America

Fair access to employment is a fundamental right of every American, including the 54 million people in this country living with disabilities.  A job can provide

financial stability, helpmaximize our potential, and allow us to achieve our dreams.  As Americans, we possess a range of vocational opportunities to make the most of our talents and succeed in a chosen career; those with disabilities are entitled to the same opportunities.

During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves to implementing effective policies andpractices that increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  In the past half-century, we have made great strides toward providing equal employment opportunities in America, but much work remains to be done.  As part of that continuing effort, we must seek to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  Only then can Americans with disabilities achieve full participation in the workforce and reach the height of their ambition.  My Administration is committed to promoting positive change for every American, including those with disabilities.  The Federal Government and its contractors can lead the way by implementing effective employment policies and practices that increase opportunities and help workers achieve their full potential.  Across this country, millions of people with disabilities are working or want to work.  We must ensure they have access to the support and services they need to succeed.  Recognizing the need for equal employment opportunities, we must also strengthen and expand the educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act substantially increased funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and provided more than $500 million for vocational rehabilitation services, including job training, education, and placement.  If we are to

build a world free from unnecessary barriers, stereotypes, and discrimination, we must ensure that every American receives aneducation that prepares him or her for future success.  Each day, Americans with disabilities play a critical role in forging and shaping the identity of our Nation. Their contributions touch us all through personal experience or through that of a family member, neighbor, friend, or colleague.  We grow stronger as a Nation when Americans feel the dignity conferred by having the ability to support themselves and their families through productive work. This month, we rededicate ourselves to fostering an inclusive work culture that welcomes the skills and talents of all qualified employees.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of theUnited States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the

United States, do hereby proclaim October 2009, as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to celebrate the contributions of individuals with disabilities to our workplaces and communities, and to promote the employment of individuals with disabilities to create a better, more inclusive America, one in which every person is rightly recognized for his or her abilities and accomplishments.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the

United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.  BARACK OBAMA


"I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do something I can do."  - Edward Everett Hale


Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Likely to Close

By Michael Byington

The Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission has voted to recommend to Governor Parkinson that the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KRCBVI) be closed.  This recommendation will go to Governor Parkinson in December of this year, and he is expected to include it in an Executive Re-organization Order (ERO) which he will introduce to the Legislature in January of 2010. Actual closure will probably take place some time in 2010.

The Commission sighted high cost per client served and a declining census as reasons for the facility’s closure.

KABVI appeared before the Closure Commission to oppose this closure.  We pointed out that, had the funding streams going to the KRCBVI not been narrowed so that the facility has recently only been available to serve people who are blind and who have well developed vocational goals, and instead been allowed to continue to serve such populations as older blind, blind family caregivers who do not have vocational goals outside of the home, and graduating high school students who are blind and who are exploring education and career options,  in addition to the population of blind Kansans that have vocational goals, the facility would not have experienced underutilization, and the cost per client would lower. While these errors on the part of the State administration were acknowledged by many of the Closure Commission members, the Commission members did not feel that the effects of the bad decisions could be undone given our current economy.  The decision was thus made to recommend closure.

The Closure Commission did acknowledge that the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has failed to maintain and support mechanisms for cogent consumer and community provider input. The Commission thus added to its closure recommendation a further recommendation that provisions for strong consumer and community provider input on the part of, and on behalf of, blind citizens and community providers to those citizens be codified in Statutes by the Kansas Legislature.  This legislation would be similar to that which authorizes the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  The recommendation was that such legislation be introduced in the Governor’s 2010 legislative package.  KABVI has agreed to provide a rough draft of this legislation to the office of the Kansas Reviser of Statutes.

Although KABVI has opposed the closure of the KRCBVI, the recommendation for legislatively codified mechanisms for blind consumer and community provider input is consistent with Resolution 09-03 adopted at KABVI’s 2009 convention.  


“He who is content with what has been done is an obstacle in the path of progress.”  - Helen Keller (1927)

Summary of 2009 KABVI Resolutions

By Nancy Johnson

Resolution 09-01:  Downturns in the Kansas economy suggest that programs of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) may require across the board cuts of 10% to 15%.  Three of the eight Rehabilitation Teacher positions in Kansas are currently vacant, and no move is being made to fill them.  SRS has recently announced plans to lay off at least two more rehabilitation teachers for the blind.  These actions constitute roughly a 63% cut in the Kansas Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind program.  SRS has released a document titled, “Community Based Alternatives to Continued Operation of the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired”, which proposes to close that facility and replace its staff with a five member Statewide Technical Assistance Cadre, thus also constituting roughly a 63% cut in professionals available through the State of Kansas to serve blind and visually impaired persons.  The Kansas Seniors Achieving Independent Living (Kan-SAIL) program is supposed to be comprised of five staff and currently has only two, with no efforts being made to fill these positions, thus constituting a 60% cut in available services.  Cuts in blind services programming at 60% and above are quite clearly disproportionate to cuts in other SRS programming.

It is therefore resolved that this Organization expresses its utter disgust at the disproportionate proposed cuts in specialist personnel to serve blind and visually impaired Kansans; and thus directs its Officers, Directors, and Legislative Committee to rigorously endeavor to call to the attention of the Kansas Legislature, the manner in which SRS is abusing blind and visually impaired Kansans through disproportionate service cuts.  It is further resolved that this Organization directs its Officers, Directors and Legislative Committee to work with the Kansas Legislature to ameliorate the abusive actions toward blind and visually impaired Kansans on the part of SRS.  Additionally, this Organization acknowledges that it is unlikely that it will be successful in completely correcting the counterproductive actions on the part of SRS, and that it thus directs its Officers, Directors and Legislative Committee to take all actions necessary to work with community based programs in the private sector to increase specialist service expertise and capacities to work with blind and visually impaired Kansans, and to work with the Kansas Legislature to insure that all monies that have previously been expended to serve blind and visually impaired Kansans through SRS specialist staff and facilities, continue to be allocated categorically to serve blind and visually impaired Kansans, with cuts no greater than are experienced by other service populations, and with services provided through more willing entities who are committed to maintaining specialized and categorical services.   

      Resolution 09-02:  One of the facilities under the review of the Kansas Facilities Closure and Re-Alignment Commission is the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KRCBVI).  Don Jordan, Secretary, Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS), who serves on the Closure Commission as an ex officio member, has repeatedly told the commission that “We have to do something different with the KRCBVI because it is costing too much money for the number of people it serves.”  Michael Donnelly, Director, Kansas Rehabilitation Services, has transmitted to the Closure Commission a document titled, “Community Based Alternatives to Continued Operation of the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired,” which proposes closing the facility and replacing it with a five member Technical Assistance Cadre.  When the KRCBVI was opened in 1949, it served older, newly blinded adults who were needing to acquire skills of blindness or low vision in order to continue to live independently in their homes; blind youth who were transitioning from school age to adult services and deciding what vocation they wish to pursue as adults; newly blinded homemakers who needed to acquire the skills of blindness or low vision in order to continue to raise children and/or take care of a family; and blind individuals who were actively seeking vocational training and employment.  Funding for the KRCBVI came from a number of differing human services funding sources, thus allowing all of these populations to be served.  Of all of the funding sources used for the KRCBVI, the funding for serving blind individuals who are actively seeking vocational training and employment contained, and continues to contain, the highest percentage of federal funding as opposed to State tax dollars.  Because of the greater percentage of federal dollars, funding for serving individuals who are actively seeking vocational training and employment is the only funding source currently covering costs at the KRCBVI, with all other funding sources having been slowly and quietly re-directed over many years of operation of the KRCBVI.  The other populations who used to be served through the KRCBVI continue to need services, but now are not allowed to participate in the program.  Because many of the costs of a residential facility are fixed cost regardless of the number of individuals being served at any given time, the reductions in numbers of persons who can be served by the KRCBVI have caused the cost of services per client to escalate unacceptably, thus causing Secretary Jordan and Director Donnelly to recommend program closure.  KABVI has previously recommended that funding for the KRCBVI needs to be diversified so that the entire population of blind and visually impaired Kansans needing the program’s services can be served.  SRS leadership has ignored this recommendation, and can not seem to understand that cost per client served has risen so exponentially at the KRCBVI because about three quarters of the Kansans needing the services are no longer allowed to receive them. 

It is therefore resolved that KABVI again urges SRS to diversify funding at the KRCBVI instead of closing the facility, so that all of the populations who need the services of the facility may receive them;  This Organization directs its Officers, Directors, and Legislative Committee to make efforts to convey to the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission, and to the Kansas legislature, that the cost per client served at the KRCBVI will go down exponentially if the populations of blind and visually impaired Kansans that the facility was created to serve, are again eligible for service in total.

      Resolution 09-03:  Michael Donnelly, Director, Kansas Rehabilitation Services, has transmitted to the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission a document titled, “Community Based Alternatives to Continued Operation of the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired”.  That document proposes to replace all services and staff available through the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KRCBVI) with a five person Technical Assistance Cadre; with a patchwork of community providers, many of which do not currently have any specialized qualifications in working with blind and visually impaired Kansans; and with increased activities of SRS Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind program.  Ironically, the Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind program currently has only five of its eight positions filled, and SRS has recently announced plans to lay off at least two additional Rehabilitation Teachers rather than to fill the currently vacant positions.  Director Donnelly’s plan is completely inadequate to meet the needs of blind Kansans.

      It is therefore resolved that, if the KRCBVI is closed, over KABVI objections, and/or if the Technical Assistance Cadre plan is implemented, KABVI identifies the need for at least the following additions to the Technical Assistance Cadre plan:

·        The current plan contains no emphasis on Braille or low vision literacy. Experts in these fields need to be a part of the Cadre.

·        There is no mechanism for systematic and strong consumer control and input, a structure similar to the role that the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing plays in terms of the relationship between deaf Kansans and State Government, needs to be added to the Cadre plan in order to offer blind and visually impaired Kansans similar controls and input to those enjoyed by Kansans who are deaf or hard of hearing.

·        All Rehabilitation Teacher for the Blind positions need to be filled, lay off notices for this class of professionals need to be rescinded, or other mechanisms need to be in place to insure that the specialized services provided by these practitioners are available on a Statewide basis.  

KABVI directs its officers, Directors, and Legislative Committee to work with the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission, the office of the Governor, and the Kansas Legislature to implement the provisions of this resolution.

      Resolution 09-04:  Envision has, for several years, sought to assume management and administration of the Kan-SAIL Program.  KABVI, in 2008, voted to support a private vendor operating Kan-SAIL due to the apparent unwillingness of SRS to fill the Kan-SAIL positions and operate the program efficiently and effectively, even though the program is roughly 90 % federally funded.  Nothing has occurred over the past year to change KABVI’s view that SRS has continued to fail to fill Kan-SAIL positions or operate the program in a pro-active and efficient manner.  Envision has also expressed interest in working in some other areas of services to people who are blind and low vision where the State appears to be abdicating its responsibilities.

KABVI commends Envision for its willingness to expand programming to serve blind and visually impaired Kansans while the State of Kansas, by contrast, is showing less and less interest in directly operating categorical programming to serve these populations.  It is resolved; however, that KABVI suggests to Envision that the following program development steps should be planned, and implemented as the State of Kansas continues to divest itself of various services:

·        Envision needs to prepare for, and stress its abilities with the Kansas Legislature, to operate Kan-SAIL as a program Statewide.

·        Envision provides more good jobs for blind Kansans than any other employer, but needs to increase its capabilities as well in job placement for blind and visually impaired Kansans in jobs outside of Envision’s structure.

·        If it becomes absolutely clear that the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is closing, Envision needs to develop more residential housing capabilities to house persons who may come to Envision from throughout Kansas to study the skills of blindness and/or visual impairment;

It is further resolved that KABVI continues to offer Envision assistance, support, and positive consultation as it increases its blindness and visual impairment rehabilitation capacities, but also expects to be asked to offer substantial consumer input as Envision continues to become a more and more major player in visual impairment and blindness rehabilitation.     

      Resolution 09-05:  The Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission has considered  closing the Kansas School for the Blind, combining this educational facility with the Kansas School for the Deaf, or making other modifications in facility based educational programming for Kansans who are blind, or who are deaf.  At this point in the proceedings of this Commission, it appears that the Kansas School for the Blind will not be closed.  Additionally, at this juncture in the proceedings of the Commission, it appears that the campuses for the two schools will not be combined, and that educational programming will in no way be combined, but that there will be some combining of administrative functions, such as ordering food for the facilities, supervising security, handling payroll and personnel management, etc.  It also appears that the Commission may recommend that only one Superintendent supervise and maintain administrative charge of both schools. 

      It is therefore resolved that this Organization strongly takes the position that expertise is needed respectively in blindness, and in deafness to head these two schools, and that if Superintendent positions are combined due to the State’s current economic downturn, this should only occur for a limited time, after which, the practice should be reviewed with the view that it continues to be a best practice of categorical special education to have the person in charge of blindness educational programming be an expert in the field of blindness education, and the person in charge of deafness educational programming be an expert in the field of deafness education.  It is further resolved that this Organization commends the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission for maintaining separate, categorical approaches in providing educational services for blind Kansas Children and deaf Kansas children.   

      Resolution 09-06:  The number of blind, visually impaired, and otherwise disabled Kansans receiving talking books services has reduced over the past two years by about 1100 patrons.  Given the demographics of blindness, and increases in macular degeneration and other age related diseases that reduce vision, it is clear that numbers of patrons should instead be on the rise.  The clear abandonment of responsibilities for providing services to blind Kansans, and particularly older blind individuals, and blind persons who do not have vocational aspirations, by SRS, suggests that the State Library can in no way count on support of SRS to engage in outreach for, or promote, talking books and other library services for disabled Kansans.  The conversion to digital media is causing major revisions in the manner in which talking books services for the blind, visually impaired, and physically disabled will be delivered.  The Kansas State Library has convened “The Horizons Task Force”, to plan for changes in the delivery of library services for blind, visually impaired, and physically disabled Kansans in light of these looming changes.  There is consumer representation on the Horizons Task Force including, Ann Byington, President of KABVI and Paul Berscheidt of the State Library Talking Books Advisory Council. 

      It is therefore resolved that this Organization commends the Kansas State Library for its forward looking efforts in convening the Horizons Task Force;

KABVI cautions the Horizons Task Force that, while the conversion to digital media may require less storage space for books and less staff intensive functions in order to engage in the mechanics of talking books delivery, the need for talking books outreach and training continues to increase and that, in order to allow Kansas Talking Books programming to remain viable, many contemplated staff reductions must instead be refocused into outreach positions.  

      Resolution 0907:  It appears that, over the objections of KABVI, SRS will continue to fail to fill vacant positions for Rehabilitation Teachers for the Blind and will lay off at least two additional Rehabilitation Teachers for the Blind.  Rehabilitation Teachers for the Blind are the first contact for most newly blinded Kansans who need rehabilitation services.  The services of Rehabilitation Teachers for the Blind are essential to the rehabilitation of many blind Kansans.  It appears that some monies for fee for service for Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind will remain available in Kansas, even though SRS will maintain fewer Rehabilitation Teacher for the Blind positions.  Categorical expertise in blindness and low vision is essential in providing rehabilitation teaching services for the blind, and is not available through a number of agencies who might end up providing the service in areas where the State has no rehabilitation teaching for the blind personnel.

      It is therefore resolved that this Organization authorizes its Officers and Directors to review and explore vendor agreement provisions with the State of Kansas and, if feasible, to provide such office space and supports as may be financially feasible in order for KABVI to make rehabilitation teaching services available on a fee-for-service basis.  It is further resolved that if KABVI provides such services, it shall offer preference to former Rehabilitation Teachers for the Blind in providing the services and, in any and all cases, shall use providers who have categorical expertise in blindness and low vision. KABVI shall endeavor to build such supports as travel, equipment, and driver services into any fee for service agreement negotiated with funding providers.  A report and update concerning the substance of this resolution shall be made by KABVI staff to the 2010 KABVI Convention.


Kansas State School for the Blind Likely to Remain Open

By Michael Byington

In the last issue of the “KABVI News” I reported on the hearings held by the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission concerning possible closure of the Kansas State School for the Blind, or the possible combining of this facility with the Kansas State School for the Deaf. At the time that the previous article was written, we did not know what the Commission would be recommending to the Governor. Now, for the most part, we do.

The Closure Commission found that the two programs need to remain programmatically separate. It also determined that combining the two schools on one campus would not be cost-effective.  The result was that the two schools will remain largely separate.

The Closure Commission found that certain administrative combining would be in the best financial interests of the State, but the educational programs will remain separate, and located on their current, separate campuses.  One of the possible administrative combining suggestions, however, remains of concern to KABVI.  Consideration is being given to having one superintendent administer both programs.

KABVI continues to take the position that deaf education programs should be administered by an expert in deaf education, and blindness and visually impaired educational programs should be administered by an expert in those fields.  We thus do not support combining of the two superintendent positions.

At this point, negotiations continue concerning the superintendent issue.  If the two positions are combined, we have urged that this be done only temporarily. We have asked that it be acknowledged that the best practice situation is to have separate blind school and deaf school superintendents, and asked that, as soon as the economy permits doing so separate positions be maintained.

On the short term, however, it would appear that Madeline Berkendine, Superintendent for the Kansas State School for the Blind will be the one to step forward and administer both schools.  The Superintendent of the Kansas School for the Deaf plans to retire soon, thus leaving Superintendent Berkendine as the last administrator standing at the moment.  


Report from the Board of Directors

By Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary

The annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI) was convened in the conference room of the Clubhouse Inn, Topeka following the annual meeting of the membership.  Nine directors and four guests were present.  

      Directors whose terms were expired were Michael Byington, Bob Chaffin, Mark Coates, and Mikel McCary.  All were re-elected by the members at the annual meeting.

      Officers elected by members of the annual meeting included:  Ann Byington, president; Mark Coates, vice president; Bob Chaffin, treasurer; Nancy Johnson, recording secretary; Michael Byington, corresponding secretary, and Mikel McCary, membership secretary.  Officers were ratified by the Board of Directors.

      Mark Coates was appointed to chair the legislative committee.  Members include Michael Byington, Beulah Carrington, Terese Goren, Ron Kaplanis, Marilyn Lind, Katie Kincy, and Henry Staub.  Everyone interested in the future of services to Kansans with blindness and low vision is encouraged to become involved.

      The 2010 convention is being planned for Wichita.   Envision has offered the use of their facility.  Their conference room charge would be $200, including shuttle service to and from the convention hotel.  Dates will be established.  On the arrangements committee will be Mikel McCary, Michael Byington, Nancy Johnson, Joyce Lewis, and Terese Goren.  The April board meeting is planned for Wichita, with the board touring Envision’s facility.  Mark Coattes, Ann Byington, Joyce Lewis, and Nancy Johnson will serve on the program committee. 

      Because of the information presented at the annual meeting by representatives of Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) relative to services that will continue to be available to blind Kansans other than those eligible for vocational rehabilitation, it was determined that KABVI must step up and move from its role as an advocacy only organization to enter the field as a fee for service provider for those Kansans with low vision and blindness who cannot qualify for either vocational rehabilitation or the older blind (Kan-SAIL) program.  This will require the organization to develop a fee for service structure.  The goal of such a program is to insure that Kansans of all ages and their families, wherever they are in the state, will be able to receive the categorical training that will allow them to achieve maximum self-sufficiency and employability.  A projects committee including Paul Berscheidt, Nancy Johnson, Mikel McCary, and Phyllis Schmidt, was appointed to develop projects to reach into local communities to employers, parents, and users of assistive technology with this goal in mind.   

Michael Byington, who has been working nearly full time at the KABVI office for the past month, reported that he will be returning to graduate school in January to become a certified orientation and mobility specialist (COMS) and will also be doing some part-time work for Envision.  He will continue to give time in the KABVI office.  His training will require about a year and a half.   

      A good deal of paperwork is involved with the technology recycling project with regard to the computers.  Some costs, included in the $150 donation being suggested, will be incurred for required Microsoft licenses, shipping, and demos for access software.  The MAR application has been completed and sent to Microsoft.  A waiting list for computers has been established.  An estimated $500 will be needed to complete preparations to get the project up and running.  The goal is to have the program operational within the next year.  Five hundred dollars was allocated in the 2010 budget for the technology recycling project.

      Times have changed and KABVI, in developing a fee for services program, must let go of some traditional ideas and work to insure that adequate categorical services are available throughout the state for all Kansans who need them.  This is a major paradigm shift for KABVI and requires help from the ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP.  Each and every member needs to think about what they can do to help in the local community and contact board and committee members with suggestions.  We planted some new seeds at this meeting.  We need everyone’s help to grow them into a new garden that can bloom across Kansas.



By KABVI Elder/Life Member Joanne Hackerott, Wichita

The convention which       h I attended after a few years of non-attendance triggered many happy memories of the wonderful people who have helped to further our goal/mission.  I remember our first Wilson Award recipient (1962), Wichitan Dorothy Jocelyn, who was in a wheelchair but spent countless hours brailing and taping.  She was such a sweet lady.  Through the years I have been privileged to know and work with many of the succeeding award winners.  I hope I will be privileged to become acquainted with the newest Wilson Award recipient.  Way to go, Awards Committee. 

My sincere thanks go to all who keep plugging away, and to all those who made the 2009 Convention an enjoyable and rewarding meeting.

I have been a member for about fifty years and became a Life Member in 1983.  After I attended a program given by a fellow church member, Marguerite Lee, I began volunteering at the workshop of the newly formed Wichita Braille Association and soon became a member of the Wichita Association for the Visually Handicapped (WAVH), volunteering as a driver, among other things.  I became a Braille transcriber but must admit I was too lazy to become certified.  I served as president of the Braille Association and KABVI Membership Secretary and Treasurer in the 1980’s.  I am currently embarking on a campaign to encourage more KABVI members to become Life Members. 


Eleanor A. Wilson Award Presented

From Kathy Dawson

The Eleanor A. Wilson Award was presented to Carolyn Thomason at the 2009 annual meeting/convention.  She worked with the blind of Kansas for many years and wore many hats in doing so.

Carolyn has come to the homes of many blind persons at the drop of a hat to provide assistance with computers or as a driver.  She retired from full time work several years ago, but she continues to help many blind computer users whenever asked. 

Carolyn continues to keep up with advancing computer technology and has been willing to learn more, such as downloading music and multi-media.  She is an excellent candidate for this award because she has, for many years, provided outstanding services for people who are blind and visually impaired.

Carolyn did not begin as a computer expert in assistive technology.  She grew into it. When, in the 1980s Carolyn initially got the job as media services coordinator for the Kansas Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, many blind consumers were surprised at the choice.  She had been a competent clerical person with services for the blind for a number of years, but no one thought she new much about Braille or about computers.  KABVI, in fact, initially grumbled pretty loudly about the choice of Carolyn to fill the new position.  Suzannah Erhart,  who was at that time a Supervisor within the Kansas Division of Services for the Blind, told KABVI that Carolyn was the right choice.  We were told that she was very dedicated, and that she was quite capable of learning anything she needed to know and more.  We have to acknowledge that Suzannah Erhart was right, and KABVI was wrong.  Carolyn did indeed grow quickly into the position, and then past it.

For more than 20 years, Carolyn converted documents into Braille and other accessible media, and ultimately grew to be a highly competent instructor of computer skills for people who are blind and low vision.  She retired from her position at the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in 2006.

Working with blind folks on computer, however, was not Carolyn’s only connection with people who are blind and low vision.  She married Joe Perez, another instructor at the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and visually impaired, who was himself legally blind, in the mid 1980s.

Joe was an inveterate beep baseball player and promoter, and Carolyn was pulled willingly into helping coach, catch, spot, drive, cook for, and otherwise support beep baseball in Kansas throughout her married life with Joe.  Joe passed away in 2003.

In 2006, Carolyn married Jimmy Thomason, an avid fisherman and sportsman.  While she has retired from full time work, and spends time pursuing these hobbies with Jimmy, she continues to remain frequently available to blind and visually impaired computer users to keep them on line, accessibly producing their documents, and not locked up.

Carolyn has indeed provided outstanding services for the blind and visually impaired in the best tradition of Eleanor A. Wilson.


The Seed

By Nancy Johnson, Editor

After the annual meeting, convention, and board meeting, I came home to find the following story waiting among my e-mail messages and it struck me as appropriate to the situation KABVI faces. 

      A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.  Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he called all the young executives in his company together.

      He said, “It’s time for me to step down and choose the next CEO.  I’ve decided to choose one of you.” 

      The young executives were shocked.  The boss continued.  “I’m going to give each one of you a seed today … one very special seed.  I want you to plant your seed, water it, and come back one year from today with what you’ve grown from the seed I’ve given you.  I’ll then judge the plants you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO. 

      Jim was there and he, like the others, received a seed.  He went home and excitedly told his wife the story.   She helped him get a pot, soil, and compost and he planted his seed.  Every day he watered it and watched to see if it had grown.  After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. 

      Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing grew.  Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks … still nothing.  By now others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant.  He felt like a failure.

      Six months went by … still nothing in Jim’s pot.  He was sure he had killed his seed.  Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.  Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues.  He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil. … He so wanted the seed to grow.

      A year finally went by and all the young executives brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.  Jim told his wife he wasn’t going to take an empty pot, but she asked him to be honest about what happened.  Jim felt sick to his stomach.  It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.

      Jim carried his empty pot to the board room.  He was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives.  They were beautiful … all colors, shapes and sizes!  Jim tried to hide in the back and put his empty pot on the floor.  Many of his colleagues laughed, and some felt sorry for him.  The CEO came in, surveyed the room, and greeted his young executives. 

      “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you’ve grown!” the boss exclaimed.  “Today one of you will be appointed the new CEO.” 

      Suddenly the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot.  He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front.  Jim thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure.  Maybe he’ll have me fired.” 

      When Jim got to the front of the room, the CEO asked, “What happened to your seed?”  Jim explained.

      The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim.  He looked at Jim, then at the others and announced, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!  His name is Jim. 

      Jim was stunned.  He couldn’t believe it … he couldn’t even grow his seed! 

      “How could he be the new CEO?” the others asked. 

      The CEO explained:  “One year ago I gave everyone in this room a seed.  I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today.  But I gave you boiled, dead  seeds.  it was not possible for them to grow.  All of you except Jim have brought me trees, plants, and flowers.  When you realized the seed wouldn’t grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you.  Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it.  Therefore he’s the one who’ll be the next Chief Executive Officer.”

·       To grow trust, we must plant honesty.

·       To grow friendship, we must plant goodness.

·       To grow greatness, we must plant humility.

·       To grow contentment, we must plant perseverance. 

·       To grow perspective, we must plant consideration.

·       To grow success, we must plant hard work.

·       To grow reconciliation, we must plant forgiveness.

·       To grow a beautiful garden, we must plant faith in God.

      As I listened to the Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) executives discuss their plans for the future of services for Kansans with low vision and blindness, I felt as if a beautiful, 90 year-old plant was dying.  I don’t think we can revive it, though it has served us well.  KABVI’s directors planted several new seeds at the post-convention board meeting that, with commitment, time, hard work, and care, can grow a strong new one.  With all of us working together, I believe we can succeed.


First Impressions

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

October 16 and 17, I attended my first KAVBI Convention.  I am writing to share my first impressions.

I am a 53 year old woman and received my diagnosis just three years ago.  I have a genetic disorder called pseudoxanthoma-elasticum (PXE) and my diagnosis is that I will become legally blind with this disorder.  Currently, my left eye is legally blind and I still have sight in my right eye. 

      Upon receiving this diagnosis, I set out to find what help there was for me and my family as my life was going to change and I knew that I was going to need help to maintain my lifestyle and independence.

At the convention, I met some wonderful people and was very impressed by the representation of the different services that were on display Friday afternoon.  I took away valuable information from the different speakers. 

I was also very impressed with the number in attendance UNTIL the business meeting.  What concerned me was that it was very poorly attended and the same people were voted into the same offices.  What makes an organization successful depends on the percentage of people that choose to be involved.  When it falls to the same people over and over, there is a higher risk of burnout and you don't generate new ideas.  Everyone has something to offer and I would love to see a higher degree of involvement. 

Another area that could be improved is in spreading the word.  After receiving my diagnosis, I made phone call after phone call before making contact with people that could help me, but I know that there are many in need that would never try as hard as I did to make connections.  As discouraging as it was to listen to the politicians speak, I hope that we realize that we are going to have to become more creative and look at different avenues than we have had in the past to continue servicing our people; not giving up our present fights, but like a lot of other people that are finding different ways to survive, so must we. 

I would love to see a definite focus on the young people because there is a lot of competition for their time.  I would love to see them invested in our cause. 

I would like to see emphasis placed on teaching social and educational skills that would help us to present ourselves as a blind community in a way that we would be accepted as the competent and contributing members of our community that we are.

You are a great group of people and I am so happy to have found you!


Linda B.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.  To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”  - Helen Keller (1941)


Extra Step Award Presented

By Joanne Martin, Editor, SKAVI NEWS

      The Extra Step Award was presented to Daisy Wasson of Dodge City at this year’s KABVI convention.  Daisy’s family had planned a reunion in Branson, Missouri the same week end.  A recording of the presentation ceremony and the plaque was presented to Daisy during the November SKAVI meeting. 

      The Extra Step Award is presented to a visually impaired person for unique courage and successful personal rehabilitation.  The individual shall have demonstrated initiative and ingenuity in meeting the unique challenges in life, and shall have contributed to society in an outstanding manner.

I recommend Daisy Wasson of Dodge City for the Extra Step award.  I met Daisy when she came to the church where I am a member.  I didn't know she had a visual impairment until I sat next to her at a party and saw that she could not see to read the song sheet.  I later learned more about her visual condition. 

Daisy was still in denial to some extent, but she had bought a CCTV after her doctor suggested that she should get one.  I talked to her about other aids from which she might benefit and invited her to a meeting of the Southwest Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SKAVI.  Daisy, her husband, and some friends attended a meeting to check us out.  Daisy began to see that visually impaired people can do many things and she was eager to learn more.  She had some trouble adjusting to the new phone she got from TAP, but was soon doing fine programming in new numbers.  Daisy always helps serve refreshments at the meetings and cleans up.

Daisy volunteered to help with many projects for SKAVI.  She enjoyed the first Kan-SAIL outreach she attended, was willing to try many new things, and became a Talking Book reader.

In a casual conversation I learned Daisy had helped with the nursery at the church where she had been a member.  She said she wished she could still do that.  I told her I had taught a nursery class for years and could always use help.  She agreed to try to help and has worked wonderfully with the babies for several years.

When SKAVI needed a new President, I thought of Daisy and asked her if she would serve.  She said that if I thought she could do it, she would try.  She had never conducted a meeting before, but with the help of a large-print agenda, she took on the job.  She is now serving as SKAVI’s president

I believe Daisy has adjusted to her visual impairment in an outstanding way, has taken the extra step, and is serving others in SKAVI, at church, and in her family.

Cat Congress Mired in Sunbeam

From The Onion, September 25, 2009,


WASHINGTON—The current session of the 111th Cat Congress was once again suspended Tuesday following the sudden introduction of a sunbeam onto the Senate floor, a development that has left a majority of transfixed lawmakers unable to move forward.

The ray of sunlight, which first appears in the official record at 11:30 a.m., interrupted debate over S. 391, a proposal to provide underprivileged felines with universal access to scratching posts.

"We've come up against an unforeseen circumstance, but we'll resume deliberation and voting as quickly as is reasonably possible," said majority leader and Budget Committee chaircat Sen. Creamsicle (D-ND), stretching out to his entire length and repeatedly kneading the chamber carpet. "I think I speak for most of my colleagues when I say that, while it is extremely important we continue the legislative work at hand, we must first give this warm and bright beam of light the due consideration it deserves."

"And we should, er, debate this for as long as it takes," added Creamsicle, softly swishing his tail back and forth. "Perhaps all day, if we have to."

A majority of senators seemed to agree with Creamsicle. Eighty-nine of the 100 congresscats present immediately joined the new Sunbeam Investigative Committee, and a number of subcommittees are also reported to have been created, the largest of which has been tasked with determining the value of lazily batting at rising dust motes while half-asleep.

A small minority of feline senators, however, took issue with the procedural delay. Sen. Poppy (D-DE) was especially vocal, claiming that the Senate should ignore the seemingly intractable sunbeam issue and continue with other, more pressing matters.

"This irresponsible stoppage is absolutely unacceptable," Poppy said. "Frivolous distractions like these are robbing our constituents of the soft, cozy shafts of…I mean, the reforms they so desperately need…so desperately need… I yield my remaining time."

Some legislators refused to participate in the debate altogether, most notably Sen. Ruby (R-SC), who spent several hours sitting motionless in front of the northwest wall of the Cat Capitol Building, staring unblinkingly at an unknown object.

The sunbeam marked the fourth event to suspend congressional activity this week. According to sources, other disruptions included a thunderclap on Monday that instantly adjourned proceedings; Wednesday's chaotic introduction of a laser pointer; and the discovery of a large cardboard box in the Capitol Rotunda Thursday that prompted minority whip Sen. Tiddles (R-TN) to call a recess so that he could sit inside of it.

None of these delays, however, compares to the appearance of a small sparrow outside the congressional chamber last month, which completely mesmerized House Speaker Jeffy-Boy (D-CA) and brought all government activity to a standstill for approximately 17 minutes.

Big Stripey, founder of the influential political watchdog committee, litter.com, said he isn't surprised by the latest sunbeam debacle, claiming that years of corruption and mating scandals have shown just how ineffectual the current Cat Congress really is.

"Our lawmakers were elected to serve the common cat, not their own self-interests," Big Stripey said. "With over 6 percent of the population stray, millions more going hungry or only getting dry food, and the dogs next door developing a very real litter of puppies, we need action now for the sake of our kittens and our kittens' kittens."

"We're not paying these idiots to sit around and lick each other all day," Big Stripey added.

Many congressional insiders refuted accusations of indolence, saying that the rigorous schedule of cat legislators entitles them to periodic breaks in addition to their 18 scheduled hours of sleep per day.

"Our Founding Toms understood that certain provisions must be made in the interest of the public good," congressional spokescat Georgina said. "Democracy is not always so cut and dried. Sunbeams are going to happen. Vacuum cleaners are going to happen. Those little springy wires with a piece of cardboard at the end are going to happen. It's simply the way the system works."

According to late reports, the Cat Congress had briefly reconvened due to cloudy weather, but was quickly adjourned again after a crumpled up piece of aluminum foil suddenly rolled across the Senate floor.http://www.theonion.com/content/themes/onion/assets/terminator.gif


Tantalizing Tidbits

Compiled By Nancy Johnson

Decision Announced:  Judge Alsup's decision in the American Council of the Blind (ACB) vs. Social Security Administration (SSA) case came out 10/20/09. 

Judge William Alsup of the US District Court, Northern District of California in San Francisco, today issued a judgment in favor of the ACB and two classes of 3,000,000 individuals with blindness and visual impairments.  The suit challenged the SSA’s failure to 
provide its critical benefits communications to recipients in alternative formats that would enable people with visual impairments to have equal access to SSA programs as required by federal disability civil rights laws.

This ruling signals a major victory for the disability rights movement, and it sets precedent for the obligations of other federal and state agencies to accommodate people who are blind or have visual impairments. The SSA sends out 390 million notices and forms each year.  Plaintiffs won the right to 
receive communications in a format that is accessible to them, and Judge Alsup ruled that these formats, at a minimum, must include Braille and CD.

Here are links to the Judgment http://www.dredf.org/SSA/2009-10-20-Judgment.pdf

And Findings of Fact and Conclusions

Susan Henderson, Executive Director, DREDF.

Orbit Research announced the introduction of the iBill, the world's first affordable Talking Banknote Identifier for the blind and the visually impaired.  Priced at $99, the 1.5 ounce, pager-sized iBill represents a breakthrough in enabling the blind and the visually impaired community to achieve independence in the everyday necessity of using paper currency. At about a third of the cost of existing devices, the iBill offers unrivaled features, ease of use and accuracy of identification.

The iBill is an exceptionally convenient and affordable solution that can be used by each and every blind or visually impaired individual.  Measuring just 3 inches by 1.6 inches by 0.7 inches, the ultra-slim and compact "key-fob" design provides the ultimate in convenience, allowing it to be carried unobtrusively in a pocket, purse, clipped
to the belt or attached to a keychain or lanyard. Among the features that set it apart from other such devices are better than 99.9% accuracy and the near-instantaneous speed (less than one second in most cases) with which it identifies banknotes.  The sole purpose of the iBill is to provide the simplest, fastest and most accurate means to identify U.S. banknotes.  Its unique ergonomic design permits easy and intuitive use without the need for any training or practice. Upon insertion of a banknote into the device, its denomination is identified at the press of a button. Based on the user's preference, the denomination is announced by a clear and natural voice, or by tone or vibration for privacy.  The unit identifies all U.S. banknotes in circulation and recognizes them in any orientation. Banknotes in poor physical condition are indicated as unidentifiable and are not misread.  The unit is also upgradeable to recognize new banknote designs.  The iBill achieves all of this while operating on a single, commonly available AAA battery which lasts for over a year with typical use.  Its durable construction and sealed design ensure trouble-free use.  The unit is backed by a one-year warranty from Orbit Research, and toll-free customer support.

Orbit Research has filed patents on the technologies employed in the iBill, which enable its groundbreaking compactness, performance and features.  Samples of the iBill are available for evaluation now and Orbit Research is accepting orders.  Contact:  Carla Morris, (888) 606-7248.  Email: morris.carla@orbitresearch.com.  Orbit Research, 3422 Old Capitol Trail, Suite 585, Wilmington, DE 19808, U.S.A.  Tel: (888) 60-ORBIT http://www.orbitresearch.com

Tactile American Flags!  In contracted or uncontracted braille, $5.00.  All ages!

Does your child or student know what the American flag looks like?  Have they read the Pledge of Allegiance?

These brilliant, red, white and blue flags from KBTI feature tactile stars and stripes. The tactile horizontal red stripes are labeled with the lower case "r" at the far right, and the white stripes are labeled with the lower case "w."
The Pledge of Allegiance is displayed in large print over the red and white stripes, in alternating black and white lettering, and is also written in braille over the red stripes. Immediately beneath the flag is a key in braille.  Flags measure 7.5" x 9.5".

Select either Contracted or Uncontracted braille!  See the flag or order at

Penfriend is a labeler, approximately the size of a pen, with which you can record label information onto penny-sized adhesive labels and stick nearly anywhere … on your canned goods, medicine vials, calendars, CDs … almost anywhere.  Reportedly inexpensive.  It’s from RNIB.  You can see a video demonstration at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePE0-U73Ajc  You can also contact Bay Area Digital at (888) 881-1998 or visit  sales@bayareadigital.us

Blind Spot – from Newsweek Web Exclusive, Oct 23, 2009A landmark 2008 Department of Justice ruling forced museums around the country to grapple with what accessibility actually means.  Museums are scrambling to find new ways to include the visually impaired.   

The passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990 required museums and other institutions to make their facilities accessible to everyone, regardless of their disabilities.  At many museums, this meant little more than providing ramps for people who use wheelchairs and Braille museum guides for people who are blind.  Do people go to museums to ride elevators and use bathrooms, or do they go to have a meaningful social and aesthetic experience?

Michael Byington, then president of KABVI, sought the latter when he filed a complaint in 2004 against Washington, D.C.'s Spy Museum, accusing the museum of being inaccessible to those with visual impairments. Byington, who is legally blind, cited a lack of docents able to provide a tour for blind customers; computer exhibits and terminals with speech outputs; and supplementary materials in Braille, large print, and audio format.  The DOJ opened an investigation and, four years later, reached a landmark settlement with the museum, which has since spent more than $400,000 updating its facilities. The willingness of the DOJ to pursue the case and to make it about more than just ramps and handrails, jolted museum educators across the nation.

Following the letter rather than the spirit of the law is a problem that some people think has always plagued the ADA.  Among them is Kareem Dale, President Obama's special adviser on disability policy, who himself is partially sighted.  Dale, the first person to hold the position in the White House, views disability rights as civil rights.  "We are working on all fronts to try to realize the promise of the ADA," he told museum administrators.  "It was a bill of rights for people with disabilities, but the original intent has been lost over the last two decades.  We will restore the ADA to its original intent, and the Department of Justice has been turned loose to go after people who are violating civil-rights laws.  We have a lot of work to do."

Dale has convened an in-person meeting of museum directors to discuss best practices, and he's thrown his weight behind a forthcoming Web site, called Project Access, that will aggregate accessibility information about every cultural institution, stadium, theater, national park, and public venue in the country.  Dale's presence in the White House suggests that the Obama administration is going to focus on disability issues more strongly than ever before.

Many museums are already doing more than the bare minimum.  Museums at the forefront of accessibility are beginning to offer touch tours, tactile maps, and extended verbal descriptions. Some are even incorporating scent into their educational programs.  Those museums are still the exception, not the rule.  The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that by 2020, 43 million Americans will be at risk for significant vision impairment from age-related diseases.  Millions of us stand to learn that accessible means a lot more than just ramps.


Chapter Chatter

Compiled By Nancy Johnson

Wichita Association for the Visually Handicapped – WAVH is pleased to again host an annual Christmas dinner for area visually handicapped.  Members enjoyed hearing an update about the current beep baseball team, and about the new talking book machines.  October 24th we held our first low vision fair at Towne East thanks to the efforts of Regina Henderson, Sanford Alexander, and others.   The purpose was to provide information and demonstrations of technology available to people who are blind or have low vision.  We're a rather small group now, but thank our president, Regina Henderson, for holding us together.  She has a daughter in high school and understandably wants to have some time to enjoy activities with her.   You can learn more about WAVH at www.wavh.org

Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired – CKAVI had a very successful raffle and sale which brought in over $3,000.  Prizes from the raffle included a turkey, scones, foot spa, blanket, phone, table cloth, back pack, pancake maker, clock, travel bag, and wall hanging. 

Western Kansas Low Vision Support Group – WKLV continues to participate in the International Macular Degeneration Support Group.  The new digital Library of Congress Talking Book players were demonstrated.  Phones available through the Telecommunications Access Program (TAP) were also seen.

Northwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired – NKAVI enjoyed a sing-along accompanied by Peggy Anshutz on keyboard.  Sarah Peterson, from the Larned area, was awarded the Lee Razak/Lloyd Nida Scholarship.  Sarah is studying at Bethany College in Lindsborg and plans eventually to become a teacher of the Visually Impaired.

Southwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired – SKAVI saw the return of Minnie Pearl (in the person of Darlene Howe) in September.  They learned about the TAP Program.  Several phones were demonstrated.  Congratulations to John and Anna Jean Minor, who received awards as volunteers of the year from the Kansas Association of Retired Teachers.  A color CCTV was donated by the Trinity Association for the use of SKAVI members.  

      Topeka Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired – TABVI members learned about the ACB convention in September.  In October they were educated about a duct cleaning service from a speaker who had a sense of humor and made the topic interesting.  This year Several TABVI members have spoken at city council meetings, Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority (TMTA) meetings as well as public meetings in order to save bus services.  Some have testified at hearings to save the Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB) and the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (RCBVI).  A Thanksgiving dinner is planned for November 14 and a Christmas party will also be held, date to be announced.  Officers elected for 2010-11:  President, Michael Byington; vice president, Bill Moore; secretary, Beulah Carrington; assistant secretary, Genevieve Schreiner; treasurer, Ann Byington; board members who will serve 4-year terms, Ruby Simmonds and Markie Callarman. 


In Memoriam

Janette Heimerman died July 4, 2009.  She is survived by a daughter, Lori Byers.  No additional information was received. 

      If you know of the death of a KABVI member or good friend of the organization, please send that information to KABVI for inclusion in this section of KABVI NEWS.  Unless you keep us informed, we don’t know we’ve lost a friend. 

      Please send to KABVI, using the information at the beginning of the newsletter, the name and as much of the following information as you know:  date of death, where they lived, perhaps how they were involved with KABVI or the blindness community, and the names of survivors. 

2010 KABVI Board of Directors

Please send all correspondence e-mail, surface mail, or phone contacts, to:


603 SW Topeka Blvd. Suite 304 B,

Topeka, Kansas 66603

Telephone:  785-235-8990 or,

in Kansas only, 1-800-799-1499
Web site: 

Note: Shown after the Directors' names is the year their current terms expire.
1.  Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary and KABVI

NEWS Editor, 2010

2.  Beulah Carrington, 2010

3.  Ann Byington, President and KABVI NEWS

      Associate Editor, 2010

4.  Katherine (Kathy) Dawson, 2010

5.  Ron Kaplanis, 2011

6.  Bill Moore 2011

7.  Paul Berscheidt 2011

8.  Terese Goren, 2011

9.  Michael Byington, CEO and Corresponding

      Secretary, 2012

10. Robert (Bob) Chaffin, Treasurer, 2012

11. Mark Coates, Vice President, 2012

12. Mikel McCary, Membership Secretary, 2012


2010 KABVI Membership Application

____ I am enclosing $10.00  for my 2009 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  _____


_____  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.