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 53                 Fall, 2010                   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

New Directions, By Nancy Johnson, Editor

We Got Half a Load, By Michael Byington

Voices of Our Youth, Compiled by Nancy Johnson

The Flame in All of Us, By Sarah Peterson

Infant is Returned to Blind Couple After State Places

       Her in Protective Custody, By Lee Hill

       Kavanaugh and David Eulitt, the Kansas City


The Kansas Approach to Protecting the Rights and

       Privacy of Blind and Other Disabled Parents, By

       Michael Byington

We Were Lucky, by Nancy Johnson

IEEE Member Hopes to Help Blind People Regain Their

       Sight, By Anna Bogdanowicz

Tantalizing Tidbits, Compiled by Nancy Johnson

Chapter Chatter, Compiled by Nancy Johnson

In Memoriam

2010 Membership Application


What’s Happening

BY Ann Byington, President

KABVI members continue to work on creating activities for young blind/visually impaired children and their parents, serve on the gubernatorially appointed Kansas Advisory Committee for the Blind and Visually Impaired, (KACBVI), participate in the recent annual convention of the American Council of the Blind and support federal and state legislation on quiet cars and advancing telecommunications in the 21st century.

·       KACBVI:  The first meeting of the KS Advisory Committee for the Blind and Visually Impaired occurred on Wednesday, July 7th, a date not particularly appreciated by the KNFB participants as they were in Dallas attending their national convention.  This is yet another example of how little regard SRS has for this committee, as well as a lack of concern or awareness of Kansas blindness consumer group member activities.

·       NOTE: The list of KACBVI committee members is taken from a document presented by Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS):

Ann Byington, Topeka, has served as the president of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired since 2006. She has over 50 years of experience in activities and services pertaining to those who are blind or visually impaired in Kansas. This includes numerous leadership positions with the Topeka Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired and currently as their treasurer. Byington also operates a small Braille publishing company, providing proof-reading services, bus schedules, maps and loan applications to various Kansas entities. She was a member of the original Advisory Committee for the Blind and Visually Impaired that was created in 1977.

Donna Wood, Wichita, serves as the state affiliate president of the National Federation of the Blind and has been active with the federation for almost 20 years. As a Kansan with a visual impairment, she has a unique perspective on the needs of Kansans who are blind, having received rehabilitation training and attained employment as a rehabilitation teacher. Wood has also served as a special investigator for the Human Rights Commission and as a rehabilitation specialist for Services for the Blind at SRS. She received her bachelor’s in human service psychology from Friends University.

Dr. Joan Houghton, Lawrence, is currently the education program consultant in the special education services division at the Kansas Department of Education. She has also served the Department of Education as an education consultant to the Kansas Assessment of Modified Measures and as the director of the Kansas Project for Children and Young Adults who are Deaf-Blind. Dr. Houghton has earned her post-graduate degrees in special education, both her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Kansas.

Christine Owens, Hutchinson, is the current chair of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas and continues to serve on numerous other state councils geared towards rehabilitation and independent living. She has been the executive director of the Prairie Independent Living Resource Center for more than ten years. Owens attained her bachelor’s in psychology from Bethel College and her master’s in rehabilitation counseling from Emporia State University.

Linda Merrill-Parman, Wichita, has served 25 years as the president and CEO of Envision, Inc., which provides training programs to health care facilities, nursing schools and ambulatory centres. She is also the president and chair of the National Vision Rehabilitation Association and a past president of the General Council of Industries for the Blind, among other leadership positions. Additionally, Merrill-Parman was appointed by Governor Sebelius and reappointed by Governor Parkinson to the Kansas State Use Law Committee.

Reinhard Mabry, Overland Park, is the president and CEO of Alphapointe Association for the Blind. Prior to this position, he was the vice president of business development and base stores at the Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind. Mabry also serves on the board of directors for the National Industries for the Blind. He received his bachelor’s in political science and his master’s in business administration from Florida State University.

Mignon Luckey, Dodge City, has held numerous positions over the past ten years at the Center for Independent Living Southwest Kansas, including independent living specialist and targeted case manager. Previously, she was the social service director at the Dodge City Good Samaritan Center.  She graduated from Oral Roberts University with a bachelor’s degree in social work.

Dr. Kendall Krug, Hays, is an optometrist and is active with the Kansas Optometric Association, as well as the American Optometric Association, the Northwest Kansas Association of the Visually Impaired and the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He graduated from Fort Hays State University with a bachelor’s in general science and from the Southern College of Optometry with a doctor in optometry.

Jeffrey Day, Wichita, previously interned at Envision Rehabilitation Center where he provided case management for clients eligible for legal blindness or low vision. He was also a youth services case coordinator at the Salvation Army and a hospitality specialist at Via Christi Health System. Day is active in his community, volunteering for the Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice and assisting Three Trees, Inc. as a group facilitator. He received his bachelor’s in speech communications from Wichita State University and his master’s in social work from Newman University.

Cheryl Miller, Wichita, is a former library media clerk and para-educator for Olathe District Schools, USD 233. She also co-authored the book, What Kids Want, and assisted in developing other books and projects. Miller is a past secretary for former Governor Alfred Landon and a graduate of Topeka West.

Marilyn Lind, Topeka, is a member of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired Awards, Education, Finance, Legislative and “Eyes Wide Open” Golf Tournament committees.

Michael Donnelly, Topeka, is the director of the Kansas Rehabilitation Services, the vocational rehabilitation agency for SRS. Within this role, Donnelly is the supervise administrator for the Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Prior to this position, he was the director of policy and outreach for the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, Inc. and the executive director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Topeka, Inc. Donnelly was also the executive director for multiple independent living centers over the years.

Craig Perbeck, Valley Center, is the current chairperson of the State Rehabilitation Council of Kansas.  He is the Assistant Regional Director for Program and Service Integration in the Wichita Region of SRS.

Secretary Martin Kennedy has been the Secretary on Aging since August 2009 and has served at the department since 2004. Previously, the Acting Secretary served in finance and management roles, including Controller for the Kansas Insurance Department and as a Principal Analyst in the Kansas Division of the Budget. He earned his Master’s in Public Administration from Kansas State University.

Laridda Z. Williams, Topeka, will serve as the representative of transition-aged youth on the Committee.  She is currently the vice president of the Alumni Association for the Kansas State School for the Blind, and she also serves as the assistant treasurer for the Missions Department and Benevolence Committee at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Topeka. 

Madeleine Burkindine, Leawood, is the Superintendent of the Kansas School for the Blind and the Kansas School for the Deaf.

Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) Secretary Don Jordan opened the meeting with introductions and then focused on consumer choice which he defined as widening options for a variety of services.  Consumers wishing to attend residential facilities will be able to go to Iowa or Colorado for such services.  Mr. Jordan alleges that those who deliver quality services will continue to be chosen by clients and those who don’t measure up will have no takers.

Secretary Jordan enumerated some of the types of partnerships which may evolve to supply services in rural areas.  He broke down blind/visually impaired services populations into four groups:  young people still in school with a focus on education, people of working age seeking employment, working age adults whose focus is not employment but rather gaining independent living skills in order to raise children, etc. and post-employment people no longer focused on work. Mr. Jordan suggested that one of the KACBVI’s committee responsibilities is to determine the unmet needs for the three groups not seeking employment. He also suggested that the committee could educate legislators regarding these unmet needs.

Secretary Jordan closed his remarks by indicating that one of the committee’s first duties is to review the budget and make recommendations by mid-August.  He also noted that he will be retiring December 10th.

Mike Donnelly facilitated the rest of the meeting which included reading the Governor’s Executive Order establishing the committee, purposes of the KACBVI, scheduling upcoming meetings, creation of subcommittees, and election of officers. 

Madeleine Burkindine, Superintendent, KS School for the Blind was elected chair and Chris Owen gained the vice-chair position. Created subcommittees included one to develop the annual report to the Governor, committee to review status of the current budget and make recommendations and priorities for the future, a communications committee to facilitate the use of technologies to allow for optimum community input to the committee as a whole, and a committee to educate SRS staff and professionals regarding the optometric and other needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired. Another proposed committee would be responsible for developing a needs assessment of working age adults not wishing to pursue employment but still requiring independent living services.

After committee members indicated to which subcommittees they wished to be assigned, a conference call was set for August 5th to review the upcoming rehabilitation services budget, and dates for future quarterly meetings were discussed, the meeting was adjourned.

·       Horizon Task Force Final Recommendations and More: In early March, the following recommendation was made:  Centralize the Talking Books program to one location (Emporia State University Memorial Union) with the current sub-regionals and possibly other libraries providing outreach services. Toni Harrell, Talking Books program Director indicated that the Manhattan sub-regional library has completed the transition of materials to Emporia and that the Great Bend library is slated to do so by the end of this year.  In addition to the six current sub-regional libraries which will continue to provide out-reach services, it is expected that both the Southeastern and Southwestern library systems, as well as those in Johnson and Wyandotte counties will join in outreach activities at the beginning of the next fiscal year when funding is available.

“The past few years have seen exciting changes.  The transition to digital is providing wonderful opportunities for current and future users of the service; improved sound quality, ease of use, and the expanded ability for those that wish to download directly, to name a few.  The recent changes have and will continue to impact work loads and everyday practices within the service centers.  In light of these changing times, along with the ongoing economic struggles, the State Library convened a task force to discuss recent trends, explore possibilities and ultimately make recommendations regarding steps to be taken to ensure viability and growth of the Kansas Talking Book program for many years to come.

The service minded task force, which included staff representatives from the service centers, consumer advocates, Talking Book patrons, library administrators, and a representative of the Kansas State School for the Blind, has concluded its charge.  The recommendation to consolidate the physical resources (books and machines) at one place in the state, while continuing to support and expand the outreach function throughout the state has been reviewed and accepted by the State Librarian. 

What does this mean to you?

The shifting of resources to the Regional Library site will occur between now and October 1, 2011.  An extended period for the shifting of materials has been implemented to allow for the least disruption in day-to-day service.

All patrons will continue to receive prompt, courteous service.

Patrons will continue to have access to toll-free numbers for questions and information about services.    

On or before October 2011, patrons will begin to hear about additional Talking Books outreach and program opportunities in your area.

Beginning in October 2011, the number of Talking Book Outreach Centers will expand to provide a focus on local programming throughout the state.

The State Library and the Talking Books Outreach Centers will continue to collaborate and expand services as opportunities arise. 

While the infrastructure may change, the commitment to quality service remains the highest priority for everyone associated with the Kansas Talking Book Library Services.”

* The Youth Activity committee is hosting a presentation for blind and visually impaired children and parents in the Topeka and surrounding area at the YWCA on August 7th

* KABVI members and Topeka Lions’ Club members are working to finalize plans for the third annual “Eyes Wide Open” golf tournament slated for August 19th

* Convention dates are October 8, 9 and 10 with meetings hosted at the Envision facility, 600 Maine, Wichita, KS.  Look for specific hotel/meal information in the pre-registration materials which will be mailed in August.


New Directions

By Nancy Johnson, editor

       KABVI’s first members came together in 1920.  We have kept together and progressed since then.  Now it’s time we worked together … all of us! 

KABVI’s membership needs to talk, plan, and work.  Opportunities are available, but KABVI needs a PLAN and a team to take advantage of them.  How does this organization plan to move forward?  How do we want the future of Kansas citizens with severe vision impairments and blindness to look?  Do we want to continue to emphasize advocacy?  If 90 years of advocacy is not enough, then what else should we do?  How can we change with changing times?  Should we broaden our focus?

       Now is the time to consider KABVI’s future and examine the organization’s goals.  If KABVI wants to embark on service provision, should the organization sub-contract with Envision, the state vocational rehabilitation agency, the independent living centers, or all of those?  Might KABVI work with the public health system?  Does the organization want to develop a community-based program of its own ... and what do we want it to look like?  Does KABVI want to work toward educating employers, and/or the general population?  Whatever direction we take now will affect Kansans with blindness and severely impaired vision in the future.  KABVI should be a part of that future, but what are KABVI's membership’s wishes for that future?  How do you think KABVI can make best use of the expertise of its members? 

 I put these questions to you … the membership and friends of KABVI … in the newsletter because you are the people who have the final say about what this organization does.  I believe the direction for KABVI’s future must be a topic for discussion.  Think about it and share ideas.  If you cannot come to the convention October 8 through 10 in Wichita, make your ideas known by whatever means you can.  Contact us by email, telephone, or “snail mail”.  I believe the need for new direction for KABVI exists.  We talk about change.  What does the membership want that change to look like?  And how are YOU willing to be involved?  Get a hold on the reins and tell your work-horses which direction to take this organization.  Better yet … get on the work-horse team


We Got Half a Load

By Michael Byington

When it became clear that the Kansas Legislature, at the recommendation of the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission, would close the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, (KRCBVI) KABVI started advocating for the creation, in Kansas Statutes, of a Kansas Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which would be structured similarly to the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The creation of this body would have given blindness advocates in Kansas the authority to go over the heads of officials of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS), directly to the Governor and Kansas Legislature to start building back, as the economy permits, the specialized blindness services we have lost.  It would have given blind Kansas advocates planning authority and insured our having a seat at the table in designing the next generation of blindness services to be developed in Kansas. We could have thus had more control to insure that the next services developed are not compromised by the types of unknowledgeable SRS bureaucrats who abolished the last set of services after making administrative decisions which sabotaged their effectiveness. 

We were making good progress toward this legislation. We got the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission to recommend it.

We actually managed to accomplish adoption of a limited version of what we originally requested. It is a situation where we can either be happy that we got at least half a load, or discouraged by the fact that we only got half a load.

The first challenge that we faced was that the comprehensive legislation that the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission recommended, was never actually introduced. This Legislation would have: closed the KRCBVI, placed our recommended Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Kansas Statutes, and done a number of other governmental re-organization tasks, including closing Kansas Neurological Institute (KNI).

This Legislation was never introduced because Governor Parkenson chose not to implement the centerpiece recommendation of the Facilities Realignment and Closure Commission, that being to close KNI.  KABVI can not completely disagree with the Governor’s decision. KNI houses many developmentally disabled adults who are also blind. At the request of some of them, or their guardians and advocates, KABVI testified against the closure of KNI. We were still in hopes, however, that Governor Parkenson would nonetheless introduce legislation to carry out the rest of the Closure Commission’s recommendations that he was planning to implement. He chose not to do this. Instead, the Governor ruled that he had the authority to implement the rest of the Closure Commission’s recommendations through a series of Executive Orders and directives. No Legislation was thus ever realized from the Closure Commission’s recommendations.

Your KABVI President and some members of its Board of Directors worked diligently to get an appointment with senior Governor’s staff persons, and we convinced them that the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired needed to happen. Thus, one of the executive orders issued created such a body.

Unfortunately, however, an Executive Order from a Governor, though a strong tool, does not have the weight of statutes. It could not do everything that our original Commission proposal would do.

What was even worse for blindness advocates, however, is that the Governor gave Director of Kansas Rehabilitation Services, Michael Donnelly, major input as to how the Executive Order would be written. Donnelly has never liked the advice he has received from blindness advocates about the need for categorical services to serve blind and visually impaired Kansans, and he has abolished, or rendered completely ineffective, the last two blindness-related advisory committees that were supposed to provide him with input. He thus made every effort to create the Executive Order in as weak of a manner as he dared. He changed the “Commission” to the status of an “advisory committee.” He removed all planning authority from the Committee, making it advisory only.

Still, this committee is better than what we had. It does allow its members to go over the heads of SRS officials and submit reports directly to the Governor. It remains to be seen, however, whether this Committee will have sufficient strength to restore some categorical services emphasis to the State’s focus on disability services.

We certainly never were advocating for the State to continue to be the major direct services provider of categorical services to blind Kansans. Frankly, they have messed up and ineffectively operated too many programs to make them a viable option for directly providing such services. It remains to be seen, however, whether the Committee will be able to have the needed impact of stimulating the growth of categorical services for the blind and visually impaired within the private sector, and accordingly getting State funding provided for such programs.

KABVI did not give up on Legislation to try and do the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired as originally proposed. Once the Governor’s Executive Order was published, and we saw that it might not accomplish the original goals, we were able to get legislation introduced, and hearings scheduled, on creating the Commission as it was originally proposed. This was no small feat as most of the deadlines for introduction of, and scheduling hearings for, new legislation had already passed.

The hearings were held, and there were essentially three factors that prevented our Legislation from moving forward and becoming law.

The National Federation of the Blind of Kansas (NFBK) submitted testimony at the last minute, and without going through the proper procedures for getting on the docket, which opposed our specific legislation. They stated that, although they support a Commission for the Blind, they could not support the one proposed because it did not remove the blind services functions from SRS. We stated that ultimately, we agreed that the functions of Blind Services do not belong in SRS, but we doubted that, at this point, the Legislature would choose to create an entirely new agency. The Legislators on the Committee which heard testimony on our Bill certainly agreed with that, and implied that, if the blindness community were together on the bill proposed, they might have supported it, but stated that they would not do so given that there seemed to be differences. The Legislation we introduced, if passed, was sufficiently strong so as to have ultimately allowed for a transition to a separate agency for the blind. It is unfortunate that NFBK could not see that. They ended up shooting down any chances blind Kansans might have had for a somewhat speedy restoration of categorical services for blind adults. The NFBK testimony also quite frankly out and out lied about the specific provisions of the Bill. It makes one wonder if the submitter of the testimony had even read the Bill. They stated that the Bill would create nothing different than the Advisory Committees that Mr. Donnelly had sabotaged or abolished previously. These statements were simply untrue. The legislation would have codified a body in Kansas statutes that would have had the authority to, in and of itself, propose legislation that would have restored categorical services, and that could have moved such services out of SRS. 

Director Donnelly testified concerning the KABVI Bill, and also did not go through the proper procedures to be placed on the docket to do so, but was allowed to testify anyway. He claimed that he was neutral concerning the Bill, and then recounted all of the reasons that, in his opinion, the advisory committee created by the Governor could provide all of the advice that he wanted or needed, and he really did not want anything with more authority to challenge him.

Lastly, although a number of Legislators were still understanding of KABVI’s concerns, and expressed support, Senator Laura Kelly, D, Topeka, in whose district the former KRCBVI was housed, was not supportive. Because we were discussing replacements for services in her district, her opinion seemed to carry quite a bit of weight. Senator Kelly stated that while she agreed that the functions assigned to the Commission in the Bill would be preferable over what the advisory committee, created by executive order, could do, she stated that she was unwilling to authorize even the very minuscule amount of transition and start-up moneys that would be required to begin the Commission. She implied that the needs of blind Kansas adults are important, but not important enough, to be taken care of in these difficult economic times.

Thus, we are stuck with the new Kansas Advisory Committee to Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It is stronger than any body we have had in the recent past, but may or may not, be strong enough to make inroads in promoting categorical services for Kansas adults who are blind.

As an addendum, I will note here, although it has been covered in previous articles, that the Kansas Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission considered closing down the Kansas School for the Blind as well, or combining it with the Kansas School for the Deaf. The Commission elected to leave these two schools operational and separate, but they combined some administrative functions, including placing the Superintendent of the School for the Blind over both facilities, at least for the time being. The Governor has ratified these recommendations and they are being implemented.


Voices of our Youth

By Nancy Johnson

Our first youth activities program will be held August 7, 2010, at the Topeka YWCA from 8:30 to 1:30.   

From eaglets to eagles

Saturday, August 7,

8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

YWCA, 225 SW Twelfth St. 

Topeka, Kansas

Provided by a grant from

The American Eagle Outfitters Foundation


A program of support and resources for parents of children with visual impairment or blindness

Adults with vision impairment and blindness will talk about

Empowering parents to empower their children.



Positive attitudes build positive outcomes

Panel – Growing up with blindness or impaired vision

Technology – it’s changing the way we do things

Resources galore

Opportunities for discussion throughout

Age-appropriate activities available for youth of all ages

Brunch available, no charge.R.S.V.P by Friday, July 30

KABVI – (785) 235-8990 or 1-800-799-1499


       Activities for students of all ages, including accessible computer games, are planned. 

       One of our greatest problems is getting the word out.  Unfortunately, plans were not in place to send out information in the previous newsletter.  We do plan to have a similar activity during the convention in Wichita.  If you are aware of interested youth and/or parents, please let them know.  Convention week end is October 8. 


The Flame in All of Us

By Sarah Peterson

As the assistive technology camp for low vision teens concluded, I reflected on my valuable experience of serving as a mentor to twenty amazing kids during the week.  Each individual that attended had become a treasure to me.  How would I be able to wish them all good-bye? After the closing ceremony, I made my hugging rounds and snapped away at my camera, looking forward to the day when I’d be able to share the amazing moments on Face book.

Although each and every camper has a special place in my heart, my parting with one of them remains a significant memory unlike all the rest.  A young man nearing his sophomore year of high school approached me to say farewell, earnestly thanking me for my friendship and all the encouragement I had given him.  I felt extraordinarily humbled when I noticed the glimmer of gratitude in his eyes.  Accompanying him was his equally sweet twin sister who took a photo for us and enthusiastically shook my hand.  Grinning from ear to ear, they acted like they didn’t want to leave, even after we had engaged in small talk for a few minutes.  It was a little awkward, but not in a bad way. 

When they had left, the image of their sincere smiles was frozen in my mind.  It was apparent that I had made a huge impact in this camper’s life.  We shared many meaningful conversations throughout the week.  Polite, hard-working, intelligent, and compassionate, this young man is truly a blessing to those around him.  I assured him that he possessed the ability to be anything he wanted to be.  There’s no doubt in my mind that he will find success and deep joy in his life.  Why?  He has the positive perspective that many people lack, whether possessing a disability or not.  Like this person, I too have discovered that the key to enjoying success and inner peace despite the many obstacles low vision can bring is pursuing an optimistic attitude and welcoming new experiences with an open mind and heart. 

From middle school to the time I entered college, I underwent a radical transformation.  Throughout my childhood, I endured my share of persecution from certain classmates unwilling to accept my visual impairment.  Once I reached junior high, I had acquired a pessimistic “me against the world” attitude and refused to trust most of my peers, not realizing that I had allowed only a few individuals to make me withdraw into myself, and even bitter, to a small extent.  Gradually, I began to seek friends on my own and participate in things I never thought I’d have the nerve to do, which included performing vocal solos and learning I had the ability to make people laugh in the school musical.  Surrounded by supportive people while pursuing my dreams, I still regretted the years I had wasted feeling sorry for myself. 

One of the greatest compliments I have ever received came from one of my closest girlfriends.  Once during senior year, she exclaimed, “Sarah, you’re positively glowing!” remarking on my zest for life and desire to find joy in all circumstances.  As a person of faith, I believe that the Lord’s grace is sufficient, and I am grateful for the life He has given me.

During the summer before I attended Bethany College, I set a goal to take advantage of a fresh start in an environment where no one knew me.  I was face-to-face with an opportunity to become the person I had always wanted to be.  I yearned to be the kind of person that people were drawn to, and that others knew would accept them however they were, just like I desired for them to accept me. 

College turned out to be more wonderful than I had ever imagined! As the only visually impaired person on campus, people most definitely noticed my disability.  But I quickly discovered that college students, unlike many younger students, tend to celebrate diversity among their peers.  It also helped immensely that I chose from the very beginning to be open about my eyesight and willing to explain it to others.  This usually encouraged people to ask questions they wouldn’t have brought up otherwise.  My classmates were mainly curious and desired to learn about my eye condition, as well as how it affects my life.  And believe it or not, the secret to success is laughing at oneself.  It’s true! The more I joked about it, the more I put people at ease.  The laughter was contagious. 

Of course, my freshman year was not without its obstacles.  The main annoyance was my inability to drive whenever and wherever I liked.  As a result, I had no choice but to make wise decisions when running errands and rely on friends for carpooling.  In addition, my disability affects me more socially than academically.  I am often at a disadvantage, as I don’t always notice waves, secret glances blocked by my lack of peripheral vision, etc.  I quickly learned to express to others the importance of verbal communication and to simply provide knowledge of my impairment so people would be aware.  After all, I certainly didn’t want everyone to assume I was a snob! Otherwise, most events occurred smoothly and without great effort. 

The male camper I praised earlier surely has the glow my dear friend spoke of.  A light such as that, shining from within, can only grow brighter every single day.  There is a flame burning deep inside each of us.  We just simply have to believe it exists.  As a future teacher for low vision youth, I want to help my students find their flame and encourage them to share it with others.  The assistive technology camp for visually impaired teens has made an enormous impact on my life.  Before experiencing that special week, my plan to pursue a career as a TVI (teacher of the visually impaired) was merely a decision.  While riding home, I realized that this decision had morphed into a fervent, passionate desire.  While interacting with the students, I noticed that I thrived in their presence, encouraging them to dream big and simply being their friend, and I realized that I have also acquired much more patience and peace than I’ve ever had before. 

In closing, this is my advice for visually impaired youth: other than remembering the technical, practical things (being your own strongest advocate, seeking disability services in your colleges and schools, etc.), never, EVER underestimate yourself, the importance of a positive attitude, the power of laughter, or the influence you have on other people.  Even when you think you’re certain you don’t matter, someone else is always watching you, and someone always needs a friend.  Realizing how much of an impact we have on the lives of others fuels our flame like nothing else.  You have the power to reach out and light up the world.  Everyone, even those whose eyes view nothing but darkness, shall see it and rejoice in the miracles it brings

Editor’s Note:  Sarah Peterson was a 2009 KABVI Scholarship winner who completed her first year at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. 


“I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.”  - Anonymous


Infant is Returned to Blind Couple After State Places Her in Protective Custody
by Lee Hill Kavanaugh and David Eulitt

The Kansas City Star

Fifty-seven days after she was born, Mikaela Sinnett was home for the first time Tuesday with her parents, Erika Johnson and Blake Sinnett of Independence. State officials had worried they were unable to care for her.

       A folding cane used by Blake Sinnett rested in the baby carrier used to carry home his daughter.

On Tuesday, Blake Sinnett, guided by his mother, Jenne Sinnett, carried his 2-month-old daughter, Mikaela Sinnett. Behind them was Mikaela’s mother, Erika Johnson.

Erika Johnson will never be able to see her baby, Mikaela.
But for 57 days she couldn’t keep her newborn close, smell her baby’s breath, feel her downy hair.

The state took away her 2-day-old infant into protective custody — because Johnson and Mikaela’s father are both blind. No allegations of abuse, just a fear that the new parents would be unable to care for the child.

On Tuesday, Johnson still couldn’t stop crying, although Mikaela was back in her arms. “We never got the chance to be parents,” she said. “We had to prove that we could.”

Tuesday, she and Blake Sinnett knew their baby was finally coming home to their Independence apartment, but an adjudication hearing was scheduled for the afternoon on whether the state would stay involved in the rearing of the baby. Then from a morning phone call to their attorney, they learned that the state was dismissing their case. “Every minute that has passed that this family wasn’t together is a tragedy. A legal tragedy and a moral one, too,” said Amy Coopman, their attorney. “How do you get
57 days back?”

Arleasha Mays, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services, said privacy laws prohibited her from speaking about specific cases. But she added, “The only time we recommend a child be removed is if it’s in imminent danger.”

Johnson said she knew the system eventually would realize its horrible mistake, but she often was consumed with sadness. Sinnett tried his best to keep Johnson hopeful. For almost two months she and Sinnett could visit their baby only two or three times a week, for just an hour at a time, with a foster parent monitoring. “I’m a forgiving person,” Johnson said, but she’s resentful that people assumed she was incapable. “Disability does not equal inability,” she said. Representatives of the sightless community agreed that people were well-meaning but blinded by ignorance.

Mikaela was born May 21 at Centerpoint Medical Center of Independence. The doctors let Sinnett “see” her birth by feeling the crowning of her head. For Johnson, hearing Mikaela’s whimpers was a thrill. The little human inside her all these months, the one who hiccupped and burped, who kicked and moved, especially at night, was now a real person whom she loved more than anything else she’d ever imagined.

In her overnight bag was Mikaela’s special homecoming outfit, a green romper from Johnson’s mother, with matching bottoms and a baby bow. Questions arose within hours of Mikaela’s birth, after Johnson’s clumsy first attempts at breast-feeding — something many new mothers experience.

A lactation nurse noticed that Mikaela’s nostrils were covered by Johnson’s breast. Johnson felt that something was wrong and switched her baby to her other side, but not before Mikaela turned blue. That’s when the concerned nurse wrote on a chart: “The child is without proper custody, support or care due to both of parents being blind and they do not have specialized training to assist them.”

Her words set into motion the state mechanisms intended to protect children from physical or sexual abuse, unsanitary conditions, neglect or absence of basic needs being met.

Centerpoint said it could not comment because of patient privacy laws, but spokeswoman Gene Hallinan said, “We put the welfare of our patients as our top priority.” A social worker from the state came by Johnson’s hospital room and asked her questions: How could she take her baby’s temperature? Johnson answered: with our talking thermometer. How will you take her to a doctor if she gets sick? Johnson’s reply: If it were an emergency, they’d call an ambulance. For a regular doctor’s appointment, they’d call a cab or ride a bus.

But it wasn’t enough for the social worker, who told Johnson she would need 24-hour care by a sighted person at their apartment.

Johnson said they couldn’t afford it, didn’t need it. “I needed help as a new parent, but not as a blind parent,” Johnson said.
She recalled the social worker saying: “Because you guys are blind, I don’t feel like you can adequately take care of her.” And she left.

The day of Johnson’s discharge, another social worker delivered the news to the couple that Mikaela was not going home with them. The parents returned the next day to visit Mikaela before she left the hospital, but they were barred from holding her.

“All we could do was touch her arm or leg,” Johnson said.

The couple began making calls. Gary Wunder, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri, had trouble believing it at first. “I needed to verify their whole story,” he recalled. “We had to do due diligence.… I found the couple to be intelligent and responsible. We knew this was an outrage that had taken place.”

He notified Kansas City chapter president Shelia Wright, who visited the 24-year-olds. Hearing about the empty crib, the baby clothes, Wright recalled, “I felt as helpless as I’ve ever felt in my life. I hurt so bad for them. This is unforgivable.” They rallied other associations for the blind nationwide. More than 100 people at a national convention in Dallas volunteered to travel to Kansas City to protest and testify, both as blind parents and as the sighted children of blind parents. (Mikaela has normal sight.) They also hired Coopman, who watched the young couple with their baby girl on Tuesday. “I’m sorry,” she said, wiping tears. “But this should not have happened.” Johnson kept a journal that Coopman is keeping closed for now. She indicates that legal action will be taken. “Whether a couple is visually impaired or deaf or in a wheelchair, the state should not keep them from their children,” she said.

Now breast-feeding is a lost option. And the beautiful newborn clothes hanging in the closet went unworn, because their baby was growing bigger in the arms of someone else.

The couple said they had tried to prove themselves to the sighted community since their early years. Sinnett rode his bicycle on the street with the help of a safety gadget. Johnson graduated from high school with honors. But all the challenges they’ve endured over the years shrink compared to the responsibility of caring for 10 pounds of squirming baby girl. Johnson cuddled Mikaela. Gave her a bottle. Patted her back until she burped. Mikaela gave a tiny smile.

In their 24 years, the couple said, they’ve both endured prejudice from others. They don’t want any other blind parent to suffer the same obstacle they did. Fifty-seven days are too precious to lose.

The Star’s Laura Bauer contributed to this report. To reach Lee Hill Kavanaugh, call 816-234-4420 or send e-mail to lkavanaugh@kcstar.com.


The Kansas Approach to Protecting the Rights and Privacy of Blind and Other Disabled Parents

By Michael Byington

The recent case in Missouri of a healthy, new-born child being forcefully taken from blind parents just because the parents are blind, and some bias, medaling social worker decided that blind people might not be able to be good parents, is not a discriminatory problem restricted to Missouri. It has happened all over the country.

I have a friend in Ohio who lost her baby for several days due to a similar bias, in her case, on the part of a doctor. This Ohio woman’s baby was taken from her shortly after its birth for several days even though she was married to a fully sighted man. The view was that the blind mother should never, ever, be left alone as the caregiver for the child. My friend won her battle more quickly than the recent Missouri couple did, but it was still a deplorable, discriminatory practice.

So how are we doing on this issue in Kansas? Well, unfortunately, our record in this State has not been any better than those of Missouri or Ohio. I am personally aware of four members or associates of KABVI, who are blind, and who were threatened with, or actually experienced, removal of their child from their custody because of the parents’ blindness.

The approach of the NFB of Missouri, however, seems to have been to grandstand the Missouri issue. I am sure that the NFB of Missouri has garnered lots of publicity and lots of successful fundraising out of the Missouri case. The Missouri blind couple finally got their newborn back after 57 days. That is wonderful, and a tragedy that it took that long, but I have to ask if the NFB of Missouri really has advocated in this matter in the best interests of blind parents throughout their State.

Because of the cases I mentioned in Kansas, we went to the Kansas Legislature a few years ago, and had the following statutory language adopted into Kansas law,    “The disability of a parent shall not constitute a basis for a determination that a child is a child in need of care, for the removal of custody of a child from the parent, or for the termination of parental rights without a specific showing that there is a causal relation between the disability and harm to the child.”

Having handled the matter in this way gives us more ammunition to quickly have children restored to their parents when such injustices happen. One of the four cases which I mentioned above was still pending at the time we got this statutory language added, and the new law was indeed used to help the blind, single parent involved to get his child back into his custody.

       Sadly, passing a law does not totally solve the problem. Most social workers and evaluators of children’s care situations do not read the new session laws that their State Legislature adopts during each session. If those evaluators harbor discriminatory bias concerning blind or disabled parents, they may still try to remove children from such parents. Getting the new law passed, however, gives us some ammunition in this State to help resolve such situations more quickly.

I would suggest that, if advocacy organizations of and for the blind, whether affiliated with NFB or ACB, are truly concerned about discrimination against blind parents, they would be well advised to work on similar statutory language in their States. It is not ethical or appropriate to wait for a repugnant case of discrimination against blind parents, as was the one in Missouri, before attempting to address this type of discrimination in our statutes.

Once such statutes are adopted, however, they have to be watched to make sure that some other well-meaning, but misguided child advocate does not get other laws adopted to undo all or part of them. We have already had to beat back several such efforts in this State.

Most recently, during the 2010 Session of the Kansas Legislature, a proposed law concerning regulation of child care facilities made the assertion that it is necessary for a caregiver for a child to have “line of sight and line of hearing” of a child in order to provide the required quality of care. Had this language been allowed to remain in the original draft of the proposed legislation, it could have undone much of the ground we gained through the adoption of the statutory language noted above.   Fortunately, KABVI was able to identify this issue as it went through the Legislature, and we got the language changed so it does not refer to “lines of sight or hearing,”

This was not an issue we expected to be working on during this session. It was not Legislation we had anything to do with initially proposing.

The above is an example of why KABVI has to be ever watchful during the Legislative sessions. We must not only have our own pro-active legislative agenda, but we must also watch what other advocates and representatives are introducing, and de-rail ideas and concepts that will hurt the economic well being, or discriminate against, blind and visually impaired citizens.


"Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent." -- Marilyn vos Savant


We Were Lucky

By Nancy Johnson

       A little over 42 years ago, I gave birth to a baby boy.  One of the first pieces of advice I was given when I began breast-feeding was, “Be sure his little nose is free so he can breathe.”  Because of issues not directly related to the birth, I was hospitalized for a week.  Somehow, someone “forgot” to circumcise the baby.  When I got ready to leave the hospital, they told me I couldn’t take my son home with me because I might not be able to care for the fresh circumcision.  I refused to leave without my baby, and my husband threatened to sue the doctor, and our son went home with me.

       Five years later, when we had two children of our own, I became a licensed day care provider.  One day, the health department’s nurse came to inspect my home.  The first thing she asked was if I had found the child I’d lost.  I cared for four children of working mothers each day, and one little boy stayed with us over night. 

When the nurse arrived to do her annual inspection of my home, she asked, “How did you find the child you lost?”  I explained that I had never lost a child … my own or anyone else’s. I often traveled around town with six children by bus and never had lost a child. 

       The nurse inspected my home and then, with obvious reluctance, told me she couldn’t recertify me.  When I asked why, she explained she didn’t want to refuse me certification.  Because of a case with another visually impaired day care provider who had a “problem,” (one that a sighted person might have faced) and they were not licensing any more visually impaired day care providers.  She said I had to discontinue providing day care immediately.  (Incidentally, this was my family’s only source of income at the time.)  I said I would comply … but not until “my kids” had new sitters. 

       Some of the “official reasons” for not relicensing me were that the bedrooms were over 30 inches below ground level (the apartments were built that way) and my medicine cabinet didn’t have a lock on it (medications were locked in a metal container).  We chose not to fight because we couldn’t afford an attorney, and we didn’t want to take the chance of losing our children. 

       A week or so after my day-care kids had a new baby-sitter, my own kids came in from playing and reported that they saw the oldest boy outside in front of another apartment playing with matches.  The new day care provider was obviously watching carefully? 

We were lucky.  Our children were never taken from us.  They grew up and have successful lives and children of their own.  During the years I was with Kansas Services for the Blind, I visited some homes where the blind parents were obviously doing a good job and advocated on their behalf.  I’m glad Kansas’ legislation is strengthened, but there’s also a need in cases of unfair removal of a child, for legal assistance. 


IEEE Member Hopes to Help Blind People Regain Their Sight

By Anna Bogdanowicz


Adults suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that causes progressive damage to the retina, could be close to regaining their vision.  That's thanks in part to the work of IEEE Member Mark S. Humayun.  As the leader of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Artificial Retina Project, Humayun has spent the past two decades developing what might be called a bionic eye.  He expects promising results soon from a clinical trial that has been under way for almost three years.

Humayun, a professor of biomedical engineering and cell and neurobiology, is associate director of research at the Doheny Retina Institute at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.  He is also director of USC’s Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems Engineering Research Center.

Humayun and other researchers there have developed an eye system called Argus II, manufactured by Second Sight Medical Products, a retinal implant developer in Sylmar, California.  With Argus II, a nonfunctioning retina in a human eye is outfitted with an array of electrodes that receives an image from a camera mounted on a pair of eyeglasses.

PATTERNS OF LIGHT:  The system includes a tiny charge-coupled device camera and a microcomputer chip mounted in the eyeglasses, a receiver implanted behind the ear, and an electrode array implanted on the retina.  A wireless battery pack on the person’s belt powers the system.  The camera captures an image and sends it to the microprocessor, which converts it to an electronic signal that is transmitted wirelessly to the receiver.  The receiver sends the signals wirelessly to the electrode array, stimulating it to emit electric pulses.  Those pulses travel along the optic nerve to the brain, which perceives patterns of light and dark spots corresponding to the electrodes stimulated.  Patients learn to interpret the visual patterns produced.

“Basically, the Argus II system wirelessly connects a camera to the patient’s retina and jump-starts the blind eye,” Humayun explains.  The implant relies on 60 electrodes—the most of any long-term medical implant in the world, he says.

It is the first and only retinal implant that has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for testing.  Results of a clinical trial of 32 patients, begun in 2007, are expected in the third quarter of this year, and Humayun says he is excited by the preliminary findings.

“Clinical trials typically require long-term follow-up before the devices can be approved for the general public,” he notes, “but because the trials are going so well, we anticipate FDA approval in the next year or so.”

In trials, patients who are totally blind have been given rudimentary sight.  For example, they can tell the difference between dark and light socks, see a full moon or a fireworks display, and locate a door and walk to it. Humayun says his 60-electrode system could be ready to be implanted in blind people in a year or two, and could last several years before needing replacement.  It’s a breakthrough he has dreamed of for years, he says.  He was inspired to work on restoring vision by his grandmother, who lost her vision when he was 28.

“I’ve dedicated 25 years—all of my academic life—to the goal of restoring sight through an artificial microelectronic retina,” he says.

PACKING THEM IN:  Humayun and his team faced countless challenges over the years in developing the system.  The first one they built, Argus I, had 16 electrodes and much lower resolution. Humayun was the surgeon who implanted the first patient with that model in 2002.  Packing in all those extra electrodes into the next model was no simple task, he says.

“Going from 16 to 60 electrodes is like creating a totally different system,” he says.  “Unlike cameras, in which it’s relatively easy to go from 1 to 8 megapixels, for retinal devices it’s more like going from building a car to building an airplane.  The higher density of electrodes puts enormous engineering challenges on the power supply, the electrode material, and their waterproof packaging.” The electronics must be waterproof because of moisture in the eye.

Humayun and his team have been working with researchers from the DOE’s national laboratories, the National Science Foundation, and Second Sight.

They’re not stopping at 60 electrodes.  “We know a denser electrode array can yield a higher-resolution image,” Humayun says.  “We’ve been working on a device that fits 1000 electrodes in the same space on the retina as Argus II.  Such resolution could make it possible for the blind to read and recognize faces.”

But technical obstacles aren’t the only roadblocks the researchers face.  “There are challenges with the surgery to implant the electronics in the eye and with teaching the patients how to use the device,” Humayun says.  “But we’ve made a lot of progress in these areas.

“The day our first patient saw light has been the single most exciting day of my career," he continues."  "As the technology improves it will make me even happier that such a device can improve the lives of people who were told they would never see again.”


Tantalizing Tidbits

Compiled by Nancy Johnson

Google Voice: (Contributed by Henry Staub) Google Voice is FREE.  It is a number that looks like a telephone number.  You must have computer access to use it.  Using your computer, you can program any number of telephones that you want Google Voice to ring when people call you.  You can have your cell phone and your home phone programmed to it.  When someone calls your Google number, it rings both your home phone and your cell phone at the same time and you can take the call from either phone.  Whether home or away, the phone rings and you can take the call.  When the phone rings, a voice tells you who it is (if that person's phone number is listed as one of the contacts you entered in the Google Voice contacts) or it will tell you it is an unknown caller and will tell you to press #1 to accept or #2 to send directly to voicemail.  If you are out and about on your cell phone and someone gives you information and you are not able to write it down, you can press #4 and the call will be recorded from that point.  You can later read the recorded information on the Google Voice website.  There are several special programmable features.  It does require a special invitation to get this service.  Information about it and the place to request an invitation can be found at: http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html.  A couple of days are required to receive the invitation via email.  The email provides all the information to set it up.

MagicJack:  (contributed by Henry Staub) This is a wonderful device that you plug into your computer and then plug your regular home phone into the device and, presto, you have free phone service - no monthly bills.  All long distance and local calls are free and it has all the perks of land line service.  Only cost after you buy the device is $20.00 per year to renew the license.  It does require a good internet connection for good quality calls.  I've had it for over a year and I love it.  I even got to pick out my own phone number from a list provided.

Northern Flyer:. (Contributed by Henry Staub) We hope Kansas will be on board to experience some great passenger service.  On March 10, 2010 the Kansas Legislature passed and sent a bill to the governor's desk for his signature to make Kansas a part of the new service.  This will add Kansas to Oklahoma and Texas to form new service between Kansas City and Dallas.  This new service would be separate from Amtrak.  From Kansas City it will go to Newton, Kansas, and drop south to Wichita, then on to Oklahoma City and Dallas and points in between.  As I understand it there will be two trains each way every day.  This then has the potential to connect to San Antonio and beyond.  This is something we've needed for some time, and it is exciting.  More information can be found at:   http://www.northflyer.org/

Facebook:  KABVI is now on "Facebook".  Anyone who wishes to join our facebook page should just search for "Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired" from their own facebook page.  Then just hit the join now tab and they too will become a member of the group.  Everyone is welcome to join and participate in the group, not just KABVI members. 

Grocery shopping can become a daunting task because of difficulties in navigating the aisles and in reading the food labels or price tags on grocery products.  You can purchase scanning devices that read product labels, use a magnifier or video magnifier to read labels, or work in partnership with a sighted shopping assistant at the grocery store.

Before going to the store, have your list in two formats: one for the shopping assistant and one on a digital recorder, in braille, or in large print for yourself.

At the store, find the customer service counter and ask for a shopping assistant. If you live in a busy retail area, you may want to call ahead to arrange for the assistant.  While shopping, have the assistant hand you the product to place in the cart.  You will know the size and packaging for that item. Pick out fresh produce yourself for quality purposes.

You may want to prepare labels ahead of time to put them on the items as you are shopping. If you don't have labels, rubber bands can be used to identify certain items.

Have the assistant read cooking and baking instructions into a recorder so you are able to prepare the item independently when you get home.  You can also ask the assistant for expiration dates, nutrition label information, or ingredients.

When you are ready to pay for your groceries, have a means for identifying your money.  A simple way to identify money is to fold each denomination differently.  Also, tell the clerk the amount of money you are handing him so he understands that you expect change.  Ask the clerk to count change back to you, identifying each bill.  Fold the bills properly as you put them into your wallet.  Using a wallet with pockets for each denomination can help you keep track of your funds as well.

Count how many bags you have in the cart and make sure all of your bags get into your vehicle.

Discounts Costco Connection, June 2010 

"Living with disabilities presents a challenge physically, but the financial burden makes it doubly difficult.  Numerous discounts are available for people with disabilities; however, finding them can be a daunting task.

David Squar accidentally uncovered one when the demands of his wife Mara's multiple sclerosis forced them to move to a smaller house after their children had moved out. With the move came a discovery.  The county recorder notified them that, because the move was to replace the residence of a person with disabilities, the Squars were entitled to a property tax discount.

"I was in the escrow business for 35 years, owning my own company,[and] never noticed this was available," Squar says. "The type on the document is so tiny, you'd never notice it."  That led to more research to see what other concessions existed, and the Squars decided the information should be made widely available. Disabled

Discounts.com (www.disableddiscounts.com) went live in early 2010.  David does most of the research himself, with some assistance from friends, finding programs and discounts for the disabled offered by governments and businesses across the United States. Mara hosts a community forum to facilitate discussion among people sharing similar burdens.  To help cover the costs of running the site, DisabledDiscounts.com carries a subscription fee of $25 a year, covering one state; additional states can be added at a reduced rate."


Chapter Chatter

Compiled by Nancy Johnson

       HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Southwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (SKAVI!)  SKAVI will celebrate its 45th birthday with a party September 11.  Folks who have moved away are invited to come for a visit and join the festivities. 

       I think the rest of our groups took the summer off.  Please don’t forget, when you get back to meetings, to send your newsletters my way.  This is a great way to share ideas and to keep in touch. 


In Memoriam

Marie Eloise Dawson, 88, passed away July 1, 2010.  She was born August 4, 1921 in Covington, Oklahoma, to James and Mae Andrews.  The oldest of 5 siblings, she grew up a farm girl with a strong love of nature and things natural.  In 1941, she married John Worthan.  That union produced five boys and lasted 17 years.  In 1970, she married Robert H. Dawson, a loving relationship that lasted 40 years.  Their com

bined families totaled nine boys.  She will always be remembered as a loving wife and mother to her husband and all her family.  She is preceded in death by three siblings and her son, John. She is survived by her husband Robert, 8 of their sons, 17 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.


2010 KABVI Membership Application


____ Enclosed is $10.00 for my 2010 KABVI dues.


___  Enclosed is $250 for my Life Membership.














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.